Wednesday, September 08, 2004

A couple of little things...

Last night I was looking for a simple recipe for a basic bread pudding, so I went over to allrecipes.com (quite a good site for finding basic dishes and variations thereon, btw), where something in a sidebar caught my attention, and a couple of clicks later, I was over at this recipe for Pullum Frontonianum, which started me thinking about old school cooking-- even more old school than all those aspic dishes in my Grandmom's 1970 edition of the Betty Crocker Cookbook.

Gode Cookery (Medieval and Rennaisance Cooking)
Antique Roman Dishes (Just what it says. Some odd wording here and there since the webpage author translated the recipes from the German translation into English.)

I did make bread pudding, in case you were wondering. I found a very simple recipe and made it even simpler. Actually, it came closer to a french toast casserole, and I think syrup would have been a lovely topping for it. I will have to post my version sometime soon.


Tuesday, September 07, 2004

Gingersnaps That Don't Suck

Cream 3/4 cup shortening [I used butter-flavored Crisco because that's what I had], 1 cup brown sugar, 1/4 cup molasses, and 1 egg till fluffy.

Sift together 1-1/4 cup sifted all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking soda, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves; stir into molasses mixture.

Form into small balls. Roll in granulated sugar [I used demerara sugar for this because I like the look/texture of the larger crystals]; place 2 inches apart on greased cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 12 minutes [10 minutes was sufficient in my oven; at 12, the sugar started to burn.]

***

This recipe is from the 1986 edition of the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

Bits and Pieces

First, I want to leave myself a note pointing me toward a couple of blogs: MMORPG Madness and SAB Information Center.

I'd bookmark them, but my bookmarks are already an unruly forest with thick undergrowth without adding to the mess. It may be time to archive my current bookmarks and start a new list.

Second, the daily update: Things are OK today. We're hanging in there. I feel pretty good. I've decided to do at least one thing a week that makes me happy, without any regard for whether or not other people approve. I want to do a lot more walking, hiking, and exploring, mostly. I don't know why I haven't been going out there and doing those things. They don't really cost anything, and I can do those things by myself. In fact, those things might actually be more fun for me when they come with a little solitude on the side.

Sunday, August 22, 2004

In other news....

I finally figured out how to use saifun (cellophane noodles) to good advantage with stir fry. WooT! Up until this past week, all I managed to do was make a big flavorless mass with that stuff, despite my best efforts.

I also bought 3 pounds of econo-bacon, which was a mistake. It's not really sliced so much as it is randomly hacked into pieces, half of which are only fat, and the other half of which are completely lean. It didn't work out very well for eating on BLTs. I see baked beans and bean soup in our future.

I got some avocados and guacamole mix cheap from the Evil Empire... I mean, Wal-Mart. Yum.

And another week goes by...

Well, this week ended on an upswing. I think we're going to be allright. A sales job came along. It's got potential to hold us until something better comes along. I hope so, anyway.

My mother is making me crazy. She can't let me live my life, learn my lessons, and get on with things. She has to call me every day to tell me what I should be doing, even if I have already done those things on my own, or if they aren't really in my best interest. It's driving her crazy that she can't actually control me and that she can't get in there and do it all herself, so I guess it is fair, in some respect, that she's making me crazy.

I snapped at my poor husband a few minutes ago because I was typing away over here and he asked four times where the remote was. I guess I was expected to be looking for it, but I didn't, and I still don't know where the remote is.

I should stop using this as my personal whining page and quit my virtual drama queen shrieking. I just don't really express these things in real life. I say them here so that I can smile and nod in real life without feeling like I never get to have my say.

Saturday, August 14, 2004

The Weekend Update

I need to start updating this a little more often. I don't actually have an audience, but if I did, I think they'd prefer to see new material more often.

I was just updating my little cafepress shop. I added a journal to the collection, featuring a drawing I did while watching TV the other night. It's funny what my hands will do while my brain isn't paying attention. I haven't really promoted the shop at all, so I haven't sold anything, but maybe someday, someone will stumble upon it and purchase something.

Come to think of it, I haven't promoted this blog, or my other ones, either, so it is no surprise that I don't have an audience. Advertising pays, I guess.

The job hunt goes on. Things aren't going as well as I had hoped, but there are still some prospects out there. I am just tired and disheartened. I am not sure where to go from here, and our time is running short. We've basically got two weeks to get it together, or that's the end of the road for us, as a family and a household. That's kind of a long story, I guess...

I have been taking my recent boredom and frustration out on the forums at berserker.org. I am not going to mention to them that I quit playing EverQuest for good earlier this week. The husband and I had another fight over the stupid game, and we decided that we didn't want to go through that kind of crap anymore. It's not worth having a silly game come between us. But that hasn't stopped me from getting on other people's nerves over there.


Friday, August 06, 2004

Another Crappy Week in Paradise

Aside from a near-brush with being an RV salesman, my husband had no luck on the job hunt this week. I didn't even have a near-brush, so I have nothing to say about that.

He had an interview at the RV place, with an interview for a far better state job scheduled for the next morning. The RV place told him that they were going to have training starting the next morning, and he couldn't be late or miss any of the three days, for any reason. So he didn't go to the training, he went to the interview.

The state people were supposed to make a decision before the end of the week, and here it is, without a word from them. I think it's a pretty sure bet that he didn't get that job either. He must suck at interviewing or something.

Lots of restaurants are looking for people. I think I will give that a try. It will still put me in contact with the general public, in a position to get pissed on by every asshat who is having a bad day, but maybe I can do it for a little while before I freak out and go postal.

I guess I should get out of here and make a last ditch effort to save our asses before the weekend.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Catching up

Being depressed doesn't go well with blogging for me. I can maintain a certain level bitchiness and complain endlessly through the keyboard, but depression is a silent, wordless state for me. I reach a point where I am too down to type. I get so far down that I don't even have it in me to complain.

You know those keychains with scorpions encased in acrylic? That's what depression feels like. I am that scorpion, wrapped up, suffocated and paralyzed in a clear case of depression. Only depression is a little more transparent than acrylic, a little harder for others to see. They might see the signs of it, and feel around the edges, but it is hard for them to judge how deep I am inside it.

We had a miscarriage. I woke up early on July 8, our anniversary, to a crampy, clumpy, bloody mess. That went on for a few days.

And then there were the other things-- the job interviews that didn't pan out, the creditors on our backs being a pain in the ass, my mother trying to drag me into a dispute between my brothers, the kids acting like their brains fell out.

It's not been good.

My husband is off at a job interview right now. This job would be super-sweet. I am trying to believe that he'll get it in the hopes that somehow, magically, my belief will make it true. I want it to be true. It has to be. This is the best opportunity we've had come along in a good long while.

At the same time, things seem so bleak right now that I am afraid to hope, because if my hopes are dashed again, I may fall back into that deep, silent, suffocating darkness.

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

The Daily Bitch

Last Thursday, I picked up the power bill off the counter and said, calmly, that our disconnect date had just passed. I was told that I shouldn't read the mail because I "always worry too much."

Fast forward to this morning, when the person who accused me of worrying too much was just about to print his resume when, SURPRISE!, the lights went out.

Ah, yep. There was nothing to worry about there.

That bill has been paid now. The lights are back on. I am just wondering how much good that's going to do us when the mortgage company decides to foreclose on us. That is, as I understand it, something else I shouldn't worry about.

GRAH!

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

I had a dream...

Last night, I had a dream that I was sitting under a tree with a cup of milk and a plate of cookies. I was happy. Then a bird flew over and pooped in my milk.

I can't even catch a break in my dreams.

Monday, July 05, 2004

Where was I? Oh, yes...

As you might have guessed from that last post, I'm pregnant. My husband had guessed as much from my late period and obvious symptoms, but I was in denial until I gave in and took a home pregnancy test on Friday morning. I had been nauseous all Thursday night, and my breasts have been very sore, so I figured he might be right, but I was still shocked to see a positive test result.

Now that I am over the shock, I am mostly happy. I am a little scared because I have a history of miscarriages and we're still in dire straits financially. The latter problem may resolve itself soon, since my husband seems to have been kicked into gear to get himself employed now that he's going to be a papa all over again. There's not much I can do about the potential miscarriage problem except to wait and see. I really don't want to get my hopes up too much right now at a mere 5 weeks, only to have them crushed in the next couple of months.

I had gotten a job at a shoe store in the mall, but it was a disaster of monumental proportions. I freaked out and cried at work. I just can't handle dealing with the public. I really, really miss my old job at RGIS. It sucked, but it didn't suck as much as being unemployed or selling shoes.

Ah, yes. It has been so long since I last wrote that many things have transpired. There was, for example, the mess with Dixon Valve. This company called my husband and told him he had a job, and then when he drove over there for the pre-employment drug test, they told him that there was a mix-up and they could only offer him a fraction of what they'd told him and he'd have to wait to hear from human resources about it. So they sent him home. Then they called him and said that there was a miscommunication and he didn't have a job. So, he drove 70 miles (round trip) when gas was at its most expensive for nothing at all.

No, it was worse than nothing at all. Nothing is nothing. That whole mess was something. It was something sucky and horrible.

So, anyway, that's pretty typical of how things have been since I last wrote. Life keeps dangling carrots in front of our noses, then snatching them away and beating us with a stick. I figure that's one reason why the miscarriage thing has me good and spooked. I figure it would be our luck for this baby to go Dixon Valve on us.

I am not going to clutter up this blog with my pregnancy-related ramblings. I will start another blog just for all that. This one will just go back to all my usual whining.

Friday, July 02, 2004

I know it has been a while...

...but I thought I would just add this...
Lilypie Baby Days

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Attack of the laundry

I am doing laundry tonight. Lots and lots of laundry. This is probably the worst thing about having a big family. Everyone wants to wear clean clothes. What a pain!

My son and I were discussing the worst possible movie. We figure it would have to be a movie starring Sylvester Stallone and Vin Diesel as soccer players who also international secret agents who happen to both play the accordian. If you could get a poop-flinging monkey in there somewhere as your basic stupid, pointless comic relief, it might be as bad as it could possibly be.

My husband has been working on a feasibility study for a business he wants to start. It's partly an assignment for a Tech Writing class he's taking, and partly a serious study for the purpose of figuring out whether or not he can get it going. He wants to open a game shop.

Locally, there's a comics shop that sells some game stuff, and a game shop that sells a very limited selection of things, sticking almost completely to collectible card games. What he wants to do is sell a wide variety of different kinds of games-- collectible card games, role-playing games, games that use miniatures, board games and set up a LAN for people to play games in the shop. Basically, if it can be won, lost, or acted out, it will be for sale.

If I get this job that I am interviewing for on Friday and we get our financial act together, it would be cool if we could go to GenCon... you know, for research purposes. Yeah... that's the ticket. Research.

Tuesday, March 02, 2004

Intervooo

I got called for an interview for that CSR/sales job. I am pretty psyched. I am pretty sure I can handle the interview. I was just worried about getting past the initial screening. I have pretty much gotten over all my doubts and fears about whether or not I can handle the job. I realize now that all I have to do is continually chant my mantra: "paycheck paycheck paycheck". So, I go on Friday morning to interview for that job.

I applied for some other jobs today, and would have applied for even more if time had allowed. I am going to get a job THIS WEEK, dammit. I am so freaking tired of being broke. So many things to buy, so little money-- and that's only the necessities. I REALLY miss being able to buy the fun stuff.

It's time to go make some dinner. I have no idea what I plan on doing for dinner. Pancakes, maybe.

Monday, March 01, 2004

Back on the job trail...

So, it's back to job hunting today. There were a couple of crappy jobs in the paper that I am going to go apply for, but it was a bad week for the Sunday classifieds. You know it is a bad week when all the ads are in 2 pages of 2-inch framed boxes.

So, I am going to go apply for a job as night support staff for a home for developmentally disabled adults, and also for cashier/etc. at the cafeteria of the college I ever-so-recently dropped out of. Neither of these sounds particularly exciting, but I have done the food service thing before, and I don't really mind it.

I am sort of hoping that the CSR job I mentioned before comes through for me. I'll either get called tomorrow, or get the "Thanks, but no thanks!" letter some time this week. It might be 8 hours a day of torture, but I can stand a little torture for a decent paycheck.

Must...find...work.

Saturday, February 28, 2004

Yesterday I went took some tests and filled out the full application for that customer service job. I will know the results on Tuesday. The money is pretty good, for someone like myself with no experience and no education to speak of, but I see two potential problems that I have been trying to avoid. I am afraid of people, and I am terrified of telephones. My worst fear, then, is a person on the phone. And I would be required to spend 7 hours and 50 minutes of my day talking to people on the phone about their credit card problems, and then trying to sell them credit products and services.

I am sort of hoping that not having an actual phone, but just the headset, will alleviate some of the phone phobia. I normally deal with my phone fear by simply avoiding the telephone. I'd rather get in my car and drive to talk to a person in person than to call them on the phone. If I can't do that, I try to get someone else to make the call for me. If I have to make the call myself... it usually doesn't get made at all. Dialing is gut-wrenching, and then there's the nausea of waiting while the phone rings. Then, if I am unlucky, someone answers, and I have to speak. I stammer and stutter my way through what I need to say, sometimes digging my nails into my palms just to get through it. It's absolutely paralyzing.

And then there are the times that the phone rings and I have to answer. I am pretty terrified of that too, but there's no anticipation factor. I have gotten to the point that I pick up the phone without thinking about it, a little sleight of mind that prevents me from standing over the phone, wringing my hands, like I used to. Mostly, it isn't for me, so I just take a message. My conversation has become routine in that situation, and I am quite pleased and proud of myself that I can do that much. If it is a telemarketer or whatever, I just hang up. If it is someone I know personally, I can talk to them, usually. If it isn't a good friend or relative, they are often left hanging with awkward silences, punctuated with bursts of nervous babbling.

So, one might think that a call center job would be out of the question for me. But I think I am willing to give it a go, anyway. Most people don't like their jobs. You just have to do what you have to do to get by. And a job that I hate might be good incentive to get through school.

The husband had a potential temp job fall through yesterday, and he came home pretty pissed. He was going down to do paperwork, and found out when he got there that even though they had asked for a recent criminal history on his application, they actually needed 7 years on a background check, rather than 5, so his 5+ year old assault conviction came into play, and they said they couldn't use him. I imagine it was really humiliating.

So, he came home really upset and stayed grumpy until I found something to cheer him up. I grabbed some grapes and demonstrated microwave grape plasma , and that cheered him right up. And then he got a better attitude-- he had two interviews on Thursday, and we'll still keep looking for work.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

And the job hunting saga continues.

Today, I applied for a customer service/sales (aka telemarketer) job. Under our current circumstances, I think I can handle getting yelled at on the phone for $10/hr to start. It beats the pants off of nothing, for sure. I am supposed to go in for testing/interview on Friday morning at too-early-o'clock.

My husband applied for a few different jobs and did some phone follow-up. He's got some possibilities coming up for temp work, anyway. Hopefully something there will work out. He's got two prospects for permanent employment also-- he's got an interview on Thursday for a security guard job at the college he attends, and a possibility of getting a job as a floor attendant at the casino where his sister works. They aren't the kind of work he wants to do, though, so he's not acting especially grateful for those opportunities.

He called back one of the places that declined to hire him and talked to that guy for a while. Apparently, he might have stood a chance of getting that job if he had called right after the closing date, since interviews were granted to a small, random pool of people picked from the qualified applicants. The guy told him to apply again next time there's an opening-- probably next January. That's not really very useful to us right now, but I am sure he will give it another go next year if a position opens up. It would be good money and close to home.

I sort of wish that I had kept my crappy job at RGIS, but it is probably best that I didn't, since I was getting a little too rough around the edges. I have an insomnia problem that is made much, much worse by an irregular schedule. When I was younger, I could manage to drag myself around without the sleep, but now that I am older, it isn't so easy. I am not sure if it is all age, or if it is just because I have so many more daily obligations to fulfill now. I was also a little annoyed that I was being scheduled for a late night followed by an early morning, AND I was expected to drive to distant stores, simply because I have a van. I butted heads with my supervisor over the driving thing just before I decided to quit. He wanted me to drive 15 miles south to pick people up to go to a store 15 miles north of where I live. Other people who live closer to the stores have been allowed to go directly there, but he was counting on me driving, though he didn't come out and say so until I asked if I could just meet them at the store. I was peeved about him being peeved at me, and I got the idea that I was being scheduled just for the transportation. I almost wish I had gone and shown up in some little compact car.

I am really tired tonight. My husband had another little meltdown last night, and he wanted to talk to me about it. Actually, he wanted to sit there and look miserable and demand that I help him. He couldn't tell me what he wanted me to do. He just wanted me to make it better, I guess. I was irritated because he got me out of bed for that bullshit, and I had plans for this morning. Instead of waking up well rested, I have been dragging my sorry butt around all day because I didn't get to sleep until really late.

His little meltdown was triggered because of a job he didn't get. He has had a hard time even finding a crappy job in the last year. Noone wanted to hire him for $10 or even $15/hr when his last job paid $54k/year. He couldn't get another job at what he had been making because he needs more education for most of the jobs, even the ones exactly like the one he used to have. He's really been struggling, and because he hasn't found a job, he now has this huge hole in his employment history. He had a friend in management at a company who would have hired him if he could have gotten past the initial human resources review, but they rejected him because of the gap in his work history. His friend called last night to let him know what was up, and he broke down over it.

Ask me what I think about a "jobless recovery". Go ahead. Ask. Just make sure you are wearing a flak jacket when you do.

We've got to get something nailed down this week. It's required by circumstances. I don't want to lose our house, if we can avoid it. I don't know that anyone out there is reading this, but if you are, pray for us. I don't care if you are praying to Jesus or Allah or Krishna or Odin or Yemaya... Just keep us in mind.

Sunday, February 22, 2004

Looking for a job sucks. It sucks butt. It sucks a big, hairy goat's butt. I realize that this isn't news to anyone who has had to find employment for themselves, but I had to say it anyway.

I have some work I need to do this week on a website project (for money! w00t!), but I also need to look around for a regular job that will result in a weekly or bi-weekly paychecks. I really want to be able to pay our mortgage. That's the most important thing. Being homeless with kids sucks even more goat-butt than looking for a job, and we are dangerously close to that. My husband has a few prospects and an interview on Thursday, but we need something to come through NOW.

I should be getting a little bit of child support this week. That's something. My husband did work that temp job, so he should be getting paid for that soon. I sold something on ebay-- not for much, but it's something. And I opened a little online shop at cafepress.com, as I had mentioned, with a few EverQuest related items available for now.

I plan on having a lunchbox design added tomorrow that's pen-and-paper RPG related-- it will be a "dice box" thing. I plan on putting up better designs of my own making, of the fantasy art sort, but I wanted to get something out there for now, until I can get to a scanner. I only have the "basic" shop, so I can only have one design for each type of item. That is, I can only have 1 white shirt, 1 grey shirt, 1 fitted white shirt, etc. I can't have multiple grey shirts with different designs on them, for instance, unless I upgrade to a premium shop. Right now, the only thing I can afford is free, so I will just have to cycle designs as I have them available. Anyway, the shop is at http://www.cafeshops.com/miashirtsnstuff .

Thursday, February 19, 2004

My mom found some Yogalates DVDs in a bargain bin while she was out shopping recently, so she bought one for herself and one for me. While I generally hate any sort of physical activity that doesn't involve an orgasm, I have found that I actually like this workout. I mean, I have actually done it more than once, which puts it head-and-shoulders above the rest of my exercise media collection.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004

My husband got a call for an interview next week. It is essentially a security guard job. It's not the job he wanted, but it is gainful employment, and we've reached the point that a job-- any job-- is good enough. I sure hope he gets it.

I have been on a Net binge tonight. I am not usually allowed to sit here all night, but since he's off working, I have enjoyed the chance to surf and chat in peace.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Winter dresses in grey here. When I was younger, I thought the bland greys of winter were ugly, a thing to be endured until the Earth turned her colors back on. These days, I adore the winter landscapes of my home region. I see beautiful lines and textures, and even colors, in the bare neutrality of the trees and the tan stubbled grey fields, and in last years pale reeds standing guard over the low spots. It's a subtle beauty. And that is why I missed it before.

When I was younger, I didn't notice subtle things, and I didn't produce subtle things. My cooking was overseasoned and poorly executed. My writings and my artwork strained under the weight of trying to be more than they were. My relationships were based on whatever grabbed me first about the person I was with. There was little depth to my thought, and everything I touched came out badly.

A little while ago, I was looking out the back window, looking between the houses, watching the light fade against the trees in the distance, and that is what inspired me to say these things now. I realize it is a bit out of the normal tone of this blog, but I didn't have anyone else to say it to.

Monday, February 16, 2004

I got a call today about doing some web design work, including finding the hosting, etc. I jumped on the opportunity with both hands and feet. I plan on sending kids to bed and working up my proposal tonight.

Not long after I got that call, my husband got a call about doing a one-night stint running some cable at a local restaurant for $16/hr. What a nice bonus!

I hope that this means that our financial tides are starting to shift. We could really use a break! Things have been stagnant and stinking in that department for a while now.

I am going to open a Caf├ęPress shop to sell some of my artwork and stuff on T-shirts. I don't imagine that I am going to make a lot of money that way, but I think it will be fun. I may open a second Caf├ęPress shop with RPG themed merchandise as well, depending on how much fun I have setting up the first one.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

The last few days have been absolutely surreal. My mom keeps calling and coming over, and yet she says nothing useful. My husband came unhinged on Friday and locked himself into the bathroom for a few hours. Kids were good tonight, but they were like wild animals for a few days there. I was really sick for a couple of days, in so much pain that it made me cry. It was like a bad dream that I couldn't wake up from. But it could have been worse.

Is it wrong for me to take consolation in the fact that I know people with lives more fucked up than mine?

Last July, my brother-in-law got married. It was a $30,000 wedding. He and his bride were on the full-color, glossy cover of the local newspaper's bridal insert. They had been living with his new in-laws while their new $170,000 house was being built. They finally went to settlement on the new house and moved in... and his new wife moved out two days later. Her parents made her go back, and two days later, she left again. Moving away from her parents was too big a change for her. Now she wants a divorce. All I can say about that is WTF??! To just make things more complicated, allow me to mention that the bride brought a little girl with her into the marriage. I wonder if she's not just a bit confused about what the hell is going on with her mom and her new dad.

We're only having financial problems. We've still got each other, and we have our health, such as it is. It seems not-so-very-bad now.

Friday, February 06, 2004

I think this blog needs a little color. I was thinking that I would post various banners and signatures that I have done. I really need a real graphics program. Adobe Creative Suite on my list, right after more RAM and a new video card. I can get the academic version at the college bookstore for $399.00 (which is a bargain, if you haven't checked the price).



These are various banners for Camp Check, an EverQuest guild on Xegony. The one with the undead troll is just a piece of a screenshot with caption added. I thought it was pretty funny.



Three signature files for Dikmer Orless, EverQuest dwarf cleric on Xegony. He actually used the last one. The other two seemed to annoy him, for some reason.



Two signatures for Kensha of Xegony. The first is supposed to be dark and evil looking, since she was a shadow knight by day and maniacal killer by night. (You'd have to have known her.) The latter is Kensha in high elf illusion. It is way too dark, and I couldn't seem to lighten it properly without it looking all washed out. I abandoned it pretty early on, but I think I could do something with it now to fix it, if I felt like it.



Simple. Straightforward. Not cluttered. Possibly some of my better work.



Another that I think might be among my better ones, although I can see several things I would change. First, I'd have turned off names before taking the SS. Secondly, I'd have put Buffei in front, 2/3 to the right.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

I meant to get around to commenting on the name lists yesterday. So, here's the commentary:
Girls' names
Emily, Emma, Hannah, Sarah, Abigail -- Pretty, but a little old fashioned. Not really too bad, but not my style.
Madison -- Ugh.
Hailey -- Since I have a niece with this name, I will abstain from commenting.
Kaitlyn -- I think my daughter has 6 Kaitlyns in her class. The name ain't that damned amazing, folks.
Isabella, Olivia -- OMG... I actually kind of like these two. Kinda traditional, sort of out of the mainstream, maybe a little ethnic flavor. Not bad.


Boys' names
Jacob -- An old man name to my ears. But if your baby is lucky, he will be an old man, eventually.
Aidan -- Ok. I guess I can tolerate this.
Ethan -- Makes me think of furniture. Or soap operas.
Matthew -- Solid, traditional, common name.
Nicholas -- I had no idea this name would be so popular when I chose it.
Joshua -- See "Matthew".
Ryan -- My paternal grandmother's maiden name. Kid got it as a middle name. His brother got saddled with Wallace, another family name.
Michael -- Why not Gabriel or Raphael or some lesser known Angel from folklore, mythology, or the occult? Aren't there enough Michaels?
Zachary -- Not so keen on Zachary. Sounds like an ingredient. "Good stew. Needs more Zachary."
Tyler -- Make it a girl's name, and then we'll talk.
Smyrna, Delaware... Like Hell, Only Closer

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

I was checking my hotmail and saw a little headline about the top 10 baby names for 2003, so I went over and had a look.

So, here they are:
The top 10 names of 2003

Girls' names
Emily
Emma
Madison
Hannah
Hailey
Sarah
Kaitlyn
Isabella
Olivia
Abigail


Boys' names

Jacob
Aidan
Ethan
Matthew
Nicholas
Joshua
Ryan
Michael
Zachary
Tyler

Yonder Baby Names Article

Monday, February 02, 2004

I can't stand horny net geeks. I joined an Adult chat room on Yahoo and was immediately IM-assaulted by half a dozen guys who wanted immediate and unconditional cybersex. That's no way to make a good impression.

I have been eating too much the last few days, stuffing myself silly. It's nerves. I just don't know what I am going to do about my situation.

Yeah, I know... "What situation?"

I'll get around to that when I am in the mood.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

I am skipping Intro to Design today. I need to write my instructor an e-mail about why I am not there. Basically, my son had an infected tooth and a corneal abrasion (sounds lovely, doesn't it? He scratched his eye.), and already had a physical scheduled this week. So, he's had appointments every day, between the dentist, the eye doctor, and the regular doctor. My husband has been handling those things, but with only one vehicle and with me being all discombobulated from my horrible mixed schedule, it has turned out to be the week from hell.

I have 4 days of work starting today. Three are big stores. One of those is in Rehoboth. (DEAR LORD, PLEASE DON'T LET THEM ASK ME TO DRIVE!!) The other store is in the mall. Oh, how I love a mall store! I haven't been into that particular store, but I do hope it is well organized so that we can just get in there and get back out.

I am feeling a little cold and tired now, so I think I am going to go on upstairs and crawl into bed for a little bit.

Monday, January 12, 2004

My weekend was suckolicious. I worked. And then I worked some more. Then I worked a little more. And it wasn't the good kind of easy-going work either.

Yesterday was a nightmare. I worked Saturday night (good, easy store, but really, really late), got home at 1am, turned around and left here at 5am, drove to the meet site (20 miles) and then got suckered into driving to the store (another 40 miles each way). The store itself was pretty big, but I had a really good day; my counts were good for the most part, and I was moving pretty fast for being so tired. The employees of the store were obnoxious, with the exception of one department manager. In most stores, they are glad to have us there because it means they aren't the ones counting out the merchandise and recording all the UPCs. In this store, the department managers and clerks acted as if we were there to serve them personally, as though their crappy jobs were that much better than our crappy job.

I'd have been fired for telling them to bite my shiny metal ass, so I just ignored and avoided them instead.

So, I got home from that at 2:30, and then had another store at 6pm. That store was awful. It was poorly designed, hard to count, and I was just too tired to be at work, really. I didn't get home until 11:30, and I was frayed around the edges when I came in. My husband said I "looked scary."

I think I should go on a crusade for better retail space design. Here's a clue, folks: if you have a store catering to the fashion needs of the 15-to-22 female shopper, you shouldn't have racks that are 7 feet up and 2+ feet deep. Your average shopper is only 5'5" (if that!) That set up is a pain to stock, a pain to shop from, and a royal pain in the ass to count, especially when every tag on every piece needs to be scanned. If you have so much freaking stock that you have 39 sweatshirts on a rack that should only have 30 on it (packed tight), then you need to order less, put some in the back room, or get more racks. C'mon, people! Think! Be realistic when you are putting your store together.

This morning was my art history class. We had to introduce ourselves to the class, and I babbled like a complete moron. I always do that. So much for first impressions! Despite my personality failure, I think I am going to really enjoy that class. I am interested in the topic.

Actually, I think the teacher asking us why we were taking the class was pretty moronic. Duh... Every person in the class is a design major of one sort or another. We're all taking the class because it is required.

So now I go back to school for my Color and Composition class. I have to be there in half an hour, and I need to stop by the registrar to get my schedule fixed, so I had better get on out of here.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

So, I just got back from picking my son, Liam, up from the bus stop. His bus stops at the entrance of the development. It is about 20F and windy outside, so I waited for my other, older son, Geoff, too. Geoff prefers to walk home with the other high school and middle school kids most days, but he climbed into the van without any eye-rolling or sighing today.

While I was out there, I thought I would get the mail. And what do you suppose was there?

Another package for me! This time it was a birthday present from my in-laws. They sent me the Special Edition Cowboy Bebop: The Movie and 101 Philosophy Problems by Martin Cohen. I love getting stuff that I want in the mail! I called my mother-in-law and thanked her. She seemed pretty happy that I liked it. I think she was embarrassed that she completely skipped my birthday last year, even though it didn't really matter to me. My husband's family is very much into birthdays, though, so I guess it mattered to her.

I've gotten better at accepting both gifts and compliments. These days I am genuinely grateful to receive them, instead of uncomfortable and embarrassed. It's a joy to be remembered and thought well of. There's nothing humble or modest about second guessing someone who has given you a gift; that's just a tragic lack of grace and gratitude.
I am really tired today. I had lunch at a Chinese Buffet. It has made me queasy. I think I may go take a nap to deal with both problems.

Though it has been many months, this still cracks me up:

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Now that I have posted what I wrote yesterday, it is time for me to write a little something for today.

I have to give my husband some credit today. He went out job hunting today. He also registered for some classes for the spring. He says he's going to go back out tomorrow, probably before I even get up. I am proud of him for finally getting motivated. He says he figured it was time to start aggressively looking for employment. I told him I thought aggressive was sexy.

I have been getting into a bad habit of staying up extremely late. I think I am going to have to start cutting out around midnight. Next week I start classes, and I have at least one 8:30am class. I will have to have a look at my schedule now to see what I will be doing when.

My supervisor just called me with my schedule for next week. It's going to be pretty busy. I work for RGIS, the people who count inventory in stores. The work is hourly, scheduled by store when the work is available. This is the busy time of year. The work really isn't too hard, although it can get to be more physical than you would think, and the pay is ok for part-time. I am scheduled for a whole lot of hours in the next couple of weeks, and then it will taper off a little. I really need to find something with more regular hours and less driving.

I think I will go out and apply for a bunch of jobs tomorrow. I have several places in mind.

I am already feeling sleepy. I think I want to go take a short nap, and then I will be back online for a little while before I go to sleep for the night.
I wrote this last night, but when I went to post it, Blogger was down for maintenance, so I didn't get to post it until now.
****

You know what I hate?
No, not "everything".

I hate it when I get settled in and intend to write, only to be bugged by other people. That's what happened to my last entry here. I was getting all settled in to write about the dynamic forces that keep the Universe going, only to have my husband insist that I had to restart my computer right that very second so that the drivers for the new printer would kick in, so that he could print a resume. So, I just published the one line I had written, and rebooted.

And he did print his resume. I don't know that he did anything with it, or that it was really necessary that he do it right that second, but at least he actually printed the damned thing after derailing my train of thought.

He's pissing me off lately. He sits on his fat ass watching TV and playing Gunbound all day, yells at the kids, cooks a little dinner and acts like he's some kind of freakin' martyr. He's such a big baby, he won't go look for a job unless I go with him to hold his hand. He hardly ever leaves the house at all. He's not even a housewife; I was a housewife for years, and I spent my days reading, writing, running errands, cleaning house, taking care of kids, and looking for answers to life's big questions. No, he's no housewife. He's a housePLANT.

OK. Just had to get that out of my system. I sure hope he doesn't read this. He's depressed enough as it is.

I don't really know what is happening to me. For the last several weeks, I have been going through a sort of personal transformation. Every day I find out something new and shocking about myself. My latest discovery is that I have spent the several years not tasting my food, and now I can taste it again. I am finding that I hate the crap that I have been eating regularly. I must have been insane!

I wasn't always fat. I was a normal weight for most of my life. It has only been in the last several years that I put on all this weight. At the same time, my husband put on a lot of weight too. I thought that we were making each other fat, giving each other permission to eat stuff we shouldn't and not do anything physical. While that might have been a part of it, I see now that there was something else at work. I can see now that there was a sort of emptiness in me that I was trying to fill. I was seeking some sort of sensation to overcome the numbness. I suspect it is the same for him. We went through some really hard times, and I think we may have come out damaged. We were damaged, our relationship was damaged. I think we became unable to connect with each other, or anyone else, including ourselves. I was so numb that I would eat and eat and eat all sorts of junk, trying to get something out of it that food just can't give.

This has changed for me lately. I can't even say exactly what happened, but I woke up one day feeling like the clouds had lifted. I like being me. I love finding out who I am. There's endless delight in just being who I really am. I've become honest, with myself, and with other people. People ask me questions, and I tell them what I really think. It is the most amazing thing. Finding out that I have been eating awful crap for years now is just a side effect of whatever it is that is happening to me.

Monday, January 05, 2004

I have been thinking this afternoon about polarity, about the yin and yang of things.
Never mind. It fixed itself.

I love it when problems fix themselves!
My archiving isn't working properly. I will try to figure out what is wrong with it when I have a little more time.

I am going to have a very busy today. I have errands to run, and I want to clean my house back to the point that I can have people in and not be embarrassed.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Imagine my surprise when I finally got around to going to the mailbox and found that I had gifts from a friend waiting there for me. I'm just thrilled. I got a book (Language Death by David Crystal) and a DVD (Pirates of the Caribbean). I am really glad and grateful to have gotten them.

Unexpected gifts are the best kind.

In other news, I got my hair cut today. I still have a little bit of red from the last time I dyed my hair, but that will be gone the next time I get it cut. I feel a lot better now that my hair is shorter and neater. It's also nicer to touch with most of the damaged, dyed hair gone.

I got my hair cut at the mall. My 11 year old daughter went with me. We raided the accessories boutiques for post-Christmas bargains. She found a matched set of mother/daughter necklaces, so we got those. She got a charm bracelet. We both got new rings. I got a cowrie shell anklet.

I was surprised to find that the anklet is pretty loose on me, despite being made with elastic, and the necklace fit beautifully. I was out jewelry shopping last July for my brother-in-law's wedding, and it was just horrible. I was so fat that nothing fit right. Needless to say, I am happy about fitting things better.

I mentioned this to my husband and he says that I have lost a lot of weight since summer. I really hadn't noticed much, since I wear baggy clothes most of the time. I was able to buy a smaller size when I bought my work pants. I could even get into the next smaller size, but those were still tight across the butt. It's very encouraging that my efforts are paying off, in any case.

Six more months of this, and I might start feeling good about how I look. I hope that I will be able to get into this pretty floral mini-dress that's up in my closet. I love that dress, but I have only worn it twice.
Work was long and hard tonight. There are lots of things I like long and hard, and work is not one of those things. I am winding down now. I am tired, but still too wound up from work to go to sleep just yet.

Part of me wants to try to soften what I wrote earlier about my past, but I don't think I will do that. My past wasn't very soft on me, after all. I will let it stand. It isn't as bad as it could be, anyway. I didn't tell everything.

I was thinking about writing more here while I was on my way home from work. I have some stories in mind to tell. But not tonight. Tonight, I just want to sit here and stare until I shake off the work-induced daze.

I used to apologize for everything, whether or not I had anything to do with it. I am even now feeling the urge to apologize and explain away the life story I posted early. But I won't do that. No apologies. No excuses.

I think I might pop over to my little Geocities page and add some more things to my list of random facts about myself.

Saturday, January 03, 2004

You know, it must mean something that I can talk about my past now and not have it ruin my mood.
It works! This is the first time I have used FTP to upload to our Comcast webspace, so I wasn't sure if it would go through the first time. The servers at our old web hosting company weren't always cooperative, so I got in the habit of expecting things not to work the first time.

I am optimistic about 2004. I have started to build the life that I want, and that adventure will continue this year. I can't wait to see what happens next! I have my plans and my hopes, but life will surprise me. It always does.

My mother keeps asking me about my resolutions for this year. I haven't really answered her. I haven't really thought about it in terms of making a list this year. That never works for me anyway. I know what I want, and I have some idea how to get it. I just have to do what is required and weather whatever setbacks come my way.

That's pretty much the secret to life. Show up. Do what you have to do. Don't let the bad things that happen distract or destroy you. You get where you are going eventually. It seems obvious enough, but I had to learn the hard way.

A lot of people seem to think that they shouldn't have to suffer in life. Suffering is a bad thing, they think. I would never choose to repeat the terrible times in my life, but I know that those awful, painful times taught me many lessons and made me who I am now. Some of those experiences made me a better person. Some made me worse, to be honest. But I am a survivor.

I survived a boyfriend who beat me for having a period that was incovenient for him. I survived parents who only liked me as status symbol as long as I was 'perfect', and who employed a cruel psychological warfare against me when I wasn't perfect anymore. I survived being coerced by said parents and boyfriend into a late abortion of a baby that I desperately wanted. I survived being ass raped by said boyfriend the very same night I came home from that abortion. I had a second abortion a few months later-- when the counselor at the clinic said I shouldn't go through with it, my parents insisted another counselor talk to me instead and had every freaking member of my extended family in the waiting room to make sure I went through with it... and I was weak and broken, and gave in... And the doctor screwed it up, but my parents wouldn't take me to see a doctor. I ended up being taken to a psych ward from school because I went to school and sat crying in a stairwell instead of going to class. But, hey, at least I got some medical attention at the hospital, and some time away from the world. I didn't think I would survive-- and I really didn't want to-- but I did. I got accepted into a good private college. I wanted to fix my life so that my babies wouldn't have died for no reason at all. At the very last minute, my dad told me that he changed his mind and wouldn't pay for it. I should pay my own way, he said. Lost and reeling from having the carpet pulled out from under my feet again, I embarked on a string of anonymous one night stands, resulting in my oldest child. It wasn't a good choice, and it made my life very hard, but I survived. I survived my first husband trying to strangle me in the middle of the night when I was pregnant with his second child (#3). I survived a bad string of multiple miscarriages between child #3 and child #4. I survived living in miserable poverty in a trailer park full of crazy people when we pulled up stakes and moved to Michigan out of the blue. My daughter had a brain tumor that was misdiagnosed no less that seven times while we were out there. We both survived that, for which I am very grateful. Child #4 had a rough birth with the cord wrapped around his neck twice, and he didn't start breathing right away. He spent a few weeks in the ICU, but he survived, I survived, and life went on. Then our house burned down. Thank God we weren't home! But we lost nearly everything. It was just stuff, so I went on. We found another place, but then we got flooded out by hurricane Floyd. We lost more stuff, but it was just stuff. I held our family together through some really hard times around then. We'd been surprised by baby #5, and my husband was mean to me for a while. He lost his mind for a little while, alternately ignoring and screaming at me. But he got better, and I survived.

And that's the short version of my survival story. I am not sure I care to write a long version.

The last few years have been much quieter and happier. I've had some time to integrate what I have learned, and to recover. I've had time to come to terms with who and what I am. This process hasn't been easy either, but I think it has been worth it in the long run.

If I don't leave right now, I am going to be late for work.

I thought I would make this so that I could write all my random thoughts and leave them out in the open where other people can see them. My life has changed significantly lately, and I want to review who I was, where I have been, who I have become, and where I am at now.