Thursday, January 31, 2008


Now, here's an odd situation to be in. I've been thinking about what I want to write today, and I can't settle on anything. Not the wintry weather we're supposed to get this evening and tomorrow, not the cool things I found on eBay last night that are just a little out of my budget right now, not even how utterly bored I am at work today and I can't seem to stay focused on my job.

I was talking with a coworker this morning, and thought about something to write, but then I realized that what I would be writing in relation to that conversation is on the down side of happy feelings, and I'm just not feeling that today. I'm as bright and sunny as it is outside! (I think this is the calm before the incoming winter storm!)

Anyway, my conversation did bring up some interesting points. And though I'm at an emotional high point right now, I want to mention some of them. If you, gentle readers, ever where or ever knew or currently know someone who was clinically depressed, this might help you to keep in mind.

If someone doesn't seem completely ecstatic or even just a little happy about a gift you've given them or want to give them, it's not because they don't want it, or don't like it, or don't like you. It's probably because they feel unworthy of your gift. Unhappy people, and genuinely ill people, tend to feel a lot of worthlessness. This is one of those cases where "it's not you, it's me" is actually true. It's hard to recover from feeling worthless, even on the good days. But if this has ever happened to you, you can be assured (and so can my coworker who is not reading this) that they probably realized how their reaction came across, came to regret it, and can't think of a way to approach you so you know what was really going on when it happened. The only thing I can advise is to press on anyway and not take it personally.

If you happen to know one of these people who do start telling you about their perception of their own worth, I think you'll also find that no amount of convincing from you is going to change their mind, but it's worth it to try. I think a lot of it is seeking. The person is searching for validation; they want to tell you that they are worthless because they need to hear you say it isn't so. The problem is that usually isn't enough, so it really backfires. And I'm still trying to figure out why it isn't enough, so I can't offer you, or my coworker, any insight in that regard.

My coworker was planning something rather nice for his fiancé for V-day, but told me she didn't seem very happy with his plans. They sounded nice to me (and I loath V-day)! So I got it out of him that she hasn't been in the best of spirits lately and we figured this is probably what is happening. I told him he could try to press on, because she might find herself on an upswing and realize what a good idea he actually had.

The mind is quite an odd place to be, sometimes. It can cause us to hurt the people we care about even though we're not trying to do that. What's really happening is that we can't understand why they bother. And I think what we forget is that it's not your place to say who cares about you. You decide who is worth something to you, and they decide for them. That may not always be mutual, but that's also not what's important.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

A Crazy Thought

I currently have two weekly planners for this year. They both have their uses. Here I am with a list of things to do today, and no planner to write them in so I won't forget. How crazy is that?!

Let's see...I know I need to balance my checkbook. I've got a couple eBay feedbacks I need to leave.... What else.... I had a whole list of things I wanted to do after I wasn't busy preparing for my audition, and I can only remember these!

Well, if they were important, they'd come back to me, right?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I Almost Forgot

If you check out my little information bar, --->
and scroll down towards the bottom,
you'll find a nifty little screen with a handful of things that I like, so you might want one of your very own. Give it a click, give it a buy, I'll make a tiny bit of moolah (trust me, it's tiny), and we'll have something else in common!

I'll add more things as I get the time. This small selection will do for now.

The Old College Try

That's what they say.

I went, I spouted out my piece (the parts of it that didn't cower in fear in the black corners of my memory), chatted with the auditors, spouted out my piece again at their request (this time even more of it had retreated, never to be heard from again), said thank you, and went to the store so I could spend the rest of the morning watching Naggy and Vox hunting.

It was glee! I cleaned out the cricket keeper and put the new guys in. Then I dropped a few into the tank with the dragons, and off they went! Filled with new life, the thrill of the hunt, and the yummy cricket-treat for their victories! I just love those guys.

I'm not expecting to get a call back. I know I could do better. It's a shame that so much rides on the audition, because that's not an accurate reflection of how I actually work. But, I'd regret it forever if I didn't even try. For that alone, it was success. Not as successful as my anoles hunting, but success nonetheless. And who knows, they could call me back anyway. I'm not holding my breath, though. I'm sure they saw many more people who would work out better than me. And I came away with something I've learned, so all is not lost.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Keep Your Wits

Today began the first period of Mercury retrograde for this year.

The other planets of our solar system move around the sun like Earth does (we should all know this!). There are times when the planets appear to be moving in the opposite direction. This occurs when they are on the other side of the sun than we are; it's all about perspective, they're not actually moving backwards, it just looks like it from our point of view on Earth. Every planet has a period of retrograde, Mercury has several during the course of our calendar because that year is a lot shorter than ours. Mercury's retrograde also seems to affect us more than any other planet. Perhaps it is its nearness to us and its nearness to the sun (relatively speaking), or the fact that it happens so often during our year.

Whatever the reason, most people believe this three-week period of time has a direct effect on us. Mercury governs aspects of the mind, communication, business, travel. This is a good time for meditation and mental exploration of your inner self. The other areas seem to be stalled or halted during this time, so they say it's not a good time to sign a contract or start a new business venture. People tend to find it more difficult to communicate what they wish, or find information they are looking for.

With all that in mind, don't be afraid of this time. For one, you can use it for that self reflection that many of us don't seem to do very often, or to pick up a project you had started but never got around to finishing. While it is advised to not start new things, sometimes you have to. Add a little determination to your purpose and don't let the motion of the planets stop you.

Practice Practice and More Practice

I worked on memorization all day yesterday. This is the hardest part, really. I recorded it on my mp3 player and played it back over and over, I typed it out, read it, spoke it, whatever works to commit a two and a quarter minute speech to memory. My goal was to go to bed having my monologue memorized. I went over it in my head while brushing my teeth and...didn't quite have it down. But, I had to go to bed.

This morning, before actually getting out of bed, I went over my monologue in my mind, so I could identify the parts that needed more memorization work. Success! I'm not sure how I did it, but I did it. Through the course of the day, I've taken small pauses in work to type it out (to be sure I know it) and work on how it will be presented (this is in tone of voice, and in emotion behind the words). Everything is going to be fine.

I said so!

This evening is when nervousness will set in. And intense hoping that I've given myself enough time to get there in morning rush hour....

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Method Acting

There are several ways of acting, but most seem to agree that an actor should not be outside the action of the character they portray. That’s the basis of method acting, pioneered by Constanin Stanislavski. Stanislavski method, the one most commonly taught in academia, relies on the actor drawing emotion from relevant life experience to find the emotion of their character. The flaw with this method is that it doesn’t offer insight if the actor hasn’t had a relevant experience upon which to draw.

This is part of the problem I found in college. Stanislavski method was the method that all of my teachers taught, and not one of them encouraged finding another method if Stanislavski’s didn’t quite work for us. I think his method is really against the principal of acting. Acting is a pretend, but if you’re drawing from your actual experience, you’re not pretending, you’re remembering. This "outside the box" thinking is the main reason why I was never cast in any of the shows through college. They didn’t like people whos thought processes contradicted what they were intent on teaching. Isn’t that how it usually goes?

So, I went elsewhere, to the local community college, where I found a class on Mikhail Chekhov method acting. The nephew of playwright Anton Chekhov, he was a student of Stanislavski and, I feel, found some of the same errors with his method that I did.

Chekhov developed a method of acting that was largely dependant on visualization and empathy. In contrast to Stanislavski’s turning of one’s own life experience to the character’s experience, Chekhov’s method involved identifying with the character and by that way feeling what they feel. It is more like becoming the character, rather than turning the character into parts of you.

I embraced this method. It was right up my ally, it used the strengths and skills I already possessed, and presented a much more fun way of exploring character. Is it not more entertaining to explore the lives of others than it is to delve deep into yourself to relate to someone? Isn’t that what you, dear blog readers, are doing right now? See how wonderful this is! I think it’s closer to human nature this way. The visualization techniques allowed me, the actor, to meet my character and chat with her, and really find out what was going on in her virtual head.

My last bit of work in college was for a character and scene study class. With a wonderful scene partner, I did an emotionally complex piece from Sam Shepard’s A Lie of the Mind. I had no life experience with which to relate to my character, so I worked on my own in the way that worked better for me. After the final presentation of our scene, a couple friends came up to me and told me they were crying. That is an accomplishment to me. The teacher of the class told me he was worried about how our scene was going to turn out and was very pleased at how well it did. I aced the class.

It’s a little odd. In preparing for my job interview-audition, I found that my preferred method of acting isn’t going to be as helpful as the method I didn’t embrace. Perhaps that’s a sign of a well-rounded actor, who can draw from within and without as necessary. Part of this conundrum is what makes me feel the monologue I’ve chosen is so right. Don’t worry, I’ll be able to tell you all about it when I’m done.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

All Over the Place, But for Skin

From a film (do you know it?), "I feel as if my skin is the only thing keeping me from going everywhere all at once." Yeah, that's what skin does....

The hunt began. I had to find my headshots, which I did, I just needed to get an 8x10 printed. I had to find a song, I had a few in mind, but needed to confirm the length, as I was given not more than sixteen bars to sing in. I worked out a short dialogue between me and a puppet if I should get asked to do one. I had to find a monologue...oooooo...that's the trouble spot.

Monologues are crazy things. One short speech is somehow supposed to sum up completely what an actor can do when there is no director to direct her. This seems impossible, and it really is, yet everyone requires one. I had a few in mind that I had used previously. But I couldn't find a single monologue book or copy of the play that contained one of those ideas.

Monty and I got together last night for a movie. We missed One Missed Call (rats) and I'm not confident that I can stomach watching Cloverfield (you should have seen me sitting through the Blair Witch Project...ugh....), so we settled on National Treasure 2. It's not really our preferred genre, and I had already seen it, but it was a fine way to pass the time.

Before Monty showed up, I spent a few hours in the bookstore, combing through endless monologues with the complete plays for the ones I liked no where in sight. (I think, and many directors and teachers will agree, that it is unwise to present a monologue if you haven't read the entire play. How do you know where your chosen character is coming from if you don't read what happened before your speech?) I bought a monologue book that offered a bit of information about auditions, I admit it's been a long time since I've had one, and a little bit further information for the monologues the author included. Still leaning towards a monologue I could prepare from Sam Shepard's A Lie of the Mind, I went to bed last night essentially monologue-less. I don't remember that scene well enough to construct my speech from memory.

This morning and the rest of the day was busy. One of my Christmas presents from my mother was a yoga class at a somewhat local garden center (it's not as crazy as it sounds). The first of three was today. In the morning, we planned to get my headshot printed, pick up a copy of A Lie of the Mind at a bookstore because mine has gone AWOL, check out some sheet music while there, stop by Trader Joe's, and then hit up our yoga class.

As expected, the printing of the headshot took the longest, an hour and a half or so. While we were waiting, we hit the book store. I found an intriguing play adaptation of His Dark Materials, and many things by Sam Shepard. Just not the play I needed. I also verified one verse of my chosen song is exactly the maximum sixteen bars. There was another book store we could try, either before or after the class. Fast forward to the class, because picking up the picture from the camera center and shopping at TJ's happened without a problem.

Our teacher was really awesome. We had a nice little enclosed area that was lined with trees for sale. Very peaceful. Unfortunately, after an hour of working (in a nearly two hour class), it got amazingly cold in the greenhouse space we were using. Afterwards, we learned that they "forgot" to turn on the heat. Yikes! Next week, they assured us they would remember. And if they don't, one of us will go and find someone!

We went to the other bookstore after that and, you can probably guess, my play wasn't there either. By now, I was very frustrated, so convinced was I that this was the right monologue, I just couldn't find anything that had it. And my copy from college was just not turning up (though, I did find my copy of Mozart's Requiem from my first year. You'd think a play from my last should be easy to locate). I resolved to just using something from the new monologue book, and do the best I can. Ah, I found one from a play that I had seen mentioned in the plethora of other monologue books I'd looked at over the past two days. As I read over the scene, the monologue, and the author's little bits about it, I thought of one of the play books I could find. An anthology that was used as course text for one of my classes which I did manage to locate in my search for Shepard's play. What if this play is in there? You know what's coming, don't you, fair readers? Lo! and behold! It was in there! Yahoo! I found a monologue that looks decent, and I have a copy of the play so I can really know my speech.

This piece will challenge me, but I think it will work out even better than the original one I was planning to do. The short play had me crying at the end of it. I think that makes it a perfect choice. Sure, I've got a lot to do between now and Tuesday (fine tune the monologue, and work out the bit with my puppet), but confidence is right here.

I do feel like I'd be all over the place if it wasn't for my skin holding me together. All of that happened in twenty-four hours!

Friday, January 25, 2008

That Was a Surprise

Someone at my office reads my blog! I think there's more than one someone actually. See, on Monday, someone from OBC accessed my blog through a Google search. I know it wasn't me, because I wasn't here! I got an e-mail from a co-worker yesterday who had found some things about Kaliis (thanks for that, buy the way. The only thing I have against public records and such people searches is that it costs money with no guarantee that I'm going to get what I'm looking for when I pay up). I have reason to believe that she's back in Maryland now. Something I found last night paired her name with a zip code in Clinton in November. I can always wait for the next census....

I'm always happy to have readers, but it sure makes me extra happy that I don't use real names! Not that I sit here typing out company secrets or anything like that.

While I'm at it, my co-worker friend Pat has another co-worker friend. He's really really annoyed because his friend has cancelled plans because "someone" said that he was saying bad things about his friend. If I got wind of a friend saying bad things about me, I'd have to confront them and give them a change to explain. I may learn that my friend didn't say these things at all, right? And, don't I owe it to my friend to give him that benefit of the doubt? Pat came to me this morning quite upset because it hasn't stopped. Other than saying good riddance to the friend who is not giving him a chance to rebut those claims (which he's on the verge of doing anyway), I have no advice for him.

Why do people do this? I don't understand it. Why act like a child who belongs in day care when you can approach something like intelligently? If someone said Pat was saying things about me, well, I wouldn't believe them. Because I trust my friend, that's part of what being a friend is all about. Poor Pat. He works hard, he doesn't deserve this stress or this blindsided attack on his character.

In other news, the tweaking of the resume is done, and I located a decent enough picture for a headshot. I just need to bring it by a place and have it printed in 8x10. No luck finding my monologue book, or the performance song book. Looks like this weekend will see a trip to a couple stores. I hate last minute preparations! Oh! And I have to write a little something for my practice puppet, just in case they ask me to demonstrate that (whatever works to get me ahead, right?).

And I don't think I updated you on the house front. I called the sales lady on Wednesday, just to see how things were going and to make sure she hasn't forgotten my interest. She said there was a delay because the new countertops had been measured wrong, so they had to redo that. They had arrived on Tuesday and would be installed this week. The carpet and vinyl had been ordered and should arrive next week. She said to give it another week or two and to call her if I don't hear from her by then. I'm ok with how long this it taking, because it gives me more time to save up (and more time for OBC stocks to get themselves rising so I can sell them!).

It just occurred to me that if Kaliis is living in Clinton now, and she hasn't looked me up, I am going to beat her senseless when I find her....

Look, all this and I haven't even had my coffee yet!

Thursday, January 24, 2008

I Want to Say Slow Down!

But I know I really don't want that.

Yesterday, the time came to fix my ring. This ring was given to me by Kaliis (I talked about her over here) in 1993. She made it for me out of a safety pin and glass beads. I've worn it every day since with the exception of about five (yes, I know the number; two days because I left it at work one weekend, and two or three days when I was sick and didn't put it on. I've put it on for at least a few minutes every day since). A few years ago, I put my ring on and discovered that a bead had broken off. Sometime later, another bead had broken off. Just a couple weeks ago, I was attempting to fix the wire and broke off a third bead. It became time to repair my ring.

I bought some sterling silver wire and found suitable beads to replace the three that were broken and keep as close to the original pattern as I possibly could. I was tempted to switch out a few other beads, but then I realized that would make it no longer the ring Kaliis made for me, but the ring I altered. And since Kaliis has disappeared, the ring that she made for me that I wear virtually everyday is even more special. It also provides a sense of comfort and strength. What a nifty object, huh?

I held my breath through this repairing process. I was extra careful to not lose any of the beads from the original ring, and to keep the pattern in place. The replacement beads are not exact matches, but they are close enough.

I did successfully repair my ring, and none too soon, I think, for the wire it was originally on was starting to weaken. The slightest bend broke some parts clean off. Whew! I showed the finished bit to my mother, who said exactly what I was thinking, "It looks brand new!" I think that's the work of the new sterling wire. It has a brighter finish than the previous wire, and that really shines through the clear and translucent beads. Now, I just have to hope I wrapped it well enough to withstand another fifteen years of wear.

Fifteen years! Amazing! I wonder what Kaliis would say if she knew I've been wearing that thing every day for fifteen years. I wish I knew where she was so I could tell her how much her friendship meant to me.

I mentioned on the 16th that I had applied for a job. There was a message on the answering machine when I got home that they want me to come in for an interview audition. First step: get the day off of work. Check! Go me!

I called the gent back and got an appointment at 0820. GAH! Now I have a mere six days to find a headshot (which I've thoroughly lost), prepare a monologue, prepare a song, tweak my resume, and find the building. GAH!!

Of course, if they hire me, that means new job. And a job that puts my very expensive Bachelor of Arts degree to use. Wish me broken limbs!

Now, there's something funny about all this. I take off my rings when I need to go to the restroom, they last longer when they don't get washed, right? This is what caused me to leave my rings at work for the weekend four-some years ago, so, I started taking them off and leaving them at my desk, nice and safe. I decided to call this recruiter back from my dad's desk, not in earshot of Adolf, and a bit more secluded that would help me calm down the nervousness I felt. I had not yet put my rings back on. When I got back to my desk, I found I did have a ring on, one of three. Who wants to guess which one it was? I guess something in my mind knew I was going to need it while I returned that call.

It does feel like things in my life are moving very fast right now. But I don't need it to slow down, because I think it's going exactly the direction I want it to go.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Full Wolf Moon

I hope everyone had a wonderful Full Wolf Moon Esbat. This moon is so named because it is said that wolves could be heard howling in hunger in the barren winter.

You may recall that I've been working some candle magick since the last full moon, and that energy came to a head last night. My current circumstances also necessitated some additional working. It so happens that this moon is good for courage and cunning (think attributes of the wolf), and that's exactly what I needed.

In a very short amount of time, my work situation became very stressful. I got a promotion (maybe a little bit of previous success/prosperity candle magick working for me) but the amount of extra work that they've put on me since is impossible to get done in eight hours. My bosses also have a nice habit of getting angry with me when deadlines are not met because they told me to ignore them. I admit, the stress is not all them, a lot of it is how I am reacting. I need to stay in this job for a while yet, so I decided to take this Wolf Moon and do something about it.

I set my altar with my candles from the other spell burning away, and meditated on the new task. I took three lengths of black embroidery floss and began braiding them together. I enjoy performing knot magick, perhaps that's the sailor in me. Embroidery floss is a great material because it is made of a natural fiber, cotton, and comes in a variety of colors for any purpose you can imagine. I chose black because I need to bind the negativity involved in the situation, theirs and mine. Braiding is what makes the three pieces of floss into a cord for a bit of added thickness, and it also serves a bit of its own binding.

When my cord had been braided, I tied two knots in it. One for the outside influences of negativity, and one for my own. Before the tying of each knot, I thought about the situation; the negativity coming from my bosses, the unfairness I felt at being yelled at though I did what they asked. I called it all forward, and I got angry about it, and I tied it up in my knot, to bind and hold it there where it won't be released to wreak havoc on my life. I did the same thing for the other knot, only this time, it was more like looking at their point of view; how I reacted that upset them, what I could have done better but didn't because I was so angry at them I didn't see what I was doing. Then I tied my knot and bound that part up too.

The last step was to tie this knotted cord to my security badge. This is something that must be with me at all times while I'm at the office, and it literally ties what I am trying to contain to my work environment.

You may look at what I've done and think it means I did magick on my bosses. That is not so. What I have done was to take the feelings that their actions bring out in me and bind them. It will help me to see that they're not doing these things because they want to cause trouble for me, and it will remind me that I am a good worker and can make better choices. There have already been a few instances this morning where I had to think of my cord hanging from my badge and remember that only I control how I act and react.


One would think that if there was a group called the Fluffy Pink Bunny Group, they would deal with all aspects of fluffy pink bunnies. There's also an Oddly-Colored Mammal Group, that has to deal with purple wolves, yellow seals, and green platypus, all of which do not have a specialized group of their own like the fluffy pink bunnies do. But occasionally, the green platypus have to be ignored while someone from the Oddly-Colored Mammal group deals with a fluffy pink bunny, even though they haven't been trained to deal with a fluffy pink bunny because all of that training went to the Fluffy Pink Bunny Group.

The thing that gets me is that, even though fluffy pink bunnies fall under the umbrella of the Oddly-Colored Mammal Group, they're the only mammal that has special consideration. It seems to me that all aspects of fluffy pink bunnies should then be handled by their specialized group, so that the Oddly-Colored Mammal Group can give proper attention to the purple wolves and green platypus and things. Isn't that the point of a specialized group?

Yes, I've been dealing with a lot of fluffy pink bunnies, and I've never been trained on how to handle them, being not a member of the Fluffy Pink Bunny Group. I suppose the Fluffy Pink Bunny Group was only trained to deal with problems with their feet, and they pass off problems with their body, tail, nose, or ears to the Oddly-Colored Mammal Group. The poor green platypus, my area of speciality, need attention too, but they have to wait while I deal with fluffy pink bunny ears, though I've never been trained on how to do that. And the real kicker is that green platypus don't have ears.

If you want to know, dear blog readers, this lovely little analogy came to me on the drive home from yet another annoyingly stressful day yesterday. A nice evening and a decent nights sleep made me realize something.

It's not that the Fluffy Pink Bunny Group is too lazy to deal with all aspects of fluffy pink bunnies (actually, it is, but that's beside the point, really). It's that they get passed off to me because the bosses know I'll take good care of them. I'll check our their eyes and nose and tail too while I'm taking care of their ears, though I still haven't a clue how to take care of their feet. And they also know I'll still give my green platypus as much care as I possibly can even though I'm dealing with the fluffy pink bunnies too.

See, I'm a problem-solver. I used to pride myself on being a problem-solver, but recently, it's been more of an annoyance. I need to find that again, that ability that I had to fix things and feel good about it because I did a better job than the people who broke the thing. And while I gently caution myself with one of my father's favorite, un-sourced, quotes: "Young Hero, be warned. If you save the world often enough, it comes to expect it," I need to remember that problem-solver and go-to girl are really not bad titles to hold.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


Something tells me I should slow down. I dismiss it, there's never anyone on this road. A few minutes later, I get my first ever speeding ticket.

Something tells me I should leave another bowl of water for the cats. I dismiss it, they're usually just fine through the night. In the morning, poor Callie makes the most pitiful sound ever because she has no water.

Something tells me I should check and make sure the time on my alarm clock is right. I dismiss it, I hadn't used it all weekend and it should still be the same time it was on Friday. I forgot that I got up early on Friday to work some overtime, so my alarm was going off an hour before it needed to.

I need to learn to listen to my instincts. From this small sampling, we can see they're usually right on.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Don't Forget the Long, Impractical Thing You're Supposed to Say

My mother works for a health care provider, and every year they open their facilities to provide free health screenings to people who don't have health insurance. Isn't that nice? They need volunteers to help out so, on this day when so many people forget that they're supposed to be doing something good in their community, my mother and I decided to give them a few hours of our time.

It was hectic when we showed up, and I felt like I was more in the way than anything for the first hour. Then the first shift left and I had something to do finally. We were all supposed to say this crazy long greeting to everyone who approached us, but no one did. I guess we all silently agreed at how impractical it was.

There was food for us, and a lunch box that patients could take with them on the way out. It was actually very nice. And we all should know how incredibly expensive health care is. What a wonderful thing to be doing for those people who can't afford it. Our county executive came by with lots of people with cameras. And I was very popular. People wanted to know how many community service credits I was getting, and what school I went too, and what I hoped to do when I was out.

After our day, we came home and took a really long nap, saw an episode of Monk, ate dinner, and watched Jurassic Park 3. It's just about time for bed after a day well-spent.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

What's Wrong With Us?

So aptly asked by my aunt this evening as we were discussing the extinction of animals, and how humans throughout history cause that everywhere we go. That's the priceless question, I think.

I got to more closely describe the little house that will be mine to my aunt and uncle on their short visit, and they're now excited about it too. I'll hear from the sales lady too.

The office party was, well, an office party (that included alcohol). I didn't play as much blackjack as I have in the past because luck just wasn't with me for the night. I kept getting fifteen, and that's one of the hardest numbers to deal with in blackjack. My date, who I'm going to call Han, said we should start celebrating the fifteens instead of the twenty-ones, and so we did. In case you missed it, Turtle couldn't come with me this year, so Han stepped in.

I also didn't dance as much this year as I have in the past. Really, the choice of music wasn't that great, and the DJ played it incredibly loud, even after being asked to turn it down. Party or not, we shouldn't have to shout to each other to be heard during dinner, when he picked the most inopportune moment to play the Electric Slide. We're all too busy eating, and only dancing fools like me stop eating to dance in the line!

We did have a hotel room, and Han and I chatted for a good hour and a half or so instead of actually sleeping. The thing is, I was utterly exhausted from my stressful week, and didn't get much of a nap before party time. While I had wonderful company, my office has thrown better parties.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Office Party Tonight

I'll tell you all about it tomorrow.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Another Early Day

I'm glad I don't do this every day! But, we did pass two deer, standing in the snow on the side of the road, on the way in this morning. I like seeing deer, it makes me feel like there is still some sweet innocence in the world. I'm sorry that they have such a hard life, filled with so many enemies, hunters, cars.

We got quite a lot of snow yesterday, before it changed to sleet, then to rain. It was pretty, falling in great chunks and clinging to the trees. And even though it took two hours to get home, it wasn't so bad.

I think snow really does leave everything feeling fresh and clean and new.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

First One Here

Yes, you'll notice this is quite an early morning for me. I'm working my overtime before the regular day in anticipation of some yucky weather later on. Ice is easier to navigate when you have daylight!

It should be noted that I'm not working this overtime because of the favor I'm doing for Boss² but for what it will do to my paycheck.

It is quite strange to arrive at work with all the lights on and not a soul here. I guess that makes dad and I the craziest people who work here! And I plan to do it again tomorrow. I'm still pissed off at everyone, so I'll be working a little slow today.

On the way in, we passed a deer. She looked up as we drove by. She was eating in a field where trees used to be. And she lived there, and frolicked, and was happy. Now, it is a field, and at the other side, huge monstrosities of houses that only people with more dollars than sense can afford. Poor deer. I hope she finds another forest where she can live, and frolic, and be happy. That's the way things should be.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Aye, Aye

It means "I understand and will comply."

I'd rather not, but I will.

Everything blew up today. The two days of not doing regular work because of the special project got people all upset, and had Adolf and Boss² yelling at me even though they both know why those other things were not getting done.

It's ok. I will comply.

Last week, I applied for a job. One that is full time and will work the skills I learned in college. I really hope to hear from them soon.

I was so fed up with my managers today that I nearly walked out. And I wouldn't have been sorry to do it, only sorry about how far back it would put me in my goal.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Printing Errors and Overtime

Never a dull moment!

Yesterday necessitated two and a half hours of sitting at my desk with my eyes stuck open on a spreadsheet and my hand constantly dialing the phone. This morning, with my regular work climbing and left untouched, I was chained by my head to my desk for four hours.

Really! The headset was on my head, connected to the phone, connected to the computer, firmly anchored beneath my desk. I was chained by my head from 0800 to 1205.

Something somewhere screwed up and we ended up with thousands of checks sitting at the office unable to make it to their destinations. Mortgage checks and utility checks and the ever important insurance checks. Every available body was on this issue, including me and my stellar phone skills.

After lunch, I didn't even scrape the surface of my severely backed up work. And let's not even talk about the voicemails that haven't been picked up since Friday, breeding because we've been so busy making calls to get overnight addresses that would couldn't possibly be answering any. I wonder when they expect me to take care of that....

And on the other side of this is overtime. Lovely, wonderful, as-much-as-I-want (for now) overtime.

My eyes are really bloodshot.

Monday, January 14, 2008

What Was Wrong with Today

It was yesterday. Yesterday was wrong with today. I went through today being mad and everyone, even the people who weren't the slightest bit annoying. It's really because I was mad at me.

I was mad at me because when the time came, I had nothing to say to my brother. No words of encouragement, or sympathy, or grief. And when I was able to say something, it was the lamest thing I've ever said.

Maybe I'm being a little hard on me; it was rather sudden. It was over before we even knew it started. Maybe I was numb there when I had the tiny little cell phone in my hand with nothing to say.

So, I deflected that then, and I didn't let myself feel it today either. In turn, the slightest little thing any of my coworkers did made me very angry.

I know that I care. It's time to feel. It's time to weep.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Beyond Words

For my brother and sister in law: I am so extremely sorry. I know there aren't any words that can really help here.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Not Sure if Stranger Things Have Happened

I got to spend a little time with Monty today. His third child and first daughter was born earlier this week and his wife insisted he was due a little "Monty time" because of the everything he's been doing. Sounds great, right?

As it turned out, our planned outing of food and cheap horror flick in his neck of the woods had a few snags. The first was that I haven't been sleeping very well lately and last night was no exception. Due to this, I had a headache. Because of this, it seemed that cavorting around an area that I don't really know in the dark of night would not have been a good idea. Nice that my friend agreed with me. We decided on a compromise; we'd meet at the theater where I used to work, a good thirty minute drive for both of us. Sounded great. Except that the time that Monty was 'allowed' to be out was reduced to either food or a flick, there suddenly wasn't time for both.

Based on the times the flick was showing and the fact that I really needed food, we chose to go with just a decently nice dinner. And it was, Monty even got to reconnect with someone who used to work for him.

During our various conversations which didn't involve talk about the baby (I'm not really a baby person, it only reminds me that I won't have any), we got to talking about my house.

Some time ago, I think I mentioned how I don't enjoy being out with Monty like I used to. We always manage to start talking about how really awful his life is. Really, it's me listening to him complain about mowing his very green grass, around the kids in the yard and the wife in the kitchen making mimosas. Yes, yes, I know his life really isn't that picturesque, but it still bugs me to hear him complain about his kids, his spouse, his mortgage. We did get a little of that in today, and when he asked me if his grass was really greener, I had a reply to which he had none, "I'd like to have a problem like that."

Anyway, we only spoke briefly about that, and it was in reference to why our evening was cut short. And before any of you, fair readers, want to yell at me for taking a man out of his house when his wife just had a baby; she gave me permission. I made him put her on the phone so I could hear it from her that it was ok.

So, the story that I'm trying to tell is a part of our conversation. I told him about the house. And I told him about my reality of it. No, I'm not imagining watching deer frolic in the green while I sit on my porch drinking tea. Though, that may happen and it'd be cool. My reality is that I'm expecting I'll spend many a night on a couch in my house, clutching my TV cow and crying that I'm still oh, so lonely. I'm expecting to spend many a good Saturday vacuuming. And, I'm expecting to swim through mud on rainy days to get to my car. I'm also expecting to fill my house with the smell of cheesecake baking in my kitchen. I'm expecting to paint my windows like stained glass. I'm expecting to get more practice time with my instruments and ventriloquism, because there's no one else in the house to bother. Sure, I'll have to clean up some dirt from the carpet, but it will be mine to clean.

Monty said he thinks I'm ready for it. He thinks I've done my research and made my plan, and a good plan that will work for me. He thinks I don't have an unrealistic view of what I'm facing. Coming from someone who has three out of the four things I wanted in life, that means quite a lot.

We didn't go our ways yesterday with me feeling how I always seem to feel when we get together. That's nice. I'm not sure if stranger things have happened, but I'm sure glad I had the support of my friend today.

Friday, January 11, 2008


You, gentle blog readers, will notice that I hold back few things here. I say what I'm feeling and that's the point. Sometimes I say it here because I can't otherwise say what I'm thinking to whomever I wish to speak. Sometimes what I write is just something that has to go somewhere. Whatever it is, I rarely suppress my thoughts here.

Benjamin Disraeli said, "Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for truth." But I am also told to always speak the truth, except when the truth would cause harm.

I had a long entry written out for today. I'm feeling a little down (not anywhere near where I was on Monday), and took my morning to explore that. I found some things and wrote them, and then I realized that a lot of my readers (relatively speaking) would take offence to it, or take it personally, or it would simply cause undo suffering. Amazing that one little post can do all that, isn't it?

But I know it would.

So, I did the only thing I could do. I pressed delete. It hasn't changed how I feel, of course, but there's no need to trouble you with it.

I think what's been keeping me from sleeping well the past couple nights is the amazing amount of coffee I've had the past couple days. I told myself that I wouldn't do that again today. I've only had one cup of coffee. Oh, I want more coffee! MOOOREEEE COFFFFEEEEEEEEE!!


ACK! And while trying to post this, Boss² came up suddenly and asked me to do some overtime next week. I'll take it! More money = bigger down payment, right?

Thursday, January 10, 2008



Didn't sleep last night.

Drank too much coffee today.


Sleep good.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


But that's quite alright.

Welcome to my 700th post!

I bought a nice weekly planner for this year, and made a nice book cover for it an everything. These things go thoroughly unused by me, so I decided I was going to use this one. My aunt and uncle also gave me one. Now I have two!

For the one that I bought, I've been making notes in it much like a journal. You know, a bit about the weather and some general feelings or things I did for the day. Yesterday's entry was just that, "uneventful."

The planner I was given is being used kind of as a notebook. I've got a list of all the Phantom comic books I have (and which ones I need) and I've decided to see how long it will take me to see a license plate from every state, so the growing list is there too. Before you laugh, what else do you expect me to do along one hundred miles of commute?

I almost did something different to my blog that nobody reads again, but I don't think that's quite where I want to put what I'm thinking. I'm thinking I'll need a new blog just for it. Right, how many blogs do I need? Maybe that's another use for the notepad/planner, now that I think about it.

So, yesterday was uneventful, but today was not. I started writing this around 0800 or so. At 0830, I got called into an impromptu meeting with Adolf and Boss². I had no reason to dread this meeting, so I figured they were either going to tell me I was too far behind in some things and needed to shape up, or give me another project. It was really neither, but kind of the latter. According to Adolf, I've been doing great these past five months and they've decided I needed to move up.

My department has several groups within it, and there are three levels plus senior within each group. We eliminated one group about a year ago, and I was the only person to ever make level three in that group. But, when I was moved to the new group, it wasn't equivalent to a three there, it was equivalent to a level two. I've been level two for quite some time. This little meeting changed that. Ding! You are now level three! (There's a little EverQuest reference in there.)

What being level three means is that, not only am I expected to continue to put out the quality and quantity of work that I have been doing, I'm also going to have to take on more things, and not let said quality/quantity waver. I'm also expected to maintain my good attitude, a feature Boss² has always held of great importance, and continue to come in on time. I've been pretty good about both these points lately. Oddly enough, I even chided the two people I eat lunch with yesterday for saying that they feel they're above certain work assigned to them, even though they're both seniors and we're all expected to do certain things as assigned. But, I'm just a peon, what do I know?

Oh, and since I'm now a higher level peon, that also means I'll get a nice 75¢ per hour increase in my salary. That's actually a pretty decent raise.

Hopefully, they won't dump a whole lot of extra work on me right away. I actually am behind on a few things right now. But, that's alright. I'll manage.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Allow Me a Long Moment

I think it's pretty safe to say that everyone has ups and downs. Downs really suck.

A little less than a month ago, my mother and I drove by a modular community that I had known about. We found they had several houses for sale, and were able to talk to a lady in the office for some more information. She gave me the card of the person in charge of sales, who wouldn't be back in until Monday. I caller her on the 17th, got some more information and set up a time to look at the house I had fallen in love with. I called her back the next day having to cancel that time because I didn't have enough saved up for a down payment. It was extremely disappointing.

The day before Christmas Eve, my mother told me that we could find some money to supplement my down payment (by cashing in some savings bonds and selling some stocks) and that they would loan me the rest. Happy day! I called the sales lady again and had to leave a message. She got back with me, and we re-scheduled the showing of the house.

My mother came with me to help with the questions I needed to ask. As it turned out, I can't afford that house I wanted. With the required down payment plus the length of the loans they provide plus the ground rent, I just didn't make enough money. However, she did have another house. It was about the same size (as in square feet) as the first one, but two bedrooms instead of three, and it wasn't on a corner lot, but it was on a road where they were not going to build across from it. This house was an eviction and was undergoing a lot of renovations, but we were able to look at it.

There was no carpet, that was going to be replaced. The counter tops were a hideous lavender. While I like lavender, it doesn't belong next to oak cabinets in a kitchen, and those were getting replaced, I even got to see the new counter tops she had picked out. There was a broken window that was going to be fixed. The whole house had new paint on the walls, and the vinyl tile was going to be replaced too. The porch was sporting completely new wood, and there was a nice little stand of trees across the way.

These houses have a lot of windows; as much as my parents' two story, 4 bedroom place. It was very bright and open. The front door opens into the living and dining room. The kitchen, with a ton of counter space and a breakfast area (with a sliding glass door onto the front porch), was off to the right. Down the main hall is a utility hallway and side door, full bath (with tub), the master bedroom with its own full bath (with tub) and the second bedroom. The rooms were quite a good size.

It's true that these houses go down in value; they're treated more like a car than realty. But that also means this used house costs a good $20,000 less than the new one I was first looking at. It was hard not to love this house too. The sales lady thought they could bring the price down for me a little and might be able to extend the term of the loan to put it more in my range. She said she'd call me in a few weeks when the repairs are done so we can get to seriously crunching numbers. For a while, everything looked peachy.

Sunday morning, my mother said she spoke to my aunt, who's mother in law used to live in a mobile and was able to list all the disadvantages of it. It was heartbreaking to hear my mother, who had previously been supportive of me, saying everything she could to discourage me. I spent the hour she was at church crying in my room. Then went to brunch and pretended nothing was wrong.

It is not that I did not listen to my mother and hear her suggestions; she's convinced that houses in my price range have to be out there somewhere. She wasn't listening when I told her I've looked. I've searched, and I've googled, and nothing that even comes close to what I can afford is available in this area. Not even apartments, that would cost me all of what I take home every month except a couple hundred bucks. That's not an acceptable ratio. Still, having heard my mother and her concerns, I searched some more yesterday morning when I should have been working. I searched in towns further out from the city and closer in. I found two apartment places I could actually afford; one was cockroach and bed-bug infested, and one was in an area heavy with crime (according to tenant feedback). Either of those situations are currently unnecessary compromises, and therefore not viable. I was desolate again. Not only did my mother no longer believe I was making a good decision for me, she also didn't believe what I had just proven; there really is nothing else.

Then I talked to my coworker and friend, Pat, who has one of these homes. He did not deny about the potential resale value of his house, but he's also like me: has been searching for a place to call his own for years. He makes more money than I do, and even he couldn't find anything else. He also reminded me that what works for one person may not work for the next. And that it's hard for someone with a two-income household to understand what one income has to deal with, even though she knows very well how much I make. Pat said, "go for it, you have to do what's right for you." Another of my coworkers said she was dreaming about visiting me in my house. The two ladies who often join me for lunch thought that some of my mother's objections were stemming from the fact that it means her youngest child was leaving (albeit, not far). This was some of my suspicion as well. She was terribly worried when I made my first trip to Idaho in 2006, and she told everyone but me about it. It started to feel like this was much the same thing.

Last night, I finished reading a book that has been spiritually moving for me. The end of it refreshed my outlook, and the teachings therein sparked a little bit of hope. I spoke with my mother about her concerns, and about what I had learned from Pat about the kind of place I was looking at. I told her about the crap-apartments I was able to find, and how the cheapest home listings were twice what I could cover. I reminded her that I'm not looking for a house that I can sell in a few years and make money, I'm looking for a place to live. She remembered that a friend of hers lives in a mobile community in Annapolis, and decided to send her an e-mail for her opinion and tips on questions that we'd need to ask. She wants me to look at one other apartment complex, which I will do today. And then we spoke some about the furniture that my grandmother and her friend are willing to give me, and what DVDs I'd have to not take with me.

I don't know if this means she's on the boat with me again. I do know that she doesn't want to see me make a bad choice, and that was most of her motivation. But maybe she can see the good side of the thing too. What I have learned is that any idea is hard to carry out without the support of the people who matter.

Down days will come again. They always do, but we can let them be and move past them. And I will know by the end of the month if I can actually buy that house.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Leads to the Next

I'm so disgusted with everything that I have nothing to talk about.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Bright and Sunny Thoughts for the Morning

People say I'm lucky to be alone. I can make my own plans and I don't have to answer to anyone. They're wrong. It means I don't have any freedom. I don't have the income to live on my own and so must live with my parents. It's a lot like being married to my parents. I'm rarely without them, and while I love them dearly, I'm going nowhere in this house. Most days, I'd rather be dead than face the fact that I'm useless in taking care of myself. And now I must listen to my parents telling me the modulars I've been looking at are not good investments. I know this; they tend to go down in value, not up. But I don't want to buy a house that I'm going to be able to sell some day and make money. I want to buy a house where I can live.

Mortgage calculators say I can afford about $100,000. That's lovely. If only builders would start building $100,000 homes instead of the $7-800,000 monstrosities we have here. My parents house, which they bought for $52,000, was appraised at $300,000 and change. Look at that, it's...still too much. I could buy a piece of crap place in Richmond, they've got houses that are near falling down for about $52,000, but where would I work?

I have no talent, no special skills that anyone would be willing to pay for. I will always be working for The Man. They say this area is great for young, single professionals. I'd really like to know where they live and where they work, because I just can't find anything. Sure, I could rent that studio in Dale City for about $700, and add a good twenty miles to my already life-draining commute while simultaneously eliminating my car pool.

I know there are people who have it a lot worse off than me. I'd like to know where they live and work too, actually. Where do those people go who have no one but themselves to depend on?

Being the only person in my family to finish college isn't worth shit. I've failed miserably at living.

Still a New Year

Even if we celebrate one revolution of the wheel at Samhain, we can still celebrate the Gregorian New Year (I celebrate Chinese New Year too). This holiday tends to be filled with far less magickal things.

There is something I do every New Year. Not unlike my annual, Sabbat-based tarot reading at Samhain, I also perform a reading for the year at this time. This reading involves thirteen cards, one for every month and one for the year in general. I used the Hansen-Roberts deck, the deck I use most often.

January's card indicates there is a plan in action. It is slow going and subtle, but present nonetheless. February will be a conflict. There are trials that will need to be overcome. In March, I will start to see the fruits of my labor. My hard work will pay off. April will see a very sudden change, but that leads to May, a time of new prosperity and harmony. June relates to a plan set in motion. Unlike January's subtlety, this one is out in the open. In July, the results of all my efforts will be realized. August will be a period of transition. September will see some setbacks, and it would be really wise to not spend a lot of money. I need to be on the look out for an unfavorable individual in October. I'll take a big chance in November, and December will see something of a stalemate. Overall, for the year, I'm looking at a gradual change. What I want to accomplish is met with obstacles that will need to be overcome.

One might look at this reading and think that means 2008 will be a tough year for me. I'm not going to deny that, but the cards don't show what will absolutely be. They show only one possibility, in a world of possibilities. Not the least of which is that the knowledge of this potential path could change the current course altogether. I do have plans for 2008, and I know they won't be simple. I also know they're going to happen, whether it's a long hard road or not.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Not Much Happening Today

This morning saw a very quick shopping trip. Mom and I have discovered that shopping goes quicker when we don't stop at Target. Funny thing.... I only needed some more crickets: less than two bucks. Yup, it was a big spending day.

After we got home, I smeared henna paste on my head. While that set, I cleaned out the anole terrarium and the cricket tank, played some video games, and took a nap. Then I rinsed the gunk out, watched a movie with mom, and here I am!

I did take my cartilage piercings out for the first time since I had them done to clean off the henna. Now, they're both really sore. Too much handling, I guess. I should have taken them out before I gumped my hair, I know. I'll remember for next time!

And that's all, folks!

Friday, January 04, 2008

My Car Takes All the Abuse

My mother has gotten into the habit of backing her big CR-V into the driveway. This is fine, except that my little Saturn also has to occupy the driveway. We usually marvel at how close she can back up without actually hitting my car. I'm certain it's been lightly tagged a few times.

Yesterday, I drove Hedwig up the driveway and my mother backed in like she normally does behind me. I opened my trunk to get my work bags out, and opened my door. Halfway out of the car, there was a jolt and a strange crunching sound. Mom backed her spare tire right thoroughly into my licence plate. Thanks, mom.

I'm ok, and the trunk still closed, but it's no longer flush with the sides of the car when closed. I haven't tried to open it yet. People need to stop hitting my car! And I need to listen to my instincts more. As I was driving up, I thought "what if mom hits my trunk while it's open?" Then I thought, "nah, she's been good about not hitting me when she does that. And she'll be extra careful since I'm still in the car." Shows what I know.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

I Don't Want to Hear It, In As Many Words

WAM is back after being off for a week. During that time, I had to do WAM's work, and the work of the other person in the group who was out of the office unexpectedly. It has not been four pleasant days of work, to say the least.

This morning, Adolf (probably on WAM's status report) had to re-designate everyone's tasks because WAM's work is falling behind to an unacceptable level. This happens sometimes, and I understand that, I've been on the receiving end of my co-workers help before. What pissed me off about it, other than the fact that I'm really not the best person for the job they've given me (I'm just the only person), is when WAM came up to me this morning.

WAM approached about an hour ago and knelt like she was going to be in my cube for a while. She started by saying she was having a bad morning back, and mentioned that she didn't have the best of time off either but wasn't going to talk about that. I countered with my usual "then why do you bring it up if you're not going to talk about it?" WAM tried to start again about her morning, and I turned around (I usually continue working when people I don't care to talk to come up to me) and told her I didn't want to hear it. I elaborated that I had to cover for her and for the other person in our group who was not there and that translated into a rather awful time at work over the holidays when everyone else has days off. I repeated I didn't give a damn about how pissed off she was about her morning; she's been off for a week and will get no sympathy from the person who hasn't been off. WAM mumbled something about how her time off wasn't great as she huffed away.

Strangely enough, I don't think this is going to result in one of WAM's trademark complaints to Adolf. The truth is, she really has no leg to stand on as far as complaining to me (or about me not wanting to hear it). For one, it's never wise to complain about how far behind your work is to the person who had to do your work in your absence. For two, she was absent and I was not; if she didn't have a good time off, it's her own fault. I think I'd gladly exchange her awful holiday away for my awful days here. My dad and I used to say "a bad day sailing is better than a good day at work." The same can be said of vacation time.

So, I'm hammering away at this frightfully boring and tedious and annoying cipher of work that is so important to the function of the business that management saw it fit to put the least apt person to the task. And, WAM seems to have a cold. She's hacking up a lung right now.

Hmmm... it's almost been a year. I'll be able to apply to the CIA again soon.... Not that I'm that interested in working there now.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008


Right now, that's sleep.

Fox and Fae came over a little later than expected Monday, but still with plenty of time to have our end of the year movie fest. We had a ton of food, and we picked away at it all through the night. Through Harry Potter 5, and Shrek 3, and Spiderman 3.

We paused briefly just after the ball dropped in New York. So what if we were a little late?! If Fae hadn't been on the phone with her dad, we would have been in the middle of Shrek 3 and probably not even noticed that the end of 2007 had passed right on by.

Around 0430 (you know, my normal wake-up time), we decided we couldn't stay awake for the last movie and so went to bed. Miss Luna was terribly confused as to why we were all awake and there were strangers in the house, and she didn't want us all to be sleeping in the morning. Eventually she settled down in the dark corners of my closet.

After about six hours of sleep (after twenty-four hours of awakeness for me), we got up, made breakfast, and watched the last movie: Pirates of the Caribbean 3.

The weather was nice, so mom and I took a walk after our friends headed for home. Then it was a little bit of cooking before we set out to my grandmother's for dinner that included the traditional black eyed peas and leafy greens (it's supposed to be for good luck in the year or something).

I really wanted a nap before we left, but that didn't work. And I really wanted to not eat a lot of food, and I sort of did that. At least there won't be any feasting like this again until about Easter. Whew!

I stayed up a little late last night working on something for my other blog that no one reads, which I decided not to do anyway. But that means I am totally tired today!

And the day isn't moving very fast at all, just like any sudo-Monday.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008