Thursday, December 31, 2009

The last decade and what this year has in store...

One of my friends posted about things she did in the last decade and I love that idea so here goes. In the last decade, I:

- Graduated high school
- Went to college
- Said goodbye to my high school job and entered the world of careers
- Worked at 3 different companies doing graphic design type stuff
- Worked at one company doing administrative stuff
- Volunteered at an aquarium
- Freelanced
- Painted on Friday nights in a restaurant for entertainment
- Sold lots of things I've made
- Dated a shmuck for 5 years
- Met some great people
- Met my awesome husband
- Got married to my husband and have been with him (date time and married time) for almost four years
- Lost a wonderful dog to cancer
- Bought a wonderful dog from Craigslist
- Almost lost my dad to cancer
- Had a child
- Weighed 200 lbs (thanks to pregnancy)
- Lost 45 lbs in 6 months (thanks to having a baby)
- Realized as long as I never weigh 200 lbs again I will be content with my weight
- Realized I can live with stretch marks and I could care less about all of them striping my skin when I wear a bikini
- Realize that significant loss of bladder functionality is worse than stretch marks or weight gain
- Never experienced more pain in my life than when I was pregnant
- Moved out of the house I grew up in and lived in one apartment and one rental home
- Bought a truck and gave it to my dad
- Financed a Jeep that was new and always having recalls and never working right and turned it in
- Still owe money on it (grr) because the price it was sold for was way less than what my loan was
- Lived without a car for a year and a half
- Walked anywhere I needed to go within a 3 mile radius
- Bought a 1976 Oldsmobile for $500 and it's been the most dependable car I've had yet
- Went through two sewing machines
- Baked more pies than I can remember
- Won two state fair apple pie contests
- Visited some really amazing places that aren't the typical dream vacation getaways
- Traveled to a handful of ghost towns
- Dyed my hair shades of red, orange, pink, yellow, blue but not green or purple and I have no idea why I haven't
- Went to a water park for the first time and had a LOT of fun
- Learned to shoot and clean guns
- Bought several guns
- Took a CCW course that changed the way I will forever look at life and think about personal safety as well as safety for those around me
- Got myself into a debt bind when I was fresh out of high school
- Took almost 9 years to get my debts paid down significantly
- Will never want to have unnecessary credit cards or debts again; pay for things in cash or don't get them at all
- Learned of the Mayan Calendar and got all freaked out that the end of the world would be coming until I learned that the end of their calendar is like the end of ours and it'll just be the start of a new cycle.

On that note, let's get some resolutions!
- Cut back on soda to no more than 1 can (12 oz) a day
- Pay off more debts
- Finish book and publish it live
- Maybe try to lose a little more weight or at least tone or get healthier
- Try to go for a walk at least twice a week
- Go to church more often or more regularly
- Get Charlie baptized

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Morningish

Last night it started snowing a little. I woke up to see more of the dreaded white stuff outside. I feel like it's been around forever. I mean, it fell December 6th and has lingered around for a month. Just as it starts to melt, new snow shows up. I can't remember there being this much prolonged snow since we moved to Reno. I'm indifferent, I guess. Sometimes I love it, other times I hate it.

I got my proof for Coyote back yesterday. I spent most of the night going over it and I think I'll have it edited and ready to make changes by the end of the week. Something like that. It looks nice.

I realized yesterday that I've been on a PC for far too long. It's weird getting back into using Mac shortcut keys but it happens. It just weird. I've also realized how much I find Quark annoying. I mean, I never liked it after InDesign came out but I especially don't like it anymore. The strange thing is this town seems to be married to it. I remember RPA used to use it like back in the day when I started working there, but they probably also transitioned to InDesign quickly after because I can't really see any practical use for Quark in the world anymore after Adobe developed a better product. It's not completely obsolete, it functions, but InDesign does so much more. Plus all the shortcut keys for Quark are totally different from InDesigns. Blah. Oh well, right? It'll just take me a day or two to readjust.

Last night I made a meatloaf. It was really good and I'm glad I did that because it's cold! It's still cold. I swear I feel like I can't get warm enough sometimes! On that note, I'm going to get ready for work.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The most annoying toy EVER!!!

My sister has this criteria whenever she looks for toys for Charlie. They need to be really loud and obnoxious and if they are fuzzy, light up, or do anything crazy, even better. So for Christmas, she gets him this car. It's green and looks like a souped up Honda or something and plays that 90's dance song you all ready for this da-da-da duh-duh duh-duh. You know, the one that always plays at like every sporting event known to man? Anyway, he was obsessed with it long before he opened it because the package made music when I went to put it up and we were all like, "Um... what the---???" So last night, we let him open it first. Big mistake. He could care less about anything that followed. Mr. Potatohead sucked. Pet dinosaur sucked. Tool bench was ok. Plex keytar was cool. And you can forget about clothes and books because those made no sounds at all. Last night we had to hide it from him just to get to sleep. This morning, he found it. Jesse was watching tv on the couch and we hear "you all ready for this? da-da-da duh-duh duh-duh" and Jesse just mutters some cursing and asks, "How'd he find that!?" I guess he is drawn to it somehow and can find it anywhere. Who knows. Anyway, it gets on my nerve. I think Jesse absolutely hates it and if it weren't for the fact Charlie loves it so much, would probably bury it deep in the back yard or shoot it.




Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Despite A Bad Economy, 2009 Was A Wonderful Year

2009 was a bad year for the economy. More people were losing jobs and the unemployment rates skyrocketed. I was still unemployed but instead of worrying about how we would make ends meet, I pretty much left that in God's hands and I think he did a great job taking care of our family this year. I got news yesterday that I will be starting a new temp job on Monday.

This totally goes along with my silly theory that I always start jobs around holidays (4th of July, Halloween, Christmas is Friday and the day I start is my Dad's birthday...) I know it's a funny theory, but it's never let me down. I'm truly grateful that this happened, though. Charlie will be 19 months old when he starts daycare. I am happy that we were able to spend the first year and a half of his life together having Mommy and Charlie time. I was able to provide him with all he needed to grow and become healthy including breastfeeding him till he decided he was done with it at almost a year, making him his baby foods from scratch and not dealing with strange additives or preservatives or food allergies, cloth diapering him saving hundreds of dollars in diapers (although he will need to go to disposables when he starts daycare.) Plus we had lots of fantastic play dates, made lots of great friends (both him and me), and we always found something interesting to do in town that ranged from free to cheap like going to fairs, parades, the Lavender Festival, pug meet ups, parks, and so many other things. Anyway, I just feel like He had a plan for our family that included me being able to raise our son and Jesse being able to explore new opportunities.

There is a very great chance he will be deploying to Iraq for a contract job as an armorer for a private company that has a government contract supplying guns to the military. Anyway, while there's that whole issue of danger and the sadness of him being gone, it is a chance for him to do something he loves that will have such a huge positive impact for us financially. He has a few more things to do and after that, to my understanding, he goes into the rotation for deployment.

Aside from financial blessings, we had a lot of strange winnings. In June, Charlie, Lulu and I participated in the NV Humane Society's fun walk fund raiser. We won second place in the pet look-alike contest and Lulu received a goodie bag full of pug dog treats and toys along with a fun ribbon. Then, I won one of the three grand prize packages of a getaway to Lake Tahoe with a hotel stay and show. Jesse and I finally went on Sunday and came home yesterday. It was truly beautiful. Our room had a lovely view of the lake, the strip and the parking garage (where most people would probably scoff, but we could see the Oldsmobile so it was a treat!) The drive out there was gorgeous and on our way home, it started to drizzle and we saw a huge rainbow that peeked out from the clouds overhead and reached down to the farmlands where cows looked confused at the strange colors touching the ground around them. It was so huge and amazing and the children in us both questioned whether there was a pot of gold at the end. I said if there was, the cows had dibs on it! The most amazing thing, though, was driving under it, as it arced over the highway and followed us to Reno. While Tahoe was a splendid time all in all, I still am more moved by the rainbow.

Other prizes of the year included another award winning pie at the NV State Fair. I got second place again for my Upside Down Dutch Apple Pie. I joked with my mom that after two consecutive years of second place pies, I believe I will be retiring from the pie circuit. I like the idea of leaving while I'm on top and not getting greedy. Next year we'll go to the fair, it'll just be for rides and the animals. I love the fair!

For Halloween, Lulu won second place at Petco's Howl-a-ween costume contest with her Grandma costume. Charlie dressed up as the Little Bad Wolf and I was Big Red Riding Hood. They looked so cute together! Lulu was such a proud little pug with her prize. I felt really happy, too, because I made both their costumes. The funny thing was that my mom made my Red Riding Hood cape when I was little and it still fits, it just doesn't go to my knees, now it comes to my butt.

Speaking of Halloween, Charlie did his first ever trick-or-treating. We went out when it was dark with some of his friends. He absolutely loved it. I will never forget his excitement and smile he had as he ran from door to door holding my hand and how his voice bounced going ah-ah-ah-ah-ah from each step he took. He loved it. And I know next year is going to be even more fun for him.

Charlie loves holidays in general. Easter was fun for him. He loved all the candies he got as well as playing with the plastic eggs.

Charlie got a new room for his birthday. Around the time he turned one, we managed to go to LA for his birthday and celebrate with family and friends, and when we returned, we were rapping up moving into the rental house. He no longer had to sleep in the living room in his crib. Part of this new room included a new big man bed.

While there have been issues with the house in the past, everything is coming along nicely now and getting to a better place with landlords and things of the sort. We grew a lovely garden this summer and I look forward to doing it again next summer.

We have been fortunate enough to have visited friends and family as well as have them visit us. We've been able to do lots of great things and all without breaking the bank. So, in a strange way, 2009 was actually a wonderful year for us.

In conclusion, I say if you can afford to give to a charity, do so. If you can spare time to volunteer, do so. If you can offer advice or lend a hand, do so. There is no right or wrong way when it comes to helping. Everything in life is appreciated. Don't stress things you have no control over. Enjoy the little things. And it's never wrong to count your blessings. On that note, I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas this Friday and a Happy New Year. Happy Hannukah to those who celebrated it. Happy holidays to everyone and may 2010 bring you great joy, happiness, and hopefully the economy gets better so that those who need work get it, and those who have it get raises they might not have got and deserve. Cheers!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Groceries

I tend to over analyze things, but it has come to my attention that the purchasing of butter and margarine is a highly personal task. I've noticed that I tend to like certain types of margarine over others and it's so weird. My friend cleaned out her fridge and gave me some of her foods she wasn't going to need and I wound up with a tub of Country Crock. Whenever Jesse gets margarine, he buys Blue Bonnet. At my parents house, we always used Nucoa. I have found I am a fan of Imperial. It's so weird. What makes people choose the butter or margarine they choose? I understand if you bake it's best use an unsalted butter, but for daily cooking, I really do enjoy Imperial. It seems to have a nice consistency and makes for a good spread. I guess I just had to get that out.

On a totally unrelated note, I am absolutely in love with driving in the snow. I think I no longer fear the unknown as I have driven a few times since it fell, with and without chains, and well, to best sum how I feel, I will quote Ashtray's dad in Don't Be a Menace when he talks to his son about drinking and driving, "Hoooooooo!!! That shit is FUN!!!" I totally feel like I'm driving in a demolition derby or something because I got my Oldsie and I'm sliding around the streets. OK, so I don't slide around but one can dream.

Musings

Complaints against the world.

1. I hate how everyone claims to be some sort of specialist. You got the wine geeks, the art geeks, you go to Best Buy and they have the phone specialists. Really? I mean, they're like TMCC drop outs that work there! You're telling me they know everything there is to know about cell phones? If I were to bring in a 1984 Zak Morris cell phone, they'd be able to configure it to a blue tooth device so I can talk and drive at the same time?

2. Don't get me started on cell phone etiquette. People need to learn to break free of the electronic leash once in a while. It's pretty bad when they need to announce before a movie or before church to turn your phones off. Of course, I totally made the mistake of thinking I turned my phone off once and had it go off during an Ash Wednesday mass when Jesse called. My ring tone was a Judas Priest song. But yea, it's just rude to not be able to distinguish when it's appropriate to use your phone or not. I mean, if you're out with one person, there's no need to text someone else the whole time.

3. So many people have this totally diluted sense of self importance. They totally feel the need to constantly tell the world what they're doing. None of your 700 Facebook care that you just bought a beer or that you're gonna go to the can (guilty as charged!) Really, they don't care. But I guess this all just goes back to people trying to make themselves more important than they really are and somehow they're a specialist of some sort of bs thing. People can never just do something, they have to be part of a movement.

I give up. The world is totally screwed.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Life Goals & Death Wishes (2009 Year-End Edition)

Life Goals (in no particular order)
Items in bold have been done.

1. Travel outside of the US somewhere.
2. Own a home.
3. Be completely debt free.
4. Be a scout leader/assistant leader.
5. Publish a novel/collection of short stories.
6. Show art in a public venue.
7. Own a car that isn't falling apart or needing repairs constantly.
8. Visit Stingray City.
9. Go camping in the woods.
10. Catch a really big fish.
11. Live for a brief period in the Southwest.
12. Visit New Mexico.
13. Visit Arizona.
14. Visit Texas
15. Get Married.
16. Have a child.
17. Bake an award winning pie.
18. Shoot my own turkey for Thanksgiving.
19. Contemplate life from a mountain top.
20. Hug a cactus.
21. Buy a gun.
22. Own an old car.
23. Play in snow.
24. Visit Maine.
25. Visit Salem, MA.
26. Go to a ghost town.


Death Wishes (In no particular order)

All of my belongings are to go to my husband, Jesse. If he is not alive, then they will go to my son, Charles. If they are not alive, then it will be left to be distributed evenly amongst family and let them deal with it. This goes for any property I may own and finances. I wish to be cremated and kept in an urn with my husband and son. If my husband or son is dead and buried, I wish to be buried by them. I do not want an open casket funeral. I would like a Catholic mass funeral with cremation or burial depending on situations.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Drafts

Jesse has this pet peeve of getting annoyed that I have so many tabs open at a time. Sorry, that's why they invented tabs, Jesse, so you can look at several things at a time. Anyway, I was going through blogovizing and working on some drafts of things and I told Jesse, "If you're annoyed at how I have ten million tabs open at once, you'd hate seeing what my blog looks like!"

But that's totally a good thing, though. For me, I keep drafts open as projects I'm working on that I don't want published quiet yet. On that note, I have a bunch of unfinished projects. Technically I have three rough drafts although I'm probably going to scrap two of them. But I have three more great ideas, one kinda was born as part of the draft I'm keeping, the other was inspired by the age old question "what do you do if you find a case of money" and the last is based off a personal fear/concern I have.

All this will center around Reno.

The end.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Short Stories

I enjoy writing but I'm by no means a writer. Fortunately, thanks to places like www.lulu.com, people who enjoy little things can take those things to make a bigger thing. Basically the site is a self-publishing site. I've always taken an interest in writing short stories. It's something I've done for as long as I could remember and I feel like maybe it's a good idea to do something with them. So what exactly do I write about? Well, a lot of random stuff. However I notice I tend to draw fascination with characters who are a little quirky. Butchers. Hit men. Waitresses. Housewives. Vigilantes. I like introverts who struggle with who they are as people and their place in society. I like the moment they find someone who is so different yet so similar to them. I like twisted relationships that don't quite make sense yet make perfect sense. I love child like grown ups and sophisticated children. I like bad guys who have a heart and conscience and good guys who realize they are capable of doing evil and feel ok with it. I love people who go out and get revenge on others simply because they hold a grudge. I like people who realize they are more resourceful when placed in predicaments that force them to be creative. I also like people whose stories connect indirectly. Anyway, I think whatever I may have to offer might be fun for some of you out there. Probably more geared towards chicks, but most people I know who read a lot are chicks, so there you go!

Self Interview To Help Explain The Creative Inspiration

The following interview takes place on a desktop computer as the logical thinking side of my brain tries to pick at my creative side in an attempt of processing and help explaining the creative inspiration.


Logical Side:
So, I understand you've been on a creative stint lately.

Creative Side: Yes. I've been feeling especially creative lately but I just don't know where to start. Being at home for so long has been building ideas in my head and it just feels so overwhelmed with creative juices like it's going to erupt; like some sort of creative volcano. Some of my ideas involve money, others just involve time and lack of interruption. Urgh! Those always suck because I find myself never having much of either. Oh well. 'Tis the nature of the beast I suppose, right? I guess at this point I've been writing a lot. It's the only thing I can do that doesn't cost and comes naturally.

LS: So what are you doing now?

CS: Right now, I just finished a few rough drafts. I had two that kinda tied in together and one that is a total rewrite of the main part of the first one.

LS: Exactly what do you mean by that?

CS: ::drinks tea:: Well, I had this one idea for a story and I wrote it. But then it didn't seem quite right because it seemed like some parts could use a little more explanation and instead of going into detail in those parts and getting super wordy, I just decided to create a whole other story to explain the back story. They kinda stand out on their own as individual short stories, but if you read them together, it starts to form a novel. I didn't want to leave the original story hanging with this questionable ending. I mean, I suppose it could work either way. Maybe I'm making a mistake by making it longer than it should be? But yeah, it was supposed to be a few collections of random short stories that maybe had connecting themes, but then I thought it would be kinda fun to have these little stories that held up on their own as a short story but tied into each other so if you read it chronologically, you would wind up with a novel. I guess I just don't have the patience to sit and consicely write a novel or read one for that matter. I'm notoriously lazy when it comes to reading yet I'm selfish in the sense I totally want others to hear what I have to say. You know, like someone who talks too much and doesn't shut up when you're trying to have a conversation.

LS: So instead you're trying to break the conversation up?

CS: I guess I just need a drink or two in between stories so I can shut up and hear what someone else has to say. ::hahahah awkward laugh:: You know, have you ever been in that situation? You go out with friends and suddenly realize you've been talking about yourself for way too long so like you just stop what you're doing and become so involved in your drink and listening to someone else just to level the playing field? Sometimes you just sit there wondering what the hell they're going on about but you listen anyway hoping to find a way to turn their story back to you even if it has nothing to do with you at all? God, I totally sound shallow right now, don't I?

LS: Completely. So do any of your stories have common themes since you said they're all connected?

CS: Kinda. I'm a fan of introverts. Bad decision making. Self realization and awareness. Awkward moments. Nothing your average person hasn't dealt with at some point in life or another. I love characters who are just awkward with insecurities. I guess we never really grow out of our insecurities.

LS: Probably not. Would you care to elaborate?

CS: Well, ok, I think most people can agree they have had a period in life where they were awkward and didn't feel comfortable in the world. I think for me jr. high was pretty crappy. High school sucked too to an extent but jr. high was the worst. When I was young and going through an awkward phase, though, I used to write letters to people who weren't from this lifetime or that I had even known just for the fact of feeling like I was reaching out to someone. I threw them all away but some of the things were pretty silly normal teenager stuff. You know, stuff like, "gee, how come guys don't like me" or whatever. Just stupid stuff. But the thing is, when you're young and awkward, even when you grow into your confidence, that awkwardness is still there with you and it follows you for life. It kinda makes you who you are and you will always be defined by that. Only difference is when you become an adult, they call it quirkiness and somehow it becomes socially acceptable, especially when alcohol is involved! ::hahaha::

LS: I see. So how are your people awkward?

CS: I wouldn't say they're completely socially inept but they definitely have issues. I'm a big fan of domestic violence. I think it makes for great fiction. For me, it doesn't get any better than a weak woman who consciously chooses to stay in a bad situation and when they have an opportunity to leave, they choose to stay. I think that is rich. Yet so many women are like that. They are defined by their husbands and fear that if they leave, they are nothing. But then there's a moment of self realization in which someone, and I say someone because without being mean, usually these women stay around too long and don't realize they're in a bad situation because they are blinded by a pseudo love or fear, and someone makes them realize that and they say, "Hey I think it's time to go." So for me, the whole insecure abused woman theme is almost always present; a woman who is in some form of abusive relationship, whether it be physical, mental, or just that feeling of isolation and loneliness and lack of love. Which, come to think of it, I have to correct myself in saying I have been in the latter half. I dealt with a relationship for 5 years in which I was pretty much belittled and in a relationship to speak of but emotionally wasn't there and I guess I could say I'd probably rather be beaten because at least that would make more sense. :::hahah nervous laugh:::: drinks tea::: But then there's a lot of other things like grudges and revenge. I love a good grudge and I love great revenge. I think it's amazing how the human species can hold grudges. I mean, you kinda see stuff like that in the animal kingdom but revenge, that's all man. It's awesome. I love having bad guys with a conscience. I think I've grown out of the whole bad for bad sake thing. I think when you put someone in that situation, it just makes them some sorta sociopath. When you have someone kill someone for a justifiable reason, or they show compassion towards their victims, it kinda makes you like that person a little more. I've always been a fan of the bad guy. I've always wanted to know more about him. What makes him tick. Does he care about anyone or is he just some vacant evil being. I think when you make the bad guy human and not some super killer, it makes them more likable and more real. I'm the type of person who watches a movie where the bad guy gets hurt or something and you want to give him a hug and say, "It's alright, let me help you." :::nervous laugh::: I guess I always find them more interesting than some stuffy hero who saves the day. Do you ever notice how they're always a little cocky? I hate cockiness. In heroes anyway. I'm totally ok with a bad guy who is a little cocky when you meet him but then softens up a little later on. I love me some villains!

LS: Let me guess. You like the bad guys? So with this fascination with bad guys, what are their roles?

CS: I like them as my protagonists. I think they make far interesting characters and you can play more with their psychological depths and make them cruel yet likable. I like to give them a sense of morals and ethics, I think he's a little more compassionate towards others and how he treats them. Like, people who get killed, he likes to do it quickly so he doesn't grow attached because there's that possibility that if he gets to like someone, he won't be able to kill them. I like this guy, though. He's likable and compassionate but without being a total wuss. And I think he even provides a little bit of black comedy at times.

LS: So who is the real villain if your bad guy is your protagonist?

CS: Who do you think? I believe all signs point to the abusive husband. He's really a key point in everything. Without him, there's really no plot. The guy is a jerk. Everything kinda revolves around him in his world and he totally will step on anyone to save his ass, including his wife. He's just a scumbag and you don't feel bad for him at all. At least I hope you don't.

LS: There really are only three main characters. What about the supporting characters?

CS: It's funny because the only other characters I can think of off hand right now is just the whore. Her role kinda re-instates the whole issues of betrayal towards the wife and how the wife is kinda a doormat sometimes and people can walk all over her. I mean, you have a woman who is not only sleeping with her husband, but also getting paid to do it and it's like dually insulting to the wife, yet the wife feels sorry for her because she's a single mom going to school. But then, she's kinda a little more than just that because she's also a reinforcing wake up call that the husband has a problem and she has no emotional attachment to him, he's just paying her bills. But yeah, that just goes back to the whole insulting thing, though.

LS: So is this a town thing?

CS: Kinda. I wasn't too sure about a location at first, but now I'm totally feeling Reno. But I like small towns. I grew up in a big town. Everyone was just a nameless face in a crowd. When I moved to Reno, I kinda got this small town vibe from here. I think most people out here feel this town is kinda big. Not as big as the valley was but it's big enough. But yeah, if there's two things I've learned I love in my life of limited traveling it's small towns and deserts. Give me a small desert town and I'm a happy camper. :::hahah::: Really though, I don't think I could ever live in a small town unless I was going to snap and go on some sort of over the top dramatic rampage. Although I sometimes joke that I want to die in old town Albuquerque. That's a beautifully depressing place. It feels kinda like you're in a dream state somewhere between life and death. It's remarkably bleak. I think it actually makes a nice backdrop for some stories. I think I might use it one day for a Paddington Ramirez story of some sort.

LS: Oh no, not Paddington Ramirez.

CS: Oh, yes. :::a shared hahahaha with LS::: I loved blogging as him but I think it kinda got old after a while, but I think if I went a little more in depth with things it could be kinda fun. Or just do it a diary style. The Diary of Paddington Ramirez. Ha! But really, I think that's about all for now. I'd like to do a collection of stories in the desert. Not sure where yet. I'm thinking Arizona or New Mexico. Or even Reno. It's still technically a desert and it is a lovely backdrop.

LS: Well, if that's it, thank you for your time and your insight. Good luck with things.

CS: Not a problem. Thanks!