Friday, July 31, 2009

Geek gifts

I think geeks are some of the easiest people to buy gifts for. If you know what games or movies they love, there are endless choices for gadgets, figurines, books, etc. to buy them.

For example, on only our SECOND date, my geeky sweetie surprised me with a plastic Time-Turner from Harry Potter.I pretty much fell for him then and there, I was so impressed. Then, for our first Christmas together, he bought me a lightsaber. A freaking LIGHTSABER. I squealed like a 12-year-old and played with it all day. Granted, my fiance is particularly lucky because like most geek girls, I prefer gifts that are normally considered "guy" things. This past year, he filled my stocking with Mana Potions. Win.

The same goes for him. I've bought him a World of Warcraft orc figurine, World of Warcraft mousepad, and countless video games. We both own a crapload of geeky t-shirts. He got me tickets to a Video Games Live concert for my last birthday (by my request). We never seem to run out of game-related things to buy each other.

I had a friend who once cross-stitched a picture of her boyfriend's WoW character. I've seen some amazing geeky birthday cakes. I earn frequent buyer points on both ThinkGeek and Jinx buying stuff for myself and Simon.

What geeky gifts have you given or received? What are your favorites?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

SYTYCD: my TV obsession

I don't watch a lot of TV. Some occasional "Family Guy," episodes of "Buffy" and "Angel" on DVD, that's about it. I'm not even sure how I wound up getting into this show, but it is the one thing on TV I will NOT miss. That show...is "So You Think You Can Dance."

Maybe it's because I was a theater and dance major in college and miss dancing since I gained weight. Maybe it's because this is the one non-catty, non-drama reality show on TV. But I got hooked by the first episode of season 4. I watched (live or on Tivo) every episode religiously, and even went to the live tour in October. When season 5 started this year, I was so excited I could hardly stand it.

I chose my favorite pretty early: Evan Kasprzak. He mainly dances Broadway style, and he's a lovably awkward geeky guy. He seemed like the underdog, and I was determined to root for him. I voted for an hour straight to help him get into the top 10. Now he's in the top 6, and I couldn't be happier for him. He really got himself a strong fanbase.

Tonight's episode is their last chance to get votes before the finale, which pits the final 4 against each other for votes. I have no idea if he'll make the cut tonight, and I have my doubts, but you'd better believe I'll be voting tonight. No other show has ever inspired me to do that. These kids have amazing talent, and truly want a career in dance, which is nearly impossible to achieve. This show actually gets them jobs, as evidenced by season 4's Katee, Josh, and Twitch getting roles in "Step Up 3D" and Kherington landing the leading role in the upcoming "Fame" movie. I also just bought the exercise DVDs the show put out featuring past dancers.

So You Think You Can Dance Get Fit: Tone and Groove

So You Think You Can Dance Get Fit: Cardio Funk

Then yesterday, I found out the coolest thing ever: Evan plays WoW! Zomg! I knew I liked that kid for a reason. Unfortunately, he plays Alliance, but I'll forgive him.

The next season starts up this fall and I couldn't be more excited. Maybe these videos will help me get back in dancing shape, which watching the show has given me the itch for. Either way, this show inspires and entertains me, and is definitely worth checking out.

So You Think You Can Dance

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Up in smoke

For any of my readers that smoke, I apologize in advance, because this post will probably offend you. I love you all, but this is something that means a lot to me.

I hate smoking and I think it should be illegal. I am absolutely adamant about this, and it horrifies me that in this day and age, with all our medical knowledge, people are still allowed to walk around and smoke in public.

I know laws have been made; no smoking within a certain number of feet of public building entrances, no smoking in public buildings or workplaces, etc. What angers me is that first of all, these laws are hardly ever enforced, and second of all, these laws are not nearly strict enough.

I see many examples every day that convince me of the need to ban smoking. As Simon and I ate outside at a mall restaurant yesterday, someone smoking in the entrance of the mall caused us to cough as it drifted towards us (right under a "No Smoking" sign, no joke). I once watched a mother walk her child to school while puffing away right next to him. I have to pass no less than three smokers every time I walk to the store for lunch (as I try to be healthy by taking a walk). People congregate in the doorway of my office to smoke on break, especially when it's raining, no matter how many times they've been told not to. I used to work in a dry cleaners where the owner would smoke IN the building (where I was the only non-smoker, no one else cared).

If someone was drinking alcohol in the street, walking past them would not get me drunk or hurt my liver. What they're consuming does not affect me (unless they get behind the wheel of a car). If I walk by someone smoking in the street, I can get cancer. CANCER. Especially if you consider the number of times I am exposed to smoking every day, not just once in a while. I am not going to cross a busy Boston street just to avoid them. I cannot avoid the entrance of my office building. If I tell each and every one of them that it bothers me, I am going to get the reputation of a nagging bitch.

If we can't outlaw it altogether, then limit it to places it absolutely cannot harm or affect anyone else. Private homes (not condos where the vents can lead next door) without children, private clubs where people want to smoke, etc. NOT outside. Not in your car where it comes through my vents when I drive behind you, and then you fling a butt out the window and start a fire. I am sick of feeling sick when I walk past these people. They complain about their rights to smoke, but I want my right to clean air.

My father smoked around me as a child, and I now have asthma. Stairs leave me winded, I cannot run, and I cannot be outside in extremely hot or cold weather. Smoking ruined my body. I want to prevent it from ruining everyone else's before it's too late.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Geeks and tats

No, I do not have that tattoo. But, boy do I wish I had the guts to get it!

For years, I planned what my first tattoo would be. I knew I would get one. I wanted it to be simple, timeless, and of course, something I wouldn't regret. After losing my mom, I tried to come up with a design that would honor her, but discarded my ideas as too complicated for a first tattoo. I thought, what do I love more than anything else that I will never stop loving? Other than Simon, of course! (I vowed never to tattoo ANYTHING to do with ANYONE I love, just in case. Minus my late mother, for obvious reasons.)

The answer: Music. I love to sing, and although I'm mediocre at best, many people seem to enjoy my voice. I compose a bit, and would love to make a CD someday (oh, that elusive "someday"). So a tattoo to do with music was my best bet. Okay, now what? I went through countless designs on www.tattoofinder.com. I'm not sure when it finally hit me, but I eventually decided on the simplest music design I know: the G clef. Just a black G clef on the back of my shoulder.

I didn't decide on this till I was about 26. Tattoos had been legal in MA for years, but I never got up the guts to do it. I finally made my appointment for my 27th birthday, Nov. 21 2008. Here is what I got:

It was SO much easier than I ever imagined. I had Simon in the room with me, and a few minutes in I waved him off with a, "I'm fine honey, you can go do something else." I was super pleased with the final result. What I am NOT super pleased with now is the few chunks of black that went missing a few weeks later. It's now a bit patchy and needs a major touch-up. Sigh.

So what I'm thinking is I'd like to get a second one when I go to get this one fixed. I'll wait till after the summer so I don't have to worry about covering it in the sun. I've pretty much decided on this great design from www.tattoofinder.com:

I bought the stencil and used Paint to change the hair from blond to brown. I like it because it's sort of a fairy/angel mix; my mom was VERY into angels (and flowers), and I love fairies. I may have her initials or dates of birth and death incorporated into it somehow. It's obviously a lot more complicated than my first one, so I want it to be just right. I'll put it on my right shoulder, and possibly have her face the other way.

I know, once you get a tat, it's kind of addicting. I definitely see this, and am already thinking of a third. I'm trying to keep it simple, because Simon is not a huge fan of them and I don't want him to start rethinking the engagement (Kidding! He wouldn't do that. I hope.). For the third one I would love to have something geeky, but not over the top. I have a friend with a small bow and quiver of arrows tattoo because she always plays a hunter. I love that idea, but I never play hunters. Usually a paladin. I don't want it to be related to a specific game, because those come and go (yes, even WoW). I'm thinking a sword design of some kind? I looked online and all I can find is swords with blood and skulls. Gross. I want pretty. I want girly. I want a sword. And I'm not sure where to put this one (I'm trying to lose weight, so nowhere that will stretch a lot, and somewhere easy to cover but not indecent to show).

Any ideas? Anyone else have a geek tat they'd like to share? I absolutely love some of the ones I've seen online, but I can't see myself loving them in 20 years, even though I am a Tetris champ (unofficially). Comments?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

HP6 review

Yes, I did go in costume:

I was one of many costumed dorks there, and I loved it. That's a Ravenclaw tie, Hogwarts pin and ring, and lightning bolt earrings, FTW. Woot eBay.

First of all, the theater. Simon and I purchased tickets a week ago for the 12:05 am showing at the AMC Loews at Liberty Tree Mall in Danvers, MA. When we showed up at about 10:45 pm, there was a line all the way through the theater. We got in it. We heard people walk up to the ticket counters, only to be told it was sold out. Well, duh! A man walked down the line asking if we had tickets, and when I showed him my Fandango ticket (which is really a ticket, you print it out and skip the box office, I've done it before), he made me get out of line, go to Guest Services, and get tickets printed up. Annoying. So we did that, and got back in line. Occasionally we heard someone on a loudspeaker announcing which theaters were seating, but we could never tell what he was actually saying. You couldn't hear anything over the crowd.

New lines formed, and it began to resemble a line less and less. People went into their theaters, and we kept hoping they hadn't just called ours. Finally around 11:30, we heard them say that everyone remaining was free to enter their theater. We got into ours to find it full except for the very front. I didn't even care at that point, and we took two seats alone off to the left in the 4th row. Of course we then had over half an hour to wait until even the previews started. I began to yawn, and Simon braved the crowd to buy me some sugar.

FINALLY the movie started, and all was forgiven. I'm going to try and do a non-spoiler review, which means this will be very short.

Yes, as you may have heard, there is lots of teenage drama and angst in this film. The kids get jealous, and they snog, and they have break-ups, and it may feel a bit silly to the adults. However, it is not the main theme, and provides some much-needed levity to a dramatic story.

Ginny's character gains importance, and while they may not have known where her character would go when they cast the little girl in HP1, she pulled it off well. Ginny is not overly dramatic, so her acting is very understated. Some may have thought her performance was weak, but I think she was just being true to the book version of the character.

Harry, Ron, and Hermione are growing. Ron is very much the teenage boy: hungry, quick to fall in love, obsessed with snogging, overprotective of his little sister, and utterly clueless. Hermione hits puberty and has a few crying jags, and a little vindictive side as well. She pulled this off beautifully. Harry, while I love him to death, continues to annoy me a bit with his "too cute" look. Harry is supposed to be disheveled, frumpy, and a bit odd. I know this isn't the actor's fault, but they try to make him a typical male romantic lead: well-groomed, handsome, and neatly dressed. Ron is exactly like his book character; Harry is just too perfect.

Dumbledore provides his usual amazing performance, along with the other teachers. All in all, I was very pleased with the quality of the acting. I did miss a few things while the audience was laughing, so I'm looking forward to watching it again under quieter circumstances.

The movie was overall true to the book. I did not get a chance to re-read it prior to the movie as I would have liked, so I may discover more discrepancies later. As usual, they had to cram a very large book into a very short film, so many things had to be left out or changed. I agreed with their cuts for the most part, but some events were slightly changed in a way I did not love, for no apparent reason because they did not make the scene shorter. One more thing I will just have to live with.

The effects were, of course, amazing. The Death Eaters especially, in their swirls of black smoke, were very creepy. The Quidditch matches were breath-taking. A particular adventure scene with Harry and Dumbledore was jump-out-of-your-seat scary. I was utterly enthralled and believed everything I saw.

This may seem biased; I love Harry Potter and everything to do with the franchise. I will probably never give a bad review of any of these movies. I do think though that any fan will enjoy this movie as much as I did. Non-fans may be bored. It's just the way it is. In conclusion...two thumbs up!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

New house

Tonight, we see Harry Potter. I long ago took tomorrow off in anticipation of tonight's midnight showing. Now we have another reason: moving. Tomorrow will be spent packing, because we sold the condo and bought a house!

Simon and I are the king and queen of Procrastination-land. I know, good combination huh? But we both work better under pressure, even though I know I'm bound to get extremely stressed and cranky. We will spend the entire day packing. Then on Thursday, I return to work and Simon stays home to take delivery of our rented POD. That night we will spend the first of seven nights in a hotel, as we are selling the bed. Friday morning the movers come and help us haul all our crap into the POD, and I took that day off too. Anything we don't have packed yet, we can move into it ourselves after they leave.

Saturday the POD gets picked up and we must be done packing. Sunday will probably be spent in the hotel's indoor pool to recover from all this. BIG bonus. Monday, Simon passes papers on the condo. Tuesday, he signs for the new house. Wednesday, the people move out of that house (we gave them an extra day because they actually moved the closing 10 days earlier for us), and Thursday, July 23, WE MOVE IN!!!

I'm prepared for this to be en exhausting week. For 24 hours we will be technically homeless, and for seven nights we will be sleeping in a Red Roof Inn. It is SO worth it though, as this will really be "our" home. This is the yard we'll be taking engagement photos in, the house we will have a housewarming/engagement party in, where we will sleep our first night as a married couple next year. This house means so much to us. It's my legacy from my mother and our hope for the future.

Wow, slightly more serious than I meant for this to get. I am over the moon about this, and can't wait for this week to be over. Then I have a four-day weekend to unpack the whole mess!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Learning to ride

I am a geek. And I ride a motorcycle. Kind of.

My fiance took a motorcycle class and got his license about 5 years before he met me. After that, he never bought or rode a motorcycle. About a year ago, he decided he wanted to ride again. He still had the license, but didn't trust himself to ride without re-taking the class. Off-hand, he asked me if I wanted to take it with him. In a fit of spontaneity, I agreed, surprising both of us.

We took the class in May of 2008. It was a one-weekend class, about 10 hours each day, classroom and practical. The classroom stuff was easy, as I'd spent the last month reading "Motorcycles for Dummies" and the class textbook. Getting on that motorcycle for the first time though...that was one of the scariest things I've ever done.

The class provides motorcycles, and of course I had to use the one with the smallest engine and seat height. I was just a bit shorter than the other two ladies in the class (3 girls vs. 9 guys, represent!) and needed the itty bitty 125cc bike. We started out, and I immediately kept stalling because I was shifting up into second instead of down into first from neutral. I've never learned standard, so this was a weird concept to me. Once the instructor helped me get that sorted out, I felt a little better, but every few minutes I was screwing something up. I burst into tears at least three or four times each day. I'm sure the instructor thought I was a lost cause. Simon kept encouraging me, while assuring me he would not think any less of me if I withdrew. I was determined to finish.

At the end of the second day, we took our road test. I think Simon was more nervous for me than I was. The way it works is you gain points for every mistake you make. Once you hit 21 points, you fail. Everyone rode the test course, then they took us aside one by one to let us know our scores. Simon's result didn't matter, as he already had his license, and he passed with an amazing 4. He said he tried to peek at my score while he was in there and was 99% sure I passed, which greatly relieved me. I took my turn, and lo and behold I got a 13! I aced the figure-8 and swerve, lost points on the turns and emergency stop. Good enough for me!

One girl and one guy failed, and I felt bad for them. But nothing could dampen the elation I felt at actually earning my motorcycle license! I bought myself a 1985 Honda Rebel 250 for $1,000 within the month, and tried to go out on the roads with Simon. He bought a 2004 Honda Shadow 750 and rode it to work frequently. More and more, I found myself freaking out and stalling in traffic. I found excuses not to ride, and discovered the joy of riding on the back of Simon's bike.

Eventually we decided my ancient bike might be the problem, so I sold it for $600 and bought a 2002 Hyosung GV250 for $3,000 with only about 100 miles on it. I had it on lay-away all winter, and brought it out eagerly this spring. Simon watched as I geared up and prepared to take a spin around the parking lot to get used to it again. I sat down...and immediately burst into tears because I didn't remember a single thing. He calmed me down and talked me through the basics again, and I managed to get it around the lot a few times. I practiced once more the next week, and haven't been on it since.

I'm proud of myself for doing it, and I want to keep the bike just in case I change my mind, but it looks like I'm happiest as a passenger. I just can't get over how many things you have to do at the same time on a bike, and doing so in traffic is just a little more than I can handle. We both just geeked out our bikes with vanity plates (AFK and PWN) and I'd love to get back up on it someday. But for now...I'm just the bitch on the back. ;)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

My Harry Potter obsession

I admit it...I'm 27 years old and obsessed with Harry Potter. It took me a while; I didn't even know about the books till about the fourth one. I borrowed the first couple, and while I enjoyed them, I guess I just wasn't ready for the obsession yet (I was in high school and had MUCH more important things to worry about). Then I started college, and found myself with lots of spare time to read. No, I'm not kidding. I was one of "those" kids. College was easy for me, sorry! Well, I was a theater and dance major, so that tells you something.

So anyways, I re-read the first two and then read the third and fourth. I LOVED them, but never really noticed when the fifth and sixth came out until later, but I did read them soon after. I watched the movies and loved those too. By the time I graduated, I found myself longing for the next movie or book to come out.

Fast forward to 2007. I was living with my younger sister and two of my friends. We ranged in age from 20 to 28, and we were all Wiccan. While that definitely helped pique our interest in the magic aspect, we obviously know Harry Potter has little to do with Wicca. Nevertheless, we were all anxiously awaiting the release of the fifth movie and seventh book. We went to the midnight releases of both, in full costume no less. We were Hogwarts faculty: Elena was Prof. Trelawney, Susan was Prof. McGonagall, my sister Katy (the nursing student) was Madam Pomfry, and I donned a curly gray wig as Prof. Sprout. We had a BLAST.

Reading the seventh book was a race. Elena's boyfriend in Australia got it hours before all of us and we begged him not to spoil it for us. After him, I think Susan finished it first, then me. We kept exchanging cryptic comments about the book, to the exasperated cries of "Shut up, I'm not done!!!" from the other two. Finally we all finished it (about 48 hours later) and we discussed it for days. We were THAT into it.

I no longer live with those girls, but with my fiance Simon who luckily is similarly interested in Harry Potter. Not enough to actually read the BOOKS mind you, but he loves the movies. I have to censor myself so I don't mention anything past book 5. The sixth movie was originally set to come out on my birthday last year, November 21, and I literally cried when they changed it to July '09. I thought I would NEVER make it.

But now...it is less than a week away. I bought our tickets last night, for the 12:05 am showing Tuesday night/Wednesday morning in Danvers, MA. I...am...PSYCHED! My costume is all set: white short-sleeved button-down shirt, black skirt w/ jagged hem, navy and gray Ravenclaw tie, black and navy striped stockings, lightning bolt earrings. I even got Simon a Hogwarts crest t-shirt. Ooo, I need to pick out shoes. I am going to be impossible at work on the 14th. I even took the 15th off to recover from the late night. And I found out a while ago that they're separating the 7th book into TWO movies. Yes!

I own the set of books 1-6 in paperback, plus books 6 and 7 in hardcover, then the collector's chest of all 7 books in hardcover that Simon bought me this past Christmas. I have two copies of "The Tales of Beedle the Bard," neither of which I've cracked open yet (I will read one and keep the other untouched, along with my chest of hardcovers). I have a Harry Potter doll in its box, and a stuffed Scabbers, Crookshanks, Fluffy, and Hagrid. I have a pair of plastic Harry Potter glasses. Simon bought me a time-turner on our second date (I fell in love with him then and there). I have a Ravenclaw scarf and hat for the winter, a set of pins for all 4 houses and Hogwarts, an iron-on Ravenclaw patch I have yet to decide a place for, and probably countless other little things I can't remember. I know the names of the three actors that play Harry, Ron, and Hermione. I know spell names off the top of my head. Oh yeah, I have a wand too.


I'm sure I could be worse. I can't recite entire scenes (just random lines like, "It's Win-GAR-de-um Lev-i-OH-sa, not Lev-i-oh-SA!"), and I don't know all of the actor's names or histories, but I do know Daniel Radcliffe turns 20 this month (I finally don't feel so icky for having a crush on him like I did when he was 17!), and I follow Emma Watson on Twitter (she doesn't update much). But now, all I can do is wait...


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Escaping the cube

(From 7/2/09)

It’s days like this that make me wish I didn’t work in a corporate cube environment. I have it pretty good; no strict dress code, a computer to goof off on all day, a job where I get to sit on my ass. But sometimes, the monotony is draining, and the rules are constraining, and I start counting down the hypothetical two years till I quit and start my own business.

My new laptop arrived today. I had it sent to work as it’s not safe for such an item to sit at my front door all day, especially in the torrential rain we’ve been having. But I can’t play with it, because it’s against the rules. No non-company electronics, peripherals, etc. allowed at your desk. That means no cell, iPod, radio, etc. I am beyond bored, and I have fun sitting on the counter over there, mocking me. Too bad.

I’m stuck here also unable to download anything. Or watch YouTube. Facebook JUST starting working again, and I think it’s because they let their internet filter service expire since we’re low on money. I’m sure I’m starting to annoy people with my constant Facebook quiz results and new Bejeweled high scores. That got old fast. What next? Twitter? I follow 119 people currently, mainly because I refresh it so often that I get annoyed seeing no new updates. I click on the articles and funny pictures and then I’m bored again.

Can’t read a book. Need to look like I’m working. As long as I’m on a computer, I’m “working.” But reading a book in between orders? Oh no no, not here.

Also, my cube is one of five that are in the hallway. Yes, you read that right, the HALLWAY. We don’t take customer phone calls so we don’t need the privacy of a bay like the rest of them. But guess what we do get? Every single stupid co-worker who thinks the hallway is a GREAT place to have a personal, loud, or otherwise embarrassing cell phone conversation. They know we’re here. They know we’re working (sometimes). They just DON’T CARE. I once heard a girl yell into her phone, “When I get to that bitch’s crib, I’m gonna mess some shit up.” Seriously. And most people here have college degrees. I’m not sure where they found HER.

That back-up career plan? Wedding planner. I’m having so much fun with my own that I’m seriously considering it as a career. The plan is to start taking classes after my wedding, then use my sabbatical month that I get at my five-year anniversary to start setting it up. Come back from sabbatical, BAM two-weeks notice, and Sarah’s on a new path to a new life. Working from home, on MY schedule, on MY rules. Goddamn, that sounds good.

Sick of salads

(From 6/22/09)

I am officially sick of salads, and I haven't even had one in weeks. I've been eating horribly, again, for the past few weeks, and I've probably gained. Remember how I was trying to lose weight? Yeah. Not working.

So I'm going the liquid lunch route. I had my usual granola bar on the way to work, and my Jimmy Dean D-light for breakfast (quite yummy and only 230 cal.). Then for lunch, Odwalla drink and a string cheese. I just don't feel like eating another salad. I'm thinking of getting Slim-Fast shakes and bars. The easier it is for me, the better. I'm just too fucking lazy to do it right. I can't do it for two meals a day, I'd go nuts, but the healthy breakfast and liquid lunch thing might work. Of course, after drinking said lunch, my company puts out a variety of leftover sandwiches from a meeting, including ones on fucking CROISSANTS. Torture me some more, why don't you? Luckily I only heard about it. If I had actually seen them, it may have been over. Trying to make healthier dinners that both Simon and I like. Succeeding sometimes.

I still have over a year till my wedding. But on this roller-coaster, I'll be lucky to be down by 5 lbs. at that point. I know I know...I'm pretty the way I am, Simon loves me the way I am, don't let society dictate how I feel about myself...but you know what? I HATE BEING FAT. I cry over it. I lose sleep over it. And it's just plain unhealthy. I have asthma already, I don't need this extra 70 lbs. weighing down on my lungs. I know I shouldn't "diet," I should have a "lifestyle change," but that change requires a lot of work I'm not willing to do, no matter how badly I want it.

I am now the heaviest I have ever been. I'm pushing 200, if I haven't hit it already, and trust me, I'm afraid to find out. This has GOT to stop. But nothing makes me crankier than being hungry, and I eat when I'm cranky. I hate vegetables. I will not deny myself that occasional burger for dinner. But in between all that, I have GOT to change. Goddamit, I wish I had the strength to either DO IT or be happy the way I am. Having neither is just plain torture.


(From 4/30/09)

So, some people have been wondering why for most of my life I couldn’t wait to have babies, and now I suddenly could totally live without the experience. No, it is not because that’s how Simon feels and I just want him to like me. I’m not in high school, and I have a mind of my own now. I shall explain.

When I was dating Chris, things were obviously not ideal, which I realized later. So of course, to fix that, I wanted kids. Like so many people, it stemmed from a desire to be loved, and who would love me more than my own offspring? I do enjoy children, to an extent, and have worked with them a lot. The fact that most of those jobs were somewhat miserable failed to register I guess. My rational mind glossed over the facts while my irrational mind clung to the illusion that I couldn’t WAIT to have kids.

Then that relationship fell apart. I knew I still wanted to be a mother someday, but it wasn’t as important as making myself happy first. I dated around, met Simon, and the rest is history. =) But what finally changed was my attitude about children. When people I know started having them, I used to be insanely jealous. Now I just look at it as another opportunity to play with a cute kid that I can give back after. Yes, I’m good with babies, and they’re adorable, but waking up at 2 am for feedings? The horrible things pregnancy does to your body? Not what I looked forward to. Yes, everyone tells me it’s beautiful and wonderful and everything is fine when it’s actually you having the kid. But it still doesn’t appeal to me. Childbirth scares the bajeezus out of me. I’ve never had surgery, and I’d like to avoid it.

Simon also pointed out, as I’ve seen with many friends, all the horrible things that can go wrong with a newborn. Narrow aortas that require heart surgery on a 3-day-old infant, squished heads that need a baby-sized helmets to fix, and the list goes on and on. Simon had quite a few issues himself, which I don’t blame him for being reluctant to pass on. So I thought about it, and I really like the idea of adoption. I can skip pregnancy, infancy, and potty-training, and still have a kid? Awesome! And in MA, it’s free to adopt a child from the DSS system after a 6-month trial foster period. I really like this idea. No birth defects to worry about, and I get to choose the gender of my child to boot.

It may sound selfish, like I’m trying to take the easy way out. If I want to be a parent, I should be willing to make sacrifices and take chances, yes? But how about this? There are SO many children waiting to be adopted. The population is WAY too high to sustain. I’m doing the country a favor. I see nothing wrong with that. =)

Please, baby-makers, take no offense. Obviously, someone has to actually have children. I see adoption as my stand against people who pop out 8 kids and live on welfare. I just can’t justify having (or adopting) more children than I can reasonably provide for. I want to send her to college, I want her to have her own room, and maybe I’ll buy her a car. I can’t do that if I have 8 kids, or even 3 or 4. People need to start taking parenthood more seriously, and stop depending on other people to provide for them. I see excessive baby-making as a form of greed: I want lots of kids so I’m going to have them! Me me me! But the children have to live with your choices. And if things go wrong, maybe I’m going to be the one taking care of your little girl someday, the one YOU couldn’t provide for.

Potty talk

(From 4/15/09)

I am fairly certain that you can deduce a lot about the employees of a company based on the company bathrooms. My desk is right outside the single-person bathroom, so I see EVERYTHING. I believe I work with imbeciles. Here are my reasons.

I’m pretty sure I was told at a very young age never to flush anything other than toilet paper. Paper towels are a no-no. So why is it, in a bathroom with TWO trash baskets, that people insist on trying to flush them? We’re not out of toilet paper. The paper towels are inaccessible from the toilet. So someone dries their hands, or blows their nose, or gods-know-what, and flushes the paper towels. Now it’s clogged for the rest of the day. Good job.

On the same note, there are two trash baskets. Throw stuff away instead of dropping it on the floor. Or flushing it, but we already covered that.

Ladies, we have one of those “sanitary waste disposal units.” It’s very handy. USE IT. Trying to flush that stuff is just GROSS. Yes, we’ve had that problem. More than once.

Guys, we know you pee standing up and don’t need to use TP. Good for you. But please, for the love of all that’s holy, FLUSH YOUR PEE. There’s a thing called splash-back. Gross. We don’t want it. Yes, this is a common problem, even though our company is only 25% male.

I have a saying, “If at first you don’t succeed, flush flush again.” More times than I’d like to count, I enter the bathroom to find all kinds of unsavory eliminations still occupying the bowl. I flush, and lo and behold, it goes away! Wouldn’t it be lovely if the person who put them there tried the same thing?

I have a small room freshener spray at my desk. I often have to use it after other people use the bathroom so I can enter and still breathe. If people brought their own, everyone’s life would be happier. And less stinky. Especially for me, who sits right outside the bathroom. Yeah, you’ve seen me. And I know what you did in there. o.O

“If you sprinkle while you tinkle, please be neat and wipe the seat.” I can’t take credit for that one. And my company can’t take credit for following it, because no one does. Again, gross.

My life near the bathroom has its ups and downs. I can go as often as I’d like, I know when it’s empty so I can dash in, and I drink water all damn day. But with these issues, I sometimes wonder if it’s worth it. I seriously think I work with 5-year-olds. Someone needs to bring them to the potty and inspect everything when they’re done. Obviously they can’t handle it. It would be lovely if one day, my company treated their bathrooms like their own, as if they’d actually have to clean it. The poor Hispanic guy who DOES clean it would appreciate it too. Thank you.

Weight loss blues

(From 3/30/09)

I'm finding myself sinking back into depression lately, and it bothers me because my logical mind knows I have no good reason. I have the love of a wonderful, beautiful man, a home, money in the bank, plenty of food and clothing, an easy and stable job, and I have time and means to pursue hobbies and leisure activities. So what's wrong?

Of course, the age-old self-esteem-killer called "weight."

I was considered skinny until about age 18. At 4'11" and 100 lbs., I was pretty tiny. But then came college, and that gods-awful dorm cafeteria. Your choices today? Carbs, carbs, and more carbs. In my 6 years away at college, I steadily gained not only the "Freshman 15," but almost another 15 each year after that. Then, a month after college graduation, my mother passed away. And that caused another 20 lb. gain.

My life at that time was more than stressful. Left with a house, a 17-year-old sister, and a boyfriend that was an emotional drain, I had little motivation to lose the weight. Eventually, things started falling into place. I ditched the negative boyfriend of six years, sold the house, and moved in with the love of my life. I got a promotion at work, my sister was excelling in college and had her own apartment, and my relationships with my extended family members started getting better as I finally matured. That one thing has kept me back...all that excess weight.

Simon was on Jenny Craig when I moved in. I joined him enthusiastically, plopped down my $400 and signed up. I lasted maybe a month before three microwaved meals a day started to drive me insane. I cheated *more* simply because I was fed up with the limited meals. I did some math and convinced Simon to quit Jenny with me, as we'd spend $500 or less per month just shopping at the market and BJ's, as opposed to $800 a month on Jenny. I vowed to cook for us, and cook healthy. Another good idea that didn't quite pan out as expected.

I discovered I love to cook. Yes, some days I don't feel like it, but most of the time I downright enjoy it. The problem is, no matter how "healthy" I tried to cook, it was always more calories than a Jenny meal. We both still cheat a lot, and eating out is our huge weakness. Eventually, BOTH our weights started creeping back up.

Now here's the killer: not only do I feel guilty about my OWN weight, but I feel like I brought Simon down with me, as he was doing fine on Jenny before I came into the picture. And the more depressed I get about this, the more my self-sabotaging urges kick in...and I eat worse. A fast food meal grabbed after work when I've had a shitty day (and I don't even gorge myself, a small sandwich and small fries is all I'll allow, though still bad for me). Convincing Simon to order Chinese or pizza for dinner when I'm not in the mood to cook. And the more I do it, the worse I feel, and the catch-22 continues.

I know I'm not unique. I know I'm not alone. But that doesn't help me when faced with a choice: what's good for me, or what tastes good. I'm not an over-eater; I actually have a rather small appetite. It's the TYPE of food I eat, not how much. I love bread and cheese more than anything. BAD. I could live on pizza. BAD. I love fast food way more than I should. BAD. It depresses me to give up things I love. I get cranky and unreasonable when hungry. I'm a fucking child, obviously.

Here is what I *try* to do:
7:30 am - Granola bar and coffee with skim and Splenda on the drive to work.
10:00 am - Light microwaved breakfast sandwich and fruit cup in light syrup at my desk.
1:30 pm - Salad and banana or apple, with Crystal Light to drink.
3:00 pm - Rice cake to tide me over till dinner.
6:30 pm - Dinner, usually a lean meat, rice or wheat pasta, and veggies.
8:30 pm - A light dessert, such as Smart Ones frozen desserts.

Here is where the problems are:
Lunch - I buy my salad from the corner store everyday, because I am even less likely to eat one if I have to make it myself, and eventually I let all the veggies go bad in the fridge. Unfortunately, that corner store also sells yummy sandwiches and chips. Guess what I often get when I just can't motivate myself to get the salad?
Between lunch and dinner - This is when I'm normally starving. I know I need to find some more substantial snack to tide me over, because this often leads me to eat something horrible for me on the drive home. Like at that McDonald's that's located so conveniently right off the highway halfway home.
After dinner - Prime snack time. The "healthy" dinner has worn thin and I'm dying to snack. We try not to keep anything too unhealthy in the house, but even healthy snacks are bad in large quantities.

So I try to diet. It leaves me hungry and cranky, so I eat things that are bad for me. I feel guilty and depressed and eat more things that are bad for me. My clothes are getting tight, and I get more depressed. I am *sick* of being plus-sized, sick of clothes not fitting me right, and sick of not having the energy to do something about it. I know I'm at the tail-end of the winter blues; with the warmer weather, we'll get outside more and hopefully get some exercise. But that treadmill has been sitting there all winter, and how many times did I use it? Three? What is most frustrating to me is the fact that I HATE the way I am, yet can't motivate myself to change, and sabotage myself at every turn.

Being heavy makes me more aware of my other flaws; my acne, my dry skin, the excess hair that comes with being Italian (which I *fastidiously* rid myself of), and the size of my nose. Any of these things alone are no big deal, but all together and combined with my weight makes me feel DISGUSTING. And why? I have a boyfriend. I don't have a job where I'm judged by my looks. Even my family has stopped needling me about my weight. I'm judging myself by standards that no one else is. But I'm not happy, and I won't be until I change.

It's Monday. I haven't cheated yet, but the day is still young. I'm trying to start fresh, trying to get through today without any screw-ups. I'm off to buy my salad now...wish me luck.

The sad state of customer service today

(From 3/26/09)

A: (mumbled) Dom'no, pi'up oh dee-vee?
B: Wha...?
A: (mumbled) Dom'no, pi'up oh dee-vee?
B: Oh! Delivery, please.
A: Adds?
B: 300 A Street.
A: Pah-fa?
B: 4th floor.
A: NO, pah-men?
B: Oh! No apartment, it's a business.
A: Wha want.
B: I was trying to order the sandwich, chips, and soda deal for $6.99 online, but it won't let me pick the chips and it won't let me finish the order without them. Can I order with the same coupon over the phone?
A: Fi-teen dolla minmum.
B: Okay, that's not what I was asking, and I've placed an order for less than that before. Forget it. (hangs up)

Okay, so yes, I was "B," and yes, I was slightly rude at the end. But I am just SICK to death of the lack of customer service these days. In this economy (I hate that phrase, but I need to use it), one should feel lucky, PRIVILEGED even, to have a job. Would it kill them to at least pretend to care?

The sad thing is, no one else wants to do what they're doing, so they get away with murder simply because they are willing to do the job, usually for minimum wage. But what I don't understand is why people are too lazy to do their job well. Does it really take that much more energy to feign interest in the order, to enunciate words clearly and listen to the customer's needs? It seems obvious to me: do your job well, keep customers coming back, keep the company in business, keep your job. It's the apathy, the utter lack of effort, that appalls me.

I've worked in customer service in many different jobs since I was 16. I started at Michael's Arts and Crafts, worked a summer at Things Remembered, spent five years at the counter of a dry cleaner's, and been at a call center since 2006 now. Maybe it's because I studied theater and psychology in college, but I've never had a problem pretending to love my job. When I sound happy, my customer tends to be happy, and I have less problems to deal with overall. It's self-preservation, and makes my life easier.

To anyone out there in customer service: PLEASE, just try pretending to care. Pretend to like your job. Otherwise, it's going to be a very unpleasant experience for both of us.

Imported posts

The next few posts you see will be old ones from my Livejournal. You may have read them already, or you can read them now, but keep in mind I've written them over the last few months. Thanks for your patience!