[pre-meme disclaimer: in light of the past several days of gloom and despair and utter misery, i selected this meme, randomly stolen from some random chick's blog that i'd clicked thru about three other blogs to find, to lighten the mood. or at least change the subject.]

is your cell phone? my purse. probably on silent. at least i know where it is now, tho...

is your significant other? sitting right next to me on the sofa. studying greek. being very stressed out. and boring.

is your hair? what's left of it is on my head :) still liking the haircut....

is your mother? presumably in the town where she lives. probably stalking me at this very moment. tee hee, hi mom

is your father? probably at home. or maybe china...

is one of your favorite things? homemade pasta!

was your dream last night? no idea

can you get your favorite drink? anywhere with running water

are you right now? at the house, on the sofa

is your ex? STILL living at home. this is perhaps wildly indicative of why we broke up.

is your fear? umm...where is my fear? in nature, i guess...

do you want to be in 6 years? ireland. with a kid or two. holy crap.

were you last night? same place i am every night, pinky... the sofa, working and/or "working"

was the last place you drove? haha i can't even remember, but it was probably work-related

did you grow up? charlotte, nc

was the last place you ate? sofa...no access to the table right now. long miserable story.

is (are) your TV(s)? in the living room. there's an unplugged one in the guest room too.

are your pets? probably sleeping in his crate. cute little antisocial guy...

is your computer? on my lap. on the sofa.

is your mood? sleepy...and excited but nervous about my new project at work ...wait, where is my mood? grumpyville i guess...

is your oldest friend? phila

is your car? outside

is your wedding ring? on its finger!

is your favorite store? probably at the mall.

is your favorite place to be in the summer? in the air conditioning

was the last place you laughed? also on my sofa. oh lord i have no life.

was the last place you cried? RIGHT HERE ON MY SOFA

are five places you go on the internet on a regular basis? gmail, msn, blogger (duh), etsy, and my workplace's website

no dreamz is good dreamz

In keeping with the slumber-ish posts of late, I hereby present to you, dear reader, Last Night's Dream Report.

No dreams that I can remember. Slept through the night. Might, in fact, STILL be sleeping, thank you very much Benadryl.

I did have a hard time getting to sleep cus I was in a drug-induced scared haze...I guess I was scared I'd dream about tornadoes all night again. So I made Brian assure me that we are safe and that I could bring Eli, and that we'd hide in the bathroom, blah blah blah. That helped, apparently.

When I have nightmares, they tend to involve natural disasters or hiding out from Big Brother. And the biggest scariest thing in them is having to save Eli, over and over and over. This little tiny dog infiltrates every bad dream I have and causes all kinds of imaginary terror and heartache. Burning houses, submerged cars, excessive gunfire... I don't know what I would do if something happened such that I had to decide that I couldn't/shouldn't try to save him. I have a feeling I'd get pretty reckless to try to rescue him from anything... the goal is to prevent that decision from ever having to be made.

Are there any pet owners out there who deal with the same thing? Do you ever wonder what you would do in various disastrous situations? If your house is on fire and you have to get out immediately because of the danger, but your dog is in its crate in the back room, would you go try to get it, or would you keep away for your own safety? (Me, I would wrap up in the nearest wool blanket and charge in there, nothing to stop me. Am I crazy?)


tornadoes and other emergencies

I had nightmares...really active, strong, terrible nightmares all night. They involved tornadoes and lots of being scared, seeing dead people, running for my life...getting yelled at because I wasn't running fast enough....

I would wake up, calm down, and go back to sleep, only to go back to the chaos, only things would be even worse. More destruction, more tornadoes, more panic. More time running for my life. All night long.

Apparently I turned my alarm off sometime between 645 and 715, and went back to sleep. That was a rock solid sleep that I didn't come out of until 8am. Sidenote, I had to be downtown at 8:30 for CPR/first aid certification. No worries, we got it done. My husband's a rock star.

And, in weird news, apparently Virginia had a bunch of tornadoes last night. My mother-in-law called this morning to check on us cus she'd heard it on the news.

For those of you wondering, I am now certified in CPR and First Aid. Thank you, American Red Cross. There is now a real chance that I might not panic in an emergency situation. Excellent.


no rest for this weary one

I. have not slept. more than 3 hours. the past 3 days.

list of ailments:
- running droning headache.
- extreme lethargy. i feel like i'm underwater.
- no memory retention whatsoever. this leads to thousands of 'helpful reminder notes' that aren't so helpful when in droves.
- reduced productivity. this leads to EVEN MORE WORK TO DO.
- extreme annoyance at everything. and everyone. especially me.

why do i stare at the ceiling? i'm not anxious about money anymore, and those days were gone for a whole month! why do i wake up 6 times through the night? there are no noises...there is no distracting light...i am no longer buried under a thousand blankets...

the house is a mess. my to-do list is getting longer by the second. i have to read and re-read things way too many times. i am about twenty steps behind. and i can't stop yawning.

tonite, the benadryl shall be MINE.

also, happy birthday mom!


maybe i can sleeeeeeep

Today is Friday! And it's been super-quiet so far, almost no phone calls. Fantastic.

We're all really tired at work. And apparenty I'm a slacker because I don't stay up til 2 or 3 or 4am to get my work done? Maybe not. Part of the reason I'm not completley overworked right now is because I haven't been here long enough to have enormous projects pile up. I've got plenty to do...but I still get some sleep.

Where is the line between work ethic - getting it done, whatever it takes, doing it well and right and on time - and not having a healthy work/life balance?

To me, staying up all hours doesn't seem like a good balance. But then again, I'm a part of Generation Me (I think) and we don't really have a very good perception of what it means to be dedicated, loyal, hard-working, etc.

Extenuating circumstances, big projects, someone's sick and we've got to pull together .... I dig the overtime in that. But when I get paid, am I getting paid so that work is my priority? Should work trump everything?

In my mind, no, it shouldn't. To me, it's God, family, my health, then work. I don't think it's ok to ditch my husband so that I can finish a report or a project or a spreadsheet as soon as possible. I don't want to work much more than the standard 40 hours a week. I would get so pissed if Brian had to stop spending as much time with me because of work, on a regular basis.

Like I said, right now I'm ok because a lot of what I do at home is small scale stuff - searching through the shared drive, reading all kinds of things, doing some brainstorming. Nothing I can't work into a normal after-work life without getting behind.

I like my job, a lot. I love the people I work with. But I love my husband, and myself, more, and I fully intend on not ever letting work compromise my health or my relationships. Is that bad?


my computer ate my blog work

Just noticed that yesterday's entry isn't up. I think it got lost in the weird time warp internet lapse bumgle.

I have always had impeccable timing.

ETA: It's up now.


manic tuesday

I had a particularly long weekend and looooong Monday. And I learned a few disturbing things.

1. My husband and I, as a 2-person family, make somewhere between 60 and 70% of the area median income. This means we're poor. Not super poor, but definitely kinda poor. But apparently we're getting a good deal on rent, for our income (though not so much on the utilities. HELLO $2000 in unexpected heating bills, Winter of 2007! HELLO space heater and heated blankets, Winter of 2008!)

2. I am obese. As determined by the standards of 'average.' I maintain that I have bigger, heavier bones than average (runs in the family, seriously) so my target weight is higher than the average person of my height, so technically I might just be overweight. Imagine how disheartening it was to be me as a teenager when my first boyfriend tried to pick me up when he hugged me...and he couldn't, because I looked like I weight about 125 but actually weighed about 140. IT RUNS IN THE FAMILY.

3. I am high maintenance. At least a little bit. Apparently I'm worse when I'm stressed out...which is NOW. Knowledge is half the battle, and I think I've been a little better this week about shutting up and dealing.

4. I am self-absorbed and also a letdown. According to a particular family member (who by the way has reduced me to tears on multiple occassions already this year). He/she wants me to do something that work is preventing me from being available to do. I can't help it. The short notice isn't exactly working in my favor either. This is deserving of a big guilt trip and then stone cold silence, apparently. When people do/say/expect ridiculous things it's easy to brush it off. When it's the people you are forever bound to, come hell or high water, who cast you aside and blame YOU for being the problem, it's a little tougher not to ball up and cry for days.


give thanks

When I was in college I used to give into major self-induced guilt trips over not doing a morning and evening devotional. I lacked the time, and moreso, the interest. Most devotion books were too weak and watered down, and basically just lame. I tried a few good ones but didn't really devote much time or energy or money to finding anything really fantastic. Anyway. So one day I was lounging in an unrelated guilt trip over my self-centeredness and my lack of involvement in ... much of anything worthwhile, and the thought struck me: I do notice the small things and they make me happy. I do laugh easily. There is a lot out there that I know I see and am thankful for, if only I'd just notice it.

So I pulled out one of my empty journals (knitters have yarn stashes, handymen have hardware stashes, writers have journal stashes) and wrote down five things from the day that I could be grateful for.

I did this pretty consistently every day for the duration of my senior year in college, and a little bit on and off since then. I misplaced the journal during the Many Moves of 2007, but I found it again the other day. It was sometimes amusing, sometimes a happy discovery of a forgotten memory, sometimes a reason for sad reflection (or maybe GRATEFUL reflection that I'm not in the same spot anymore!!).

Now, I'm not sure what to do with it. It's the original record and it is only about halfway used up. Plenty of good writing space. Lots of memories associated with it - not all of them things that I'd like to memorialize...most of which pertain to a relationship in particular that I don't want to be reminded of regularly. It's the past. It's way-removed past. Part of me wants to keep it there...stash it in the 'old journals' box and start fresh. I don't want to be reminded of where I've been, the days when it felt like a struggle to find any joy or contentment or reason to live. That record doesn't belong at my bedside...does it?

At the same time, there's plenty of space left for the present and future. Lots of room for redemption and celebration and recording new joys and new challenges. Progress isn't much good if you lose sight of where you've been. And what's more annoying than a partially empty journal?

Any input?


the word birthday has a D in it

happy birthday to me! i turned the "big" 2-5, and have now moved up a checkbox in the age category on most consumer surveys. ah, milestones...

you will never guess what i did to celebrate the big day.

i mowed the lawn.

that's right people: i, the girl whose marriage vows went something along the lines of "I will clean every bathroom if you mow every lawn," the girl whose goal in life was NOT to EVER mow the lawn or otherwise do yardwork, the girl who had to go to three different websites just to figure out how to start the dang thing, have mowed the lawn.

well, most of it anyway. we have a really big back yard. i'll finish tonite.

in all honesty and fairness, i did other fun things to celebrate. my sweet husband did his best to make the day special despite his feeling like a bucket of snot with a migraine. he did cute husbandly things like install new ink cartridges in the printer, make me this tshirt he promised me a long time ago (but couldn't because we ran out of ink...), buy me some potted mini daffodils (apparently the cashier ladies loved that), and perform extensive research on which is the best wireless mouse in our price point. anyway. he's awesome. i just feel the need to exclaim.

we were able to make our first trip back to sticky rice - it's been a while, given some ironclad budget constraints. naturally we got the bucket of tots, and my two favorites, the yum-yum and the philly roll...mmmmmm, <3 smoked salmon....

i'm also sporting a new haircut, thanks to some mad money from fantastic in-laws, and every night we lounge through approx. 150 tv channels thanks to a cable upgrade from my mom. my brother sent me a gift card from one of the clothing stores i like - but he used our nicknames for each other, bubble butt and poopie. i'll let you guess which one is me. anyway, someone had to hand-write these names on the envelope. i got a chuckle thinking of what it'd be like to be that sales clerk.

my new workplace also threw me a really fun surprise thinger. it was super cute and made me feel really welcome, being the new girl and all. they purchased a toy car for me to keep here, because my husband and i share a car and he has it most days. also had tool-shaped candles, because that's what we do.

and finally, i haven't counted but i think maybe like 35 people posted on my facebook wall. score for the cyber-love.

all in all, a great day :) thanks to everyone who contributed!


go hokies

I remember. I was at work, in Durham NC. I was so scared. I hoped to high heaven that I didn't know any of them. I pulled up the photos and lists of people I'd met and worked with at the Skelton Center in October 05. I cried. I took the hokey bird home that day. I did NOT watch the news.

I couldn't breathe. I didn't know anyone.

The Hokes had been my friends. I spent a week as a guest in their home. I had fond memories of the place that was so good to me when life was unbearable for me in the depths of 2005.

After that, I pulled for the Hokies. I wore my maroon effects shirt proudly (unless Carolina was playing, of course!). I used a VT mug as a change cup so I could see it every day.

No one deserved this tragedy. Especially not Virginia Tech.

I worked for the Virginia General Assembly during the regular session 2008. I saw first hand the discussions of how to improve, how to make things better, how to prevent, how to care. I read a copy of the reports, I read the bill summaries, I listened to the lawmakers figure out their boundaries. It helped.

I pray for the families and for the students. I grieve as a friend, or maybe a neighbor. Or maybe an onlooker.

I love to root for the Hokies.


big newses from the weekend

in no particular order:

1. i finished and mailed off our NC taxes. looks like the state owes ME this year, but we'll find out for sure when we get audited, which i am convinced will happen...not sure why, it's not like we have any money!!!
2. all my hair is gone. ok, there's maybe 4 inches left. i'm humored by a photo from when i was maybe 4, and had nearly the exact same haircut. it was cute then, it's cute now. thanks to all the inlaws who sent me money!!
3. got my first paycheck friday...apparently now that i'm salaried, i pay FICA. didn't know about that...
4. saw juno, at the byrd. loved it. you should check it out if you haven't already, but i'm pretty sure we were the last people on earth to see it.... i wouldn't mind having a kid like her, altho i'd prefer to sidestep the whole teen pregnancy thing.
5. speaking of babies, my friends that nobody reading this blog know had their baby!!
6. BRITNEY IS OK. phew. and tiger failed to meet everyone's expectations. welcome to humanity, buddy. your wife is still a hottie, i'm sure...

i would also like to add that i have the best husband.


on musing diy

I come from hands-on people. I was the kid who took things apart to understand how they work. To this day, I have some disdain for digital because it's too 'magical' and you can't really see it working.

My people... you hand us a basket of parts, and we can put anything together. We love linkin logs and tinker toys and erektor sets and legos.

We play card games and board games, not video games. We garden. We knit and have wood shops. We join the scouts and the military. We cook and bake from scratch. We repair our own cars and our own plumbing. We prefer listening to records over CDs. When we open a business, it's carpentry or a yarn shop. We buy fixer-uppers and then we fix them up ourselves. We like blisters. We hug a lot.

We share our knowledge. Everyone is a teacher. Everyone is a learner.

This has been a wonderful way to approach the world.


What I wrote today

One of my 43 things is to write something every day. It's a good habit to have, and it's nice to reconnect to a part of me that I thought died in that crusty old building and all my subsequent head-injury trauma. Problem is, I'm a little bit insane right now with things to do. New job, big projects; 2 states and a federal government in need of my income tax reports; house that is not even unpacked from my move last August (and subsequent post-wedding mini-moves); and now, the annual springtime invasion of The Ant Army to ward off. And that's just the big stuff.

So I got my 43 things daily reminder to write every day a little while ago and decided to track all the things I'm writing today, even if they aren't exactly what I had in mind in the beginning.

1. Text for a Cans for Habitat flier
2. More than a dozen emails/messages
3. A nice long to-do list
4. A question/topic idea for the next set of Spiritual Shots

For a busy day full of doing stuff, that list sure doesn't seem very long...

Up for tomorrow:

-A program report
-Designing a summer camp program and writing the subsequent job description


back in the saddle, and wanting off

I am dreadfully busy right now. Work has me going nonstop through lunch and past regular business hours. I still haven't unpacked the most recent influx of worldly possessions from a retrieve-all mission to empty out my belongings from my mother's house. I haven't done any dishes or laundry or general house upkeep in more than a week. And the past two evenings have been gobbled up by constantly evolving tax forms.

As for the taxes, it's not exactly stressful, just a little confusing. I'm actually having the most trouble with something seemingly straightforward - education expenses. And I've been sitting on hold with the IRS for the better part of an hour in a crazy attempt to receive help. After this one question I have is cleared up, I'll be able to make all the additions and subtractions on behalf of Uncle Sam. Presumably we'll end up with a refund, which will further assist us in recovering from the financial stretch marks of unemployment.

And THEN I can begin the Va AND NC taxes. Remind me never to be a student, move to another state, and get married to a student all in one year ever again.

Anyway, all that is to say that I am taking a hiatus from doing/being/saying/writing anything of interest until I can get my personal affairs in order. Just in case you were wondering.


weak weekend recap

I feel so blah. This has been one of those weird not-productive-despite-my-efforts weekends. I've found it dreadfully hard to get anything done. ANYTHING. I didn't even grocery shop all the way. And this is going to be a very boring entry.

Part of it is the weather. (ps, still not sure if it's ok to complain about the rain...) Part of it is that I'm still tired from last week at work, and I know that last week was perhaps the easiest week I'll have in a while. I know I'm not the kind of person who can work more than about 6 days straight without turning into a robot, but I seriously thought I'd be ok bringing work home as long as I could sit on the couch in my PJs to get it done. Come on, it totally worked in college.

So that was Friday. Sitting on the couch in my PJs thinking about everything that needed to get done this weekend (helloooooo program write-up, job description for my soon-to-be intern, internet research on mesh trailers, and oh yeah TAXES...) and NOT actually doing any of it. If only thinking were considered productive!

Speaking of college...(didn't I say college a few lines ago?) Kyle and DH and I went down to Chapel Hill for the game. Kyle was the mastermind. He pointed out that we, after spending 4 years together at Carolina, never watched a basketball game in one of the bars on Franklin Street, and how many times would we be this close to Carolina and in the FINAL FOUR, and we totally should go.

I think this is the part where I point out that we sat courtside for the entire 2005 men's tournament. It's true. We're in the posters even. All you kiddies out there, you may make fun of the marching band nerds now, but THEY are the ones who will be sitting courtside when your team wins the national championship your senior year, and all you'll get is a tshirt.

So, I convinced myself that I could get work done, 1. in the car on the way down, 2. sitting in the bar between 2 and 6, and in the car on the way back up Sunday morning. I know. Either I'm an idiot, or I'm an evil basketball-loving genius. And now it's quarter-to-beditme and I'm about halfway through the intended workload, precariously balancing the line between working hard and burning out.

It does help that I'm working for a fantastic organization and with some of the most wonderful people I've ever worked with. I'm glad I held out for something that counts.

Did you notice how I've evaded mentioning the game? yeah...more on that later.


in memorium...sorta

One of my favorite soap characters died today. The character, mind you. The actor really was just leaving this soap opera (Guiding Light) for a different one (one of the ones that starts with A...I don't remember exactly which.). So no worries there, for you worriers.

I really liked this character. He was a good guy for the duration of my time watching (about a year and a half), and there aren't many folks who stay good guys that long in soaps. I think the thing I liked about him most was that he was really steady and stable, and he loved with abandon. When he was in love, he was totally there, all in, no holds barred, come what may. I related to that. (Need I remind you that my husband and I met and were married in less than a year?)

I liked the scene when his widow told him off, she was so pissed at him for dying. I can relate to that, too.


perhaps the greatest news of my young life

For those of you, like me, who were rocking the elementary school halls in the 80s, this announcement very well could make your quarter-century-aged life.

ps, who knew Jonathan became a real estate agent??


some of the ups and downs of temping

Before I landed my current job (the one I've had for a matter of days) I did a LOT of temping. I did long-term temps lasting months, I did short-term ones that were just a handfull of hours at a time, and I did a number of temps in between. I met a lot of really cool people (and a few uncool folks too) and gained a world of experiences that a lot of folks I know will never be able to relate to.

I think spending almost a year of having to 'jump right in' has helped me adapt to my current job - because I have to jump into a position that has been dormant for years, take information coming at me from multiple directions, and essentially take off. A year ago, I would have been hugely intimidated. I wouldn't know how to introduce myself via email, I wouldn't be able to synthesize the snippets of answers to 'what do you do' as quickly as I can now, and I'd be immensely nervous all the time.

Now, though, I'm used to having to hit the ground running. When you're temping -- if you're a temp who cares -- you're paid by the quarter-hour and you are NOT paid to sit there and muddle through and be nervous. You're paid to get your 5 minute introduction (if THAT) and then go at it.

At this point, I've worked in environments ranging from a Foundation to a scrap metal company to the Senate Finance Committee. I've worked with people who wear leggings and Elvis tshirts to work every day; I've worked with people who wear $300 (and even WAY MORE) suits every day. I know people. I know people who know people. There were many days when I was absolutely miserable and too many nights spent agonizing over every cent we'd spent in the past week or month or two months, but part of me wouldn't trade these experiences and new connections for anything.

It's been an adventure. It's been good (and sometimes really hard) training. It's helped me jump off for where I need to be today, tomorrow, next week....I wouldn't be able to do what I'm doing now if I hadn't been all over the map in the past few months.

Then again, I wouldn't have $700 in credit card debt and two grey hairs, either.


new job first day recap

I am sincerely hoping that this is not foreshadowing.

It says 'catastrophic failure,' for those who have to squint.