Happy Halloween

I love Halloween!! When I was a kid my mom ran a daycare in our home and every year the Halloween parties were awesome! Everyone showed up, even the kids that weren't active on her roster. There was bobbing for apples (usually from a string, rather than head in a bucket), a piñata, tons of candy and treats.  Then, at night, there was homemade chili and handed out candy.  Since then, Halloween has always held a special place in my heart.

Nowadays, Matt and I live in a community where we don't get trick-or-treaters.  It's not something new for us, when we lived in Waco we never lived in a place where we got them.  Here in Stephenville, the town holds a safe trick-or-treat on the square and everyone takes their kids.  So, we're offered a reprieve from the mob of macabre munchkins.  Our neighborhood, on the edge of town, is particularly dark and quiet.  We'll just turn off our porch light and spend the evening together watching some horror movies and maybe carving a pumpkin... of course, we'll have to get one first, but I'm going to send Matt to Wal-Mart later for some candy, just in case we get one or two (you believe that, don't you?), and see if he can pick me out a nice, round, nearly blemish-less pumpkin to carve!

Then, of course, there's NaNoWriMo!  It's the very last Halloween activity of the day, which technically happens after midnight.  But, like every other day of the year, if you're still awake at midnight it's really just an extension of the day, if that makes any sense at all?  So, NaNoWriMo is very much an event shared between Halloween & November 1st, which happens to be the first day of Día de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead.  NaNoWriMo kicks off with a ghoulish bang!!  I'm really looking forward to it this year.  If you've not signed up yet, it's not too late, and if you're looking for a writing buddy, you can find me by a click on the NaNoWriMo badge on the right-hand sidebar.

Wherever you are, whatever you're doing today, have a safe and happy Halloween!

Accepted!!

I had an absolutely terrible day yesterday, but today seems to be starting off much better!  I decided not to answer the calls from the evil people if they call today, which they haven't yet, but I'm sure they will.  I opened my school email box to find something awesome!  Check this out (click the image to see it larger):
I got in!!  The blank spaces are places where I took out things like student ID and password information.  Otherwise, the letter is as I received it!  The admissions is "conditional" because I've not graduated yet (fingers crossed!), and because they still need GRE scores.  I have a fee waver, which makes the test only $75, but I don't have it right now, so I'll be taking the test later, rather than sooner.  Luckily, I can attend one full semester as a grad student without them, which gives me ample time to take the test.  I'll have to wait for the forms after sending the fee waver and the testing fee, and then make an appointment to go to Waco to take the computerized GRE.  For now, all I have left to do is get a hold of Dr. Tanter and get her to remove my admissions hold so that I can register for the spring session when registration opens on November 2!
Wish me luck!

Pardon me while I wallow in self-pity...

I'm having a seriously bad morning, so far.  I thought yesterday was bad, ha!  At least yesterday, I could sit and hold a conversation without bursting into tears every two minutes.  Today, that's not at all the case.  I've been crying all morning, and where I'd normally say I had no idea what was wrong with me (which is normally at least a partial lie, but it's one I have to tell myself), today I have no such luxury.  I know exactly what's wrong with me, but that doesn't help me fix it.

I woke up to the phone ringing and thought I didn't get it in time, I called the person back.  Over the last two days, I've been dealing with a bit of business with someone who is utterly rude.  Yesterday, she threatened me.  Today, she threatened me, lectured me, and told me I was a bad person.  I know I'm having issues with this particular thing, and if there was something that could be done about it, I would do it, but there's nothing that can be done about it right now and telling me I'm a horrible person isn't going to make things better.  What's next, a gun to my head tomorrow?  I'm so angry and unsettled about this thing and I know that's the point of them calling, to upset me and make me afraid.  What bothers me the most is, it's working.

Then, once I got off the phone with that women and settled down a little bit, I called FAFSA to see what could be done about my financial aid issues.  Earlier in the week, I tried to file a new FAFSA for grad school and their system wouldn't allow it because I already have one on file.  My school told me to call FAFSA.  So, FAFSA tells me that nothing can be done, that I can't amend my FAFSA for this school year because I wouldn't have received my bachelor's degree by July 2009.  They said that I can wait until January and file a FAFSA for the next school year (2010-2011), but that won't help me at all with the spring semester.  Fan-fucking-tastic.  I admit it, I cried, again... and not just a little.  I'm such a basketcase today.

When I got done crying, I checked my grad school application on Tarleton's system and I've been granted a "Conditional Admissions" as a graduate candidate.  My understanding was that undergrads seeking to enter graduate school could be given full admissions, but I'm pretty sure the condition is the conferral of my bachelor's degree.  As long as I pass everything between now and mid-December, that shouldn't be a problem.  Of course, that's the trick, isn't it?  I'm really very worried about my ability to pull through Geology.  I have to take the make up for test #2, as I was on a field trip for my grad class that day, and the make-up is an essay.  I've never written an essay for a science class, but I figure I'll be okay if I study; I've written a hell of a lot of essays in my day.  I'm also pretty concerned about passing Ren & Reformation, Dr. C gives pop quizzes.  There've been four so far, I missed two of them, got a B on one, and failed the other.  Those quizzes are 30% of my grade, so I could make an A on everything else and still make a C or a D in the class.  It could be that I'm worried for nothing, there're more quizzes to come, as long as I take them and do okay, I should pass.  Fingers crossed all around.

After checking my application and finding that I had been admitted to the graduate program, I decided to give financial aid one final go.  I summoned up all the good feelings I could about having been admitted, that way I was less likely to cry, and I called the financial aid department at my school, which is always a little tricky, especially since they were terribly rude to me a few days ago.  They actually hung up on me earlier this week.  Ugh. Anyway, the guy I talked to was really nice, I couldn't talk to my counselor as she's out with the flu, but he asked another counselor about my issue and she said that when I got my acceptance letter, I could take it to Financial Aid and they could repackage me.  That means that I should be about to get financial aid for the spring!  I wasted all those tears on FAFSA for nothing.  Of course, it's yet to be seen, I never fully trust what they say until it's said and done.  They're not completely reliable.

So now, my biggest concern is that if I don't pass everything and graduate, than my financial aid is going to be messed up.  If I graduate, then them having repackaged my financial aid will be awesome because I'll have student loans to pay for my tuition.  However, if I don't graduate, then what's left of my financial aid for the year will be gone in a puff of smoke and I won't be able to pay for classes in the spring.  I suppose the only really good way to make sure that everything turns out okay is to graduate.  I'm really feeling nervous right about now, but by the end of this week, I'll only have about 6 weeks of school left and I'm hoping to make them awesome... but the truth is, I'm not feeling terribly awesome right now.  Depression is back, in full force, and worse than it has been in years.  I just keep telling myself that I need to get through this and everything will be okay.

I sure hope that when mid-December comes, I'm able to look at myself and know that it wasn't all a lie.  I want to be able to say that I gave it my all and pulled through and graduated.  I don't think I've ever wanted December so badly in my entire life.

To the vet, and beyond!!

It's been a pretty good day.

We took Anakin to the vet today.  I was feeling really trepidatious about the whole thing, fearing something might be horribly wrong with him.  He had a few spells where he stopped breathing and fell over, which was actually why we took him to the vet at all.  The first time he did it, a month or so back, I thought he was choking on the apple core we had given him -- apparently, it doesn't come back up as smoothly as it goes down.  The second time it happened he wasn't choking, that we could tell, so I got to thinking something horrible was wrong with him.  He's current on his shots and is generally in really good spirits.  He's got a ton of energy, is affectionate, and playful.  It's just those two things.  Then, Sunday, I was looking inside his ears when I noticed a huge ball of nasty stuff, so I thought he might have an ear infection.  Falling over, plus ear infection, equals vet visit.

I hate taking him to the vet for things like this.  Yearly visit, that's fine, he gets his shots, they draw his blood for the heartworm test, and we're off.  Everyone's happy and we go about our way.  Stuff like this, where he could be really sick, freaks me out.  My imagination runs away with me in a major way, I start fearing the worst, and by the time we get to the vet I'm just certain it's something horrible!  I love him and want him to be okay, and I worry.

Luckily, we have a really stellar vet!  When we first moved here, we were seeing a different vet.  We didn't have Ani yet, just Galileo and Chummer.  The old vet was the one that did surgery on both of the cats for blocked urinary tracts after we moved to Stephenville.  That was fine, and she was nice enough, but that's also where Chummer died, so we couldn't really go back there.  We both felt so bad about losing our baby, we couldn't bring ourselves to keep going to the same woman.  Also, she was a bit eccentric and I started to wonder if we could trust her opinion.  So, I set out to find us a new vet.  Now, we go to Arc Veterinary Hospital and they're fantastic.  We've seen Dr. Karen Hobbs almost every time we go there, including today, and she's so friendly and upbeat without being obnoxious.

The doctor checked him out and listened to his heart and said he seemed fine.  He didn't have an irregular heartbeat or any weird heart noises, and that heart problems are usually what causes spells of fainting.  We asked if it might be seizures, which she agreed it could, but that without thrashing, it was either unlikely or early stage epilepsy.  We got some Interceptor (heartworm prevention), she cleaned out his ears which was an ordeal but he doesn't have an infection, and gave us some pamphlets on seizures in dogs.  We also got some information about having him fixed, which I want to do but Matt's resistant to.  The vet says it won't change his personality, it'll just make him less randy and could prevent serious medical conditions, like testicular cancer, prostate problems, and urinary tract infection.  Matt just told me that if I want to get him fixed, I can, but on the condition that I don't talk about it with him and that he doesn't have to go when I drop him off for the surgery.  What a wimp!  My biggest, and really only, concern is that my baby would be having surgery, however easy it is on male dogs versus female dogs, and I'm afraid something will go wrong and he'll die.  I couldn't take that, so it's something I need to consider.  If you have any advice about this, I'd love to have it.

One final bit of awesome news is that our groomer, Chris, moved back to town!  I had no idea he was back, but when I was lamenting our grooming issues with "horror groomer" to my vet today, I was telling her that Chris use to groom Ani and that not only did he do a spectacular job, but that Ani LOVED him!  She told me that he had moved back to town and that they had his number!!  I was so excited!!  The second we walked in the door I picked up the phone and sure enough, not only was he back, but he's been back for almost a year!  I wish I had known, maybe then Ani and I wouldn't have had to go through all the grooming problems we had trying to groom him at home.  He needs a professional, I'm not it.

Anyway, the vet said that if he continues to pass out that we should document when it is and what was going on.  She also said that we should take a vid of him with a cell phone, which I don't have, but I do have a Flip Mino, so it shouldn't be a problem.  I guess we'll just have to see if I can remember, in the moment, to take the damn video.  When he's not doing well, I sorta freak out... okay, maybe not sorta.  I freak out, big time!  If it continues, she said she could refer us to a specialist who could hook him up to an EKG machine and observe him.  I hope it doesn't come to that, we can't afford it.  Maybe it's time to finally look into getting pet insurance?  I just don't know, but I'm considering it.  So, needless to say, we're still not wanting to leave him alone.  I was really hoping to go to the Corn Maze in West, TX on Saturday, since Halloween is the last day it'll be open this season, but I don't want to leave him alone, so we probably won't go as they don't allow even small animals in the maze.  Ah well, we can't really afford the road trip anyway, having just spent $112 to take Ani to the vet and another $30 for his grooming, which is tomorrow (yay!!).

All in all, I'm glad my baby is okay. Again, if you have any suggestions about any of this, let me know, I'm always happy to have another opinion when trying to make decisions, like whether to get him fixed.  For now, I think I've rambled on enough!

3-Layer Pumpkin Spice Pie

I've been meaning to post this for a few days now.  Before I start, I apologize for the lack of pictures from my end.  Maybe the next time I make it the pictures will come out better; the three or four I took of the pie were blurry almost beyond reason -- I really, really, really need to get a  new camera.  So, you get the photo from the recipe!  This pie is very fall and I love the fall!!
3-Layer Pumpkin Spice Pie

 2 pkg. (3.4 oz.) Jell-O Pumpkin Spice Instant Pudding
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 c. cold milk
1 graham cracker crust
1 tub (8 oz.) Cool Whip
1/2 c. whole pecans (optional)
1 Tbsp. honey (optional)
Beat Jell-O pudding mixes, milk, and cinnamon with a wire whisk until completely smooth (about 2 minutes).

Spoon 1 1/2 cup pudding into the pie shell and set aside.

Add 1 1/2 cup Cool Whip to the pudding mixture and mix, carefully, until blended (don't over mix, Cool Whip tends to flatten when it's over mixed).  Carefully spread mixture on top of the pudding in the pie shell.

Top with remaining cool whip.  Refrigerate for at least 60 minutes before serving.

If you decided to include pecans, cook nuts and honey in skillet on medium-low heat 2 to 4 min. or until nuts are caramelized, stirring frequently. Spread onto sheet of waxed paper, separating larger clusters. Cool. Sprinkle over pie just before serving.
I found this recipe ridiculously easy, mine came out looking almost exactly like the picture!!  I didn't make the pecans, because I don't like them, so it was a one bowl wonder!  The prep time was about 10 minutes, and only that long because it requires a bit of measuring and care when spreading on the layers.  It keeps in the fridge for days, which surprised me because pudding tends to turn watery in the fridge.  I liked it so much, I got the materials to make it again... twice!!  It doesn't actually have any pumpkin in it, and has a very harvest spice type flavor, so those not thrilled with, or allergic to, pumpkin will like it!  Matt even liked it and though pumpkin is starting to grow on him it's still not his favorite thing at all.  I'd say this pie was a hit, all around!
I also got the stuff to make a chocolate version of this pie.  The beauty behind this pie is, with a few minor substitutions (ie. a bit of cocoa for the cinnamon, different flavors of Jell-O pudding), it can be made in a lot of different flavors.  I think I'm going to try to make it Lemon at some point and rather than adding cinnamon, I'll add lemon zest!  There's an unbelievable combination of flavors that would work with this pie!  So, I'll let you know how the chocolate version comes out and you let me know if you made, and liked, this one!

Applied...

I am absolutely filled with nervous energy about my graduate school application.  I just submitted it.  Looking it over afterward, I noticed a few very minor errors -- I put four schools on the application, but neglected to put how many hours were earned at two of them, so hours earned for my schools looks really strange.  Seeing errors made me worry.  It's silly, really, but that's me, I worry about everything.  I've never felt anxiety like this.  All day, I've been pretty laid back, working on homework, talking to my mom, writing my admissions essay.  Everything has been fine. Then I hit send and suddenly, like someone flipped a switch, I'm feeling like I might be sick.  I hope they get back to me quickly, I don't know that I can handle the anxiety for long.

Gah, I'm such a basket case!

I'm pretty sure they got back to Melanie in like two days, so hopefully they'll be equally merciful to me!  It's Sunday, so I don't expect to hear anything until maybe midweek at the very earliest.  I'll let you know what they say.

This, That, & The Other

It's Saturday morning and I've promised the day to Matt, who's currently out having breakfast with his dad.  While he's gone, I wanted to throw a few random things at you:

First, I passed the Writing Proficiency Exam!!  I don't really think I could have failed it.  I'm an English major, if I failed the WPE, I'd have had to crawl under a rock and die of embarrassment.  My fear was more out of sheer paranoia than anything else.  I procrastinated to the very last moment, literally, giving myself no room for error.  If I hadn't passed it, I wouldn't have graduated, which would have been humiliating at very best.  As it is right now, everything on my degree evaluation says met (all the text is black, as opposed to the dreaded red where things are left undone), so as long as I pass everything, I should graduate in December!!

The second thing would, naturally, be that I'm going to be putting in my graduate school application this weekend.  I have to write a short essay of intent, which I'm terrified to do, but otherwise the application should be pretty simple.  All my transcripts are already where they need to be, so it's just a matter of filling in the info and paying them the $30 fee.  Right now, the short essay is my biggest, and most immediate concern.  I hate writing about myself.  Okay, scratch that, I hate writing about myself where it'll be judged by my academic superiors.  I'm happy to write about others all day, assign me an essay on Charlotte Perkins Gilman or Kate Chopin and I'm set, but make me write about my own plans and I'm pretty much screwed.  Wish me luck on my essay and application.  I'm sure I won't need it, my GPA is high enough, but it never hurts to have a little bit of luck!

Finally, I wanted to address myself to Jodi, and to Shannon.  I can't do so at Jodi's blog, as her comments are closed, so I'd like to do so here.  I just wanted to say that though you expressed that you don't think I'd be interested, I've read every word you've written over there.  Every single one.  I find your life relatively charming, actually, and think you write beautifully.  I hope you don't mind my doing so, I'm really trying to let all this tension between us go.  Frankly, it breaks my heart.   Good luck with NaNoWriMo this year, Jodi!   Shannon, I hope your tooth feels better and congratulations on the high praise for your essay!

Okay, I need to run, Matt just came in.  I hope everyone's having a really good weekend.  Tomorrow, I have a ton of homework, my grad school application to do, and football!!  I'm also going to try to post a recipe for a pie I made yesterday, with some pictures, because it's just that amazing!!  My goodness, I love the fall!!

Happy Saturday!

On Gender...


I found this gender subversion poster while browsing the net a few days ago and wanted to share it.  I'm sharing it because, more than anything, I like the statement it makes about gender and how we, as a society, understand and view it.   I like that it makes clear that traditional gender roles are often bunk, and more than that, can be damaging.  CrimethInc. has another poster I'd like to get, I'll share it with you another day.  The gender subversion poster is available in poster size from CrimethInc., and has two sides, if you're interested in seeing the back, it's here.

NaNoWriMo!!

It's that time again!  NaNoWriMo begins in less than two weeks, so I wanted to toss something out there about it.  If you have no idea what NaNoWriMo is, it's National Novel Writing Month, which occurs every November.  The idea is that you'll begin the month with a fresh idea and an empty word processor, and come out on the other end with 50,000+ words to show for the month.  It comes out to 1,667 words per day during the month of November, which is not asking too much at all, if you ask me!   Of course, I've been doing this for 6 years this year and I've only finished once.  It's not easy, but it's ridiculous fun!  The prize is self-satisfaction at having written a book (which is actually more like a novella, though Catcher in the Rye was only about 50k words or so, I hear), a nifty winner's button for your blog/website, and a printable PDF certificate declaring you a winner.  Don't you want to be declared a NaNoWriMo winner?!  Well, dontcha?!

I posted the link button and word count widget on the right hand sidebar.  The link is click-able, if you want to see my NaNoWriMo profile.  If you're planning to sign up, add me as a writing buddy, I can use all the encouragement I can get!  If you're not planning to sign up, you should do it anyway and add me as a writing buddy!

In preparation for this year's NaNoWriMo, I've made a video intro for the NaNoWriMo Viddler Group and I've made a banner for my forum signature.  I'm going to post the video here, so you can see it if you like, but no pressure at all.  It won't bother me if you want to pass, it's about 6 1/2 minutes of me rambling on and on about what I have planned.

I also wanted to share my banner, mostly because I'm really happy with it.  It's all part of the NaNo fun!  A lot of people make these really awesome mock book covers for their NaNoNovels as a way to get psyched up for the event.  I did one last year and it came out pretty damn good if you ask me! I may do one this year, too, I don't know.  It all depends on how antsy I get to start working.   I can't have idle hands where this is concerned, so the creativity goes other places.

My soon-to-be-written NaNoNovel is tentatively titled "Remembering Tomorrow" which makes more sense if you know what the book is above.  Sadly, I'm not sharing that right now, so you'll just have to use your imagination. Ha!  I don't want to jinx myself, you know.  I want to actually get this done this year!  You'll be hearing a lot about NaNoWriMo over the next two months or so as I prepare, write, and come down from the excitement surrounding the event.   I might post a character profile for my main character, who's name will likely be Nina, though that's not set in stone.

So, will you be doing NaNoWriMo this year?!  If so, leave me a comment with your NaNoWriMo username or a link to your profile so I can add you as a writing buddy.  If not, like I said above, go and sign-up and try it... and then leave me your username so we can be writing buddies.  Starting to sense the theme?!  Anyhow,  It's crazy fun.

I'd rather have wet feet!

I hate rubber rain boots.

Hate them!

I was on campus for two classes today and it's raining here.  Half the girlies around campus were wearing those god-awful, brightly colored, often hideously patterned, rubber rain boots.  You know the ones, you can get them at your local shoe store for $10 or so.  Ugh.  They should give the ugly things away, or better yet, pay you to take them!

When I was a kid, I had a pair and, quite honestly, I hated them then, too.  We also had snow boots (yes, it snow's on occasion where I grew up!), fur topped, and equally hideous to the rubber rain boots.  Who thought of this?  Whoever it was, they should be flogged with a rubber rain boot!

Honestly, I think they're some sort of fashion trend this season.  I mean, you'd always see them, but this year it seems to be 10x more frequently.  I cringe every time I walk past a girl in little shorts wearing a pair of bright blue, rubber rain boots with goldfish on them, or something equally silly.  I think that I'm actually a bit biased, I hate all boots.  I never wear them, I can't stand the way they look -- rain, snow, fashion, cowboy, combat, work, stripper, I don't like any of them!

I hope this fad disappears soon and rain boots go back to being unstylish, the way rubber clogs did -- though I have a pair of those hideous crocs and I love how comfortable they are!

I adore the rain, but I hate what it does to people's sense of fashion!

Twitter divided

I logged on to twitter this morning and was surprised to find the top trending topic was #nogod.  For those unfamiliar with twitter, trending topics are subjects that're being tweeted more than any other across the network and while I would expect to find #god, or #knowgod, #nogod took me off-guard.  Hash tags (#) are included for quicker cataloging on sites like search.twitter.com.  Anyway, I don't generally use twitter's website, preferring TweetDeck, but am glad to have logged on today.  I log on every now and then to approve/block people who were attempting to follow me, which is something I have to do every few days since putting my twitter profile under lock and key.

Now, before I go on, I want to express my disinclination to engage in a religious debate on this topic.  I have my opinions, those who know me likely understand them, but I also feel like everyone has a right to their faith, or lack there of.  Of course, how I feel about said faith, or faiths, is another matter entirely, but is not the subject of this entry.  Please don't try to debate this issue with me, I don't care what you believe or don't believe.

Alright then.

I admit to finding it refreshing that the other side seemed to have a voice today, even if it was just for a little while.  Culture is so christianized that everyone else is shoved to the margins.  If you're an atheist or pagan, for example, you simply cease to matter, and when you do matter, it's never in a positive, understanding way.  Today, on twitter, it seemed that the margin mattered.

Then I got to looking at it a bit more closely and you know what, for the most part, the margin wasn't represented.  Along with those who're more moderate and reasonable, the trending topic #nogod brought out all the nut-jobs.  Every radical christian and atheist came out to play and they were almost all unreasonable.  Atheists were screaming that there is no god.  Christians were screaming that when the rapture comes atheists are going to burn.  It's a proverbial, chirping madhouse and it makes everyone look bad.  Not everyone who posted on the topic is/was coming across as totally unstable, but certainly no civil conversation is possible under circumstances like that.  People were tweeting #nogod just to keep the topic trending or were fitting the words "no god" awkwardly into sentences where they didn't fit.  Others were using it as a question, like "#nogod?!", or a reason to tweet #godisreal over and over for the full 140 character limit.  I support free speech, but this was just ridiculous, and likely still is.

Then, to make matters worse, #nogod disappeared from the trending topics as quickly as it had come and everyone started screaming censorship.  If twitter is censoring, then I'm not sure it's something I want to be a part of anymore.  I disapprove of censorship in a way I cannot adequately express.  The suppression of intellectual property, even when it's garbage and can hardly be called "intellectual" is intolerable to me.  I am, however, willing to consider that the cries of censorship are nothing more than an unwillingness to accept that the #nogod craze got old and died away.  It's called "trending" topics for a reason, by the very nature of it being trending, it's going to lose popular interest after a while, even by the crazies and the radicals.

Ultimately, all that's left of the debate is #knowgod, which is still trending.  Imagine that.  #nogod goes away, but #knowgod remains.  I just can't help wondering if it's yet another case of everyone else falling by the wayside and if it is censorship, then shame on twitter.  For the time being, there's no proof that twitter censored this topic and I certainly don't want to be a party spreading falsehoods and stirring the pot unnecessarily.  Although, they did censor nasty words from trending topics recently, so maybe it's not so crazy after all.  I guess, in the end, I just wonder why adults can't act like adults and engage in civil conversation, even when it's over something like religion.  I've recently learned my lesson about throwing stones, which is coloring my opinion on this matter.  If I, on old dog, can learn a new trick, why can't everyone else?

Oh, the horror!!

I really like horror movies.

I just really needed to say that, before anything else, because it hasn't always been the case.  There was a time when I absolutely hated them.  When I was a little girl, everything scared me, and I do mean everything -- "Mr. Boogedy" scared me when I was a kid, okay, I'm talking serious horror phobia here.  It was a fear I carried all the way into adulthood, I couldn't watch horror at all.  Then, one day in my mid-20's, I realized quite suddenly that not only was I not afraid to be afraid anymore, but quite the opposite was true.  I actually liked horror movies.

So, with that in mind, let's move on.

With Halloween coming up, Wal-Mart is marking a lot of it's horror movies down to $5 -- we have a really nice Super Wal-Mart here.  They already have great deals on movies, so this is really great!  A few weeks ago, while browsing around Wal-Mart in the middle of the night (or favorite time to go to Wal-Mart) Matt and I picked up a few movies.  We got: "28 Days Later,"  "28 Weeks Later,"  "Hellraiser," "Candyman," "Poison Ivy," and "From Hell."  We also got "Taken" with Liam Neeson and "Point Break" with Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves, but I digress.  We've had a good time watching them together.  Some of the old horror is really amusing.  I hate to say that, and I'm sure it scared someone in 1985, but I find it so corny... all but Hellraiser, Pinhead and his girl friend scare me and they always will!

Matt's a huge fan of "Nightmare on Elm Street" and most of the "Halloween" series (with the exception of #3 -- when I bring it up he makes pained noises like he's dying).  I like both, they're always a winner when we're looking for something "scary" to watch, especially Rob Zombie's retelling of "Halloween" which is awesome.  The problem now, however, isn't that I'm too scared, it's that nothing seems to scare me anymore.  I watch horror movie after horror movie, ever subject to the perpetual disappointment of walking away unafraid. Honestly, it's annoying... and not just a little.  I want to be afraid.  The most recent movie to disappoint was "Shutter."  It stuck with me, but it wasn't scary.  Honestly, I walked away saying, "wtf? Who thought of that?!"  You'd just have to see it, seriously, it's... strange.

Anyway, "Shutter" aside, I really shouldn't say nothing scares me.  I should say almost nothing scares me.  I still haven't been able to bring myself to watch "The Blair Witch Project."  Every time I try to watch it, I get ten minutes in and have to shut it off.  Realistic horror scares the snot out of me.  So yeah, I'm a wimp who still hasn't seen "The Blair Witch Project," but one of these days I'm going to muster the courage to watch it.  The only other movie that scares me is "The Ring," which I was fine with until that brat started to climb out of the TV, and then I lost my nerve.  It's just not right.

So, now there's this movie everyone's yapping about, "Paranormal Activity" which is apparently really, really scary.  It's shot like Blair Witch, in that realistic, home video style.  It's a low budget film, something like $11,000 in total costs.  A dear friend saw it with a friend of her and she came back saying it scared the crap out of her!  Then, she said she was going to take her mom, so she could be scared too. Ha.  For me, I'm going to wait for it to be out on DVD before I see it, for two reasons.  First, it's not playing here.  Second, though I like to be scared, I rarely like to be scared in public.  I want to watch it at home, where I can turn on all the lights if I want to.

I'm not really sure what we're going to be doing for Halloween this year, we don't live in a neighborhood where we get trick-or-treaters -- which actually makes me really happy-- nor have we made plans.  Maybe we'll get all of our horror movies together and have a horror movie marathon!  It is a Saturday, which is perfect, we could carve a pumpkin and put it on the steps, have some apple cider, and watch scary movies until midnight.  Then comes the right fright, 12:01am on November 1st brings... *queue horror movie scream*... NaNoWriMo!!  But that, my friends, is a tale for another time!

On "Pretty"...

After all, I clearly have the pessimist covered.

So, do you like my new look?  I wasn't completely happy with the bleak pallor, so I set out to find something prettier.  I mean, this blog is called "Pretty Pessimist."   So, I went in search of the pretty and this is what I found. I really love it, I think it reflects me, and even Matt likes it.  Matt's a tough customer, he's flat out hated some of the themes I really like, so for him to like it, it must be cute!

I hope you like it too, but if you don't,  I'm sorry.  This theme allowed me to include sidebars, which I really missed with the white theme.  It's also far less stark in contrasts.  Let me know what you think, I always like the feedback!

Wherein, I worry...

Okay, so the process of thought that follows is probably going to sound ridiculous, and ranty,  and a bit paranoid, but I'm going to say it anyway.

I'm set to graduate with my BA in English in December (assuming I pass everything & the Writing Proficiency Exam, otherwise, it'll be May 2010).  I've been going to college on and off since I was 18 years old.  For quick reference, that's 13 years.  More off than on, really, but still, it's been a long time.  For that time, I have nothing but the pending BA to show, unless you count the writing certificate I finished with Long Ridge Writer's Group -- No?  Didn't think so.  Admitting that it's taken me 13 years to finish a 4 year degree is not my proudest moment and, in some ways, I feel like the time it's taken to reach this milestone has somehow made it less meaningful.  I should feel the opposite, shouldn't I?  I mean, college graduation is nothing to balk at, it's a huge achievement.  Some days are better than others and I feel like finishing this degree justifies all the time I spent working toward it, and I'm proud of myself for getting it done.  Frankly, where this degree is concerned, I'm a basket case of conflicting emotions.  What else is new, I suppose (notice this is not a question).

I remember graduating High School, in the stone age (ha!), thinking I had never been more pleased to be done with anything.  I hated high school in a way I cannot adequately express.  It was an awkward, difficult time in my life that, save for the ability to live at home and be taken care of, I would never wish to relive.  I truly hated compulsory education.  Hated it and thinking back, I think part of that was that high school teachers often don't give a damn about their students.  They're not there to make your life better, or to enrich your educational experience.  They're there to make sure you can read and do basic arithmetic, they're there to make sure you can pass the SAT or ACT, or whatever.  They're not there because they care about education, at least not in my experience.  This may be an unfair stereotype, but it's my experience.  I suppose it's possible that droves of uncaring students could suck the desire out of anyone, now that I think back on it, and I was certainly one of those uncaring students, so maybe I was more a part of the problem than it's solution, whatever that might be.  Either way, I wanted out of high school.   Then, when I got out, all I wanted was to go back.  I remember crying, thinking that I missed high school, because I didn't want to be a grown-up yet, and frankly, that's what happens when you're granted the diploma.  The real world presents itself and you can either grab it by the horns, or you can run away.  I did a little of both, in the absolute wrong ways, but I did what was right for me at the time.

Now, I'm about to graduate college, after years of effort in the endeavor, and rather than wanting out, all I want is to hide.  I'm having the opposite reaction to high school graduation.  I'm having an absolutely terrible semester, which I've been attributing to burn-out, but what if that's not it?  What if my bad semester is the result of self-sabotage?  What if I'm unintentionally, intentionally screwing it up?  Yeah, these things are starting to occur to me and frankly, they're not making me very happy.  I do want to graduate, my rational mind wants it desperately, but maybe my subconscious doesn't want that.  Maybe, I don't want to grow-up.  I don't know, but I'm sure that when this semester's over, I'll have passed everything, if not with flying colors, and will be conferred the Bachelor of Arts in English from Tarleton State University.  Then, I'll buy myself one of those huge wooden frames, budget withstanding, in which to place my prize possession, and I'll move on.

But moving on is the place I'm having the most issue right now.  So here it is, what I set out to say, before I got off on the tangents that brought me here.  I'm worried that having a master's degree is going to decrease my ability to get a job.  How silly is that?  Well, however silly, it's still a serious fear for me right now.  Yes, it's pessimistic, and probably untrue, but it's a worry.  I've been looking around at Monster.com, seeing what there is for someone with education in English, and honestly, I'm not terribly happy with what I'm seeing.  When you have no degree, it's hard to get a job because you're uneducated, when you have a bachelor's degree it's hard to get a job that pays what your education is worth, when you have a master's degree it's impossible to take jobs that're below your educational worth without looking like a failure.  Pessimistic and harsh, but I'm really quite fearful that it might be the truth.

Yet, there's that spark of hope in me that says that with a master's degree, I'll be able to get a good job, but that spark is crushed to death beneath the weight of the fact that I have zero work experience in the last 10 years -- see why I'm such a pessimist?!  That's right, none, zip, zilch, nada, zero.  I've not worked because I haven't needed to, but how does that look?  Terrible, to be quite frank.  Terrible and lazy.  Of course, when I graduate with my Master's degree, assuming I get a position as a  graduate assistant, I'll have 1 1/2 - 2 years experience.  I'll also be 33 years old.  I suppose my biggest problem is the fear that though I'm trying to do something to turn my life around, it's too little, too late.

It's really not possible to be too little, too late, because it's all I have left. I can't rewind, I can't finish earlier, I can't be younger than I am and I'm not getting any younger from here out.  All I can do is try to get in gear in a timely manner and reach the goals I have for right now.   The graduate school thing is my biggest, most present concern at this point.  It costs a lot to go to graduate school, I'm concerned the outcome won't be worth the cost.

Maybe I worry too much, but worrying is what I do best.  No matter how often I tell my brain to shut-up and stop worrying, I can't seem to make it listen.  I can't really talk about it with Matt because he tells me I worry too much or that I just look for things to worry about.  The sad part is, I think he's right, which makes it hard to talk about it anywhere, really.  So, I'm bringing it here, to my space, because it has to get out of my brain.  Time to buckle down and make sure that my subconscious mind doesn't win the battle, even if it wins the war.

Going Home

Though I live in Texas now, that hasn't always been the case.  I moved to Texas in 1999, when I was almost 21,  to be with Matt.  The decision that I should come here, rather than the other way around, was made because his grandfather was very old and Matt didn't want to leave Texas at that time.  We've lived here ever since, 10 1/2 years now.  Matt's grandfather has since passed away (actually, he passed away years ago), so there's not a lot to keep us here.  Right now, it's school.  We can't leave in the middle of school, especially once I begin my Master's degree as master's courses are non-transferable.  Once you start a program at a school, you have to finish it there.

So, after talking to my mom the other day,  I decided that it's time to go home. I actually miss Southern California. I miss being able to see my family on a regular basis.  I talked it over with Matt and when I graduate with my Master's Degree, we're going to pack up and move out west.  I'm really looking forward to it!!

Of course, there are a lot of considerations.  We're going to have to look for jobs, for a place to live, and move everything.  None of that is going to be easy or cheap, moving is ridiculously expensive.  We're going to have to do something with the house we currently live in, which belongs to my FIL right now, but I think he's going to give us when Matt graduates with his BA.  We're going to have to rent a Uhaul and pack it all up.  It's not going to be quick or easy, but it's something I really want and need to do.

It occurs to me we should start saving some money now, and over the next two years, so that when the time comes, we're prepared, but it's also possible my FIL will help us when he finds out we're moving to California.  I just don't know and it's not something I'm going to count on because there's no real reason to believe he would, or will.  I'd really like to put back like $100 a month over the next two years.  That way, we have a little bit of moving funds.  I'd like to move out there with enough money that we can pay for an apartment for a few months, say 6 or so, while we get situated.

There's a lot to think about, a lot, but there's plenty of time to plan between now and then.  The soonest we could move is early 2012.  I should, if everything goes okay, graduate grad school in the Fall 2011 semester.  After that, we'll have to go out and look for work and a place to live, before we can ever move there.  Thankfully, when I go out to look for work, I can stay with my mom and dad.  So, it's not like we're moving somewhere where we're all alone.

So there you have it.  Now we just have to get done here and figure out how to get out there and we'll be all set!

The Good, the Bad, and the Monday

Yesterday was Matt's birthday.  He had a good one, I think, though it was filled with highs and lows.  We went to Denton with Melanie and Joey because Melanie and I had a research trip for our Bib & Research class.  We had to go, so the boy went with us.  Matt was dragging early on, but I thought it was because he hadn't had enough sleep.  He didn't tell me he wasn't feeling well, he just sucked it up, which is not really like him.  I figure he just didn't realize he was getting sick.  We had a nice day (I'll get to that in a moment) and when we got home I ran out to Wal-Mart to get Matt a birthday cake and a gift.  I was gone about an hour and when I got back, he looked like the walking dead.  He spent the rest of his birthday sicker than a dog, as it were, and is still sick today.  Not sure what's wrong with him, but if I had to guess, I'd say he has the flu.  We called the doctor, they said to stay home, but to go to the ER if he gets pneumonia symptoms.  I feel really bad that he got so sick on his birthday.  He already doesn't particularly like birthdays, so this didn't help at all.

Our day, until we got home and Matt started throwing up, was amazing.  Seeing The Rare Books Room at the UNT library was a great experience.  The rest of the library there looks like any other, it's larger, but it's a library.  The Rare Books Room is filled with heavy wooden furniture and the walls are lined with glass display cases.  The first thing that caught me, before even walking inside, was the scent.  When the door was opened and my classmates began filing inside, a rush of cool air escaped, carrying on it's back the scent of old books.  I love the way books smell, it's one of the reasons I enjoy going to the library, even if I rarely check anything out.  Truthfully, I love the entire experience of books; I love the scent they develop when they're getting older, I love the way they feel, the silkiness of the pages, the size and weight of the book.  The display cases skirting the room's edges held all sorts of treasures.  They're currently doing a "Wizard of Oz" themed display, with all sorts of neat things, to celebrate the author of Wicked coming to Denton.  Another case held Dickens' A Christmas Carol on display, with little informational cards about the tale.  In the back of the room, they had a miniature book collection on display.  Inside the case was a tiny cuneiform tablet, a receipt for livestock.

The rare books collection librarian gave us a talk and showed up all sorts of treasures from their collection.  They have a facsimile of Queen Isabella of Castille's Book of Hours -- a book of hours is a prayer devotional.  It's embellished in real gold and we got to hold it, it weighed an absolute ton!  She showed us parchment bound books and an actual letter written on parchment from the middle ages.  She showed us an old document and told us how they made sure they couldn't be counterfeited.  The whole experience was utterly amazing.  We were all invited to come back and use their collection should we need to do so.  We had a very nice time and learned about something called Rare Book School, which is in Virginia and something I would love to attend should the opportunity present itself.

After seeing the rare books room, the meeting broke for the day and we set off for lunch.  Lunch was a small point of contention.  Matt wanted Pancho's.  If you haven't had this, Pancho's is a cafeteria-style, all you can eat, Mexican buffet.  It's fairly inexpensive, but I don't particularly like it.  I'm not a huge fan of Tex-Mex as it is and I detest cafeteria-style restaurants.  Joey also wanted Pancho's, Melanie didn't care, and we gave Matt two votes because it was his birthday.  We ended up having Pancho's, which was only about one block from UNT.  The food was okay, it wasn't fantastic, but it was okay.  I doubt Matt's going to want it again anytime soon, given that it couldn't have tasted as good coming back as it did going down.  It was a little unhappy about it, to be honest, because I felt like if we were in the Metroplex where we could have anything, we should have had something like Olive Garden.  Either way, we're in the Metroplex once every few years, so eating at Pancho's is not something we have to worry about again for a while.

After Pancho's, where everyone (including me) at way too much, we headed off to see what there was to see.  None of us know the area very well, or at all really, and we contemplated the zoo for a bit before deciding the rain would probably make it pointless.  We decided on bookstores, instead, and made a b-line to the nearest Half-Price Books.  Having never been to a Half-Price Books, I was eager to check it out.  Let me tell you, I thought I had died and gone to book heaven when I realized what Half-Price Books is.  We were there for about a half an hour, where Matt got four books for $8, before we headed off to Barnes and Nobles.  I was looking for something particular, which I didn't find, but we had coffee and browsed the books for a while.  Melanie saw something she was dying to have, a book about Stephen King, which I got her for her birthday!

By the time we left there and headed for home, Matt wasn't feeling good.  I could see it all over his face.  I asked him if he was okay, said that he was, and then promptly fell alseep for the duration of the trip home.  Joey fell asleep, too, so it was just me and Melanie to chat on the way home.  It was really quite nice.  I don't think, in all the years we've known them, that we've ever taken a road trip anywhere, even if that anywhere was somewhere fairly close.  I think we all had a pretty good time, even Matt, who wasn't feeling 100% wonderful.

When we got home, and I had gone to, and gotten back from, Wal-Mart he got really sick.  He told me he thought the aches were just from sleeping in the car, which he had been doing at a rather strange angle, on and off all day.  Nope, turns out he was sick.  Today, I'm not feeling great, but I hate (oops!!) have a test at 1pm (which I am sure to fail for the lack of studying), so I have to go to class.  I hope I don't get what he's got.  For that matter, I hope Melanie and Joey don't get what he's got.  Let's just hope the illness stays small and no one else has to get sick.  I've been pretty concerned about him, he had a lot of the symptoms of the evil H1N1.  The doctor said he should stay home, so that's what he's doing, and watch for symptoms of pneumonia, so that's what he's doing.  I hope he feels better soon.

On that note, I'm off.  I have to get a blue book for my test.  Wish me luck!

Small Town, Saturday Night

Saturday night came and rather than going, like it normally would, Matt and I went out and did something!  We're both homebodies, him more than me these days, so we don't go out much.  Last night, we went out with Melanie and Joey, and we had a really good time!!   We saw "The Accidental Band" (site/myspace) at Grumps here in Stephenville, had burgers and beer (I had a swirl margarita), and generally enjoyed the evening!

Several months back, Matt came home with a news paper, he was grinning ear to ear.  Turns out "The Accidental Band" was on the front page.  One of Matt's favorite professors, Dr. Craig Clifford (Philosophy), is the lead vocals for the band.  When I told him they were going to be here in town this Saturday he was eager to go and who could blame him, really? We were there from about 6-9pm so we were home before 10 tolls of the bell.  The burgers at Grumps are really good and the drink refills are free!  The fries are homemade, which is awesome and reminds me of home (think In-N-Out Burger).
The band was really good!!  They're very folk and all their songs are original, though I hear they also play the occasional  rockabilly and traditional folk.  One thing that really caught me about the performance was the harmonica.  Dr. Clifford can rock the harmonica!!  All the music was really fantastic.  Some of the songs are sad, while others are hilarious, but they all have something identifiable by anyone who's living in the south, and more specifically in Texas.  There were moments I thought I might cry, though sometimes those tears were born of sheer amusement.  My favorite songs have to be "The Libneck Anthem" and "Me and David Rodriguez" (both of which I've added to my myspace profile playlist, if you want to hear them).  All the band members were really nice and even signed my CD!!  Though, I have to say, I feel bad because I got them to sign it to me and not Matt.  He looked a little disappointed.  Bad wife, bad!

I have to say, overall, I spent so much time smiling that my jaws started to hurt.  My face was tired and every time I took a sip of the margarita, my jaws tightened up.  It was painful, but in the best possible way.  When I told Matt, he said I should practice working those muscles and smile more.  Ha!  How little he knows me sometimes.  I definitely think we'll be going again, next time they're in town.  They're going to be at the Line Camp in Tolar in a few weeks, and though I'd really like to go, I don't think we're going to make it -- besides it's outdoors, BRRRR!!!  It was also nice to see our professors outside the university, just having a good time.  Several of the other profs showed up to see the band and have a few beers.  It was almost surreal!!

All in all, a fantastic, inexpensive way to spend a Saturday night in Stephenville.

*Note: The image above was taken by Dr. Mallory Young.  It is not of last night's show, but of the May 08 show at Grumps.

No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake

In an attempt to turn all this gloominess around, I bring you something sweet.  I get recipe's in the HEB newsletter a few times a month.  I normally look them over and then delete the newsletter without a second thought.  A few weeks ago the mailer was Halloween themed, wherein there was a recipe for No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake!!    I got the ingredients, and when I was feeling blue on Sunday, tossed it together.  It was delicious!!

It was so good, in fact, I wanted to share the recipe.  It was so good, even Matt ate it and he hates pumpkin.  He said, "This is great, maybe I should give pumpkin another shot."  He also said he prefers traditional cheesecake.  Can't win them all, I suppose.  I even took pictures and you cannot even imagine the looks I get from Matt when I'm taking pictures of food.  The man just doesn't get it sometimes!!


No-Bake Pumpkin Cheesecake

1 (8 oz.) Package of Cream Cheese
1 (15 oz.) can of Pumpkin
1/2 c. Sugar
1/2 tsp. Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 1/2 c. Cool Whip
1 Graham Cracker Crust

Combine softened cream cheese, pumpkin, sugar, and pumpkin pie spice in a large mixing bowl.  Beat until mixture is completely smooth.  Add Cool Whip with a wooden mixing spoon until the whole mixture is a pumpkin-gold color.  Pour pie mixture into graham cracker crust and refrigerate one hour or until it's completely set up.  Always refrigerate what's left of the cheesecake.

The recipe is really easy, one bowl prep.  It took me about 5 minutes to put the whole thing together and it came out great.  Next time I make it, I'm going to add half again as much cream cheese.  My cheesecake didn't set up real solid in an hour, could be that I added too much cool whip.  Could be that it's a really soft cheesecake.  I'm not sure.  Either way, it tasted great and looked beautiful when I was done with it!

If you decide to make it, let me know what you think!  If you have any suggestions for improving upon the recipe, send those my way, too!!  I think there's still a piece in there and I'm off to have it.  Enjoy!

Misunderstood

I'm having a hard time saying what I want, or need, to say right now.  That doesn't change the fact that I need to say it and staring at a blinking cursor isn't helping it get out.  I'm feeling a bit, well, hurt.  There, I said it.  It's out.  Now, maybe, I can explain it.

Over the last week, I've been having some issues with some friends.  Apparently, several friends from high school, who I had become friends with on Facebook, take exception to my lifestyle.  They don't like that I'm childfree, that I don't appreciate organized religion, and that I'm liberal.  I had a very minor run in with one of them after I mentioned that I was going to do some housekeeping on Facebook (she asked if I was removing "mombies and fundies"), in which I felt attacked without provocation.  I later removed her (along with everyone else I went to high school with and some of my old WoW friends) from my Facebook.  I needed to clean it up and get some of my privacy back.  I suppose that even though I blog, and put myself out there, I still need somewhere I can go where I'm not completely exposed.  Apparently blogging makes me self-righteous and diluted.

Shortly there after, I got a not-all-together unexpected letter from her, in which she a lot of hurtful things.  She said hating moms is the same thing as being racist and that because I wanted a baby when I was 18, that I'm not childfree. I got the impression she believes I'm a basket case who's using the childfree label to account for some sort of psychological issue.  I've been called a lot of things for choosing to be childfree, but a lying, racist, headcase has never been one of them.  Sadly, while she leveled accusations against me for something she inferred (that I consider her and her sister breeder mombies, neither of which are true), she showed just as much intolerance for my lifestyle as she accused me of having for hers.  The email was peppered with compliments, she called me smart more than once, said she admired me for being able to put my unpopular opinions out there, but the overall tone of the email was incredibly hostile.  I emailed her back, explained my side of the issue as carefully and honestly as I could, but haven't heard anything yet.  It would appear, on further reading, that she feels sorry for me for not having kids.  I hope to hear back from her because I really don't want her to misunderstand me.  If she wants to hate my lifestyle, I want it to be because she actually hates my lifestyle, not because he misunderstands it or infers something horribly wrong about my feelings and beliefs.

It's funny, actually, because the email suggested that I'd write about this here, which is honestly not something I had intended to do.  I was going to keep it private, but decided against it after seeing something today that changed my mind.

While browsing around the net, I came across a blog started by one of the friends I removed from my Facebook -- previously mentioned friend's sister.  She and I had been writing back and forth for a few months via facebook, so I felt we were on really good terms.  I read through her blog until I came upon the first one, posted in August, in which she calls me a "liberal, child-having, lazy...uh... friend?"  She didn't use my name, but the context is clear and here I thought we were on good terms.  She had emailed me a few times, expressed interest in my blogs, said she felt I was a good writer.  The emails between us were always very cordial, in fact, friendly and when I removed her from my Facebook, it wasn't without a great deal of regret.  The only reason I removed her, to be truthful, is that I felt I couldn't remove the others without doing so.  She and I even maintained a friendly, if somewhat sporadic, correspondence on Facebook after she wrote that in August.

I suppose, in addition to being hurt, I'm a bit surprised that she smiled to my face (so to speak) after saying such hurtful things.  If she didn't want anything further to do with me, she should have said so.  We're all adults, it would have likely hurt my feelings, but not nearly as much as finding this does.  I really want honesty and to be understood, not to be called names and have hurtful accusations leveled against me.

Sometimes, we grow apart, and the gap widens, until we're standing on opposite banks, looking toward something we don't even recognize anymore.  We reach the point of no return, when the only emotions that can breech the gap are the painful, hateful, hurtful ones.  I just wish I understood why what they think is bothering me so much.  Maybe, it's because before all this I still considered them friends.  Even though in the past we've had some issues, I still want them to see me for what I really am and to think I'm, like I do, that I'm a good person, something they clearly don't.  I suppose it's the people from the past, the ones you care about despite yourself, that are most capable of hurting you.  I know people I've met since I've been an adult, people that know me now, who don't have nearly this much power to hurt me.

It bothers me to be judged and misunderstood, especially be people who have no business judging me.  In light of it all, there are a few facts that remain eternally true.  The first is that I'm comfortable, if not completely happy, with my life and who I am.  I like being childfree and though there are some childfree people who're hateful, I'm not generally one of them -- contrary to popular beliefs, I don't hate moms, I just dislike children.  I have a lot of insecurities, that doesn't mean that having a baby can fix them, especially considering that I've never met a mother without insecurities of her own.  I may amount to nothing, yet, but I'm only 31 years old and not having a "traditional" career doesn't make me less.  I'm still working on my BA, it's taken me a long time, but I've overcome a lot of hurdles to get where I am and I'm proud of myself.  I may be overweight, but that doesn't make me lazy.  I may not be completely financially stable, but that doesn't mean I'm trash.  I may suffer from depression, but that doesn't make me a headcase.  I may not like organized religion, that doesn't make me an immoral heathen.   Finally, and this one is important, I do not need, nor do I want, your pity.