Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Bye Bye Summer

Well, the summer is officially over and school's back in. Everything's been so busy since yesterday, I didn't have time to write until now, when it's nearly bedtime here. I'm watching Priest, rather than going to sleep, and figured now would be as good at time as any to update. There have been so many meetings, so much to do, and so little time to do it all. So here goes.

I think I mentioned that I passed my comps. By the time I found out, everything was just about back in full swing, so I really didn't have much time to worry over the coming semester and what it would mean to have my own classes. It was actually Sunday night before I realized that in one day's time, I would be in the classroom, and though I worried over it a little bit, my nerves weren't nearly what I felt like they should have been. I only realized I was worried at all when I felt myself being nasty to Matt. Poor guy, he takes it so well and there's no good reason to be ugly to him when he wasn't the source of my angst.

Monday flew by in the blink of an eye. Standing up there, in front of my classes, it wasn't so tough. I found I'm pretty okay with it, which is a good sign. It means I'm becoming desensitized to speaking in front of crowds... finally. Amen. I still feel a twinge of anxiety, but nothing compared with the crippling fear I felt a few years ago. This job has been great for my psyche, even if it has been torturous to face that particular fear. I've done it and I've felt good about it. Now, I know I can do it and trust myself not to falter when I don't have any choice but to speak.

Today, I had Internship meetings. Internship is the class that gives me credit for teaching the classes. It's just myself, my friend, and our professor, so it's a small gathering, but we have a bit of work for that class, too. Papers, discussion boards, the like. After the meeting I went shopping!!  I got three new blouses, the dye and developer for my hair, and a video game for Matt (he loves Madden!!). All in all, it's been a pretty good day. Busy, but tomorrow will be the more so.

Tomorrow, I get to meet with my committee chair in the afternoon to discuss my comps. She's going to tell me where I did really well, where not so well, and how I might adapt some of the information for my thesis. It should be an interesting meeting, and one I'm really looking forward to. That is, after I've conducted my classes and done my office hours. Office hours have so far been uneventful, but they give me time to work on my thesis (assuming I can focus on that and stop chatting with friends the whole time), so I'm grateful. I'm sure as the semester progresses, I'll get more students during office hours, but so far, it has been very quiet.

I have a few other things, but I don't really feel like talking about them until I have more information. I apologize for the scattered, somewhat nonsensical nature of this entry, I'm exhausted already and it's only Tuesday! off to finish watching the movie--Priest is vampires before bedtime--then it's sleep. Goodnight!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

7 Things I Love...

I thought it might be fun, since I'm in such a good mood right now, to share a short list of the things that rank highest on my list at the moment. I'm so rarely upbeat about anything, I thought it might be a nice change of pace. Maybe next time, I'll do a list of seven things I hate (ha--bet I could come up with a lot more than seven things I hate!!).

1. Romantic Comedies

Believe it or not, I love romantic comedies. The kicker is, I don't much care for romance movies, but make it a comedy and you've got me! Poor Matt is absolutely tormented by my adoration for romantic comedies... I'm pretty sure if he see's The Proposal, Maid of Honor, Leap Year, The Ugly Truth, or Mama Mia! again, he's going to revolt. Poor thing!

2. Blueberry Tea

Nothing is more fantastic than this... nothing. It's amazing. If you haven't tried it, try it. The scent, the flavor, everything about blueberry tea makes me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside. Yes, I realize it's summer, but I just love it so much. In fact, I recently made iced tea out of and wow was that good!

3. True Blood

Most particularly, Eric Northman. Season 4 of True Blood is absolutely amazing. While the plot line really isn't as compelling as the other three seasons, seeing good Eric has more than made up for it. Alexander SkarsgĂ„rd is so, amazingly hot. Who doesn't love him, I mean, really?!

4. Dice

Yeah, pretty much a no brainer. I love everything about them: their shape, their weight, their size, their colors... everything! As a matter of fact, I'm getting myself the above pictured set (the right side of the image is a schematic image) as a reward for passing my comps, even though they're $90! They're one of the most unique sets I've seen and soon, they'll be mine!

5. The Gothic

Before I really started studying the Gothic for my thesis, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Now, I absolutely love it! Not just the modern Gothic, or the traditional, but the whole genre. There is a special kind of joy in finding something you really love to study, and going for it. For me, the Gothic is it!

6. November

November brings NaNoWriMo and what's not to love about that?! I've been doing it for 6 years, 7 years as of this year. I think, though, that this year I'm going to pass and not do it. It's taking a huge amount of willpower for me to not participate. I love the whole experience, but this year, with my thesis to write, I hardly have time to put November aside for something fun. What a bummer. Next year, I am all over it!

7. Football

If you had asked me, before the end of the 2010 football season, if there was anything about football I didn't love, the answer would have been an unequivocal no. I loved everything about football, everything... then the lockout and the debate about the 2011 season, and I was absolutely heartbroken. I actually shed tears of happiness when I heard the season was on! Now, Peyton Manning is questionable to start, but I'm okay with it. Just give me my football!

So there you go!  This list was going to be 10 things, but I decided that would be entirely too long and I'm working on scaling back the length of my posts. They're entirely too long!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Comps Passed!!

Well, it's official, I passed my comps!! My graduate committee chair, Dr. Y, wrote to me this afternoon and said that I had passed with "a unanimous passing evaluation from all three... committee members." You cannot imagine how happy I am. Well, okay, if you've done this you know exactly how happy I am!  I was so, so worried--as you may have previously read--but hearing that I passed made every second of the worry worth it. I am on top of the world. I literally squealed with happiness!!

Matt took me out for pizza and got me a pumpkin pie milkshake to celebrate while I texted my mom and best friend to tell them the good news. He's even given me free reign of the TV tonight, but I think that's probably because it's summer and there's is nothing on on Wednesdays.  So, I'm using my celebratory TV time to watch Mama Mia!, Pride and Prejudice, and maybe some of those Marilyn Monroe movies he hates and never let's me watch. Nothing like making him regret he didn't give me crap about my choices by choosing movies I know he hates!

So, now that I'm done with the comps and have made a successful go of it, it's back to the grindstone. I have to work on the corrections for the first chapter of my thesis and prep for the semester, which starts on Monday. Prepping means making copies of the info sheets and syllabus for my students, putting Blackboard together, and attending departmental meetings. Tomorrow I have the new graduate student orientation, where they've asked second year students to say a little something about their experience. Friday, I have the composition faculty and English department meetings. Then, next Wednesday, I have a meeting with Dr. Y to discuss my comps and how I might expand on part of it for my thesis. Really looking forward to that meeting!

So yeah, this probably means very little to anyone but me, but that's what this blog's about, having something to look back at.  The important part is that I passed my comps. I passed them, with unanimous approval, and I feel great about it!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Waiting Game

Well, my comps are over and the waiting game is in full-swing. Honestly, who's tired of hearing me go on and on about my comps? I am, for one, so others must be too. Unfortunately, it's literally the only thing on my mind right now. I should be nervous about the coming semester, where I'll have two classes of my own (50 students), teaching a subject I've not taught before, but I can't even summon up the tiniest shred of fear about it. All I can do is worry over my comps. I think about it from the time I'm awake in the morning, until I go to sleep at night, and then I dream about it. I literally can't do anything to get my mind off of it.

Honestly, I think if I was certain I had done well on the first one, I wouldn't be so freaked out. The second test, I'm sure I did pretty well. I don't feel like I could have done any better, at any rate, so I'm not worried over it. I said what I needed to say to answer the question competently, knew what I was talking about, and the paper was well proofread. I'm sure there's a small error here and there, but nothing to worry over. It's the first test that's got me worried. I think the material was good, but the errors are huge and that makes me worry that I failed it.

And, the longer it takes for my committee chair to get back to me, the more concerned I get. It's past the time she said I'd probably hear, so my brain has convinced me that I've failed the first test, and gone into worry overdrive. My body is seriously trying to alternate between the desire to throw-up and the desire to burst into tears. Somehow, I don't think my body was made to gracefully cope with this amount of worry, yet I'm such a worrier. Thanks physiology, really, I appreciate your unwillingness to work with my brain on this one.

So, I've been debating whether or not I should email my committee chair and find out if she knows anything yet. Part of me says that she'll email me when she knows whether or not I've passed. The other part of me is screaming that it can't hurt to email, except that I'll look like a basket-case who can't gracefully wait for my results like an adult. The problem is, I can't gracefully wait for my results. I should be to the point where I'm resolved that I can't do anything about it either way, but I'm not kicking into that gear for whatever reason. So, the wait is excruciating.

I can't eat, which might be a good thing, lord knows I could benefit by it. I can't focus on playing the any of my games. I can't work on my thesis because looking at it reminds me of my potentially failing comps exam. I can't read because I can't keep my mind on the page and not wandering to my comps. I wonder how people who have to wait longer deal with it? I would literally go insane if I had to wait too long... I may be heading down the path now and I've not been waiting that long. I literally check my email every five minutes, but on the upside my brain tells me every time that there's nothing there and I've started to get use to it being empty.

Anyway, enough of this for several reasons. First, it's annoying to complain all the time, and not just for myself. Next, It's making me more worried (if that's at all possible). Finally, because I can't do anything about it right now. So, I think I'll go try again to focus on anything but the comps and though I'll fail, at least I'll have made the attempt.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

One Down, One To Go...

Well, I've taken my first comps exam. It was yesterday, at 9am and thanks to my obnoxious brain I only managed to get an hour and a half sleep. I went to bed at 10pm the night before and watched every single hour tick by until 4:30am, then, I got up at 6am. Not good, I was so, so tired. I managed to write 11 pages, in all, over the course of three hours.  Let me tell you, unless you've tried to write everything you know about a subject under serious time constraints, you don't quite realize how little time three hours really is. But when I was done, I was so amped up.

Unfortunately, now I'm feeling about like I might want to crawl under a rock and die. When I left the test, I actually felt pretty good about it. I got a lot of really good information into that 11 pages, and still didn't manage to have time to get everything I could have in. Every time I thought I was done and went to editing, I remembered more things I needed to add. In the end, I only have about 20 minutes to proofread 11 pages and that is seriously not enough time.  I only got it half edited, and looking back on it, let me tell you the second half could have seriously benefited by editing.

You see, I managed to leave out commas where there really should have been commas, I used the entirely wrong word on two occasions, I realized, too late, that one of my paragraph lead-in sentences is misleading, and the last sentence of the essay has two extraneous words that cause the sentence to make no sense, oh and because of the default settings on the computer I was using, my margins were .25 too wide on the right and left sides. Now, I'm so nervous that these grammatical errors are going to cause me to fail, even though I have what I feel is really good information. I am freaking out and even if I pass, the three professors I respect the most are going to think I'm a complete idiot!

Anyway, I was relating my worry to a friend tonight and he said they're more interested in content than they are in grammar, but still... this is more than one or two errors. Now, I have to study for my second comps exam and I can't stop worrying over the first one. My thesis committee chair said that I'd hear back from her early next week, but I'm afraid I'm going to worry myself into an early grave over this whole thing long before next week comes. Have I mentioned I am seriously freaking out? Have I mentioned that I want to crawl under a rock and die from embarrassment over my less than stellar performance? Yeah, thought so.

So, I figure that what I need to do for the second test is streamline down the amount of information I put into the essay to leave more time to edit. When it comes editing time, just work on proofreading and ignore my brain's impulse to add more information when my essay is good without it. I really need to show them a good essay, well proofed, to make up for the complete fail on proofing the first essay. I also need to get more sleep so my brain will function in proper working order... rather than at 20% like it was on Monday morning.

Y'all cross your fingers for me, I really need to pass this thing--if I don't, my humiliation might just multiply beyond what's bearable and I won't be able to show my face at school again. I'm so nervous... sooooooooooo nervous.  Hopefully good information will get me there, but I think I'm always going to be just a touch ashamed of myself for letting time run so short and for allowing myself to turn in such a poorly proofread comps essay, no matter how good the information might have been.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Self-Acceptance, At Any Size

I don't talk much about my weight. Maybe you've noticed, maybe not--weight isn't usually a topic of conversation because, like many things about me that you may not know, or that I may not talk about, it's just something I live with. I don't talk about the fact that my eyes are blue, either, but they are. I have suggested before that I need to lose a few pounds, but I never really talk about clothes or body image, or anything having to do with being a plus size gal because I like to think that size has nothing to do with who I am on the inside, with my personality, or my intellectual capability. But, that wouldn't be entirely truthful, would it? Being self-conscious about my weight, or being less able to keep up, or being worried that I'm being judged, or taking the elevator because taking the stairs is just humiliating, does affect my personality, and it often affects who I am on the inside because there're times when inside, I feel so ugly; not physically ugly, emotionally ugly. The only thing it doesn't seem to affect is my intellect, I'm a smart woman, it's taken me years to feel comfortable enough with myself to say that, but you know, it's the truth. A girl's got to have something going for her, right?

Recently, though, my weight has been on my mind more than usual. Maybe it's because, over the summer, I managed to gain 10 or so pounds. Inactivity, together with too many carbs (I'm shamelessly addicted to cake!) will do that to you. It's also because I'm about to go back to work, and while work means dressing professionally, it also means something much more frightening; it means standing up in front of 50 students and trying, sometimes unsuccessfully, to be comfortable enough in my own skin to get my mind off of worrying that I'm being judged for my appearance and onto teaching my students to be competent writers. Easier said than done, but I found, over the last year, that students don't give a damn what their instructors look like and if they do they're smart enough to keep it to themselves. Also, I've found that I'm a pretty good lecturer, when I put my mind to it, and that standing up there, the fear of everything else takes a back seat. I can only hope that this year I find the same experience. Finger's crossed.

Now, back to that whole dressing professionally thing. Ever since I was young, my attire of choice has always been jeans and t-shirts. I have a wonderful loving mother who has always tried to talk me into dressing more like a girl, and less like a tomboy. For a long time, I didn't care what people thought of my look, I was comfortable and going to school, or Wal-Mart, or wherever isn't a beauty contest. When I was an undergrad, I wore my jeans and t-shirts, pulled my hair back, and skipped on the make-up. Who cares what my classmates think of me? I'm married, I'm not looking to attract a man, and my professors care more about my brain than they do about my body. So, comfy clothes it was.

Now that I'm working in a professional job, at the University, I've begun to care how I look. I care what my clothes and shoes look like, whether my haircut is professional, whether my make-up is done--I even care when I'm not at work, and I find myself looking at plus size blogs, "window shopping" at plus size websites, trying to figure out what styles will flatter my once-hourglass-now-pear shape. But, caring about all of that has made me much more self-conscious, too, and unless you're a plus size woman, you have no idea what it means to being uncomfortable shopping--unless you happen to be one of those women who have the opposite problem and are so skinny that you can't find clothes, either; I feel for those gals. The fact is, I can't just go to the mall and shop for clothes in any one of a dozen stores meant for girls who wear size 6. That's nothing new, when I was a teen I couldn't shop there, either. I've always been curvy, but I'm bigger now than I was then.

So, until recently, I shopped almost exclusively at Lane Bryant because I was sure they would have my sizes. And, they do, but they're also quite expensive and I can't, at this point, afford it. In recent years, my in-laws have been nice enough to take me shopping on the tax-free weekend (in August) and buy me some clothes for school/work. Even still, another issue I take with LB, something I've noticed recently, is that their models hardly count as plus size. Yes, they're bigger girls, but they're pretty damn skinny for plus size--sort of reminds me of Tyra Banks saying she's "plus size". I'd say none of them are above a size 12 or 14. Since the national average for women is size 16, seeing size 14 models in a catalog, or on the website, for a "plus size" store is, well, it's kind of insulting, actually.

Not exactly inspiring for those of us who shop there because they're a plus size store. So, when I'm buying my own clothes, I usually shop at a local place called Cato. I'd love to shop at Fashion Bug, but we don't have one, and I don't know where there is one. Cato is pretty neat, actually, because they have their store divided in half, one side is for plus size gals, the other side is for smaller gals. I don't have to roam around looking at size 6 racks, and I know that everything on that side of the store will fit me. Oh, and their clothes are really cute and very, very well priced. They have great clearance sales, with some amazing items. I actually lived here 6 years before I ever set foot in there, because I was always under the impression that the "plus size" on their sign was 12-18 and, if we're being honest, that wouldn't fit me. I was quite happy to learn otherwise, and so was my pocketbook.

I also love Torrid, and they're a little bit better with the models, but, there are things I'd like to have that all of those stores don't really carry. I love vintage styles. I love the rockabilly dresses, LOVE them. Now, does that mean they'd look good on me, no, but I'd like to at least try. I considered trying my luck sewing one, but there were two problems with that. The first, I'm not a good enough seamstress to sew garments yet. The second, all the vintage patterns are tiny sizes because, apparently, women in the 40s were teeny. Then, I found Modcloth.com, which I love, and while I can shop their shoes and accessories, their amazing vintage styles are out of reach because they're all tiny sizes. A friend pointed me to PinUpGirlClothing.com, and while they carry plus sizes in some of their things, they're small plus sizes--their shoes, however, are to die for, and they're very reasonable.  Let's just say, I was quite disappointed by both sites. Part of me says that I need to lose weigh when even the smaller plus sizes aren't fitting, but the other part, the part that's trying to be comfortable with who I am while I try to slim down, is screaming that I shouldn't have to lose weight to be able to be fashionable. Bigger girls deserve to look just as good as the smaller girls, in my opinion, so seeing sites like those that don't seem to agree, well, it sort of breaks my heart.

Then, Britney directed me to eShakti. Let me just say, they are awesome! Not only do they carry amazing plus size clothing, but you can actually have the clothes customized to your measurements. That is awesome. I found a dress (seriously, click it), right off, that I am dying to have, so I think I'm going to order it as soon as I can afford it. The only problem I see with them is that their prices are a little bit high on some things, but for a site that customizes your clothing, I don't feel that's a huge problem. Ultimately, I would pay a little more for really beautiful clothing that fits me well, because like most plus size gals, I'm tired of not being able to look my best simply because clothing manufacturers feel it's okay to ignore my entire demographic.

Yes, to sum it all up, I realize that being heavy isn't the most healthy way. Yes, I'm going to try to change that--even though dieting is tantamount to the rack, or the wheel, or some other archaic torture device. But, I'm going to change it in my own time, in a way that works for me, and if I never am able to take off all the weight, I still want to be comfortable in my body, whatever size it may be. And maybe, someday soon, I'll be able to look in the mirror and accept myself as beautiful, the same way I've accepted myself as smart.

This rather lengthy post was inspired by a size acceptance charity drive through About Curves, supporting NAAFA.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

You Clearly Don't Always Get What You Pay For...

I am soooooooooooo pissed off!! You know the other day, when I came here to blow off some steam, but got sidetracked by happiness and posted something fun instead? Yeah, no such luck today... I am beyond livid. So, for the last few days, we've been having problems with our phone and internet. I think I posed last week about our tech troubles. This, this pales in comparison to that. Not only can I hardly make phone calls because there's too much static on the line, but the internet keeps going on and off every fifteen or so minutes.

I called CenturyLink yesterday, because the net had been going on and off every fifteen minutes for, oh, about the last three days (four days, as of today). Internet tech support say it was a line care issue and wouldn't help me. They did, however, transfer me all over the blasted company and had me talking to everyone... except them. Line care said they were sorry, and sent a tech out. He arrived within an hour to look at it and rather than trying to fix it, he just spewed a bunch of crap about how all the techs who had ever come out here before (including the one who installed the damn jack) were idiots and didn't know how to do anything. Um, okay, I don't give a crap, just fix it. The funny part is, he didn't do a damn thing to make the line better. Not really. As a matter of fact, while he was spewing his blah, blah, blah about how the other techs are dumb, and plugging in a splitter inside the house, he caused our net to go off. Good job, dude, seriously... good. freaking. job.

You see, I have a dual phone jack. It has two plugs in the jack's face-plate. One line dedicated for the internet, and one for the phone. This works because there's a DSL line splitter in the phone company's box outside. Okay, fine, whatever... it's been working that way for years. Yeah, Y-E-A-R-S! When he put a splitter inside, without checking to see if there was one in the box, mind you, he caused our net to go down. So then what's he do? Oh, let's see, he disconnects the splitter in the box outside, which makes my dual phone jack (which I paid extra to have installed) not work. Then, he comes inside the house, and puts a DSL line splitter inside. The phone and internet come up, he insists that's it, and leaves. Oh, but not before telling first, me how shoddy the hook up was (they apparently ran the line through one jack, out, and into another, rather than hooking up each jack separately), but he didn't fix it. And second, that all those exposed wires on the line outside where the plastic coating has chipped away, were "no big deal" and they weren't a problem at all. Oh, really, because the put that plastic coating on the wires for fun? Or for looks? Seriously?!

But, even though all that was annoying, the internet came up for a good solid 10 hours. No problem. And, the line was clear. Great, he fixed it. I could overlook his idiosyncrasies as long as he had fixed it. Then, about 12:30am last night the damn thing went off. Only this time, it didn't go off  for fifteen minutes, this time it went off for almost eight hours. When I picked up the phone to call internet tech support to tell them our line was down again, the phone had so much static that I couldn't even hear the dial tone. Not only had he NOT fixed it, the problem was getting worse!

This morning, after it came back up, it was somewhat stable for a while, but was running really slowly. So, in an effort to notify them that they didn't fix it and to try again, I called them (after internet chat support completely blew me off) and internet tech support again sent me to line care, who again agreed to send a tech out. Fantastic, he didn't do anything before and now we have to wait for him to come out tomorrow so he can do nothing, again. Wonderful, exactly how I want to spend my day, dealing with tech people who don't do their jobs right the first time. I know it's hot, but really, is it that hard to just do it right?

But, here's the real kicker. Yesterday, when I was talking to them about my net being down on and off, the guy in tech support said I should request a bill credit. For both my net being up and down, and for the headache. But, that tech support guy transfered me around so many times that we never got around to getting to billing. Today, while talking to them, I remembered and was transferred to billing. For the most part, everyone at CenturyLink is really nice (internet chat support, notwithstanding), but their billing department are assholes. Pardon my language, but they are. The woman I talked to was a total bitch. She clearly did not care what my problem was, nor did she want to give me a bill credit, and she took it out on me. She made me explain my whole problem again, and then in a rather rude tone asked me "Well what're they doing to fix it?" as if it's my fault it's not getting fixed. Then, she made me wait on hold for almost a half an hour and when she came back, she offered me a $5 bill credit. FIVE FREAKING DOLLARS! Really, after all this trouble, $5?! Is she serious?! Apparent so, yes, because that's all I got.

We work from home and this is interfering with our ability to work. I can write if I can't access the internet, or Demand's website. I also can't access the databases and study for my comps, which are next week. Do they care? Nope, not at all. I am telling you, CenturyLink has the worst customer service I have ever had the misfortune of dealing with. I cannot wait to move next year, at which point we will be free of them because they don't service Southern California. Initially, when we signed up seven years or so ago, they were Sprint. Then, they were Embarq. Now, they're CenturyLink. None of them have had particularly good service, but this takes the cake. I am furious! I'd like to complain, but I have no idea who to complain to, so I'm complaining about it here.

I mean, is it wrong to expect a decent level of service from a company you pay $130+ per month? I expect to get what I'm paying for, but between this and T-Mobile, who refused, by the way, to let me out of my contract because "They're not responsible that I've moved to a low service area" (jackasses, I didn't move!), I'm starting to believe that companies could give a rats hind-end about their customers. When you have to spend your hard earned funds on a service that works part of the time, with customer service that could care less if they help you or not, it's really frustrating. What other choice is there? Not have phone, that's not at all reasonable.

Ugh, okay, now that I've rampaged and ranted about CenturyLink, I'm going to go. My shoulder is bothering me from holding the phone to my ear for more than an hour trying to get this crap worked out.

Oh, and get this... I tried to post this a minute ago, but my net was down. Awesome. :(

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Hair Drama...

Okay, so. If you've been paying attention to my hair turmoil, you probably know that I've been dying and dying, but I'm not coming out with anything I like. Oh wait, I just realized that's mostly been on Facebook. Well, okay, let me start from the beginning, because this just keeps getting better and better. My hair should have it's own soap opera for all the drama its been giving me!

So, at the end of the Spring semester, in May, I decided to take a drastic leap and dye my hair very, very red. I used a red-for-brown hair color, from a bottle I got at the Wal-Mart. The thing about red-for-brown colors is that they sort of wash your color out and replace it with red. For the first time ever, my hair actually came out exactly like the box... exactly. It was, well, it was horrifiying, actually. I got a lot of compliments on it, so everyone else liked it, but it was really hard for me to look at myself in the mirror and know I had to go to work looking like I'd gotten into a knock-down drag-out with a box of red crayons.

See, told you! It's so, so red.  I waited and tried to get use to it, but it never would grow on me. It also wouldn't rinse out completely. My dye was still running red after more than a month. Never, I repeat never, use Garnier hair colors. They're horrible!! So, dissatisfied, I bought a color to cover it up that I thought would be perfect. It was called "Auburn Black" which, I should say, could have stood to be more black than it was auburn.  The result was this...

Yeah, not exactly what I was looking for. But, again, I managed to get a Garnier hair color and again it wouldn't rinse out completely. Horrible products, seriously, horrible. Okay, enough Garnier bashing, I think you get the point. I dealt with this color for a month, got more compliments on it than I had the previous red, but I couldn't kick the cheap feeling. I felt like I looked horrible, and no amount of compliments was going to fix it. Now don't get me wrong, I like red, but my god, this has been a nightmare.

Fast forward to the day before yesterday. I got a bottle of Medium Ash Brown, because I'd heard that ash covers red. That is a bald. face. lie.  Good god, it literally did nothing. It dyed my roots a lighter color than they already were, which made my hair look worse, actually. When I was done, my hair was exactly the same color it had been before dying, except for my roots, of course. I cursed, I threw a tantrum, I had a fit. Yeah, I wasn't happy.

My lovely friends offered me all sorts of help, via Facebook. The recommendation I decided to take was to use unRed in my hair color to keep the red tones out of the color. Today, I went to Sally to get it, but while I was there, they talked me into a different option. They said the UnRed wouldn't cover the color I had, that I'd have to lighten and then dye again, or go so dark my hair would be nearly black to cover the red. Then, they showered me with compliments about my current red hairdo and convinced me to dye again, but to use a professional color. I agreed, got all the stuff, and got to dying tonight. I felt so weird brushing color onto my hair, but I did it. And here's the results...
I think I'll have to take an outside picture, tomorrow, to get a really good idea about how it compares to the other two. It's certainly dark, but initial feelings are that I like it. That's a heck of a lot more than I can say about the other two reds, so far.

Whew! Okay, what do you think?  Tomorrow I'll replace it with an outside picture and hopefully I'll still like it then, too!

For now, good night. I've had a long day of studying and have another, tomorrow. Adieu!!

Small update: Here's how it looks outside. I decided to leave the other picture and just add this one...

I wasn't up long when I took this picture, so excuse the look. My dog needed to go out, so I went out with him and took my camera. So, what do you think?  Matt likes, I really like it, I think this one's a keeper!! Now if I could only figure out what to do about my eyebrows!

Friday, August 5, 2011

2011 Birthday Recap... A Teeny Tiny Bit Late.

I logged onto WordPress this morning with the intention of complaining. This blog is called Pretty Pessimist, after all. What's a blog called "pessimist" without a little pessimism?! I've decided, however, after making the rounds and visiting other blogs, that I don't want to complain at all. Phoena's recent attempts to be more cheerful have inspired me to be more cheerful, so rather than complaining about the plethora of things I could (be sure, I definitely could) complain about, I'm going to talk about my birthday. Yes, I know it's been, like, two weeks since I turned a year older, but I figure now's as good a time as any!

So this year, unable to settle on one thing I really wanted--I changed my mind about a half a dozen times--I finally decided that what I really wanted was to add to my dice collection. You may or may not know, even those who've know me a long time, that I collect dice. I know what you're imagining, a box filled with opaque six-sided yatzee-ish dice, but that couldn't be further from the truth. Here's what I mean...

The above collage represents the actual sets I've recently added to my collection over the last two weeks. I didn't take any of these pictures, rather they came from Amazon.com and DarkElfDice.com, but I did make the collage! Thank you, Picassa! So you see, while I do have a whole lot of d6 (a whole lot), I also have a whole lot of other sets, too. After adding these 11 sets, I've got about 75 sets of polyhedron (multiple sided) dice--that's an approximation, remember. One set is anywhere from 7-9 pieces (d4, d6, d8, 2 d10, d12, & d20). That's a lot of sets, and that doesn't even account for the sets of d6, which are 36 dice per set! Oh, and the d10's, which come 10 to a set!!

Clearly, I'm hooked on dice collecting and what better way to celebrate my birthday than with something I love!! I should admit, though, that two of those sets haven't even arrived yet. They should be here today... I am so excited! Oh, it just occurred to me that you might not know what these dice are used for, and to avoid looking like a geek without a cause, I should say that these dice are used for role playing games, like Dungeons & Dragons (2nd ed. AD&D and 4th ed., only, thank you very much!). Okay, that just made me look like a bigger geek, didn't it? That's alright, if there's one label I don't mind carrying around, it's gamer... evidenced by my ownership of this shirt and this one.

Let's see, aside from my obsession with pretty, shiny, little polyhedron what else? Matt took me out to eat. We went to Chilis, which was good, but not great. Of course, it's always good, not great, so we've come to expect it and anyway it was my decision to go there. We were going to go to Pastafina, but I felt so casual, that Chilis really suited my mood much better. And, in celebration of my birthday I had a Tropical Sunrise Margarita. If you haven't had this, go to your nearest Chilis and try it, it's remarkable. Really, you have to try it. It's second on my list only to the Sunset Passion Colada at Red Lobster. Delicious!

After dinner, we went and saw Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. It was a really good choice, the movie was amazing. I don't think fans of the Potter franchise could have been more satisfied with it, at least, I don't think I could have been. We saw it in 2D, rather than 3D because, well, my eyes cannot hack 3D. Because I lack depth perception, 3D gives me migraines. So, we skipped the migraine and saw it in regular old 2D, instead. I was actually surprised our theater was even showing 3D at all. They're moving up in the world... of course, so are the ticket prices. I paid $10 for two tickets for a 7:00 showing. I know, I know, that sounds like a bargain, but when we moved here 7 years ago, they were $6 for two non-matinee tickets. Matinee's were literally $3 for two tickets. Now, they're $5. Yes, I'm complaining about $5 and yes I realize I sound like those old folks who complain about the price of everything.  Moving on now.

Oh, and the Thursday before my birthday we went out and ate with Melanie and Joey, then went to their place to play Munchkin. We'd never played before, well Melanie had a long time ago, but most of us hadn't so it took us a bit of time to get use to it. Munchkin is basically a card game that makes light of role playing games. You get to kick in the dungeon door, which means you draw a card. After that you either fight the monster or loot the room. There're a whole lot of things you can do, and it was a killer good time!!  My only regret is that now that we've played it, I'd have liked to own it. That's a problem because it's a game for 3-6 players. There're only two of us, so that's a no go. And, other than Melanie and Joey, we don't really know anyone into it, and why buy it as long as we live here when we can go play it at their place?! Anyway, there're like 10 or so expansions for the game, which I'm sure would be a killer good time, too!

And, while we were there, they gave me an awesome birthday present. Knowing how much I love Marilyn Monroe, they got me one of those awesome retro-ish metal signs that you hang on the wall of Marilyn Monroe. Looking for a picture of the one they got me just now, I couldn't find it, but I did find that there're a whole bunch of other designs which I might start collecting. Someday, when I have a home office of my own, I'll hand them with my NaNoWriMo posters (which I'm behind on collecting, too). Unfortunately, the NaNo posters are going to cost me an arm and a leg to frame... but that's a discussion for another time.

Let's see, what else?  Oh yeah, Betty Crocker sent me a little desert e-cookbook to celebrate my birthday and I thought I'd pass it on to you. So, if you want to download it, click here and when it opens use CTRL + S to save it to your computer. Voila!

Now, if you've gotten to the end of this, I applaud you. I know I can be a bit long winded, but you know, writing about something uplifting has made me feel more, well... uplifted! There just might be something to this put your best face forward and smile thing, after all. Waking up with the water off was pretty annoying, but now it's back on, I didn't complain about it, and I got to write about something I enjoyed. Win-win!

PS. I really need to work on that whole starting sentences with a coordinating conjunction thing, I know! ~.^

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Thinner Wife, Happier Life?!

I doing my usual wake up with Facebook routine this morning when I came across something that caught my attention. One of the pages I follow, the television show "Who the (Bleep) Did I Marry?," posted a link to an article on Discovery titled "Thinner Wife Makes Happier Life." You know I had to click it, right? I couldn't let it go. The stuff that show posts on their page is always amusing, like a news story about a lawyer who got into a fight with his girlfriend and made her eat an iPhone (link).

Anyway, I clicked it and am ashamed to admit that on seeing it was written by a man my first thought was, "oh brother, another guy trying to shame fat girls." Yes, it was written by a man, but my snap judgement couldn't have been more wrong. Turns out the article is about a "study" done by doctoral students, wherein they "prove" that marriages are happier when the wife is thinner than the husband. I'm sorry, what? That's absurd. And, to further shame my initial assumption about the gentleman authoring the article, the study's lead researcher is a woman.

Here's the thing, the "study" only studied 170 couples, which, in my opinion, is not enough to form a accurate picture of this particular issue. They apparently found that in the beginning of a marriage it's the husband who's happier with a thinner wife, but later in marriage the wife is the catalyst for misery over being thinner. Someone explain to me how a "study" done by doctoral students could go on long enough to be a longitudinal study of any significant length. Four years (the current length of this particular study) is simply not enough time to study marital satisfaction over time. In otherwords, look me up in 25 years, and with, oh, 1,000 couples, and maybe I'll buy it. For now, the woman leading the research on this study is relying on research that lacks the required time to see any real pattern... and is publishing her results.

I wonder, is she taking into account that a lot of factors might lead to marital dissatisfaction in those 170 couples that has nothing to do with weight. Weight issues could be one factor in a larger scheme of issues.  How many married couples divorce within the first four years of marriage? I'm guessing a heck of a lot. Marriage isn't easy, it's riddled with issues, and many people aren't prepared for what marriage actually means. Weight issues compound other issues, and though they're often issues all their own, they usually lack the necessary impetus to put the brakes on a marriage. I suppose, to be fair, I can see how people could be unhappy with their spouse's weight, and how that can lead to misery from both parties.

Take it from someone whose ex-husband told her all the time that she was fat. I was a good weight for my frame, but could have stood to lose a few pounds, sure, who couldn't? Okay, I know a few girls, but most people could stand to lose a few pounds here and there. The man wasn't exactly in top shape, but he shamed me all the time about my weight and it became a pretty big issue between us.  He even made me go to support group for overweight people because he was embarrassed by my issues. Okay, here's the thing, he and I had so many other issues, the weight issue was only one thing in a maze of problems no sane person could ever have worked through. So yes, my weight was an issue, but not the biggest, or only, issue.

Fast forward to now. I have a husband who loves me the way I am and I'm quite a bit heavier than I was when I was married to my ex. Heck, I'm quite a bit heavier than I was when I met my current husband. He, on the other hand, lost a lot of weight and is a thinner than I am, overall. Yet he never shames me, he never makes me feel bad, but there are moments I do anyway--feel bad that is. I have this idea that wives are supposed to be thinner than their husbands stuffed somewhere in the back of my mind, which is ridiculous. Thanks, society, I needed that insecurity like I needed another whole in the head.

Now, this woman's study is making women feel even more insecure than they already do. The article quotes the lead researcher, Andrea Meltzer, as having said, "This study is important because it demonstrates that women of any size can be happy in their relationships with the right partner" (qtd. in Radford). Which, according to Radford, translates to fat women should choose fat husbands or lose weight. Clearly, his assessment hits the nail on the head.

What leads people to do these sorts of studies, like the one where a "researcher" proves that women without children are lacking essential humanity (link), or the one where "researchers" suggest that women are so desperate to be ideal that they would give up years of their lives for it (link)?  I wish I could understand. I mean, okay, do your studies, but be responsible about them, for crying out loud!

I'm reminded, while reading over what I've written so far, about the TV show "Drop Dead Diva," do you watch it?  It's about a struggling model who dies, is accidently sent back, and wakes up in a fat girl's body. Anyway, the male lead is a really nice, very cute guy, who Jane, the female lead, is in love with.  Duh, right?  I mean, she's still the model on the inside and cute guy, Grayson, was the model's boyfriend. The message of the show is that you're as beautiful and self-confident as you feel. It's a good message, but I can't help feeling like the reason the main character's, Grayson and Jane, don't hook up is that she's heavy.  For all his sweetness, and he is sweet, he's still pretty shallow. It kind of breaks my heart a little, to be honest.

People already believe that heavier girls have less options in the romance department than do skinny girls--I mean, have you seen Peyton Manning's wife?! That's a fact of life--one I've clearly been lucky enough to dodge--but we don't need studies to prove that men are happier when their wives are skinny. We certainly don't need studies to suggest that heavy people are the only good choice so no one feels bad. People fall in love, marry, and maintain happiness for a number of reasons. Weight is just one and to spotlight weight and suggest marriages would be happy if everyone was thin is absurd and irresponsible.

Okay, now that I've written a treatise and am still not certain I got my whole point out, I'm going. My arm's still really bothering me and I really need to give it a rest.

Monday, August 1, 2011

To the ER...

I have to tell you, I had a really trying weekend. I went out to eat with my best girlfriend, had food with Matt, went grocery shopping, worked on my comps notes, and... went to the hospital. And no, not to see a friend, or whatever, but rather I was the patient. I doubt I've mentioned it before, since I don't go to the hospital all that often, but I really, really hate hospitals!

So, on Friday, I started to have some pain in my right arm, but I took a few Advil and it went away. No big deal, I didn't think anything else of. I felt a little bit sick from eating fried food for lunch, but otherwise I was okay. I even went out to the usual Friday meet-up for dinner with Melanie and though I wasn't feeling well when I got there, I felt fine by the time I went home. Then, Saturday, I got up and the pain in my arm was back with a vengence. I took three Aleve and three Advil and they didn't even touch the pain. The only thing that seemed to help was a warm shower, but it only helped as long as I was standing under the hot water.

I tried my best to ignore it, but it hurt quite a lot.  We even went out to eat and went to the grocery store, but nothing made it feel better. I did notice it felt better when I was outside in the heat, than when I was inside in the air conditioned house. So, heat good, cold not so good. I talked to my mom, and to Matt, and though they wanted me to go to the ER, I resisted. They thought it was possible I was having a heart attack, but I figured it was nothing and that it'd go away soon. Not so much.

Sunday, the pain was worse. I could hardly stand it. I took four Advil and, like Saturday, it didn't touch the pain at all. So, after talking to my mom and being freaked out, I decided it might be a good idea to go to the ER and have it looked at. After all, what if I was having a heart attack? It would be better to have it seen to, than to ignore it and suffer the consequences. When I told my mom I couldn't really afford it, she said, "You can afford it better than you can afford a funeral." Okay, that scared me and so I went. I think that was probably the intention, and it worked.

So, I went. I seriously hate hospitals, but the people at our local hospital are nice. I've heard word that our local hospital isn't so good, but they seemed fine to me. The doctor on rounds in the ER last night was nice. He told me I wasn't having a heart attack and said that my problem is musculo-skeletal. In other words, I have an injured rotator cuff. He prescribed me muscle relaxers and naproxin. Last night, they helped, today... I don't know.

I tell you what, though, they put me clean out. I took them, went to bed around 8:00 p.m. and didn't get back up until 8:30 a.m. this morning. Then, I took more this morning because, again, my arm is hurting quite a lot. More today than Sunday, more Sunday than Saturday, etc. I think the problem is that I'm sleeping on it, that's the side I sleep on, which is a problem but I'm not sure what I can do about it. I just hope it gets better soon, because I really need to study for my comps, which are two weeks from today, but as long as I'm on meds I can't focus, or even stay awake, long enough to get anything done.

All in all, I hope I don't have another weekend like the one I just had. It's obviously a good thing that I wasn't having a heart attack, but having gone to the hospital was a really bummer. The only somewhat humorous moment came when I was talking to the doctor in the ER. He asked me if I worked out or got any exercise and, by way of answer, I said, "I type a lot, does that count?" He grinned, shook his head, and said, "That my be part of the problem." Ah well, maybe so. Which means I should probably run for the time being.

Oh, and if this makes no sense, I apologize. I'm under the influence of meds that make me quite loopy. I had to fight hard to keep this blog on track, while my brain tried to derail it all the way. So yeah, for now, adieu.