Thursday, May 31, 2012

{ A Rainbow Colored Foods Rant }

Permit me a short rant. . .though I'll probably go ahead and have one, even without your permission. And yes, this may seem silly, but for some reason it made me inexplicably angry the other day and now I can't stop thinking about how annoying it is. Which is stupid because, up until then, I had always thought it was cute.

So what is it, you ask?

Rainbow colored foods. Yes, that's what's got me all worked up. I told you it was stupid. So stupid that I can't believe that I'm wasting brain power on being angry about it at a time when I should be (notice that says "should be" rather than "am") expending my energy to finishing my thesis. Like I said, I've always thought rainbow dyed foods were adorable, I've been wanting to bake a rainbow layer cake, and then it happened. I was browsing Pintrest when I came across these photos...


As is typical of Pintrest, I have no idea where they're from. They're cute, right?! Even I think they're cute, but when I saw them I was just overcome by this completely irrational desire to rid the earth of rainbow colored foods. A desire that has stuck with me for days, hence this post. I mean, seriously, what kind of thing is this to get upset about?! But here I am, fighting annoyance at the very thought that somewhere, someone is dropping food coloring into perfectly innocent batter.

And this from the woman who follows on Facebook because I love all the rainbow foods they post. Rainbow shots, rainbow pudding, rainbow cupcakes, rainbow layer cakes, rainbow cookies, rainbow sandwiches, yeah... rainbow everything edible. I think I'm actually going to have to unfriend them, too, because my anxiety at seeing rainbow colored foods is ridiculous but unsettling.

I just hope this fad ends soon because I don't know if I can cope anymore--the only rainbow I want to be tasting comes in a hard candy shell. I think the problem is that it's everywhere now. Everyone's trying it and posting their pictures, some are good--like those pancakes--while others look like a disaster. I just want food to go back to being the color of food again. You know, white and yellow cakes that are, oh I don't know, white and yellow. Pancakes that are that beautiful golden color. Yeah, foods that are the color they should be!

Okay, I've had my rant. Time to go work on my thesis some more. Only a few more pages and I'm done with this sucker. . .just as long as I can stop obsessing about stupid crap like rainbow colored foods.

/end rant.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Post-Graduate School Indulgence

I think that I may have mentioned this before, but now that graduate school is winding down, it's beginning to be time to move on to something new. Usually, that means getting a job, but Matt has talked me into something I'm feeling both a lot of excitement and trepidation about. That is, he's talked me into working on my novel full time and, honestly, I'm not sure how I feel about it. A good portion of my self-worth, these days, is tied up in making an income and contributing to our well-being, so not having an income for a while, while I finish my book, just seems so indulgent. Matt takes exception to me saying I won't have a job, so I've resorted to saying I won't have income, instead; he can't argue with that!

Still, I agreed to take the time and take it seriously, so I'll be working on my Love's Daughter (working title) novel every day, just like a regular job.  And, believe it or not, I've already got some planning done on a book to follow that includes the same characters, but a different point of view character, and I think the third book will also include the same cast with yet another point of view character! So, all in all, I think this could work out. I've done some planning to finish my LD novel up, and still have a bit more to do; I got some of it done while I was visiting family--though I probably should have been working on my thesis chapter 5.

So, soon I'll be a full-time novelist, which just sounds strange to me. I always assumed I'd graduate and go get a paying, outside-the-home job. Still, I'm trying really hard not to let this opportunity slip by and to not take it for granted. If it fails I've lost what, six or so months?  If it doesn't work out, I can always go get a regular ol' job. So, soon the "Radcliffe's Daughters" counter on the sidebar will switch back to the Love's Daughter counter and I'll be off. . . wish me luck!

PS. The concept cover was designed by me, but is intended to be just that, a concept and not taken seriously. I just like to have a visual as I work, it helps me to stay a little extra motivated. Besides, I think it's pretty! :P

Sunday, May 27, 2012 TX to CA...and back!

Last post about my trip, I promise. I thought I'd share with you some of the pictures I took along the way. The train's not all bad, you get to see a lot of Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California, from here to there. Since taking pictures with my phone was all I could do on the way there, I have several to share...

As always, all of the images are clickable,in case you want to see them larger. And, if you click to see them larger the name of each photo (which says where they are) will appear on the bottom left-hand side of the window.

This isn't all of the pictures I took, of course, but they're the ones I like the best. They've all been'd; man, I love! I hope you enjoy seeing my trip, some were taken on the way there, some on the way back, but all of them were taken from the train window, most of them while the train was moving. Not too bad for an iPhone 3GS, eh?!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Vacation & Thesis, et al.

Well, now that I'm back in the swing of things it doesn't seem so difficult to go back to blogging. I swear, avoid this thing long enough and the only thing I want to do is avoid it more, which makes no sense because I love blogging! Eh, it's not just me, I'm not the only one who has experienced this phenomenon, right?  Anyway, I figure I'll post a bit more about my trip to California for those who're interested.

So let's see... the train got into Palm Springs in the middle of the night, so my poor parents were forced to come pick me up at all hours. I really appreciate them for doing it, too, because the Palm Springs train station is in the middle of nowhere, in a sand dune or something. It was terribly windy and tons of powdery white sand was blowing everywhere. It was crazy. We stayed at the WordMark resort in Indio Thursday & Friday night, which is about a half an hour from Palm Springs.  Really nice resort, there in Indio, and it was hot! Like above 100 degrees in May, hot, but many of the pools were closed, so no swimming there.

The rest of the week we were at my folks place and pretty much just relaxed. I got to go to Carriage House, a really cool antique shop, with Candi and we went to the Norton Simon museum in Los Angeles where they're doing a Japanese cherry blossom woodblock print exhibit that was absolutely awesome. So awesome, in fact, that I bought a set of 15 paper clips shaped like cherry blossoms, which are various shades of pink, for $7.50!  That's crazy  expensive for what they are, but I loved them and couldn't pass them up.  Otherwise, my trip was quiet and restful, and I got to see Jodi & Shannon, which was really nice. I even got to see Clinton again, for the first time in like 13 years, and got to meet Jodi's kids, which was nice.

I did get some of my thesis corrections done while I was there, which is a good thing because it means less pressure now that I'm home and still have to finish writing chapter 5. Well, start writing it really, from the notes I've been taking. Anyway, I got my chapter 4 corrections back and Dr. Young said that that chapter is literally my best discussion so far. That's high praise, at least I think so, so I'm feeling very good about myself. Now if I could just stop sabotaging myself regarding chapter 5, everything will be fine. All in all, I have to have a complete draft by the beginning of June, so I'm running out of time.

Since I've been home I've done pretty much nothing. I've spent a lot of time hanging out with Matt, thought about cleaning my house, and went to hang out with Melanie. That's it, in the last four or five days... except that I did manage to get a blog post done yesterday! Ooh, one more thing, we got some good news about Matt's job. He transitioned this week from temp to permanent with his job and his pay-rate went up $2.00 an hour! Of course, last night he about cut off his finger, on his first night as a permanent employee. He's okay though, so that's good, but he says it looks bad. I'm just not going to look at it. Either way, I hope he'll figure out what his schedule will look like as we go forward, depending upon whether he bids for a different position, because I'd really like to go to Ft. Hood for July 4th. Phoena invited us to go and Kelly Clarkson is the headline act!

Oh shit, Matt just asked me to help clean his thumb, so much for not looking! Time to go be grossed out! Hope I don't pass out. Bleh!

...okay, it looks horrible!! When we took the bandage off to clean it it started to bleed again. It looks like he cut the very tip of his thumb clean off. He's taken a lot of Advil, which can make bleeding worse. So, I'm going to try to do something for it, maybe get some Tylenol and NewSkin. Hopefully that'll help, I don't know. (-.-)

Friday, May 25, 2012

On the Way to CA...

Better late than never (~.^)...

Wow, where should I begin? Maybe with this: I’ll be writing several posts over the next week about my trip to California; this is the first of those.  I’m writing this from the train home, and am currently in Lordsburg, NM.  While I’m having a lovely, quiet trip home I’m reminded of my not so lovely trip to California. It was miserable, actually, and I’ve never been so happy to arrive anywhere when I finally got to Palm Springs.

A bit of context, I’m a pretty serious agoraphobic. There was a time when I could hardly leave my house, let alone go anywhere alone. There were days when I did leave my house that I got where I was going only to turn around and go home. In fact, I still struggle to go into any store alone, particularly grocery and BigBox-type stores, like Wal-Mart. Matt usually has to go with me, otherwise I’m stuck in the parking lot trying to talk myself up for 20 minutes. Very basket-case, I know. But, you can see why it would be really hard for me to get on a train, alone, so when the trip was so miserable it really fed into my fear and set off my anxiety.

The train was an hour and a half late getting into Temple, where I got on. Not really a huge surprise, trains rarely run on time. I’ve taken Amtrak four or five other times, one of which I was alone, so I knew what to expect. When it did arrive, I realized it was so full that I had to sit beside another passenger, which was fine since I’d only paid for one seat. No big deal. The passenger I happened to land beside, as there were no other empty seats, was drunk. He smelled strongly of beer and kept asking me where I was going. I think I answered his question a half-dozen times. Then, he started telling me about his son who has cancer, which made me feel really bad, except that the guy was creepy and frankly, it was an over-share. He told me Matt and I should move to AZ, where he lives, and that we should go to work in the copper mines, which he didn’t make sound all that enticing. When I told him that I could never get Matt, nor would I, ever to move to AZ he freaked. He started shouting at me about “stupid fucking democrats” and telling me that “Arizona is the land where men are still men and work for what they’ve got, unlike all the stupid fucking democrats” and that he didn’t want people like us in AZ. Wonderful. I was happy to get away from him after only two or so hours. Amen!

Then, when we got to Austin, I think, I got a new seat-neighbor. This one was drunk too. Very drunk and unlike the first guy he got onto the train drunk on booze he hadn’t bought on the train. He had vodka in his bag and kept openly tipping it back, which is against train policy. He kept touching me, even when I asked him to stop, kept putting his head on me, and kept putting on his iPhone and making me listen to his music. All the while telling me what a great writer he is and how he could be published but he didn’t want to jump through all those hoops just to “sell out.” Wonderful, then he starts telling me about his tattoos, his girlfriend who “like [me] is beautifully thick” (*eyeroll*), and how she won’t sleep with him. Frankly, I didn’t feel sorry for this guy, he creeped me out in every possible way. The also guy tried, repeatedly, to give me pills! He also tried to get me to get off the train with him in San Antonia, like that would ever happen, and when I refused he acted like a jerk.

Turns out he went into San Antonio during the 4 hour lay over to get more drunk and he got beat up in a bar. When he finally got off the train in El Paso, the next day, they found four empty vodka bottles under his chair. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention that he first said that I “clearly didn’t care about being pretty” and then when he was rambling on incoherently and I told him I had no idea what he was talking about, he said, “you’re cute but you’re obviously not very smart.“ Jackass. Fortunately, I wasn’t sitting with him the entire time. When he got off in San Antonio I reported his behavior to the Conductor who, rather than doing anything but move me to a new seat, shamed me for not telling him sooner. That was impossible since the guy wouldn’t let me out of the window seat and the freaking conductor was nowhere to be seen.

My third seat-neighbor didn’t have a ticket. He mumbled to himself the entire time, kept looking at me and when I’d look at him he’d look away, was dirty, and had something on his jacket that resembled blood. He got off in Alpine, TX, though he had told me previously that he was getting off in AZ. I was quite happy when he got off the train. After that, I was alone for a long time and the most exciting thing that happened was the guy who was sitting in front of me being put off the train in Lordsburg, NM and taken into police custody for not having a ticket--apparently, he’s a train hopper, but was caught this time because the train was so full. My last seat-neighbor got on in Maricopa, AZ and was a very nice lady about ten years older than me. We chatted a bit, she worked, and when we got to Palm Springs she helped me carry my too-heavy suitcase down the stairs. A nice way to end a rather appalling trip.

The worst part, I think, is how unhelpful Amtrak was in resolving these issues. Not only would the conductors not do anything about drunk #2, but all Amtrak would do to make up for my horrible trip is offer me a $50 voucher for future travel on the rails (which expires in a year). I refused the voucher, I’m never taking the train again, because what I really wanted was a full refund, which they rather rudely refused me before hanging up on me. I’ve never been hung up on by a business before and, frankly, I was insulted. I’m going to report Amtrak’s shitty service to the Department of Transportation and throw a massive fit about my safety because I’ve never felt more unsafe in my life.

Thank goodness the trip home has been quiet and uneventful so far, where the most exciting thing that’s happened is sleep and sitting beside a rather nice, if overly stinky, older gentleman.

Finally, special thanks to Dramamine, without which this post would not have been possible while trying to kill time on the train. Nor would it have been possible for me to finish Fifty Shades Freed--God I loved the Fifty Shades of Gray Trilogy!! Motion sickness is not my friend, thankfully Dramamine seems to be!


Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Thesis, Panic, & Feeling a Failure

Let's see, what to say... I have some things I'd like to talk about but as long as I'm still with my current employer, I can't. Maybe when the semester's over and I'm no longer teaching and working as a graduate assistant I'll feel more free to discuss some of the issues I'm dying to get out.  For now, the only things really going on are thesis and my trip to California. I can imagine y'all are going to feel so relieved when I finish my thesis and am not talking about it all the time, huh? Yeah, it's pretty much my whole life right now, but I should be done soon.

Of course, that's an assumption because I'm completely out of steam. I'm running on less than empty, but I still have a chapter to finish. I still have to finish chapter five, which isn't coming along well because I'm at a loss as to what I should be saying that hasn't already been said. I'm paralyzed by my inability to get this chapter done, and what's making it worse is that I really needed to get it done before I leave for California... tomorrow.

There's just no way, which is making me panic. I'm not sure what the extreme deadline is to be able to get this thing done to graduate in August, but I really want to be done with it. I'm thinking the extreme deadline is June 1st, because that's Melanie's deadline, but my chapter five deadline is May 11 (or May 9, since I'm going to be on a train for almost two days). I just want to be able to go to CA and enjoy my time there knowing I'm done. But, sadly, with everything else going on, I didn't/haven't gotten it done.

Not gonna lie, feeling a bit of a failure right now. It was the most important thing to finish and I've not gotten it done, and it's only 15 pages. We're not talking 20+, I should have been able to finish it, but I can't seem to make myself work on it. I'm completely repelled by the idea of sitting down and typing one more word about the Romantic Era and Postmodern Gothic fictions. I'm exhausted by this topic, a topic I actually enjoy, but I can't throw in the towel until I get these last 15(ish) pages done.

I've written 89 pages so far and I can't seem to manage 15 more. That's ludicrous. Those 15 pages are standing between me and finishing this thing, and I know when I'm done I'm going to feel wonderful, but until then, I'm struggling. But Matt works tonight, so maybe I'll pull a late night and try to finish it, because if I get on that train tomorrow afternoon with this thing hanging over me, I'm going to feel like a complete failure. Not a bit a failure, but a total, complete failure. Which means I'm setting myself up to feel like that because there's no way it'll get done, and I can't lug all my research materials to California, there's not enough space in my luggage for that by far, so working on it there is possible but not probable.

Okay, I've got to go to work. Last day at this job and my feelings are really, really mixed. I think I'll miss going to work and seeing my co-workers, but I won't miss teaching. Another topic, no time for that right now. I'm off.