Childfreedom, Emotion, & Immaturity

I'm sick today, so if this doesn't make as much sense as it could, I apologize. I woke up feeling gross with an ear ache, sore throat, and stuffed up nose. So, I've spent the day playing Skylanders and Super Mario Galaxy 2 on Wii, and settling in on the sofa to watch Netflix on Wii. I've been watching Prison Wives, an Investigation Discovery show. It's interesting, but also sad. I really feel for these women, their lives are really hard. But it was during one episode that I heard something that got me thinking. An inmate's sister, when talking about her brother's relationship, said that his fiancé was overly emotional because she had never had children and, therefore, never had the opportunity to emotionally mature.

Okay, so you might see where I'm going with this. As a person who is both fairly emotional and without children, I find it insulting that this woman was judging her soon-to-be sister-in-law for being childless, immature, and emotional, as if those things should be mutually inclusive. As if being emotional is a sign of immaturity. It's ridiculous. But I looked around, at the things around me, and realized that maybe I wasn't as grown up as other women my age. Maybe I wasn't  as involved with being a grown up as I could be. But, you know, so what? I don't think there's anything wrong with being connected to your inner child, with children or without them.

I mean, I play video games (both online and console), some that are geared for kids, like Skylanders. I like Barbie and Monster High dolls, WoW plushies, and other "toys." I read YA novels and watch cartoons/anime. I collect dice and play role playing games. I'm also 34 and a half years old, and I don't have kids that inspire these interests. Taken together, does all of that make me immature? Does being childfree make me emotionally underdeveloped? Of course not. Things being what they are, because I don't have children, I don't know how I would be different as a person if I did. But, I like to think that I am who I am, that I would still be an individual, that children wouldn't have taken over my identity. I like to think that I'd still enjoy the things I enjoy, that I'd still be me. Children change people, of course, I'm not naive to that point, but think women can remain individuals apart from their children, too.

And you know what, I'm college educated. I have a master's degree and am seeking another. I pay my bills, spend time with my husband, and engage in the real world in the way adults do. I don't fly off the handle at strangers, I don't (usually) break down crying in public, I don't act like a petulant child when I don't get my way. I worry about very adult issues. I clean my house, wash clothes, take care of my husband so he gets to work with clean clothes, food to eat, and coffee to drink. I live a grown-up life, just happen to be quite emotional, and enjoy many things geared for younger people. That's not immaturity.

Frankly, that people without children are judged as immature and emotionally unstable is troubling to me. It seems like a very simple scapegoat answer when people are looking for something, anything, to blame when they think people are acting outside the societal norm. Being childfree doesn't make a person unstable, immature, emotionally damaged, or any of the other stereotypes that people like to apply to those of us who have made the conscious choice to be childfree. What's more, I think the opposite is often true. It takes a special kind of maturity not only to know one doesn't want kids, but to be able to knowingly prevent children from coming into the world. A heck of a lot of children are born to people who might otherwise have not had them, had they thought about it or been mature enough--and brave enough--to stand up and say no to a society where children are an expectation.

Just saying.

Recipe: Pink Salad

While I'm thinking about it, I thought I might share the recipe for the pink salad I made at Christmas--and for many, many other holiday occassions, too. It's one of my favorite things and it's so, so easy to make. Just four ingredients, so here goes. . .

Vday Dinner

Pink Salad

  • 1 can of cherry pie filling

  • 1 lg. Cool Whip

  • 1/4 c. miniature marshmallows

  • 1 can of crushed pineapple
Fold the cherry pie filling, cool whip, and marshmallows together, in a large bowl. Take care to fold and not stir or beat, cool whip is pretty sensitive and will deflate if you mess with it too much. The color should be a pretty pink. Drain crushed pineapple until it's as dry as you can get it. This is significant because the acid in the pineapple juice don't play nice with the other ingredients. Once it's as rung out as it can be, fold it into cool whip mixture. Chill for several hours.

If we're being honest, chilling isn't completely necessary, but this salad tastes better the second day than it does the first. It's good both days, I usually make it the day we're going to eat it, but after it's been in the fridge a while the flavors all have time to come together. It's amazing. I love having left overs! Enjoy!

Christmas 2012

Christmas was really nice this year. That's saying something because we've had years when it wasn't, when the only thing we had to give one another was our love and togetherness. We still have, and give, that to one another, too, don't get me wrong, but it's nice to be able to share the year's prosperity, too. And that's exactly what we did this year. We shared in our great year with one another, and with our family and friends, and it felt really nice. I love to gift, it makes my heart happy.

So, for Christmas this year, Matt and I just stayed home together. It was really, really cold (finally), so venturing out was just not in the cards. It started to thunder and rain in the middle of the night,  carrying on through the early morning, which caused Anakin to freak and caused me to not get enough sleep. Poor dog is just plain afraid of storms, so when he burrowed his way behind the recliner chair in the bedroom, I knew a storm was brewing. Not long after that, the thunder came. As bad as I felt for him, I didn't get up to check on him because I'd gone to bed with a terrible tummy ache the night before--on Christmas Eve--and because it wouldn't have done much good.

For food we had  a small ham, Stouffer's green bean casserole (Matt says he likes it better than my homemade), Stouffer's potatoes with cheese, cranberry Stove Top stuffing, and I made a pink salad (I'll have to share the recipe some time). We had gone to the Wal-Mart to get the food on Christmas Eve so we could stay in on Christmas day. That was a little bit crazy, but not nearly as much as I thought it would be given that it was the day before Christmas. We got out fairly quickly, my Christmas spirit unscathed by the nastiness there. People can be downright ugly when they're in a hurry. I mean, it's Christmas folks, try to cheer up!

We exchanged gifts with one another, and with our babies, on Christmas Eve because neither of us are good at waiting. We figured we had waited long enough, besides, lots of people exchange gifts on Christmas Eve. As usual, Matt did amazing this year! He's really a good gifter, in that I'm blessed. I don't have to tell him what I want, he knows because he listens to me. He's amazing.

[IMAGES REMOVED]   

The first image is stocking stuffers. All the candies are sugar-free, the ear buds are Monster High, the Blistex are fruit smoothie flavors, and the booties are crazy soft and comfy. Two is Draculaura, a Monster High doll. Three is the diamond watch Matt got me, it's what was in the gold box with the red bow. It's a Citizen Eco Drive and it is really beautiful! Also, he gave it to me on Thanksgiving, so I've had it a while--I even took it to get some links out so it fits perfect. Four is Fancy Love by Jessica Simpson. Matt and I argue about perfume, but it seems like he finally found one we can both agree on because it smells amazing. Five is dice. Six is Mario for Wii.

I'd say he did, in fact, win Christmas this year. . . again. The only thing that saved me is that I got him an iPad2 with a smart case, A Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling, two Metallica DVD's, a TMNT box set, a bubbling foot bath, two sets of dice, a Star Wars Boba Fett mug, and a craftsman tool box for his dice. For his stocking, I did something similar to this man bouquet, except I used a stocking, instead of a flour pot. I wish I'd taken a picture, it came out awesome and he was impressed. He's not easy to impress, so I was really pleased. Hmm, I'm thinking that maybe we broke even, actually. Perhaps neither of us won Christmas this year after all.

Today, I took everything down. We usually leave everything up until after the new year, but I was just ready for it to go away. We got ourselves a 32" HDTV at Black Friday and it was, until earlier today, just sitting in the box in the living room. I wanted to put it up, on a table, where the Christmas tree was. So, I took the tree down, boxed everything up, and put the TV up so we could plug the Wii into it. Now, we can watch Netflix and play video games, or each of us can play games at the same time! We're thinking we may invest in a Blu Ray player for that TV, too, because the Wii can't play either DVDs or Blu Ray disks.

All in all, everything went down much faster than I expected it to. I usually dread taking Christmas apart because it can be a chore and it's not as fun as putting it together. This year, it took me less than an hour to untrim the tree.

[IMAGES REMOVED]

Bye bye pretty, sparkly, Christmas decorations. I'll see you again next year. I figured it was fair to take them down early this year because we had put them up the week before Thanksgiving. Up a week early, down a week early. It works. Of course, dust went flying everywhere and kicked up our allergies  but it's better to get it down and put away rather than sitting there continuing to make us sneeze. There's just no good way to dust a Christmas tree!

Besides, out with Christmas and in with the coming new year! I'm looking forward to starting 2013 on the best possible foot--though that could be the fluoxetine talking--so getting Christmas put away seemed like a good start. Bring it on 2013, I'm ready. . . even if I do turn 35 this coming year. Ooh, and Matt and I celebrate our super lucky 13th anniversary. 2013 is going to be awesome.

So, wherever you are and whatever you're doing this holiday season, I hope yours has been filled with blessings and joy. I hope your Christmas was amazing and that you have a very, totally, completely happy New Year!

Merry Christmas

From our family to yours...



I hope you've had an amazing Christmas holiday. We certainly have so far, which I'll write about next time. For now, Merry Christmas, and for all of my WoW friends...



Love, Kristyn & Co. ~.^

Skype, Skyped, Skyping

This is going to sound a wee bit crazy, and I'm a little bit embarrassed to admit this, but I just tried Skype this week and it is awesome!!!! Like, seriously awesome. I installed it on my MacBook--even though it's not in the apps store--and have been able to chat with my family several times. Being able to see one another is really neat. At the end of the first call, my mom said, "Why didn't we think of this sooner?!" Of course, I have no idea, except to say that neither of us have always had webcam. In fact, I still don't have webcam for my desktop.

My mom and sister, Candi, have been using it for a few months to keep in touch with my sister, Staci, who moved to NY--that's a whole post for another time, right there. So, when I saw it on the apps list for iPad, I had to download it. They don't have it for MacBook, so I downloaded it straight from the web, which Apple frowns on, but they can cope. Skype and Apple seriously need to work on making it happen, through the apps store, so I don't have to hunt it down elsewhere. Sheesh!

It's so easy to use, too! I can't believe how easy. I know they have a paid service, but I can't seem to figure out why anyone would need paid/premium service, unless they were making international calls. For us, the regular free service is more than enough. The picture is clear, mostly, and the sound quality is good. There're moments when, like anything else, it'll lag, but not many. So, once I had it downloaded, I gave them a holler and it was so cool to be able to see them.

Since we're all so far away from one another, it's nice to be able to see each other, especially during the holidays. Tonight, my sister and I even skyped while they were out seeing Christmas lights in Phelan and I got to see some of the displays. It wasn't the clearest picture, since they were moving, but it was really neat none the less. So, even though I'm a noob, and probably should have tried Skype like ten years ago, when it was first out, I've finally given it a shot and I'm impressed. It's awesome! Thinking we might Skype some on Christmas. It doesn't make up for not being able to be there, but it will be nice to see my family on the holiday, however we can get it. :)

An Early Christmas Lunch & Christmas Card Fail

I can't believe it's almost Christmas! I'm like a little kid, I love all the lights, the tree, and the pretty, colorfully wrapped gifts! I even enjoy some of the music and movies. I feel downright giddy that the day's nearly here, even if Matt and I do just plan to stay home and spend the day together. Heck, I even enjoy the New Years holiday because it makes me feel hopeful that the coming year will be a good one, even if I'm not optimistic enough to actually buy into it.

So we started our Christmas holiday today by going to Waco to have lunch and exchange gifts with my in laws. It's a relatively short drive, as holiday trek's go, only about 90 miles each way. Lunch was brisket, potato salad, coleslaw, fruit salad, and baked beans--and it was delicious! As to gifts, we got my father-in-law a bunch of war documentary DVDs, since he's very into that sort of thing, and my mother-in-law a reed diffuser with frankincense and myrrh oil. They got us an assortment of stuff, including wall calendars (an annual gift), a magnetic pad for the fridge with a K on it and a new hat for Matt. Since I hadn't seen my mother-in-law in like two years, it was a really nice day and good to see her again.

On the way home I got to thinking about Christmas cards, namely that I didn't send any this year. I just sort of never got around to it, but I was feeling okay about that because we hadn't received many. I got one from my grandmother in CA and my folks sent one with our Christmas gift, and my in-laws gave us one today, but otherwise we hadn't gotten any. Today, when I checked the mail on the way in there were two more in the box, one from my cousin Nora, and one from Matt's sister and brother-in-law, Cindy and Brian. It was that card, the one from his sister, that made me feel like a total loser for not sending cards this year.

You see, Cindy just had her first baby on November 30--making her baby 12 days old on 12/12/12! The Christmas card they sent had two pictures of their little girl, Audrey, on it. On the front, the three of them, on the back just Audrey. It's a birth announcement and Christmas card all in one, and it's precious! I had absolutely nothing to do, not working, not giving birth, and I didn't bother to send out Christmas cards--I bought them, I just never sent many of them--but my awesome sister-in-law had time to have a baby, have the cards printed, and send them in time for Christmas, all while coping with being a new mother and all of the challenges that entails. The girl is super woman, while I am the worlds biggest slacker!

I  feel slightly better only because I made not one, but two, virtual Christmas cards and will post them on my blog on Christmas. One's a family Christmas card, the other's a Winter Veil card (it's a WoW thing). My only issue is that I don't think it's as pretty as the last two years cards. But, I'm happy with it anyway, so it'll have to do. So, on Christmas day, Matt and I will just stay home and open gifts, and be together. He goes back to work on Wednesday (for an overtime day) and then works his normal shift on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, but will be off for New Year's Eve and New Years day! It should be wonderful!

Those Poor Mayans

It's 12/20/12 and I'm actually quite surprised. Here it is, the eve of the world's end and I haven't seen all that much about it on Facebook. A mention here and there, but my page doesn't seem to be flooded with end of the world stuff. I'm so glad to find that my friends seem, on the whole, the rational sort who doesn't tend toward the belief that the world's going to come to an end at 5:11 a.m. tomorrow morning.

So, I had to giggle tonight when Matt and I had the following conversation via text message, during his first break.

K: I'm so, so super groggy tonight.
M: You can't be sleepy for the end of the world!
K: I know, and yet. . . Zzzzz.
M: lol
K: Clearly, I'm unimpressed by this apocalypse.
M: Ditto, babe.
K: And the Mayans worked so hard on it, too!

Those poor Mayans. They are so going to be the butt of a heck of a lot of jokes tomorrow morning, when everyone wakes up alive and well! Frankly, I think they deserve it. Pranking the future is so not cool!

A Clean Bill of Health

I went to the doctor yesterday. It's never my favorite thing to do, particularly less than a week before Christmas, but she said everything seems fine. A clean bill of health for Christmas is never a bad gift to one's self. Of course, my lab work hasn't come back, but I'm hoping for the best, which is much more optimistic than I normally am. Where my health is concerned, I try to remain optimistic because I really want to be healthy. It's a wishful thinking thing. Anyway, I had to go back this morning for fasting blood work. She took three vials, but I don't mind having blood drawn so it wasn't too bad.

I was able to get my Sprintec renewed for another year, also not a bad gift to myself. One more childfree year! As long as I can remember to take them, of course. I asked her about depo, but due to my issues with depression she didn't think it's a good idea. Also, it causes issues with bone density and weight gain. I don't actually need any of those problems, so for now I'm just going to try to remember to take my pills. Maybe I'll have to change the alarm on my phone again so that I stop ignoring it/switching it off and going about my business. I missed three pills last month and have missed two this month so far. I'm terrible about remembering, but fortunately I don't actually take them just for birth control, I take them for medical reasons which seem largely unaffected by missing the occasional pill here and there.

The most significant thing is that she put me back on the Fluoxetine. I actually asked her for the prescription because it was helping me before. I'm hoping it will help me again. I took one last night, but it occurred to me that I should maybe take them in the morning, so I took another one this morning to try to get on a morning schedule. I read they make some people drowsy, and I was thinking that I didn't have that problem, except that a few hours after taking it I fell asleep on the sofa. Of course, it was 10:30 p.m. and I'd been up all day, so I'm not sure. The power was also out in our whole neighborhood, due to a terrible wind storm, so it was exceptionally dark. Maybe it was all three things, taken together. I don't know.

Either way, it wasn't a bad appointment. I really like my doctor, she's a lovely, caring woman. I had the opportunity to run a whole list of issues I've been having by her, she listened carefully, asked me thoughtful questions, and gave me answers. I even told her about my stint with Atkins and how it affected me. She agreed it's not the diet for me, but told me I should try Weight Watchers again, so I might give that a shot sometime soon. I don't know that I'm motivated enough right now. She was pretty pleased with me, seems that I've lost about 15 lbs since I saw her last. Even a little weight loss is good. Oh, and when I told her Matt's had a lot of success with Atkins, she said she thinks men have a higher success rate with that diet. Go figure!

Unseasonal Texas is, well, Unseasonal. . .

I'm preparing to go to the doctor today--I get to have a physical for Christmas, yay--and weather.com is telling me it's going to be 79 degrees. Yes, yes, I'm that geeky girl who checks the weather regularly, which I blame on my mom because she'd watch the weather channel on TV when I was a kid. It so warm here, in fact, that we have a fire advisory warning because of the warmth, wind, and lack of humidity. It's December, for cryin' out loud, it shouldn't be this warm. It should be winter, but here we are. It has been in the 70s for the last week or so, with some days reaching up to 80 degrees.

This is the warmest winter we've had since I moved to Texas, and come mid-February, it's going to start warming up again. That's about the time Texas starts to see Spring, even in good years, when it actually gets cold. Weather here tends toward warm, anyway, but we haven't seen a day cooler than high 40s or a night cooler than low 30s this year. It's been quite temperate, which I suppose would be okay if it weren't also so dry. So, so dry. We haven't seen more than a few drops of rain in probably six months. I think it might have rained a little bit last week, but not enough to matter. The ground sucked up the water like it was dying of thirst, which, I suppose, it is.

Still, this too-temperate weather is making it hard to feel the Christmas spirit. Our tree's been up since before Thanksgiving, it's pretty and it helps, but thanks to the flood of Christmas songs and movies, we've come to expect a certain chill in the air--if not a white Christmas, thanks Hollywood!! Without the chill, I just have a hard time feeling it. It's there, the feeling of Christmas, it's just not terribly profound. I'd need some pretty serious cold weather to get there, which isn't going to happen, but at least Weather is saying it's going to be in the 50s on Christmas. That might help.

Also, we're going to Waco on Saturday to have Christmas with my in-laws. Maybe that will help, I don't know. My mother-in-law might not be there, apparently she has to attend a funeral that day. We'll see. So, it might just be us and my father-in-law. I'm thinking that after we see them, we might go see a Christmas lights display, though I'm not completely sure where. Matt and I have never gone to a Christmas lights thing, even when we actually lived in Waco. Still, maybe a drive around to look for some will raise my holiday spirit.

For Christmas day, we'll stay home together (unless he has to work, not sure yet). It should be nice a quiet. I'm going to make a little turkey (just turkey breast) and a little ham (not a whole ham), sides, and pie. That should make it nice, despite the terribly un-seasonal weather. As for gifts, we're terrible about waiting and so we'll probably open them at midnight, since we're usually still awake. We've already opened one of them each, on Thanksgiving. I know, we're bad!

Alright, so I should finish getting ready for doctor's appointment, to which I just might wear a light weight dress. I can't even believe I'm contemplating that, it's December. Someone should tell Texas that it's December!!

"Buy her slippers!!"

Something you might not know about me is that I've never received a gift I didn't like. I'm super easy to buy for, even if others, like say, Matt, might not share in that opinion. It's still completely true. When it comes to gifts, I have zero expectations, except that I like to be surprised and even that expectation is fairly flexible. Even still, Matt has proven himself great at gifting. In fact, some of the best gifts I've ever received have come from Matt, which is awesome because I don't enjoy telling him what to buy me. I want him to work at it and surprise me.

That said, there's a running joke between us that the bar is too high now and that next year he's going to have to buy me something disappointing, like slippers, to reset it. Apparently, when he asked one of his co-workers what to buy me, his co-worker asked him what he has gotten me the last few years. When Matt told him, he said, "you set the bar too high, man, buy her slippers." When we ran into that particular co-worker at Black Friday at Wal-Mart, I asked Matt if he'd been the one tell him to buy me slippers. Matt just cackled and nodded.

Today, when he jokingly told me that next year it was definitely going to be slippers, I informed him that I actually quite liked slippers. My feet have a tendency get quite cold! Take that! But, after thinking on it for a while, I thought I might share with you some of the reasons his co-worker, Tyler, told him the bar was too high. Shall we?


  1. The Gold Box: The gold box is this year's gift. Pretty, isn't it? The tag on the bottom says "Swindles," which sort of gives it away. Also, I know exactly what's in the box, but you have to wait until after Christmas to see it!

  2. The Lithuanian Candle House: Matt got me this cute little house quite a few years ago. He bought it in a little trinket shop in Richland Mall in Waco, that isn't there anymore. The candle house is made of Lithuanian mud and is a part of a tradition of independence in Lithuania. There's a story about it, if you're interested. To this day, this is one of my all time favorite gifts. It's beautiful, functional, and has a history. He couldn't have done better.

  3. Heart Shaped Box: Okay, this one isn't a Christmas present, so I'm somewhat cheating here--particularly since I've nestled it in the Christmas tree for the picture. It's silver with a hinged lid and black velvet lining. The engraving on the top, which you can't see at all in that picture, says: "Just Because it's Thursday." That's right, an average Thursday happened to be the occasion for this lovely gift. Matt can be a romantic.

  4. Ani & Chewbi: Only one of them is a Christmas present--last year's present, in fact! We got Chewbacca around New Year, last year, but he was our Christmas gift. He's such a wonderful little guy. Anakin was my birthday present in 2005 and he's the best birthday gift, even if he's less cuddly and more finicky than Chewbi.

  5. Pride and Prejudice: This was a Christmas gift from 2010. This book was made by UStarNovels, a company that makes reprints of classics. The twist is that the reprints star whomever you want them to. That version of Pride and Prejudice, which is my favorite novel, stars me, rather than Elizabeth Bennett. The male lead is Matt, rather than Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy. It's awesome! They're reasonably priced and beautifully bound, and they make a really wonderful gift. Or, at least it did for me!

So you see? Matt's a really, really good gifter. He has never failed to buy me exactly the right thing and I've never--with the exception of #4--told him what he should get me. This year is no exception, the gift inside that gold box is awesome in every possible way and is exactly the right thing. When he bought it, he proudly proclaimed that he "won Christmas this year," which was hilarious, but possibly true up to the point when I bought him an iPad2 (which I've already given him so he could get some use out of it). I think we actually tie this year, which is a victory for me because Matt's impossibly difficult to buy for. He never actually seems to like any of the gifts I give him, which is hard for me because gifting is one of my joys in life. I love to buy for others and am, generally, quite good at it. He likes the iPad, so score!

There's a pile of other gifts to open on Christmas morning, and though I know what's in all of them, too, I still can't wait to open them. Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. It's just so much fun! So, you'll probably be getting another of these collages when Christmas comes--assuming the world doesn't end on 12/21/12, bwahahaha!! I can almost feel your excitement at the prospect, of the collage, not dooms day, of course. ;)

So now tell me, what's the best gift you've ever gotten? I think mine might just be slippers, come this time next year!

A Tale of Two Rings

Several years ago, Matt lost his wedding ring. We looked for it high and low, but it wasn't to be found, nor has it been in the intervening years. His hands are already quite small, so when he lost a lot of weight and his hands shrunk, he just couldn't seem to keep it where it belonged. It kept falling off, he lost and found it several times, until it was finally completely lost. He thinks he lost it in the house somewhere, though I can't imagine how that could be. If it were, we'd have come across it by now, right?

Who knows. The point is, we haven't. So, he hasn't had a wedding ring. Though I've shuffled through a whole host of emotions about this particular issue, the most prevalent seem to be annoyance and humor. Annoyance because I feel like he should have to wear it. He's mine. People should know that. The little gold circle gives it away. Humor because he's never been particularly careful about things, nor taken very good care of things, so this is just one more, quite expensive, thing to add to that list. And there's a going joke between us that he lost it during sex, because one of the other times it was (temporarily) lost, it was during sex.

I've considered replacing it, but I can't seem to justify it. He can't wear it to work, they're not allowed to wear jewelry. It would be an expensive waste, it would just sit in a ring box--or more likely, just tossed on his desk or on top of the bookshelf--and he'd never wear it. He came home the other day telling me that one of his co-workers, who is recently married, had lost his wedding ring at work. Apparently, the guy puts it in his pocket while he's working, presumably so he doesn't lose it and so his wife is close to him at all times (awww!), and he had somehow left it in his work pants. At the end of each night, they take their work pants and toss them into a receptacle for the company that comes in and washes their uniforms. Thankfully, Matt knows that the TA's have keys to the receptacle so he helped him get his ring back. That was nice of him, though he probably just didn't want the poor guy to get the third degree I've given him for losing his.

I've even considered replacing both of our wedding rings with new ones for our fifteenth anniversary--just two more years, and a few months--but every time I think about not having mine I can't do it. Every time I look at new ones, I just look at mine, and shake my head. I'm attached because it's the set we got married with. I'm getting sentimental in my old age. Instead, I'm considering getting a new, larger diamond for my set, though I don't know that that's even possible. I'd have to consult with a jeweler.

Then, yesterday, when we were coming back from Melanie's MA hooding ceremony, I swung my handbag over my shoulder and felt my rings fly off--because my rings are too big since I lost 35 pounds or so, early in the year. Frantically, I searched around my side of the car, on the ground, but couldn't find them. I dumped everything out of my handbag, into the passenger seat, in case they fell in there, but they hadn't. I sent Matt inside to check the tray in from on my monitor for them, in case I hadn't worn them and I was being paranoid, but no luck there either. I was pretty sure I'd been wearing them, though, for two reasons. First, because I was wearing my class ring and I either wear all my rings or none of them. And second, because I remembered admiring the sparkle under the recessed lights in the auditorium less than an hour earlier.

All the flack I gave him about losing his rings, and I had managed to fling mine from my hand to, I don't know, somewhere. Just as I started to freak, because scattered all over the ground where I'd lost them were hundreds of tiny golden leaves--and who can find two little yellow gold rings amid that?--Matt found them. He found both of them, my engagement ring and the little gold band we got married with. Whew! I almost had a freaking heart attack. If they had been gone for good, I'd have had to replace them, and that would have broken my heart. But most of all, if I'd lost them I'd have lost the right to give Matt a hard time about losing his.

So, now I'm paranoid to wear them out in public because I'm afraid I'll pull another ring-fling and have to crawl around on the floor in Wal-Mart looking for them. I mean, who knows what's on those floors?! Or, I'll lose them completely and never see them again. A wedding ring isn't exactly the kind of thing you you tag with a "if found please call" number. And, like, I'd lose my upper-hand high-ground about Matt losing his, which just can't happen (I know I already said that, but it bears repeating!). Besides, if I lose them, I want it to be during sex! Ha! (~.^)

2012 Recap: Counting Our Blessings

In an effort, perhaps, to cheer myself and see the blessings in my life, a practice I feel to be particularly poignant during the Christmas season, I thought I might write about the year. Though this is something I normally reserve for the New Year's holiday, I need it more now than I might in a few weeks. Instead, for the New Year's holiday, I'm hoping to write about my hopes for the year to come--which I'm still somewhat formulating in my mind. I guess the trick will be trying to keep the pessimism out as I try to talk (write?) through my thoughts.

Above all, this year has been a really good year. It's been productive, a year for beginnings, but also for endings. We've had good health and much more success this year than we have in a long time, and though I suffer some pretty serious depression, which might lead to the belief that my life is somehow compromised or unsatisfying, 2012 has been our best year in many years. I'm not so gloomy that I can't see, quite clearly, that 2012 is just the beginning of a much more fulfilling life than we've had before.

I worked the first half of the year as a graduate assistant, teaching freshman English, and finishing up graduate school. It was an experience like nothing else, that's for certain. What makes it significant, of course, is that it was an ending but was also a time for me to do some pretty heavy self-evaluation. I never, in a million years, thought I might be teaching, so to have done it for two years--and at the college level, no less--was nothing short of amazing. And honestly, I was sad when it was over. I was also relieved. I'd done it, exceeded my own expectations, and proved I was capable of something I never thought myself capable. Something others, too, thought me incapable of accomplishing.

Turns out the power of disbelief and the drive to prove the doubters wrong is quite the impetus. Maybe that's petty, but to accomplish something, knowing others believed you couldn't do it, it's a wonderful feeling. It's the feeling that carries me into my second ending of the year, graduate school. I finished my master's thesis in June, successfully defended in July, and graduated in August with a 3.82 graduate GPA. And let me tell you, I'd never felt better. I'd never felt more accomplishment. I was proud of myself, particularly knowing others were proud of me. I was proud that I'd done something "the little dyslexic girl" who wasn't "smart enough for college" couldn't have done. Jokes on them, because I did it! Apparently, more than smart enough for college, dyslexia and all.

We've also had some pretty important beginnings. In February, Matt got a pretty good job with an large, national (and in fact, international) company. Of course, like most jobs, he started at the bottom of the ladder and has had to work his way up, but he's done that brilliantly. He went from doing the most difficult job they have, to doing something he's quite good at and is fulfilling for him--he's had three promotions since he went permanent with them in May. I think he's quite content. He doesn't complain about going to work, he's quite talkative about their performance and takes a good deal of pride in the success of his crew. The job is stable, providing us with enough to pay our bills on one income, as well as insurance, a 401k, and very attractive quarterly bonuses. It's helped us to grow up a bit, in all the right ways, and is something we're very, very thankful for.

But one of the best beginnings, for both of us, is going back to school which, I suppose, is actually not a beginning until January. Still, we were accepted this year, so I'm counting it. We're going to be going to graduate school together--along with my best friend, Melanie. Something I'm very much looking forward to as it will bring structure back into my life and allow me to pursue a business degree that will compliment my English degree, making me more marketable--I hope. For Matt, it's a chance to do something he very much wants to do in his life, to attend graduate school. Though I'm a little concerned about his ability to work full-time and attend graduate school, I'm also certain that his desire will compensate for the fact that this will push his free/available time to the very limit of doable.

Best of all, though, I feel like this year has been a blessing because we've been together. We've had our 13th year together this year and in February we'll celebrate our 13th wedding anniversary. Lucky number 13! Every year we share is a good year, even the bad ones. So to have a successful year, as 2012 has been, is truly a blessing. And of course because another of our relationships, that with our president, for whom I've voted twice, will carry on for another four years. Amen!

Truly, I'm so grateful to have had a good year, despite my inability to find suitable employment and my stormy head-space. I'm so glad, at the end of a year of success, to have a wonderful holiday season, with a beautiful Christmas tree and the ability to do our part to infuse the economy and give to those we love this season. It hasn't always been within our grasp to gift to our friends and family, but this year we're taking advantage of the ability to enjoy the holiday to the fullest--and do so love to buy gifts!!

I hope your year has been equally filled with blessings, whether those be beginnings or endings, and that your heart is full this holiday season. It's raining as I write this, a blessing in itself after a long year of drought conditions. We haven't seen rain in months, and it'll probably pass soon, but it's wonderful while it's here. Finally, I feel truly blessed to have found blogging so many years ago, and to have fostered a long-time love of blogging, because just writing about the good things we've experienced this year has done wonders for my outlook tonight!

On Gun Control & Mental Illness

There's no one who disagrees that today's tragedy in Connecticut was completely senseless. In the wake of that tragedy, which seems to have all of America grieving--parents and those who aren't, alike--the hailstorm of chatter about gun control has me thinking. Okay, it has me downright pissed, if we're being honest. The heinous act of spilling innocent young blood was perpetrated by a crazed gunman, a sick individual. If there should be a discussion about what happened today and why, it should be a discussion about more effective treatment for mental illness--that is, access to treatment for the mentally ill. That should be up for discussion, gun control shouldn't. Everyone should agree, right now, that it's unfair and frankly sick, to politicize this tragedy in attempts to leverage legislative efforts on gun control, which only rob sane American's of our right to keep and bear arms. Sadly, not everyone does and many are taking advantage of a terrible tragedy.

I've seen some downright crazy things today pertaining to gun control and this tragic school shooting. I have a friend who believes we should arm teachers and as much as I respect him, it's something I can't agree with. Can you imagine if teachers had the power to shoot students who had gone on a killing spree? Can you imagine a teacher who could shoot a child, even a crazed mentally ill, dangerous child? Um, no. I've seen the liberal front on Facebook screaming about "crazy, insensitive republicans" and their guns, and for whatever reason, their opposition to health care reform, like that has anything to do with this. I'm a liberal. I'm in favor of health care reform, but not taking away guns. It's just disappointing to me that liberals are so up in arms--pun intended--about gun control right now. It's completely illogical, even if it's not surprising. They'll take absolutely any chance they can to push their anti-firearm agenda. I'll repeat what I said before, it's sick. And really, for me, the only connection between gun control and health care reform pertains to the point I've already made, that access to mental health care should be easier. Or at least it should be as easy to get therapy as it is to get a gun, at the very least.

At the risk of sounding insensitive to today's horrors--and trust me, I'm just as heartbroken as the rest of America for the loss of those innocent little children--this is really, really not the time to scream gun control. This is not the moment to blame "NRA nuts" for clinging to their guns. Vacating our second amendment rights, because a very, very small percentage of the population have used them to do evil, is completely irrational. It's a bit like punishing all of your children when just one does something wrong. Not only is it not very nice, it's fairly immoral to leverage absolute authority to punish over the lot for the sins of the one, or in this case few.

Today children died, teachers died, people are heartbroken and grieving, educators and parents are all petrified to got work and to send their children to school. Kids are afraid to go to school. On the whole, Americans are shaking their heads and drying their tears, at a total loss for words. It's so unbelievably terrible we can't truly comprehend it. That's an unfortunate reality of a world where not everyone is mentally stable--a world where, sadly,where such mental illnesses depression and bi-polar disorder aren't taken seriously enough. It's so easy to point fingers at something, anything, in an attempt to grasp at someone or something to blame. But, a gun is a means, it is not a cause. Guns don't make people kill other people, they just make it easier.

Before this, the discussion about gun control was recently reinvigorated by Jovan Belcher, a football player with Kansas City Chiefs, who took his girlfriends life and then his own. People, including Bob Costas, a man I generally tend to respect, began calling from the highest peaks that guns enabled evil to act out it's monstrous agenda. It's a fallacy of false cause to assume that guns are responsible for killings. The same is true here. Guns are not responsible for the death of those children, or the teachers, a madman is. That's something that should never be forgotten. Ryan Lanza, initially wrongly accused of this crime and the gunman's brother, said that Adam Lanza had a history of mental illness. Adam Lanza was sick and disturbed. Jovan Belcher was sick and disturbed. They each chose to take lives. This is an issue that sorely lacks perspective, and one that's further losing perspective by the hour.

Now is the time for grieving, the time to pull together as a nation, but in the wake of a tragedy that has everyone heartbroken, legislation and drastic actions are probably not the right thing. Who can be of sound mind to make decisions at the highest level, particularly one that infringe on our constitutionally guaranteed rights, while this painful wound is still so raw? Everyone needs to calm down and bring the perspective back, or maybe go looking for it in the first place, because those innocent little children and the teachers who lost their lives today should be the central focus as we remember and try to heal from today's shocking and senseless tragedy.

Twelve/Twelve/Twelve

{I'm feeling a bit manic and can't sleep, so this is the second post I've made tonight. You can find the first one below this or click here.}

I'm really not superstitious on any level. I'm one of those level-headed type people who don't believe the world's going to end on 12/21/12. Who tends to believe that your house is not haunted, crop circles & pyramids weren't built by aliens, and that Atlantis isn't sunk under Cuba or off the coast of the Isle of Rhodes. You know, those people... yeah, that's me. Maybe it's my pessimism, it doesn't allow me to believe anything too ridiculous. So, all this chatter about 12/12/12 has me rolling my eyes a bit--seriously, Google "12/12/12 superstitions," it's a bit absurd.

The only thing I find significant about this particular date is that, sadly, it's the last repeating date we'll see. So, rather than writing about something completely ridiculous and unrelated to my life or blog, I thought I'd mention some of the changes I've made of late. I always find these sorts of posts useful when I'm looking back at my old entries. Note that I've chosen a topic about as unrelated to 12/12/12 superstition as possible--yeah, that's completely intentional. Okay, so here goes:

  1. Archived old photos: In other words, I've deleted a bunch of old photos and removed them from associated blog entries. So, there're now a lot of entries that're older than about a year that  don't have images anymore. I left the ones with personal or relevant images, tossing all the stock-type images. It's a small space saver.

  2. Theme change: This one's obvious. I put away the Christmas theme, which I liked, but was getting old fast (and it's not even Christmas yet!). I actually did have a good reason, other than being bored with it. When I updated my WordPress install, I started having issues with the theme. So, I replaced it with WordPress' default theme, Twenty Twelve. It's beautifully coded, by the folks at WordPress. And, as you can see, highly customizable.

  3. Plugins Page: I added a page, accessible on the navigation menu, that links to the WP Plugins I use for this site. Mostly, I do this because occasionally I come across a blog I like, but won't be able to figure out what plugins they use, which irks me. I don't want to be that person.


That about sums it up for blog changes. I'm hoping to keep this theme for a while. I used my favorite colors, my font (Jellyka Delicious Cake) for the header/banner/logo at the top, and I used my favorite seamless background (I looooove the gray paisley). So, maybe with all of my favorite pieces, I can make a look I'll not get tired of anytime soon. Who knows. I tend to be a little bit bi-polar about blogging... well, about everything in my life, unfortunately. But yeah, blogging gets a good chunk of that treatment. So what do you think of my new theme? I worked on it for quite a few hours tonight. I'd be interested to hear what you think.

Depression & Acceptable Failure

I've had one of the worst days I've had in a long time. No, nothing horrible happened, everything is technically fine, but emotionally today was impossible to describe. I was in a terrible mood all morning, which I attributed to having overslept by about three hours. I moped around all morning, which is strange because it was one of those times when I could feel myself feeling low, but I couldn't seem to do anything about it. My stomach hurt a bit and I had no apatite except for being thirsty. Physically, I felt like crap. Emotionally, I just felt raw and exhausted.

Then Matt got up and turned off the movie I was watching, turning on the X-Box without asking me, and I totally lost it. Just to preface this, it's not irregular for him to get up and take over our shared space. He regularly turns on the video game and will watch Netflix on his computer (with his speakers, not a headset), even if I'm watching TV or listening to music on the computer. Without regard for what I'm doing, he just sort of takes over. Normally, I just turn off the music and let him have his way because it's often days he has to work and he'll only be home for a few hours in the afternoon. Today, I absolutely lost it. All of the little problems we've been having--and when I say small, I mean they're things we've discussed and worked through, and aren't that big of a deal, for the most part--came flooding to the surface in that one small, selfish, but not irregular act.

The tears came and they kept coming. I cried on and off all afternoon. Matt and I went to Wal-Mart, I cried on and off all the way there and all the way back, and while we were in Wal-Mart it took everything I had not to break down a few times. I also still felt like shit, totally and completely disconnected. I felt like I couldn't hold myself up and I was dizzy. When Matt found out I hadn't eaten all day and didn't actually plan to eat at all, he had a fit. He informed me he couldn't go to work unless I would eat, which I still think was a bit dramatic, then he took me to McDonalds and got me a burger and fries, and a diet coke.

And in that one carb-filled infusion, I completely blew my diet out of the water. Atkins is a diet that relies on staying in ketosis, which you can't do if you're scarfing carbs like a crazy person. But you know what, I feel like it's an acceptable failure. I feel like I have to choose between this diet and my mental health, which already isn't good. Given that choice, I think I have to chose my mental health, because this particular diet has me feeling both physically and mentally horrible. I'm drained and exhausted, and I feel ugly on the inside. My head space is completely compromised by this diet. So I'm going to eat carbs and try to lose the weight another way, without sacrificing my mental stability to do it. It's not worth it to be thin if it means being too depressed to enjoy it.

Right now, I'm just hoping that tomorrow will be a better day. I really need it to be. I felt marginally better after I ate the burger and fries, but I still feel bad and I've still been crying all evening. As the evening gets later, the issue seems to be getting less serious. The tears are less frequent, but I'm tired and my head is killing me. So, I might just go to bed and hope that when I open my eyes tomorrow, that I'll feel okay. That I'll be less unstable and more companionable, because today was a terrible day for Matt, too. My depressive fit completely ruined the few hours he had before work, something I feel terrible about, even if I couldn't exactly help it. Tomorrow, he's off and we'll spend the day together. I think, and hope, that that'll help. Fingers crossed.

Atkins & the Carb-aholic

If I had to sum up the last few days, I'd say I'm tired and I feel like crap. Matt and I decided to do the Atkin's diet, which is a pretty big deal for me--and it was my bright idea, ugh! Matt did it before, he stayed in Induction (phase one -- 20 net carbs per day) the whole time, and lost more than 100 lbs. It worked really, really well for him. Unfortunately, every time I've tried it, I've collapsed into a heap of tears within the first few days. Turns out carb addiction is a very real chemical issue. It's like trying to get off of caffeine and it sucks. Try not eating carbs for, like, two seconds (hyperbole, much?), depriving your brain of the much loved serotonin overdose, it's not pretty. At least, it's not pretty for me. It's painful and I'm not well equipped to handle painful. The saddest part is that I've been so hooked on carbs that the serotonin, which is supposed to make you happy, does nothing for me. Awesome.

So, Atkins is a low-carb diet that allows only certain foods and asks you to stay within 20 net carbs (total carbs - fiber and sugar alcohol = net carbs) per day for the first two weeks. After that, you slowly add more carbs back until you've reached your weight loss goal. Since we've just started two days ago (today is day #3), the foods we can eat are limited to lean proteins, eggs, a little bit of cheese, and some vegetables. That's it. No bread, no milk or yogurt, no pasta, and no fruits. I've done a lot of reading and apparently, despite appearances, it's actually not unhealthy. I only agreed to give it another shot because they have shakes and meal bars, which allow me to eat something other than meat for every meal, especially since I'm not much of a meat eater (understatement of the year!).

So far, I'm feeling like total shit. Last night, I almost broke down in tears, I shouted at Matt, and I almost folded and ate mac and cheese with hamburger. The only thing I could think about was how it would taste, and, strangely, what I could add to make it better... like fresh tomatoes, which are a fruit and high in carbs. It's literally all I could think about. I couldn't focus on anything else and every time I tried I got frustrated. You know, the kind of frustrated you feel when you can literally feel the blood pumping through your veins, heart pounding, pressure in your head? Yeah, that. And Matt was going to let me eat it, because he doesn't want me to hurt. Isn't he sweet?

Ultimately, I just folded in and willed myself to think of something else, anything else, until the craving passed. In time it did, but what gave me the strength to try was Matt. He's recently quit smoking and he's doing beautifully, even though it hurts him and he still wants it. He's about 46 days quit now, he hasn't had a cigarette in 46 days--and he feels better, despite his struggle with cravings, he can breathe and has more energy. His strength in the face of an addiction he's been with since he was 12 years old made me want to reject my petty desire to scarf on carbs until I exploded. Don't get me wrong, typing this is making me want it again, but I'm trying to stay strong. I want to lose the weight and feel better, like he does since he quit smoking.

Really, the only thing that's kept me from ditching this diet, the only thing that makes me believe it'll work, is my own history. When I cut out sugary carbs, last year about this time, and stopped eating so much sugar, I lost 40 lbs. All I had to do was stop eating so much carb-filled junk and I lost weight. So, I'm excited to see what'll happen when I cut out most other carbs, too. Maybe I'll lose another 40+ lbs! That's the goal, anyway (big stress on the +).

Also, I'm somewhat motivated, again by Matt, but this time not because of something positive he's doing. Rather, because of my own insecurity. I see the way he looks at the smaller girls, even though he's fairly discreet. When I mentioned it to him he said, "have I ever said anything discouraging about your weight?" Of course, he hasn't, and he tells me he thinks I'm beautiful, which I think all wives, all women, like to hear. Still, I feel so frumpy these days, and part of that is my weight. I want to make a change. I want to go places with my husband without feeling like everyone around is wondering what he's doing with me.

So, I'm sticking to it, at least for now and hoping the scale give me a reason to be this miserable. Fingers crossed.

Monster High

While looking at lists of hot gifts for this holiday season, I came across something that had me pretty interested. Have you seen the Monster High dolls? They're a pretty big deal for little girls this season, but they also peeked my interest and the interest of a lot of other adult women, too. Mostly, for me, it was the Draculaura doll, she's adorable and I happen to know Matt bought her for me for Christmas! What I didn't know at that point is that Monster High is a whole big thing, and I do mean big thing. There're dolls, but there's also a four book YA series, an animated movie, an animated web-series, and a whole lot of other things branded with the Monster High label.

So, I got the first book in the YA series and devoured it, got book two and zipped through that one too. So far, they're the only one's I've read, but I just got the last two books in the mail, so it probably won't be long until I've finished the series. I've also finished volume one of the Monster High webisodes and plan to watch the other three volumes in the near future. Oh, and I watched the movie, Monster High: Ghouls Rule today, which I enjoyed.

The general story, of both the webisodes/movie and the books, center around Frankie Stein and her "ghoulfriends" Draculaura, Cleo, Clawdeen, and Blue--plus a whole cast of others, like Ghoulia, Duce, Abby, and Spectra. But there's a catch. The webisodes/movie don't follow the same storyline, exactly, that the books do. The first book is about Frankie Stein's first few months of life and a "normie" named Melody Carver. The second book follows Frankie and Melody, but tosses in Cleo as a primary character, too. The fourth adds in Clawdeen. The fifth, about Draculaura. They attend Merston High in Salem, OR and the monster's are a secret. In the webisodes/movie, they go to Monster High and are out of the coffin, so to speak. The webisodes/movie are much more open about the monster, and there is no Melody Carver--that I can tell. The movie has "normies," but none of them are Melody or her family.

The chronology goes something like this: dolls, webisodes, books, movie. In fact, the webisodes and movie were efforts to promote the dolls. Then Lisi Harrison came along and wrote a four book series that loosely follows the same characters in an alternate reality sort of way. Whatever the case may be, the whole Monster High thing is so, so fun. They're fun for me and I'm a 34 year old woman without kids. And you know what, it seems like there're a lot of other women without kids that find it charming, too. One reviewer on Amazon said she read them because they're fun, clean reading. Which couldn't be more true, the closest thing you get to sexual content is kissing and the characters plot to save the world from Frankie's backyard or around the flagpole.

So, if you're interested in YA books and you like the Gothic, this might be for you. Seriously, I just said "the Gothic." There're quite a few nods to the traditional Gothic in the books, including "Radcliffe Way," the street where the RAD's (monsters--"regular attribute dodgers") live. I mean really, anything that manages to be for younger audiences and is still quite smart is a winner with me!

FedEx Fail

I'm in a terrible mood. Matt was off work last night, but insisted that I stay up with him until nearly dawn because he needs to "stay on a night schedule." I had to get up around 9:00 a.m. to wait for a package from FedEx--just about the last of our Christmas shopping--so I've gotten very little sleep. And you know what, I don't blame Matt, at all. I blame FedEx. Staying up until after 5:00 a.m. wouldn't normally be a problem, nor would it be all the irregular, it's the getting up at 9:00 a.m. that's the issue here, and it shouldn't be. That package should have been here last Friday (November 30th) when it was originally scheduled for delivery. FedEx is seriously on my shit list.

If I have a choice, I won't be shipping with them again. In fact, I would pay more for shipping just to avoid them. The sad thing is that I've never had a problem with them before, but this problem I'm currently having is enough to make me swear off of them in the future. There's zero good reason for a delivery to continually be rescheduled, day after day, for almost a week. They don't tell me the delivery has been rescheduled until the day it's supposed to be delivered and they're not even giving me a suitable reason, just telling me there's a "delivery exception." Then, yesterday, when it wasn't delivered again, they informed me the package had a wrong/non-existent address. Um, what? So I checked the address with the shipper and it's right. I tell FedEx that it's right, give them step-by-step directions, and they say it'll be delivered today. We'll see. It's about 1:00 p.m. and it's not hear yet, and I've been up waiting.

What pisses me off most is that in the eight years we've lived her, no delivery company has ever failed to find us. We've never had a problem getting packages--except the odd business who can't recognize our address in the first place, which is annoying but we can work around it. We live on a private road (inside a mobile home park), and though there was a time when we didn't show up on Google maps, we do now. We show up on GPS-like tracking websites, maps are getting smarter. They shouldn't have a problem finding us, but they're now saying that they do and that our address doesn't exist. Good job, FedEx.

I mean, really, what if I had a job outside the house. How would we ever get anything? I don't see how people do it. I'd have had to make special arrangements to be here to wait for the package. It's bad enough that they tell you that it'll be there anytime from 8:00 a.m. to 5 p.m., which is a huge space of time and makes planning difficult already, but to repeatedly put off the delivery. I'd have been up a creek without a paddle if I'd had a job. Matt works nights, he can't stay awake all day waiting for a package that FedEx decides, the day of the damn delivery, that they're not going to bring.

So, I'm hoping it gets here today, but I'm not going to hold my breath. The package has a Christmas present for our best friends and something in it for me and Matt, too, so it really needs to get here. I know it's the holidays and everyone's busy, shippers most of all, but it's their job to make sure packages arrive in a timely manner. That's their only responsibility in the world and it seems like FedEx can't even get that right. I am so, so pissed, but I have to say, their customer service people are night enough. They patiently took notes and listened to me tell them how disappointed I was in their service, and they were still quite nice to me. So, at least they have that going for them. Of course, any business that fails to fulfills it's only goal would need a good customer service department. So glad our shopping and shipping is almost done. Maybe now we can get back to trying to enjoy the holiday season!

Quick update: My package didn't come yesterday, after I had so little sleep to wait for it (their system said it would be here). When I called FedEx last night, the guy I spoke to had no idea where my package was or why it wasn't delivered, but said someone would call me today. No call, but I did get an email that my package was delivered. They had just left it on the steps, not even a knock to let me know it was out there. Lazy ass drivers! I'm seriously considering filing a complaint.

Catching Up

Goodness, is it really already December? Here I am, trying to figure out where the year has gone, which isn't all together different than how I pass my time every year about this time. I'm always in awe of how the year just manages to fly by, always wondering where it went. Of course, this year, more than any other recent year, it doesn't feel at all like December yet. It's still in the high-70s here, with the occasional day in the low-80s, and an even more occasional day in the high-60s. It's ridiculous how warm it still is, but thankfully I have a beautiful Christmas tree this year to remind me that it's the holiday season.

I was going to write about Thanksgiving, do a post about what I'm thankful for, but we were really busy the week of Thanksgiving, including a trip to Waco early in the week, so I never got around to doing it. When Matt's home, he tends to want my undivided attention--though, to his credit, he's been amazing at leaving me along the last few days while I wallow and brood, as I'm feeling both emotionally and physically ick. All in all, our Thanksgiving day was quiet, a nice respite from a busy week of Christmas shopping. I'm actually done Christmas shopping, except for a few things here and there. Quite pleased about, other than being ticked at FedEx, who keeps delaying the shipping on something we ordered last week.

Above all--and I know it's a little late, but better late than never, right?--I'm thankful husband, family, and friends, and for my health and the (relative) health of my loved ones. I'm thankful for Ani, Chewbi, and Galileo, because without them I'm certain I'd be in a much gloomier state of mind, especially since Chewbi is really such an amazingly affectionate little guy. I'm thankful for a husband who works hard to make our lives comfortable, he's the most amazing part of my life. So yeah, I know that list of "thankfuls" sounds pretty generic, but it's all quite true. It's also the best I can do right now because, most times, I feel like it would be easier to make a list of all the things I'm not thankful for, like my stormy mental state.

Let's see, we did Black Friday at Wal-Mart. I figured that living in a small town, that it would be no big thing. Wrong. Fortunately, we were early enough, but Wal-Mart was a mad house! I've never seen that many people in our Wal-Mart. They were everywhere, there were cops, we couldn't move and a rude woman kept hitting me with her buggy. I think the only reason I didn't lose it, because I am terrible with crowds, we're talking full-on anxiety breakdown, was my anger at the overall rudeness. Anger > anxiety. Also, having Matt there was awesome. I'd never have been able to go alone. Of course, the highlight of our Black Friday experience was wait for an hour and a half to get a 32" HDTV that was on sale for $150. We got it and I got a digital picture frame for $20. I seriously don't think I'll be doing Black Friday again for a long time.

Otherwise, I'm starting to gear up to go back to school in January. Since Matt and I are both going back, it's double the prep and I found out tonight that one of our books is going to be $532. One thing I didn't miss at all was buying books, especially since I haven't done it in a long time. For my last year of grad school, it was all internship and thesis, so there were no overpriced text books to buy. It was awesome. Oh, and I'm starting to look for work/waiting for something to come along that would be right for me in town. It's not easy, particularly living in a tiny place like Stephenville, but I'm hopeful that something will come along, if not in the next few weeks, then after the new year. Or, maybe I can find another assistantship, I don't know yet. We'll see.

Okay, I think that pretty much sums up what's going on here. Nothing too exciting, I know, but maybe now that I've taken the opportunity to play catch up, I'll write more. It's so hard to blog when I've been neglecting it for a while. The longer it has been, the harder it gets, but I always come back. Oh, what do you think of my Christmas theme? I saw it and really liked it, and it's helping me get into the season (right along with my house decorations). Okay, back to pet battles in the great land of Azeroth, I was about to hit 400 pets when my realm went down a bit ago. :)