Stickynotes on parade

Oooh! My first art link!

My Stickynote Art Exchange post has been linked on a most awesome blog: stickynote theatre. A must-see for all sticky-doodlers, sketchers and masterminds alike. Go check it out!

I guess this means I have to actually do what I said I was going to do, and post one quick random stickynote sketch per month for anyone, anywhere, to utilize for their own creative fun. So, here's the second official stickynote:

Sticky 3

What is it? I don't know. What does it do? I don't know. You tell me.

A quick recap of the scenario:

I post a quick, very unfinished stickynote sketch like this and you, dear readers, take it and run with it, using it as a starting spot for a larger picture like my Pebble Drop drawing. The catch is only that you have to include the stickynote background color (usually yellow, but I ran out and had to use a purple note today) for the section of the larger picture that started from the actual stickynote itself. And that's the only rule.

Create the picture however you wish: drawing, painting, computer art - heck, you can even include it in a sculpture of sorts and email me a photo of it (that would be pretty damn cool, actually ...) And anyone can do this. Once you've created your masterpiece, e-mail it to me (dragonlaugh[at]comcast[dot]net) and I will post it on this blog for all to see, with credit and a link to you.

Come play!

Memory from a strange childhood, #1: The Mean Ladies

Mean Lady
© C. Vandever 2008

One of my most terrifying memories from very very early childhood - nay, toddlerhood - was of the "Mean Ladies" who used to crawl up onto the bed, under the covers, to eat my toes. Sometimes there was just one Mean Lady, but more often than not it was a horde of them lead by the Queen of Mean Ladies.

The mean ladies were very small, no bigger than my toes themselves, and sometimes just a wee bit smaller, but their heads were large, being more than half of their total body mass. All of the ladies looked exactly the same, with the one exception of the Queen being larger - just a bit bigger than my big toe. They all wore red, at all times, but the actual clothing varied between a red dress with white collar (as shown), a red blouse and red or black skirt, or a red kimono which added to their oriental look. Now, understand that at the time, I had no idea what a kimono was, so that part may be my adult brain connecting whatever strange shift they wore to something real, and this specific connection made because of the distincly oriental look of the ladies. They also, somehow entirely indefinable, looked insectile - I think it was the eyes, which were always closed, and the long thin eyebrows; they looked like antennae at times. Also, the arms and legs, and hands and feet, where entirely smooth, with no fingers or toes or joints of any kind, and were simply thin and black, always black.

On rare occasions, the white collar of their sometimes-dresses would be a pale sky blue, but usually it was white. There was never any variation in the shade of red, or the simplicity of it. No patterns, no textures. No seams. Just red.

I always knew when the mean ladies were coming, and would cry and yell and scream for Mama Wren to come and save me. "MOMMMMEEEEEE!" I'd holler and cry and hunch up under the covers, trying to keep my toes as far from the end of the bed as possible, waiting for rescue. When she'd come running in to see what manner of horror was confronting me, I'd sob, absolutely terrified, "Mommy, the Mean Ladies are coming! The Mean Ladies are going to eat my toes!"

And sure enough, the "biting" would start as my feet woke up. I imagine I probably became frantic at that point, because as you know, you can't stop it from happening, you just ride it out, hurting and stinging and stomping. I was helpless to stop the hordes from eating me alive.

I used to wonder how I knew when they were coming (becuase I always knew a minute or two before they struck, and was never wrong), but after so many years of experience with limbs that have "fallen asleep" since then, I know now that it's just that weird feeling you get before the pins and needles kick in. Not understanding that at the time, nor the perfectly harmless and natural thing that would be just about to happen to my feet, my strange little brain conjured up a monster, as young brains are wont to do. The stinging pain scared me, so it had to be something bad, right - something scary?

What creeps me out to this day is that I don't know where the image of the mean ladies came from. It is very distinct; it always has been, right from the start. They are small, almost toe-shaped things, with large black mouths full of razor sharp teeth, and those mouths are always open and their angry hungry eyes are always closed to slits as they climb up the bedclothes, under the covers at the end of the bed and en masse, slowly due to anatomically-too-short legs (too short even for their anatomically-too-small bodies), march with black arms spread toward trembling toes. They move in unison, and are perfectly rigid, backs curved ever so slightyly forward, and there is the sound like an army, like an insect, but you can only hear it in your head, the way you can only see it in your head.

But the teeth are real - they can be felt slicing and gnawing and chewing, and the Queen of the Mean Ladies always takes the big toe for herself. All the others - and there are dozens of them, constantly joined by more ranks climbing up the sheets - are very disciplined, taking turns to eat and then shambling away, mouths still gaping to show razored white teeth.

Typical ...

perfectly Normal

Yeah. Typical Cancer: Today I'm in a good mood, and so feel dorky and drama-queen-ish about yesterday's post.

P.S. Oh yeah - that F was changed to a B. S'all good.

Taking out the trash

I miss writing about things that matter.

I know that sounds strange, what with the subjects of my writing lately. Of course school matters (like I never understood before, and am learning more every day now). Of course medical things matter, even when they turn out to be nothing serious at all (because it’s scary when something strange and unknown happens to your body, no explanation and no warning and no explanation after other than “take this, it’ll make you feel better,”). Of course love matters (and I’ll leave it at that, or this will turn into one of those sappy gross blog posts resembling puppy love gone on too long, or some such). Of course the things that piss me off daily matter – sure, you can say “that’s life,” but damn it, that’s not how life has to be, right? Right? Not full of stupid people, mean people, people so wrapped up in their own delusions and fears and ignorance that communication is laughable at best, pitiful or enraging at the worst? Right?

With my blog posts lately, I feel like the ultimate personification of the stereotypical astrological description of a Cancer, all moody and changeable, prone to cry or laugh or say nothing and just glare, with no explanation. I feel out of control.

Really, it’s just that life’s finally caught up with me. In the times when I was prone to write great and philosophical, or just plain weird but kinda thoughtful posts, I really didn’t have much of a life. I had a job – the same one I’ve been working for five years now. I had (for a little while) a pretend love – someone I’d tricked myself into believing was a good person who cared about me (he didn’t, in the end). I lived with my parents, rent-free, worry-free … life experience-free. I had no real complaints, and more free time than I knew what to do with.

And so I wrote.

Granted, not everything I tapped out on the keyboard was magic, but the point is, it could have been, if I’d wanted it to.

I had all the time in the world to form the prettiest, smartest words to express thoughts and feelings that I thought at the time to be very “deep.” I could write poetry, because I had the time to be still and let it bubble up out of me, slowly or too fast to keep up with. I could, if I so chose, just sit at the computer and think - about what I wanted to write, or didn’t want to, about what I didn’t know I wanted to write, about nothing or everything, injustice or wonderment or dreams.

Now I have a life. Oh boy, do I have a life. Not much of a social one, at the moment, but that’s not what matters in the end and it’s not really what I care much about, anyway. I mean I have direction now, and experience, and understanding that I didn’t have before. I have love – the real thing, this time – and all the wonder and learning and hoping and fearing that comes with it. I have the same job but am learning more about life from it now – about what I do and do not want, about what I will and will not settle for. I’m back in college, and by far doing the best I’ve ever done, and learning to be proud of that and make it known.

I’m learning that for the most part, I’ve led a very lazy, self-centered life. No, I’m not going to go terribly, deeply philosophical with this, with empty promises of getting rid of all my material possessions and “living a humble life.” I mean that for so long there was little in the way of consequence for my actions or inactions – or least not much in the way of long-term consequence. I had a roof over my head, a good family life (no matter how much I may not have thought so at times), and absolutely no responsibilities beyond going to work everyday. And really, since I wasn’t paying the rent or the bills, even that wasn’t much of a necessity, but it paid for tattoos and clothes and too many pets, so I did it anyway.

Because of this, I really could do pretty much what I wanted, or not do it. It didn’t matter. I had the computer to write through, and books to escape in. Who needs anything more, right?

It has been a slow and unsteady waking up. In the last two and a half years, I have lost people I’ve cared about to death for some and realizations that they weren’t who and what I so desperately wanted them to be for others. I have learned that I hold grudges very deeply - for years even, after I’ve already scolded myself into understanding that those things and situations really don’t matter and the grudges only make me feel ugly and psychotic. I remember good words and times, but sometimes I remember the bad ones more accurately, and longer.

I have discovered how hard it is to let go of the freedom to simply lie down, or sit down, and do absolutely nothing if I want to. I’m still having trouble letting go of that, finding myself glaring at the computer screen or the wall when I should be working on assignments due in mere hours. And it makes me angry, not because I no longer have that freedom, but because I do it anyway, angry at myself for doing it, unable to move and just fucking start typing. It makes me bitter, more so because it happens less and less now, but like a junkie going back, each time it crops up again now it’s worse than before, leaving me immobile in body and enraged in mind, cursing myself, and if the things I scream at myself in my mind to get moving were heard aloud, you might not like me very much.

You might come to understand that while I’m as good a person as I can be to those around me, I’m not such a good person to myself. I don’t have nearly the patience with my own shortcomings as I do with everyone else’s, and I’m rapidly losing faith in my ability to remain ever-patient with others, so that scares me.

I’m on edge, and I keep finding myself wondering how long it will take for me to fall off and over and start saying aloud the things I think of people and life and “oh poor fucking me, I can’t be lazy anymore.”

I find myself feeling like a petulant child, foot stomping and glaring and harrumphing, and so self-involved that I can’t see how ugly it makes me. How pathetic.

Only, I can see it. I guess I could console myself with that; if I can see it, and understand it, I can change it, right?

Please, tell me I’m right.

I should be happy that my laziness is slipping away, despite its vile, overpowering comebacks sometimes (and always at the worst times) that leave me feeling slimy and horrible and self-destructive. I should be happy that instead of wasting time wishing I had something useful to do for the vast majority of my copious free time, I do have something incredibly useful to do now, even though that means I have virtually no free time left. Rather than feeling bad that I have had to cancel the last five or six dinner and darts dates with Matt and a coworker and her boyfriend, I should be rejoicing that I’ve had the will to do so in order to get schoolwork done, because although I dearly love dinner and darts dates, they won’t land me that wonderful, someday, dream job. A 4.0 grade point average will.

Rather than being all manner of pissed off that I can’t even spend thirty fucking minutes sitting with Matt and talking, or not talking, or watching TV, I should be amazed and honored that despite our “us time” being cut down to those precious few minutes of falling asleep and waking up together, he still loves me dearly and washes and cleans and tidies up and makes me dinner and wants me to be his wife. I should be humbled, not self-righteous.

I find myself telling myself to stop bitching. And then, true to my “sometimes-I-think-too-much-(ok-it’s-more-than-sometimes)” nature, I reason everything out and tell myself it’s perfectly understandable and ok to be disgusted at blatant stupidity, and outraged when it affects me in big ways like almost killing me (“yes, asshole, that was a Stop sign you just blasted past, even though I was already out in the middle of the fucking intersection so that if you’d been paying even the most microscopic amount of attention, you’d have realized that something big (another vehicle, maybe?) was in the way of your forward movement and maybe – just maybe - you ought to slow down and figure out what it is instead of barreling forward straight at it with reckless stupidity anyway.”)

And then I nitpick. Because I see others go through what I go through and remain much calmer than I do, and I feel like I should be calm too. Sure, they’ll cuss, or mutter, or shake their heads with an angry glare, but it only lasts a moment and then they’re over it and on with life. My angers last a long, long time, and run deep to pop up again when I least expect them to. Grudges, remember? I hold them very well. It makes me feel guilty and judgmental, and then like a hypocrite because I hate it when people judge me based on one moment of my life. For all I know, that guy that ran the stop sign and had to swerve to avoid hitting and killing me was distracted and in a hurry because someone he loved was just hurt and taken to the emergency room, and he just wanted to get to them, and everything else around him went away for a while. Ok, or maybe he really was just an idiot who shouldn’t be allowed to drive, but I don’t know that, I just assume and get angry.

This part of my life, where I’m learning and discovering and evolving, is frightening. Sure, there’s excitement too, in learning that I really am as smart as people always told me, and more; that I have found a love that’s better than anything my wildest fantasies could have dreamed up; that I’m closer to my parents now than I have been in a very long time; that I’m finally learning the value of life-experience, like budgeting, and keeping track (on paper, not in my head) of the bills I’ve paid and still need to pay, and that the word “sacrifice,” in all it’s pent-up, vamped-up glory, can sometimes mean something so seemingly unimportant as not going out to dinner with the one you love, even though you know you both need it, because you can’t afford it till the end of the week, and can’t afford to take the time off from school work anyway. I’m learning what it means to juggle life, and I’ve had my share of misses and drops, but I’ve also had some pretty amazing catches, too.

I guess what I’m saying is that I miss this: writing out what’s pent up inside and scratching and gnawing to get out. I miss talking about what’s really going on in my life, in my head. I don’t need to do it every day, but I do need it a fuck of a lot more than I’ve been able to do it for a long time now. It’s making me a little psychotic, or it feels like it. Of course everything will be ok – it always is. But I need to remind myself of that now and then, and I can only do that through writing or talking, and I don’t have much time to do either to great length anymore, and it is exhausting to hold it all inside. And I haven’t learned how to just let it all go. I don’t know if I ever will – it’s never really been my nature to.


And now I’m drained, but I don’t know if it’s bliss or just a sudden emptiness. But maybe empty is what I need, every now and then.

*Mere minutes later*

Ok, this is creepy. Here's my horoscope for today:
"Be wary of seamless perfection today! It's when things are not going smoothly that your brain is getting the most out of a situation. You benefit from conflict and challenges more than you benefit from peace and tranquility right now, so enjoy any turmoil you come across! Step up to any naysayers and get to the bottom of what their issues are. You'll love debating new ideas and figuring out why people who seem so smart don't agree with everything you say!"

Hmm. Guess it's just another day then. Now I feel sorta silly, sorta relieved, sorta, well ... still kinda empty. But that's ok.

What's trippier - between posting this and reading my horoscope, I logged into my virtual campus only to be faced with a big fat ugly F for last night's assigment, due to the instructor either mixing my grade up with some other student's, or just not seeing my assignment. He said in the comments section of the grade that I hadn't posted by the task deadline, but in reality I
did post before the deadline (it was a discussion board assigment). I e-mailed him to correct the situation, then checked my horoscope.


One lump or two?

It's official: I am a white-trash coffee drinker.

Carrows and Dennys have some of the best damned coffee I've tasted in a long time. And this is while I've been trying desperately to find a brand of coffee at the grocery store that doesn't taste all chemically and strong enough to bowl over a loaded semi with one teensy waft of aroma.

Starbucks? No thanks. I'm not a semi. (Sorry co-worker-Patrick. I tried.) Pete's? S'ok for those times when I go to bed at 3 a.m. and get up at 6 a.m., but only one cup's worth, and it's best done while I'm still groggy so I can't taste much anyway. Don Francisco is pretty palateable, but again, I can really only do about one cup of that (ok a traveler's mug), and I'm usually forcing the last gulp or three down. There have been various others, all of a societal niche promising the best (and consequently most expensive) cup of coffee you'll ever indulge in. Ever.

And every damn one of 'em's been gross.

But the cheap stuff that run-of-the-mill, low-to-middle-income restaurants buy in bulk is heaven. And I really mean Heaven, with a capital 'H.'

Pre-gastritis, I couldn't stomach the stuff (heh, heh, I made a funny ...) Now it's all I can stomach.

At least I'm a cheap coffee-date.

So not cool!


I just received a call from a number from the 707 area code, which, while encompassing a rather large area, is the area code for the newspaper I just applied to. Brightening, thinking, "This is it! This is the call!" I answered with my heart in my throat.

There was a pause, then, "Uuuuuuuuuhhhhhhhhhh ... Jacob? I, uh, think I got the wrong number. Is this (phone number)?"

Heart turned to a cold lump, I replied that yes, the caller had the correct number but that I was not Jacob and no Jacob lived here.

"Oh, ok. I, uh, think I made a mistake then." And he hung up.

My immediate thought, of course, was that the call was from someone at the newspaper, looking for a candidate other than me, and my heart sunk. Then I thought, Wait a minute. Even if they did mean to call some other candidate at the moment, they did have my phone number. That can't be a coincidence. Maybe that means that I'm a likely candidate too, and they just got our contact information crossed, and I'll be getting a call back soon!"

Then I googled the phone number, and it's a resident in a city a good hour and a half to two hours away from the city the newspaper is in, where I don't think they have any offices. It just happened to be a horrible coincidental wrong number (or, right number but wrong person). Maybe they were looking for whoever had my phone number before me - a long lost friend who hadn't called in years and decided to give it a shot, only to find that their friend has switched phone numbers and they can't find them anymore.

Sucks for that caller (and their friend Jacob), but at least I'm fairly certain I'm still in the running for that job. Now if I could only get my heart back to a more normal pace ...

Burning the midnight oil

Ok, so it's not midnight. Not here. Not yet. But midnight passed about an hour ago where it really matters: in Colorado, the time zone for my school, the time zone to which all chats, instructor office hours, and assignments are bound. Assignments are due at 11:59:59 p.m. twice a week, which is 9:59:59 p.m. for me. I feel a bit cheated that I lose two hours of possible working time, but really I guess it all balances out in the end. Somehow. Or at least that's what the school thinks.

Anyway, here it is an hour past "midnight," and after turning in an assignment, I'm still up and plugging along with school stuff. (Ok, smarty-pants, so I'm not doing school stuff right now, because I'm blogging, but this is a break between assignments and so doesn't count, ok?) I'm attempting to get ahead in my assignments not only to be ahead and not stressed at the last minute, but also just in case something really wonderful happens.

See, I applied for a new job. A better job. In a better place. And if they call me and ask me to drive three-and-a-half hours for an interview that they'd rather not do over the phone, I will drop whatever I'm doing to bust tail to get there. Including school assignments.

The job itself isn't actually changing, per se - it's the same position I hold now, just at a much much better company (owned by the New York Times, and a pulitzer prize winner) in a much much better place. And according to the job description and requirements, they might as well have put my name on the ad. It fit me to a T. And I've got five years of experience doing what I do. And I'm damn fucking good at it. And I'm a fast learner, and an admitted perfectionist, and hate being late on anything, and thrive on deadlines and organization. And my boss and the managing editor (the incredibly intelligent editor, not the uberly, amazingly, mind-numbingly stupid one) have both promised to write me letters of recommendation. And said editor knows the editor of the newspaper I'm applying to. Not that I think I'll need or really would be ok with strings being pulled. But if she just happened to randomly call him up for a chat one day and mention that I'm applying there and how good I am at what I do, maybe he'd ask around about me, so my name would be on the minds of the right people. Maybe.

I'm ridiculously thrilled, though trying not to get my hopes up too high. Although I'm fairly certain I'm exactly what they're looking for, I can't read minds. And so I wait. And so I plan for that call, wrapping up as many school responsibilities as I can so that I won't be late with them when I have to suddenly drive like a madwoman to meet my soon-to-be new employers. And so that once I get the job, I can pack, and move, and unpack, all without missing assignment deadlines, or at least not by much.

The boy supports me 100% in this, even though it would mean moving, and possibly soon. I love that man. Mom supports me in it too - when I called to get her advice (because, yes, I feel I still need it in big life-changing decisions like this) she didn't even let me finish my sentence before exclaiming, "Apply!" And then she reassured me she was ok with me moving away. Have I mentioned my mom rocks? I'm 26, but she is still - and perhaps more so now than ever before - a huge influence on me and the decisions I make, because I know she's smart enough to give me good advice, solidly grounded in common sense and experience.

This is big. I'm too excited to be scared. There's that little voice in my head warning me not to get too excited because "it might not happen," but I keep squashing it with, "I think it will happen, but if not, it's not the end of the world, and my resume and profile will still be in their system for future openings. So, bugger off, doubter."

I read somewhere recently that to be successful in business, one should always take on jobs too big for oneself. While I'm sure there is a line to be drawn there for sheer common sense (like, if you failed chemistry in high school, maybe a job in experimental biochemicals isn't for you), I like the idea and see the merit. You'll never know just what you're capable of if you don't try.

I don't know if this is too big for me or not, but I plan to find out.

Wish me luck.

You have got to be kidding me.

I have a credit card payment due tomorrow.

I attempted to pay it last night by logging into that account, but due to that bank's website being amazingly screwed up, the password field was magically shorter than my password, so that I was unable to log in, and after only two attempts at logging in, was blocked from further attempts (for my credit's safety, of course). Frustrated beyond reason (a normal feeling I come away from that website with) I gave up, wrote myself a big note so I wouldn't forget to try again today, and went to bed.

After trying again today, the password field is still shorter than my password, which is incredibly aggravating because ovbiously it was longer when I originally set up the account, so how, when, and why the available character length was shortened - and why I wasn't informed of this - I have no clue. So after being blocked again, I reset my user name and password (to the minimum required number of characters, just in case) and was finally allowed to log in and make a payment.

And then I encountered the real slap in the face.

The minimum payment - which is all I can afford until I get paid again on Friday - is $15. Now this bank, unlike any other I've ever worked with or even heard of, has a delivery system that could put UPS to shame. If you don't care when in the next week or two your payment goes through, there's no charge. If you want to specify a date beyond the current day, there's not charge either, but the payment won't go through until the business day after the one you specified. Really - it actually says that, that payments go through one day (or more in some cases) after the date you specifically requested it to go through. Makes ya wonder what the point of requesting a specific date is, when it absolutley will not, under any circumstances - even if you pay - go through and be applied to your account on that date.

If you request that they payment go through on the current day (today), there is a $14.98 fee to do so. But it won't go through until the following day (tomorrow). So, to make sure that my $15 payment is made on time, by the deadline date of tomorrow, I had to pay a $14.98 fee to request that it go through today (which it won't, which the site says.)

I just dropped my credit card balance a whopping two cents. And it cost me $29.98 to do it.

I'm envisioning the typical angst-induced cartoon of the guy bent over a desk, fists and face clenched, with a caption along the lines of "Is that all ya got?!? C'mon, I can take it!!!"

I'm so mad I could spit.

Drive-by cheesecaking

I was just drive-by cheesecaked.

Ok, so there was no vehicle involved. And being cheesecaked does not mean having it thrown at you (but that would have been fun - food fights are a rare treat for me). No, drive-by cheesecaking is far more sneaky than the name implies.

I had just finished lunch at work and was busily washing my fork at the sink. It was a healthy lunch of Lean Cuisine's chicken and vegatables with noodles dish, and while fork-washing I was proudly congratulating myself on my iron will, my strict control, my quick and easy avoidance of the snack machine and all the chocolatey goodness it promises. The boy and I are finally starting a diet as soon as we go grocery shopping tonight, and I thought I'd get a head-start with a healthy lunch. Despite wanting a snickers, or a box of junior mints, or a package of powedered-sugar-covered donuts, I had swiftly turned away from the snack machine and my still demanding belly (I'm used to eating more than one of those little cuisines). I had a wickedly prideful little grin on my face, I'm sure.

I wasn't the least bit concerned when the door to the lunchroom by the snack mahcine (which opens into the production department, where I work - how's that for temptation?) opened and someone strode very quickly through the room and out the other door next to the sink, which connects up to the rest of the building. They walked so fast I didn't see who it was, but had a sneaking suspicion it was my boss. He's always running to and fro, fixing disasters and plugging in computers that people are convinced are fried, without breaking a sweat. Figuring he was off on another such save-the-day-venture, I dried my fork and thought nothing of it.

When I turned around to head back to my department, I froze in horror at what had magically appeared on the table during the ten seconds in which I cleaned my fork. While they strode by so quickly that I didn't have the chance to recognize them, the fast-walker had placed a large plate of cheesecake on the table. It was the variety plate, with regular cheesecake, and chocolate, chocolate swirl, chocolate with white chocolate chips, berry swirl, and some other variety that looks as if it might contain cinnamon in large amounts. The kind made at upper-class grocery stores, which probably costs an arm and a leg and the other arm, too, but which is so disgustingly delicious that people line up for it anyway, severed limbs outstretched, hopping and saying, "Oh, please. Oh, please! Me next!"


I have never been much enamored of cheesecake - it's always been too rich for me - but lately I've taken a liking to it. Like, a big liking. It's the boy's fault. He loves it, and I have a bite or two whenever he has some, and recently that bite or two has turned into us splitting a slice ... or two ... fairly evenly. My iron will crumbled.

I halved the one slice of berry-swirl (strawberry, it turns out) and, feeling horridly guilty, devoured it at my desk, hoping no one would see. My boss did indeed turn out to be the cuplrit (sneaky, sneaky, Mr. Boss-Man) and I light heartedly chewed him out. He grinned the whole time, of course.

Future-type stuff

I've got a bunch of future-related stuff on my mind right now. School, marriage, where I'd like to move to for a new job, etc.

Well, first things' first: my last class, Managerial Finance, the one that I hated and loathed and did not expect to get an A in - remember that? Yeah. I got an A. *Big grin* I'm still on the Chancellor's list, and thrilled beyond what I can reasonable express here. That class was hard. With the completion of that class and another before it - Management Accounting - I finally recieved my first professional certificate, for basics of accounting and finance. My first real framed-boast-paper. Again - thrilled. I feel all official, and stuff.

I finally made the call to my school this morning to return to the accelarated, two classes per term, schedule, which will have me graduating mid-November of this year (whooohooooo!!!) I'm still awaiting a call back from my admissions advisor, however, on the break I may or may not take between graduating with my Bachelor's and starting on my Master's degree.

See, there are a few unknowns about that.

I signed an agreement several months ago to go for the Master's program once I have my Bachelor's, and this agreement locked me into the tuition price as it was at that point in time. What this means is that instead of getting whatever the tuition price would normally be at that future date (which would be considerably more, as price raises periodically), I'd instead pay the rate that it was at the time I signed the paper, which was about $28,000. Without that agreement I could be facing a tuition rate of more than $30,000.

This agreement was a good thing, obivously.

However, I have been wanting to take a break between the Bachelor's and the Master's programs, just to get some time to relax, and now with the boy's proposal, we are thinking that such a break would be the prefect time to get married and have our honeymoon. The unknown with this is that I don't know whether or not taking a break between the programs will undo that Master's tuition agreement, so that I'd end up paying the higher, then-current price. Maybe I could take a short break and it woud be ok, maybe not, but if I could, how long could that break be? One month? Two? I'd like to be able take up to five months if needed for wedding preparation, the big day, and the honeymoon, but I don't know if I'll be able to. I should know within the next few days, once my advisor calls me back.

Another unknown surrounding the marriage is that it might affect the amount of finanical aid I'm eligible for when I go for my Master's degree. I spoke with my boss who, being married, was ineligible for grants, and he said that he was still eligible for other aid, so I think it will be ok. I wasn't eligible for grants myself, even unmarried, only the stafford loans. Hopefully I'd still be eligible for those, but if not, the wedding will have to wait another two years until I'm done with school altogether. Well, unless the Bachelor's will land me a job that will pay me enough to make the monthly tuition payments on my own, but I'm not holding my breath for that much of an incredibly amazing pay increase. I could talk to my bank about a loan if I don't qualify for the stafford if I'm married - that's an avenue I haven't looked into yet. I'll wait until I've spoken more about it to the finanical aid department at school to see if they know anything about it.

So this is nothing bad, per se. If I can't take a break - or not as long a break as I'd like - between the Bachelor and Master programs, that's alright. It will suck with no downtime between the two, but at least I'd be done with school completely just that much sooner. And the boy already assured me that he wasn't going anywhere and would be willing to wait until I was done with school to get married if being married would adversely affect my financial aid eligibility. I've got the ring and the promise; that's good enough for now. I want to get married as soon as possible of course, but it's not necessary. Besides, the longer we wait, the more we can save and plan for a very awesome wedding, and maybe a longer honeymoon.

We took a roadtrip up north this past weekend, to take the boy's son back home (he spent his Christmas break with us and the boy's parents) and to visit with some friends. It was a nice little trip, once we got past the worst of the storms that were raging at the time. On our way home on Sunday we stopped to visit with my best friend and her boyfriend, who live in the area the boy and I would like to move to. Taking advantage of being there, we all walked around the downtown area so the boy and I could get a better feel for the place.

I'm hooked. Not only is it a beautiful area, it's also a quickly growing area with good job demand. And we'd be much, much closer to good friends and the boy's son. I'm going to start applying for a new job in that area probably around July or August, and hopefully we'll be moving before the year is over. I can't wait.

First drawing of the year: Kitbunnuppy


But evil.

And towtally snorglable.

Quite possibly THE best YouTube video I've ever seen. Ever.

Who knew horses could dance? My jaw's still in my lap.

Woes of an apparent hypochondriac

I don't like being cut up, really. I mean, I don't hate it, or particularly fear it overmuch so long as I know there will be anesthetics involved. But it's certainly not how I'd prefer to spend a lazy half hour or so.

I spent a lazy half hour last Friday having a small peice of flesh removed from my right calf to be tested for anything bad ( I have a kinda-sorta-but-maybe-not mysterious tan patch of skin that never faded this summer when the rest of my fake spray-on tan did). It went fairly smoothly.

I had a bit of concern when my doctor first walked in and said, "So, you were saying you have something of concern on your knee, right?" I've never mentioned my knee - either one of them - to my doctor. This is probably because I've never had anything wrong with my knee - either one of them.

I quickly clarified, pointing to (and circling with a finger) the tan patch of skin on my leg. Which was described in my chart, which was sitting on the counter, which she would have seen had she bothered to look at my chart. "Oh, ok, yes!" she replied, and after a moment pointed to where she would make the incision and remove a tiny chunk of flesh. She was pointing to a space well within the tan patch so, confident that we were all on track again, I lay back down and let her do her thing.

The anesthetic burned like a mofo, but only for a few seconds. Then you coould have been slowly, messily sawing my leg into raggedy slices with a rusty hacksaw and I wouldn't have had a clue unless I saw it happening. I felt nothing, which was nice. I left the office with a large bandage on my leg (no limp), and was mildly curious as to why it seemed to be centered a bit to the side of where I thought it ought to be, but didn't worry overmuch. After all, the doctor had pointed to shere she was goign to cut, and that was where she was supposed to.

When I took the bandage off that night to clean the tiny little wound, I discovered that she had not cut where she had said whe would. That, in fact, she had done the biopsy a full inch-and-a-half outside the patch of darker skin, on perfectly normal flesh.

My doctor, in whom I have been steadily losing faith over the last two years, sliced up the wrong part of my leg.

Needless to say, I am ever so lightly peeved.

My faith in this doctor is now completely shot. There have been several other occurrences that have had me silently questioning her competence. Not only did she randomly change a diagnosis from one session to the next, without explaination (and no mattter how many times I've corrected her on it, still sticks with the second, incorrect, random diagnosis), she's also given me attitude with the implication that I'm a bit of a hypochondriac and a waste of her precious time. This was after I came in to see her because my spleen was still swollen from Mono (long after it wasn't suposed to be any more) exactly one week after she told me I should worry and come see her immediately if it was still swollen in exactly one week.

So, I'll take my Type-A, over-worried, high-strung (her description of me, to me, when I was worried about that darned spleen), apparently hypochondriac self to a new doctor, one who has tons of time on their hands to deal with all of my myriad unimportant problems. Because, you know, that's what I'm paying them for.

I'm not paying to be degraded, ignored, and to have medical procedures screwed up by someone's lack of either intelligence or the ability to simply pay attention.

Have I mentioned how much I loathe stupid people?