Silver linings.

Sometimes you realize that despite life's best efforts to induce nervous breakdowns, alcoholism or hermitism, you're actually doing pretty good at keeping up and keeping on top, and that simple moment of understanding brings with it a big relief and a sort of new, resolute calm. I hit that moment this morning.

My grades for the Project Management Theory class I just finished triggered it. I got an A on every assignment, which means of course an A for my overall final grade. If I can pull off As - and high ones, at that - things are ok no matter how panicky I may feel sometimes and no matter how much I may want to just give up, crawl into a hole and just sleep the bad things away.

Despite all of the crappy things that have been brewing in my life lately, I kicked that classes ass, and it was not an easy one by any means.

• Matt hurt his shoulder pretty badly at work and just had surgery on it a month and a half ago. He may never regain his full spectrum of movement or strength in that arm, and despite surprisingly good progression with his physical therapy, he can't do a lot of things right now. This leaves me to pick up a lot of slack, which with work and school, I don't have much time to do that. I don't even have much time to tell him to hang in there, or to give him a hug when he looks most miserable.

I'm trying my best to be understanding because I've seen the surgery photos and been there at his doctor and physical therapy appointments with him to hear all about how this kind of surgery goes so I know he's dealing with some pretty amazing pain right now, but it's starting to wear on me. I feel like a horrible person for admitting it, but I'm getting kinda tired of the knee-jerk response "I feel like shit," to my question of "how are you doing?" I sort of wonder what the point of asking is, but if I don't at least ask, it might seem like I don't care, and that couldn't be further from the truth. So I keep my sighs to myself, knowing that if I were going through what he is, I'd probably be in a much worse mood than he's showing. I can handle pain very, very well for quite some time, but once I hit my limit, get out of range: even I don't want to be around me then. Matt hit his limit long ago, and is just grumpy all the time. His reaction to the situation is really actually not that bad; I think the reason I'm starting to feel sorta grumpy back is that I feel helpless about the whole thing. Aside from giving him hugs and asking that awful, stupid question everyday, there is nothing I can do to help him.

Maybe what I'm actually tired of is being so useless. He's the one who has to do the hard work of healing; I can't do it for him no matter how much I might want to switch places just for a day to give him a break. Maybe what I'm actually tired of is the silence that is all I can give back to that "I feel like shit."

• We are ridiculously understaffed at work, and it just keeps getting worse. We in the production department are continuously given more and more work to take over from people who have been transferred or let go, or who simply quit and have not been (and may very well not be) replaced. And we're not getting paid any more for it, even though we are each individually doing at least three times - if not more - the amount of work we were doing at this time last year, when we couldn't really keep up too terribly easily even then. And there is no slack, no understanding, from other departments. We are expected to be perfect machines and just keep on making things work no matter what happens, but honestly we are seriously bogged down and I have never in my life hated any job more than this one. Which is made worse simply because it's not the job I hate; it's the people and the situation. I actually really like doing what I do, we just need much, much better upper management. I'd say we need a cash injection, too, but we just purchased a weather-reader thingamagig which will read the actual weather at our little spot in Placerville and feed it into our website in real time. Because god forfuckingbid we should continue using the weather service we've used -free of charge - for years which is pretty damned accurate? I mean, it's not like every portal site on the internet (Yahoo, MSN, etc.) doesn't already have weather info. We have to have our very own report, given by a spiffy new technological device that probably cost about what the last person let go from our department made in half a year.

Can you tell I'm bitter?

• The school I go to, being an internet school with each term only five and-a-half weeks long, is very intense and requires way more work than a traditional campus school class would. This means that if I take two classes per term, I am doing school from the time I get home from work till the time I go to bed, and all day Friday and Saturday. No personal time. No time for housework or even grocery shopping, and the hair on my legs grows long (even in summer - thank god for long pants) because shaving that stuff takes time I don't have to spare. Because of this ridiculousness I have cut down to one class per term, which will have me graduating much later and is still pretty intense - enough so that dishes still pile up until I get an hour or two of free time to do them once a week if I'm lucky. (Remember that Matt can't do much right now because he's basically one-armed, functionality wise.)

• I just had an identity theft scare, which is a huge amount stress all on its own. While things are looking up with that, indicating possibly that it was nothing more than a couple of clerical errors, I won't know for sure for a while yet, so I'm still worried and feeling sort of paranoid. I'm carrying more cash with me now, so that I don't use my ATM card as much. Unfortunately I have a tendency to stick cash-back into pockets and then forget about it, then worry later because I don't have quite enough money leftover till the next payday to make me feel comfortable in the event that something happens, like the car breaks down or some such. I always end up finding the cash, but usually not till the day after I get that next paycheck and all's well again. Go figure.

• We love them , really we do, but they drive us nuts: Our two, three-month-old kittens, Goblin and Sister, wake up at around 5 a.m. in the morning. This means that we do, too, much to our grumpy, foul-mouthed dismay. When I'm not getting to bed until 11:30 p.m. or later, 5:30 a.m. is not a time when I want to be conscious. The shortened sleep hours are affecting my days, leaving me yawning no matter how much caffiene I consume. The caffiene gives me stomach aches anyway (thank you, Gastritis), but without it I'd be sleeping on my keyboard and drool and electronics just don't mix well.

• There has been construction going on along the street right below our house for the last few months now. We're situated on a cliff (about sixty or so feet high) right above Main Street, with only an empty gas station lot between the edge of that cliff and Mai Street. The road going up to our house is very steep, and one-way: going up. Despite our and our neighbors' many requests to the construction crew and its foreman to give us a simple 24-hour notice before they block off the bottom of that road - and thereby the only legal access to our homes - they have never once given us notice, even after smiling and nodding and promising they would every time we've spoken with them. They've blocked off our road seven or eight times, and not given notice even once. They work at night too, which we got used to pretty quickly until the last couple of weeks when the equipment they have been using is so incredibly loud that it wakes us up out of dead sleep despite having two loud fans going in our room to block out the noise (which usually works). One of our neighbors about a week ago, when we were all awakened at 2:30 in the morning by a horrid, loud screeling noise in the empty lot below the cliff, flipped out and started screaming at the construction crew from the top of the drive. It was the kind of half-screaming, half-weeping that just breaks your heart. He then got into his car and left for the rest of the night, probably to a hotel room to get some peace and quiet. We waited it out for the next hours or so, seething, pacing, and promising all kinds of hell for the workers once we got into contact with the city about it.

Our calls to the city to complain of the cosntruction crew's lack of respect and responsibility have not been returned. This is especially frustrating because in those calls we're not bitching about the inconvenience to us in our everyday lives (although that is aggravating to find our road blocked without prior notice) but instead we're mentioning the fact that because it's a one-way street, if it's blocked and there is some sort of emergency people could very well die while emergency crews have to fight construction traffic to get to our road only to have to go past it, get back onto the freeway to turn and go back around - still fighting construction traffic - and through town again, try to get around the very short, tree-lined, hair-pin turn at the top of the one-way street (which I have very serious doubts a fire-truck could make), and come down it the wrong way. We're not asking for official documents on city letterhead with detailed explainations of what's being done and why, just a simple, quickly scribbled out note saying "from this time till this time tomorrow, your street will be inaccessible from Main Street."

It's really amazingly simple and wouldn't take more than five minutes. But they won't do it, and if they can't be bothered with that simple little effort, why should we expect them to alert police, medical and fire crews of the blocked street so that emergency routes can be re-planned in advance just in case? That would take a lot more time, including the possibility of actual real paperwork or even being put on hold on the phone, fer gosh sakes. I'm disgusted and horrified, and will continue to attempt contacting the city manager until I am able to meet with him personally, at which point along with telling him what's been happening, I'll show him the late-night videos of construction work with equipment making god-awful nails-on-chalkboard sounds at volumes that would have the police shitting themselves to give tickets and make arrests for if it was music at a party. The foreman - who was foolish enough to give us his business card before promptly ignoring our very simple and sickeningly logical requests time and again, and whose job it is to make sure things are done properly and in accordance with legal as well as ethical standards - will no longer have a job when I'm done, if things go my way.

I've been pretty stressed lately, to put it mildly.

Somehow, despite all of this, I got all As this term. I freakin' nailed this class, and to be brutally honest, I'm damned proud of myself. When I first started the class, I was not at all sure that I'd comprehend it. Project management is not nearly as simple as making a list of things to do, and even once you get the concepts down, actually making a project plan is still very challenging because involves lots of going back and making adjustments to schedules, time frames, costs, and task dependencies not only during the initial planning, but as the project progresses as well. In spite of its complexity, I actually kinda like it (yes, yes - I'm twisted, I know). I don't know that I'll ever become a Project Manager professionally, but the experience will certainly help with any career field I choose, as well as with everyday projects around the house (and with planning the wedding, too!) So, now that my first term back is over and very successfully so, I can finally let myself relax and believe it when I tell myself it's all gonna be ok. With the construction comeing ot an end (as long as they aren't behind schedule) and Matt gaining a little bit more movement in his shoulder every day, things are looking a little bit brighter all the time.

Ya know, maybe the whole point of this post is to say, "Sorry I've been bitching a lot lately. I'm working on it."

It's my birthday and I'll get inked if I want to.

That's right. As a birthday present to myself, I got some more tattoo work done. Today's three-ish-hour session was to begin fixing the snake that I got colored this time last year. The artist I went to then is relatively good if you have easy, small stuff, but the more complicated stuff is a bit beyond his talents. And being an artist myself, I of course have to complicate the hell out of most of my tattoos. No hearts with names in them for me - I gotta go all out.

So while the snake was colored and pretty brightly so and everyone I've run across who's seen it has exclaimed at its beauty, it wasn't the way I had designed the color. The artist had tried, but just didn't have the skill to get the colors to fade into each other nicely, and he completely screwed up the snake's face. Being also too kind-hearted, I didn't say anything, just decided I wouldn't go back to him unless I had something far simpler in mind, like the Eyes of the Buddha I had done later (which looks fantastic and I have no complaints about). It's not that the other artist did a horrible job on the snake's coloring in and of itself - he does have talent - it's just that it wasn't done exactly how I had done it, and I knew it even if no one else looking at it did, and it bugged the hell out of me.

My regular artist - Eddie Julian at Something Wicked Tattoo in Rosevillle, California - is much much better than the artist I went to for the first coloring. He became "my artist" with the first tattoo he inked on me, the dragon on my chest, because unlike any other tattoo artist I've had experiences with (myself, or through friends whom I've designed tats for), he actually inks the designs exactly the way I draw - and color - them. It's like I might as well have drawn the tats on myself. And that is very very important to me. If I hand an artist a drawing and tell them to tattoo it on myself or a friend, I want that drawing tattooed on me, not the artist's personalized (see fucked up) version of it, with reversed shading, crappy coloring, etc. I drew it the way I wanted it and that's what I'm paying for.

Eddie understands this. Someday, when I eventually move to Sonoma County, I will not change artists to keep the commute down (the shop is already an hour or more out of my town as it is). I will either schedule tattoo appointments to fit in with visits "back home" with family and friends, or I'll just plain ol' take a mini, extended-weekend vacation to get the work done by the artist I know and trust.

So, getting back to today's session: No actual re-coloring or shading has taken place yet. Instead, Eddie re-inked the entire outline and added the outline of all of the scales (it had only a very little bit of scale definition here and there before). Even with only that done, it already looks much, much better than it did before. I can reast easy knowing that when it's finally done, even though there will be much more black in it than I had orginally designed (no getting out of that sometimes with re-working tats) this is going to be one helluva tattoo. It will be one that I no longer cringe about, and one that won't restrict my choice of wedding dress to something with long sleeves to hide it from the photographer (that's been bugging me, too).

It's still too fresh right now to take photos of it, but in a few days I'll post what it looks like right now. And of course when it is finally done later this year I'll post final shots of it. For now, I'm freaking thrilled, and due to the pomegranite margarita I had with my oven-baked lasagna at dinner, I'm sleepy too. So I'm going to bed, to dream dreams of a prettier, darker horned viper than the one that I've tried not to see coiled on my arm day after day for the past year.

P.S. In ID theft news, there is no news, and I think that's probably a good sign. Now I just have to wait a few more weeks and order my credit report to make sure there's nothing suspicious there, and so long as that's all good, I think I'm in the clear. Yay!

This is important.

Ok, maybe I won't need to take a blogging hiatus after all; I'm feeling kinda talky/needy. In fact, the more I think about it the more I want to talk about what's going on with this identity theft scare - and not just for myself, but to share what I'm finding out with anyone who reads my blog.

Identity theft is a scary thing, and rightfully so: it can ruin lives not only with financial losses and credit scores damaged beyond repair, but with actual crimes committed under stolen aliases. Identity theft victims have as much to fear from sudden warrants for their arrest for crimes they didn't commit as they do from having their bank accounts emptied and new, astonishing collections bills handed to them for accounts in their names they never knew existed.

What makes it all worse is that despite everything that you can do to protect yourself now, a good majority of victims face such extreme loss because they don't act in time, even if they know about the theft; they hope it will just go away if they change a few online passwords and get new credit and debit cards.

It's not that simple.

I think (crossing fingers and toes) that I may have been very lucky. Either what happened with my scare really was nothing more than a couple of computer or clerical errors, or I caught this in time and with my acting so quickly I can very possibly stop it before I'm ruined. I have a printout of who to contact about what and have been making phone calls. Today, I saw the inside of our local police station for the first time in the nearlyfifteen years I've lived in this county. I have a fraud alert on each of the three major credit reporting agencies - Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion - as well as the new ability to lock and unlock access that information as I see fit. I have set up an account access password for the utiliy account that this whole mess began with, and set up a reverse-security check for my student loan account (wherein I ask a security question of the bank representative I'm speaking to to ensure they really are who they claim to be). I signed up for ID theft protection on the credit card that seemed to have been targetted, but maybe wasn't after all.

I keep holding on to the fact that there are so many nulling-factors in this - so many things that makes it seem like just a case of an accidental clerical error on one account and maybe just a case of mistaken alert on the other. I want to believe that's all it is, but I'm not taking any chances. I am too in-tune with the nasty reality of the world to just let it go at that; the person who seems an innocent and helpful bystander could be the culprit being very clever indeed. The seemingly mistaken alert could have been a real one which, due to my quick action in correcting my address, has been overridden, the previously changed address no longer on file. What seems to have only just started between April 2 and May 2 could have started long ago, and I may actually have quite a mess to clean up when I finally order my credit report a month from now.

I want to hope, and I am breathing easier with each phone call that turns up nothing out of the ordinary and ends instead with new, extra security measures in place. But until some time has passed - a year maybe - wherein nothing out of place is found, I'll have that little niggling worry poking at my brain at odd moments. I will wake up in the middle of the night when funds are tight, wondering if my credit card will be rejected should I need it to pay a bill or for food (it hasn't gotten to that point, yet, but with Matt getting not quite half of his normal work-pay with his disability checks, I wonder sometimes how long that will be the case).

As this unfolds, I'm learning.

Please, please, pay attention to this advice, right now:

If you don't have one already, get a P.O. box for your mail. Then get a paper shredder. Then save those paper shreds under lock and key until winter or camping time comes along, and use them as fire-starters to keep warm or roast marshmallows.

If I seem a little paranoid, believe me I'm not. Do you own research on identity theft and you'll be right there with me. In reality, no security measure is too much. If you don't have a solid internet security package for your computer (I suggest McAfee), get one. The cost of the software and license for a year is nothing compared to what you could end up losing if your idenity is compromised. Remember that money is only part of the threat. Even getting a new job could be a painful fiasco with ID theft, even once the ordeal is over and you're just picking up the pieces.

Do not wait to protect yourself, and don't think that passwords and human decency alone will save you. This is important. For those of you with families, the importance just multiplied ten-fold; it's not just your security and stability at risk now - it's theirs too.

Don't wait. Call your creditors and whatever other accounts you have - phone, utilities, even paypal - and find out what extra security measures can be set up to ensure that not just anyone can call up or log on and make changes to gain access to your personal information. Get a post office box for your mail delivery, and if you're aggravated by not being able to recieve packages at a post office box, pony up the extra money and get a box at UPS - you can get package deliveries there. Shred your important documents, but don't leave it at that, because crazy as it surely sounds, some people really are persistent enough to piece strips of paper together. Burn them. Change your various passwords regularly.

Finally, be paranoid. If you think someone in line behind you was sneeking a thorough peek at your credit card as you paid, contact your bank that day or the next and get a new card. It may turn out that the person behind you was a good person who simply looked suspicious, or it could turn out they're ordering a brand new sound system with your card number as you sit and wonder about it.

Remember: no security step is too big or small. It all helps, and with as crafty and tech-savvy as so many people are now, you can't be safe enough.

While there is a large amount of information on the internet about indentity theft, the best resource I've found so far for dealing with it is 101 Identity Theft. The Federal Trade Commission has quite a bit of extensive and important information about it as well, but the 101 site is the best organized I've seen for actual victims as far as the steps victims need to take in dealing with it.

Do yourself - and your family - a favor and check out both of those websites now. You'll be shocked at what you discover about how common and easy it is to steal an identity, and the horrors it leaves for the victims of the theft.

Now pass the word along.

Temporary Hiatus.

I most likely won't be blogging for a while. I'll be too distracted and in much too foul a mood to.

It appears that I may be either already a victim of identitiy theft, or if I'm lucky to have caught it early enough, it hasn't actually happened yet but someone is definately trying.

Having just done some research on ID theft along with some prior research before for a school assignment, I'm a bit overwhelemed at the moment with everything I'll need to do to find out exactly what if anything has occurred and to clear up the mess. I may be taking a leave of absence from school next term to deal with it all, which pisses me off even more because I just got back to school and damnit I'm doing really fucking well(all As!) and don't want to put off graduation any longer than I already have.

I fucking hate people.

Poor lil' bebbehs!

Goblin and Sister are home now. They got fixed today, and have only been back home for about forty-five minutes. They're zonked out on a blanket in the kitchen.

I worried all day about them, but of course they got through it ok. The drive home broke my heart though.

Sister, having lost a whole internal organ (which makes her appear emmaciated now, svelte thing that she is), is more affected by it than Goblin, who simply sat (very carefully) on one furry butt cheek and leaned drunkenly to the side and a little forward as a result of his procedure. We have one carrier for them and I asked the receptionist this morning if I should get a second one to bring them home separately in. She said no, that they'd be fine, but oh how I was kicking myself for listening to her later.

Goblin, drugged cross-eyed, kept stepping on Sister in the carrier on the way home. More specifically, he kept stepping on her newly hollowed abdomen. Because I had to drive, I couldn't cry, but Sister's agonized scream-yowls each time he accidentally stepped on her wrenched at my heart. What is normally a ten-minute drive seemed like an hour, and each pitiful kitten wail made it feel like the Jeep was going slower than before.

When we finally got home and in the house, Sister threw up. But, ever the tough-one, she wobbled back up onto her feet and - carefully, slowly - weaved her way over to Matt and then over to me, and then back again, demanding to be petted. So, gently, we pet her and told her it was all ok now.

I worry about Goblin's having stepped on her belly, but I've seen no blood, fresh or otherwise, and since getting home and out of the crate there have been to pain sounds at all from either one of them. We're supposed to leave them in the crate for a few hours before letting them out into a closed, quiet area, but I was afraid of Goblin continuing to step and sit on Sister, so we quickly cleared the kitchen and dining room area of any obstacles and things to try to climb on, put the blanket down, and let them out. After drinking some water and sniffing at some food, they both wobbled over to the blanket, carefully arranged themselves on it, and fell asleep.

I keep getting up to check on them and every time I poke my head out of the computer room to see how they're doing, they appear have moved very little, if at all. Goblin just blinked blearily at me, but that's it.

I think they're going to be just fine, but until they actually are, I'll worry.

Poor lil' bebbehs.

EDIT, Saturday, June 14: Matt, who came with me to pick the kittens up and was able to pay more attention to them than I was on the way home, corrected me: Goblin wasn't stepping on Sister. He was standing up, trying to keep his wobbly, woozy balance. Because of the confines of the carrier he was standing over Sister, with just his belly resting on her. Sister was looking around, nervous, probably because of the combination of whatever drug was still very much in their systems and the loudness and not so smooth ride of the Jeep. So those awful wails were not of pain, thankfully (although I imagine she was pretty sore, too, and that added to it), but of just plain old fear. Makes me feel better in one sense, worse in another because you really can't do much for fear except tell them through the bars that it's ok when obviously it's so not.

They're doing
much better today. Goblin is almost back to his old self, running around and getting into things. Sister is not quite there, but still very much on the mend. She keeps wanting to play but if she moves too much or moves wrong, she'll stop, tense, and meatloaf up for a few mintues to let her tummy stop hurting before trying again.

Haiku and Emphasis.

Mad grin; crack a smile-
If I knew better, I’d run-
No savior, I stay.

Mad grin, crack a smile:
If I knew better, I’d run ...
No, savior. I stay.

It's all about how you say what you say, really.

Smelly cat, smelly cat ...

Kittens are such wonderful creatures. They purr, they pounce, they jump and tumble and snorgle and run around your ankles like an obstacle course.

And if you feed them cheese, they break some sort of record for the Worst Smell Ever, soiling their litterbox in the early hours of the morning so that when you get up to go to the bathroom, you walk into a cloud of stench so strong and pungent your eyes water and your stomach lurches up your throat and you find yourself scuttling backwards, desperately clawing at anything within reach behind you to get away.

And the smell lingers, and clings, so that - bladder firmly told to shut the fuck up - even when you run back to your non-stinky bedroom and hide under the covers, you can still smell it, like it's been rubbed along your upper lip.


It took me approximately ten mintues to open the litter box, secure the sides of the liner (thank gods I use liners!) and tie it off, heave it out of the box and into the trash can, tie that bag off, and toss the atrocity outside to be properly stashed in the can ten yards away in the morning. It usually only takes me a minute or so to do all that, but I had to hold my breath and squint my eyes, and when I needed to breathe I had to lurch away to the bathroom, close the door, exhale explosively, and take another big, deep breath of not-so-nasty air. When a smell is so bad it almost triggers vomitting several times in that ten minute period, one gets a little panicky. Panic is simply not good for holding a proper air supply in one's lungs, so I was scrambling to the bathroom every five seconds or so for a fresh breath.

This was at 2:00 in the morning.

After emptying the litter box and putting in a fresh liner and litter, I grabbed the can of Oust Air Freshener Spray and sprayed the hell out of the kitchen, dining room, bathroom and living room, having to go back and re-spray some places that just wouldn't give up the ghost. Then I had to grab the wind-tunnel-like floor fan and turn it on in the kitchen (pointing away from the bedroom, thank you very much) and let it run for a good fifteen minutes. This scared the hell out of the kittens, who hid at the far end of the room the whole time.

And even that was not enough. Hours later when I dragged myself exhausted from bed (that lingering smell kept creeping back into my nose and making me panicky and twitchy so that I couldn't sleep for a while) there were still a few pockets of smell lingering in odd corners here and there, despite having opened all the windows I could to air the place out. Only, now those stench-pockets were perfumed. I'm not sure which was worse: the original smell or the Oust-perfumed version of it.

I have never in my life smelled anything so bad. Remember that unfortunate co-worker I blogged about a year or two ago? She's still here, she still stinks (worse now than ever) and I would rather do a face-plant into one of the folds between her fat rolls on a hot day and sniiiiffffffff than smell cheese-tainted cat-shit ever again.

Yeah, it was that bad.

Once the trauma wears off, I will probably be morbidly impressed that a stench so amazingly awful could come from somthing so very small and unassuming. Or maybe that's just shock talking.

Note: THAT, Mom, is why I texted you at o'dark thirty to say I wouldn't be walking this morning ...

I love this shit.


Working at a newspaper, I have some perks that most people don't. Including being able to "see into the future" with my horoscope, in the future, so to speak - before the genral public does.

I just took a sneak peek at the horoscope for my birthday:

TODAY'S BIRTHDAY (JUNE 24). You're in charge of this life and you prove it this year as you call the big shots. July brings advancement on the job, and your social options widen as well. In August you're aligning yourself with those who have what you want. A move is featured in October. Education is key to raising your financial position in December. Libra and Virgo adore you. Your lucky numbers are: 30, 20, 13, 27 and 44.


My boss graduates (from the same school I'm attending) in August. I am next in line to be boss when he leaves when he lands a new job with his brand-spankin' new degree. Some training prior to his leaving would of course make sense - like maybe a month or so before I'm put in charge???

I want desperately to move to the Petaluma area of California, and although I haven't looked at job postings much since not getting the one I applied for last year, I was just only yesterday thinking that I should take a peek again.

Despite the fact that I'll be graudating later than originally planned, I'm still using my current education efforts - 3.97 gpa (and rising back up to that 4.0, damnit) and professional certificates - to pump up my resume in the hopes of snagging the attention of a possible new employer who might be willing to hire me before I graduate. When I re-enrolled I was signed up for one class per term every term, except, oddly enough, for the last three. Although I figure this is so that my graduation coincides with the official ending of that school year, I have not gotten around to fixing this, and just decided - again, only yesterday - to go with it and see how things pan out. It would have me graduating at the end of June of next year, instead of sometime in November or December of next year, which is considerably better IMHO. Right around December of this year, I'll be at the six-months-left mark if I do that, which is supposedly when employers decide that hiring someone who hasn't yet graduated will pay off, because if they're only six months from graudation, obviously they're gonna stick it out and get that degree rather that suddenly dropping out because they decide it's just not what they want.

Oh, pleaseohpleaseohplease. I am so ready to move on and out with a better job in a place that I love, where I can finally settle.

Heh. This kinda thing makes me wide-eyed and big-grinned. I love weird stuff like this.

Photoblog: Goblin and Sister.

Kitteh toes!


OMG kitteh tongue!!!1!:

Beaute Noir:

I don't know if I've mentioned this before, but Sister is not an all-black cat; she's actually a tabby like Goblin, but like a black panther, you can only see her stripes in the right lighting. Then she's a very dark dusty brownish-grey with black tabby stripes.


Kitteh and Ink:

And finally, sleepinks:


I am greeted by warm purring kittens every morning.

It's amazing, really, that they don't hold a grudge - we have to lock them into the kitchen/dining room at night so that we can sleep. And although they try to get out at every opportunity, they don't hate us in the morning. This locked-away time used to be only for a few hours, between 9:30 and 12:30, when they'd gain a huge second wind and decide it was time to go tearing and thumping and tumpling and wrestling around the house. We'd let them back out after that and they'd come to sleep with us in bed. That second wind has since increased by a few hours, long after we're sleeping, so they're locked in there all night now.

Granted, that area comprises a good third of the house, so they're not cramped at all, amd their food and litter box is in there with them, but I still feel bad about it and am charmed when they come running over to me, purring and rubbing and batting, when I get up and go into the kitchen every morning.

Of course, the purring and rubbing and light batting very quickly turns into jumping and biting at dangling fingers, and now just this morning this has evolved into bouncing along behind me as I stumble around half awake, jumping and batting at the backs of my knees and nipping at my calves. What the attratction there is, I don't know, but it's their newest game. Despite the thumps against my legs as I try to walk to the bathroom, badly balanced and groggy already from just waking up, I can't help but crack a weary smile and shake my head.

The head-butts against my outstretched hand just do me in. Sister is particularly affectionate this way, loving to have her head and face rubbed and rubbed and rubbed, purring and rubbing back so hard she sometimes snorts a little. Goblin is the one who likes to be held and carried around, toes to nose, in our arms.

They have brought a liveliness to our life that I didn't know was missing.


I need to get healthier, and one aspect of it is that I need to lose weight.

So I need your thoughts on this.

Today being June 2, is 5 pounds a good goal for the amount of weight I'd like to lose by the end of the month? Should I try for 10, or settle for 3? I know that losing too much weight too fast is unhealthy, but aside from extremes, I don't really know what "too much" would be.

Does 5 pounds in a month sound ok? Maybe 10?

Remember, remember.

This term is going by really fast, and I'm only on the third assignment. The group project - the big scary one each term that makes up a whole quarter of our overall grade - is due next Friday. Granted, thats a few full weeks earlier than most other classes have their group projects, but even knowing that, I'm nervous. And even knowing that so far this class has been a breeze (even only three assignments into it) doesn't help that.

Sigh. I need more hours in the day. I need a dishwasher. I need a vacation.

None of those will happen anytime soon (although I've been comparing dishwashers and - at least without delivery and installation added in yet - I've found one a good $150 cheaper than the ones I'd been looking at before).

I am trying to see the positive things in life, not just the constant negatives, but it's hard when you don't get enough sleep because of all the negative - or at least damned challenging - things.

Along with the gushy stuff - a man that loves me, kittens that purr for me, a roof over my head - I have some other niceties to remember. I have my own yard to sunbathe in. I get to drive the jeep everyday (because I haven't learned yet to drive the new Honda, which is a manual). I've gotten some of the color on my backpeice done this year, and on my birthday I'm having the snake's color fixed on my arm. My hair is longer - long enough to pull back in a no-longer-dorky-looking ponytail.

Aside from a few short but endurable instances, my gastritis has not bothered me much this year. Although my arthritis has gotten worse, in talking with Mama Wren I'm learning there are things - new drugs - that can be done about it, as soon as I find a new doctor.

The path to my front door from the road is gravel, with house on the right and trees on the left arching over the path to create a green, shimmering waving tunnel to walk through. With the visit from the plumber last week, we now have a water spigot outside for watering plants and such (and a toilet that no longer rocks or smells bad even when we haven't done anything to stink up the place).

I just got a bunch of fruits and veggies yesterday, as a kick-start to a healthier diet and llifestyle. Matt, although not jumping for joy, is willing to change his diet, too. As soon as I can get Mama Wren on the horn I'm starting up the morning walks again, now that Matt's shoulder is letting us both sleep better, and that makes me happy.

Matt and I have decided to get married during the break between my Bachelor's degree and my Master's degree, instead of waiting the three years or more that it will take me to finish both. My best friend will be coming to visit either this Saturday or the next, and I haven't seen her in a very long time. The local Brewfest (lots of local brewers giving away tastes - glass-fulls of it - of their best brews in the shops along historic Main Street) is at the end of this month, and I'm going for the first time.

These are the things that keep me going, despite wanting to run away and hide in a hole somewhere far away from everyone when things get rough (and they've been pretty rough lately). Although it's not easy to think of them when I'm trying to juggle too many other "important" things, I need to try to do so. Sometimes these things will hit me when I least expect them to - while washing three sinkfuls of dishes, say - and I'm left stilled and smiling, kind of happliy shocked that even in the midst of chaos, life is actually pretty good. Scary, yes, but good.

An official vacation is tentatively in the works. The good friends who helped us move and who we then helped move in turn will be heading over from Arizona for a few days in August. It's her 21st birthday, and he promised her they would spend it in Las Vegas. They invited us to go along, too, even offered to pay for our room if we culd just get ourselves there. So, if finances and work allow (and I'll make school work out one way or another) we're goign to Vegas in August.

I've never been there, and as a much needed vacation, it sounds like a little bit of heaven.

That's one more nice thing in my life to remember when things get dark.