Wednesday, September 28, 2011

30 before 30: Alien speak

Maybe it's girlish naivete, but I really thought that after 8+ years together as romantic partners, The Hubs and I understood each other.

Lately, though, it feels as if we're citizens of Babel, for all the sense we make to each other.

Ok, that sounds way more dramatic than I mean it to sound. 95% of the time, we understand each other just fine. Our arguments are rare, and often we need only make a well-timed sound or even a particular face for the other to burst into gales of laughter.

But I'm noticing more frequently that there are these incidents where we talk to each other, and we just don't seem to comprehend what the other is saying. Luckily, these occur more with seemingly simple tasks than deep, life-changing discussions, but that almost seems to make us MORE frustrated in the end.

For example, we were re-arranging our furniture and the electronics that reside on some of this furniture. To make the cords less obvious/in the way, I told The Hubs to move the electronic "under the table" it was on, so that the cord would follow it. He moved it in front of the table. SERIOUSLY. I tried to explain it again, and he did it "wrong" (at least in my opinion) again. This carried on for some time, endlessly frustrating us because he kept insisting I was telling him wrong, yet wouldn't let me get up and show him what I meant ('cuz he's a Taurus and STUBBORN AS S***). finally I got up, stomped over, and did it the way I intended.

"Well, why didn't you SAY that?"

It's a miracle we're still married, swear to Dog.

Now, it didn't end in a big fight or anything, but it DID result in a "I don't know why you don't understand what I'm saying" from both of us. To each of us, it's just SO CLEAR, but the other is left staring blankly. It's frustrating! Esp. considering we really thought we knew each other, and now we've stumbled on this out of NOWHERE issue. Not a major issue, though, just... WEIRD. It's been 8+ years! You'd think he'd speak the language by now - AND VICE VERSA! I'm just as guilty here.

I didn't really think about it until tonight we had another "alien talk" situation, and it was more serious this time. Not going to go into details (just 'cuz everyone shares everything on the internet doesn't mean I have to), and it's resolved now, but I did ask him, "I thought you'd know how to talk to me by now!" The Hubs replied that he did, BUT he isn't always sure what kind of reaction he'd get with me when I'm unemployed - it becomes a bit... dangerous, in his opinion. Actually, I think the direct quote was "emotional minefield", and he's not wrong. =/ So I acknowledged the truth of his statement, but then pointed out to him that he also knows my moods and how I react to stuff, so I suggested a way I thought might work to nicely get his point across if when there's a next time.

So what do I learn from this? That The Hubs is an idiot, of course! (KIDDING.) I guess we're both changing again, or something, as people are wont to do over 8 years, and we have to re-learn how to talk to the adult version of ourselves when we're used to talking to the 20-something versions of ourselves. (Ok, The Hubs is still a 20-something for another year and a half, but I mean like YOUNG 20-something versions of ourselves - we've been together since I was 21 and he was just shy of 20.) You'd think being together so long would make things easier over time, not harder! SHEESH.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

30 Before 30: I'm a guy-lie girl

I know I'm not the only girl in the world with guy friends, but I suspect I'm a little on the rare side in that the majority of my friends are (straight) dudes. (I'll sing the praises of the gays another day.)

I'm not anything close to being a tomboy. Bugs freak me out, I don't like getting dirty, and beer is gross. The only reasons I think my social circle has worked out this way is because:
  1. I was mostly raised by my dad. I mean, my mom was around and took over full-time parenting duties when I was a teenager, but for the day-to-day from about 7-12 years old it was my dad. As such, I am VERY much like my dad in terms of personality, for better or worse - and my dad had a smart mouth and dirty sense of humor (as do I).
  2. I don't do well with girl drama. I get along FINE with girls, but it's rare to find girls who aren't, well, the stereotypical GIRL when it comes to interacting with other girls. I'm not claiming in any way, shape, or form that I don't have that tendency myself, but I hate that tendency in myself, so I try to avoid those who share it as much as possible. I've been VERY fortunate in that I've found girls who don't have that "drama" tendency, and I cherish their company. Guys also avoid that drama like the plague, though, and there are more of them than there are girls who avoid drama, so consequently... 
There are advantages to having mostly guy friends, though! For one thing, guys are SO FUNNY. At least the dudes I hang with. Not that my girlfriends aren't funny, but some of the guys I hang with, I really have to up my game when I'm around them, or I just sit back and enjoy their show. For another, while they suck at appropriately comforting a girl they aren't sleeping with (I'm thinking it's something in their genetic structure that prevents it), it's still kind of adorable to see just how much they CARE. I can see the anguish on their faces (along with the general state of fear and confusion when confronted with tears) when they see I'm upset - and I appreciate their various offers to go beat whatever physical object they can use as the scapegoat of my hurt, even if it's ultimately pointless. Something about it is just damned endearing to me.

On the flip side, I think there's an advantage for boys when they have girls that are just friends. For one thing, us ladies are open to talking about those icky topics like "emotions" that usually make their bros cringe. I'm fairly sure I've been privy to some conversations that my guy friends would NEVER admit to their other guy friends. An off-shoot advantage to girls being willing to talk feelings is that we're also willing to speculate and offer advice on their ladies; even the best husband/boyfriend can still be a little confused on what, exactly, their woman wants or needs sometimes, and who better to ask than another woman that they trust? Right? Also, honestly, I think guys just like having cute girls around. I mean, I'm not the hottest woman in the lives of my guy friends, but I'm not a hosebeast, either... and who doesn't like having something nice to look at who also makes you smile? (I know that's my motivating factor for, like, 99.5% of my friendships, male OR female... ;D)

Look, I'm not saying that guy friends = best thing ever. I'm just saying that I've noticed my natural proclivity for having male friends, and I'm trying to suss out the cause as well as sing the praises of such relationships. If I may be gushy for a moment ('cuz I'm 99.5% sure they won't read this anyway ;p), I count myself very lucky to have the males I have in my social circle. I have managed to cultivate a personal, trusting relationship with some truly unique individuals that never fail to make me smile when I think of them. While I haven't always had the best choices in friends (male or female), as of late I've truly surrounded myself with upstanding young men who know how to make me laugh, appreciate the same things I appreciate, and make me feel that, if The Hubs were to ever smarten up and leave my annoying ass for good, I would still feel like someone out there loved me (just not that way)... and that's a nice feeling to have. We'll probably never say it to each other, but if you're my straight male friend and you're reading this, I love you like the older brother I never wanted in the first place BUT which I'm now glad I have.

Monday, September 19, 2011

30 Before 30: Fear of Failure - or of succeeding?

I'm noticing that some things scare the crap out of me. Beyond the obvious, like bugs and spiders, falling down, and disembodied voices.

I think I fear failure. I'm not the biggest risk-taker, and I usually had no problem with it, but two recent situations have popped up that have made me question what the heck is going on with me.

First, I had a job interview for a position that is related to the education field, but is more on the business end of it. The job would require me to do things that I haven't done before. Nothing that violates my personal safety or anything, they'd just challenge me to do something that I haven't tried before. I did my best in the interview, but I could feel my stomach getting a little uneasy as the interviewer described some of the job responsibilities. I haven't heard anything yet, but I'm wondering what I'll do if they offer me the job... it has the potential to be an amazing opportunity, but I could also fail miserably and be fired. (Yup, I'm an all-or-nothing type of person, haha.)

The second is similar to the first, but on a smaller scale. Tomorrow I have an audition to be a host of trivia nights. I LOOOVE trivia, and I have a theater background (despite how out of practice I am at it ;p), and when I'm in a classroom, I have a way of maintaining attention and being entertaining. My friends think I'm funny! ;D I am SO NERVOUS about it. It's not like it'd be a job that pays all our bills or anything; it'd just be a fun way to earn some cash, and I think I'd be good at it, but I have no idea how I'm going to do this. All weekend I've been debating just not showing up. =/

However, I'm resolving myself right now to deal with both of these situations the same way: Go in, try my best, and if I get an offer, TAKE IT! I can't be mad at myself if it doesn't work out if I tried my absolute best, right? *Of course, I need to remind myself of this when I don't get the job at regular job interviews...*

So I don't know where this came from. I guess I tend to stay in a safe zone, in that I don't really attempt things unless I'm fairly sure I'll have a modicum of success. I know that's how I treated dating, haha - I only pursued guys seriously if I was, like, 75% sure they were into me, haha. Other than that, I guess I don't really rock the boat.

Maybe it's time to start rocking the boat a little more. I have been trying to LIVE more than merely exist this year, as I realized how stuck in a rut I was earlier on, and I guess this putting myself at risk of failure is the next step. It's not the end of the world if it doesn't work out, as long as I tried my best, right?


Saturday, September 17, 2011

30 Before 30: Why I craft

I haven't really talked about it on here, but I like to make stuff. Like, LOVE to make stuff. It's seriously one of my favorite things to do. I wouldn't say I'm the BEST at it, but I make nice stuff:

SO yeah, I loooooove crafting. It's so much fun. The process of playing with the materials, envisioning the finished product in your head and trying to figure out how to make that come to fruition, and the satisfaction at its completion are soul-satisfying to me. When I craft, it's almost like a moving meditation to me. I seriously get in a zone where I can craft for literally HOURS without food or drink, and be perfectly content. Seriously, if I just crafted all day every day, it'd be the most effective diet ever. ;p I'd be a size 10 in no time.

It's also a bonding activity for me and people I'm close to. My mom is an AMAZING scrapbooker - she mainly likes to do pre-made kits and copy other layouts, but I really think she could come up with something fantastic on her own. We schedule monthly "craft days" where we hang out and just work in her craft room. (Yes, my mom has a room just for crafting, I am HELLA jealous.) I don't even have to buy materials, I just show up and use all her stuff! I also have 2 girl friends who are recent "acquisitions", and we've bonded over our crafting. We get together, eat yummy food (we're also way into food), and bring our projects to work on while we chat away. They're some of my favorite days, and I feel like we've bonded quickly through these craft days. It's fantastic. I got into crafting from my (now ex-)stepmother; she figured out I needed something to do, so she started me on decorating tees and sweatshirts with fabric paint in the fashion of the 90's at the time. Oh yes, my projects were TOTALLY tacky, but it was fun! My ex-stepmom is another awesomely crafty lady; she decorates glass ornaments every year for Xmas, and I have quite a lovely group that is one of my most treasured collections.

If you were to see my bookmarks on Firefox, I have folders that are PACKED with different links and tutorials. Unfortunately, I never seem to get around to trying the different projects. For my love of it, I don't make it a priority in my life unless I'm getting together with my crafter friends or family. The only thing that prohibits me from doing it MORE (besides time ;p) is that I don't have the space for it. I've been using my dining room table because my craft "desk" is so cluttered with craft stuff AND non-craft stuff (as it's a desk for working in general - although it mainly houses craft stuff xD). I'm hoping that as I re-arrange and re-decorate our apartment that I can figure out a way to house my craft stuff AND have craft space, because I would like to craft more often. It'd be a great way to distract myself when I feel the urge to eat. The Crafting Diet! Hahaha (TRADEMARKED, DON'T STEAL IT.)

So yeah, I'm a crafter. I say that with much less shame than the nerd stuff, haha. ;D I see why "crafting" gets a bad name, 'cuz there are some AWFUL crafting ... things out there (I will simply link you to regretsy), but for every terrible project, there are 50 unique, amazing, creative projects that make that terrible project look even worse. I'm not quite in that 50, but I don't care. I like making stuff. I like when I make stuff for people and they like it, too. It brings me joy, and that's all I want out of it. =)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

30 Before 30: Accepting my FULL nerdiness.

I have a confession to make. It's time to come out of the nerd closet...

I'm a HUGE nerd. At least in the way society typically defines a nerd.

I've noticed it more and more as I've gotten older, I've been more accepting of my nerdiness. Obviously, I've always been a nerd in the academic sense - English nerd (now teacher), drama club member, honors classes, fairly high GPA in high school and college, hung out with the band geeks and Magic-players (while never playing music or Magic myself), and being mocked by the popular girls behind my back. It never really bothered me, though - because while the popular kids mostly ignored me, a few found me (intentionally) funny and for the most part I noticed that my peers generally liked me. I wasn't as socially active as I would've liked, but for the most part I look back on my middle and high school years with general fondness. (College, on the other hand...)

Anyways, as I got older, I noticed that I was a HUGE pop-culture enthusiast. Entertainment Weekly is my bible, and I had to take a break from gossip sites and magazines because it was getting ridiculous. Also, my movie tastes tended toward the cult favorites as well as the popular movies. Being interested in popular culture isn't necessarily nerdy, I realize, but when you're known by friends AND family as the Trivia Queen - to the point where people fear NOT being on your team for Scene It! - then it's officially a nerdy thing. ;p

Then there's my comic book fandom. Yup, I read comic books. Now, I don't read a ton of the superhero ones (although "Daredevil" is my favorite, but I'm woefully behind - I still haven't finished Bendis' last run before Brubaker took over!), but I am a regular reader of "Fables". Seriously, "Fables" is the one I pimp the hardest. I also like "Runaways", "Y: The Last Man" (It's completed, HIGHLY recommend), and then there's a ton of webcomics that I read. The list is pretty long. Oh, and then there's graphic novels... I'm actually planning to attend my first official comic-con the first weekend of October. I wanted to go to WonderCon this year, but we couldn't afford it at the time. APE seems like a good place to start, plus my FAVORITE graphic novelist, Craig Thompson, will be there and I'm a little afraid I might cry when I meet him, he's that amazing. I'll also get to see one of my favorite comic strip writers, Keith Knight, too... I've actually considered attending several of his appearances, but I've always wussed out because he seems SO cool and I'm so NOT cool, haha. Of course, the fact that I'd be meeting him at a COMIC CONVENTION is completely lost on me.

Now what's really making me say, "Ok, I'm not just a girl with nerd qualities, I'm a straight-up NERD" is that I've recently fallen into... gaming. Not video games, ROLE PLAYING GAMES.

Yes, I'm in a gaming group. Even better... I FREAKING LOVE IT. OMG it is SO MUCH FUN.

Now, I'm trying to argue that I like it so much because it's social and I've been fortunate to have a great group of guys for my first group, but... I like the fantasy elements. I like that my character is a half-elf sorceress and that I got to create a background story for her. It's like a social "Choose Your Own Adventure" book - and I loved those books as a kid. It's PERFECT for me. I've seriously played it almost every Saturday, and I'm having a blast. The Hubs just LAUGHS at me. He has nerd elements, but he's not as nerdy as I am.

I'd probably be more "ashamed" of all these things if my friends didn't also have similar interests (how do you think I got involved in the gaming group? ;p), and if I didn't realize that WHO GIVES A CRAP ABOUT THIS? I'm damn near 30! Do people still have so little to focus on that they'll judge me by my hobbies? I also craft and play ukulele.

Not to mention, I'm married, socially functional, and a cute girl. The last one alone excuses me from most judgment, at least from guys. ;p

Thursday, September 8, 2011

30 Before 30: The Ritual of Breakfast

So one benefit of unemployment is that I have the time to make a breakfast I actually LIKE now.

I've never been a huge fan of breakfast, or so I thought, until I was on my own and able to eat what I wanted for breakfast. It turns out I like breakfast just fine, as long as it's not a cold bowl of cereal. (Which isn't to say that I don't occasionally go through a period of wanting only Life cereal for breakfast... Mmm, Life cereal.) I prefer a hot meal, preferably more savory than sweet, which to me always seemed like the antithesis of breakfast because those types of breakfast were only on the weekends, and even then they were rare.

Well, I guess part of wearin' my big girl panties is that I get to eat whatever the heck I want whenever I want... so now I want a breakfast that used to be reserved for weekends, if on a smaller scale.

It's not a big meal that I make for myself; I scramble an egg, add some pre-diced ham warmed up in the microwave for a few seconds, and throw some cheese and black pepper on top when it's still warm (The ham is plenty salty on its own, btw, so you don't need to add any salt). I toast a piece of bread and slather some butter on it - just enough for taste, and to get a little of that softness that toast gets when melted butter attaches itself. Grab a piece of fruit, preferably citrus, and a hot cup of coffee in my favorite mug, and sit down in my big ol' comfy recliner...

I take a minute, look at the bounty of deliciousness before me, take a sip of my coffee, and for just that millisecond, my senses overwhelm my usual worry-a-minute train of thought and I feel nothing but contentment.

Breakfast is one of the few meals that, when I take the time to enjoy it, I really savor it. My dog does, too, as she looks at me longingly to drop a morsel for her to snatch up. Unfortunately for her, I don't drop a bite.

This isn't the only breakfast I eat; usually, I'm still grabbing something quick to shove in my mouth and get on with my day. However, I notice I start my mornings in a much better mood when I take the time to make this kind of breakfast. It satisfies my soul more than it fills my stomach, and some days you need that emotional kind of hunger quenched more than the physical.

Monday, September 5, 2011



This poster will be the death of me.

Ok, 3 years ago, my husband bought me a really sweet, thoughtful anniversary gift: A poster with all of Shakespeare's sonnets on it. Romantic 'cuz they're all about love, and thoughtful because he figured I could use it in my future classroom. This was when I'd just finished my credential program and still had that thing, what's it called... oh, right, HOPE. *eye roll*

I decided that I'd hold onto it so I could frame it - didn't want it getting all bent up, even if I DID put it up in my classroom from the job I was sure to have and keep. (NO, I'm not bitter, what makes you say that? ;p) So I left it in its package, as it was in a plastic mailer around a poster mailer tube, so I figured it was safe, and I shoved it in our closet.

THIS WEEK I saw that Michaels was having a sale on frames, so I figured, FINALLY, perfect timing! I pulled the poster out earlier this week to get a look at it, remove the plastic wrapping... and the poster tube had been dented so hard that it had knocked one of the plastic ends INTO the tube.

WHAT. THE. F***.

Of course, because it was 3 years later, it's not like I can call the post office or poster company and get our money back. So I take the poster out to analyze the damage... and it's not torn, but it's really noticeably wrinkled and bent all along the left side. I show it to The Hubs, heartbroken, and he convinces me it's not THAT bad and to still get a frame for it.

Then I measure the poster this morning with a retractable tape measure this morning, and get distracted - it snaps back into the holder and tears a little hole RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE of the damn poster. I was able to do a little clear-packaging-tape surgery, but still. ARGH. First the wrinkling, now this?

It only gets worse.

So we go to Michaels, pick out a frame that has a thin black metal look. It says it's $30, but we have a coupon and a gift card, so we go for it. Turns out, it's actually only $10 so we figure, score! We ask the frame specialist dude how to hang it, he tells us to bend the little metal tooth-comb thing in the back out and put it on top of some nails.

I get home, I open the frame... and it's a cheap POS. The frame isn't together, it's 4 separate angled bars that you snap on and off the PLASTIC and corrugated cardboard frameback. *sigh* It takes me 30+ minutes to get it in between the two pieces, then get the nails up in the wall where I want it (which is just high enough that I can reach it on my tippy-toes, but I can't quite see if I'm pounding in the nails straight), then bend that stupid metal-tooth-comby-thing away from the frameback.

I pick up the frame, get it on the nails, and it's on but it's wobbly.

So I grab the side to see if I can straighten it, and it CRASHES DOWN AND TO THE LEFT. I let out a primal expletive scream and pick it up... to see that the upper left corner is now bent. The frame corners are bent, the cardboard frameback is bent, and the plastic has also cracked and broken off. It's noticeable.

At that point, The Hubs (who is already in an inexplicable MOOD that he doesn't really want to talk about) comes in to see what's up, and I'm sitting on the bed trying not to cry. He says I should take it back and get our money back, but I know they won't take it back; the wrapping's already removed and the metal thing's already bent. So I decide to make it work... but it just looks so crappy and I keep having to stop and whimper. No tears actually fall, just lots of deep sighs and whimpering noises.


So it's up, it's hung, and frankly, as long as you don't stare at it like it's the "Mona Lisa" in the Louvre, it's FINE. I'm just frustrated and dealing with a grumpy, upset husband and pissed that a cheap frame turned out to be a cheap frame.

So what did I learn from this adventure in idiocy?
  1. Open your damn packages as soon as they damn arrive. *facepalm*
  2. A cheap frame is exactly that: a cheap frame. I should've bought the bigger, heavier, more expensive one. 
  3. The closer to the wall the frame is, the better, apparently. (I un-bent the metal hanging bit a little, and pushed the nails in a smidge closer to the wall, and it's sturdier now.)
  4. No one is going to pay as much attention to the little details as you will. And when you're a perfectionist, that can be a really stressful thing to deal with. 
Trying not to make a big thing about this, but OMG it was the most frustrating ordeal. Now I hate this stupid poster. GRR. 


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