Makes You Think…

I was all set to write an entry about how my neck had a crick in it all day (and still does) from how I slept last night, and how glad I was that today was only a 9-hour Monday instead of the normal twelve, yadda-yadda-yadda…

Then, from the Saginaires Alumni Yahoo! Group, the one that I started as a base for alumni of the drumcorps I used to march, I got this message:

Dear Friends,
It’s noon on Monday and I just got word that Steve Yoder is seriously ill in the hospital and in a coma. Everyone say a little prayer for Steve. Will update as possible.

Of course, several people (including me) chimed in and gave our best wishes to Steve and his family or friends or whoever he has with him. I went to the website of the indoor drumline he directs, which is under the same umbrella organization as our old drumcorps, and discovered that he’s been hospitalized for the past week and a half. He’s a relatively young guy, in his 40’s, so while I was concerned about him, I wasn’t worried, despite the fact that he was comatose.

Then, around 9pm, the same individual posted this message, which read in part:

I spoke to Danny Trepiak a couple of hours ago and understand that Steve is gravely ill and not expected to live. It could happen within "hours."

Whoa. I mean, I’m not personally close with Steve, but he directs the closest thing to my old drumcorps that there is: a kick-ass World Champion indoor drumline. I’ve worked with him before in alumni happenings, and have corresponded with him about alumni involvement and the aim of the drumline (and winterguard, when we had one). In that respect, he’s kind of like "Uncle Steve." He’s been a big part of why the umbrella organization up in Saginaw hasn’t completely folded, as the CEO is ready to retire from the Saginaires Youth Organization and step down eventually.

But I’m really concerned for the kids in his drumline. Last year, they were World Champions in their class, and this year they intend to move up a class from Independent Open to Independent World. After reading the posts from these kids (ages 16 to 20), I don’t think they realize what dire straits Steve is in. They fully expect Steve to be back and read their message board posts to him, and no one has posted there for the past week or so. I think they’re going to be shocked out of their wits if and when he passes, and in my opinion, it’s equal odds whether they’ll mourn and quit or choose to dedicate this season to Steve. …OK, maybe not equal odds — these kids are fighters, and they had a taste of greatness last year.

Anyway, the whole thing does give you something to think about.

Therapy with Amy

Not sure how to start. Not that it was so earth-shattering that I’m at a complete loss — I just simply don’t know where to start. At the beginning, I guess.

Amy came to visit for the Black Swamp Arts Festival this weekend. She ended up being a few hours behind schedule, due to every little errand blowing up into a gigantic WTF sort of fiasco. Stopping by work, taking a "shortcut" suggested by Grampa… Anyway, when she arrived at 11pm, we went to get some pizza at Myles, and were constantly accosted en route by the drunks from campus. I got a high five from a dude that looked just like Nick Lawson, we got offered a piece of pizza from some random guys (who then claimed to have "nutted" on the pizza), and we had one particularly bookish-looking fellow tell us, "the bars are that way!"

Ate pizza, talked, came home, walked some more, and talked some more. Stayed up till Aaron got home, then talked some more. Basically, that’s what the weekend was all about: talking with Amy.

On Saturday, we checked out the artists’ booths. We were underwhelmed this year, and were particularly disappointed that some of our longtime favorites weren’t at the Festival this year. We did end up buying at least one token "I Was Here" item apiece, but we weren’t terribly geeked about them this year.

Things I discovered while talking to Amy this weekend:

  • I miss having someone to talk to like that. I talk to Aaron, yes, but it’s different. We still talk about important stuff, but Amy has a different perspective on things.
  • If I want a new job, I need to work toward getting one. If I can live with my job for now, I need to do the things that make me happy (photography, web design) in my time away from work, to make the mediocre work worth it.
  • I have more of a social life than I give myself credit for, even if it is just on the weekends and with Aaron’s and my mutual friends instead of alone with my own friends. It’s still social, and it’s still fun.
  • I need to stop belittling myself and beating myself up for my shortcomings. I also need to stop feeling like others are focusing on said shortcomings, and instead be thankful that others (especially Aaron) are patient enough to deal with my faults and still like me for who I am.


Downloaded BBEdit to my Mac. I’m a much happier coder now.

I feel so crappy. Just generally mentally worn-out and physically blah. I should be happy — Mom’s coming to visit tomorrow, and I got my camera back from Blue Ribbon today (just in time for the Mom Weekend). I also got 5 hours overtime this week, which could be considered good or bad. I also got paid today, which is definitely good. I borrowed Donna’s Windows CD last night, and am about to use it today, and that’s good, too.

I don’t know… I guess I’m just bored and lonely. I called Sheryl about my cranky computer, and she was hanging out with friends. I thanked her a lot for helping me out with my problems, and she wasn’t bitchy or anything, but I’d already agonized over calling "my personal tech support." But the internet wasn’t helping, and there was no one else to call, and I wanted to get this fucker working, so I called and interrupted her social time. *pouty self-deprecating sneer*

I think that just drove home the fact that I have absolutely no fucking social life. Not during the week, not on Friday nights, and only with Aaron and our mutual friends on the weekends. Not that I don’t enjoy hanging out with all of our friends… but sometimes, on Friday nights or weeknights, I feel isolated. Unloved. Everyone else has a group of friends to hang out with. Either that, or they live two or three (or more) hours away. I find I’m missing the days of the dorm, when I could call up Beth and go to the Founders snack bar, or go up and see if Donna was in her room, or IM Timmay and ask what he was up to. Or before that dorm experience, how about with Amy? She was almost always there, either playing PlayStation or studying or reading, and we could go on spontaneous walks around campus or to Grounds or Hatter, and talk about important things like God/Tao/Force or where we were going with our lives or our Tarot or a smattering of other mind-expending concepts. Or we could just hang out in the room with the door open, and Sheryl or the RA or someone would wander by and say hello. Or we could head down to the computer lab and play on the internet side-by-side and wait for someone to think we were on duty. None of you except Aaron know my roommate and friends before Amy, so I won’t even go into what we used to do… suffice to say it involved holding drumsticks for ransom and listening to Dream Theater with Asshole Steve.

Now what do I do? Play on the computer. Read. Nap. Watch HGTV and TLC. Avoid eating. (I’m hungry right now, but I really don’t give a shit.) I actually just played PS2 for the first time in months today. SSX Tricky. Anyway, sometimes find something to clean (but not often), and I sometimes lay on the couch with a potential new design for my genealogy website that can’t seem to get off the ground. Lately I’ve been leaving Instant Messenger launched, in the hopes that someone might want to talk to me, but no dice. Amy never even calls on Tuesdays like we’d agreed.

Excuse me, please. I have to dig myself out of my hole of self-pity before my Mom shows up tomorrow at 11:00am.

You Never Know When…

BAM! …depression will strike.

Yesterday was good, for the most part. Got to kiss Aaron before he left for work. Got my new 1.8GHz processor via UPS, and successfully installed it and its heatsink/fan onto my new motherboard. Played some Civ III. Found out that my current power supply should suffice for my new motherboard. Bid on some DDR RAM on eBay. Yes, I was OK yesterday, despite the fact that a.) Sky accidentally charged me for my free employee checks, and b.) neither Garza nor Paul nor Donna can accompany me to Canton for Sunday’s drumcorps show — so if I go, I go solo.

Today is somehow a different story.

I went to balance my checkbook today, and discovered a math error way back in May. So… after I spent an hour trying to figure this out, I’m still off $50 — but at least it’s an even amount this time. After almost-balancing my checkbook, I discovered that I really don’t have enough money to make my little daytrip on Sunday. (Hell, I barely have enough to pay rent.) I know Aaron would loan me money, but I just bought a new motherboard and processor with the extra money I had, and I need to teach myself to check my checkbook before I go willy-nilly on eBay. Sure, I haven’t heard the Bluecoats play Autumn Leaves in the parking lot after a show since I aged out. I can wait another year, then.

This monetary problem also means no new RAM until I get paid one week from today.

I’m also still waiting for my new checks to arrive. The ones I ordered (and got charged for) on the 15th. Since I ordered them at the banking center, they should have arrived sooner than the standard two weeks. As it is, I may have to have Aaron write a check for my half of the rent, anyway.

And, as usual, this emotional tailspin I’ve sent myself into has bloomed into a full-blown depression. Not the clinical kind, the kind that lasts two weeks or more, the kind I seriously think I had in high school. Just the evening-long woe-is-me-fest. The kind where I look around at my living space and call myself a slob, but don’t manage to clean. The kind where I grab my fat rolls and call myself a lazy bastard, but don’t bother to exercise. The kind where I wonder if I’m really good enough to get a web design job, but don’t go looking for one. The kind where I don’t want to do anything but eat and laze around and feel sorry for myself. And probably play several hours of Civ III. And then feel guilty afterward.

Oh, yeah… I’ve matured tons. Pshaw, right.

P.S. – Somehow I can’t make myself be happy that Uday and Qusay are dead, despite the fact that they were undoubtedly corrupt individuals. My sense of justice would have been better sated to keep them as prisoners, or something along those lines. Death is too easy, and too final.

Sheryl just called and we talked for, like, 45 minutes. She read my entry and said it sounded like I needed to talk. I had been feeling particularly friendless, but I’m feeling better now. 🙂


A friend told me today, "I feel more alive than I have in years."

Which leads me to wonder: Do I feel "alive"? When did I feel the most "alive"?

I think I can safely say that this is not the most alive I have personally felt. Secure — sure. Grounded — you bet. Normal — strangely enough, yes. But "alive"? Not so much.

I felt alive at the wedding, and during the honeymoon. I felt alive (to an extent) at graduation. I felt alive while marching drumcorps. I felt alive in the dorm for the most part, even (or especially?) by myself that last year at school. I felt alive the summer after high school. Hell, I felt alive the day I got my hair cut. 🙂

So, what do I do to get that back? Buy a house? Get a new job? Have a kid? Lose weight? Redecorate? Something isn’t right, if I don’t feel "alive". These are supposed to be the best years of my life. Newlywed, no kids yet, stable job, stable finances, at the beginning of a wonderful lifelong journey. Doing things right. Not getting knocked up. Not working at McDonald’s.

This leads me to believe that I need to seize something. Do something different. Change something. — Change myself? How?

On the topic of changes: since both Sheryl and Eric have announced this on their respective pages, I’m safe to tell anyone who doesn’t frequent their blogs that they’ve broken up. Were this a private journal for my own edification only, like I used to have before this whole blog phenomenon, I’d have a lot of personal comments and gossip to blurt out here. But as it’s a public document, I’ll keep most of my musings to myself.

All I’ll say is… wow. I didn’t see this coming. I know they were going to move off to Toledo, anyway, but now I know I’ll never get to hang out with Eric, and only very rarely with Sheryl, which is too bad. In the past couple of years, I’d grown fond of spontaneous visits either from them or to their place, and had really begun to appreciate both of them more, both individually and as a pair. I know they’re not really going far away (yet) or going to die or anything else incredibly final… and I know I didn’t really hang out with them a lot, anyway… it’s just that things won’t be the same anymore.

I’m sure they’re thinking the same thing.

Getting Old(er)

Before I get to the mushy parts (be forewarned), here’s the interesting part of my day:

So, last night was the crazy thundery ice storm of death and destruction. This morning at 9am, Aaron and I were awakened by the sound of the city workers cutting and removing fallen tree branches from the middle of the road. Fun. Once I was ready to go to work, it took 15 minutes to chisel my car out of the ice. Had I known getting my car out was going to involve ice sculpture, I would have brought an ice pick and hammer…

Anyway, all day I was peering out the office windows at the ice-covered trees. Took a couple pics through the window with my point-and-shoot, but was waiting anxiously to get off work so I could take some "real" pictures with my SLR. (For you non-camera types, that’s my bigger camera with the cool adjustable stuff and long lens.) Luckily, I got out of work at 5:30 — plenty of light left for photography, and the sun was just in the right place for backlighting the ice on the trees.

I ran in the house, warmed up a hot dog, put on socks and sneakers over my knee-highs, ate my hot dog, gathered my camera and an extra roll of film, and hit the road again, all in the space of two minutes. Gotta catch the good light, after all. Sped down to the bike trail — although I would rather have taken photos at the end of the trail nearer my house, there’s no parking at that end. I had to drive down to Wal-Mart and park on Gypsy Lane. That’s OK, though; there’s plenty of photo ops all down the trail.

Parked my car, as I said, and gathered up my equipment. As I got out and onto the trail, I was glad I didn’t bring my tripod — the concrete bike trail was literally a sheet of ice. At this point I was getting a little apprehensive about my photo trip, but crossing Gypsy Lane (toward the area I’d originally wanted to shoot, anyway) unveiled a much easier-to-travel trail, with little to no ice for a good 50 yards.

So, I photographed for about a half hour or so, using up one and a third rolls of film. I could have kept going, but I had no more film. I got what I hoped were some great shots of icicles from tree branches, frozen leaves dripping icicles, and some sort of berry or wild fruit sporting an ice covering. Trés cool. Back to the car.

My pants muddy from kneeling on the trail, speeding back toward town, I contemplated how to develop my pictures. I figured I’d hit Blue Ribbon Photo in town — I’d always rather go with them, but I usually go with Meijer for convenience’s sake. I parked in the public lot behind Blue Ribbon, walked around the building, down the sidewalk, into the door, and asked if it was too late in the day to get one-hour prints. (I was really anxious to see these pics.) No, she said, they won’t be ready today. I asked if I could drop them off, thinking I could come back after work Friday. She responded, "Yeah, but they probably won’t be ready ’till Monday."


Then she said the dreaded words: "It’s ’cause the machine’s broke." Aargh!

I waffled over leaving the rolls or not, and opted not to leave them at Blue Ribbon to be processed at some indeterminate time on an indeterminately working machine. By this point, my photo high was deflated, and instead of dropping the film off at Meijer, I just brought it home. I’ll get it developed this weekend.

Now, on to the mushy stuff I thought about at work today. If you are ultra-sensitive to gooey sweet musings, please have a trash can, barf bag, or other handy receptable nearby.

I’ve been doing some thinking and reflecting about love. Yeah, love. Not just snoo-snoo, although that’s a very important part of love. And I’ve been contemplating how my relationship with Aaron has transmuted over time. We’ve gone from being boyfriend and girlfriend to being lovers and lifemates. (Wow, that sounds cheesy. Moving on…)

Today, I was thinking of the things that have changed — the little things that make me more aware that we’re in it for the proverbial "long haul." Things like:

  • In everyday conversation, I can start a sentence with, "When we have children…" and Aaron doesn’t even blink. We can talk about these things, because we plan on having children, as frightening as that prospect can seem right now. (And, FYI, I will be one of those parents who says things like, "You are not going outside this house wearing that." Assuming we have children that look like hoochies — which, given their genes, is unlikely.)
  • We bought a car together. Thirteen-grand worth of mutual debt, and both of our names on the title, is a pretty binding thing. It’s a good start to our future of combined debt. 🙂
  • Speaking of future debt, we can talk about buying a house. It’s not a thing to be entered into lightly, but we know we’re getting one eventually, because that’s how things work. You get married, then one of two things happens first: you have a kid, or you buy a house. (Of course, some of our friends do all three things in bass-ackwards order… and you know who you are.)
  • (Wow, this one is kind of personal. I don’t know if I should post this, but…) When we make love (I told you it was personal…), I can look into his eyes and cherish what I find there, not be disconcerted by the intensity or wonder what he’s really thinking. (No, honey, not that I ever really wondered that! Just for example…!)

Sometimes we wonder if we’re getting old, since we don’t "get it on" as much as we used to. Used to be, anytime we were together, we’d end up in the bedroom. Now we don’t do it as often… but neither of us are really upset by this, I don’t think. Hell, I don’t think I could survive a four-hour marathon make-out session like we did six and seven years ago. Damn.

Of course we’re getting old. Or older, anyway. We’ve both matured a lot over the last several years, and it’s one of the things that has helped us grow closer. I’m not upset about this in the least.

And, anyway, he’ll turn 30 before I do. 😉

Past Imperfect

You know that introspective New Year’s entry I promised? Well, here it is, a little late. Now, where to start…?

Back in High School, I was a perfectionist and a procrastinator all rolled into one. My fear of making mistakes really didn’t help things. Being high-strung and stiffly formal too much of the time definitely added to the geek factor. Even after failing Government my Senior year, and having to take “real” summer school for the first time in my life, this still didn’t teach me one of the many lessons that I needed to learn:

Sometimes you have to deal with the less pleasant things before you get to the good things.

I still didn’t learn the lesson during my seven (count ’em, seven) years of undergrad. I regularly failed to attend classes — and hence, regularly failed classes. Of course, I went to the “cool” classes, and of course I did well in them. Web design, multimedia, photography, human sexuality, recording technology, sociology, all stellar grades. Math, accounting, drafting, management, all the “boring” classes… not so much. I took College Algebra three or four times, and Trig twice, just because I hated the classes and didn’t go. If BGSU had the same policy then that they do now, I would have been paying back all the financial aid money I’d gotten for the classes I failed. I’d either have learned that valuable lesson, or I’d have given up on school for lack of funds.

Only now can I begin to learn and appreciate the value of this tidbit of knowledge. Now, when I’m working in an industry completely unrelated to the one I’d intended to pursue. Now, when I’m watching more recent grads going through the same post-graduation denial I went through. Now, when credit checks on me reveal the fact that I worked for a temp agency for eight or nine months, and have only held my current job for three.

I would like to go out and find my dream job. I haven’t given up on this. I refuse to be a bank flunky until I retire or am laid off. But… now is the time for stability. Now is the time to deal with a less-than-desirable job, so I can build credit and experience and general work-force skills. I have to deal with this less pleasant thing before I can go off and seek out the good.

When the right opportunity arises, I will be ready.


As a prelude, let me say that Krys did indeed get back to me. She’s going to law school at Akron U, and has a job lined up as a judicial attorney at the Court of Appeals after her graduation in May. She owns a house in Akron, and she’s still single. (No, she’s not looking, either, so stay your wild e-mail volleys.)

This made me think. Christy’s going to be a lawyer. (Sorry… I meant Krys. Old habits.) The fact made me reflect on how I’ve done so far, as compared to some of my old friends:

  • Krys is single, a homeowner, and (nearly) quite gainfully employed in a high-prestige profession.
  • Last I heard from Carolyn, my best friend from Middle School, she had just gotten married, was taking computer classes at the local community college, and worked as a secretary for an insurance company.
  • Mechelle from Florida got knocked up in 10th grade and quit school. At last contact, her two kids were in the custody of her aunt, and she was working at Burger King. (Of course, that was about ten years ago.)
  • Amy, my roommate from college, got her Bachelors in Biology and moved back to where she grew up in SW Ohio. She currently holds a managerial / administrative position at a genetics lab.

No, this isn’t meant to air everyone’s dirty laundry. It’s meant to set up a comparison. Look at me: I have my Bachelors degree, but am working in a completely unrelated field. I don’t have a car, so I take the taxi. Aaron and I rent a duplex. We’re engaged to be married in May. In some ways, I’ve ended up much better off than my friends have. In some ways, I’m far behind the pack.

In any case, it’s a measure of my self-esteem that I don’t need to look at my friends’ lives to know that I’m happy. I’m proud of my achievements, and I know my shortcomings, and I don’t dwell on either. There were days in my teens when I compared myself to everyone I knew and made myself miserable over it. Now it’s just an interesting exercise.

Who knew that me, Little Miss D-Minus In Algebra II, would get a job at a bank?

Gone for a Walk

I decided this evening after work, around 9:15 or so, to go deposit a couple of eBay checks that had been living in my wallet for way too long. I stuck my pen in my hair, wallet and keys in my pockets, and I was on my way.

Once I’d hit the ATM and checked my balance, I didn’t want to go home. It was too nice out. So, I decided to walk. I walked down Main Street, trying to decide where to walk. I glanced up at the Huntington Bank clock. Flip — 67 degrees. Flip — 9:22pm. Flip — 67 degrees…

At any rate, campus would be ideal for walking, being dimly lit and without through streets… but I wasn’t going to walk 15 minutes just to walk around, then walk 15 minutes back afterwards. Maybe I’d walk the residential streets. And that’s what I’d decided, until about five steps from the crosswalk by the Corner Grill. I could see the Administration Building down Court Street, and decided that the University wasn’t that far away… I crossed the street at the signal, and walked past the Corner Grill, past the Methodist Church, past the Courthouse, all the while fixating on the Admin Building and the cool, still night.

About five steps from Enterprise Street and three blocks from BGSU, I decided that the University really was too far to walk just for sport, and I made a quick left. This is where the usual mental drift that accompanies my solitary walks began. Not that I walk in front of moving vehicles or get myself lost, but that I think of the strangest random things, like:

  • I really don’t have that many friends I can hang out with anymore. My Senior year at BGSU, I’d finally made enough friends that, if I felt like being social, I could call up Beth or knock on Donna’s door upstairs or go visit Tim two floors up. I still have two local acquaintances that I went to BGSU with, but I really wouldn’t feel as comfortable just calling them up out of the blue and going to their apartments to play PS2 or something.
  • I’ve had this weird habit ever since that Creative Writing curriculum in third grade. When things happen around me or near me, I involuntarily try to compose the appropriate prose in my head — as if I were writing my life’s story moment by moment. I heard some guy make a noise down the alley and thought, “It sounded like a a retch, or grunt, or some other incoherent cry.” Hey, I never said it was good… only involuntary.
  • I really have gained a lot of weight. I realized this as I looked down at my shadow before me. Then I realized that my arms touch my sides when I walk. Not just at my hips, not just my armpits, and not just my boobs. My entire side. This was somehow more disturbing to me than my recent discovery of a “gut flap.” It only strengthened my resolve to somehow lose 45 pounds in eight or nine months.

At any rate, I finally looped back around and joined up with Main Street again, this time the opposite direction. Walking back under the Huntington Bank sign, I looked up. Flip — 9:47pm. Flip — 63 degrees. Flip — 9:47pm…