26 March 2003: Girl Talk and Power Outages
I got home from work today around 5:30pm, just in time to have missed Aaron before he went off to work himself. Sigh... But on a good note, I noticed that both my giant 20-disc CD-R trade (lots of The Smiths, The Cure, and similar bands) and my order from Lane Bryant had arrived.
Some of you may not know about Lane Bryant, be you a "normal-sized" woman or just a guy. Lane Bryant caters to the larger woman, sizes 14 to 28. Guys, you'll be clueless on the size thing. Let's say that your average height, average weight (not-too-waify, not-too-fat) female is probably a size 12 or so. Maybe a 10.
(Hey, guys? If you're squeamish about girlie talk, skip down a few paragraphs. I'm going to talk about my new bra now.)
When I was out lingerie-shopping with Sheryl on Saturday, we visited a place called That Special Woman. It's actually a mastectomy-supply boutique, but they also carry plus-size lingerie and undergarments, to our surprize. When we arrived, the attendant ushered me into a fitting room and took my measurements, then brought me a few actual bras before I could announce my intentions to look for a long-line or bustier. Anyway, I did try on one of the bras she brought in... and holy crap, that thing was comfy! OMFG. It was an underwire, but the cleavage part didn't stick out all funny like some of them do, and the back was plenty supportive. It didn't threaten to pull up between my shoulder blades after a few moments of wear.
This bra, I later discovered, cost between $40 and $50. Holy crap.
So... a few days later, I visited lanebryant.com. Actually, I visited several online stores looking for a bra just like the one I'd tried on, but Lane Bryant was the first and only place where I actually found one in my size. OK, girls, if you have big titties, or you're a "husky" girl, I recommend this bra. Just like the one I tried on in Toledo, it has full-coverage cups, non-sticky-outtie underwires, a stay-in-place back, and it's made of a neat-feeling cotton/Lycra blend, too. Honestly... it makes me want to squeeze my boobies like one of those stress-reliever things you see in Spencer Gifts. TMI... sorry. The underwires still get me in the armpits, though. I don't think there's any solving that issue.
(Hey, guys? You can come back now. It's safe.)
After parading around in my new get-up, I reclothed myself, sat down at my computer (which had been left on to allow fellow WinMX'ers to download from me), and prepared to check my e-mail.
Cue loud, echoing, percussive noise from outside and resulting instant silence inside. Only sound: that of my hard drive spinning down. A transformer had blown, and I was in silence (but not yet darkness).
First action: look outside. I saw the neighbors congregating across the street, so I threw on a ratty old black cardigan and some shoes and went out to hobnob. The guy who lives on the corner had already gotten out the cell and phoned the city. Looked like he was still in his work clothes: dress pants, crisp collared shirt. I wandered across to the other neighbors, catty-cornered from us. I met Toby (I think), Danny (short for Danielle?) and her husband Rob (Ron?), and a few others. We chatted for a while about how much we like the neighborhood, how we got to live here, how nice this side of town is (away from the bar crawl), etc. Eventually Toby's wife had to go get grilling-out supplies, so we all dispersed from their driveway and went back to our own houses.
The power still wasn't on, and it was almost thinking about getting on to dusk, but not quite. So on to the second action: get out the candles. It's not dark yet, but who knows when it will be. I'd rather be prepared than fumbling around looking for the lighter. I managed to locate one votive in a tulip-stem holder; two votives in short, roundish holders; one votive in the snowman my Mom gave me for Christmas; and one scented candle-in-a-jar from my grandmother. I lit them all and placed them strategically around the apartment. Then it occured to me that I wanted to go trim the hedges, so I blew them all out but two. :-)
Watered the houseplants, trimmed the hedges. As I was outside, I saw a relatively rare occurence: there were people outside. Danny, her husband, and their neighbors had started a pick-up game of basketball"PIG" or "HORSE" or something like that. Neighborhood kids were biking, skateboarding, and inline skating up and down the street, and some of them joined the game. Neighbors peeked their heads out to see if the city had come out yet, and some still milled about, meeting one another.
I finished pruning, went back inside, got my book and headed back out to sit on the front steps. (Or the "front stoop," as my Mom or Memaw would call it.) Reading was actually a facadeI was listening to the b-ball game ("How old are you? Thirteen?"), watching the kids skate up and down the street, quipping very junior-high-ish rips on one another, and eventually watching the city workers fix the transformer up the road. Once my porch light came back on, I retreated back indoors. Others didn't, thoughthe game went on, at least until the families' respective cookouts were ready for consumption.
It occured to me after this minor incident that the invention and maintreaming of electricity was probably one of the first steps toward the decline of the family and community. I won't say I'd rather be without it, and I won't say that it's done more harm than good. I will say, though, that the hour that the block was without electricity was probably the most social hour I've seen here.
Think about it: you can't watch TV, listen to the radio, play PS2/Gamecube/X-Box, play on the internet... what can you do? Read. Do something creative. Socialize. Gossip, even. When it gets dark, you light a candle, read or write by the flickering flame, talk with family, and go to bed. Simple.
The days before electricity had to be so different... it's hard even to imagine.
24 March 2003: T-minus Two Months...
Yep... I'll be Mrs. Schnuth in about 60 days. Kinda scary in a cool kind of way.
I guess I should keep all the girls who read this updated on the wedding planning thing. Oh, yeah, and maybe Dan and Eric will be moderately interested, too. :-)
Well, Sheryl has been kind enough to act as a surrogate bridesmaid while I've been getting my dress altered, traipsing 20 minutes north to Rossford on Tuesday, then on Saturday, then again a couple weeks from now. She's also helped me find some appropriate undergarments, since the neat thingy I bought online totally peeks out of the back and armpits of my dress. Gah. Anyway, I'm sure she's seen more of my pale flesh than she ever bargained for.
I was totally lucky to get as nice of a dress as I did for only $99 on eBay. (The auction's expired now, but once the wedding's done and Aaron's seen the dress, I'll post up the auction page that I saved.) I'm not used to wearing form-fitting apparel, so the dress actually makes me feel thinner, I think.
Speaking of... Now that I've been on a weight-loss kick (sort of) for four or five months, making a graph of my weight as I go, I can really tell when I gain my monthly few pounds. My graph makes a pretty picture like waves now. :-) I've pretty much accepted the fact that I'll look like I do now at the wedding. I won't look like I did during drumcorps, and I won't look like I did even five years ago. (Would you believe I put on 50 pounds between 1997 and the year 2000? Seriously. That's amazing to me. What's even more amazing is how much longer than that it'll take to get that weight back off...)
This week's goal is to take two walks daily, preferably after meals. Should be a good week for it, except for Sunday, when snow flurries may rear their ugly heads.
Man, my writing is all over the place today. I can't seem to concentrate on one topic long enough to get a good thing going. Bah. Maybe I should go watch the news... although I know what'll be on.
13 March 2003: 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 5:30plenty 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 trailalthough 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 tripodthe 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 townI'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 changedthe 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 hoochieswhich, 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. ;-)
11 March 2003: Fragile Moods
Lately, my emotional state has been unusually unstable. At work, I just zone out and do what has to be done, so I don't really consider myself to be in a bad mood, even if I look it. But once I get home, one little insignificant thing can puncture any good mood I've cultivated and put me on a ridiculous downward spiral.
For example (you knew it was coming), today I got home before 6:00. Nice, normal day at work. Not long, not stressful. Got my raise information from my boss, got home in time for the news. Was planning to vacuum the kitchen (seriously - it's carpeted) or clean the skanky tub or something after dinner, plus research embroidery websites so I can see what not to do on Sheryl's and my new web venture. I was proud of myself yesterday for shaking the internet addiction and not even booting up my computer when I got home from work, so I knew I'd have oodles of e-mail waiting for me. So, after eating some pierogies, I fired up the Sheryl Special to see who loved me.
I got three e-mails from Amy, and I knew what they had to be... berating me for not mailing her the vital color swatch for her bridesmaid's dress. I was right. She gave me a dressing-down like I deserved. Nonetheless, it still punctured my good mood. (Not your fault, Amy. You needed to give me a swift kick in the ass.) So, for the past hour or so, I've been kind of deflated. That one thing really brought my excitement about the evening to a dead standstill. That's not right. I shouldn't be this volatile. Not even a tagboard post from Timmay managed to cheer me up.
My last post dealt with a similar situation; this is becoming a trend of sorts.
What is wrong with me? It can't just be wedding planning... can it?
The internet is an amazing place. I was just thinking of a poem my mother used to read to me when I was little. She had a whole notebook of poems and sayings she'd collected. (I wish I knew where that notebook was.) I used to have the poem memorized, but I couldn't recall how it started, so I Googled a line I knew for sure. Sure enough, 48 hits came back, all including this untitled poem. I found a good site about it, with all the backstory anyone knows about it compiled together.
So, here it is, the way my mother used to read it to me, including the intro:
This poem was handed to a teacher by a 12th grade student. It is not known if the student actually wrote it himself; it is known that he committed suicide two weeks later.
He always wanted to explain things
But no one cared
So he drew
Sometimes he would draw and it wasn't anything
He wanted to carve it in stone
Or write it in the sky
He would lie out on the grass
And look up at the sky
And it would be only the sky and him that needed saying
And it was after that
He drew the picture
It was a beautiful picture
He kept it under his pillow
And would let no one see it
And he would look at it every night
And think about it
And when it was dark
And his eyes were closed
He could still see it
And it was all of him
And he loved it
When he started school he brought it with him
Not to show anyone but just to have it with him
Like a friend
It was funny about school
He sat in a square brown desk
Like all the other square brown desks
And he thought it should be red
And his room was a square brown room
Like all the other rooms
And it was tight and close
He hated to hold the pencil and chalk
With his arms stiff and his feet flat on the floor
With the teacher watching
The teacher came and smiled at him
She told him to wear a tie
Like all the other boys
He said he didn't like them
And she said it didn't matter!
After that they drew
And he drew all yellow
And it was the way he felt about morning
And it was beautiful
The teacher came and smiled at him
"What's this?" she said
"Why don't you draw something like Ken's drawing?"
"Isn't that beautiful?"
After that his mother bought him a tie
And he always drew airplanes and rocket ships
Like everyone else
And he threw the old picture away
And when he lay out alone and looked out at the sky
It was big and blue and all of everything
But he wasn't anymore
He was square inside and brown
And his hands were stiff
And he was like everyone else
And the things inside him that needed saying
Didn't need it anymore
It had stopped pushing
It was crushed
Like everything else.
6 March 2003: Tired and Crabby
I feel like crap. Not so much physically as mentally.
First off, this has been a ridiculously long week at work. I'll probably have almost 50 hours in by the time Friday's over and done; compared with the past few weeks of barely even making 40, it's grueling. I know I used to do this all the time, but I was getting used to "normal" hours.
It also doesn't help that my co-workers (and one co-worker in particular) keep complaining about said hours. I might be able to focus on what I'm doing and just push through it, were I not reminded on a regular basis how much it sucks. It also doesn't help that three out of four days so far this week, we've been understaffed due to people being out sick.
To top everything off, one of my major weak points got thrown in my face at the end of the day. Anyone who reads this probably knows that I have a tendency to be about five minutes late. Consistently. It bugs me, but not when I'm half-asleep and should be waking up so I can be on time. Anyway, the co-worker/temp who I've been giving a ride to work made an offhand comment as she got out of the car this evening. We were confirming that 9:00am was our start time tomorrow. So, she said, "Nine o'clock," and I replied in kind, "Nine o'clock." At which point she quipped, "Yeah. Right," in that tone of voice I'd take as friendly banter from a friend. Like, if Amy'd said that, I'd chuckle and make some randomly witty remark about Diana Standard Time or something.
But then she said, "Just kidding. I'm really tired," and shut the car door on her own rambling half-apology. Maybe I took this wrong, but that kind of admission"I'm really tired"strikes me as less of an "I didn't mean it" and more of an "I didn't mean to say that out loud." I don't know why I'm letting it bother me, but I am, and it does. I know I have a problem with tardiness (not retardness, though sometimes I think I have a problem with that, too), but still... no one likes their faults to be pointed out to them.
Speaking of my faults, I'd better go wash some dishes.
4 March 2003: Random Thoughts
Today at work I jotted down several blogworthy thoughts I had over the course of the mind-numbing workday:
When the temperature in the office reaches a certain pointsay, 75°F or sothe vents open to allow outside air to filter in and cool things down. Over the past couple of days, this outside air has smelled of a slight tinge of spring. So cruel... so cruel. Barely above freezing, and my nostrils are dreaming of the spring thaw.
Some people at my work have accused others of being resistant to change. One person in particular, by the name of Loni, has done this accusing. Since our boss has begun a transition in our record-keeping from Microsoft Excel (which Loni set up herself about three years ago) to an Access database, it's amazing how resistant this accuser is to change...
I read an article about premarital counseling in the Wall Street Journal yesterday. It had mundane but important questions like, "will you love your spouse if she gains 50 pounds?" Then I realized how much Aaron must really love me... because I have gained 50 pounds since he met me. Literally. I'm surprized he hasn't staged an intervention in the meantime. :-)
I'm not eating enough. (Nice segue.) I wake up too late to eat breakfast (I have to be awake awhile before I can stomach it), then when I eat lunch, I just have one of those little Weight Watchers-type frozen meals. When I'm done eating, I'm still hungry. I wait the prescribed 20 minutes after eating, for the food to "hit bottom," and I'm still hungry. It's easier to ignore the hunger while I'm at work, but I'm sure that it's not healthy, anyway. Then I come home and am either too hungry to eat, or I go on an evening-long food binge. Ramen... canned veggies... hot dogs... ham... plum... all the stuff I probably should have eaten (or not) during the course of the day, crammed into a few hours of down-time at home. I need to fix this if I want to lose weight and be healthier.
Loni was telling about the wedding she went to in Chicago over the weekendapparently the bride wore a scarf over her shoulder, bearing her family's Irish colors. Neat idea. Then it occured to me... if I were to claim so-called citizenship of only one family in my genealogy, which would it be? There are certain lines I've been inclined to research more than otherssome because they're easier to find, some because they're more interesting to learn about, and some because I'm closest to their descendants. I think I'd probably claim citizenship in the White family if I had to choose one. That's my Granny's mama, Maudie (which would be my mom's mother's mother's mother, my great-great-grandmother). Interesting that I choose the matriarchal line; we've got some strong females in my family. ...So what happened to me?
As far as my last blog entry, where I wondered if I'd become less of a person because I've ceased to struggle against my less-than-relevant job, I've come to a conclusion of sorts. I'd rather be sated, unruffled and relatively content in a job I didn't intend to work than be miserable and unsatisfied in the same job. If I can ride things out, waiting in the wings and watching for opportunities, and make rent money in the process, why not?
Mary at work thinks I've lost weight. I was wearing my new black pants with the elastic waistband that doesn't make my fat ooze out where it shouldn't, and on top of that I wore a thigh-length blouse. I think it was all an optical illusion, since I've really only lost six pounds.
Oh, and in case you were wondering: no, I didn't write all of this at work. I took notes so I'd know what to write later. I don't have that kind of free time at my job...