Murfle

I’m not entirely convinced that anybody gives a crap about what I do day-to-day. I jot down notes at work when I think of things to bring up on my blog later that evening, then sometimes I look at some of those notes and think, “Who gives a fuck?”

I think I’ll just attribute my cynicism to being tired and bored, and I’ll just move on.

Anyone into web comics has probably already discovered Something Positive. As for me, though, I’ve spent the past two evenings reading the S*P archives. About three years’ worth. I found myself wishing for a printed comic after a while — still do, actually, since I’m only caught up to July 2002, I think.

set choo-choo as your buddy icon! murr!My favorite character so far is Choo-Choo Bear, the 25-year-old kitty cat with “a bone disease that makes him extra huggable”—basically, he’s an elastic kitty. Many great gags ensue. So lovable, and so, so cute. So cute, in fact, that I made myself a new IM Buddy Icon out of him. Murfle!

Tomorrow’s the big day, when we head up to Sylvania to see if we can get a home loan. Last time we tried this with Sky Bank, Dan the Mortgage Man strung us along for a week before he told us that I hadn’t worked for Sky long enough. …Come to think of it, we tried to go to Sky for a car loan first, too, and got smacked down; but we got it the second time, when we did our financing through the Kia dealership. Maybe the second try will do it for us with a mortgage loan, too, this time with NOIC. We can only hope. As much as I’m not thrilled about moving again… *looks around at mess* I really have a hankerin’ for a house.

Worked out with my weights some more yesterday. Didn’t work my pecs… or didn’t mean to, anyway. Managed to make the rest of my upper arms, shoulders, and back mildly muscle-sore, while making my pecs oh-so-stiff. Oh, yeah, and there’s a muscle down the outside of my right arm, from around my elbow to the outside of my wrist, that makes typing quite the joy. I hope I didn’t mess with my whatever-I-have-wrong-with-my-wrists.

I’m bored. I need to pack up eBay stuff to send out tomorrow morning. And I have to take another crap.

Phone Fun

Not on time to work today. Ah, well. Took a 45-minute lunch to compensate.

A couple days ago, my boss came in while I was on the phone with
a particularly pissy bank manager. She just kept bitching about how much
there was to do, and how understaffed she was, and how long it took just
to open one account… and all I could do was sit there and take it. I mean,
what else can you say than "I understand completely" and similar
platitudes? Suck it up, lady; you’re not the only one with too much to do
and no time to do it!

Anyway, my boss caught me giving a couple inaccurate facts, and
stuck around until I was done on the phone to straighten me out. While he
was doing that, he made a point of telling me to stick up to these people.
"You’re not here to be a whipping post," he told me. I’m not sure
why, but that really kind of made an impression on me. People have told me
before that I need to be more assertive, aggressive, stand up for myself,
et cetera… but for some reason, hearing it from my all-too-passive boss
just really hit me a certain way. I do need to be more assertive.
And I’m here to help, not take their shit.

I did crack someone up on the phone today, though. I’ve decided
that explaining things in my normal Diana way will be the easiest and most
beneficial, instead of trying to sound all poofy and professional. So, as
I was explaining to an Area Operations Manager how to tell her employees
to clear items off of a report, I heard myself saying, "Now, here’s
the funky part…" She had to stop completely and repeat my phrase to
her subordinate. 🙂 I’m not sure if I gained or lost credibility through
being myself, but I think I brightened their moment, anyway.

I worked out with my weights yesterday, and I can tell which
places I worked more than others. My pecs feel stiff, like I just got back
from a drumcorps camp. Everything else ranges from not sore at all to only
mildly feeling worked. I think tonight I’m going to work the stuff that’s
not sore: shoulders, triceps, back. And crunches, too.

I’m confused about how I feel about my body right now. In a given
day, I can go from feeling frumpy to feeling fit. Sometimes I can feel the
fat settling about my neck and hips, and other times I can feel like my abs
are getting tighter and my waist is getting smaller. I did get another compliment
at work today, though, from my old boss’s boss — she was proud that I’d
kept my weight off during the holidays. I didn’t have time to tell her about
my two spoons’ worth of sweet potatoes, which is just as well.

Off to watch HGTV for a while…

Go me.

Pretty good day today. Got to work on time for the first time
in a long time: 8:01am. (That’s instead of consistently being 8 to 10 minutes
late.) Brought one of my yummy Chocolate Covered Coffee Bean candles to make
my desk nice and smelly. Started feeling more comfortable talking to banking
centers over the phone about Patriot Act stuff. The bad part came in the
middle of the day, when I had to eat honey roasted peanuts out of the vending
machine because I didn’t bring a lunch. But, when I got home, I made myself
a burger with provolone cheese and sauteed some mushrooms and red pepper
to go with. I got all fancy on myself. *tee-hee*

Oh, here’s a gross story from one of the ladies who works in
the same room with me: She and some of her friends (keep in mind, they’re
in their fifties) went to Bourbon Street in New Orleans for a vacation…
and ended up in a strip club. Not a For-Ladies-Only male strip club—a
guys’ strip club with nasty, skanky ho’s. (I know, "ho" isn’t possessive,
but I had to put an apostrophe because "hos" looks retarded.) Anyway,
one of the guys she was with got his eyeglasses taken by the nasty ho, who
then proceeded to put them on and around all her nasty places. All the people
at the table were joking with him, telling him he’d better not put those
back on when she was done. But she came back and put them back on his face
for him… and he didn’t take them right back off like any sane individual
would, for later sanitization. No, he left them on.

And had a sty by the next morning.

Ewwww.

Kinda Bored

Lots of shit I should be doing. Don’t feel like doing any of
it. Definitely bored.

Yesterday, I concocted my best candle fragrance yet, I think:
Chocolate Covered Coffee Beans. At first, I thought I was making a Cafe Mocha
scent, but it turned out different than I had expected. Guess I need some
different fragrances for that one: maybe some Hot Cocoa, Caramel, and Cappuccino
scents together. As it is, though, my candles turned out pretty smellerific.
I like.

Oh, I know what I need to do. I need to figure out what bills
will get paid when, so I can keep from bouncing my dang checkbook. I’m going
to end up counting on the good graces of our landlords again to not cash
my check before the first of the month (I get paid on the 15th and the 30th).
And, since I work for the bank, if I bounce three checks, I self-terminate.
That’s right—I fire myself. Cute way to put it. Kind of a "you
know the rules, and if you break ’em, you pay the consequences" kind
of HR bullcrap vibe. Not that I disagree, though; working at a bank, you
should have control of your own finances.

Oh, yeah, and I need to print out my check stubs and bank statements
for Saturday’s appointment with Mortgage Man #2, John at NOIC.
Here’s hoping we can get a house by April 1st… otherwise, we’re either
staying here one more year or renting a house for a year or two. *crossing
fingers*

Off to take care of business…

A New Year

Not really much to report. I’ve enjoyed bummin’ around and having days off in the middle of the week for the past two weeks. Next day off: Monday, January 19 for MLK Jr. Day.

I’ve been working on building a website for selling my soy candles. I’d considered doing the PayPal Shopping Cart thing, but I don’t think that would work out so good, since I’ll have to confirm with the customers that I do still have the container in stock, yadda yadda. I’ll probably just end up asking how they intend to pay: check, money order, or PayPal—then invoicing them via e-mail or through PayPal. My Aunt Sammie has already said that she may put me on her business website under the “We Highly Recommend” section, which might actually get me a decent amount of business.

Have you seen the Shrek 2 trailer? I thought it would be stupid, but it actually looks really
funny. We’re gonna have to go see that when it comes out in May.

Aaron compiled both of our bootleg collections into one giant database at eTree.org.
He still has to transfer our good stuff from cassette to CDR and add them to the list, but we’ve got a pretty good collection just on CDR.

But, yeah. Other than that, not much has been going on. I made my New Year’s Resolution to pay down my credit card debt and maintain a balance of 25% of the limit. (I’m at probably 95% of the limit regularly.) I also made some more minor resolutions to take better care of my teeth and to exercise more, but I won’t beat myself up if I slip on those once in a while.

And that’s about it for now. Have a happy new year, all.

Weird Mood

I’m in the mood to write fiction, but I’m resisting the urge to free write, because I will undoubtedly end up with smut. Yep, that’s me,
Diana, the budding smut novelist. Sigh. My brain takes the weirdest turns
sometimes.

I had a whole little sheet of paper full of what I wanted to
blog about today, but I forgot and left it at work. Same with the Post-It
where I listed everything I ate today and at what times. That was helpful.

I remember a lot of what I’d wanted to say, but I find I don’t
really want to say it anymore. It’s all kind of dumb thoughts in passing,
like how annoyed I am with the women in whose room I work. And our broken
toilet, which now only flushes by lifting up the tank lid and fishing for
the broken flush arm. And the scanner that my computer won’t load anymore.
And, oh yeah, my student loan bill this month is more than my rent. Thanks
for the fisting, Department of Education, can I have another?

I need to chill out on the candle thing, too, unless I intend
to make some sort of game plan for marketing and distributing my wares. Christmas
only comes but once a year, and unless I’m going to be the weird lady who
gives candles to everybody when they come to visit, I couldn’t justify making
candles because it’s fun and just gifting them year round. I’ve already spent
probably a hundred bucks on candle supplies as it is.

I am in one funky-ass mood. Not depressed, and not quite bored,
but definitely on the dark side. Not down on myself (for once), but not in
a positive mood in the slightest. OK, maybe the slightest…

Oh, and guys? Even if the "blog" craze is settling
down, I’ll probably keep doing this thing. I keep a journal anyway, and sharing
it with people seems like the thing to do. Granted, there are some things
I don’t write here that I would write in a private journal, but those are
rare. If it weren’t for blogging, I probably wouldn’t even be keeping a journal
right now, because I usually only write in a paper journal when I have an
emotional crisis to solve. 🙂

No, I’ve changed my mind. I am bored. Which, by my definition,
means nothing I can think of to do sounds good. Guess I’ll go bum around
until I can come up with something.

later…
I attempted to cure my boredom with some websurfing. I’m not
nearly as good at it as I used to be. I forget where my old jumping-off points
were.

Anyway, I downloaded some random stuff on WinMX, too, and found
a techno version of the Sesame Street theme (not the best one I’ve heard,
either). Somehow from that, I ended up thinking of that early 80’s kid’s
show, The Great Space Coaster. Most of you won’t know what the hell I’m talking
about… but for those of you my age or a little older, here’s some nostalgia
for you:

Baxter (with the Huggles)
Gary Gnu (No Gnus is Good Gnus…)
Knock-Knock
Goriddle Gorilla
photo blatantly ripped off from the website of Jim Martin, puppet performer
Speed Reader
The Great Space Coaster logo

Bring back any memories? Man, when I was in Kindergarten through
second grade, this was my FAVORITE show. I’d forgotten. I don’t have any
desire to collect VCDs of it or anything, though, because I know it would
sully my memories of how great it was. I’ll just look at the pictures and
listen to the theme song and remember
how great it was to be five years old and sitting in front of the TV…

Oh, yeah, I need a title.

Did half an hour of stretching and crunches, then half an hour
of buzzing on a trumpet mouthpiece. I’m feelin’ pretty good right about now.
Blood’s flowing, breath is moving, lips are tingling. I feel good. I should
do this every day. That’s my goal, anyway, especially since the upstairs
neighbors are gone to Mexico for two months. (That means embarrassment-free
practice time on the trumpet, in preparation for the mellophone later on.)

I came up with a shitload of random snippets to post up here
today, so bear with me.

This weekend, while spending our respective gift cards and certificates,
Aaron and I found ourselves in Waldenbooks at the Woodland Small here in
BG. And as Aaron was perusing the manga section, I overheard a couple of
high school kids talking down the aisle: "Man, too bad you didn’t wear
your other jacket, with all the big pockets…" and so forth. Meanwhile,
I’m thinking, It’s not too bright to talk about shoplifting from a store
while you’re still IN the store.
Kids these days. Sheesh.

And speaking of gift certificates, I may as well list the stuff
I got with mine: A silky-fuzzy robe, comfy pants (the stretchy fuzzy kind
with snaps at the bottoms of the legs), a teapot, new Skechers shoes, and…
um… I think that’s it. I really like everything I got, though, despite
the shoes being about half a size too small. They’re cool, and I’ll break
’em in. Really.

So, at work today, I think I was finally offended by the people
in my work area. These women are in their early 40’s, I would guess, and
very irreverent. OK, some are in their fifties. Anyway, listening to them
talk about getting totally drunk and one of them trying to use pepperoni
or salami or something to make a bikini—that finally just turned my
gorge. The swear words at work I can handle. Even the F-bombs. But mental
images like that… ugh. Something should be done, but I’m not going to be
the one to rock the boat. As it is, I’ll just sit back and pretend I’m not
there. They seem to do a good enough job of that, anyway.

And if the woman who sits next to me at work, with four kids
and income quite similar to mine and Aaron’s, can be approved for a $130,000+
mortgage loan, certainly Aaron and I can qualify for something. I
mean, really! They’re not even married. They have no downpayment. Do you
mean to tell me that if I’d gotten knocked up instead of doing Life in the
correct order, they’d give me a home loan, too? Well, shit! If I’d known
that was all there was to it…

That’s not fair of me, I know… but it doesn’t stop me from
being bitter.

And, goddammit, I am sick and tired of sneezing! Aargh! I wish
I’d either finish getting sick or get over it. (And, yes, I do have a preference.)

A few days ago, I made Amaretto & Coke candles for Mark and
Amy. I poured them into these nifty stemmed glasses, smoky colored and squarish.
I’ll post a photo eventually. Anyway, in order to get the wax to stick to
the glass right, I’ve been warming the containers in the oven while the wax
is cooling. This time, though, I turned the heat up instead of off, since
I had brownies to attempt afterward. (Stupid brownies… bah.) So, silly
me was used to reaching into a warm oven and pulling out warm glass containers.
So what do I do? I reach into a 350° oven and touch a blistering hot
glass stem. I now have this intriguing blister on the inside of my right
index finger, where I scissored my two fingers around the stem to pick up
the glass. (The middle finger was saved by my massive writing callus.)

And, in lieu of an actual page with this on it, I’m going to
post my Atkins-so-far pics here:

about 250 pounds about 230 pounds about 225 pounds
July 2003

October 2003

November 2003

Christmas Aftermath

I came home this afternoon from my half-day of work feeling anxious… like I’m expecting something good to happen soon. I’m not sure what or why, but I’m enjoying the feeling.

While I’m trying to flesh that one out, I guess I’ll make the annual list of Christmas goodies, first from Aaron:

  • A 28mm wide angle lens + lens hood for my 35mm
  • A dedicated flash w/batteries (again, for my 35mm)
  • The Dark Crystal Collector’s Edition DVD
  • The Last Unicorn on VHS (there’s no official release on DVD yet)
  • The End of Eternity by Isaac Asimov
  • A large stuffed plush Totoro
  • A watering can for my houseplants

Then, from Mom, Gary & Philip:

  • Candles and a snuffer
  • Hair clips and combs
  • A $25 gift certificate to Lane Bryant
  • A DVD carry case

And from Aaron’s family:

  • A large black cherry scented candle
  • A Christmas nutcracker
  • A chess set
  • A vegetable knife
  • Gift certificates to Kohl’s, Wendy’s, House of Meats, and Value
    City, and cash from Dad

Our Christmas trip was quite similar to last year’s: Christmas Eve at Mom and Gary’s, spent the night there, and Christmas Day with Aaron’s family at Poppa & Grammie’s house 15 minutes north. Mom, Gary and I taught Aaron how to play Pinochle, and we played boys vs. girls. Of course, the girls won, although Aaron made a pretty clean sweep one hand by having a bit of a monopoly on the entire suit of spades. 🙂 Oh, by the way, if you and your significant other know how to play Pinochle, or would be willing to learn, Aaron and I would love to hang out and play sometimes… Hell, if you know Hearts or Spades, that would be cool, too. Cards are fun, but no one our age knows how to play anything but kids’ games and Euchre (which
I’m not terribly good at myself).

I had to kind of let Mom down about the Denver trip she’d wanted to make with me in August. I decided I just couldn’t afford to be spending $350+ on a trip with Mom that I really am not too keen on in the first place… especially if Aaron and I a.) want to buy a house soon, and b.) want to take our own vacation together this summer. She was obviously really disappointed, but I just had to come clean and tell her I couldn’t go. I’m compromising, though, and promising to go on a one-tank trip with her somewhere we can take pictures. Maybe somewhere in Pennsylvania
or something.

Aaron’s grandparents’ house is a completely different experience than mine. At any given holiday, depending on who shows up, there’s between 9 and 17 people around the table. I’m really unused to that kind of massive family gathering, but I’m growing to enjoy it more each year. It’s like Aaron said: over at Mom and Gary’s, it’s kind of fun and relaxing, with lots of quality time with just them, but after a while you get bored — especially if they’re watching TV or talking on the phone. At Poppa and Grammie’s, though, it’s exciting and fun to be with so many people at once, but after a while you get frazzled and just need to leave. 🙂

We’re all worried about Grammie, though. Her Alzheimer’s is becoming more pronounced — she still remembers everyone and can function fairly normally, but she forgets why she’s gone into a room, what she’s looking for, what she did five minutes ago, whether she’s put the ham in the oven yet, etc, etc. She also tends to remind us that Uncle Pete got remarried, even though that’s been at least a year or more ago, and we all went to their wedding, and they came to ours in May. She forgets where my family lives, and that my grandmother’s dead. Things like that. She’s almost 80 years old, and Poppa is well into his 80’s himself. I’m afraid of what’s going to happen when… well, just what’s going to happen, period.

My homemade candles were highly upstaged by our wedding photos, which we gave to Aaron’s family as gifts. Made for some quick and easy gift ideas, and everyone loved having them. Fine with me… 🙂

I think that’s a sufficient update for now. My random excitement has subsided, and now I’m afraid that when I stop blogging here, I’m going to be bored. So… I’m off to find something constructive to do. Maybe take more pics with my new lens.

Busy Day

Today I had an interview with HCR Manorcare up in Toledo. Yes, this is the same place I sent a resume over a month ago; they said that the flu outbreak has kept them from completing the hiring process sooner. Anyway, my boss let me leave 15 minutes early, since I told him I had “an appointment in Toledo,” and that I would make up the time by taking a shorter lunch tomorrow. I ended up not really needing the extra time, as I got there 15 minutes early, anyway, and that was after taking a walk around the block to calm down.

I think the interview went rather well. It seems that their “Knowledge Management” department is in need of one or two more people, especially people with experience in audio and video. Kevin, the person who holds the current solo position, also made sure to emphasize that the position is not a “creative” one, but more writing and organizing thoughts and ideas and publishing actual content. I’m actually quite excited about that, as I feel it’s one of my strong points. Ask Aaron how many grammatical errors I catch on a daily basis (and how frustrated he gets about it).

Kevin, who interviewed me, was quite impressed by my portfolio site — especially where I talk about my “services” and have a Q&A section with layers that pop up and answer the questions. Um… glad ya like it. I only wish I really had services… He also seems like either a early-30’s guy who’s prematurely graying, or a late-30’s guy who still acts really young. I like him so far. Seems like he’d be easy to work with… and he has more problem “finding words” than I do (resulting in a Shatner-esque pause), which makes me feel more confident about my ability to do the job, considering.

When I got home, I got a call from the wedding photographer’s assistant, asking if she could go ahead and bring over our wedding reprints. So, she brought those straight to the house, and I looked them over before she left to make sure everything was in order, which it was. Now we have to buy a dozen 5×7 frames for the reprints we bought as Christmas presents. Thank goodness they arrived in time—no, thank goodness Carol drove to the lab in Findlay and insisted that she was not leaving until she had our prints in hand. 🙂

Then, after that, I made Mom’s Christmas candle (I don’t think she reads my blog, but I’m still not telling what scent it is). I made an extra, since it’s just as easy to make two at a time. I added a little more coloring than I had intended, but that’s what these first several batches are all about: experimenting.

It’s midnight—I need to either shower and get to bed, or get to bed now so I can shower in the morning. I could write more, but I guess I’ll have to save it for tomorrow.

Happy Yule, everyone.

John Lee Walters, 1932-2003

Grandpa and Amy after her graduation - May 6, 2000

Well, I don’t particularly feel like blogging right now… but I don’t feel like doing anything else, either, except maybe zoning out completely or soaking in the tub or something.

I had today off of work, so it was serendipitous that Amy’s grandpa’s funeral was scheduled for today. Like I told her, I wasn’t about to stay at home, kicked back and saying, "Hey, Amy’s miserable right now…" No. She’s my best friend, and he was a great, funny, witty, selfless guy, and I just have too much respect for the both of them not to drive two hours to attend his funeral service. Plus, I knew Amy would need some support — not just because of her grandpa’s sudden passing, but because her mother was coming to the funeral.

Now, normally, having your mother at your grandfather’s funeral wouldn’t be a problem. But when you have a mother like Amy’s mother, it becomes an issue. I could go on about how she’s a self-centered pathological liar,
but I’ll just put it this way: Amy’s grandpa specifically had a clause in his will stating that his daughter (Amy’s mother) was intentionally omitted from the will. While I can appreciate her wanting to mourn her somewhat-estranged father, despite what she’s said about him in the past, I don’t feel that stirring up trouble is appropriate. Especially since he’d said he didn’t want her to even know when he ever died, so she wouldn’t be at the funeral and wouldn’t cause a stink.

And, here’s the kicker: At a family funeral in the past (I don’t recall for whom), Amy’s mother took pictures. As for myself, I find it interesting that death is the one part of life that we as a society don’t feel comfortable documenting in photos, and I’m intrigued by those who go against the mores of society. But Grandpa was frankly disgusted by the picture-taking, and specifically stated in the funeral arrangements (made back in 1986 — how’s that for planning ahead?) that he wanted no photographs taken at his funeral. So what does Amy’s mother do? Brings a damn disposable camera with a flash and takes a freakin’ photo shoot. All her kids there in the funeral home. Him in his casket in the funeral home. The pallbearers bringing the casket to the interment site. The list goes on. That steamed Amy’s grandma sooo much. It felt like one final ‘fuck you’ to Grandpa’s wishes.

Gypsy and BabyBut, anyway. After the interment, Amy invited me to follow them to their house and relax for a while before heading back home. I got to meet their dogs, and her Grandma bought us all KFC, and everybody got to rant about Amy’s mother for a while. 🙂

I still feel like I need some quality Amy-and-Diana time to discuss some philosophical issues, like how she felt as an atheist reading Psalm 69 at the service. Personally, I have known for some time now that I am no longer a Christian (and I feel I can admit that freely here on this website, knowing the few of you who are my audience). I don’t know what I do believe, precisely, especially with the passing of my own grandmother, but I know I don’t believe in the Judeo-Christian form of God. To avoid alienating my readership entirely, I won’t go into detail about how I feel about Christianity, but suffice to say that listening to a funeral service makes me uncomfortable.

Well, then. My train of thought has come to a screeching halt, so maybe it’s time I found something else to do. I’m hungry but I don’t want to eat, tired but I don’t want to sleep, bored but don’t want to read or watch TV.

Poor Amy. She’s got so much to deal with… but that’s a story for another day. Just… poor Amy.

later…
I know what else I was going to say. At both of the open-casket viewings I’ve been to in the past couple of months (not my Memaw’s; that one was closed-casket), I have been really creeped out by seeing a dead person lying there. I’ve been creeped out (and, yes, "creeped out" goes beyond "disturbed") by all the open viewings I’ve been to, from Brother Cothran from church back when I was 12 or 13 up until Grandpa today.
Thankfully, there was a stretch through high school and again from my early college years until Memaw’s death that I hadn’t been to a viewing or a funeral. Anyway, I can appreciate "needing closure" and all that… but at both of the open-casket viewings I’ve been to recently, I went up to "pay my respects," reflected on how almost-lifelike the body looked, and then my sense of humor took over and I said to myself, "Yep, it’s a dead guy," and moved on. Maybe it’s a defense mechanism, triggered by my being disturbed at seeing a deceased body. I don’t know. Probably.

At any rate, I’m glad Memaw’s viewing wasn’t open-casket, because she looked nothing like herself by the time she died. And I got exactly the reaction I’d been hoping for by displaying a photo of her in her late 40’s or early 50’s by the casket: before the service, I heard the woman sitting behind us say, "She was so beautiful…"

When I die, assuming I’m not cremated… don’t look at me, please. I’m sure that, wherever I am, it’ll creep me out.