Saturday, December 31, 2011

Oolong tea DOES things to me.

I don't know what it is. I love all teas, really, from yerba mates to bold black teas. But then someone wafts the delicate scent of an oolong, and all other drinks are forsaken.

Such was today. I was all sorts of Spastic Cleaning Housework Girl today, doing about 15 loads of laundry (don't ask) and getting our bathroom spotless, when suddenly I had the urge to just brew a cup of tea. I have a bunch of teabags from various companies and had nearly settled on my staple Yorkshire, but then I saw the tin of jasmine oolong that I had bought from Teavana nearly six months ago. Sure, I had splurged at the time, but GOD, Teavana's sales people had me sold at the first wave of the tea's aroma that hit my face. I put the recommended 1 tbsp in my tea ball and let it steep. It was so worth it.

For the first time today, I sat down on the couch and just relaxed. It got me thinking about this past year, this weird transitional year that kept me guessing at every turn. It wasn't a horrible 365 some odd days, I suppose. I celebrated my one-year anniversary with my awesome husband. I got closer with my parents. I adopted two adorable kitties to keep Zola company during the day (and they are quite amusing to watch interact). But it wasn't without it's problems, as to be expected. Three nearly went into the hospital and then left his job about two months later; my car went kaput because it's a cheaply made car and I got exactly what I paid for (although I still owe on the stupid thing); my job stressed me out nearly to the breaking point. As my last post said, we hit financial troubles and had to ask for help.

Then, mainly because I didn't want to get too depressed, I switched to focusing on next year and all the hopes I have for it. I think I've mentioned it before, but if I haven't, here goes: Three and I found this adorable little country house about an hour away from where we currently live and it's perfect. A bit of a fixer-upper on some land, which would allow me my little goat flock. And our mortgage would be about $300 less each month than our rent. Of course, there will be other expenditures, but I am A-OK with that. Three just started a job in the same little town (because we are PLANNERS, damnit), so we already have an actual reason to move out there, and I was able to find a job to apply for that uses my college degree and pays decently. Actually, it would pay me more than my current job, so that's a bonus, too. There's just so much that could happen for me and for us that it gives me the tingles every time I think about the new year.

I finally finished my cup of oolong and let out a deep, contented sigh. Here's to 2012. Welcome, and be sure to kick 2011's ass.

Friday, December 30, 2011

This Christmas was a hard one. Nothing particularly bad happened per se, and I was given wonderful, thoughtful gifts from my family and friends. So I suppose I shouldn't complain, as others had a much worse holiday season, but there was this feeling of helplessness.

As many of you know, Three quit a very abusive job at the end of October. His boss overworked him to the point where he was nearly hospitalized for dehydration and exhaustion, only to start him right back working 70+ hard physical labor hours, while only compensating him for 40 hours of work. It doesn't help that Three is diabetic, which just complicates things further. He wanted to hang on for another week or so, but I was having none of it. I just knew that he would be actually admitted if he kept up this regimen of sleeping for four hours and then working ten or fifteen hour shifts. With no day off. After handing in his manager keys, it seemed like no amount of rest could get him healthy again. Two weeks of essentially constant sleep got him to where he could stay up for longer than four hours at a time, but he was still so tired. This, however, didn't keep him from plugging away, trying to find another job. He wasn't picky, either, as so many job searchers are these days. But in our city, there's a huge concentration of unemployed workers, many from out of state. Plus, our rent increased, although they sneakily worded the lease where it looked like we were paying the same amount, and we weren't the only ones who made the mistake. I had also signed Three up for health insurance through my job, and my premiums skyrocketed. It seemed pretty bleak, but Three and I stayed hopeful that things would come together.

Then the end of November came and yay Christmas. I made soaps for my mom and grandmother, bought my sister some makeup (that was decently priced), made a gift basket for my Santamoose*, and found a bargain bin for PS3 games for my dad. I would have loved to have done more, but we were limited. We didn't even buy things for each other this year; not even little stocking stuffers. And then came the realization that we weren't going to be able to pay all of our bills in December. We had scrimped and gotten rid of a bunch of things we didn't need, never ate out, went on walks in the park, played video games at home, went to free events, etc. I even took the bus - my pass is paid for by my job, which is nice - to save on gas and to give Three the opportunity to go on interviews.

But we were still short. By about $270. We sat down and talked about what we could do, and I went ahead and suggested the least of the evils: asking my parents for help. Sigh. I'm 28 years old and HATE the fact that I now have to go to my parents for assistance with basic necessities. The entire Christmas day, Three was on edge, so much so that even my sister asked me if he was alright. After opening up presents and eating Christmas lunch/dinner, we called my parents into another room and let them know what was going on. They were so incredibly gracious and immediately agreed to help; tears were in Three's eyes, as this came as an embarrassment to him. While my mom and I hammered out the details of how we would pay them back, he and my dad went into another room and had a long chat. I'm not sure what it was about, but they were both laughing by the time we had to go home. In the end, we left my parents' house, feeling better and worse at the same time.

We're not out of the woods yet. We're kind of back at square one, now, but at least we're not in the negative. We're trying to find a cheaper apartment a little further out of town, so we can be closer to our dream house (which is still for sale!!). And Three started his new job today, which has elated his mood much more than I expected it to, so we'll have a little more income in the middle of January than normal. So things are looking up. I'll just have to give it a little time. And then next Christmas, we'll be better. I know we will.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Have a Happy Santamoose!

Okay, so I'm in several online communities that are pretty damned awesome, but one of them really just takes the cake in its kickass-ness. It's a space where I feel welcome and where my quirkiness is appreciated. And this year, I took part in Santamoose: basically a Secret Santa project, where you're paired with one of the other participating members. I went all out, too. My recipient got a Joann's giftcard (she's a big quilter), a quilting basket, quilting books, chocolates, some homemade soaps (made by yours truly!), and a stuffed animal. I may have gone a little overboard, but I absolutely love giving gifts.

And then I got MY gift in the mail on Saturday. Oh, the SPOILS.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Well, tomorrow is my birthday. It doesn't seem like it's been a year since the last one, and I think that means I'm getting old. Further evidence of this is that I had to do math (hahaha, me doing MATH; it's like a farce or something) to calculate what age I'll be at 11:12A on 12/19. I can remember thinking at 12, "OMG, I'm NEVER going to be 16," and then at 16, thinking, "OMG, I am NEVER going to be 18." Up until I reached 25, I was always looking forwards and yearning for the future.

Now, I'm much more about the present. Living in the now, as trite as that may sound. Maybe I'm more comfortable with my Sagittarius nature? I dunno. Appreciating "the moment" is easy for me now, knowing that it will pass soon enough, be it a happy or sad or frustrating or confusing one. And my ability to thrive during a transitional process - because I'm focusing on the moment at hand - has become a strength of mine. I still can look at the future and I can usually sense where things are headed, but I take it in stride.

Monday, December 12, 2011

I've been doing a lot of writing lately, mainly getting the first series (of five) of short stories ready for final editing and publishing, and my brain is a little fried. So yesterday, I kind of just let my mind wander as the husband and I helped our friends move into their new place. Of course, my characters were still at the front of my thought process, and I recalled talking to Three about a comic series he did in high school that was basically a parody of his social atmosphere. I found it hilarious to think of my characters being forced to work where I do and I started down this spiral of comical situations that left me giggling to myself nearly all day. I'm pretty sure that's part of the reason my friend's mom thought that I was verifiably insane.

So now I'm trying to write down everything I can put to paper so I will remember it once I get everything somewhat settled. And I'd love to make a comic out of it. Almost like a Ranma 1/2 sort of thing, combined with Office Space and Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Like always, it's putting a lot on my plate, but the holidays are coming up and so I actually have time off. I may even be able to actually get shit accomplished.

Well, at least that's what I'm hoping. Fingers are crossed.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

I really wish that I could find a TV comedy series that actually addressed issues like the ones I'm dealing with right now: young married couple faces the shitty economy with a good sense of humor. The closest I can find is "Friends," which is, God, close to 20 years old, and it's usually a comfort bit of fluff. And well, since I don't really have cable anymore (one of the things we had to cut out of our budget because YAY ECONOMY!!), I'm having to rely on my collection of DVDs. The first season has some of the better episodes about being poor, but really? A giant apartment in NYC that's being paid for by a chef and a waitress?? I think not.

I kind of regret not ever buying "Roseanne" on DVD, because I'm pretty sure that would be about perfect right now. I wonder if it's on Netflix. Hmmmmm.

I often speculate if a show like "Roseanne" would succeed right now. It was a working class family that frequently had money issues (until the pretend lottery part and ew, no) and faced various social topics with a certain sense of grace that I think would otherwise have been very difficult to capture. Like, being a lesbian in New York City is not as difficult to imagine as being a lesbian in a small Midwest town, and having difficulty paying rent in the previously mentioned NYC apartment is much less realistic than seeing a family of five at risk of losing a moderately-sized home because the husband lost his business. And it was painful to watch at times. Even though "Friends" had the tough relationship episodes (I cry every time Rachel and Ross break up after he sleeps with the Copy Place Girl), "Roseanne" pulled at nearly every heartstring I have.

But now there seems to be a lack of realistic comedy shows out there. I mean, sure, there's a place for fantasy and silliness, and "Friends" and nearly all the comedies (that I know of) certainly fit that bill. I want another "Roseanne." I want realism and dark humor and sarcastic mothers and fathers. But by GOD, if CMT or whatever country music TV stations come out with "True Grit: The Series," I'm going to scream.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Well, November is almost over again, and sigh, sickness and general insanity again prevented me from finishing NaNo. Now, I got MUCH further than I did the last time I got involved, so next year, it is! Although I didn't get to "win" NaNo this year, I feel incredibly accomplished with what I did actually write. Three got to read several of the short stories that I wrote, which was really hard for me to do. It's different from posting my stuff on the internet. There's a certain anticipation that unnerves me and a level of disbelief when s/he tells me that s/he likes it. Plus, I don't think I'd get as many trolls if I just handed out little self-published 'zines to family and friends.

I don't think I'll grow as a writer until I actually get my pieces out there, but I am so incredibly nervous about it. It's like right before I let friends and family try my soaps. I had made several different bars, and both Three and I LOVED them, but I was hesitant to test my theory that they were awesome. At first, I tried with my mom, because she's a wonderful guinea pig. She'll be honest about it: "Honey, you don't ever have to make that again." And so now, I'm setting up a little website where you can buy soaps from me.

So, I am going to have to start up my writing website again. Sigh. I already have enough work to do as it is. Oh, well. I'm about to be a very busy girl.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Call of the Wild

I was doing so well updating my NaNo word count thingy, but I am pretty sure that sort of thing would have completely driven me batty. So I stopped doing it after about a week. Working my thankless job wasn't really helping with the stress and trying to juggle finances just added to the mess.

I was very much this cat:

My sanity was kind of restored, at least partially, due to a much needed vacation into the middle of nowhere.

Monday, November 7, 2011

La musica

When I write, I have to have background noise. If it's not television (currently, I have season one of "Miami Vice" playing) or movies that I'm familiar enough with to where I don't really have to pay to much attention, I have iTunes on. I don't know how many other writers do this, but I have playlists. I usually have a general idea of what I'm going to be writing - an action scene, a romantic rendezvous, whatever - so I go through my library and try to select songs that has that feel to it. 

Since starting my series of short stories, I had a really loooooooooong list of about 300 songs, but I recently sat down and came up with "seasons," coinciding with the particular series I associate it with. And as I'm right now getting series one started, I have that playlist on the brain.

1) Simple and Clean (Kingdom Hearts theme) - Utada Hikaru
2) All That She Wants (Banghra Version) - Ace of Base
3) Voices - Russ Ballard
4) Mona Lisa Overdrive - Juno Reactor
5) Armory - Don Davis
6) Chinese Burn - Curve
7) Zero - Yeah Yeah Yeahs
8) Willow and Oz - Christophe Beck
9) Anger - Ryuichi Sakamoto
10) Anniversary of an Uninteresting Event - Deftones
11) Hummingbirds - Venus Hum
12) Two Boomers - Battlestar Galactica
13) Keep Hope Alive - The Crystal Method
14) Halo Theme (MJOLNIR Mix) - Martin O'Donnell & Michael Salvatori

I'm also that nerd who might burn these songs onto a CD and listen to them in her car (because my old-ass vehicle doesn't have MP3 capabilities. I said I MIGHT burn them. No, YOU did. I really do want to get other songs added to this list, but none strike my fancy just yet. I'll just do some browsing on the iTunes store. 

What do you guys do for inspiration? 

"In the Westworld"

Yul Brynner has always been one of my favorite actors ever, even before I knew he had starred in "The King and I." My introduction to him was through "The Ten Commandments," and despite my young age, I remember thinking, "Wait, obviously-white-but-supposed-to-be-Egyptian lady, you'd rather be with Charlton Heston than the raw awesomeness of Yul Brynner? Bitch, you be CRAZY." Or, er, something like that. With his shaved head and amazing accent, he was my sex symbol, my own version of my mother's Clark Gable or Elvis Presley, even before I knew what that was. To this day, nearly twenty years after I first saw Brynner, only one person rivals him, and his name rhymes with "Wayne Ronson."

Sunday, November 6, 2011

In search of ...

In effort to get into the creative mood today, I've been watching some pretty heady movies. Earlier, it was "2001," which was ... surreal. I have the same opinion of that movie as I do of "Citizen Kane:" historically significant, but dear GOD, shoot-me-now dull. It didn't really help me, either. So I wasn't in any better position to do NaNo, and I was bored for two hours.

Afterward, I got to thinking about what inspired me. "Star Wars" was an obvious answer, but I didn't necessarily feel drawn to that, which is a little weird. I don't think I've ever NOT wanted to watch "Star Wars." Even one of the prequels*. I then thought about watching Vampire Hunter D or Buffy, but neither of those felt too good, either.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Ugh, season change. I have been sick since Thursday evening and am none too happy about it. I got behind on NaNo, and now the flow that I had going has come to a screeching halt. So, to make myself feel better, I have slept almost all day (minus time to go to work and reschedule all of my clients) and have watched three episodes of the second season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. It hasn't gotten my writer's block to go away (and fleh, only three days into it), but I have enjoyed seeing some of my favorite characters as they once were. The innocence of Willow, the completely self-absorbed and oddly self-aware Cordelia, the immature jealousy of Xander, and of course, the much less experienced, cheerier Buffy. Even with this most recent viewing, I can connect with these characters and remember how I was when I was their ages. God, was that really over 10 years ago?? I never thought that I'd ever reach 21 when I was 17, let alone be nearly 28.

And now this has me thinking about my own characters. Are they going to be as relatable as Buffy and her friends? Are they going to grow, expand, change? And nowwwww, I'm all nervous and wanting to go back into my little hole where no one else sees my stuff. Why am I such a baby about this? >:(

Thursday, November 3, 2011

NaNo, Day Twwoooooooo

So it's the second day of NaNo (well, technically the close of the second day, and so therefore the third day ... and I'm tired for God's sakes) and I'm already ahead of the game. I'm not quite sure how that happened, considering I was just hoping to make the minimum 1667 words per day thing happen. And oddly enough?? I really LIKE what I've done so far. The husband clandestinely read what I'd written while I was at work, and I wasn't nearly as nervous about it as I thought I would be when he told me about it. Maybe there's something to this "scribbling furiously" that I have previously discounted as a frivolous method.

Anyway, this is going to be a short post because, like I said, I'm freaking tired. Damned job. And I get to do it all over again tomorrow.

Friday, October 21, 2011


Well, it's been a while, hasn't it? For those of you who aren't familiar with me, my old blog We Can All Use a Little More Juju needed a revamp. And I had this shiny, brand new email that I've migrated over to, and I never check my old email. So, why the hell not start over, right?? Jeez, I just looked at my old blog, and I haven't written since May 2010?? Work really IS killing my writing spirit.

Anyway, I'm going to post a little podcast later on today that introduces me to those of you who don't know me. Plus, it's really fun to do podcasts.

But feel free to introduce yourselves!!
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