December 12, 2008

Memory & Friday Foto Fun!

My memory stinks. I'm always forgetting to do things or losing items of significant value, and it tends to cause problems. On an average day I tend to lose my car keys, my house keys and my cell phone; I forget to put the clothes in the dryer, or put the dishes away. On a bad day I may lose my debit card or wallet; I forget to finish a project at work before the deadline or that Michael has something important going on that I need to be home for. On a horrible day I could lose such treasures as the memory card with all of our honeymoon pictures, or the diamond necklace Michael gave me for my 21st birthday; I might forget to make a $67,000 deposit for work which results in one of our client's accounts being overdrawn by $45,000.

All of those things have actually happened to me in the last year. All had happy (or at least acceptable) endings, but it is incredibly frustrating. I am really bad at organization and time management, but how does one improve in those areas? Would better skills in those areas solve my problem, or just make it easier to get things done when I remember them? I don't know, but improving those skills is my only plan at the moment, so I'm giving it a try. Any tips are welcome.

So far today is only a general day: I meant to bring my camera so I could participate in Candid Carrie's Friday Foto Finish Fiesta, and I was going to choose a photo that I would fiddle with if I won her Phun Photofiddle Giveaway. But (big surprise) I forgot, so instead, I'm going to have to go with this photo of my cutie nephew and Santa (I'm sure you're all so dissapointed).



Elijah is 3 years old, and that photo has not been photoshopped or retouched in any way. He is one tall kid. That's why this picture (taken before a game with Grandpa):



Will soon become this picture:



Assuming, of course, that he stays as interested in football as he is now. I don't see his interest fading any, however, since his mom and dad aren't fans (except of him) and his interest in it seems to come completely from within himself.

Want to play along with the Friday Foto Fun? Just post a phavorite photo in your post today, link to Candid Carrie's post in yours, and enter your name and URL in her post. It's easy, I promise! Go, go, go! Do it now!

November 24, 2008

Santamas

Normally I would not do a post on Christmas before Thanksgiving, because I believe that Thanksgiving is being ignored and pushed aside by Christmas, but something happened this morning that I really need to vent about.

I went into a store with the intention of buying a small Nativity scene to display in my office. Advent begins this Sunday, so I need to get it this week or this weekend. I also intend to display an Advent wreath around the Nativity, and I need a Nativity that has the all the figurines separate because I put them out in a specific order, as the season progresses. I went to the section of the store that has Christmas decorations and began looking around for a Nativity that would suit my needs and couldn't find a single one. Nothing. I thought I must surely be missing it, or maybe it was in a different part of the store for some reason, so I asked a sales person. She didn't even know what a Nativity scene was. I explained: "It will have a creche, with Mary, Joseph, the baby Jesus, the wise men, the shepherds, and an Angel." She said, "Oh, we don't have anything with all that, the only thing we have is this." And she walked over to the lawn decorations, and showed me a light-up 2-D silhouette of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus. I told her that wouldn't suit my needs and asked her if she knew if they would be getting in anything else and can you fathom what she said? "No. That's the only one like that we have, we won't be getting anymore in, and I don't think we'll be getting anything like you're saying in at all."

I was SHOCKED. I managed to say thank you and walk away. I looked around a little bit more, and realized that I saw NOTHING that made any reference to the birth of Christ whatsoever. Not even the Christmas cards. Not one Madonna and Child. Nothing that said Jesus is the Reason for the Season. Not even a cross in red and green (which seems to be a deep South thing, but I don't like them anyway, because Easter is about the cross, Christmas is about the creche). People have been saying for years that Christmas is too commercialized, and I have always agreed, but I'm afraid now that Christmas, at least in retail, is disappearing. This is not Christmas, my friends. This is not the celebration of a holy day when the Lord God Himself came to earth in the form of a helpless child, despite the consequences, simply because He loves us. What we see in the stores and in many "Christmas" movies and tv specials is Santamas. We see the popculture worship of what has become of the image of St. Nicholas, who was born in Patara (now somewhere in Turkey), who always had a fondness for and watched over children after losing his parents in an epidemic when he was young.

Do I like Santa Clause? You bet. Is he a Christian? If you trace the persona of Santa Clause back to the roots of St. Nicholas, then yes, he was a devout Christian. CHRISTian. CHRISTmas. I think St. Nick is horrified to see what has become of Christmas, and frankly, I am too. Shame on retailers, and thank God for those who truly keep to what Christmas is about (and don't decorate until after Thanksgiving, if any of those are left.)

November 11, 2008

My Family

I am missing my blood family terribly today. My cutie always-makes-me-smile nephew, stoic/cynical but loving sister, quiet bother-in-law (who may as well be blood, as I've known him most of my life), easy-going and sensitive brother, and my wonderful mother. I'm also missing my father, who passed away about three years ago. I feel like I took for granted all the times I had with all of these people, though I know I didn't, with the exception of my dad. (I haven't quite forgiven myself for that yet.)

I don't know why this is coming up today, except perhaps because I'm tired and ready for a day off and I always seem to miss them when I feel like this. My mom was also up here this weekend for Old South Day. That must be it.

Still, right this moment, I'm in this place where I would give anything to be back at FSU, going to see everyone every month. Back then I didn't have a husband to worry about; no one felt used because I went down so often and no one came up. Never mind that we don't really have anything important to do on the weekends, and my sister has a young child to travel with. I'm not suggesting that we go down every weekend, but I don't think once a month is too much. Not when he gets to see his family every day. It might be different if I didn't have them to deal with, but dealing with them and then not having my support system nearby is a double hit that gets harder and harder to take.

Anyway, I'm taking this Friday as a mental health day. I hope it works, because I'm not supposed to see my family again until Christmas, which means that, with the exception of my mother, it will have been 4 months since I last saw my family. That's too much time. Michael and I are going to have to talk about that. Next thing I know it's going to be every 6 months, and then once a year, at Christmas or Thanksgiving, and we are so not going there. I don't care if I have to go down there every time, I don't care about the miles on the car and I don't care if I have to leave without telling him ( I'll only do that once, and only before we have kids). I'll make the point that I have to see my family. Often.

November 6, 2008

Professionalism

In this tiny town I work in professionalism seems to be a misunderstood concept. Being professional does not mean that you are trained or educated in your chosen field and work in that field. That is being a professional, and there is a difference. Being professional, in my opinion, consists of arriving for work early enough to begin work at your scheduled time, being courteous to your coworkers, not feeling or acting entitled to more paid time off than you or anyone else has, and generally comporting yourself as though you are not the most important person in your workplace because chances are, you are not.

What has brought this little pet peeve of mine to the fore today? Our receptionist. Remember her? I did promise that I would never be nice to her again, but I knew at the time that such a thing wasn't practical, and I mainly said it because I was mad. 'Jane' is basically a good person. However, she doesn't seem to understand professionalism. She is late by at least a few minutes every day. Almost everyone else is as well, but she is the receptionist and it was made clear in her interview (just like it was in mine) that she had to be here before everyone else so she could begin answering the phones promptly at 8:00 AM. Not 8:05. Or 8:15. Also, she lives 5 minutes from the office, so she should be able to wake up as late as 7:30 and still make it in by 8. Not so much. She called and left a message on the answering machine a few days ago saying she woke up late and would be in around 8:30. The time stamp on the message was 7:00. Why in the world does it take this person an hour and and a half to get ready and make the five-minute commute to work (three minutes when it's not 'rush hour')? It's nice that she showers and washes and blow dries her hair every morning, but that only takes me 30 minutes, and my hair is longer than hers. Throw it in a ponytail, get dressed and eat a small breakfast in 20 minutes and you should be able to make it to work with 15 minutes to spare. I would love to know what she does with that other 45 minutes.

But I'm getting off topic (sort of). Yesterday she informs me that I'll need to take the phones from 8-9 this morning so she can spend time with her husband before he goes away for 3 weeks for a temporary job with his mom's company. IF she had vacation time left, I wouldn't have a problem with that, but she doesn't. An exception is made because it is her husband and he is going to be gone for three weeks. Fine. How does she plan to make up the time? Using the hour we 'get' from our bi-weekly lunch training sessions. Um...no. No one else 'gets' an hour for that, but she assumes she's entitled, even though we didn't actually have one this pay period. Whatever, favorites are favorites, I just do my job and know that vengeance belongs to the Lord. The big problem? Her husband left at 4:00 this morning. Here's what happened (as she told it to me when she finally got in this morning at 9:15): They went to bed around 11, got up at 3, he left at 4. The poor baby couldn't get back to sleep until 5, and then she slept until 8. So that means she spent a whole extra hour with her husband before he left. Wow. I'm sure that made all the difference in the world and the next three weeks will be a breeze because of that hour.

Now, I know I sound bitchy, but I do understand and believe that she will miss him terribly. I know how hard it is to be away from the person you love and are used to having around for an extended period of time. However, part of the reason they have to be apart is because he won't lower himself to get any job while he's searching for a 'good' job, so they really need the money. Also, I truly don't think that extra hour made a huge difference in how hard the next few weeks are going to be on her. Finally, while family always comes before work, you have to choose your battles. Eventually a time is going to come when something will come up (a child's play perhaps) that really will make a difference, and the bosses may be tired of making exceptions. And sometimes, you just have to suck it up and make sacrifices so you fulfill all of your obligations. Would I have gotten up if it had been Michael going away? Absolutely. Would I have been in to work at 8? No. I would have been in at 7:45 like I am every morning, and ready to work at 8.

November 4, 2008

November 4 To Do List

Get up early - Check
Exercise - Check
Vote for McCain/Palin - Check
Pray fervently that the rest of the voters in the country do the right thing - Check

October 16, 2008

Costume

I am having a very difficult time deciding what to be for Halloween. I think I have three problems:

I am not rich and therefore am not willing to spend more than $20 on a costume I will probably not wear more than once.

I do not want to wear something that looks cheap, despite the fact that it will be.

I don't know how to sew.

If I could solve any one of these problems by Oct. 29, we'd be in business, because I would still have time to put something together by Halloween. However, I don't see a solution coming. My plan now is to raid my closet to see if some of those dresses I wore to my high school dances and banquets still fit, go to Goodwill to see if they have anything I can butcher into an acceptable costume, and possibly spend a little bit more than $20 if I can find something that I can use with other costumes in the years to come. If you have any other suggestions, they would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

P.S. What is the point of all those high school dances and banquets? They are fun, I grant you, but does anyone really go to that kind of thing in real life? I have not been to an event requiring a dress/gown like those since I graduated. I would love to attend such an event, but I've never had the opportunity, and certainly not two or three times a year.

October 10, 2008

The Derby

There is an annual event here which the locals simply call 'The Derby'. When I first heard that term, I figured it was some sort of race, most likely with cars. Michael and I went to The Derby last night, and, well...I found out that Southerners will get into anything.

The Derby is not a race, but it does involve cars. It is held in 'the pit' and the cars entered do not run well, the polite name for them is 'junker'. Some are decorated, some look like they have been pulled from a junkyard just a few minutes before The Derby begins. The pit is sprayed down so that it's nice and wet, and the cars are announced and begin to fill the pit. Then the air horn sounds, and 'the heat' begins. What is the heat? It's when all of the drivers in as many cars as will fit start purposely running into the other cars in an attempt to either trap or disable them. They keep running into each other until all the cars but one or two are disabled. Then the first and second place cars are declared by the judges. Several more 'heats' follow. The the second place cars from each of those have their own heat, and the second place and 'reserve Grand Champion' are declared from that bunch. Then the first place cars from the previous heats have their own heat. From that the first place and the Grand Champion are declared.

So, Michael and I spent our evening watching grown men drive cars with the intent of crashing into each other in a mud pit. Apparently, they make it a mud pit so the cars can't get up too much speed. They don't want anyone getting hurt, you understand. They require the drivers to chain the bumpers on to the car or take them off, and to wear helmets and neck braces. They also have firefighters and EMS there in case any cars catch on fire or anyone does get hurt. And the firefighters were needed. 3 cars caught on fire. Two needed the big fire hose to be put out. The other yielded under a fire extinguisher. Thankfully, no one was really hurt.

And the shameful part about all this? Michael wants to do it. Yep, he wants to make a junk car run just long enough that he can smash it into other cars. Even worse? I actually began to enjoy watching it. It's like a car accident, you can't help but look. And you get caught up in the mob mentality. It's really hard to not laugh at people who are purposely trying to run into each other. Laughter leads to cheering, cheering leads to planning to go next year, and planning to go next year leads to planning to get there early so you can get a good seat higher up in the bleachers. What have I become? Frankly, I don't care. It was fun. I still enjoy classical music and fine art, but I enjoy watching grown men smash their cars together and watching for some to catch on fire. When in Rome, right?

October 8, 2008

Back on the Baby Train

A typical conversation between my husband and I goes like this:

Me: How was your day at work?
Michael: Like normal. We...(Explains several things about his job that I still don't understand.) How was yours?
Me: Well, I (Explain several things about my job he doesn't understand). What should we have for dinner tonight? I thawed ground beef.
Michael: It doesn't matter, I like everything you make. Except, don't make that thing with the cheese, pasta sauce and noodles...that was wierd.
Me: Yep, that was the one experiment of mine that was completely disgusting. Don't worry, I won't make that.
*Smiles*
*Comfortable silence*
Michael: So, when do you want to have a baby?

Yeah, that's where they all end up. We could talk about work, food, family, friends, politics, music, books, ANYTHING, and we always end up talking about when we're going to have kids. Here's the deal: we both really want a baby. Like, now. But, since I will have to carry this child in south Georgia, I'm attempting to plan conception sometime in late summer so I won't be miserable by the end of the pregnancy. I could handle it, many women do, but I don't want to if I can avoid it. I also don't want to think about the amount of electricity it would take to cool the house to what I would deem is an appropriate temperature, and how much that would cost. So, we're planning, and here's the plan: I lose weight, we try to conceive sometime in late summer or very early fall. However, if that doesn't happen by late summer or early fall '09, we're probably going to try anyway. It's getting to the point where we're sick of waiting, no matter what good reasons we have for waiting. The same thing happened with the wedding, and there was a little regret, but we continue to see that it really was for the better. And as far as worrying about regret with a child? I don't even know if that's possible in our circumstances. We're adults, married, in love, and want kids. Now if this darned weight would just go away, we'd be on the way. Or rather, baby would be on the way.

September 30, 2008

The Bailout

I wasn't going to post about this, but I have to. I can't think of anything else to write about, for one, and I'm just sick of hearing about this and having no where to voice my opinion. So, you lucky people, you get to read it. :)

1. If I owned my own business and let people buy on credit there would be no bail-out for me if they couldn't pay me back and it killed my business. I would be able to declare bankruptcy, but that is all the help that would come my way.

2. I realize that the businesses that are in trouble will probably cause an economic crisis if they are allowed to fail.

3. I also know that many of these businesses are in trouble because their board members, CEOs, Presidents and assorted high management make more money than anyone really needs to survive, and therefore the business does not have enough savings to support themselves after making bad credit decisions.

4. The government (read: tax-payers) did not force any of these businesses to extend more credit to people than they could afford.

5. The government did not force any of these businesses to advertise about the low credit rates available and make people believe that a variable-interest mortgage (read: debt) was a good idea simply because of the low rates available now.

6. The government did not force any of the people now in trouble to borrow money without looking at their true financial situation, what they could realistically afford, or without reading the fine print and understanding that the current interest rate and payment will not stay as it is, but will most likely rise to a point that is, perhaps, unaffordable by the borrower.

EDIT: Apparently the government (read: democrats) did require a certain amount of sub-prime mortgages to be given by each bank. How in the world did democrats think that would be a good idea? Seriously! I took AP Macroeconomics in high school, aced the exam at the end of the year, and could have told you it was a bad idea. You don't force banks to lend money. That's like forcing lactose-intolerant people to drink milk and eat ice cream: All you end up with is a big pile of poo. Gucci Mama posted a video that explains.

7. I have never met anyone that could not live comfortably on an income of $100,000 per year. Also, I see no reason for someone who makes more money than that (and also does not pay social security taxes on much of their earnings, because of the level) to need large bonuses every quarter, every Christmas, every time their birthday, wedding anniversary, work anniversary, or any other excuse they can come up with comes around.

8. My husband and I live comfortably on a household income of less than $50,000 per year. I can only imagine what we could accomplish with twice that.

Now, my opinion of the bailout may be clear from what I have said, but allow me to state it plainly. It disgusts me that something like this is considered necessary by the leaders of our country when it is clear to me that people who are getting rich and fat off of other people's woes are the cause of this whole thing. And who will benefit? Those same because even if the government puts a cap on what they can earn if their company is bailed out they probably still have enough savings to keep them living comfortably for years. And the 'tax-payer' benefit of having a stake in these companies? Paltry. For one, we will never see it, because the government will have it and reason that it needs to be held there to settle the debt Bush has caused (from a falling debt, might I remind you, and despite that during most other wars in history, our economy has strengthened). Also, even if we manage to ever get back to a surplus budget, will we really see the benefit? I think not. The credit companies are not the only ones hemorrhaging money. The government is bleeding to death and doesn't seem to realize it. The national debt, at the moment, is



The Gross National Debt



That's crazy! But since it's in the trillions, so why don't we just add another 700 billion? That'll fix everything.

September 26, 2008

Imagine if you could Poke the Pope!

If you've been reading my blog I thank you, and you know that I am Catholic. If you haven't been reading my blog, thanks for stopping by, you should know from the previous sentence that I am Catholic. Now that we're all on the same page, I'd like to tell you about one of my Facebook groups, which is call the Papal Facebook Initiative.

This group is dedicated to gathering 1 million members, and then petitioning the Vatican to create a profile for the Pope on Facebook. The idea is that this would be an awesome way to connect with and minister to the younger generation of Catholics and Christians, as well as the general youth. Also, if you read the group page, there are some really cool things you could do if the Pope was on Facebook. These are my favorites:

Pope Benedict was on your friends list. You "Worked together for Christ" and "Met him through a friend."

A new Vatican Office of the Curia had to be created, called the "Papal Facebook Attendant." (Credit: Joe Mileski)

the pope sends you a gift: "You have received the Holy Spirit." (Credit: Jessica Condon)

thanks your superpoke application, you could throw a lost sheep at the Pope. (Credit: Giovanni De Stefano)

♥ Pope Benedict XVI is now in a relationship with God. (Credit: Valerie Banas)

Currently, this awesome group only has about 21,500 members. That's not even a tenth of the people they want, so here's what I'm asking: If you have Facebook, if you know anyone that has Facebook (even your kids), or if you know someone who might have Facebook, or someone who is Catholic, ask them to:
a)join Facebook if they haven't,
b)join this group,
c)invite everyone they know to do the same.

I think this would be an awesome thing, and I think the people who started the group are aiming for 1,000,000 people because of the impact that kind of request would have. If 1,000,000 people wanted you to create a Facebook profile, wouldn't you? Thanks in advance, and God bless!

September 25, 2008

Lack of Focus

I have completed several projects for work today, and while I have more, I find myself unable to focus and create any sort of forward momentum. This is not unusual for me, but it's my lack of ability to focus on ANYTHING, personal or work-related, that is bothering me. Here's what I've done so far today:

Finished billing cycle
Finished all address corrections available
Emailed new address requests
Finished third book of the Inheritance cycle, Brisingr

I was part-way through all of those things when I woke this morning, and now I am finished. I still have to correct old information from many of the physicians we associate with according to the new information I've been gathering, finish the COBRA billing, work on the bank statements, prepare the 3rd quarter revenue report and prepare my office to be moved. I can't seem to settle to a task, though. Thankfully none of these things are due soon, but if I don't continue work on them, they may never get finished. My brain doesn't agree, however. I seem to have lost the motivation to complete this day, and I really just want to get out of here, but I can't because it's short notice, I don't have any vacation time that I don't have plans for, and I have to pick Michael up from work after I get off, so I would be stuck in town anyway.

I think my problem is that I need to get away from here, away from the entire town and everyone I know, Michael included. Does anyone else have days like that? Or weeks? I can't remember the last time I spent a significant amount of time truly alone. Even right after the wedding when Michael was traveling for his job with the state I wasn't really alone. I still had to go to work, he still called me every few hours. I need to take a week and go somewhere without anybody. Maybe I'll talk to Michael again and see if the concept of alone time has sunk in yet...

September 23, 2008

I Hate it When I'm Wrong

So, when Michael told me that the piece of land by his parents house is the only one available in our price range, my first thought was that he's just not looking hard enough. Well...I was wrong. There is NO LAND for sale here that meets our requirements and is in a reasonable price range. Even when I widened my search area so that I would have a 30 minute commute every day, there's nothing that is 10 acres or more and less than $6000/acre. This is ridiculous. Almost nobody wants to sell, and therefore the few people who do are able to ask a premium, despite the condition of the economy. And, most of the tracts available are way more than 10 acres. If we could find something that was only 10 acres and was $7000/acre, we could probably afford that, but there's nothing like that. There are NO 10-acre lots. There are 5-acre lots (for a reasonable price, but Michael insists on more land than that). There are 20-acre lots and above. There is NOTHING in the middle. NOTHING!! This is horrible. I can't stand to live in the same house that we are in now for the rest of our lives. We can't afford the land around here. Michael won't move out of the area or on to a smaller piece of property. Michael won't sell the house that we're in because it was his grandfather's. I WON'T live next to his parents.

I have a headache.

September 19, 2008

You want me to move WHERE?!?!

Michael and I are currently hunting for land on which to build a house. If you live in a city, this may be a foreign concept for you, or one only the rich can afford. Out here, where 'town' or even 'village' is a more appropriate word than 'city' (no matter how hard they try to convince you otherwise), it's a fairly common practice. So, we're land-hunting.

Our requirements are pretty simple: Michael wants at least 10 acres and I want it to be no farther from where I work than we are now. So far, we have found one piece of land that meets these conditions perfectly. It is a 30-acre hay field about 15 minutes from my office (and I use that term loosely as well). It being a hay field is actually an added bonus as well because I would like to have horses, and the type hay that grows there is high-quality food for those of the equine persuasion. The problem? The price is $7,500/acre. The basic rate for land in this area is $3,500-$5,500 per acre. Which means they want at least $60,000 too much for the land. Their reason? A $5,000 per year federal subsidy the owner of the land is entitled to because of the type of hay that grows there and the ability to rent the field to hay reapers who would then sell the hay and split the profits with the owner. That sounds good in theory, but that subsidy and the hay profits would go down if someone, say, mowed down half of the hay to build a house like we want to do. The real estate agent is also advertising the land as a great home site (which it is, because it's gorgeous land). So on one side they're telling you it's worth the extra money (never mind that it would take over 10 years to see any profit on the extra expense) and on the other they're advocating that you pay the extra money for the subsidy and hay, and then throw away the ability to recoup the cost because it's a beautiful home site.

Our other option so far is a nice piece of land, which is about 17 acres, and the same distance from my office, with a very good price. The problem with this? It's literally next door to my parents-in-law. Yep, the land abuts theirs. For me, that is not an option. I would rather pay an extra $60-120,000 for the priviledge of living farther from Michael's parents than we already do. Mostly, it's not myself I'm worried about, because I would gladly use the excuse of being closer to them to also be more rude when his mother decides to put her two cents in where it doesn't belong. What I'm worried about is what will happen when we have kids. Oh, the horrors that being so close to them could open up. I shudder to think about it, and I'm probably going to have nightmares tonight.

The hay field has come down $1000/acre in about 2 months. The real estate agent (who represents both options we have so far) advises that we wait on it if we don't want to be so close to his parents and we don't want to pay that much for the land. I say, damn straight.

September 18, 2008

Work

Two days ago, my desk looked like this:



Then, because I was getting paid for my time, and because my company tracks internet usage, I decided to ask for something to do to tide me over until billing begins on Monday.

Now my desk looks like this:


And most of it needs to be done by someone before Friday next week. The question I posed to my supervisor was what I should do about the billing. He said do the best you can. One of the more pressing assignments I was given was to work on getting correct provider addresses so the IRS doesn't fine us the $7,500 they want from us for 'unissued' 1099s. The problem there is that we did, in fact, issue them. The providers do not update us with their correct addresses like they should when they move. Or, they won't send a W-9 form, which is required by the IRS for us to have before we change their address in our system for anything of import, like a 1099. Catch-22 much?

And now I have a lot of work to do, all of which is very urgent, but wasn't mentioned until I asked for something to do. I love my boss, I do. It's his bosses I have a problem with. Nothing is ever mentioned until the last minute. The one good thing? Overtime. Lots and lots of overtime. :)

September 15, 2008

My Rings

I love my wedding ring. It matches Michael's, which is something I've always wanted. I love his and hers stuff. And his and hers wedding bands? That's the ultimate, because it's the symbol of everthing that you have together.

I also love my engagement ring. It's a 3/4 kt D color and it's either a FL (flawless) or IF (internally flawless) round cut diamond. In other words, it's practically perfect, and if it has any imperfections, you can only see them under 10x magnification and only if you look really hard. In the sunlight, you can see colors I didn't think existed in nature. Yes, Michael has a thing about quality. He said he'd rather give me a smaller, more perfect diamond, than a larger imperfect one. I would have been happy with a sapphire set with tiny, imperfect diamonds. Needless to say, I'm very happy with my very perfect diamond.

Now, Michael wants me to wear my rings all the time. In general, I completely agree. I wear my rings while I sleep, while I work, while I drive, pretty much everywhere. I don't wear them, however, when I'm cooking, during some cleaning, or showering. During these times, they could get very yucky. When I cook, I cook with my hands. When I clean, I can't stand to wear gloves. I do not want to expose my precious rings to these less-than-ideal circumstances. I know that the diamond can't really be harmed by anything, but I don't want the setting to get disgusting either, or to feel like I have to clean my rings every three or four hours. Besides, the diamond is high-set, and it gets in the way when I'm trying to wash my hands, during which time there is also an OPEN DRAIN right under my hands. I do not want my rings to slip off and fall down that drain. They are insured, but still, I don't want to go through the hassle. I don't wear them while I'm showering for the same reason: OPEN DRAIN = LOST RINGS, at least in my mind.

Does this make sense? I thought so. However, Michael seems to take it as a sign that I don't want to wear the rings, which is not true. As I said, I love my rings, and I love wearing them. I clean them at least once a week. I wear them while I sleep for goodness sake, and I know a lot of people don't. I've come to the conclusion that he just needs to lighten up. Even if I occassionally want to leave, I'm not going anywhere. And really, on the occassion that I want to, I'm really just going to cool off for a couple hours. We both know this. We both know I'm coming back. I don't even give in to the urge to tell him I'm never coming back anymore, because I don't like to lie; I just say I'll be back after I cool off. So, if I take my rings off to cook a meal for him or clean the house, is that so bad? I don't think so.

September 11, 2008

You Are Remembered

For a moment, our nation was bonded together as never before. We, with one voice and one heart, proclaimed our pain, demanded justice, and prayed for righteousness. To those who left us that day, to those who lost most dearly, and to those who fight for us all: you are remembered.





Please visit this blog and thank this man for all he and his fellows do. Without them, we would be lost. Doc Williams.

Also, three years ago today, I lost my father. As great as my pain is, I can only imagine the pain of those who know their loved ones were intentionally killed and taken away from them by hate. But, my grief is still there, and I miss my father terribly. I love you, Daddy.

September 10, 2008

That's All

In honor of my 6-month wedding anniversery (which was on Monday), I present you with our wedding song:

Old Blue Eyes:



Michael Buble


We danced to the Michael Buble version, but I love them both. :)

September 9, 2008

Ennui

It's official. I'm busier than ever at my job, and my old friend has followed me here. You see, I have a problem with commitment to any particular project. If it's not complicated enough, I get bored. If it's too complicated, I get frustrated and then get bored. The latter is far more depressing, because I don't measure up unless I think really hard. Which, frankly, is not something I'm fond of.

It's not that I'm shallow or unintelligent, you understand. I entered college as a sophomore due to my work in high school; I thoroughly enjoy educational pursuits. If I had my way, I would be a perpetual student. Life, and money, got in the way of that goal.

The problem, I think, is finding something that I'm passionate enough about to continue perpetually. I can stay committed to something for months or years at a time without getting burned out. When I do finally get to the burn-out stage, however, it's not pretty. I explode and then I'm finished. I want nothing more to do with that project for years. Music, specifically playing the flute, is the most spectacular example of this. As I neared the beginning of my senior year, I was playing with an expertise I had never dreamed of, and naturally chose music as my course of study. I had studied the flute since the summer before my sixth grade year, all told for about 7 years. By the time college auditions rolled around, I was burned out. I wanted no more to do with it, and therefore, while I did my best, it was no where near the peak of my performance. I still play occasionally, but less often then I would like. I still enjoy playing, but it's also depressing: just another failed project, after all the time and effort I put into it.

Here again, I have found a wonderful job, and great people to work with, but I'm bored with it, and have been for some time. I enjoy my work during my busiest time: billing. This only lasts for about 4 days, however. The rest of the time I mostly deal with complaints from clients and search for things to do. I do have other responsibilities, but they are boring, and accomplished with very little effort, so that I barely notice I'm working. And while I enjoy the billing, I absolutely despise the responsibility that comes with it. I was trained by someone who mostly knew how to bill by rote, and did not have time to teach me anything beyond the procedure before she left. I must learn as I go. The problem being that every mistake I make seems to result in either a very upset client, one or more very upset bosses, lost income for the company, or any combination of the above. I have discovered some interesting things from my mistakes, some that I doubt my predecessor knew, but I still have the angry clients, annoyed or angry boss(es), and possible lost income hanging over my head. These things are not conducive to a calm work environment.

While I do get angry about this, I don't stay angry. The anger transmutes into boredom. Boredom makes me want to do things other than my job while I'm at work. I don't, but I want to, which leads to frustration, which leads to even more boredom. It's a vicious cycle.

September 5, 2008

I survived...

...and it wasn't that bad. It was slightly awkward, but she was very nice and very quick. I barely had time to read the funny posters on her ceiling before she was finished. And the posters made me laugh, partly because the point to them was so obvious, and partly because they were funny. My favorite part?

OBGYN: "Are you sexually active and do you need birth control?"
Me: "I was married in March and I'm a devout Catholic."
OBGYN: "Yes and no, got it."

And the cool thing? When she asked if I was using a natural birth control method, and I told her about NFP, she actually knew that it wasn't the rythm method and that, excepting divine intervention, it works as long as I followed the rules. She did ask me to start taking a folic acid supplement, because the nueral tubes of the baby's brain and other things that folic acid is essential to start to develop before you can even get a postive home test. So I did, because I'm doing everything I can for my future kids, and God only laughs when you tell him your plans, so you never know what might happen. She also gave me some other material to start reading up on and asked me to continue to lose weight at the rate of 1-2 lbs a week, stating the obvious that the healthier I am when I get pregnant the better and easier it will be.

All in all, I am much less nervous about next year's exam then I was about this year, and I'm very relieved. :)

September 4, 2008

I'm dreading this...

So, I've never had a gynecology appointment before. I know I should have had one, especially with everything that marriage entails...but I was really nervous. It's one thing to tell your boyfriend that you won't sleep with him until you get married, which is a nerve-racking conversation. Then you actually wait, which in my case meant I had about 2 years to dwell on our wedding night. And that made me nervous. Really nervous. Remember your first time? Yeah...imagine that, plus knowing that you'll never sleep with anyone else for the rest of either your life or theirs, whichever ends first. And even then, y'know, chances are there won't be anyone else, because if he dies when he's 80, I'll be 72, so I doubt I'll be getting any. So, I was really nervous.

But now? Now a complete stranger will do a pelvic exam on me. COMPLETE. STRANGER. Never met the woman before in my life, but as small as this town is, chances are she knows someone who knows me. Like she might know my MIL, who uses the same OBGYN facility (because there isn't another one in our town). And there's that whole doctor-patient confidentiality thing, so I shouldn't have to worry, right? Well...yeah, except that I know for a fact that my husband's GP shared information about him with his mother without his express permission, because she asked. And that's illegal. We didn't do anything about it, it wasn't anything we wouldn't have told her, but still, it's illegal.

So there's that. And there's also the fact that I have no idea what to expect. Thankfully, the appointment is late enough that I won't have to go back to work, so if I feel totally violated, I can just go home and tell Michael not to bother me. But I'm nervous. I'm going to go google and see if I can figure out what's gonna happen. And say a few Ave Marias and Pater Nostres. And maybe a God help me or two.....yeah, I'm really nervous.

P.S. So I just went to WebMD to see if they could tell me what to expect...and now I'm more nervous. This is why I never wanted to grow up. It's just not worth it. :(

August 25, 2008

The Magisterium and the Catholic Church

If you read my post from earlier today, you might be a little confused about the Catholic Church.

I have two things I need you to keep in mind while you read this post:

1. We are NOT a bunch of senseless drones all following to the letter whatever one man says.

2. As a Catholic, I fully believe that the Church is the right and true power of God on Earth, and I am writing from that perspective.


Now, a few common questions I get from non-Catholics and some non-practicing Catholics about the above statements:

The first statement

Q: How can the Pope always be right about everything?

A: He can't. He isn't. That isn't what Catholics believe. The entity of the Church that is always right is called the Magisterium. The Magisterium is not a person or an office. It is the teaching authority of the church, held by no one person. It is made up of every current bishop in the Catholic church, including the current Bishop of Rome, also know as the Pope. The only time that these people are infallible is when they are using the power of the Magisterium. So, if a bishop of the Church tells someone they are an unforgivable sinner and not going to heaven, he is not only seriously out of line and wrong, he is not infallible. In the preface of Jesus of Nazareth, by Pope Benedict XVI, he explicity states that the book is not written from the Magisterium, meaning that his conclusions and opinions stated therein are not infallible, and that Catholics need not agree with or support them. The Magisterium only endorses those beliefs that come about from years of study of Sacred Scripture and Sacred Tradition. Those beliefs are infallible, and the ones all Catholics are beholden to.

Q: Why is the Pope so important?
A: First, you must understand why we have a Pope. Christ chose St. Peter to lead the Church on Earth. From this, the early church leaders gathered that it was important that there be a representative, or vicar, of Christ on Earth. If this wasn't important, then why did Christ choose one?
So, the Papal office was established. Currently, the pope is selected through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, which is shown by the votes of the Cardinals to elect a priest of the church, generally one of their own. The important point here is that he is chosen by the Holy Spirit, through the bishops, which means that God chooses the pope through divine inspiration. This is why the election of a pope can take so much time. If you have ever tried to discern God's Will, you know that it is a time-consuming task, because we are only human, and must learn to tell the difference between what comes from God, what comes from society, and what comes from satan. All of these things influence all of our decisions, every day, and the important decisions are influence moreso. One of the most important decisions in the Catholic church is the election of the Pope, and it is an enormous burden, so it takes time. The Cardinals want to be sure they fully understand God's Will before they select the person who will rule the Church until the end of their life or their abdication under God's direction.

The second statement
Q: Does this mean that you believe only Catholics are going to heaven?
A: No, absolutely not. All it means is that I believe the Catholic Church was the church Jesus established on Earth, following God's Will. I believe that God meant for the Catholic Church to be the only church (catholic means universal), and for believers to be united.

Q: What about Martin Luther? Do you think his points were valid?
A: I am not familiar with all of Martin Luther's protestations against the Church, but yes, I do believe that some were valid. During his time, and before, the Church may have strayed from the true purpose that God meant for the Church when He established it. At the same time, I do not believe that all of his points were valid. It is also important to remember that not all of the Protestant churches were established with Martin Luther's break from the church, or from his church. I think the Anglican church, for example, was established when a king of England was upset that the Pope would now allow him to get an annulment so he could marry someone else. Malachai 2:16 makes God's attitude toward the concept of divorce very clear.
"For I hate divorce," says the LORD, the God of Israel, "and him who covers his garment with wrong," says the LORD of hosts. "So take heed to your spirit, that you do not deal treacherously." This is what the Catholic attitude toward divorce and annulment comes from, but that's another topic entirely.

Q: Do you believe that only Catholics can do godly and holy works?
A: No! To believe that would be to suggest that the power of God is limited by humans. No human can do a godly and holy work without the power of God. If only Catholics could do such works, then God could only work through Catholics. There is nothing that God cannot do, so to say that he can only work through Catholics is blasphemy. That is the logic behind this standpoint, but the other reasons include watching my Protestant and non-Christian friends do good and holy things for each other and for strangers, learning from people of all faiths (and even those without), and working alongside many people who do not share my faith for the betterment of those less fortunate and to spread the message that God loves everyone, no matter where they currently are or what they currently believe.


I hope that this post has enlightened some about the Magisterium and the Catholic Church. If you have any other questions about the Church, whether or not they pertain to the statements I made earlier, please feel free to ask them. I love to share my faith. I would love it if I could clear up some misunderstandings about the Catholic faith and religion. Just leave me a comment, and I will get back to you.

Biden

I was watching the news on the election, and saw that Obama picked Joe Biden as his VP. I will admit that I have done only minimal research on Biden, and don't know a whole lot about the guy, so I was reserving judgment as to whether or not he would increase Obama's chances of getting the in White House.

(On a side note, did anyone really think he would pick Clinton? Seriously, why would anyone put two minorities on the same ticket? It doesn't make sense, because in this broken world we live in, that ticket would never get to the White House. Sheesh, people, be realistic. Now back to the post.)

So, there I am, reserving my opinion and waiting to hear what else they would say, and did I get an earful! What did I hear? Three words, following Biden's name: 'a pro-choice Catholic'.

EXCUSE ME?!?!?! ARE YOU KIDDING ME? THAT'S RIDICULOUS! THAT BORDERS ON CRIMINAL!

Yes, I screamed those exact words, and many more upon hearing that oxymoronic phrase. Here's the thing: my position on abortion is solidly connected to my religion. I have other reasons for it, but it falls right in line with what the Magisterium (that's the infallible Catholic seat of all things connected with the Catholic dogma - more on that later) says is right and holy, so I have no problem admitting that the Church is my main influence on the position and that I am incredibly devoted to it. I also believe that going to Mass doesn't make you Catholic, just like going to any other church service of any kind doesn't make you Christian. To be Catholic, you basically have to make a commitment to agree with and follow everything the Magisterium says.

(I'm going to do another post on the Magisterium in just a minute, to help explain this. Until you read it, please, please keep in mind that I am not insane or a religious nut in the traditional sense.)

So, if Biden is really, truly Catholic (meaning he was Confirmed while in his right mind) then he CAN'T be pro-choice. It's impossible to truly be both. There is simply no way for that to be. It's like saying the wall is both entirely purple and entirely orange. When you show me a wall that's both completely purple and completely orange at the same time, I might reconsider my position, but even then it's not likely.

"My views are totally consistent with Catholic social doctrine," Biden said in a 2007 interview with the Christian Science Monitor.
Nope, sorry, Mr. Biden.
George Weigel, a Pope John Paul II biographer and senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, said: "I don't think it's a happy day for Catholics when a man who is literally dead wrong on what the Catholic leadership of the United States has said for over three decades is the most important issue of social justice in our country is named to a national ticket and attempts to present himself as an intellectually serious and coherent Catholic."
Very true, Mr. Weigel, very true.

The full article I took these snippets from:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080824/ap_on_el_pr/cnv_biden_catholic;_ylt=ArD3lTB3kAp49gNCQVna9hjCw5R4

Another point to this is that his personal feeling might be pro-life, but because of politics, he has to act like he's pro-choice in his voting and policies and such. I say, BS. If you're willing to sacrifice your personal prinicples for politics, then you should be in a different career.

To conclude, I'm not trying to judge. I'm not saying that Biden is a bad person or won't get into heaven or anything like that, because I don't know that and never will. I know very well that many of the things I say and do don't go along with what the Church says is right and holy. Well, I'm human, and God knows that. It's not excusable, that's why Christ had to die. For my sins, for Biden's, for everyone's. All I'm saying is that pro-choice Catholics don't really exist, and I wish that our politicians would show their spots.

August 21, 2008

I'm Back!

Hello World!

Things have been, to say the least, mixed up. I am not going to talk about any of that until I have it figured out, and then, maybe, I'll spill.

For right now, my wonderful bloggy friend Gucci Mama, has tagged me. And so, here it is:

1---Soda v. Pop. Definitley soda. If I must make myself understood, soda pop.
2---Regular v. Diet Soda. Definitley regular, but only because diet soda makes me physically ill. So ill, in fact, that I can drop ten pounds in one day.
3---Diet Coke v. Diet Pepsi. Neither, see above.
4---Beer v. Wine. Wine. Beer is....a word I try not to say.
5---White Wine v. Red Wine. For the sake of wine? White. For the sake of the food? Depends on the food and the wine choices available. Blushes are usually a good choice.
6---Panty v. Underwear. Panty.
7---Thong v. Other. Other. Sorry, Michael, thongs just are not comfortable.
8---Silk v. Cotton. Uh, silk!
9---Boxers v. Briefs. Boxers...tighty whities are just evil.
10---McDonald's v. Burger King. Ew! Gross on both counts! Chick-fil-a.
11---Chocolate v. Vanilla. Chocolate!!! (a little vanilla rum makes a great chocolate milkshake, though)
12---Sweet v. Savory. Both. Can't choose, sorry.
13---Plaid v. Solids. Solids. Plaid accent if you have to have plaid. But just go with solids, it's better, trust me.
14--- Flats v. Heels. Everyday: flats. Dress-up: heels. It's called dress UP.
15---Automatic v. Stick Shift. Automatic. No desire to drive a stick...
16---Black v. White. Dalmatians...definitley dalmatians. They're awesome!
17---Cursive v. Printing. Cursive. Always cursive. Our third grade teacher made us promise. :P
18---Length v. Girth. Lengthy jeans, girthy (is that a word?) pens.
19---Butter v. Margarine. Butter. If you're going to use it, at least use the real stuff.
20---Paula Dean v. Rachel Ray. Oh, neither. I seriously can't stand either one. Alton Brown...definitley Alton Brown.


So, there you have it. Me in twenty choices!

July 28, 2008

Confused and Troubled

So, here's the thing: I have my real life and my internet life. Sometimes the two mix; and sometimes that mix ends up being like three Sex on the Beaches and five rum and cokes and two vodka shots in about 3 hours...complete with the hangover the next morning.

I've only ever had that much to drink once, and the alcohol came in different forms, but I'm working on a metaphor here, so bear with me.

The vodka shots are like my old standby. The standard I measure all other alcohol against. It's what I started with. Still makes my heart thump a little harder, causes that 'everything's good' feeling, and makes me feel like a girl with her first real love.

The rum and cokes are the alcohol that make up my every day life: family, friends, job, pets, etc. Comfortable, familiar, sweet and yummy.

The Sex on the Beaches are like my current standard. When I drink the vodka, I'm not sure why I switched standards, but I know I did and that I can't really go back to the vodka. I know I'm committed to the Sex on the Beach; even if it makes me throw up. For some reason, I just can't let go, no matter how much I might want to. The Sex on the Beach even has some vodka in it, but it doesn't make me feel the same as the vodka did. But I'm committed, and I can't change that. Still, I can be happy with the Sex on the Beach, and most of the time I am. But when I'm not, all I can remember is that the vodka never made me throw up. I felt bad sometimes, but I never threw up.

Kind of a strange metaphor, I know, but it's where I am right now. I've got my Sex on the Beach and my rum and cokes, and I recently found vodka again. But finding the vodka again has me confused and troubled, and I'm not sure what to do about it.

June 23, 2008

Amish

I have recently been reading some wonderful books by Wanda E. Brunstetter. These books are fictional stories about the Amish people who live in different areas around the country.

I have always been curious about the Amish way of life, which is truly unique and deeply spiritual. These books seem to give a fairly true account of their way of life and outlook, even though the stories themselves are fiction. If you are interested in the Amish, want to know about their way of life, or are looking for a good set of books, I highly recommend those by Mrs. Brunstetter.

Sometimes I have wondered if I would do better, and enjoy my life more, as an Amish woman. At this point in my life, it is not an option for me to convert to the Amish church, and I don't know that I ever will be able to, but I still wonder if I would like it. They don't worry about the way their clothes look, or how much money they have. That is not what is important to these people. They wear simple clothes, usually home-sewn, and lead simple lives. They are called "Plain" because that is how their lives seem to us, who have so many things. I have discovered, through these books, that their life is anything but plain. It is a rich, strong community which holds to its members to its principles without violence or hate. Are they perfect? Of course not, no human could be. But their focus in life is not how much stuff they can get, how good of job they can find, how much they can pamper themselves or any other of a million things that people go after besides being closer to God. That is what their life is about: they simply want to be closer to God. I think that is beautiful.

Many people say that their goal in life is to be closer to God. I believe that it is possible for anyone to be closer to God. The Bible says it is more likely that a camel would go through the eye of a needle than that a rich man would enter the Kingdom. I don't believe that this refers to being monetarily rich. I think it refers to being 'rich' of self. If you are so convinced of your own superiority (even if you think you are spiritually superior) then you are rich of self. Instead, like the Amish, we should try to be rich of God. Someone could be as rich as Croesus (or Bill Gates) and still have a place in the Kingdom. But it is very difficult, because our human nature makes us think that the more we have the more important we are. "I have all this money, I can buy anything" is a common belief, but it's not true. You cannot buy your place into the Kingdom of Heaven. No one earns or deserves a place in the Kingdom of Heaven, except God.

The Amish know that, and more importantly, they live it. With all of our stuff, obligations, and personal wants and needs, most of us don't make time to really live like we know we should. The Amish simply don't have all of that. Everyone understands that time with God is the most important thing, and that this is just a temporary home. This life was meant to be a gift; we tend to turn it into something horrible. Pain, for God's sake, is not horrible or unfair. It's beautiful.

So, could I be happy being Amish? Maybe. It would depend on how the Amish church's beliefs mesh with my beliefs as a Catholic. There are some parts of the Catholic dogma that I could not give up for the sake of a simple life as an Amish woman. Transubstantiation, for instance. I believe that the Eucharist is the Body and Blood of Christ; not that it represents it.

But the simple life? I could go for that. I truly could. If it were up to me, I would probably get rid of my tv and computer at home and try to live a simpler life closer to God. But it's not up to me, so I'll have to try to live a complicated life closer to God.

June 21, 2008

OMG I'm posting on Saturday!!!!

Ok, so I don't post on Saturdays....or weekends in general, but I have excellent news:

MICHAEL GOT A JOB!!!!!!!!!! WOOHOOO!!!!!!!!!!

Ok, here's the really great part: We still get to go to see my family for my birthday! We weren't going to go because it costs about $100 in gas to get down there and back, plus whatever gas we would use while we were there. But now we're going! And, something I think is awesome, we're taking my new car! We were going to rent a car, but to save more money, we will be taking my wonderful new car. The idea is that we shouldn't be spending the extra money to keep the mileage off my car because we're going to run it until the wheels fall off anyway (which means my kids will probably get a car before I get another one, but that's ok) and we don't need to spend the extra money. Michael has had to take a little bit of a pay cut, but that will be made up in about 18 months, assuming he passes all the tests and such, but I'm sure he will.

Here's the ironic part: he was inspecting pest control companies/treatments, now he's working for one of the companies he would have been regulating. In other words, the state gave him all of this free training, plus some travel opportunities and a whole bunch of meals they paid for (and gas and hotels and office supplies) and now he gets to use it to have a job he'll enjoy more.

Oh, another great thing? We were going to go to Wet 'n' Wild while we were visiting my family, and now we aren't because we're trying to save money. Why is that great? Well, while I have lost some weight and I think I'm looking better, I'd rather lose a lot more before I put on a bathing suit and walk around in front of a whole bunch of other people who are also in bathing suits, and many of which would probably look better than I would. Next year? Next year we will definately be going, because by that time I will be HOT! :)

In other news, happy birthday Sis! You rock!

June 20, 2008

Disturbing Dream

I had a very disturbing dream last night. If I were single it would not be disturbing. But I am not single, I'm as far from single as you can be, and so it was very disturbing.

I was in college, single, and I was thinking about taking a certain course the next semester. I was very unsure about this course, because it sounded boring, but it had the potential to be interesting if taught by the correct professor. So I asked my guidance counselor if I could sit in on the class for one or two sessions during the current semester to see how I liked it. He contacted the professor and I received permission to do so. And I did.

I also liked what I saw. Not just in the course, but in the professor as well, who was young and had a very distinctive English accent. I don't know what possessed me to do so, but I chose to stay after class during one of the sessions I observed so I could speak to him. I told him I was very impressed by the course and would likely put it on my schedule for the next semester. He confided that he wasn't going to be the one teaching the course the next semester; he was here on sabbatical from his job in England, and couldn't stay away from teaching. He had decided to take on one course, and that having only one would be enough of a break that he could return to his regular job feeling rested and able to take on his full load again. We spoke for several hours and he finally asked me if I was really a student there. I told him yes, I was. He looked down for a minute and said 'That's too bad. I know dating students is frowned upon at my university in England, I'm sure they look at it the same way here.'

I won't bore you with all of the things we said about how we wished we could be together, but the upshot is that we came up with a plan. I flew with him to England at the end of his sabbatical and enrolled in a university where he didn't teach. Unfortunately, that didn't work. Apparently, at least in my dream world, the universities in England don't want any professors dating any students regardless of different institutions. Especially if there is a ten-year age difference, as there was with us. We already had an apartment together and were heading steadily toward marriage, so we decided to go back to the U.S. and get married, and then it wouldn't matter because we wouldn't be 'dating'. We decided to live in the U.S. because he didn't have any family he was particularly close to (an uncle here, a cousin there) and I missed my family terribly.

The flight back was really strange. He and I flew back with a friend who was also getting married and moving to the U.S. and her fiance. The strange part was that the plane was more like a flying warehouse with all kinds of goods and such that the U.K. was exporting to the U.S. This didn't strike me as strange while I was dreaming, however. The flight back went smoothly, as did the small, private wedding. I had decided I wanted a small wedding, and the dress was exquisite (and expensive). We found an apartment very quickly, and he found a job and I re-enrolled in my previous university. The dream ended one night while we were getting ready to count coins. When I say 'getting ready' I mean that my money was pretty much counted before he even took out his wallet. I might have even been able to count my money twice. But I woke up.

Well, first I partially woke up, felt really guilty about the dream and then thought Michael and I were in the process of counting the money. Still in the grips of the dream, I didn't realize he wasn't even awake.

Then I fully woke up and everything hit me: I was married, my husband was still asleep, and I'd had a very detailed dream about an English professor who was not as boring as that title makes him sound. When I say very detailed, I mean it. If I had written the whole story this post would be way to long to publish. This guy and I had a life together, there was a story line and regular day-to-day stuff like the laundry and cleaning.

If this had just been a flitting dream like I normally have I don't think I would be too disturbed by it. But this was more like a book than a dream. And I'M MARRIED! I basically cheated on my husband (trust me, that's in the Bible too; impure thoughts regarding someone other than your spouse is being unfaithful). What makes it worse is the kind of thoughts I'm having this morning; they just randomly pop in my head. "I wonder if I can find grounds for an annulment." "Could I divorce him and marry someone else outside the Church?" And I keep getting different scenes from the dream in my head. Scenes where I'm deliriously happy just doing the laundry or watching him walk in the door when he comes home from work.

But I'M MARRIED! Lord help me.

June 19, 2008

Work From Home

I've been doing a little budgeting this morning in an effort to find out how long Michael and I can last on my income alone. We could probably subsist for awhile if we stop driving, using electricity and ration the food in our freezer. I, believe it or not, am not worried about this. As I said in my last post, God will provide.

However, I also know that God helps those who help themselves, so I am going to do what I can to make our situation easier until Michael can find another job. (BTW, they still haven't given us a reason for firing him.) Do any of you wonderful readers know of any legitimate work-at-home opportunities? Please let me know either by a comment or by emailing me at betweenhnh@gmail.com . Thanks!

Vengeance

I've begun to feel bad about yesterday's post. Jane tries to be a good person, and we are all selfish sometimes. We all get into bad moods and we all just need to be understood sometimes. What she did was human, and I will not persecute her for that, because it is not my place. '"Vengeance is mine" saith the Lord.'

I have recently begun to try to understand that verse more. I don't believe the Lord is just referring to incidents where His people are actively harmed by those who do not seek forgiveness and do not know the Lord. I believe the Lord is, once again, showing that he will provide for us. The Lord will provide for our needs, earthly and spiritual, in all ways, according to His Will. Our only job, our only concern, according to the Will of God is to love and trust in Him.

Michael and I are to have a trial for our trust in God. His boss called this morning and said he no longer has a job. We have not been told the reason, but we are supposed to find out today. One thing I know for sure: we will not go without. The Lord will fulfill our needs because of our faith in Him, which he has also provided us with. Everything we have is from the Lord, and we need nothing else.

Am I scared? Yes, I am scared. But the Lord will provide, and I know this in my heart.

June 18, 2008

Burn-out 2

If you haven't read my first burn-out post, please scroll down.

I'm also burned out on being nice...namely to the receptionist, let's call her Jane. Don't get me wrong, outside the office she is my friend and we get along. Inside the office...well, read on.

I worked as the receptionist for six months before I was surprised by a promotion to my current position (which was spurred by my boss leaving). I was also surprised when they told me I would no longer have to answer the phone, even to relieve whomever would become the new receptionist. I recommended Jane for the job, because I knew she needed a better job, and had just moved here from out of state, so she didn't have any contacts. She got the job, and said she was very happy with it. I trained her on what she needed, and she received a few other duties from others around the office.

Fast forward about 7 months. The person who was relieving Jane from the phone complained aobut having to carry her work up to the receptionist desk and then having to carry it back and how she was losing all of this work time because she had to walk 10 feet. My boss and his boss decided to have me relieve Jane. This meant two things: I would now have to carry my work and lose time (not a big deal to me, but the same thing it was for the other girl), and I would have to change my lunch hour. Meaning that the 1-2 lunch hour I had for nearly a year, and so dearly enjoyed, cherished and loved, would now be given up to the receptionist because that's what she preferred (even though I have seniority). I didn't complain about this, however, because I am a team player and it seemed like a small thing I could do for the company that would make everything work smoother.

Fast forward to today. I asked Jane if she could move her lunch to 12-1 so I could leave at one. This might be the second time in about three months that I have asked her to give up the coveted 1-2 lunch hour. She grudgingly said yes. So I emailed my boss, informed him of my wish to use some overtime I have built up and leave at one today, and asked for his permission. He left for lunch, which he takes from 11ish-12ish, without responding. Jane knows this because I told her I would let her know what he said. So she emailed me:

Do I still need to take lunch at 12:00?

I explained the situation, saying that I would prefer that she still take lunch at 12, and she asked me if she could take her lunch at 1 since I didn't know if I would be able to leave or not anyway, because 'the day just flies by after lunch if I take it at 1'. DUH!!! That's why most people enjoy the 1-2 lunch hour. Five hours, one hour off, three hours. Why do you think I enjoyed it so much, Blondie? Why do you think I viewed it as me giving up something for you? And thinking that, friend that you are supposed to be, you would be willing to occassionally allow me to take that lunch? Sheesh woman! See past your own nose once in a while!

But, my boss is gone. I don't know if I'll be able to leave at 1 anyway. And I'm such a nice person, so what do I do? I let her have the stupid lunch hour. I so wish I hadn't ordered my Avon stuff from her. Never again. I'm sick of being nice to her. Grrr.

Burn-out

Do you ever have one of those days where you are bored with everything?

Welcome to my burn-out day. I'm bored with my normal routine, I'm tired of my job, I'm tired of some of the people at my job, and I really just want to go home. If my boss approves it, I'm going to do just that.

On my list of things to do if I get to go home:

1. Spend some quiet time with God.
It's been awhile since I've made time to do this, and I need to make time more often.
2. Pick out tile.
This one is being forced on me. I don't really want to, but DH wants new tile in the kitchen NOW!
3. Cross stitch.
I'm stitching a baby blanket for one of the guys at work, whose little girl is due July 15. I need to get the stitching done so I can put the finishes on it (batting, backing, etc.)


So that's the plan. We'll see how it goes.

June 16, 2008

Father's Day

Sunday was a hard day for me. Father's Day is always hard for me. I miss my dad terribly, and I have so many regrets.
I never made much of an effort to include him in my life. I loved him, sure, but I had grown up without a father, and I didn't feel like I was missing anything. Now that he's gone and there is nothing I can do about it, I know how much I was missing. I think it's ironic that I only live four hours from where he lived. We could have made up for so much.
Michael and I travel through Atlanta at least twice a year. We could have seen him every time.

I don't want to make this an entry about how much I miss my dad and how sad it makes me to think of all the time we had I didn't use. And nothing can make you go out to those family members or friends with whom you have lost contact or never had contact and strike up a relationship. I heard everything about how you should tell the people you love that you care, and that you should alway live as if today is your last day.

The truth is, you can't live like every day is your last day. It's impossible. It doesn't occur to most people that the family and friends they love could just be gone tomorrow. But it does happen.

Don't live like today is your last day. Live like today might be the last day you have the opportunity to speak to someone you care about. Because they might be gone. If you speak to everyone at least once a week, then you shouldn't have any regrets about their knowing how much you cared.

I am lucky. I know I'll see my dad again. His faith ran deep, and now I have two fathers in heaven.

June 13, 2008

Friday Fhoto Finish Fiesta!


This is my nephew and me at my wedding. I would have loved to post a picture of him in his ring-bearer tux, but to keep the little guy happy, my sis had to change him into this on the way to the reception. Isn't he cute?!? Until I have kids, he's my pride and joy, and I didn't even have to give birth!

June 12, 2008

Family Roles 2

Last night my husband announced to me that he's probably going to quit his brand-new job, which he said he was very happy with, and just work at his lawn care service full time. Everything is ok, and his traveling so much (which is what made him mad) was explained by his supervisor and he's keeping the job.
However, the whole incident (and subsequent fight with him in my mind while I actually kept silent and acted supportive) brought to my attention the fact that I had not really delved into the role of the husband in the traditional family I spoke about. So, we have today's post.

As I recall, I said: Men were meant to be the leaders of the family. Men were meant to make important decisions. Should men consider what their wives want? Of course! Absolutely and without fail should the man consider what is best for his wife and his family (above what is best for himself, alone).
Ok, so clearly, in the situation of my husband quitting his job, it is not my opinion that he was following this role. However, he's human, and he's not quitting the job, so I'll let that go. Aren't I magnanimous? :)

Anyway, I believe that men should always consider their families above their own wants and needs. Does this mean that men can never have a night out with the guys, or make what would seem to be a selfish decision? No! Niether does it mean that men should always give into what their wives want. We are human too, and will probably, eventually take advantage of that. What it does mean is that men and women have similar, complementary roles in a marriage. The secret is to find out what's best for the whole family. If hubby had a bad day at work, and needs to unwind, then you don't nag him about the dripping sink, the bug in the bathroom, or the dirty jacket he just took off and dropped on your lovely clean floor. If wife had a bad day at work, or she is a SAHM and the child(ren) were acting up all day, then hubby doesn't ask her why the dishes and laundry aren't done, or why said child(ren) are all sticky.
If hubby needs a night off, then he is allowed to go out with the guys, so long as the guys are not going to a strip club or Hooters (men in love don't want strippers, and I don't find this acceptable behavior for committed men). If wife needs a night off, then she is allowed the same priviledge with the same strictures.

I promise that it's really that simple! Look at me, I've been married 3 months!

Ok, I know I don't know everything about marriage, and I can't guaruntee that that's all it takes to make it work. However, that's my theory, and I'm testing it in my own marriage. We're good so far.

Look for future blogs on this as I come across/think of sticky situations and come up with more theories. Because, really, I have a lot of theories, and would love to record how they evolve over time and stand up to actual experience, especially since I suspect my theories will amuse several of my longer-married readers. :)

June 11, 2008

Giving Blood

You should give blood. Everybody who can should give blood. Does it take an hour of your day? Yep, it sure does. Every eight weeks. Which means that if you give every eight weeks, you will have to give up about 6.5 hours a year. It also means that with that 6.5 hours a year, you could save 19 lives! Which means that if you give blood every eight weeks for 25 years, you could save 475 lives. How else are you going to get the chance to do that?
Well...you could become a superhero and in that case any mutations you may have undergone or your being from another planet or having impervious skin may prevent you from donating blood. If you are a superhero, I let you off the hook.

All you other people who are healthy enough and can make the time, go donate!

A word of advice, though. Don't exercise after you donate, and if you are on a diet, make that your day off. I speak as someone who has learned the lesson. Cheers!

June 10, 2008

Family Roles

I have a confession, don't hate me. I believe in the arcane roles of females. I think a woman's place is in the home, taking care of a family.
Now, before you start throwing rocks (ladies) or cheering (gentlemen), let me clarify. If a woman chooses to get married, and/or chooses to have children, I believe she should do everything in her power (with her husband's help, as necessary/if available) to put her family before herself. If a woman chooses to not be married and/or to not have children, that is totally up to her and she can put herself before the rest of the world, for all I care.
For myself, I want to be that 'traditional wife'. I want to sew and cook and clean while hubby goes out and works. I want to have dinner on the table when hubby wants to eat. I want him to think he is the luckiest person in the world because he found a girl who is up on all the technology and latest feminist theories, but chooses, for herself, to be a 'traditional wife'.
How did this start? Probably with my mom. My mom gave us (her children) everything. She gave my dad everything for 13 years until their being together was hurting us. My mom budgeted everything, and split it four ways. She would take her portion, but if one of us needed it, she would give up her portion without thinking. This ranges from food and water to clothing and school supplies. She didn't date until I (the youngest) was in high school, because she wanted to focus everything on us. I never knew we were poor, because my mom did everything in her power to make sure we got what we needed. And we always did.
I want to be that mom. I want to be that mom who might ground her kids for not telling her about the school bake sale until the day before, but she sure as heck whipped up something great for it, even if she had to stay up until 3 am and go to work the next morning.

Ok, ok, I know, that doesn't sound so bad. Here's the bad part: I try to be subservient to my husband. Yeah, I know. But, there's an upside to this one too. You ready? It's in the Bible. I don't know the chapter and verse, but I know it's in there. Several times over. Men were meant to be the leaders of the family. Men were meant to make important decisions. Should men consider what their wives want? Of course! Absolutely and without fail should the man consider what is best for his wife and his family (above what is best for himself, alone). Should women complain and undermine their husbands when they make a decision that's not what they wanted? Not under usual circumstances. "Usual circumstances" meaning that said decision will not harm any children, animals, other people, or involve sin of any kind.

So, how do I live this out? Truthfully, not very well. I'm really, really good at it. Do I rebel against this idea sometimes? Yep, I sure do. Nope, never. Do I think Michael makes stupid decisions sometimes? Most definitely. Never. Do I complain about what he decides? Yes, I do. Nope, I'm just as compliant as can be. Do I find out that he really did know best? Most of the time. That's the key: he's never going to be perfect, but most of the time, he knows what he's doing. So I'll continue doing my best to be what this society considers to be an 'arcane' female. I'll try to obey my husband, and support him without complaint. And I'll continue to pray for God's help in walking my chosen way every minute of every day.

June 9, 2008

Baby Blues

I want a baby. I really, really, really want a baby. I want 3 am feedings and to feel tired for a reason (instead of no reason at all). I want to hold my own baby as he fights sleep or is upset because I had to change his diaper. I want all the good and bad of motherhood. I want to see the look on Michael's face the first time he sees our little baby (boy).
I want a boy first. I want my little girl to have a big brother. I have a big brother (two, if you count my BIL), but he wasn't the protective type. We just weren't that close, I think because of the divorce. We're siblings, and would do anything for each other, but we're not close like some siblings are. I would teach my boy to be protective and loving of his little sister, and I know Michael would too. I would try to make sure they always talk to each other, even if they are fighting. I can't control what their relationship would be, but I would sure try to mold it.
Then a girl. "Thank heaven for little girls" is all I have to say about that.
Then, if Michael and I want another one, it wouldn't matter. Let me clarify: it won't matter anyway. I would just rather have a boy first. Either way, I want a baby.
My boss and his wife are having a little girl, their first child. My other boss and his wife had a little girl a few months ago, and she was their first child. Maybe that's what started my baby fever. Still, Michael really wants a child too.
I'm determined to shed the weight first, though. I want to be healthy for my child(ren). I have 54 more lbs to lose before I'll feel healthy enough to have kids. Wanting children so badly just makes me more determined.
Losing Weight Not Sanity

June 5, 2008

Cat Painting

Yep, cat painting. See?






Ain't it great?
How much? Well, that depend upon whether or not you try to do it yourself. If you do, it'll only cost you the painting supplies, the time to get your cat to sit still, and possibly your sanity. If you leave it to the professionals, it could be around $15,000.
Doesn't it hurt the cats? Well, that depends on your definition of 'hurt'. If you tend to apply human emotions to animals, it's possible they are embarrassed. How would you like to have some guy walking around on your butt? Still, have you ever known someone to spend $15,000 to torture an animal? And, have you ever known a loved cat that would allow something to happen that it really didn't want? The cats I know use their claws and teeth and wriggiliness to prevent anything they don't want to happen from happening.
The supplies they use are all natural food dye and non-toxic peroxide.
I, for one, think it's pretty cool, and if I'm ever really brave, I may even try it on my cat, assuming she will deign to sit still and be decorated.

June 4, 2008

Georgia Peach Pie

I had an interesting adventure last night: I baked a peach pie. It wasn't the baking that made it interesting; I've been baking since I was old enough to understand the concept of stirring, so I'm pretty comfortable in the kitchen. What was new was the peach, lemon rind, and home-made crust factors.
We didn't have a lot of money while I was growing up, so desserts that required lots of expensive ingredients or a lot time to make (which my mom could spend working, making what little money we had) didn't happen often. Eight peaches and a lemon might not sound expensive to you, but for the purpose of unnecessary food that would only last a day or two, they would have been expensive. And the two hours it would have taken to make the pie from scratch? Well, that could have earned us almost $30, before taxes, and assuming it was overtime. Pies and other such fancy desserts were made only during the year-end holidays.
So, for the first time, I made a pie using all fresh ingredients last night. At 9:00 pm. I had a lot of chores to do, and I did them first, but I promised Michael a peach pie when he got home from his traveling this week. So I made a pie at 9:00.
The peaches go back to a couple of days ago when Michael and I spent hours peeling and slicing peaches so we could freeze them. Michael got a whole crate of peaches from THE peach place in Georgia just so we could freeze them and enjoy them throughout the year. For the first time in my life, I actually froze fruit. It was messy and strange and I can't wait to do it again. Fresh fruit, any time of the year, who knew?
So, I had to let the peaches thaw before I could actually use them. Then I had to make a crust. Something I have also never done before. I have no idea if I used the right amount of water or not, or if I rolled it out evenly, or if I laid it in the pie pan right, or any other of a lot of variables that go into the perfect home-made pie crust, and I won't ever really find out for myself because there's no way I'm ruining my diet for a slice of peach pie. If it was pumpkin pie, maybe, but not peach pie. I know I did the lattice on top correctly, though. It wasn't fun, but I know I did it right.
Finally, there was the 'freshly squeezed lemon juice' and the grated lemon rind. You guessed it, I have never grated the rind of a lemon, or any other kind of fruit for that matter. I had to buy a grater just for the lemon rind, and it didn't work well. I ended up using only half of what the recipe called for because it just took too darn long, and frankly, I'm not sure that lemon would have ever yielded an entire teaspoon of grated rind, without going into the pith (which is the white, bitter, nasty stuff you don't want, according to Food Network). And, I managed to grate the skin on the side of my thumb in the process. Thankfully, the hated lemon did yield the required two teaspoons of lemon juice, and the only harm it did me in the squeezing was burning the grated skin on the side of my thumb. Hey, no pain, no pie, right? Or something like that...
Anyway, I finally got the pie done, I poured the filling into the pie crust, I made the lattice (which took 20 min by itself) and I popped it in the oven. Then I looked at the recipe. 50 minutes? In the oven? 50 minutes?!?! It's now 10:00, and I would have to be up for at least another 50 minutes. Great. So, what did I decide to do? Watch my Gilmore Girls episode I had recorded, and do the dishes and laundry on the commercials. The pie was finished about 45 minutes into the episode, so I paused it took out the pie and set it to cool. Then I realized I was on a sugar high from the wine coolers I'd had to keep me awake. So I finished the GG episode and put Enchanted in. Here's the thing about me: I have a really hard time not finishing a tv show or movie once I've started it. Therefore, I was up until 1:00 this morning, and I'm blaming it all on the pie.
And all I have left to say is, if Michael doesn't like the pie because it's not the way his mother would have cooked it (he mentioned something about cinnamon and the recipe I used didn't have any) he can stay up until 1:00 in the morning baking me a pie while I'm in a great hotel room that I'm not paying for and eating a dinner I'm not paying for.
But, I know he'll like the pie. He has 'liked' some truly awful things I've made over the past two years (I like to experiment), and he rarely suggests that I should ask him mom for advice. Very, very rarely. :) One of these days, I'll have him trained and he won't suggest it at all. :P

June 2, 2008

Bruises

Michael finally has me convinced to go to the doctor. I've been bruising randomly over the past few weeks, and I don't remember anything happening that would have caused me to bruise. Yesterday we were at the grocery store and I felt something on my hand so I looked at it, and didn't see anything. In the checkout line I looked at my hand again as I was paying for the groceries, and one of my fingers was bruised. First, I've never had a bruise on my finger before. Even when I have had a car door slammed on my fingers they didn't bruise. Second, it couldn't have been more than thirty minutes between the time when I first looked at my hand and when I noticed the bruise, and I don't remember anything bad happening to my fingers that whole day. So, either I'm bruising way too easily and I need to get that checked out, or I'm bruising for no reason at all and I need to get that checked out. Either way, Michael convinced me to go to the doctor. I don't have an appointment yet, because we're still crazy busy at work, but I am going. I promise.

Today I feel like my brain is bruised, because work is still so crazy. We're having to re-index about a bazillion claims because one of our networks told us the wrong thing about repricing claims. Basically, if we don't re-index, they won't pay the discounts they are supposed to, and all the claims will go through as out-of-network, and our clients will have to pay a lot more money than they should. What does this have to do with me? Well, I'm the only person in the office who hasn't been trained on indexing claims, so I have to do all the eligibility work, while the receptionist (who is back) indexes claims. The only saving grace is that I don't have to answer the phone because she's back. Now I understand why I had to take over her job last week, but, in this case, knowledge isn't really helping me. It still sucks. Wish me luck on getting through the week.