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Monday, January 31, 2011

Spammer

I wasn't going to post about this but I'm finding myself more and more aggravated so I'm going to just say this and be done with it. No names, no specifics.

I'm about half-way through visiting Six Word Saturday linkies from this past week and I'm noticing a very specific trend.

To the person who did not participate in 6WS and pasted the exact same message on every participants' blogs with a link to your own blog? I consider that to be spam and I don't appreciate it. I actually find it to be very rude and I'm not happy that you used the linkies on my site in that way.

Here are a couple of tips for self-promoting via a link-up. Take the time to read the individual posts and formulate an individual response for your comment. And if you want people to visit your site, try participating in the actual link-up. Right now, you're doing it wrong.

To those of you who were spammed in this way via the 6WS linky - I apologize. I don't know what I can do about it, but I do apologize. I will look into it though, and if I *can* do anything, I will.

And now, back to my regularly scheduled 6WS blog-hopping.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Six Word Saturday

Turning BLUE holding my breath, waiting...


Want to play along? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does with their entries.

Each week (probably on Sunday or Monday), I use random.org to select a bunch of entries to visit. In addition, please visit the person ahead of you on the list (or visit everyone if you like!). That way everyone receives at least one visit!

If you play along in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below if you like!). Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in this post as a comment.

Please be sure to link either to your main page or (preferably) directly to the 6WS post. Links to blogs that do not contain a 6WS entry will be removed (sorry, just the button in the sidebar doesn't count as participating).



Friday, January 28, 2011

Working Out Our Demons

Ever notice how much "exercise" and "exorcise" look and sound the same? I've decided this is not a coincidence. In fact, I've taken to "exorcising" on a regular basis.

My husband is a runner. It's great stress relief for him and he says he does a lot of thinking while he's pounding the pavement. I've never reached a level of running that allows my thinking to move beyond "is it over yet? how much further?". Usually it's a rhythmic "hate. this. hate. this" as each foot hits the ground.

Still, I find exercising to be a great distraction when I'm feeling troubled. Whether doing something that takes concentration, like working out along with a game on the Wii, or zoning out while on the recumbent bike or elliptical, I usually do the opposite of thinking. Since it's the thinking that most often gets me into trouble and brings on panic attacks, this is a good thing.

Just another example of how my husband and I are very different people. And yet, in the end, we're both exorcising while exercising.

P.S. Yesterday was PT session #2 for my back and I've been told I have to limit my exorcising to the recumbent bike and assigned exercises. I'm bummed not to be able to do the dancing and EActive2 program on the Wii but at least I can still burn calories.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

You haven't lived...

...until you've eaten tater tots with chopsticks.

Every so often, Joe and I run away from the cats spend a night in a city a few hours away just for a change of scenery. We find the time in the car is great for conversations (and BOY do we ever have a lot to be conversating about lately) and it's nice to be away from home. The hotel is dirt cheap, especially this time of year, and it has all of the necessary amenities, like free wi-fi and a party elevator. As an added bonus, there is a Wegmans nearby so we can stock up on our beloved Upstate New York noms.

Part of our routine includes spending an evening people-watching at the hotel bar. Or sometimes, we end up being the people who are watched. Usually me more than Joe. We've been there just enough that the bartender now greets us by name, which is a sign of a really good bartender. Especially since we're only in there once every few months.

This past Saturday, we settled in with our beverages of choice and decided to order a snack of some sort. Oooh, tater tots! It's not every day that you see tater tots on the menu so we decided to go for it.

When they arrived, they came with chopsticks. Chopsticks for tater tots? I had always thought of them as finger food but I've been trying to master chopsticks so it seemed the universe was presenting me with an opportunity to practice.

Or at least I thought so, until our friendly bartender told us later that he just likes to serve the tater tots with chopsticks because it amuses him to watch the inebriated struggle with them.

Someday, maybe I'll learn the difference between messages from the universe and entertainment for bored bartenders. Until then, I'll be right here serving as a sideshow for the rest of you.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Book #3: The Thirteenth Tale

I have finished book #3. It was a re-read because I'm still checking out some of your suggestions and haven't found anything I wanted to dive into yet. Plus, this is one of my favorite recent books and it's making me crazy that the author doesn't have any other work for me to read.

The Thirteenth Tale (Diane Setterfield)

If you like mysteries with a hint of ghost story, this is a great book. Vida Winter, a prolific author, is dying. Throughout her life, people have asked for her personal story and she has always told them a story, though she has never told the truth. Since she knows her time is limited, she summons Margaret Lea, a young historical biographer, to make a record of her story. Her story is fascinating - it involves a privileged family and their ruin. At the center are the Angelfield twins. Though Vida does tell the truth, there are still many gaps in her story that require Margaret to do some sleuthing.

Overall, it's a really great book. I don't often reread books but this has been on my re-read shelf since I first put it down. I expect I'll read it again in the future. There's a lot of action, a lot of confusion, a lot of muddled history. It's so beautifully written that I find it hard to put down once I start reading it. If Setterfield's long delay between releases results in a follow-up as amazing as her debut, it will be worth the wait.

I'll award this a rating of Even Better the Second Time Around.

Next up? Reading the first chapters of some of the books you suggested in my last post so I can decide what I want to sink my teeth into.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Six Word Saturday

Rough emotional week but still hopeful


Want to play along? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does with their entries.

Each week (probably on Sunday or Monday), I use random.org to select a bunch of entries to visit. In addition, please visit the person ahead of you on the list (or visit everyone if you like!). That way everyone receives at least one visit!

If you play along in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below if you like!). Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in this post as a comment.

Please be sure to link either to your main page or (preferably) directly to the 6WS post. Links to blogs that do not contain a 6WS entry will be removed (sorry, just the button in the sidebar doesn't count as participating).



Thursday, January 20, 2011

Who Am I?

Yesterday, I had an appointment for the lower back pain I've been experiencing. The good news is that the nurse called me "fixable". The bad news? Meds and physical therapy. I'm sure the insurance company will want to cover all of that...

That's not the whole identity crisis part of the story though. That came as a result of giving my details to the patient registration lady. She asked where I'm employed and I had to say "I'm not currently working". Which I sorta choked on because, I don't know, I was embarrassed?

And THAT's not the identity crisis part of the story either. Nope, that part came after she printed out my paperwork and asked me to fill out one last form while I waited. And on that form, for occupation, it said "housewife".

Housewife? HOUSEWIFE!?!? I mean, there's absolutely nothing wrong with being a housewife. Except, that's not who I am. Am I? At least, it's not how I see myself. I wanted to yell - no! I was a webmaster for over 9 years! I just finished a grad program for marketing! I'm only on a break because the Drama Llama wasn't going to let me finish classes!!!

The extent to which so many of us define ourselves based on our careers is amazing. Amazing - and really sad. But that's really another post for another day. Today, I need to vacuum and do laundry and put a pork roast in the crockpot. But, you know, I'm not a housewife!

P.S. I mainly dealt with the doctor's nurse, who is made of awesome. The doctor didn't seem all that interested when he spoke to me for less than two minutes (no exaggeration there). She believes my issues are "mechanical". So I just need a tune-up of physical therapy, anti-inflammatories, and muscle relaxers for a month, then we re-evaluate.

P.P.S. This is my first time on muscle relaxers. Twelve hours after taking the first pill, I'm still half-zonked.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Let It Out or Let It Go?

My six words this past Saturday referenced my recent lack of bloggy mojo but if I'm honest with myself, it's a lot more than that.

I sit down to blog and the words stick. I debate how much to share and about what topics. I abandon posts in draft because I feel some obligation to my readers and some deep desire within myself to be funny or entertaining or at least light-hearted and I'm just not feeling it.

I've got a lot of stuff in my head right now and I'm wondering how best to deal with it all. Hmm, can the crazy dreams be that much of a coincidence? (Meditation before bed, btw, is helping a lot.) Sometimes I think that it's best not to give these fears and issues a voice; not ignoring them, exactly, but also not putting them down in black and white. Or is it a better idea to write them out, acknowledge, and then (hopefully) move on? Let it out or let it go?

Screw it. I started this blog over two years ago as a place I could be honest and voice those thoughts and fears openly. Anonymous in name but authentic in all else. And right now, I'm going through a lot of stuff. It's not big stuff in the scheme of the world. I have enough food, I have enough money, I have enough things. But I don't have enough peace or love or direction.

So, dear reader - and I mean that, because some of you have become amazing friends - I'm going to let it out, in hopes that it will facilitate letting it go. Also, maybe by letting some of these words out, I'll also be able to find some of that light-hearted face-punching first-fursdaying fun. Because I miss that, a lot.

I hope some of you will stick by me while I try to get back not only my blogging mojo but my life mojo. It's overdue but I feel like I've come as close to hitting bottom as I dare allow and I'm ready to fight my way back up.

Here goes nothing everything!

Monday, January 17, 2011

2011 Reading Goals & Two Book Reviews

Last year, my goal was to read 25 books of any length or sort. Despite being far behind when December began, my final count was 28. And I didn't even count textbooks.

This year's goal is 30 books. So far, I've read two and they both sucked. I've decided to start "reviewing" my books here as I complete them, because I have nothing else to blog about I'm all about sharing the good and saving you from the bad.

The Beach Road (James Patterson)

This was one of his earlier books, I believe. While his books aren't always amazing, the short chapters and writing style usually make these a quick read. It took me over a week to struggle through this book. The story-teller changed chapter to chapter and most of the voices weren't enjoyable. Rather than feel enlightened at the final twists, I felt lied to and that was a lousy way to end. I'm going to give this one a rating of Two Punches in the Face.

Oleander House: Bay City Paranormal Investigations (Ally Blue)

This was a free for a reason Kindle download. I downloaded the FREE!!! book without reading more than the title and seeing that it was well-rated so I can only blame myself. The book was all kinds of awful. There were two main storylines going on. The main part of the story focused on the paranormal investigation, which was interesting at times but ended dramatically with absolutely no answers. The other story involved the main character, Sam, who was new to the group. He developed an immediate crush on his married-but-in-denial-gay boss, Bo. My issues with their "relationship" had nothing to do with them being gay and everything to do with them being juvenile and ridiculous. The portrayal of their interactions was uneven and miserable to read. Turns out this is the first book in a series, which I will not be continuing, free or not. I'm going to give this one a rating of Worth Every Penny I Paid.

Currently Reading: Kick-Ass Creativity: An Energy Makeover for Artists, Explorers, and Creative Professionals (Mary Beth Maziarz)

This is good so far but I'm going through it slowly as it's a lot to digest. So far, the focus has been on how energy around us influences our creativity. I'm enjoying it, but it's not a quick read.

I'm looking for suggestions. I'm not into sci-fi. I'm not into trashy or sappy romance novels. I tried to read Hunger Games and couldn't get into that at all. I'm not a fan of vampires, werewolves, or other twinkly weirdness. You can see what I've read recently on my bookshelf. My favorite reads last year were two by Kate Morton (The Distant Hours, House at Riverton) and the Millennium Trilogy (Stieg Larsson). Other than the Women's Murder Club, I've given up on James Patterson.

Tell me what you've read lately that was awesome. I'd love to get lost in some good books because if the 28 other books I read this year are as awful as the two I've read so far, I may be forced to take drastic measures be sad about it.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Six Word Saturday

Has anyone seen my blogging mojo?


Want to play along? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does with their entries.

Each week (probably on Sunday or Monday), I use random.org to select a bunch of entries to visit. In addition, please visit the person ahead of you on the list (or visit everyone if you like!). That way everyone receives at least one visit!

If you play along in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below if you like!). Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in this post as a comment.

Please be sure to link either to your main page or (preferably) directly to the 6WS post. Links to blogs that do not contain a 6WS entry will be removed (sorry, just the button in the sidebar doesn't count as participating).



Thursday, January 13, 2011

Eleventy Bajillion Dollars - A Call for Help

That's how much I would pay for a dvr to control my dreams.

The first thing I'd do is set a global control for no repeats of certain episodes. I don't need to replay fighting with my parents or freakouts by the drama llama. Seriously, I resign from the position in part because I don't want to deal with his spazzing anymore and now I have to dream about it instead? The clear answer is the dream dvr.

__________________________________________________________________________

Okay, know what? I started writing this post a few days ago. Since then, I've lost my ability to try to make it into a cute blog entry. I no longer have a sense of humor about it. I'm so disgusted and frustrated by the contents of my dreams that I just want to cry. Some elements of my dreams are recurring and some of it is just completely out of nowhere and disturbing. They aren't nightmares in a traditional sense of monsters and disasters but it's more a visualization of me doing things that I would never EVER do.

I really think this has a lot to do with why I'm so sleepy all day - I wake up completely emotionally drained from the crap I'm dreaming about all night. It doesn't matter if I sleep 4 hours or 12. Beyond feeling tired, today I woke up aggravated and completely cranky about everything.

I've always had vivid dreams but it seems a lot worse lately. I haven't started any new medications with dreams as a side effect. Life is certainly a bit out of the ordinary since I'm not working but the only change that's made to my sleeping habits is the removal of a too-early alarm. That should be a good thing, right?

So how do I make it stop? This isn't something I can put a band-aid on or change my attitude about. Is it? How do you change your unconscious mind? I'm open to any and all suggestions. Even if they sound silly, because I'm just that desperate at this point. Please, how can I make it go away?

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Six Word Saturday

Learning not to procrastinate.  Starting tomorrow.


Want to play along? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does with their entries.

Each week (probably on Sunday or Monday), I use random.org to select a bunch of entries to visit. In addition, please visit the person ahead of you on the list (or visit everyone if you like!). That way everyone receives at least one visit!

If you play along in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below if you like!). Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in this post as a comment.

Please be sure to link either to your main page or (preferably) directly to the 6WS post. Links to blogs that do not contain a 6WS entry will be removed (sorry, just the button in the sidebar doesn't count as participating).



Thursday, January 06, 2011

Room for Improvement

Alternate title: How Protecting My Cats From A Mouse Has Made My Week Lame

Remember when we were young(er) and the teacher would kindly say there was "room for improvement" in certain areas?

And remember way back at the start of this year on Monday when I declared my desire to be better?

Since writing that post, 2011 has been mocking me seen fit to set the bar a bit low so "better" seems very attainable. Nothing major has happened. In fact, nothing has really happened at all. But the past few days have felt kind of rough, meaning there's lots of room to achieve better without much effort.

It all started Sunday night, I suppose, when Rusty started acting weird in the kitchen. I lowered myself to the floor, pressing my head against the ground to see what he was looking for - a toy perhaps? MOUSE!!! Running at my face!!! I had no idea I could go from flat on the floor to the top of the counter so swiftly while emitting very high decibel shrieks.

Tuesday, the pest control people came and put out a bunch of traps. We had discussed options at length because of the cats but the guy insisted the poison bait traps were the best bet and safe around kitties. Later that evening, we heard the mouse chomping on the poison. I felt sad about choosing a rather inhumane option.

Cue complete meltdown. Because as I thought about the chemical effects on the mouse, I started to think about the chemical effects on the cats. And what if the cat ate the mouse? And OMG my cats are going to die now because I chose the poison traps and payback is totally a bitch and I so totally deserve for my cats to die!

Obviously, the only reasonable option was for me to stay awake all night to make sure the cats did not eat the mouse. Because our kitties are not the kind who approve of being locked in their kitty crates overnight. I made it to 3am before dozing off just a bit, only to be awakened by the mouse gnawing very angrily on the poison block again. Zombie killer mouse, back from the dead to eat my face! I threw the kitties in their cages and crawled into bed.

This meant zombie sleepy Cate with a killer headache all day yesterday. This is already too long but last night involved locking the cats in our bedroom, which lasted less than 2 hours before we had to put them in their cages again because they were being evil. No idea what the status of the mouse is this morning.

I slept better last night and feel better today. I plan to workout for awhile, write for awhile, do housework for awhile. Better in every way. Room for improvement, indeed.

Monday, January 03, 2011

New Year, New Word, New Plan

You can't get where you're going unless you have some idea of where you are, which is why I'm taking a quick look at the past before talking about my plans for the future.

I wrote two posts at the beginning of 2010 that are very interesting for me to look back on now. The first is "A Letter To Cate".
And some dreams you don't even recognize as such yet - they'll be revealed along the way.

JOB - you know better. This isn't it. Fix it or move along.
The second post was my "Word of the Year" post, in which I chose effort.
This year will be about not just muddling through but also about making an "effort" to move in a direction that makes me happy.
When I wrote those two posts, going back to school and resigning from my job were nowhere on my radar. I had no idea how the second half of 2010 would play out. In fact, despite writing all about effort, I was probably anticipating a much safer route that included not leaving my job until I had found a new one or until my husband had decided we were relocating.

Now, I enter 2011 with not even a clue of where things are going. We still may relocate. Joe has told me to hold off looking for a new job until he has more of an idea about what's going on with his work situation. By the time this year wraps up, we could be living on another coast and I could be working in an entirely different field than the one I left last November.

With so much uncertainty ahead, I'm focusing on me. I'm not making a whole lot of resolutions, but I'm really throwing myself behind this year's word, better:

Main Entry: bet·ter
Pronunciation: \ˈbe-tər\
Function: adjective

Meaning: improved in health or mental attitude; of superior suitability, advisability, desirability, acceptableness; more attractive, favorable, or commendable; more advantageous or effective; improved in accuracy or performance
Synonyms: improved, finer, healthier, amend, advance, promote; reform, correct, preferable, surpassing
Related Words: good
Near Antonyms: worsen, decline, regress, inferior
Yes, this year, I'm going to focus on striving for better.
  • better eating
  • better exercise routine
  • better wife
  • better job
  • better writer
  • better marketer
  • better friend
  • better approach
  • better reactions
  • better attitude
Just generally better in everything I do. This will require both of my prior annual words, effort and focus. I'll need to prioritize and then make my very best attempt at the things I choose. But if I focus on doing those last three items, it should trickle into everything else.

I spent awhile yesterday thinking about resolutions and whether I planned to make any. All I wrote down was the following:
exercise + water - eating = weight loss
read 30 books
specific project success
So there we go! I wouldn't call those resolutions. Just a few specific areas in which I plan to be better. Not perfect, because I don't expect to ever be perfect. Just better.

I hope 2011 is kind to all of us and whatever dreams or plan you have for this year will happen!

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Six Word Saturday

Dear 2011 - I expect great things.
Partly because 2010 was such a trial in so many ways.  Though, I can't really complain.  Life is good compared to what so many are going through.  But this state of flux I'm in is very uncomfortable.  I'm trying to enjoy the lack of structure but I'm also ready to see what 2011 is going to bring.  Good stuff for all of us, I hope!

Come back Monday for my Word of Year for 2011.  And other sorta-resolutiony stuff.


Want to play along? All that's necessary to participate is to describe your life (or something) in a phrase using just six words. For more information, try clicking here. Feel free to explain or not explain. Add an image, a video, a song, nothing. I love seeing what everyone does with their entries.

Each week (probably on Sunday or Monday), I use random.org to select a bunch of entries to visit. In addition, please visit the person ahead of you on the list (or visit everyone if you like!). That way everyone receives at least one visit!

If you play along in your blog, please add a link to the Mr. Linky. I appreciate a link back (shiny code below if you like!). Otherwise, you're welcome to leave your six words in this post as a comment.

Please be sure to link either to your main page or (preferably) directly to the 6WS post. Links to blogs that do not contain a 6WS entry will be removed (sorry, just the button in the sidebar doesn't count as participating).