January 2006 Archives

January 20, 2006

I give up

9:30 on a Friday night and I'm sitting here unable to function. How the hell did tonight go so wrong?

Maybe it's the after effects of the hour long 'discussion' I had with the kids' 'sperm donor' (he doesn't deserve to be called a father). Subject: the boy was failing Language Arts until I cracked down and now he's getting a low B. Conclusion: It's my fault. Whatever.

Maybe it's the frustration of work that followed me home. After spending an entire night dowloading and burning appropriate (and, might I add, REQUESTED) songs for an upcoming PE show, I spent much of the rest of the week 1) explaining why I can't bleep dirty words in a song, 2) why certain songs are inappropriate for 5 year olds to dance to, 3) why my taste in music is so bad and 4) why I can't read minds, end world hunger, reverse the rotation of the earth OR PROGRAM THE ENTIRE FRICKIN' PE SHOW when it's neither MY JOB nor MY RESPONSIBILITY!

Maybe its the fact that my son hates me right now. Why? I exist. What did I do? Breathed wrong. I don't know. I can't seem to do anything right.

Maybe it's the fact that I think I'm getting an ulcer. Just after lying down last night, I had the worst acid reflux and ended up puking. Sorry, I know, unpleasant topic but, honestly, I haven't gotten sick for years ... I get nauseous a lot but not to the point of actually hurling. Had I eaten anything? Not for hours. No better today, either. Everything I eat makes me feel like I'm choking and I can't have any more TUMS because I've already exceeded the recommended dosage. Soggy cornflakes and skim milk for dinner. Yum. Couple that with the migraines I've been getting with increasing frequency and I'm a walking timebomb. I'm just waiting for the panic attacks to start up again. *whee*

Maybe it's just the fact that I am totally overwhelmed by the amount of work in my two classes this semester. I've had work intensive classes before but, for some reason, I can't seem to get a grip on these classes. If I don't pull my shit together this weekend, I seriously think I may have to drop one ... or both ... wanting to just give up is a bad thing. Asking myself if it's really worth it every time I sit down to do homework doesn't bode well. Of course, I'm also attending training every couple of weeks as well as delivering training and working full time and being 2 parents full time and doing for my mother and losing touch with friends and God forbid I want to have an actual life.

Maybe I'm just tired ... 24/7, 365, I never get a break from having to be in control, on time, in charge, on call, in line, on top of it all. Sometimes I just don't want to have to be the one that makes all the decisions, that takes all the blame, that shoulders the burden. Once, just once, I wish someone else would care half as much as I do so that maybe, just maybe, I can relax, even if it's just for a few moments.

Speculation isn't getting me anywhere. This life of acquiesence is taking its toll. Enough pleasing, enough passivity and, dammit, enough tears.

Seek Up

Sometimes I feel like I'm falling
Fall back again, fall back again,
Fall back again, fall back again
Oh, life it seems a struggle between
What we think what we see
I'm not going to change my ways
Just to please you or appease you
Inside a crowd, five billion proud
Willing to punch it out
Right, wrong, weak, strong
Ashes to ashes all fall down
Look around about this round
About this merry-go-round around
If at all God's gaze upon us fall
His mischievous grin, look at him

Forget about the reasons and
The treasons we are seeking
Forget about the notion that
Our emotions can be swept away
Forget about being guilty,
We are innocent instead
For soon we will all find our lives swept away .......


January 11, 2006

I <3 my geek!!!

I tell you what, nothing beats having a geek of your own.

*heh, sounds like a modern day Virginia Woolf book*

From the simplest logic problems to the really big OMFG-my-harddrive-just-died panic moments, he's always there and he's always got a fix.

I have to admit, as someone that prides herself on being self-sufficient, self-reliant and a wanna be geek, there are times that I get frustrated that I even have to ask for help but, when I do, he helps without complaint. And for those really tough stains (when I pretend something isn't really a big deal because it really is too far beyond me and I refuse to admit it), he will just ... know ... and suddenly it's done and I'm surprised and relieved and amazed and feeling incredibly lucky.

He could be a typical male and rub it in, how he had to be the man and fix something for his helpless little, stupid, clumsy chick. Now, no hate letters, because I was actually married to that guy and I KNOW they exist! He never makes me feel stupid, though. He allows me my pride and helps me learn how to fix it myself next time.

And when life totally overwhelms me, I know I can turn to him and he will help me see the big picture, remind me to take a breath and, if it's really bad, he'll be right there by my side as soon as he can. Just knowing that makes my life easier. That has nothing to do with him being a geek, of course ... that's just him.

What a guy. Any wonder why I love him?

January 8, 2006

The sounds of Sunday

Microwave humming quietly in the kitchen, nuking a turkey tenderloin that is my food for the week.

Washer and dryer chugging along in concert so that we won't have to be naked tomorrow.

The girl's meltdown subsiding, she sits sniffling and sighing at the kitchen table as it gets later and later and she begins to regret her procrastination. *sorry, girliepants, it's those damn genetics again! you knew the paper was due tomorrow.*

Music through the girl's headset so loud from the other room that I can tell it's Sum 41. Hmm, perhaps that's why she can't concentrate?

Absence of sound from the boy's room ... there should be sounds of him practicing his viola. His problem, not mine, if he doesn't pass his test tomorrow and get to go on the field trip.

Rhythmic licking from boy cat sitting on the couch across the room as he slowly but surely licks himself bald.

Loud purring from girl cat sitting just above my keyboard, watching me type.

Steady tap, tap, tap from me as I try to write my frustration away while trying not to attract too much attention from girl cat, lest she pounce.


Nope. Not working.

January 7, 2006

Just because I'm a girl...

doesn't mean I can't kick your ass in video games.

I came into video gaming at a later age than most. I was lucky enough to be able to play Pong and Asteroids at my friend Debbie's house. She and Janet and I would spend hours playing, then we'd watch Bugs Bunny cartoons and laugh ourselves silly. The pizza place I worked at then had a tabletop Ms. PacMan that we all loved to play whenever it wasn't busy (there went my paycheck every week!), and the arcade was one of our favorite places to go with our boyfriends during my senior year. Unfortunately, I was dating a guy that only liked pinball and if I wandered off to play anything else (Ohh, shiny!), he would grumble about leaving without me. Yeah, you guessed it, I spent a lot of hours watching him play pinball, pretending to be interested, gazing longingly at the shiny digital portals to nirvana that stood mere feet away.

Once I left high school, my crowd changed. Debbie and Janet went off and got married and started popping out babies and I went off to college. I spent much of my free time reading or in the theater or at the radio station or playing pool in the student union. My friends weren't arcade people (they were drinking, Uno and Trivial Pursuit playing theater people) and I didn't have the money for a console or a computer of my own. During my marriage, the x only liked playing minigolf and skeeball and I, once again, was relegated to waiting for him to finish playing before I could have a turn. Seems he only liked playing games he could win because as soon as I got good at minigolf, he decided he didn't like it anymore. Puss.

I lost touch with the 'gamer girl' inside until about 7 years ago, shortly after I got my first computer. I played several online games and a old friend of mine sent me FFVII for the PC ... I loved that game but my system was sluggish and struggled to run it. A few years later, Santa gave us a PlayStation and a copy of FFIX and that was it. I got hooked over Christmas break and slowly began looking for games that would interest both me and my kids. Yeah, that's me, I can't buy anything that's just for me ... justifying spending money on myself so that I can PLAY is unheard of.

I've since found other games I really like and am really good at. Running Wild is a racing game (you run a footrace as an animal against other animals) and I usually play as the Zebra, Brazz, a cool dude who wears a leather jacket and jeans and is pretty easy to handle. The Crash Bandicoot and Spyro series make up the bulk of our collection and, of the two, I'm more partial to Spyro.

This past year, my boyfriend and I went in on a Gamecube together and worked out a schedule where we could share his PS2 and the Gamecube ... naturally, that opened up a whole new expanded library of games for me to try and fall in love with. This is our month with the PS2 and that means Katamari Damaci and We <3 Katamari are in da house! Yup, officially the first game that I got hooked on. I absolutely love this series, it's quirky sense of humor, non-sexist animation and insane music keep me entertained for hours on end. The attention to detail is amazing.

For those that have never played, I'll try to explain. You play as the very small son of a very large king. He gives you a Katamari, a ball, that you are instructed to roll around a house, picking up objects as you go. The more you roll, the bigger you get and you are able to roll up bigger and bigger stuff. Let me tell you, there is nothing as satisfying as rolling up people, cars, houses, skyscrapers, islands ... and everything you roll up makes a noise so the aural chaos is intense when rolling through a city.

Some people have likened the Prince rolling his Katamari to a dungbeetle rolling his ball 'o dung (including the fine folks at Namco) but this is prettier and probably smells a good bit better.

What captivates me, as a gamer, is the attention to detail. As your katamari grows, your perspective shifts subtly so that you can see more (and less) of what is around you. What seems like an endless field of tacks and paperclips eventually turns into a desktop. Animals that attack you when you are small suddenly get frightened of you when you pick up enough stuff and turn on them. Revenge is sweet.

Eventually, if your katamari gets large enough near the end of your time, your vision is obscured by the clouds. I'm convinced that this is because the game is coded for a player to get only so big at each level and, when you approach that point, they slow you down and reduce your visibility until time runs out. It's quite a feeling to know that you've gone beyond where the designers ever thought you would go. It's even sweeter because I can totally kick my son's ass in Vs. mode. All this in a game that only uses your thumbs. I applaud Namco for having the guts to launch a franchise this quirky and non-mainstream and would encourage others to follow suit.

The other game that caught my interest (and my heart) this year was Lego Star Wars. Oh. My. God. Too much fun. Tim and I had a BLAST playing this game together, laughing ourselves silly, joining forces in battle and figuring out puzzles together. We have fun kicking the snot out of each other in the Diner (where losing studs and lives doesn't matter) and we both love killing JarJar. I mean, come on, who wouldn't?!?!

And don't even get me started on Animal Crossing. While Tim and I both enjoyed this for the novelty of it, my daughter absolutely loves it. I could keep playing it forever, and I will continue to visit every time the 'Cube is here, but I've met most of my goals and my only choice is to move into the next town and start all over there. Not sure I'll do that but my character, Booger, has a pretty sweet pad and more money than I'll ever have.

If it sounds like I only like non-competitive, fun kiddie games, I don't. I've enjoyed playing First Person Shooters like Halo and Metroid and I enjoy the Tony Hawk series, even though I suck at it. I really think that I would like a fighter, since I'm taking karate. I wish I could find a fighter that is close to real karate, though, something that celebrates the honor code of the samuri, either bare handed or with weapons. For realism, it would be open hand, gradually allowing the use of weapons as you advance.

Unfortunately, most of the fighters I've looked at seem to be more focused on the characters and the flash (of skin), kind of like the difference between real wrestling the WWF. Seriously, what self respecting fighter would fight in high heels and a strapless gown or, worse yet, a thong bikini held together with ribbon.

Now before you go off saying "Oh, she's just another chick that is pissed because the girls in the game are hotter than her." let me just say two things. "DUH!" and "That's not the only reason I get upset." I'm all for strong women characters but the sexist representations are just beyond me. Tim attributes it to a cultural difference (most fighting games are Japanese) but I would think that Japan would celebrate its rich cultural heritage (at least in a fighting game) rather than exploit it. I'm thinking 'Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon' would make a fabulous game with a strong female lead who kicks ass and is also gorgeous.

My karate class is filled with gorgeous women that kick ass, from my daughter to Michele and Kelly to Lee, our Sensai. They are all gorgeous powerhouses with strength and depth and they would never think of sparring in high heel boots and a thong ... unless they had to. *ahem*

I bring all this up because of #5 on my Uberlist. Tim is a gamer through and through and it's one of the many things we both enjoy. We don't play many games together - we are both solitary people that enjoy playing single player games - but when we do find a game we both like and we can play together (like LSW) we enjoy the hell out of it.

My desire to be a better gamer is two (or three) - fold.

1) I would like to be a better gamer so that I can keep up with him when we play together. Several times, he has handed me the controller for his 360 and I won't take it because I am not familiar with the interface ... and I HATE being stupid or inept.

2) I would like to be a better gamer because I would like to experience the gameplay of some games that I won't try because of their sexist stereotypes. That way, if the gameplay sucks, I can legitimately say "I've played it and it sucks and it's not because it's all jiggly bits and things." I can't spend my life complaining about bad games ... I'm going to learn what works and what doesn't and maybe I'll come up with some legitimate ideas for games, who knows? And I know just the programmer to help with the execution.

3) I would like to be a better gamer because I am on a quest to have more fun in my life and I know that the better I get, the more fun I will have.

I'm looking forward to the release of Okami later this year (Hmm, US release in May '06, just in time for my birthday!!) and am looking for other games that I might enjoy. If you have any suggestions, please feel free to speak up. I'm all thumbs ... umm, ears.

Addendum: I just read an article (a winded, convoluted article, at that) over at the Escapist that just pissed me slam off. It started out talking about how the gaming industry doesn't understand women, delves into evolutionay psychology for several pages and ends with the following paragraph:

All this leads to a suggestion for what might work for women in games: social reasoning. The ideal game for women, according to this simplified model, would be some sort of interactive soap opera or bodice ripper, presenting the player with complex social problems as she seeks the ideal mate. Contrast this with the kind of software currently being offered to women and you can see why so little progress has been made with this group.

To that I say a hearty "SCREW YOU!" I may be an anomoly but I don't watch soap operas, I don't read bodice rippers, and I'm not on a life-long quest seeking my ideal mate.

shut up, match.com doesn't count! just 'cause I met him there doesn't mean anything. that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

I'd rather play a game where the men and the women were on equal footing with equal strengths and weaknesses. As a female who has spent the last 10 years being both the hunter/gatherer and the nurturer, I sayjust give us a game that doesn't assume that we are all simpering prissies, that some of us actually enjoy stategy and action.

January 5, 2006

Uberlist 2006

Yet another lemming adding to the pile at the bottom of the cliff but hey, what do you expect? I'm trying really hard to stay positive and not be too bummed out this week, even though I am 1) back to school after a kickass vacation and 2) missing my boyfriend something fierce. I've got to do something to get my mind moving in a positive direction.

So I was reading Sweetney the other day and she had done this Uberlist at the dare of Danielle's, who I don't even know but I'm kind of enamored of at the moment after her description of her mouse problem (my personal mouse hell, known as Mouschwitz, still gives me nightmares). Now there are very few memes that I will pick up and run with but I thought this was good in a self-assessing, self-motivating kind of way. Besides, my daughter asked me the other day what my New Years Resolution was and, you know, I couldn't even think of one thing I wanted to accomplish this year. I figure maybe this will give me a chance to do just that ... and publicly posting them means that I'm more accountable and hell that might make me take them seriously.

Now, I'm not gonna get all crazy and make a list of a hundred but I will do as many as I can ... and add to it as I come up with new ones. I'm a firm believed of goal setting and have come quite a long way by taking baby steps so think of this as baby steps toward a better me.

Holy crap, that was so CHEESY!!!! *rolls eyes*

Before I make myself puke, here goes nothing.

Danielle's intro: The goal isn't to accomplish every single item, or to judge myself by the amount I am able to accomplish rather to remind myself that there are small things I can do on a regular basis nourish my spirit and soul. I hope that posting the list and keeping regular track of my progress incites me to do more this year.

My Uberlist, 2006:

1. Go back to karate (carefully)
2. Go for my green belt (agressively)
3. Cut down sugar and white flour. (if you want to read that as going on a law/no-carb diet, you can, but I'm not doing that ... it's a healthier lifestyle that my body responds to. 2 years ago I lost 60 lbs. doing just that and I aim to keep that going.)
4. Believe I can do it. (I don't care what *it* is but I can do it)
5. Become a better gamer. I'm already good at some games but I'm going to branch out and try some that aren't in the norm for me. This is part of my master plan to become even more of a computer geek than I already am. Sexy, yes?
6. CSS ... if it kills me.
7. Pick up a programming language (or two). It's time for me to put my money where my mouth is and just BE what I want to be.
8. Decide where the hell I am going with my education. A doctorate is my eventual goal but that road is long and I don't see myself starting on it in my present position. I need more support at work and at home to begin thinking about this. Perhaps when my kids are in college *gulp* because by then I would like to be working at the university level anyway.
9. Advocate for myself. Enough *head in the sand* when it comes to solving problems, especially with my health and my family.
10. Be more proactive. This goes along with number 9 but It's even more agressive ... prevent problems beforte they happen.
11. Spend time each week doing something fun with each of my kids.
12. Read every day.
13. Write more. Not just here. I need to get back to my poetry. And my book.
14. Be more positive (and no, not positive that I will fail)
15. Sing more.
16. Tell someone I love them every day.
17. Be nicer to myself.
18. Stand up for myself. Say no once in a while.
19. stop caring so much what other people might think of me and LIVE A LITTLE.
20. Have. more. fun.
21. Worry less about the bad when the good is going on. I'm terrible about that, seeing the end of the road before I even get there then making myself miserable for half the ride. I will especially focus on being more *in the moment* when my boyfriend and I are together. Our life together is not bittersweet. Sure a long distance relationship sucks sometimes but it is SO GOOD when we are together. THis may make the time apart harder but do I really care about that? Hell no. I'm in this, 100%.
22. Schedule my life. For someone as Monk-ish as I am, can you believe I don't keep a day planner or a schedule?? I've got to be more anal about that and less about the little things ... like keeping my M&Ms separated.
23. Stop assuming the worst. Life is different now. Good things can happen.
24. Let. it. go.
25. Cry a river, build a bridge and GET OVER IT. I will mourn losses and allow myself to heal. I will even allow myself a wallow once in a while. I will not repress and sublimate my emotions. This may turn me into a big slobbering mess of mush but I will be healthier in the end ... and maybe it won't always be so close to the surface.

WHEW. Didn't think I had so many in me. We'll have to see how I do over time. So ... where's yours?

January 3, 2006

Happiest New Year

Something tells me that this year is going to be excellent. No, it's not a palindrome year, though 2002 was pretty good - and totally satisfied my OCD at least until 2112. The year also doesn't have my lucky number in it, although the numbers DO add up to my lucky 8 - but, no, that's not it either. Nope, today I'm working off a high from the last couple of weeks, (which was way better than yours, btw), and a whole bundle of hope.

First off, it's been forever since I've posted but I've been BUSY, really, and taking the time to straighten out my head would take the buzz off the whole experience. Now that it's mostly over, I can breathe and think and reflect and ruminate and talk waaaaay too much about what's been going on in my head. Ready? Yeah, it's going to be a long one.

Though I got out of school on the 10th, my vacation didn't start until the 16th. That last week of school was quite a bit of fun ... kids sneaking up on me to give me presents, reading 'How the Grinch stole Christmas' 13 times (and loving it every time), snacking all day that last day of school on brownies and popcorn and cookies and kisses until I thought I would puke and getting NOTHING done and leaving it all behind ... what a blast.

I spent Friday night packing for a trip to visit my boyfriend's family, waking up bright and early Saturday morning to pack up the car with presents and treats and clothes and everything my little 'Yota could hold. Traveling with my kids is always a treat, nothing I would recommend if you value your sanity but something I'm pretty used to. We plugged in the MP3 player, cranked up the holiday tunes, and took 2 hours to get out of town ... GAH!! Once we hit the highway and the kids got into their own zones, it was much better.

Almost 3 hours later, I was on the phone with Tim, letting him know we were 'almost' there, that we had gotten some funky directions and were coming in the back way, apparently. He, very graciously, teased me as he told me how to get to his house from where I was and I think I made him (and myself) proud by actually making it there from where I was.

I have to interject that, though he calls where he lives a pit, I would give my eye teeth to live there. Something about the rolling hills and curvy roads really does it for me ... and every time I drive up to the farm, I get the same odd feeling of 'coming home' that I got the first time I went there. The fact that I feel more comfortable there than almost anyplace else just blows my mind. I just wish the little matter of about 170 miles wasn't between here and there but that's neither here nor there right now. We've made it work for quite a while now so I'm not complaining about the distance ... much ... ok, maybe a little today, but we'll get to that later.

Our 5 days up there was excellent ... we did presents, church (YES! I went to CHURCH!! And I liked it! Who woulda thunk it? More about that later ... ), shopping, gaming and general lazing around. It was very nice spending time with his parents, both of whom make me feel welcome in their home, which means the world to me. I realize that putting us up (or 'putting up with us') for 5 days is an enormous pain in the ass but they never let on that it is. I don't think I can ever explain this right ... let me just say that my family is very different than his and, frankly, I like his better.

The only drawback was my son's insistence on being his obstinate 13 year old self ... but this too shall pass.

Right?? Please tell me I'm right?!

We celebrated his 14th birthday while up there, taking him to see King King and out to dinner at Olive Garden. We also took the opportunity of being in the Richmond area to swing by Sam Ash and pick out my daughter's Christmas Present . It totally surprised her, which was very cool! Having Tim there to help pick up everything she needed was perfect ... I'm not sure I could have done that myself and, since he plays and knows a bit about guitars, it worked out perfectly. It also gives the two of them something other than monkeys in common - though having monkeys in common is nothing to sneeze at.

Coming home was a bit of a let down ... facing much of my Christmas shopping and very little time was a bit daunting. We were ready for Christmas at my Mom's, though ... or so I thought ...

Can I just say that I pray every day for strength and patience when dealing with my mom? I don't think I'm strong enough to get into it tonight, trying with all my might to hold onto the sweetness of the last week, but I will revisit our visit later ... once the meds kick in.

Planning as I was for Tim to come down on Tuesday, I was pleasantly surprised (and totally jazzed) when he said on Monday that he wanted to come down a day early. Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I squealed *yes* and began preparing as best as I could. I'm not nearly as neurotic as I was when we first started dating about the house being spotless because, as he said himself, he's not coming to see the house, he's coming to see me ... but I still had some basic housework to take care of.

We exchanged presents when he got here Monday night and I have to say, my sucky Christmas was totally saved.
He got me exactly what I wanted/needed ... TOYS, an excellent book about the history of punk, hummer feeders, and Space Ghost DVDs. How someone that has known me for less than 2 years can understand me better than someone that gave birth to me is totally beyond me. I'm a lucky girl, what can I say?

What followed was a great week, a ton of laughs, plenty of junk food *oof* and a gradual relaxation into us that we both needed. Usually our visits are short, jam packed with errands, but this time we actually had a couple of days with nothing to do. Heaven ...

Today, I came back down to earth. I left a home this morning and came back to a house ... empty, quiet, boring ...
I'm getting sad ... I didn't realize how hard this would be, really. I started this post with the intention of slipping into a big ball of cheese and I find myself slowly sinking into melancholia. Yes, I know it will pass so I'm just riding this one out, grateful to have the memories of the past week to wrap around me as I adjust to life alone again. I haven't even tried to go into the bedroom yet.

More later when I've stabilized. Something about an Uberlist and more about the holidays, our church visits and some resolutions to come. Tired now.

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This page is an archive of entries from January 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

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