The trouble with autobiography

I’m on lunch, and I wanted to make a quick note.

Encapsulating a life is a difficult task, especially when it’s your own, simply because you know when you’re leaving something out. My huge autobiographical profile seems comprehensive and complete, but every time I think about it I think of something else I could have added. I wrote it all in one sitting, and so of course whatever I’d been thinking about at that time affected what I put down. There are other things I didn’t mention at all, or could have emphasized more, but didn’t.

I suppose that in some ways I consider this entire journal to be my autobiography. This is the record of my thoughts and adventures and stories from my past, written in my own words. To that end, I have decided to open a separate page on pixelscribbles for diary entries from the past. I’ll be posting, word for word, things I wrote as a child. I’ll post here, too, to inform readers that a new diary entry is up and to maybe discuss it a little. I think this will be a fun, unique experience.

I’ll let you know when I get started…

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Apparently I’m way too long-winded for Blogger’s new "About Me" profile section

I wrote a nice big autobiographical piece for my Blogger profile, but when I try to include it in the update, I get an error. Until the issue is resolved, I’m going to go ahead and post it here. Enjoy!

I love talking about myself, and tonight I seem to be in the mood to ramble, so I hope you have some time.

My name is Heather Aubrey Meadows. I have two younger brothers, AJ and Ben, and a mom and dad. My brother AJ is married to a wonderful woman named Faye, and they have two sons, Connor and Logan. Ben is engaged to a great girl named Manda.

I was born and raised in Nicholasville, Kentucky, and until I was 7 I lived on a street called Lois Lane towards the outskirts of town. As a fan of Superman, this street name delighted me. While I lived there I went to private school at Lexington Christian School, which later became Lexington Christian Academy. I grew up using an Apple II e computer, playing games and typing and eventually writing my own BASIC programs.

Sometime around second grade, my parents moved us to a house in Nicholasville proper, and in third grade I started going to public school. I had always been a shy person, but the realization that these new people were unfriendly and superficial (at least, that was my impression) made me more reclusive than ever. By the time middle school came around–I attended East Jessamine County Middle–I was something of a freak, wearing sweat pants, T-shirts, men’s belts with huge buckles, and a brown trench coat. My hair was always back in a messy ponytail and I wore huge, red-rimmed glasses. Annoyed at how no one seemed to understand me or even want to, I began literally talking to walls, which really did my social life no good whatsoever.

Meanwhile, my dad invented a tool for electricians, which he began selling out of our house. We had to learn how to run a mail-order business essentially from scratch. Back in the beginning, before we had the parts extruded, I would cut them from a long bar of aluminum using Dad’s band saw. I’d then drill holes in them with the drill press and sand down the edges. We took orders through the mail and over the phone, and we stored customer information on 3X5 index cards until we finally, around 1993 or so, got a modern computer. I discovered “chatting” at the age of 15 on BBSes, and I engaged in all kinds of interesting and intelligent conversations there.

Come high school, I joined a kung fu class and started to try to make myself normal. If in middle school I thought I was superior to all others, in high school I strongly believed the opposite. I felt that I had stunted my own emotional development and that now I was a worm beneath everyone else’s feet. It was during this time that I developed my first real crush, a crush that lasted for years, on a guy one grade above me. He was in my kung fu class and I was highly impressed by his determination and abilities–not to mention the fact that I thought he looked like Luke Skywalker. Nothing came of this crush, of course, and the angst made it difficult for me to properly pursue normal friendships.

My junior year of high school was probably the best. I sometimes wish that I’d graduated early, to end it on a high note. I was a member of several clubs, I was physically fit, I had good friends, and I went to Florida that year for spring break, which was amazing and fun. That summer I attended the Governor’s Scholars Program, which I look back on as one of the greatest experiences of my life. I met a guy who will probably be a lifelong friend, Matt Gunterman, and I learned a lot about the world outside of high school. This made me itch to go to college.
Senior year was very depressing by comparison: I’d lost the election for BETA president, I’d quit kung fu and gained quite a bit of weight, I suddenly realized that I really didn’t have any friends–lots of people had moved away, and my regular group was all closer to each other than they were to me–and I was also very slow in applying to college, with at least one teacher telling me that I had made the wrong career decision. (He was right, but I’ll get to that later.) Plus, GSP had shown me how cool college life was going to be (or so I assumed), and I was bored with the high school dynamic.

Needless to say, I was very happy to get out of high school. In the fall of 1996, I packed up and moved to Huntsville, Alabama to learn to be a mechanical engineer. The idea of pursuing this profession had come to me after a friend’s little sister informed me that astronauts had to have 20/20 vision. Indeed, I had been toying with the idea of becoming an astronaut. The new knowledge devastated me, but I decided–in typical martyr fashion–that if I couldn’t be an astronaut, I’d be the next best thing and design the ships astronauts flew in. This decision had absolutely nothing to do with whether or not I would actually like mechanical engineering.

It turned out that while the general principles were interesting, I was very bored by the specific details. I slacked off in class, missed tests, and failed/withdrew from some courses while getting Ds and Cs in others. I did manage an A in physics lab, but I already knew at that point that I’d chosen the wrong path.

It was during this first year of college that I did something pretty horrible, even though at the time I thought I was somehow justified. During the first hall meeting, my roommate and I met a guy who lived across the hall (yes, co-ed floors; can you believe it? We lived in four person suites with two bathrooms apiece, too. UAH had it good). This guy ended up dating my roommate, but over time it came out that he’d originally wanted to date me instead. As time passed and he began seeking me out more and more as a means to “escape” my roommate’s temper and perceived selfishness, I found myself wanting to date him as well. By the end of the first semester, it was decided that he’d break up with her and go out with me after my roommate had a chance to move out.

(This rather clinical description is as far as I’m going to go in this profile, but bear in mind that it was far more messy than that.)

The next semester saw me enjoying myself, wasting all of his money and treating him like crap–because he let me. I’d tell him to do something and he’d do it. He wouldn’t change his opinions for me–he was a staunch atheist and Democrat–but pretty much anything else went. The most telling aspect of our relationship is the fact that while I was satisfied sexually, he was not, and I didn’t want to satisfy him.

I broke up with him twice during that semester. I felt like I was leading him on, that since I knew I didn’t really love him I should set him free. But he always wanted me back, always slipped into such great depression that I felt that maybe I should be with him, should try to help him, should try to love him. It didn’t work. I’ve come to realize that you can’t be in love with someone you pity. (Sympathy is another matter entirely, though.)

Over the summer I tried to break up with him again, only to say I’d take him back…but by that time he’d had enough, and he broke it off with me. I have to say that that moment was the most bittersweet of our entire relationship. He was standing up for himself and doing what I wasn’t strong enough to do, which automatically made him infinitely more attractive, but at the same time I felt an inordinate sense of freedom. I felt that I could live again, that my mistake was finally over.

My behavior was inexcusable, and I am ashamed of how I treated both my boyfriend and my roommate. My roommate has since graciously forgiven me, and we saw each other once when she came into Lexington for a family wedding. I have no idea what happened to my ex; he seems to have dropped off the face of the Internet.

I considered my first year of college to be a dismal failure at the time, although now I look back on it as a learning experience. In any event, I dropped out of UAH and made no immediate plans to return to school. I had no purpose, no direction, and then no boyfriend…so I started fresh, got my first real job–at Willis Music in Lexington Green mall–and bought my first car.

I’d only been working for a few months when I was diagnosed with biphenaltypic leukemia and admitted into the University of Kentucky’s Markey Cancer Center. From September of 1997 until April of 1998 I lived on the third floor of Markey, only occasionally being allowed to go home for visits. I underwent three rounds of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant, and I of course lost all my hair. I also had a catheter implanted in my chest, which left a round scar the size of a dime between my breasts, and due to abdominal pain during treatments I also had an exploratory procedure that left a six inch scar across my stomach. As I was immuno-suppressed, this wound didn’t heal for months.

While I was in the hospital, I got online quite a bit–my mom brought my computer in and I used my hospital room’s telephone to log on during the evening. Typically I stayed awake all night, met with the docs in the morning, and then went to sleep. During this time, I learned how to make webpages in Microsoft Word. (Yes, I know; you can stop writhing in agony at any time.) I also chatted quite a bit on IRC and ICQ.

Despite being able to get online and play around, I was still very much tired of being cooped up and having my life on hold. Once I was free to go, I immediately registered for classes at UK, signing up for whatever sounded remotely interesting. I ran into my old high school crush at orientation that summer, and was highly embarrassed to have him see me bald. It’s strange how strong feelings like that can come back years later…but obviously, nothing came of seeing him again.

1998 was a highly eventful year, apparently, because that was also when I started growing closer and closer to a guy I met through a Robotech chatroom. I’ll spoil any possible suspense and let you know right now that I am currently married to that guy.

We first met in person in the summer of 1999, when I drove down to visit him in Augusta, Georgia for two weeks. In many ways that trip felt foreign and strange, and in many other ways it felt like coming home. We knew each other so well online, but being in person really added to the breadth of knowledge. Facets that I hadn’t had to consider before were now large factors. It was an intriguing shift from an “online relationship” into a “long distance relationship”.

We managed to stay together, long distance, while I finished college. I considered transferring to a college closer to him, but ultimately I decided that I didn’t really want to take all the core classes over, so I’d best stick it out. Plus, after 13 months of working full time I quit my job to pay more attention to my studies, so I couldn’t have really afforded to move out of my parents’ house anyway. I stayed in Kentucky until I finally graduated in fall of 2002. (During this time I traded my old car, a 1993 Ford Taurus, for a 1998 Ford Escort. I loved that car, and drove it until I unfortunately totaled it in an accident on my way home from a trip to see Sean. After that I had no car payments, due to the fact that I inherited my grandfather’s 1986 Subaru GL hatchback, so I was able to quit my job at GRW Aerial Surveys, which was data entry that had already gotten boring, and did so without much remorse.)

After taking several different courses in things that sounded interesting, I ended up majoring in Linguistics and minoring in Japan Studies, and towards the end of my college career I tacked on a major in English because I had more than enough credits. I really stumbled into Linguistics and Japan Studies randomly; I’d taken courses because they sounded like fun and I ended up loving it all. I wasn’t sure what I would do with my degrees, but I felt that doing linguistics or something involving Japan–or, preferably, both–would make me happy.

On January 2, 2003, my whole family drove down to Augusta to help me move into a beautiful apartment and to celebrate my wedding. On January 4, 2003, Sean and I were married in a small ceremony at Augusta Golf and Gardens, where multiple pictures were taken, and then we enjoyed a reception at the apartment clubhouse before my family left to return to Kentucky and Sean and I finally began our new lives as husband and wife.

The first year was a big transition for me; living away from my family was very difficult, more difficult than I remembered it being from Huntsville. This was largely due to the fact that I didn’t have a job or anything else to really do during the day once the apartment was settled. I made frequent trips to Kentucky and felt very cut off and alone.

Towards the end of 2003, I received a data entry job offer from a good friend of ours, a former boss of Sean’s. I took it. From these extraordinarily humble beginnings, I worked my way up to the business manager position at the company, 2go-Box, a local restaurant marketing firm (and now, a delivery service). My background working with my parents’ business, plus my natural sense for organization and customer service, have really helped me to blossom in the new position. I work closely with the president and salesperson, Robert, and am planning on starting my own business one day.

Due to the cancer treatments, it seems that I am unable to have children. This has been a blight on an otherwise very happy existence. I still fall into depression about it. On the plus side, being over five years in remission means that it’s extraordinarily unlikely that my cancer will return.

In 2004 I became closer friends with some great people who live in and around North Augusta. If I had to make an analogy, I’d say that North Augusta is a lot like Nicholasville, while Augusta would be Lexington, and the area where Sean and I currently live (to the west of Augusta) is something like the Richmond Road/Man O War side of Lexington. Essentially, Sean and I are on a growing, developing, prospering side of town with lots of popular stores (the Augusta Exchange is just down the road) and restaurants. North Augusta is growing, too, but the sheer distance from our side of town, plus the fact that it’s in South Carolina, makes it feel a little different. It’s not on the cutting edge of growth, though I imagine it will get there someday; instead, it just feels like a really nice place. I’ve been thinking very seriously that it would be nice to buy a house there and really settle down. This is a far cry from my depression of 2003, during which I wanted to run home to Kentucky at the soonest possibility. I’m finally fitting in, making friends, forming routines, and doing a job I love. I finally feel like I’m home.

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Blueberry bagels with strawberry cream cheese

Mom and I used to go to the hospital a lot, for my checkups. On the way home, we’d always stop at the little bagel place that used to be on Nicholasville Road just before Man O’ War Boulevard. That was where I first discovered blueberry bagels with strawberry cream cheese. I almost invariably got one every time we went.

After a time, the bagel place closed and was eventually replaced by Popeye’s chicken. This happened towards the end of my hospital visits, though, and soon enough Mom and I weren’t taking routine trips up to Lexington together. I started going to UK, making the daily jaunt up Nicholasville Road alone. Soon I discovered the Intermezzo up on the mezzanine of Patterson Office Tower, central campus. That casual cafe became one of my regular haunts…and I’d always get a blueberry bagel with strawberry cream cheese to munch while doing my homework or reading.

For my first year here in Georgia, I really didn’t eat bagels. I hardly ever went anywhere, and I didn’t have an income to speak of, so they weren’t high on my priority list. But now that I’ve got my own job–a place to go during the week, plus money–I’ve been adding bagels to my shopping lists.

So now I sit here at my desk on my lunch break, preparing to dig into a nice blueberry bagel with strawberry cream cheese. :)

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Zzzzzz…

I’ve been pretty busy since getting home from Kentucky. Working full-time, regular daylight hours is a new experience for me, and I’m still adjusting. My past jobs have all been part time or shift work: at Wal-Mart (for the whole week and a half I worked there) I was doing a 2 to 11 pm shift; at Willis Music I worked different hours at varying points between 9 am and 6 pm; at GRW I worked 3 pm to midnight (due to going to school); and at the University of Kentucky night desk I worked either midnight to 4 am, 4 am to 8 am, or both. So yeah, I guess from that lineup I appear to be a night owl, and this new 8 am to 5 pm (soon to be 7 am to 4 pm) shift has me a little wonked. I’ve basically had to start going to bed at around 10 or 11 pm in order to get enough sleep, which precludes participating in many of the online chats I’ve come to love. I’m in bed before most of our AMRN people get online; either they’re out doing something else until the late evening, or they’re on the other side of the world, in which case they’re at work or just waking up when I’m going to bed.

This might be a good thing; sitting around chatting could be considered a waste of time, especially if I’m not accomplishing anything else in tandem. But I have always liked being available to my AMRN players and GMs, and it looks like that won’t be as possible anymore.

Regardless, this week hasn’t been extraordinarily restful. I got home on Monday night after 8 hours of driving, stayed up too late, and then got up early for work the next day. I’ve been trying to get more sleep since then, and it’s worked out all right, but I’ve had chores and errands to do after work that have made me feel as if I don’t have time to do anything. Normally I would catch up on the weekend, but I’m driving to Savannah on Saturday to see my aunt and cousin, so I have to get everything done before then, including get all the junk I brought home from Kentucky out of my car, and two loads of laundry. I guess those will be my chores for today after work, since I don’t have any other time to do them.

Yesterday I listened to a motivational CD by Earl Nightengale. It was fairly inspiring, but I’ve been left sort of befuddled. The main point was that people should pick goals and then work towards them in order to be successful. That has been a real problem for me in the past, and right now. What is my goal? I have a business idea, which I’ll not describe here lest someone steal it ;>, but I don’t know if that is my goal in life. Then again, I don’t know if the goals have to be permanent…I think maybe after you’ve accomplished one goal, you can come up with another one.

I guess my main problem with doing this sort of thing has been not wanting to give up on certain dreams in favor of other ones…and of course, fear of failure. Once I get past the first one and pick a goal, Nightengale suggests writing my goal down on a card and looking at it whenever I feel discouraged or fearful. I suppose that could work…so I just need to figure out what my goal is.

I was talking with AJ about it, and he suggested that I make a list of all my goals with two columns: REALLY WANT to do, and WOULD LIKE to do. Then, he said, I could prioritize the REALLY list in terms of feasibility. I don’t think Nightengale would approve of that second step; I’m supposed to believe that I can do anything. The first one, though, might be helpful.

I need to leave for work in about fifteen minutes, so I don’t want to start making my lists now. I’d like to give them some time and consideration. Sadly, I already know one of the things that’s going on my REALLY list: “be a mommy”.

My body shape has changed somewhat, so that my stomach seems to be sticking out more than it was before. This isn’t new; it’s been happening to me for months now. When I look at my profile, I tend to feel like I look pregnant. This has caused me to purchase pregnancy tests three times, “just to make sure”. Wednesday was one of those times, and seeing the negative result was depressing. Even though I know it’s impossible, I still have hope…and that hope invariably leads me to despair.

Working for Proactive Genetics doesn’t really help my emotional state. I do all the mailings for the company, and I’m in charge of the affiliate program, so it’s not like I can divorce myself from the idea of having children. It’s in my face on a daily basis. Every day, some lucky person with twins puts in an order for our zygosity test. I can’t even have one, but all these people have two. You can see how this would get disenheartening.

Still, I’m trying to stay positive. Maybe it’s possible. If it’s not, maybe I can adopt. Unfortunately, with all these maybes, it’s sort of hard to make goals! The only thing I know definitively is that Sean doesn’t want children right now. Sometimes I wonder if he ever will.

Maybe. :P

Pollen, and work

Spring is coming. We’re right on the cusp. I know because of the pressure in my sinuses and the beginnings of tears that are suddenly ever-present in my eyes. Yes, that’s right, folks…allergy season is here.

Last night I had a horrible migraine. I thought it was simply due to the work I’ve been doing on a new website for Macross 2051 (I’ve created a new layout and I’m translating it into the proper code for Mambo Content Management System), and though I did take some allergy medicine in the hopes that it would help, I didn’t really believe allergies were the prime suspect.

Today after work I noticed a light dusting of yellow powder on my car. So yeah. Allergies.

Augusta has one of the highest pollen concentrations in the world. Pollen forecast from the Weather Channel; pollen forecast from the makers of Zyrtec. ;> Whichever one you trust, we’ve got pollen, people. I’ve turned on the air conditioning in the hopes that it will help filter some of it out, but I’m getting the feeling that this sinus pressure will stick with me all week :(

In other news…

I haven’t been posting lately, but that’s not due to a lack of things to say. Either I’ve been busy doing something else or I’ve been too tired to write or, the case that happens a lot, I didn’t want to post because I’m going to redo this website in Mambo and I didn’t want to spend energy writing something that I would have to port over later. But heck, I’m going to be working on it for quite some time, so I may as well journal in the meantime. Life’s too short not to blog.

Yes, that was lame. Intentionally lame ;D

Today I talked with Robert about rearranging the office. He had my desk facing one of the sets of windows; I want to turn it to go along the wall to the left, so that I have a better view of the door and so as to open up more space in the center of the room. This will involve shifting some free-standing shelves around and sliding his desk and the mini fridge a few feet away, but it won’t be a big deal, and hopefully the result will make the office look nice and neat. We’ve had clients stop in and we look sort of unprofessional right now. As soon as the main area is laid out the way I want it, I’m going to work on the finer details of spiffifying the office. Should be fun; I like interior design.

I also mentioned to him that I’m going to want a week off sometime in the next two months, and I told him that I would work eight hour shifts the week before or after in order to make up my time. I then asked him when it would be convenient for him for me to go, since the new project will be starting this month. He said that two weeks after the project gets off the ground should be fine, so that means maybe the week of April 5. Of course, you all should know what I plan to do during that time…visit my family!

A week-long vacation to see them will probably be better than the trips I’ve been making, where I go for an undetermined amount of time and then end up getting too attached. One week should be fine. I felt better after the Christmas visit than I had for the other visits, and I really think it was a matter of planning how long the stay would be. I think not having a definite leave date puts me in the wrong mindset, especially towards the end of the visit.

Plus, now I have something to come back to besides housework! (Oh, and Sean, of course ;>)

Today was slower than usual at work, otherwise. I finally managed to scour some of the local magazines for restaurant leads. I also stocked up on printed materials (address labels, instructions, etc), and I affixed quite a few return address labels to bubble mailers. That puts me in good shape for tomorrow, when I have to mail packages.

I just remembered two things I forgot to do while I was at work. Bleh.

I’ll blame them on my sinuses…

Ta-Da!

One of the things FlyLady suggests doing in one’s Evening Routine is “Work on journal/’Ta-Da’ List”. I figured I’d do a smattering of both.

I haven’t written anything in the past few days, not for lack of desire but because I have been simply too busy during the day (either doing things on my to-do list, or thinking about how I should be doing things on my to-do list), and at night I have been exhausted. Thursday, Friday, yesterday, and today, I have gotten up at ~7 am in order to get ready and make Sean’s breakfast for him before he leaves for work. (He ate all the breakfasts except today’s, because he was running late this morning.) Since this is well before the time I would normally get up, it has taken some getting used to. Yesterday I got up at 4 am; muscle soreness was preventing me from sleeping any longer. Because of that I ended up taking an extraordinarily long nap in the afternoon. Still, I was able to make it to bed at a decent hour (around midnight or one, I guess) and then I got up this morning right on time. No naps today, though I did relax in the La-Z-Boy for a bit.

But I feel like I’m getting better! I feel like I’m actually doing something instead of just sitting around all day. I have started writing up brief to-do lists for myself, and accomplishing as many things as possible. Sometimes I’ve had to switch priorities; updates to the family business website have taken precedence over some old data entry tasks, and when my boss emailed me with a menu update today, I penciled that in and got it done right away. In fact, here is everything I accomplished today (the Ta-Da List!):

  1. Successfully followed morning routine (getting up/dressed/ready; cleaning; breakfast)
  2. Dropped off half a year’s worth of aluminum cans at the fire department as a donation to help burn victims (I have been meaning to get those cans out of our outdoor storage space for, well…a year. I’ll get the rest of them tomorrow–they wouldn’t all fit in my car!)
  3. Played tennis for approximately 30 minutes
  4. Watched two DVDs (8 episodes) of Martian Successor Nadesico (hey, I’ve been meaning to do that!)
  5. Fixed a problem on no-dog.com
  6. Updated a menu for 2go-Box
  7. Worked on some birthday club data entry for 2go-Box
  8. Made dinner and managed to keep the counters and sink clear and clean
  9. Ate dinner with Sean at the dining room table (I’ve been trying to do this more; for awhile we’ve just been eating at our computers ^^;;)
  10. Did dishes (dishwasher)

So yeah, I’m feeling pretty good! Tomorrow’s to-do list includes grocery shopping, taking the rest of the recycling over to the fire station, and working on more data entry. I may or may not add in AMRN stuff; it depends on how urgent I feel the matters are. There are a lot of little things in the back of my mind that are bugging me and that I want to get done…and with this system, I feel like I am slowly on my way to doing them. This is great :)

I’m also trying to make sure we take vitamins at breakfast…I think we could both stand to be more healthy.

Thursday and Friday, I got myself in the frame of mind to get up in the morning. I didn’t do it Saturday or Sunday, and Monday I totally slipped up–stayed up too late the night before. But Tuesday I was ready to get back on track, and so not only did I finish my morning routine, but when I took the garbage out I decided to take a fifteen minute walk for exercise.

It was a little chilly out, so after I’d made it most of the way around the apartment complex I decided to use the weight room’s treadmill instead. I obtained a key from the apartment manager, so now I can get in whenever I want, and then I finished up my fifteen minutes. My muscle soreness did end up increasing…but it felt great, really. It’s kind of sad that fifteen minutes of walking seems like a big accomplishment, but that’s just the point I’m at right now. I’m going to get better. I’m going to get awesome :>

I was going to take another walk today, but since Paul and I had previously decided to play tennis on Wednesday and Saturday, I figured that I should keep those appointments instead. It will throw a little variety into my routine, which is always welcome. So Wednesdays and Saturdays will be tennis, and the rest of the week will be walks.

After awhile building up my walking endurance, I’ll add more to my routine, such as the stair climber or the weight machines. I’m also going to start doing kung fu stretching. But it’s going to be incremental. I don’t want to burn myself out early and quit altogether.

I don’t know if I’ll lose any weight doing this, and to be honest that’s not my primary concern. I just want to know that if I needed to, I could run a long distance, or lift something heavy, or do strenuous activities without passing out. I also just want to feel better, and not be as tired as I usually am. Today I feel energized. That’s how I always want to feel :)

Eliminating my back pain would be a plus, but I don’t know if that’s even possible :>

Cory Doctorow’s new book is online, so you know I’ll be reading it. Kevin linked me to Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom awhile back and it was a fantastic read. I haven’t checked out Doctorow’s short stories yet, but I’m sure I’ll get to them. For now, though, Eastern Standard Tribe is on my short list, along with Master and Commander (I’m somewhere in Chapter Four–and yes, if I haven’t mentioned it, I’m reading it because the protagonist’s name is Aubrey) and The Time Traveler’s Wife, which I have yet to crack open.

With that list, I’m making it appear as though I am a voracious reader. However, I have had those two books since Christmas. :> I’d like to get back into my old reading habits, but it’s a struggle, especially since I spend so much time reading online. Online reading is not necessarily a bad thing, but I usually end up reading blogs and entertainment news (and occasionally real news, home and garden tutorials, and self-help articles). I am a websurfer extraordinaire, but I’m not sure if I’m getting enough meaningful input.

Well, that’s about it for me. I’m going to follow FlyLady’s advice for the evening routine and try taking a relaxing bath, and then I’ll putter around online until bedtime. A comfortable end to a lovely, productive day.

I am the "maid of honor"; plus, a quiz for You.

I’ve made breakfast for my husband two days in a row. Where I come from, that’s an accomplishment. That means…it’s time for a crap post! (Yes, you guessed it, more quizzes. Sorry, AJ.)

First up:

Appreciated for your kindness and envied for all your experience, you are The Maid of Honor.

Charismatic, affectionate, and terrific in relationships, you are what many guys would call a “perfect catch”–and you probably have many admirers, each wishing to capture your long-term love. You’re careful, extra careful, because the last thing you want is to hurt anyone. Especially some poor boy whose only crime was liking you.

We’ve deduced you’re fully capable of a dirty fling, but you do feel that post-coital attachment after hooking up. So, conscientious person that you are, you do your best to reserve physical affection for those you respect…so you can respect yourself.

Your biggest negative is the byproduct of your careful nature: indecision. You’re just as slow rejecting someone as you are accepting them.

Take this quiz!
I don’t know about you, but I think my personality rocks. XD

Up next: This isn’t actually a quiz for me. It’s a quiz for you. Go on, people. Tell me what you really think!

1. Give me a nickname and explain why you picked it.

2. Am I loveable?

3. How long have you known me?

4. When and how did we first meet?

5. What was your first impression?

6. Do you still think that way about me now?

7. What do you think my weakness is?

8. Do you think I’ll get married?

9. What makes me happy?

10. What makes me sad?

11. What reminds you of me?

12. If you could give me anything what would it be?

13. How well do you know me?

14. When’s the last time you saw me?

15. Ever wanted to tell me something but couldn’t?

16. Do you think I could kill someone?

17. Describe me in one word.

18. Do you think our friendship is getting stronger/weaker/or staying the same?

19. Do you feel that you could talk to me about anything and I would listen?

20. Are you going to put this on your journal and see what I say about you?

I wouldn’t have done this one if Dawn hadn’t done it. After I filled hers out, I got all intrigued, and now I’m wondering what you guys will say. I’m not going to email this to people and beg them to fill it out. This is completely voluntary. So if you feel like it, dump your answers in the comments.

I can’t…

I can’t divorce myself from the need to succeed. I can’t sit down and write a book just for me.

Traditions under the moon

Today, Dawn wrote about the Chinese Mid Autumn Festival, and I couldn’t help but be reminded of my own childhood traditions. Fireworks on the Fourth of July were always a big thing, whether we set off our own in front of our house or drove up to Lexington to watch the big show from Doris’ farm, sprawled out in the back of a banged-up pickup truck. Dawn’s discussion of lanterns made me think of Woodhaven, where Granny and Aunt Carol used to live; they had strings of lights running along their trailer in the shape of Chinese lanterns, and I loved their bright colors lighting up the porch at night. I sat out there with my aunts and played board games, or watched over my baby cousins (who are now all teenagers!), or played house with the myriad collection of toys Granny kept in her outdoor tent in the yard. We rode bikes at Woodhaven, too, all around the narrow, winding roads. Woodhaven was a private retirement community, and there wasn’t much traffic. It was very rustic and peaceful there; it felt like a chosen, comfortable seclusion.

Summers are what I remember most from my childhood, because summer was always the time for adventures. Piling into the car to go to Uncle Lewis’ place on Lake Cumberland was one of my favorites, because we got to go swimming, climbing, picnicking, and exploring, and in the morning Uncle Lewis always made us his famous “greasy eggs”. I think I miss having his place to go to the most; I don’t have any real memories attached to Ma’s farm in Mt. Sterling, and there’s not much to do there. And of course, we always went to Illinois in the summer, whether to Woodhaven, or to Big Rock, or to Wilmette…but once my parents started the business, we weren’t able to all run off on jaunts anymore, and so the adventure chapter of my life was closed. I think maybe that’s why I didn’t mind driving eight hours to see Sean for a weekend…travel has been in my blood since I was little.

Christmas is another tradition I’ve had since childhood, but until we had the business it wasn’t a truly large affair for us. We typically went to Uncle Jeff and Aunt Karen’s house on Eastin Road in Lexington, a beautiful, large, stately house that I felt I could get lost in. Their tree was always splendid, with more gifts beneath it than I could count. Everyone brought food, and we all ate dinner and then exchanged presents. That tradition died off when people began realizing they couldn’t afford to buy presents for everyone, and now if we go anywhere it’s to Grandma’s for dinner, with no formal gift exchange. It’s nice, but it’s not the same. Our party at home is bigger and better, though, with lots of presents, and the little joy that is Connor running around brightening everything. This year, when Sean and I go to my parents’ for the holiday, there will be another little one to cuddle.

Traditions don’t really die; they just change. They’ve shaped who we are, and who we are shapes what we do.

Dawn also wrote today about how she finished up her festival day, a quiet, more muted celebration, tinged with melancholy. I know how it feels to be lonely on holidays. I think the song Dawn chose to quote at the end of her post was a wonderful choice, especially because it reminded me of something that happened yesterday.

Out of the blue, I decided to call Connor. I miss that little sweetie. We had a good conversation; he told me to come over to his house “tomorrow” but I said it would have to wait until Halloween. Then he asked me, “Can you see the moon?”

I went out on the deck and looked, and there it was, Mars hanging just below and to the right. “Wow,” I said, “it’s really orange, isn’t it?”

“Yeah!” Connor said. “And it has eyes and a nose and a mouth! But it doesn’t say anything.”

“The moon’s pretty quiet,” I agreed.

At that moment, I remembered the song, “Somewhere Out There”, from An American Tail…and so for me it was doubly delightful to have Dawn think of the same song for a completely different reason.

I miss everyone…but it is nice to think we’re sleeping underneath the same big sky.

"I think all of us have one question," AJ said. "What’re you going to eat today?"

:>

Well, I don’t know what I’m going to eat today. However, yesterday, I had:

  • five pieces of pizza
  • two cans of Mountain Dew

Hopefully that will satisfy everyone’s curiosity for now. ;P

Sean and I awoke this morning to the violent sounds of a raging storm. Rain slammed against the roof and walls of our apartment as lightning crashed and thunder cracked deafeningly at very close range. Sean got up to look at the storm out the deck door, then returned to curl up in bed. “Honest,” he said, “Georgia didn’t have tropical South American weather before you moved here.”

It’s all my fault!!!

McAfee Virus Scan renewed itself yesterday, so I figured I’d keep it rather than cancelling the service. I’m scanning my computer now, and so far, three small files in my Temporary Internet Files folder have come up as infected. I’m not sure if they are actually causing a problem or not, but it’s good to know that McAfee caught them. The viruses are named “Exploit-ByteVerify” and “JS/Seeker.gen.f“. I just remembered that I haven’t bothered to apply Service Packs to Office yet, so I’ll do that once the scan is done and hopefully lower my infectability factor.

Last night we had Paul over and ordered pizza. That was our tradition for a long time, but the past few weeks we’d been neglecting it. It was good to have company over again. We ended up watching the first two DVDs of Kimagure Orange Road, which I found very amusing and fun. The male lead suffers from that same inability to articulate his desires to women that we see in many titles, but it’s not as overwhelmingly irritating as it is in, say, To Heart. In fact, Kyosuke does much better with it than Tenchi or Keitaro (to use two very famous examples), which is a refreshing change. I’d like to watch more of the show, and soon.

I also need to catch up on Naruto. Episode 44 was just released by the fansubbers, but I think Sean and I haven’t seen anything past 38.

The AMRN has been kicking, so much so that two new games may or may not be in the works. Snipes has been putting together a website in hopes of resurrecting the long-dead Bubblegum Crisis game; Sam has been kicking around the idea of a Cowboy Bebop game for months now. I’d like to mention here that I’ve thought about doing a Cowboy Bebop game ever since seeing Cowboy Bebop. The universe is extraordinarily rich, and the genre leaves plenty of room for more intrigue and fun. The game would have to exclude the original cast, but I feel that assembling a new group of people and writing a story for those people would have the same effect as the anime. What happens, ultimately, would be directly relevant to them, and when it was all said and done they would have changed the face of the universe.

Of course, the biggest problem with that is keeping players. If you let someone join who ends up flaking out a few months in, then you have to totally rewrite your story. This, plus the fact that I am already running two games, sort of curtailed the tiny, preliminary thoughts I was having. Still, the thought that Sam might work something up is exciting. I wonder what sort of character I could play…

All good things…

Continuing on the one meal a day plan, I ate:

  • one chicken club sandwich from Chik-Fil-A
  • one large box of waffle fries
  • one medium Dr Pepper
  • two cans of Mountain Dew, one of which I am currently drinking

I’m sort of in a weird mood today. I’m not sure what the deal is, but it probably has something to do with the IRC chat. You know how good things are…they tend to not always stay as good. I guess this is sort of the situation now, though I’m sure things will get better with time. Essentially, there is a guy who comes to the chat that pretty much everyone dislikes, but I have no legit reason to ban him, so we’re stuck with him. (In other news, I did ban Suzaku today–he was asking for it. Literally.)

I’d like to be in the mood to post, and I’m working my way back in, but it’s a slow process. I don’t really have much to say beyond that, so I’ll stop here.

One meal a day; plus, IRC is cool

Today, like yesterday, I only had one meal. It was:

  • one pint sweet and sour chicken
  • one pint rice
  • one can Mountain Dew

I’ve also been drinking water.

I’m not sure what the deal is, but yesterday and today I just didn’t feel like eating, other than the main meal that came around what lunch would be for me if I was counting. Right now I feel like I should be hungry, but I don’t particularly want to eat anything. Thinking about food makes me go “Meh.”

Sam says that I should try to stick to one meal a day for a week so that my stomach will contract. Then I’ll get full easier, as long as I eat slowly. I say that sounds like a good plan, so I’m going to go for it.

Boy, we had a crazy time in the channel tonight. I told Kitty Larke’s player to come in, and she did, and she was a hoot. She’s one of those who is quite adept at the skill of chatting, and she kept us all in stitches. We amused her greatly, as well. It was a rousing good time for all, during which postage occurred…so in essence, I was quite a happy camper!

I really haven’t had a good, fast-paced chat like that in a long time. We used to have them back on EFNet, #robotech and #starwars!, but after awhile people just stopped going to EFNet (including me). I really love what the IRC room does for the AMRN. Giving people a common place to discuss posts and conspire together and get to know one another was a fantastic idea. Posting has increased among the people who show up to the chat, I believe, and we’re tying more things together far more easily than before. It’s the sense of community that I always felt we needed. Not everyone comes to the room, so it’s not an all-encapsulating experience…but we have enough of the major posters that it almost feels like it. It’s fantastic.

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Categorized as Diary Tagged ,

Happy Birthday, Dawn!

Yes, it’s August 8 in Malaysia already, which means my dear friend Dawn is celebrating her birthday. I suppose it wouldn’t be proper to put her age here ;D

Dawn and I have known each other since fall/winter of 1999. Actually, the first time I learned of her existence was, I believe, when I visited Sean for the first time in the summer of 1999. I’m actually having a little trouble putting the facts together, but I know that my first encounter with Dawn occurred while Sean and I had our computers over at the Mental Soup offices. We were there after hours hanging out online, and a message popped up on Sean’s ICQ for “Ryu-chan”. Somehow, I also discovered that Dawn had sent him a Christmas card. (He must have still had it on his desk with the rest of his mail. In the middle of summer. I don’t know ;P)

“How did she get your address?” I asked, as this was back in the ‘jealous girlfriend’ stage of our relationship.

“I gave it to her,” Sean said without explanation or apology. (My husband is cool.)

Since I had no real response to this–even jealous-girlfriend-me knew that throwing a hissy fit would be stupid and immature–I dropped the issue. I went back to reading the AMRN to see if I could find her posts or any idea about her (at the time I was not a member, but I had started reading the boards because Sean spent so much time writing there. If I use another parenthetical I may kill myself).

I never did find anything to fuel my jealousy, and I forgot about the whole thing shortly thereafter.

Months later, I decided to join the AMRN with my new character idea, Julien Straub. Shade (who I had also met in person on that trip) and I conspired together to come up with the idea. Basically, Julien would be closeted gay, and he would realize the truth about himself by falling in love with Ryu Connor, Sean’s character. It was going to be a hoot, or so we thought.

So I started roleplaying with Julien, and I discovered that I was really, really liking it.

During the transfer story in which Julien and a crowd of others were shuffling into various squadrons on the Etrakis, I–or rather, Julien’s player–met Dawn–or rather, Dawn and her alter-ego Hellspawn. Oh, boy, this is more convoluted than I thought.

Julien and Iliana’s players, which were of course me and Dawn, began conversing through email. The messages were really interesting and “we” got to know each other quite well. Meanwhile, on ICQ, “Hellspawn”, who played on the AMRN, joined “Julien’s” contact list. Julien and Hellspawn talked for a bit about videogames and RPGs, but ultimately didn’t have much to say to each other. (I was having trouble pretending to be a man. I really had no interest in videogames and RPGs, and I didn’t know what else to talk about.)

Finally, Hellspawn decided that “he” could no longer lie to “his” good friend Julien, and spilled the beans in an email from Iliana, letting me know that they were one and the same person.

After receiving the email, I was sort of shocked, and I wasn’t sure what to think. When I saw Hellspawn on ICQ later, I sucked it up: “You play a pretty good woman, Hellspawn!”

Then Dawn responded with the killer: “That’s because I am one, dearie ^_~”

I about fell out of my chair. But I could hardly fault her, since I was doing the same thing.

I wanted to paste the log of that conversation here, but I seem to have lost all of my Julien chats :P I have checked all my backup CDs and DVDs and I guess I just never thought to copy over Julien’s ICQ stuff. I’m amazed that I didn’t save the chats as text files though. What was I thinking?

In any case, I didn’t tell her who I was for awhile. I actually began living a double life, because as my chat logs with Sean attest, I met Dawn as Heather on January 21, 2000.

Me (9:02:38 PM): Hellspawn, huh?

Sean (9:02:59 PM): Yeah, approve her.

Me (9:03:02 PM): I did.

Me (9:04:02 PM): That’s the same person you were talking to that one time, right?

Sean (9:08:35 PM): Right.

I believe I’m slyly referring to “that girl who called you Ryu-chan?” without actually saying it. I was such a dork at the beginning of our relationship. ;>

Anyway, I don’t have any logs from Dawn until February 4, 2000. By that time we seemed to know each other’s secrets. This excerpt is interesting:

————————————–

ICQ History Log For:

64474335 Witch Child

Started on Wed Sep 27 15:56:59 2000

————————————–

COSLeia 2/15/00 2:31 PM This is weird.

Witch 2/15/00 2:43 PM I agree… ^_^

COSLeia 2/15/00 2:43 PM Back as me. And sure, I’ll talk to Boomer

Witch 2/15/00 2:44 PM ^_^

hold on a moment while I set it up?

COSLeia 2/17/00 4:01 PM :)

Witch 2/17/00 4:02 PM hehe… just noticed?

is Dave online btw? he hasn’t authorized me

yet

COSLeia 2/17/00 4:07 PM I’m not on as Julien so I can’t tell hold on

As you can see, after Dawn found out I was Julien, I still kept up the charade for quite a long time. I even had a few conversations with Sean as Julien, on AIM. O, the deception! These, of course, I managed to save. Just for kicks, here’s an example:

Hellfire00 (11:49:49 PM): Hmm, just Tuesday, was hoping for a new Penny-Arcade.

JulienStraub (11:49:52 PM): Oops. I have to go.

JulienStraub (11:49:59 PM): Penny-Arcade!

JulienStraub (11:50:06 PM): My gaming friends told me about that.

JulienStraub (11:50:08 PM): I never miss it now.

Sean (11:50:14 PM): It rulez.

JulienStraub (11:50:20 PM): 3r33t

Sean (11:50:28 PM): LOL, you know l33t speak!

JulienStraub (11:50:44 PM): I’m on AOL. What do you expect?

Sean (11:50:45 PM): OMG! I thought I was all alone!

Sean (11:50:46 PM): Roxor!

Sean (11:50:49 PM): Heh.

Sean (11:51:19 PM): Alright, take care man, I will chat at you tomorrow I am sure.

“My gaming friends”…peh.

And just for good measure…

JulienStraub (11:14:44 PM): Hello. ^_^

Sean (11:14:50 PM): Hello. ^_^

Gaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay…

Hm. Well. This turned into more of a ramble about Julien than a discussion of my relationship with Dawn ^^;;;; I guess it would be easier to chronicle my friendship with her if I hadn’t seemingly lost all the old chats and emails. :( I don’t know why I didn’t save them. I’ve been saving things like that since 1996. Oh well. I must have lost it all in a format and forgotten to back up beforehand.

Well, I guess I can break the suspense and let the reader know how Dawn found out that I was Julien.

I was having trouble keeping the identities separate after I started talking to Dawn as myself, especially considering how close I had gotten to her as Julien. One day I was telling her about my struggle with cancer, and Dawn paused and then said, “This sounds familiar…”

I froze. I had told Dawn about having cancer as Julien, in email, and completely forgotten! I didn’t want to lie to her (I seem to have no problems with deception as long as I don’t have to actually lie straight out), and so after a moment of consternation, I finally said, “You probably remember it from Julien telling you about it. And I’m Julien.”

I’m sure Dawn almost fell out of her chair…and thus our true and open friendship began :>

Since Dawn and I really started to know each other, our friendship has really deepened and blossomed. I’ve never met her in person, but I can say without a doubt that she is the closest female friend I have. I wanted her to be the maid of honor at my wedding, but unfortunately she couldn’t make it. I told her that she was my maid of honor whether she was there or not, though :)

Since we became friends, I’ve watched Dawn go through some hard times, especially in her relationships. I wish I knew the right thing to do or say to help her find the man for her, but I guess it will just come in time. She seems to attract people who don’t appreciate her…and sadly enough she tends to cling to those people. I guess some of that is natural…women like the ‘strong, silent type’ and would actually rather be dismissed outright by a guy than coddled and pampered by one. But when it goes to the extreme, it’s just hurtful and sad. There needs to be a good balance…two people who know they love each other but who don’t lose their identities and opinions in the process. It’s hard to do, and a lot of it is purely left up to chance. (Who knew I would meet my perfect match in a Robotech chat room?)

I want Dawn to be happy. One of my goals in life once I’m rich ;) is to sponsor Dawn to come to the US. I know she wants to come here and meet everyone. I don’t know that she would necessarily want to stay, and I wouldn’t force her to do anything, but I would love to have her close, so we could hang out in person. It would just be great :>

I sometimes wonder how we would get along in person. She likes to go to clubs and stuff, and she’s a smoker. I imagine she drinks, too, but I’m not sure. Compared to Dawn, I’m pretty boring ^^;; I wonder if she would have fun with me, or if she would need more excitement in her life.

Maybe someday I’ll find out!