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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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!

Gaila

I took off my shoes yesterday and set them next to my desk with my socks lying on top. They’ve been sitting there since then.

Seeing them in the periphery of my vision, I’ve managed to convince myself that they are various other things, since I don’t really expect anything to be at that spot on the floor. At once point I thought there was a huge dead mouse lying right next to my feet. But of late, every time I notice my shoes out of the corner of my eye, my brain gives me an image of my dog, Gaila, lying asleep next to my desk. It’s a comforting, normal-seeming image, and the first few times I saw it I looked down as if preparing to reach down and pet her. Of course, she’s not there. Now that that image has occurred to me, it’s all I see.

It’s odd, because I don’t know that I miss Gaila. I think I miss the idea of Gaila.

A few days ago the guys in the chatroom were talking about their dogs. Sam has apparently had a dog like Misho–intelligent to the point of being a member of the family. Carver had a similar experience with his dog, who unfortunately had to be put to sleep recently. As everyone spoke about their dogs, I realized that I had never made that connection with mine.

I remember the day I picked her out. She was so tiny. I was wearing a tank top with a flannel shirt over it, so I buttoned the shirt and put her inside, carrying her around in the makeshift pouch. The name ‘Gaila’ came to me out of the blue; to this day I don’t know why I called her that. I had been considering ‘Leia’, but I thought the boys would make fun of me…plus I wasn’t sure I wanted to attach a Star Wars reference to my dog. I wanted her to have her own reference.

When we were finally able to take our dogs home, they lived in the basement for a long time, locked up in cages my dad built. Once they were potty-trained, they stayed in our rooms with us. We were trying to train them to walk with a leash, but we didn’t work with them much, and ultimately they never learned. I think AJ got Hairy to be a pretty obedient, intelligent dog, but I never felt that Gaila was anything out of the ordinary.

She was a fast dog. She loved to run and catch the ball, and 99% of the time she would beat her brothers to it. I once threw the ball for her so much that she almost passed out from heat and exhaustion. I was horrified that she had continued running despite her tiredness, that I had nearly run my dog to death. My parents said that Misho had been like that, too; he’d run until he couldn’t run anymore if you told him to.

I still wonder to this day whether or not I gave my dog brain damage, destroyed her chances of being that intelligent dog I wanted so much.

I made other mistakes with Gaila. One time, giving her a bath, I wrung out her ears to dry them. Why I thought this was a good idea, I don’t know. I think I busted up the cartilage, because her ears aren’t flat anymore. They look wrinkled.

The biggest regretful memory I have with Gaila is what happened when she lost her leg. Dan Yoder had been the one to let them outside that night. It was pitch black out and impossible to see. Due to some construction my parents were having done (I believe it was the retaining wall for leveling the yard), there was a pile of rebar lying in the backyard. Gaila ran right into a piece of rebar and shattered her right shoulder.

When she screamed that night, I should have gone to her. I didn’t. AJ went and got her and someone else ended up carrying her to the car to take her to the vet. The next day, when it was determined that her shoulder couldn’t be repaired, AJ and Mom were the ones who made the decision to remove her leg, as it would only be dangling there in the way. They took her in for the operation; I arrived with the family to get her when it was over.

She came walking out with a huge line of stitches on her shoulder, stumbling towards me. She seemed perplexed by the fact that nothing was holding her up on that side, and she looked like she was on the verge of falling with every step. At that moment I hated everything, but I especially hated myself…for not loving her more.

I think part of the reason I am not attached to Gaila as much as I try to convince myself I want to be is because I don’t want to be responsible. Because I know I am responsible for bad things that have happened to her already. I want her to be safe and well taken care of, and she is those things at home, with Mom. She is Mom’s dog now, and Mom watches over her better than I ever did. Mom knows Gaila’s eccentricities, like how she can’t have dog chews because she’ll swallow them whole and choke and vomit all over. Mom has been the one to love Gaila. I was never there for her, even when she slept in my room.

And so really it’s not that Gaila wasn’t good enough for me, as I used to think. It’s that I’m not good enough for her.

Sweet and sour exercise ennui

  • Small bowl of rice and sweet and sour chicken, left over from when we had Don and Suzanne over for dinner

I figure this is okay because it’s dinnertime. For me. Because I stay up late and get up in the afternoon.

I’ll need to get some more rice soon…I just ran out of the stuff I bought at the Korean market and the bit I had left over from the Japanese grocery in Kentucky. All I have now is a bag of long grain white rice that Sue gave me. It really doesn’t taste as good as the short grain Japanese brand rice, unfortunately :/

I was talking in the channel about how I need to start exercising. Sam says that walking isn’t enough, that tennis is okay, but that he recommends fencing. The first two I can do at my apartment complex for free…so maybe a combination of those?

Blah. The worst thing about exercise is how boring it is. I love how good I feel afterwards, but the whole monotony of it really gets to me.

Sweet and sour chicken = teh yum. I was just thinking that a sweet and sour chicken pizza would be faboo.

I am suddenly very depressed. I am pretty much double the weight I should be. I have no idea what to do about it. Or rather, I have ideas, but I have no follow-through. I don’t know what to do about that.

Gonna stop writing now.

…guh.

I have eaten way too much.

Before we left, I had:

  • the rest of Sean’s french fries
  • the rest of Sean’s double quarter pounder with cheese

Then we went to Barney and Sue’s place for Paul’s party, where I consumed:

  • baked beans
  • black beans
  • pasta salad
  • “dirty” rice (rice mixed with meat)
  • most of a cheeseburger
  • one glass of sweet tea
  • one scoop of Neapolitan ice cream
  • one large slice of white cake with thick whipped topping

Right now, because I am freaking insane, I am drinking:

  • a can of Mountain Dew

If I keel over dead in the night, you’ll all know why.

I owe you all a story, a damn good one, but I really feel too ill to think clearly. I promise to come back and write something good. Maybe I’ll discuss the party, or maybe I’ll dredge up more childhood memories. I could talk about Noelle, maybe, and my trip to see her at Myrtle Beach. Unless I wrote about that already. I’m too fuzzy to remember now, and I don’t feel like checking.

I’m going to go lie down for a bit and let my food digest. I’ll be back later.

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