dreadfulpenny: (Informative)
I live!

Despite appearances, I truly am making an effort to return to long-form blogging. I appreciate Facebook and Twitter for what they are, but it doesn't satisfy any sort of desire to speak into the void in the way that blogging does. I don't know how many people are left here in the once-great halls of the LiveJournal but I'm attempting to keep my light on here.

There was an incredibly interesting visit from an old friend not long ago - I'm not sure that the light is on at HIR booth these days, but if so, hello, old friend. Suffice to say that this visit was incredibly illuminating and I will happily move through the rest of my life with the beautiful lessons that I learned. Mostly, I learned to embrace the good friends that I have, to be thankful and grateful that I have found good people in this life to spend my time with. It also reenforced the idea of just how important it is to shake off useless people who do nothing but take and attempt to drag others down.

I also learned that the shrewd individuals on the carnival circuit have finally given in and allowed in a vendor that will sell you THE EXACT SAME toys that you can win at the game booths for a much better price. It's ingenious, really. A different friend wanted to win one of the giant stuffed Minions. He ended up spending $50. The same Minion sells at the toy tent for, I believe, $35 or $40. Absolutely ingenious.

The fair is in town. It has brought up the reminder of how deeply I love amusement parks and carnivals. Wandering around (especially at night) and taking in all of the lights, sounds and scents is one of my favorite things. I can't ride any of the rides at this point in my life but I still love to see them all lit up. Also, funnel cake. This year I've partaken in a pumpkin spice funnel cake (which was decadent and amazing) and a red velvet funnel cake (which is my new favorite forever). There are even modern-day snake oil vendors displaying their wondrous wares. This one cures headaches! This one cures back-aches! Local churches have sent representatives to offer free DVDs of Bible stories and to invite you to join their flocks.

There's even a booth with World's Tiniest Horse. For two dollars, you can take a peek.

I really love it.
dreadfulpenny: (COFFEE)
Nearly two years ago, Spouse and I landed in Virginia. I was coming home; Spouse was leaving his. We were starting fresh as a couple. Texas had become toxic for both of us for different reasons. It was time to try something different.

We were living at my father's old house. It had been vacant for years. The roof needed to be replaced. One of the bathrooms was a mildewed mess that was slowing dissolving into softened floorboards and a blackened shower. We had boxes everywhere.

I had accidentally abandoned my coffeemaker in Texas. It wasn't anything special; it was the sort that didn't use a glass carafe. You brewed the coffee and then dispensed it by pressing a button and letting it pour into your cup. I didn't realize that I didn't have it until the last minute. By then I decided to just figure it out when we arrived in VA. What I did instead: stumble over a French press that Spouse had purchased years before and decide to learn how to use that instead. I didn't have any coffee at hand that first week. The coffee was in a box with other non-perishable staples. I had no idea which one.

The town where my father's house happened to be is a small one. There's a paper mill that is keeping the place alive. There's a Wal*Mart that has nearly successfully driven almost all other business out of town. Not much else. Main Street is a ghost town of store fronts, a bank, the Police department, the city jail, the Post Office and a church. People still live there. Impossibly, Food Lion still exists in this Wal*Mart town. Spouse and I decided to do most of our food shopping at the Lion instead of the Mart.

One morning, not long after our arrival, I was wandering around Food Lion, un-caffeinated and still slightly shell shocked. The trip from TX had been strenuous. I was in the frozen food section. There was a wire rack near the end of the aisle that was, for some reason, stocked with coffee. Not just any coffee, though. THIS was Moon Pie coffee, in two varieties. I picked up one of each, without a single hesitation. Moon Pies are one of those things that signal home and childhood. I remember my mother popping one into the microwave when I was much younger. As a child I didn't understand the idea of regional treats and just how vast the world was compared to my own small view. I didn't know that other people didn't know about Moon Pies until I moved to Florida as a young adult. A coworker from Massachusetts had no idea what one was; when I attempted to find one for her, I had no luck.

Finding Moon Pie flavored coffee during my first month "home" in Virginia felt symbolic. It was almost a sign from God. You have done well, child. Now, take the holy coffee as a sign of my approval.

Time flew by, as it does. I live in my own house now. I still have boxes everywhere, even after over a year in this house. I know where my kitchen things are. I have an entire cabinet devoted to coffees and teas. My "coffee cellar" is vast and varied. This morning I chose one of those bags of Moon Pie coffee*. The vanilla variety. Both the vanilla and chocolate varieties do taste remarkably like the dessert for which they are named. I opened the bag and took a sniff. That first week in my father's old house came rushing back to me: the lush green smell of TREES and grass that was planted before I was born, of the warm humidity of summer in the South, the excitement of a new start in a new place...one whiff of coffee did that. I marvel at our brains, that they're able to so perfectly recreate moments in time with just a faint scent of something familiar. It's amazing.

*Yes, I realize that coffee goes stale, and that the two-year old roast is probably not at its peak. I don't actually care, and it still tastes fine to me.

Go Time

Jun. 1st, 2015 11:14 am
dreadfulpenny: (lazy)
In the past few days I've done the following:

1) organize (sort of) Book Mountain on my bedside table, pulling all of my writing-related books out to form a separate stack

2) started studying those writing-related books

3) purchased and installed Scrivener on my laptop

4) converted all existing writing projects and files into Scrivener

5) started researching pen names

In short, I'm getting serious about writing. I've been wistfully thinking about how much I want to be a writer. And then I go spend time working on whatever fiction project or project-related thing that I happen to have at hand at the time. Here's the thing: a very dear friend of mine gave me a gentle, mental shake earlier this year when we attended a convention together. I don't remember the context or the conversation, but she basically looked me in the eye and said "You write; you're a writer." I've been taking one baby step at a time since then to try to bring myself up and into this state of mind.

I have a terrible, horrible complex about myself. I've had mixed results in my various goals in the past. I've grown enough to admit that some of those goals just weren't within my grasp for different reasons. I truly am my own worst enemy. I'm working hard to move past that now. I have a lovely spouse who really is my biggest cheerleader. Case in point: I told him, rather shyly, that I had purchased my new word processor. His response: "Awesome! Took you long enough!" Another example: Saturday night, after we came home from seeing a movie, he came upstairs and found me studying the Seton Hill writers' guidebook, Many Genres, One Craft. Upon me telling him that I was studying, he said "Thank you." He then went on to say that he was proud of me for finally devoting real time to pursuing my dream.

So that's where I am right now. I don't have a finished manuscript. I have maybe a dozen projects. I'm pondering a new project even as we speak. Point is, I'm finally starting to take myself actually, truly seriously and it feels good.

Part of me taking myself seriously, however, is getting back into the swing of things with a blog. Again, baby steps. I'm starting here. I can do this.
dreadfulpenny: (Witch?)
I am sorely tempted to skip today, but I'm more determined to succeed in my reentry to journaling/blogging than I am exhausted (and I'm pretty exhausted today).

This evening saw Husband and I revert to being utter children and having what amounts to nachos and grown up Lunchables for dinner. I was too worn out to cook, he's not much of a cook, and so we foraged in the kitchen for leftovers. Due to my recent habit of eating healthier, the nonmeal was not my friend. I got over my queasiness a little while ago. It's kind of amazing how quickly our bodies adjust to cleaner eating and how upset they become when you fall off the wagon.

I've had to make some tough decisions lately. I'm not going to go into one at the moment, as it involves other people and I'm not in the habit of airing my dirty laundry to the public. The other is a decision that I'm still working on and involves my job and a possible opportunity that may be coming up to sidestep into a different section of my current field. It would mean a (possibly significant) cut in pay and increase drive time, but it would be a different setting and give me the opportunity to get some clinical experience under my belt. There are some positives to it: "business" hours, no holidays, no weekends, no working til 10 at night (a big plus - wow, I'm getting old), relaxed dress code, and I'd be working with one of my best friends. What's not to like about that?

Good night Neverland Livejournal.
dreadfulpenny: (BeautifulRiver)
A good meal and a good night's sleep really can make a huge difference. I'm feeling much better today than I was yesterday at about this time.

The meal was exceedingly good. We tried an Indian restaurant that we'd never been to before. Mr. Ibis has been craving a good curry for a while. We found a good Thai place that held him over pretty well, but he still wanted Indian food. Yelp! came to the rescue beautifully. We found a place that offers a lunch buffet. I tried nearly every dish and it was all delicious. They offered homemade rice pudding for dessert. I don't have a lot of experience with Indian food in general, so I have no idea how this place compares with anything else. We saw quite a few Indian families having lunch at the same time as we were there, and that speaks highly of its authenticity to me. We plan to go back for dinner. I'll still probably have the rice pudding for dessert - it was so refreshing and light after the wonderful mix of spices and sauces from the meal.

The rest of the afternoon really needs to be spent being useful. The laundry's underway and I ran the dishwasher before we went to bed last night, but there's still enough dishes to run it through again, plus the handful of picky, hand-wash things that are in the sink as well. I ought to work up a batch of tortilla soup for dinner, but it's not really cold enough for that yet.

I'm ready for a nap. Still catching up from not sleeping for two nights.
dreadfulpenny: (BeautifulRiver)
I find that I am missing the community that used to exist here more and more. There have been numerous occasions when I click various journals and read back through the archives, just to get a taste of what used to be. Facebook is so generic and superficial in comparison.

Speaking of FB, I do my very best to keep this identity hidden from that population. I do not think that most of my FB "friends" would know quite what to do with the more organic version of myself that exists on this page. My family would never understand. There are only a few individuals who know about both, and all have been very good about not mentioning this page publicly (which I appreciate more than you realize).

I love my family. They are just wildly different from myself in terms of philosophy, beliefs and opinions. Example! On a family vacation several years ago, one of my stepsisters raved about the Twilight books and wanted to know if I'd read them. "I started the first one!" I replied. I did not tell her that I quite literally threw it across the room one day. However, I dutifully finished out the first three books in the series, just so that I'd have something in common with my stepsisters. I am very fond of them. I would like very much to get to know them. It's hard; they both have children, different hobbies, and different tastes in things. But my father is married to their mother and by all accounts adores her. Stepmum, by the way, is a lovely woman and I would also like to get to know HER better as well. This was a large motivation behind moving from Texas back to Virginia.

Another motivation: there was no reason to stay in Texas. J's mother betrayed us time and again. I had no real friends there whatsoever. The two maybe-could-have been friends that I encountered both moved away. Already in my short time in Virginia I have several potential new friends, one individual that I love very dearly, AND I will be able to reconnect with two of the greatest friends that I have ever known. I will at least periodically see the little brother that I still adore, despite distance and years. Life will get better. I will not feel so isolated. I have not been in real contact with even one of the individuals that I met in Texas. None of them understood me or even really liked me, I am seeing. I am about to purge the entire lot of them from my FB feed just so that I don't have to deal with them any longer.

Even our second dog, Vivi, who had become quite sad, is happy here. She is a completely different pup. She is playful and happy again - she had become quite mopey and depressed in Texas. Picking up on my mood, perhaps?

Either way, this has meandered into something very different than what it started out as. That's fine with me. I cannot singlehandedly bring back the old LJ. But I can write and contribute instead of simply bemoaning the past.
dreadfulpenny: (Default)

November:

1 painful "family" get together with my husband's side
1 sibling that I'm still not speaking to (I miss my brother - if, by some strange reason you see this, Jamous, call me)
1 killer migraine that made me miss work
2 minor but inconvenient surgeries for my husband
1 DEBIT CARD NUMBER STOLEN (and subsequently used at a Macy's in Miami) (we resolved the issue within hours - go Chase fraud protection)

STILL the best November in years.

Posted via LiveJournal.app.

dreadfulpenny: (Er)
In lieu of a life update (because there is no life update), have this. I have spent some of my time watching "Extreme Couponing" on Netflix. I will never-ever get this time back. These people? Crazy.

Ok. Example. I just saw a set of twins who purchased something like forty bottles of Maalox. They got them for around forty cents per bottle. Logically, unless you're drinking a LOT of Maalox (in which case I strongly urge you to seek professional attention), most of the medicine will go out of date before they can use it. I will be the first person to tell you that the expiration dates on many things can sometimes be overlooked for a short period of time. However, it comes to a point where you just cannot ignore it and would be doing more harm to yourself than good by taking the expired medicine.

This kind of thing happens in every single episode. One guy actually seems to make good use of his stash by donating. He just dropped off a big load of personal care items to a group that's making care packages to send to soldiers overseas. But the chick with no kids who has filled her home with diapers? She says she's saving up for when she has children of her own. She is thirty-one and lives with her sister. She is also single.

My favorite so far was the chick who lamented about the change in policy regarding coupons and how many transactions per person. She was fussing that the policy change was really putting a cramp in her plan. Well, princess, it's people like you who CAUSED THIS IN THE FIRST PLACE. Reap what you have sown.

I guess if this is what makes you happy, you know, go for it. I'm not watching any more, but only because it's pretty much the same episode over and over.
dreadfulpenny: (Default)
I am so freaking sick. At least, that's how I feel right now. I feel completely miserable. My throat's killing me, I'm coughing up things that look like Slime Terrors From the Ninth Plane, and I have zero energy. I'm going to go to bed with one of my pups and not come out for at least a week...I wish.

I am going to nap, though.
dreadfulpenny: (Music)
There is so much to say, but I am so very tired. Suffice to say that I, like so many others, will be more than happy to give 2012 the biggest middle finger ever.

Concert tomorrow! I'm sad that it took over eight months for me to make it to a show. Last year was the best year for shows, I think. We're seeing Civil Twilight at the Kessler Theater in Dallas. I get to see my new favorite band (Blue October and I are on the outs right now) and a lovely Dallas landmark all at the same time.

And that's about it.
dreadfulpenny: (A blaze of light)
Why yes, I did stay in bed for around twelve hours. And yes, it was lovely. I've been so woefully underslept lately that I could not bring myself to care that I was, in essence, sleeping away a good portion of my only day off in the last ten. After I finally extracted myself from my bed's loving embrace, I worked on cleaning up the kitchen, brewed some coffee and made breakfast (which should have been referred to as lunch, given the hour that it was being created). It was blissful.

Speaking of blissful, I have three beautiful dogs passed out all around me. The biggest has taken over the largest throw pillow, the other two are cuddled up on either side of me. One of them is snoring. Vivi (the middle pup) is clutching her rawhide between her paws. If the light were better, I'd photograph it to memorialize the absurd cuteness of the moment.
__________
I put the laptop down and went for a walk after I wrote that last sentence. I was outside for approximately thirty minutes in the 90+ degree weather. Sunshine, fresh air, exercise...it was good for me. I keep telling myself that anyway. It's hours later (almost five exactly) and I feel like I've been wrung out. Literally. I know that this is a side-effect of a mostly sedentary life and that if I continue to work on it, it will get easier (except for the temperature - that's not going anywhere for at least two more months). It's difficult to keep reminding myself of that fact.
dreadfulpenny: (Default)

Proof that I am sick or otherwise in an altered state of consciousness: I find new layers of meaning in random entertainment. Just now I am struck by the intense sexuality behind " Addicted to Love" (which I have heard probably hundreds of times...but never while feverish).

Posted via LiveJournal.app.

dreadfulpenny: (Default)

I'm starting to get annoyed by things that people are saying on the Internet, so it's time to not be online for a while.

Bye! Be excellent to each other!


(Party on, dude)

Posted via LiveJournal.app.

dreadfulpenny: (*glee*)
At the end of a particularly engaging book (or series of books) I always flail around for a little while. I feel a bit strange and disconnected. This is where I am right now. It's a strange, fish-out-of-water sort of feeling. Often, I linger over the last few pages of a book if I know that it's the very end. I don't want to leave whatever fictional vacation spot that I've been inhabiting, so I just...don't. I don't finish, I leave the end of the book for months at a time sometimes. I didn't do that this time.

So anyway, no more Newsflesh right now. A piece of me is still lingering in the post-Rising world, as horrifying as it was there.

Off to see Rock of Ages, ta!
dreadfulpenny: (Default)

My hormonal condition plus my current job are combining to make me feel ... Very bad. Shoot-myself-in-the-face bad. Pretty much the worst that I've felt in years.

I'm done.

Posted via LiveJournal.app.

dreadfulpenny: (Books)
The Oreo sundae was not my most brilliant of ideas. I don't really care at this point. I'm deep in the throes of the week from hell. On top of that, my hormonal condition has decided to go parading around my head. Thus I am a crazy bitch who snarls her way through what would have been an otherwise wonderful day. So, the ice cream, Glee reruns, and all three of my furbabies cuddled up next to me on the couch.
__________

That was last night. J. ended up wandering out from the bedroom where he'd been sleeping. We traded (sort of). I went to bed, he stayed up for a while. Then he did something that I despise - he came to bed but sat up, online, until at least 3AM. Annoying to the nth degree.

Currently reading Mira Grant's Deadline (I'll finish it tonight and then probably get started on the finale of the trilogy, Blackout. Given that it's the finale, I kind of want to save it! There's one novella and another on the way, and then there will be no more. I'm tempted to re-read something that I read earlier in the year (Discount Armageddan by Seanan McGuire, who plays Mira Grant on TV). It's wildly different from the Newsflesh series, yet so obviously orchestrated by the same mad genius.

Nothing's going on. I'm tired of stomping through the mud that is my life, so I'm just not going to revisit it at this time. Suffice to say that there is ... much mud. Much, much mud. But I'm slogging through it, as I always do.

G'night.
dreadfulpenny: (Powerful)
To Accomplish By August 30

1) Read Les Miserables (with Kway, hopefully, but I'll do it either way)

2) Write either 3 to 4 short stories *OR* ten chapters in a longer work

3) Watch 8 movies

4) Learn rudimentary knitting OR crochet (meaning, work on and complete at least one beginner pattern)

5) Go camping at least once with J.

6) Cook at least six new recipes

7) Eat vegetarian meals at least three nights a week
dreadfulpenny: (MalShiny)
We spent an absolute fortune at the farmer's market this morning. The only purchase I regret is some highly overpriced fresh pinto beans which are not cooking correctly. We also brought home an entire box of fresh corn, some eggplant (I'm going to attempt eggplant Parmesan with it), kale, summer squash and sweet onions.

J. likes hitting up garage sales on Saturday mornings, so we did that for an hour or two first. He found some amazingly interesting deals including an almost-perfect slot car set (it's missing one item: the tires for one of the cars) that he intends to use as a base to make a replica of Top Gear's test track. I came home with a new spoon rest that looks like a postcard from a Paris world fair in the 1800s and a teeny, tiny teapot.

Still happy with my decision to start looking for and applying new jobs. I'm hoping that this ends up being a positive step for me and J. We could use a little more cash coming in (the VA job will pay a few thousand more per year than I'm currently making - every little bit helps!) and I could use the new experience. I'm stuck deep in an ugly, hideous rut. It's time to hop out.

Reading Fifty Shades of Grey right now because I am utterly curious as to the whys and wherefores of phenomenon books. I have to say...this pretty much sucks (no pun intended). The writing is horrible and the author has a few too many Britishisms for it to be believably about a young, American college graduate. I also have to say that the cursed thing sucked me in to the story (badly written and implausible as it is). This irritates me and will inevitably cause me to read Russian or French literature in some sort of smart-ass retaliation. I'm also reading Mira Grant's Feed, because the last book in the trilogy just came out last week, and I can finally tear through the thing as quickly as I want to with none of that pesky year-long waiting that everybody else bemoaned.

The new puppy continues to bring much hilarity and joy into our life. We have, however, had some backsliding in the potty-training front in the last day. That's a problem. We'll just have to keep working on it. She's only been with us for a week. We must have patience.

Ta!
dreadfulpenny: (iEvil)
MIL: Dillard's is running a promotion right now where you receive a scratch-off card in return for trying on a pair of [some brand] shoes. You can get ten, twenty or even fifty dollars off a pair of shoes.

ME: Great!

MIL: Do you think that you and J. might be going to the mall tomorrow? Because if you are, would you mind going by Dillard's and trying on a pair of shoes? I found a pair that I really want, but I can't get them unless I get the fifty dollar coupon. When I went I got a twenty dollar coupon. [Goes on to outline her plan to take some coworkers to the mall to get them to try on shoes in an attempt to get a fifty dollar coupon for herself.]

Why yes. She really *DOES* believe that somebody will give her this coupon. It never even occurred to her for one moment that if J. or I (or any of her friends for that matter) actually get this $50 bonus that we'd, you know, use it ourselves?
dreadfulpenny: (Argh!)
Brick and mortar bookshops are failing for lots of reasons. The big one, for me, is the horrible attitude and lack of knowledge of the people that bookstores choose to employee. One might not think of Hastings as a proper bookstore, but it has a large book department. It would not hurt for them to employee somebody who knew something about what they were doing. Or, you know, CARED. I went hunting for a book this afternoon at Hastings (because I had trade-in credit) and had to deal with one of the employees. He acted rather affronted that I dared to interrupt his conversation with an acquaintance, and then had no knowledge whatsoever. I asked him if memoirs were absorbed into the biography section (which is stupid, by the way) and his response was "Well, I'd think that they were. They basically ARE biographies." They aren't, and that was a ridiculous statement. Furthermore, he told me that the book I was looking for doesn't exist. Really?

I'm so frustrated. I try to support bookshops when I can but it's hard when I have experiences like this one. Why should I drag myself out of my house in poor weather, navigate the hideous afternoon traffic (seriously, the trip home was the most stressful fifteen minutes I've had to deal with in a long time) and subject myself to the horribly incompetent employees at a shop that smells like mildewy socks when I can stay in my own home, order the book I want, and PAY LESS MONEY? Nine times out of ten, whatever I'm looking for is available for my Kindle anyway, so I can even have it right away. If there's a new release that I simply MUST read, I don't even have to get out of bed to get it.

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