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Tuesday, December 30, 2014

What I'm __________ December Edition

EATING: I've been munching on these Morning Star Veggie Burgers from Costco. They smell like hash browns, and are filled with all types of healthy goodies. They're pretty tasty, actually. I chose them because I'm trying to get as much protein in my diet as possible while keeping my fat intake fairly low, which is kind of hard with something like a cheeseburger. These veggie burgers still have 20 grams of protein, so that's pretty epic. I've been slowly dropping weight just by changing up my diet!

DRINKING: My first time trying Stumptown coffee recently thanks to a referral from a friend of mine. Since I drink the Guatemala Antigua coffee from Starbucks, I thought I'd try their Guatemala Bella Vista as my first whole bean purchase.
...It's gross. The flavor profile is so drastically different from anything I've ever tried before. That and there's this skin on the coffee beans called "chaff". Apparently, the lighter and slower you roast the beans, the less likely the chaff will fly off in the process. It gets stuck in the seam of the beans and then when it's ground up I have flakes of it all in my coffee. I was told by Stumptown that this does not affect the flavor... but I've read that even having a dry filter in your coffee pot (not that I use one but I digress) can affect the flavor of the coffee, so how can this not? I'm not impressed. I won't give up, not yet. But it did cost me $17 for this 12oz bag of coffee that I don't even want to drink, now. Kind of disappointing. I will go for a simple house blend next.

WATCHING: Star Trek: The Next Generation binging. On Season 6 out of 7 right now. Also, Northern Exposure. My recent trip over to Roslyn had me wondering about this show. After my parents told me it was funny and they liked it, I decided to grab the entire series. I haven't gotten very far yet, but it looks promising.

Wow, so 90's

LISTENING TO: Krewella. I had one song by her already for a while "Live For The Night", which I actually mentioned in a previous "What I'm" post. I decided to see if I liked anything else of hers, and lo and behold: success. I found three more songs. One of them was super dubstep-y, so I cut out about a minute of it, and the other two are actually great. She's got a wonderful voice. Krewella - Alive

READING: Nothing good. I accidentally bought book two of one I already read that wasn't so great, called The Soul Seekers by Alison Noel. They're cool if you're into Native American type magick (that's how they spell it) and all that jazz, but I'm really not. I'm going to buy all the Terry Goodkind Sword of Truth novels though, since they were my ex-husband's books originally, and re-read those again, for the third time!

WRITING: Why do I even include this section anymore? I've been on a dry spell for months. I wish I could find my groove again.

DOING: You know, I was going to write something here; a brief synopsis of all the stuff I've been up to lately, but there's too much! Time for a separate blog post! In addition to all that junk, I've started an Aikido class. (For God's sake, don't ask me what that is; I've been questioned at least 5 times already by different people. I've added a link for convenience!) It's pretty darn cool. Once I get more into it I'll write a blog post on it, but so far I've only done three classes. More to come!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

I Unlocked My Code

Dating is almost like an experiment. Well, it is an experiment, but on yourself. When you're with somebody else, when you put yourself in situations that are not normal, you are told things about yourself from your observers. And through deductive reasoning, you begin to figure yourself out.

I realized recently that in certain situations, I am extremely unobservant. But there was a deeper meaning behind this observation (notice the irony here?). I believe I am unobservant because I am introverted, and in specific situations when there is a lot of outward stimuli, I will not and can not notice everything that goes on around me. I figured this out on a date with Derek a few weeks back.

Case in point: Foundation Nightclub. They were playing a band that he was fond of and that I didn't particularly care for. I was there because of him, for him. The first time I had come here, the place was crowded, but you could still move. This time, it was much worse. People were pressed up against one another. I was constantly being pushed around. I had earplugs so as not to damage my hearing. It was all I could do to focus on the music and try to dance. I stared hard at the stage. I barely noticed anything else around me unless I got bumped or stepped on or had to move. Half way through the set I had to take a 5 minute reprieve in the bathroom just to breathe.

After it was over, Derek began talking about all the things he saw. People dumping their ice or cups on the floor when they were done with their drinks. A guy basically choking his girlfriend as they danced (and she apparently enjoying it). People noticing me and sometimes trying to dance with me (it really is hard to tell, since we're all crushed together). A guy basically fingering his girlfriend to the point where security was going to intervene.

I had to stop and just think for a moment. All of that had gone on around me and I'd had no idea. I was focusing on just getting through it. And I realized that I tend to focus on things. On a single thing, or a single event. Depending on the situation, two emotions will emerge. I will either be excited about it, or I will be anxious. I can focus on one thing: ice skating. Above all else, I wanted to go ice skating with Derek. It never happened obviously, but I am still focused on it. Okay, Derek is out of the picture. I still want to go ice skating. Now I want to go to the Columbia River Gorge. I'm pissed that I had to cancel my trip. But I'm going to focus on getting there at some point.

I focus on these things and I can get super excited. I'm like a kid in a candy store. It's all I can think about. And then there's the opposite. I can get anxious. I got anxious when Derek was going to show up at the nightclub and meet Mary for the first time. I focused on this future event. I couldn't stop thinking about it, and it was causing a negative feedback loop.

It's a very introverted concept to be internal. Your brain has the solution before it even formulates the idea. It is already convinced about what will happen, and if the outcome will be beneficial. You end up asking yourself "What's the point?" all the time. And sometimes this stops you from even trying. I really don't know the point of all this besides just getting all this out on "paper". At least I know a little bit more about myself than I did before!

Friday, December 12, 2014

I'm All up-in Doin' Stuff

If you follow my blog posts at all, you may have a noticed a general lack of... doing stuff. I'm not much of a stuff-doer. I'm introverted, so I enjoy spending time alone. After work I mainly relax by watching TV, facebooking (this is how I raise my social bar. Think The Sims), writing, reading, art, etc.

This Sim is either currently going to the bathroom or peeing their pants.
And eating at the same time, apparently.

But dating people gets me out doing things. Sure, occasionally I'll spend time with my friends and we go out to a bar, or bowling, or something equally boring. But thanks to Derek I've been doing all these things that I've A. Never done before or B. Haven't done in many, many years. These things include:

1. Going to a Gala
2. Go-Karts
3. Ice Skating
4. Road Trip
5. Night Club

I guess I never really knew what a "road trip" was. I was thinking of it in a logical sense of "I'm on a road, taking a trip". My idea of a road trip was planning an end game and reaching your destination in order to do it. Apparently that's not the consensual definition. When Derek planned the last trip I was basically thinking What the heck is this?, but not really in a negative way. It was kind of fun. Now I'm planning the next one!

The Gala was interesting. It was a fund raiser for an organization called Communities in Schools, which Derek supports by being a committee member. Although in years past it had been a black tie/evening gown affair, this year it wasn't. It was "come dressed in your work clothes, we're holding it in a cramped distillery." Derek was none-to-impressed. I was absolutely relieved that I didn't have to dress up in an evening gown. 3-inch heels on a cement floor with no where to sit all night was not conducive to a good time though, regardless.

There isn't much to say about the Go-Karts. For some reason I remember doing it as a kid several years ago but I have no idea if this is true or not. (I asked mom, who promptly remembered how I fell off the bumper boats and into the water. Not the same, mom. Not the same.) Derek lapped me twice. My problem was that I kept thinking of the go-karts in 3-dimensional terms. What I mean by that is if you were in a regular car trying to careen around these corners, you would surely flip over. Hugging the ground generally eliminates that possibility but I was still being very conservative. Each lap was a bit better, at least. It was pretty fun, and I would most definitely do it again some day.

The Ice Skating, which I haven't done since I was probably 5 years old and did nothing but scoot around 1/4 of the wall and quit; I haven't done yet. Hopefully this weekend - that's the plan! I'll keep you all posted!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Dance Dance Revolution!

This post has nothing to do with the popular Japanese game. But, it does have to do with dancing. Last Friday night, I went to my very first dance club. At 30 years old. Even though it wasn't on my not-quite-mid-life-crisis list, it had been something in the back of my mind to do for several years.

I was never your typical child. Due to a mix of being overweight, extremely shy, introverted and ostracized, I never really got to do the things that normal teenagers do; like going to parties, or night clubs, or anything even remotely considered hanging out with strangers. I got it in my mind a few years ago that I wanted to try some of those things before it was too late.

How did I get it in my mind to go last Friday? Well, it was an idea prompted from Derek. He had invited me to a band still yet to be played, and I thought 'well, if I decide to go, I better check this place out and see if I even like the idea of it.' So, I found a DJ or a composer or whatever you call people who play House music, that sounded pretty good and I bought tickets. One for me, and one for my friend Mary.

The Futuristic Polar Bears weren't even going to start playing until 12:15am, so, not only did I have afternoon coffee, but I bought a 5-hour energy because: old. We arrived at 9pm, paid $20 to park (geezus) and promptly had to chug my energy shot in front of the bouncer because they wouldn't let me in the club with it. Oddly enough, I wasn't too embarrassed about that.

I had been chatting with Derek earlier in the day and I'd invited him to come, but he said he was hanging with his friends and might join us after if he wasn't tired. I was honestly kind of hoping he wasn't going to show, because this would be the first time meeting any of my friends and I was super nervous about it. Plus: dancing. I mean, I'm a gal going to a dance club at 30 who doesn't even dance. I'm full of contradictions! Not to mention this would be the first time dancing with Derek. This almost sounds like a play or a book. A very sad book.

Mary was the opposite of helpful, of course. I ordered drinks, and she tried to get me to dance but I refused. It mainly had to do with the fact that the place wasn't yet packed like a can of sardines, and people were basically dancing in friendship circles. She managed to pull me onto the dance floor, right in front of a bunch of VIP's standing watch over the area, and forced me to dance by waving my arms about as if I was her puppet on strings. I had a profound thought regarding this after the night was done:

Sometimes you can create the very situation you fear when you try to avoid it.

And then of course, Derek texted that he was on his way and would be there in 15 minutes. I tried not to panic. Which, lets be honest, I'm no good at. Mary was giving me a countdown. Again, not helpful. After my intense bout of "oh shit", Derek arrived, they shook hands, (it's never as bad as my imagination perceives it to be) and then Derek insisted on dancing, which was my other fear about his arrival.

I swear, Moon Moon is the funniest meme I've ever read

Okay, I'm good at panicking on the inside where Derek is concerned, so I contained myself as best as I could. For better or worse (I'm still not sure which) Derek never actually danced with me, we were side by side. Probably for the best. By this time the place was packed and I knew no one would be staring at me. That and at least I wasn't dancing alone (technically). I swear though, only Derek could get me to do this shit. I just followed everybody's lead. Jumped when the music hit its peak, tried to follow the rhythm, and have a decent time. And, I did mainly. You really do have to be super into the music that's playing though, so I doubt I would join him on this upcoming event he invited me to (he was going with friends anyway, it wouldn't have just been us) because it's Far East Movement, who are basically a hip hop band.

You have to be a certain kind of wacky to enjoy stuff like this

Derek tells me going to a dance club for House music isn't quite the same as going to a real band, but this is exactly the experience I hoped for, so I got what I wanted. It was hot, it was crowded, it was loud, but I would do it again as long as the music was right. That's certainly saying something!

What about you? Have you ever gone clubbing? Do you like it? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

An Artist Without Creativity

Have you ever heard of such a thing? You see, I'm not just a blogger or a writer, I'm an artist. For many years, the medium I craved the most was to draw. I was born with a pencil in my hand it seems. I never strayed far from pen and paper; I would sometimes get in trouble at school for doodling on my homework.

But I'm also not creative. I'm a copy artist. I have no clue if this is an actual word or not. However, I'm not a cheater. Tracing is not art. But I've been coping work ever since I was a child.

This is one of the first pictures I remember drawing, because it was a process to record an episode of Sailor Moon, grab my TV tray, and pause it at the exact moment that I wanted to copy.

[I remember going through my childhood complaining of crappy VCRs that had horrible noise whenever they paused and it was impossible to get a good picture to draw from. And every 5 minutes it would un-pause and I'd have to find the exact moment again!]

Anime became my obsession. The thing I loved most about anime was the fact that it was both very simplistic yet very complex.

I still have all of my old artwork. Page after page of every Sailor Moon character. A ton of Pokemon and Digimon pictures. Every Ranma 1/2 character, and even some Tenchi Muyo.

But very little original artwork. Yes, I took all of the elective art classes that I could, and I did draw a lot of things on my own, but my best work was always the original work of someone else. The only time I traced anything was if I had other plans for the piece.

This piece, for example, was taken off of the internet originally. I have no idea who drew it, but when I saw it, I had plans of my own. Even though I traced the work, I wanted to test my abilities with a new medium: oil pastels.

I didn't do very many of these. Even though it was fun, it didn't seem worth it. It looks rather sloppy.

Scratch art became my new favorite medium. It was something I discovered in high school art class. It is a sheet of silver or gold foil glued to a backing, and a thin layer of black ink is applied over the top. Your goal: scratch out your vision. Well, because I had no vision of my own, I once again took from an artist. This time, someone on DeviantArt had drawn a series of werewolf poses, and because of how the medium works (you can't erase pencil on an ink surface) I had to trace using chalk and an outline. This certainly got the job done, and I filled in all the gaps myself.

I've done lots of other things, too. This picture, for example, is scanned straight from a "How to Draw
Anime" book that I own. I was using a very old program, Photoshop Business Edition, and learning how to color art using layers. It's not as easy as it sounds. There was definitely no use of the paint bucket here.

Bob Ross was my perfect victim. Ahem, inspiration. He actually wanted you to copy his work. After doing a couple of pieces to get used to how he paints, this was my first real attempt. This is only on an 8x10 piece of canvas and was incredibly hard to scale down so far.

Some of you may recognize this picture - it is the one I use for my Kat in the Hat Facebook profile photo. It is one of my favorites. I drew this after I graduated high school and found myself bored at Bates Technical College. This time, I had moved beyond lousy crayons and even past "normal" colored pencils and into the likes of Prismacolor pencils. 100 times better. Yet still, despite all my advancement, this was still not an original piece.

Nothing that I drew from my own mind was good enough for me.

This... is an original piece. Obviously inspired by other things, but still from my own brain. Unfortunately undated, I can't even tell you how long ago I did this. I'm thinking it was back in high school.

Maybe I'm a cheater and not really an artist, or maybe an artist is their own worst critic and I'm being too hard on myself. I might never figure it out.

I wish that I still drew today, though. I've done some artsy things (a new scratch art piece and that Bob Ross painting were the most recent) but never to the scale that I used to. I kind of miss it.

Do you have anything that you used to do when you were young that you miss? Would you pick it up again, or have you grown out of it? Let me know in the comments!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The 8 and the 4

This isn't math, it's science. Okay, maybe it's not science, but a more of an imaginary system of measure. Most people have heard of the beauty scale. Where you land on said scale is more or less a matter of opinion, but none-the-less, it exists.

I'd never had a need to set myself on this scale before. I'd never dated anybody that had grossly outmatched me. And I'm not just judging pure looks, here. I'm talking about life in general.

Maybe I'm underestimating myself. Maybe my self esteem is in the toilet. Maybe I'm not a 4. I could be a 5; perhaps even a 6 if I lost more weight. But regardless, I am not on the same level as the man I'm dating, and I'm bewildered.

I rated myself before I saw this scale, but I'm probably not too far off still.

His sordid stories of girls he's dated is as varied, unique, and downright creepy as any I've ever heard. We're talking people who message him on the dating websites asking to make them pregnant with his babies. As their first message. He's apparently dealt with stalkers. He's always got a story to tell about some chick who wants to date him despite factors such as them being married, or living in another state. He's got the looks and the personality to get dates, in which he's had many. I feel as though I'm dating a Captain Kirk. For hot women, this may not even phase them. After all, hot women get dates, and they've probably been on many themselves. But I can't even relate to this. I feel as though I'm just one in a line of many.

He can obviously get whomever he wants. So why is he with a 4?

And like I mentioned before, it's not all about looks. I'm not even on the same level as this guy. I'm barely on the same planet. At 27, he's already been to college and has a job as a manager at some large company that has the whole "be ruthless to get ahead" mentality when it comes to promotions (which I could never do.) He makes bookoo bucks. Has like, a million friends. And part of what bugs me is exactly that. Because of his occupation, he finds himself with doctor and lawyer friends.

The only doctor I know is the one I work for. As his receptionist.

I guess I find myself intimidated by his success. And in a way that's kind of weird, because I'm not somebody who is striving to be "at the top". I didn't go to college because I didn't want to. I'm not ruthlessly trying to get ahead at my job. I'm not attempting to attain a high position of status. I'm just not not that kind of person. I am satisfied. So really, I have nothing to be jealous about. But maybe it's not about jealously, maybe it's about feeling inadequate and wondering why I'm even on his radar.

He's told me none of this bothers him, which is kind of obvious (as he's dating me) but still confuses the hell out of me. I need to be able to see myself in a better light and to give myself some credit. Obviously, he sees something in me that he likes, and I need to inflate my self-esteem a bit. We'll see how it goes.

Have you ever dated anybody completely out of your league? How did it feel? Tell me about it in the comments!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The Old I-90

I told Derek* this would happen. Totally warned him. I could see the future. Plans to take a road trip on the "old" I-90 route across the Cascade mountains, and I had to park in a garage in Seattle and meet him so that he could drive.

Me on Facebook chat:

Amy Gurley
I'll try not to be late but ill guarantee you I will get lost and or turned around

And me on trip day:

Amy Gurley
I don't even know if I'm in the right damn garage 

Sigh.  I think I'm in the Hilton garage

It was almost funny because he had manged to call me, find me on the streets of Seattle, and while on the phone, essentially chaperon me into the correct garage. This was not my finest moment.

After all that drama was over however, we had a great time. Derek had the whole thing mapped out. Literally. Old school print out of Mapquest with odd stops to make along the way.

[It's sad that "old school" is now considered Mapquest as opposed to physical maps.]

It was raining on the west side of the mountains, but once we got over the top of the 
threshold, it was gorgeous out and the perfect temperature. Our first stop was a 
small "ghost town" called Roslyn. Neither one of us could figure out why it was called a ghost town as it had 900 people living in it.

It had a very "old western" vibe. And our first stop was a curiosity gift shop that had a bunch of stuff from a show called Northern Exposure. Apparently it was filmed in Roslyn, WA and the town was taking full advantage of this.

I guess the show took place in Cicely, Alaska, which doesn't actually exist, so this is probably the coolest shot glass in my collection.

[If I can find one of Eureka, Oregon that would make me so happy.]

We took a short hike to find some coal mines but never encountered any. It was disappointing.

After Roslyn, we stopped in Cle Elum. He told me of this bakery that got good yelp reviews, so we stopped to eat lunch there. I mean, it was a bakery, so my lunch consisted of a cherry turnover and some kind of flat cinnamon roll-thing with walnuts on it. Well, they were good at least. He also had a telephone museum on his list of stops.

Really? A telephone museum? I think I'm okay with never visiting one in my lifetime.

Unfortunately, (or maybe fortunately in my case), they only have it open between May and September. Okay, next!

After Cle Elum was a stop at the old Thorp Mill. 

[Side note: Derek got turned around a lot. He doesn't use Google navigation and was apparently showing me how much worse his Nokia phone does at directions.]

I pretended to read all the interesting tidbits that the self-guided tour provided and spent time taking pictures. We were swarmed by gnats or some kind of tiny flies the whole time. It was disturbing.

Next on the list was Ellensburg. We were surprised to find out that it was a University town. I guess this is why most people skip it on road trips. But, I had a one track mind of finding a shot glass here.

We parked and decided to walk the streets. It was a cute town with some interesting architecture. 

I showed him how bad my memory was by asking a bookstore owner about perhaps finding a place that sold shot glasses and she proceeded to give me the name and walking directions to a place and then I promptly forgot them. Well, I hadn't really. But we did walk around a while before a resident of the town told us we should stop arguing about it and asked us where we were trying to get to. Both Derek and I agreed that we surely hadn't been arguing.

It's good when we can both agree that we both hadn't been arguing. This is the sign of a healthy relationship.

We finally found the shop but it being a college town they only had college shot glasses. This was sad. I don't think the town likes itself very much.

[Also, the lady was totally following us. Even when we got back to the car and proceeded to leave the town, we saw her crossing the street in the opposite direction she'd been walking before. I think she was the ghost of Ellensburg.]

Beyond Ellensburg was a pit stop at the Fruit and Antique Store in George, WA. (Yes, Washington has a town called George. Were you not expecting this?) Nothing much to say here except we both picked up something called Vine Smoothie to try. He grabbed the Strawberry and I took Peach. The cashier gave us some decent tips about drinking it in shots if we didn't like it. Derek was convinced I would have been best friends with this girl because we both like fruity wines.

Our final destination was the town of Moses Lake. It was getting late at this point; the sun was beginning to set and we were both hungry, but I insisted we make one more stop along the way. The Iron Horses.

We decided to climb the small mountain. The rocks were loose and it wasn't easy nor incredibly safe. But despite the promise of danger, we climbed it while the sun was setting, and I got some awesome shots. 

I slipped on the way back down, but it was all in the name of a good photograph so it was totally worth it.

The last stop of the drive was a simple diner called Bob's. Apparently, Derek had eaten there in the past and liked it. We had a bet on how old the waitress was. No wager but pride. We both gave our guesses at the same time. I said 22, he said 23. One of her co-workers answered that she wasn't even 21, so I won :D

The drive back was uneventful. It was a long day for me for sure; I didn't get back to the parking garage until 11pm and still had a 1 hour drive home from there. Thankfully, I had better luck leaving Seattle than I did at arriving. It just goes to show you, attitude can make all the difference!

*Name changed to protect the strange

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Do I have GAD?

For the uninitiated, GAD is "Generalized Anxiety Disorder". Sounds pretty epic, right? I mean, it's so idiopathic that I don't even freak out over specific things, just everything!

Well, this may not be true. Most of the time my life is pretty plain-jane. I know, or am aware at the very least, of a couple of people with GAD, and I know I'm not as bad as them. I think what it comes down to is that I have a routine in life, and when it gets thrown for a loop I kind of freak out. 

There are certain things in life where logic takes control and I can handle it just fine. For example, when our cat Sammy ran out the front door one day and no one noticed for at least 5 hours. We lived in an apartment complex with a greenbelt behind it, I knew logically that's where Sammy would hide. It was Justin that was freaking out, wanting to bang on neighbors doors at 10pm, while I was just calmly trying to make a lost poster. Knowing Sammy because I was the one that found him initially, he scares easy but once he gets hungry enough, he ventures out in search of food. I knew he would do that again, and I was right. Justin had called me cold-hearted because I wasn't freaking out and crying like he was.

I knew that beginning the step of dating again after my divorce would put a kink in my normal, everyday life. What I didn't realize was how much it would affect me.

I've never really dated. My history is pretty pathetic for a 30 year old woman. And "casual dating"? Whoa, hold your horses. I've never done that. What do I do? How do I act? How far can I go?

I'm constantly guessing and second guessing almost everything I do and say. I've already been (chastised probably isn't the right word but I don't know what else to call it) when I share too much. The guy I'm currently seeing knows what the hell he's doing, and I'm not sure if that makes things better or worse for me.

I'm also guessing and second guessing everything he says. Not because I think he's lying, but because woman vs. man. I keep trying to tell myself that what he says is what he means, and what he means is what he says. That hasn't lessened my anxiety about everything. I am so out of my element here that I don't know how to cope.

My workmates can feel the anxiety wafting off of me like so much bad cheese. I told them that I would stop asking for their advice, but it didn't seem to matter because my anxiety is pretty much palpable. I will stop asking anyways; it seems to have gotten me "in trouble" because I took two people's advice and received conflicting information. I have to be able to handle this myself, even if I feel incapable of doing so. It is the only way I will learn. I just hope the guy I'm dating understands.

Friday, October 3, 2014


I can't type like normal people. It's ok that I'm not normal, I don't mind, but sometimes it causes issues, like when it gets dark. I have a basic Logitech keyboard set that I've been using for years. I love it, and it runs like a dream, but I've also always had overhead lighting to help me type because I never properly learned how. Let me give you a little background.

First, dad tried to force me to learn how to type like a normal human being when I was but a young teenager. Any person that has known me a decent amount of years knows that I am not a normal human being! He'd purchased a program on CD and expected me to learn it. Yeah well, like my times tables and the metric system I gave it half a shot and quit. I could type just fine being ambidextrous with my left hand hunt & peck and my right hand on the mouse. In fact, I was so efficient at that method that every time I was tested I got at least 40 wpm.

In junior high I was forced to take a typing class. To show you my age (and the relative lack of funding at our school) we were on old Mac computers that I called "green screens" or "amber screens" because they were nothing but a cursor and a floppy drive. We were given "assignments" to type out which I am at my slowest when trying to copy something off a sheet of paper. I got so frustrated. The teacher did nothing but randomly walk around to make sure we were typing. In fact, when he told us to cover our keyboards with a wood board and type, I pretended to type (it was compete gibberish) and he never cared or noticed. I think I got a C, which was a passing grade so I didn't care lol.

I continued to type my way until about 2008 when I was about 24 years old and got a job as a data entry person at a place called IBS (no relation to the syndrome). With my phone in my right ear I would type using my left hand but it didn't feel right. It was hard to correct mistakes without the use of my right hand. So, I began to cradle the phone on my shoulder and type with both hands. It came on completely naturally.

[I'm always reminded of The Simpsons episode "The Crepes of Wrath" where Bart goes to France and learns French out of necessity.]

Suddenly, I could type with two hands. It was a miracle. What I have yet to learn, however, is typing without looking down. I've mastered it somewhat. I can do it sometimes, but I move my hands around a lot; I don't keep them stationary like most other people. So, when the sun sets, I have no light in the living room and I had to buy a special lamp just so I could point it at the keyboard. And now I'm looking at buying a backlit keyboard thanks to my "handicap".

It's so pretty.

I guess that's the price I pay for being unique!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Stuck Between a Door and an Open Space

Okay, so I'm not as creative as Alton Brown when it comes to pun titles, but I tried.

This is part 2. For part 1, click here.

We've established that I had to take my bike home from Auburn without any previous planning. I somehow managed to fit it into the backseat of my car, and headed home from the train station. I left it in there over night because honestly, who cares.

The next morning, I left extra early and drove to the station in Auburn in order to drop off the bike. I opened the door, and attempted to pull it out.

I say attempted because, well, it was stuck. I had managed to pull the bike almost halfway out, and then it wouldn't budge. I still had to get to work regardless, so I figured I'd try again afterwards, and attempted to shove it back in. I say attempted because, well you get the picture.

So here I was in the parking lot, my car's back door open with a bike hanging out of the back seat. I had 2 options that weren't really options:

1. Drive to work like that. Pfft.

2. Leave the car as is and walk to work. (It's a 1989 Celebrity. If a thief manages to get the bike, let 'em have it!) But no, that was still too dumb and risky.

And so my only real option was to call work and have someone come down to help me take apart the bike and get it unstuck. I worked at a bolt factory so I think it was safe to say they'd have the right equipment. I pulled out my phone and it had about 30 seconds of battery left. I was so lucky that my phone wasn't dead because I did not have a car charger. (I probably bought one that same week thanks to this!)

Merit came down and took the front wheel off the bike. I honestly can't even tell you if I was embarrassed. I was probably too focused on just getting this done so I wouldn't be late to work. Yeah, you heard right - I'm dealing with all this junk and I still had time!

By the time it was all said and done and I got to work, I was probably only a minute late or something.

This is why I give myself so much time before work that I could probably catch an extra hour of sleep otherwise. Knowing me, something bad is bound to happen and you just never know!

Monday, September 15, 2014

The Train, the Bike, and other things

I love you if you get my title.

Anyway, I can't believe I never wrote out this story. I've probably told it 10 times; it is regrettably one of the most interesting things to happen in my life. Murphy's Law-wise, of course.

I hate traffic. Hate it. I will do anything to avoid it. When I accepted a job in Auburn, I had to deal with I-5 every day and it would take me over an hour to go less than 20 miles. So, after doing a little research, I discovered a solution. My place of work was only a mile away from the Sounder train station, which commuted between Tacoma and Everett every day. I would buy a bike (got one for $50), rent a bike locker at Auburn Station (less than $20 a year I think), and take the train and keep the bike in Auburn. It was pure genius.

You know, except for the 10 months of bad Washington weather.

Let's just ignore the fact that I probably only committed to this a total of maybe 8 trips. But, here was the downside. My place of work was on the very outskirts of town. The Sounder train was on the correct side for the actual town, and we were on the other side of the industrial tracks. Can you see where this is heading?

I was on my bike, riding towards the Sounder, when I saw a freight train blocking the only intersection. I pulled up alongside the cars that were waiting. Okay, I had some time, I could wait. But as time ticked on, and the train didn't move, I began to get antsy. The guy in the car next to me told me that I should find another way around - they'd been waiting for over 20 minutes.

20 minutes?!

I began to panic. He told me to ride down the trail to my right - eventually I would get past the train and I could cross. I watched as people on foot climbed through the train to get to the other side. I briefly thought of doing that, but pulling my bike though was too dangerous. I heeded his advice and began to ride. The train seemed to last forever. There was no end to the damn thing. As I rode one way, the train slowly began to move in the other direction.


I turned quickly and rode like the wind. Like a bat out of hell. I pedaled so quickly that my feet were skipping the spins. My heart was going to explode. I actually had a legitimate worry that my heart was going to stop as I couldn't breathe well enough. I was extremely overweight and this was the most exertion I'd probably had in years.

The train began to move ever faster. I could barely keep up. Finally, I reached the intersection - barely 30 seconds after the train went completely through it. I was out of time. The Sounder train would be coming any second, and the lock on my bike locker was too finicky to mess with it.

Out of breath, legs shaking, completely obliterated, I stood with my bike, and got on the train. I then had to stand the entire trip back as there was nowhere to sit.

I owned a regular car with no bike rack and no ability to fold down the back seats to make the trunk larger. The only thing I could do was shove the bike into the backseat with all the finesse of, well, this:

I managed to get it in by some miracle of Frith (if you get this reference I love you even more), however, the next day was to become even more interesting.

Hold on for Part 2!

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Skyline Trail

I was standing on the edge of  trail with a clear warning sign of "steep snow", but I did not falter. I took my first step, and then another, my friend close behind me with both of my trekking pokes as she did not have hiking boots. I got about half way - I was going to make it! And then, I slipped.

Wait, let me back up to the beginning. On Thursday afternoon, while I was at work, a patient was telling us about a trail up on Paradise at the Mt. Rainier National Park, where apparently you can see several mountains at once. This intrigued me. Apparently, because Paradise's elevation was so high (5,400 ft), snow had been covering the Skyline trail up until this point but now it was "hikable".

I had managed to convince my friend Monica to go, as she liked to hike occasionally. It was a two hour drive, and a total of a 1,400 foot incline in a 6 mile loop. I hadn't hiked all summer but nothing was going to stop me now. I wanted that view more than anything, and I really wanted to test out my new Sony NEX-5N MILC camera.

The hike itself was well maintained. As you can see, it was a perfectly clear day, and we had a view of the top of Mt. Rainier pretty much the whole hike. I wasn't used to the thin air, so going up steep inclines definitely made me pause, but I could tell that my strength workouts at the Y were paying off.

Unfortunately, something in my camera flubbed up, and this was the result at Panorama Point. However, if you ignore the overexposure and weird darkening effect, you will see Mount Adams and off in the distance, Mount St. Helens with her blown top.

After Panorama Point is when Monica and I ran into trouble. This high up, there was indeed still snow on a part of the trail. Many people had created a useable trail and were currently crossing it, so we tried our luck.

This is where I was a few feet before I slipped. As you can see, it slopes down quite a bit at the end there, and I had nothing to hold onto. Luckily, my ass remained on the trail after I fell. But, like ice, there was no getting back up again. I decided to sled my way down to the other side. If it hadn't been for the fact that the snow here seemed colder than typical snow and was about freezing my hand off, it would have been fun. It happened to Monica also, and she ended up doing the same thing I had. She had supporters cheering her on behind her, though. :P

After that, the hike went well for a bit. We ran into a family where a teen had somehow hurt his ankle. They were currently trying to wrap it in a splint and asked if we had any Ace bandages. Unfortunately, our first aid kits were limited to band-aids and an S.O.S. whistle. A little over a mile away from the point of entry (as it was a loop), Monica somehow twinged her ankle; probably in sympathy. At this point, we had to slow quite a bit.
[At this point, with a tripod weighing my pack down because I was determined to get the well-known "blurry water photo" of my dreams, I had already tried twice to no avail. Even with a Neutral Density filter of 8, there was no shade and my photos were way over exposed. It wasn't until after Monica hurt herself that I was finally able to get the perfect shot.]

I let her go on without me while I set up my tripod one last time. Finally, a waterfall in the shade. The perfect conditions for my blurry water.

I was not disappointed.

We slowly made our way back to the car. That last 1.4 miles seemed endless. And I knew I was finally getting sunburned despite my slathering on of sunscreen before I left. But, it was all worth it in the end. The views were spectacular, and I finally got my dream photo!

Here's some more shots to satiate your need. Enjoy!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Pacific Parasail

I crossed another thing off my not-quite-midlife crisis list. I found out two things.

1. I'm not a screamer unless an entity of unknown origin streaks across my vision.
2. I'm not really a thrill-seeker.

I'm at least proud of myself that I didn't cry like a baby before going 1,000 feet into the air. Not only did I beat out the [story about] the manly-man who cried before heading up in the air, but I did better than this young guy's girlfriend who decided to back out at the last minute. Not that I blame her. But I'm still chuckling over the grown-ass man crying about parasailing.

Here is my video that I shot using a GoPro rental. I'd advise watching it at 2.0 speed, it's much more interesting.

The views were spectacular. I couldn't have asked for a better day to do it. I found that I wasn't really scared of the height, but I was more anxious over the lack of control. I had my arms wrapped around the two straps so that I could hold the camera the whole time, and I found that a bit unnerving because every time the wind gusted, I got moved about and it wasn't pleasant. I felt as though if I didn't hold myself forward, that leaning backwards I would fall out of my harness and plunge to my death. I'm weird like that.

I was really only in the air a total of probably 10 minutes, but it seemed like too long to me. I wasn't getting this so-called "adrenaline rush" that so many people strive for when they do crazy stuff. That's why I'm not a thrill-seeker. I just don't get anything out of it. That won't stop me from trying to accomplish the other things on my list, though! Watch out world, here I come!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

What I'm ________ August Edition

EATING: I just bought the coolest thing. It's called a pressure cooker/smoker. That's right, two in one! I've always wanted a pressure cooker, and I've been itching to smoke some food for a long time. Unfortunately, I live in an apartment complex and the last time I built Alton's cardboard smoker (post here), people were knocking on my door asking if there was a fire. So, no more of that. Smoking was pretty much out of the question.

Until Now.

Enter the Emson Smoker. The best of both worlds. I can even cold smoke! How awesome is that? And I got it on woot for the amazing price of $79.99. Couldn't pass that up! I had chicken on hand so that was my first test. Next on the list is cold smoking some cheese! And then - THE WORLD. *ahem* I mean, salmon. Then probably ribs.

DRINKING: I just finished off some very interesting cocoa "mix". Well, I found it at Winco and it came from Mexico, so it was Mexican chocolate with a very weird texture. They were sold in pucks that you cut into 4ths and drop one in your hot milk to melt, or something. I think it had a spice of cinnamon or other flavors and I liked it a lot. The only issue was that it didn't melt well. It was probably just baking chocolate that I miss-read because there was a cup of steaming liquid on the front. o_O

WATCHING: I'm on a TOS kick. If you don't know what that is, go home :P  Actually, it's Star Trek: The Original Series. They've got it on Netflix/Hulu and I had never seen them all so I thought I would binge-watch. They actually have the remastered version on Netflix and at first I was insulted, as I felt that they are messing with an original product. But then, the more I thought about it, the more I liked it. After all, I'm a 90's girl. I'm used to seeing CGI and other such graphics, and for years I kind of stayed away from TOS because I just couldn't get over how bad it looked. But now, the planets look realistic and the ship looks CGI but pretty nice, still. And although the episodes are corny, I'm still getting my entertainments worth!


LISTENING TO: Wes Quave! Took me a while to find him. Our local King5 news did a promo featuring a song that was super catchy but I couldn't find it because it turns out that Wes Quave hires out to write and make promos. I found the promo on youtube, asked around, and found his name. I don't even mind the rap bits too much because they're very tame.

READING: Finally, with much anticipation, Terry Goodkind has released the next installment in his Sword of Truth series: Severed Souls. *squee* I've already convinced a couple people to read his series and they haven't regretted it. If you like fantasy, Terry is the way to go for sure. It's reminiscent of Wheel of Time however I find Terry's books much more interesting :D

WRITING: Still working on my Blue Moon story from many many moons ago. I have finally bypassed my writer's block and have it mapped out in my head all the way to the end. I love it when that happens! It's a tad over 100 pages right now, hopefully I can get it to 150!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Fall After the Fun


For Part 1, please click here.

My head hurts, and for good reason. It met a wall yesterday, and that wall was not kind. In fact, it was covered with a magnetic knife rack.

Let me explain. Saturday, I went to an awesome wedding, as described in Part 1. It was BYOB, so I brought my own B. Simple stuff: caramel vodka, caramel Irish cream, and almond milk as my mixer. I can hold my alcohol fairly well; with the stuff I drink, I usually get full long before I get so wasted that I regret the morning. But not this time. And here is why:

I gave a pint of blood Friday afternoon.

Okay, I did what they said. I waited 24 hours before drinking. I was not expecting to get so blasted from so little. I was done drinking by about 7pm. Was able to drive (maybe not quite legally) by 8:30. I dropped Mary off at her place and drove home. I even got online a bit before conking out at about 9:30. I woke up 3 hours later thirsty. I was dizzy in bed but that has happened before so I didn't think much of it. I got up, and proceeded to the kitchen where I tried to pour myself a glass of lemonade. My vision whited out. I thought "If I could just pour this and drink it I'd be fine." But then I went down like a rock. I heard the glass shatter at my bare feet, my head hit the wall behind me and knocked a knife from the rack and it landed on the floor next to me.

This was the carnage:

I woke up without a single cut on my skin. I was amazingly lucky. The knife that fell hadn't hit me on the way down, but even if it had, it just happened to be one of the dullest ones on the rack. Had my head been an inch to my left, I would have hit my filet knife or my Shun (which I've dropped and had it stick straight up from the floor) and things could have gone quite differently.

After that, I had (WARNING, TMI) a bad IBS attack, which was just great, seeing as how I couldn't keep my head up without wanting to pass out. That was fun, and incredibly painful. After that I managed to get some water to drink, because I'd started shaking. But as soon as I downed the water I got nauseated and threw up a couple of times, in addition to a couple bouts of diarrhea (what is this, the Flu? C'mon!).

+1 for the brand new memory foam bathmat I'd just bought at Costco earlier that day, by the way.

Okay yes, this might sound like a typical hangover, but not for me. I'd never drank so much as to faint or throw up. The IBS attack was a pure bonus. And had I not given that pint, I probably would have been just fine. So please, be warned. Take heed. Whatever. I was alone when this happened and it could have been much worse.

I hear all the teens snickering. 

Yes, I know, it's a "thing" to give blood and drink. It's a cheap way of getting to your destination. I just wish I'd known that the "24 hour rule" didn't really make much of a difference! I'm fine now. I've learned my lesson. I'll give myself at least 25 hours from now on :P

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Fun Before a Fall


Sometimes weddings can be boring. They can be slow, and they can be extravagant and proper. Hell, even my own wedding was pretty plain-Jane - not to say that I didn't enjoy my theme or venue, but what was there to remember?

I somehow knew in the back of my mind that Kristina and Steve's wedding would be entirely different. I've known Kristina since I moved to the Port Orchard area in 1994. She's been though a lot of bad things in her life, and I could tell that Steve made her positively radiant. We really only see each other once a year now, during her annual party that is epic beyond proportions, and I had a feeling, after reading the invite to her wedding, that this would be no different.

..."And finally after many many years of waiting... Kristina's wedding and Steve's final days of freedom"

It was a simple backyard affair at their place, and I invited Mary to come with. It was a gorgeous 80 degree day and there were many family and friends in attendance. Their backyard was huge, filled with an above ground pool and a gazebo with a fire pit, not to mention the deck. It started out innocently enough, with Steve and the groomsmen all sauntering down the isle in their Western getups (I wish I could remember the western song they played, something about life being ruined? ^_^) After the bridesmaids came down and it was getting close to Kristina making her appearance, suddenly the music changes to Jaws. You hear "Run, Steve!" and he tries to make a break for it, like The Flash, across the backyard opposite of the crowd. Everyone is laughing because you know it's all part of the fun. He disappears beyond the house and you hear the POP of a fake (edit: REAL) gun go off. A moment later, one of the men has him by the gruff leading him back to his spot. Steve tries to fight him off and fails, and reluctantly, he goes back to his doomed wait at the end of the isle.

The flower children make their decent, and then it's Kristina's turn. The dress she had chosen was just gorgeous. Her hair all softly flowing curls with white flowers in it. The only downside to the next 5 minutes was that Mary and I couldn't hear a darn thing, being all the way in the back by the pool. Steve slipped a ring on Kristina's finger, and Kristina surprised us by shackling an actual Ball-n-chain to Steve's foot. Deep laughter filled the air.

Best. Wedding. Ever.

The kiss was covered by Steve's cowboy hat and they were probably only seconds from someone jokingly shouting for them to get a room.

After the ceremony was over, it was a potluck-style food buffet in which I had apparently brought the only dessert: those easy, no bake, peanut butter bars. They were definitely a hit.

And when the cake came out, I had to reiterate my above statement.

If only all weddings could be so fun and carefree. But that's Steve and Kristina's style, and it fit them perfectly.

So, with a hat tip and a glass raise, I say: Congratulations Kristina (and so sorry, Steve!) and may you both live happily ever after!

What's that? Oh, you're wondering about the title. As soon as my head clears I'll write part two!

Thursday, July 17, 2014

I'm Probably Expecting too Much

I don't know why I keep thinking that every time I go to the ocean I'm expecting warm weather and sunshine. Maybe it was because it was going to be around 90 degrees last Sunday and I assumed that because the ocean was less than 2 hours away that it would be a decent temperature there too. I think I'm expecting too much.

Ocean Shores itself, although touristy, was still very small and pretty boring. There's a couple of strip malls to shop around in, but most of them included places to buy kites and other toys. We saw more deer roaming the area here than I'd ever seen in the mountains. But, we didn't come to hang around in the town.

When I went last Sunday, I was going to swim no matter what because I'd just spent $60 on swimwear that fit me after years of going without. When Justin and I got to the beach, and it was finally time to swim (around 2pm), the marine layer still hadn't cleared, and the promise of 70 degrees that my phone was showing me must have been from an inland town and not the shore. My car was saying 59, and I'm thinking that didn't include the windchill. Despite this fact, the beach was pretty packed, as Washingtonians are very used to this weather.

I don't think too many people know what our oceans are like. It's not like the east coast at all and I wouldn't even put it in the same caliber as California. We have rich, food-laden (and disgusting-looking) water because it's so cold. We don't have the gulf stream so if our water temperature gets above 55 it's a good day. To top it off, we're a northern state so it takes a lot of prayers and weird weather to get the beaches beyond 70 degrees, even when the interior is baking.

Mmmm, poopy. Or plankton-y. Whichever. 

It took guts and about 15 minutes for me to get out to hip deep. I drove here expecting to 'beat the heat' and that's definitely what I got; I was freezing. The ocean isn't really meant for literal 'swimming', and although I had brought my wake-boards, we didn't use them. I watched as a couple of other people tried the same thing and it wasn't working well for them either so I didn't bother to drag them out. I probably spent no more than 40 minutes in the water and immediately jumped back into the car and turned up the heat. There was no 'lounging in the sun and drying off' at this beach! At least we had the car to hide in. (that I will now spend the afternoon scrubbing down because the seats smell like dead sea creatures.)

I have got to stop expecting so much from our beaches. It's the end of July for frack's sake, and its 59 and cloudy, even when it's beyond hot less than 2 hours away. From now on, lakes will be a better bet.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Bucket List

In an earlier post, I had declared that I was going through a not-quite-yet mid-life crisis, meaning I'm not quite at my mid-life (at least, I hope not!) but I sure am acting like it.

I've decided that I need to do some things I've always been afraid to do, or think of some fun activities that I've never done before. Most of this stuff I thought up on the fly over about a one week period. One of those was Whale Watching, after seeing a Groupon for a boat ride. I had to start thinking to myself "Well, why the hell not?!" What else am I doing, anyway?

Here is my so-called bucket list so far:

Whale Watching
Hot Air Balloon Ride
Race Track Drive
Tandem Paragliding and/or Hang Gliding
Zip Lining
Roller Coaster
Cruise to Alaska (and biplane tour)
Scuba Diving, and in tropical waters

I chose Alaska because, let's be honest, it's a helluva lot easier. Actually, there were several reasons, one being that I'm a nature gal and Alaska has some great majestic beauty. It's also about a million dollars cheaper because I don't have to fly literally across the entire country in order to board the boat. And although I badly want to swim in tropical waters, I'm just not one for crowded, hot beaches.

Courtesy of Princess Cruiselines 

The roller coaster one is about fear [stop laughing and then pointing at the hang gliding]. I know, it seems odd that I'd be willing to tandem jump and risk my life floating to the ground but be scared of roller coasters. Honestly, I know I'd freak looking down from a cliff too, but I've been scared of roller coasters all my life, thanks to a trip to Disneyland when I was 5.

Before I even knew Star Wars existed (nor did I care) I stood in an infinitely long line at Space Mountain, watching the golden robot entertain the children as we all waited for our dooms. Little did I know that I was about to be forced onto a roller coaster in PITCH BLACKNESS. I clung onto daddy for dear life wishing for nothing more than to be at home safe in my bed. That ride struck the fear in me that I've never been able to overcome. Any (tame) coaster that I went on after that was a downright miserable experience. But, I'm ready to try again - this time with something a little more daring. As long as someone comes with me!

Yeah, no. Nice try, though.

The Race Track Drive was inspired by a contest I saw on TV once, sponsored by this famous shoe company. Each woman was to ride shot gun with a race track driver taking some 20 laps or so, I can't remember. Each woman was given 20 pairs of shoes for free at the start of their joy ride. However, the catch was: every time they screamed, they would lose a pair of shoes. I began to wonder am I a screamer? Would I make it through that? I have no idea. And I'd like to find out!

Anyway, that's my list for now! What about you? Do you have a bucket list? What do you want to do that you've never done before? Let me know in the comments!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Taste of Tacoma

I'm really surprised at myself that I didn't write a blog post about this last year. Maybe I thought it was too boring to mention, or maybe it just took me a year to realize I could make this post sorta funny. Who knows. But, the Taste of Tacoma is coming around again, so I thought I should recount my experiences from last year.

My friend Mary and I decided to go for her birthday, which conveniently falls on the same week as The Taste. It's free to get in, and has a lot to offer.

I remember that I just had  to try alligator-on-a-stick. Not being from the south and have never been there, we don't really get a lot of alligator options. That old adage "tastes like chicken" rings true, here. I don't think I would have been able to tell them apart.

We also discovered slushie wine. Yeah, you heard me. That secret powdered chemical that seems to turn alcohol into slushie. Neither one of us like wine, but we got a sample of it (red wine, no less!) and it was delicious. Must be all those added slushie chemicals.

In that same vein, we decided to do the wine tasting. It would cost us some money to get 5 tokens, in which we could pounce around the booths and pick out which wines to taste as if we knew anything about it and enjoyed the taste of it. We went to each booth and basically demanded "Give us your sweetest wine, (wench)!" Nothing was sweet enough for my palette, although they did have that chocolate wine with Almond Roca flavors that I've been seeing in special places. It's good, but I've never bought a bottle. I just keep tasting it everywhere I go, trying to convince my tongue that it's good stuff.

This was the assortment I spent all my tokens on, basically.

I saw a booth where they sold clip-on sun shades for glasses and got all excited because I'm an adult and that's what I get excited about now-a-days. I can't afford to get those specially made magnetic ones, so I opted for these. They look good, but I wouldn't wear them in public (I wear them while driving). Mary found an artist that makes plants and animals (with paint) into letters. We watched her do it for a while and I convinced her that she should get one made with her daughter's name on it. 

Image found on, because I'm too
lame to think to take a picture of the one Mary bought

The whole place had a slight Renaissance Fair vibe. I saw people selling hippie/renaissance clothes, and even feather masks (I almost bought one, I swear). Mary also got a Henna tattoo and promptly smeared it on the way out. I half expected a patron dressed like a Fairy to skip up to me, go "blurrrttt" and drop a small stone into the palm of my hand (actually happened once).

Oddly, it being the Taste of Tacoma and all, I can't remember what I ate for lunch. But it was probably awesome. I'll make sure to have it again this year.