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It has been almost two months since my last blog post, which is rather unacceptable, I know. It’s not like I have been busy since leaving my job. I’m happier, that’s true. I can actually smile and laugh when I am with friends – and I can actually see my friends now! Alex and I go up to visit about every other weekend or so. The other weekends, I usually drive down to Alex’s house. That’s usually the only time I drive anywhere.

But let me back up. Let me tell you what I have been doing in my re-unemployment time.

In February, shortly after I left my job, I went to visit my friend Jennifer at her school. It was the first time I had ever driven down there, and it was the first time in about four or three years that I had visited her there. I met some of her friends, played with her kitty, Sadie, we ate Indian food, went to a local yarn store, and saw a band Jennifer likes and she’s friends with. It was a very good visit.

Valentine’s Day came and there was a power outage that affected the whole town. We were in the dark for two and a half hours. Mom was grumbling a lot about it, but I just read by candlelight during that time. It was good that the power came back when it did, though. It was quite cold.

Also that month, Alex and I celebrated our fourth anniversary of being a couple. I gave him a pair of hand-knit socks and an autographed photograph of Clint Eastwood. Yeah, I know, I’m the coolest girlfriend ever. It’s funny, because it simultaneously seems like it hasn’t been that long since we’ve started dating, and yet it also feels like we know each other so well and feel so comfortable being with each other that it feels like we have been dating much longer. Or at least I think it feels like that. We don’t get to have the closeness a lot of couples get in four years, what with the two of us basically having a long-distance relationship for the past two years or so. It’s tough. But we make do, and hopefully, once I get a job, that distance problem will be solved.

My brothers David and Alex both had their birthdays in the past two months. Alex is nine now, and David is twelve. It makes me feel old. It’s unbelievable how quick they both have grown, and how much I have missed of their lives. If I could fix that, I would, but it is one of those circumstances beyond my control. It isn’t that I haven’t tried, though. I might be going to see them at the end of April – that is, if I am still unemployed. Part of me wants to see them, but there’s the other part of me that really needs an income.

In March, I cat-sit for Jennifer one morning and was so happy to play with Sadie. Then, during St. Patrick’s Day weekend, my mom was visiting a friend in Missouri and I had the house to myself. I went up with Alex that Friday night so he could play poker and I could have some time hanging out with Sarah and Scott. We went back home the next day, built a giant blanket fort in my living room, made chicken piccata for dinner, went to Good’s for ice cream, and then watched Harry Brown to cap off the night. We actually slept in the blanket fort, and it was rather comfortable. After Alex left the next morning, I made brownies, did laundry, and hung out in my blanket fort the whole day reading Looking for Alaska and watching The Walking Dead marathon.

Mom and I went to see The Hunger Games movie the first weekend it came out. I loved the books and finally convinced her to read them. I think the movie was all right. It was as good as a PG-13 movie adaptation of the books would be. I felt it was too fast-paced in the beginning, and I hated the shaky camera. It made my head hurt, and it’s hard to focus on what you’re seeing sometimes if the camera is whipping back and forth so much. I did like the cast, though, and there was at least one moment where I cried.

Then, last weekend Alex and I went up to see friends and we had a good time hanging out, drinking hard cider/beer, eating pizza, playing Fiasco and Cards against humanity, and watching Two-Headed Shark Attack. All in all, a good weekend. I always look forward to the weekend, though some people tease me because they believe that being unemployed means I get a weekend every day. It’s true that I spend a lot of time knitting, reading, and watching stuff on Netflix, but I also search for and apply to jobs every day, I write (in order to hone my skills and hopefully make something of it), and I try to make things better around the house for my mom by cooking and cleaning for her. I’ve also had at least two interviews in the past month. It hasn’t amounted to anything, but I am hoping that sometime soon, it will.

Well, that’s really all that’s going on. I’m really just back where I was a year ago – the same old, same old.

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It has been eight days since my last bout of uncontrollable crying. So… progress! I am also happy to report that this is not the result of any prescription, but is completely natural. I have not felt sad. I’ve felt a little angry because of some things that are happening at my job, but not sad.

It has been a good past week. Last Sunday, I got to visit with Jennifer and her newly adopted kitty, Sadie, before Jennifer had to return to school. It was so great to see her, because I hadn’t since my Labor Day party. We just sat and talked for a few hours (and I fawned over her Sadie because I really wish I was in the position where I could adopt an animal right now), and I think that’s some of what I needed – just some social interaction.

Alex came up last Monday after he got off work and stayed the night. I made turkey broccoli fettuccine and garlic bread, we watched television together, played Words with Friends on his phone, and ran out to get Blizzards from Dairy Queen. I accidentally fell asleep on the couch with him, and I ended up going to bed at 10:00. Again, I was sort of lame and we didn’t do much, but all I needed was to be around him, and I felt better.

Tuesday, my day was pretty normal. I hung out in my pajamas, watched television, and knitted. I laid down for a nap around1:30, aiming to sleep until 4:30. I woke up at 5:00 when Mom came home. I had enough time, though, to take my shower and get dressed.

We had dinner at IHOP, where I had pumpkin praline pancakes with eggs, bacon, and hash browns. Then, Mom and I went to the movie theater to see The Muppets. The clerk said we had missed the first twelve minutes because there is a discrepancy between the times on the mall website and a normal Google search, apparently. We still took the chance (and got a discount on our tickets), and it was perfect. We didn’t miss any of the movie, just the previews and the Pixar short before it. There were only two other people in the theater. And the movie? It was magical. I would say that if you are a person who has ever enjoyed the Muppets, you would enjoy the new movie. They’ve done a wonderful job of mixing the old material with the new, the cameos were great (Neil Patrick Harris, Alan Alda, and Jim Parsons FTW) and there were several times where I was in a laughing fit. I am certain that I was grinning from ear to ear the entire film.

At the end of the movie, there’s a bit that might make you tear up a little. Not because it’s sad, but because it’s such a display of how the Muppets will always be in the hearts of those who grew up with them in their households (like my mom and myself), and there is room for them in the hearts of generations to come. I could hear my mom sniffling next to me, and I reached out to pat her leg, as I understood what she was feeling. Then I shed a few tears myself, because I felt like it was okay to. These weren’t tears of frustration, pain, and sorrow like they have been, but tears of love, for beloved characters I was glad to welcome back

The rest of my week has been pretty decent. I’ve wrapped the majority of my presents and put them under the tree (why yes, I am an overachiever), Mom and I have figured out what Christmas goodies we are making, and then we took our Christmas card picture. Yes, that’s right. We have a bunch of Christmas cards with photo frames, and since this might be the last Christmas my mom and I have while living under the same roof (as I’m hoping to move out next year), we took a Christmas picture together to put in our cards for the first time EVER. Yeah, this Christmas season has been full of weird twists this year, and it’s not over yet.

My nights at work have been okay. We haven’t been too busy. I loathe Thursdays and Fridays, but once I get over that little hump, I only have to work Saturday night until I’m free. This past Saturday night was a nightmare. We were not only full, but a lot of my co-workers on other shifts neglect to pass messages on to other shifts, or they don’t pay attention and it trickles down to our shift. I was so glad when my relief came in on Sunday morning. It was one of those mornings I was surprised I made it home because I was so tired, and I’m surprised I just didn’t lose control of myself because it was just such a long night.

When I came home, Mom just pulled monkey bread muffins out of the oven. Even though I probably shouldn’t have, I ate three and then went to bed. I woke up in the afternoon, got ready, and Alex showed up. We ran to Goodwill because I was trying to find something for a project with no success, and when we returned to my house, we had dinner. We didn’t do much, but I did have him try on the sock that I’ve been knitting for him and finally figured out how I can make them fit him. I will try finishing that up today so maybe I can actually finish the pair of socks before our anniversary – or, even better, before the end of this year!

Alex and I cuddled and played one of the games we used to play when we were first dating – a line of questions. We went camping once and walked around in the woods, just tossing questions back and forth about our favorite childhood memories and books and Thanksgiving traditions. This time, we asked Christmas-themed questions, even though we knew some of the answers already. However, I think we were meant to be when I asked him what his favorite Christmas movie was and he said that it was Love, Actually though he also likes the original animated How the Grinch Stole Christmas. My sentiments exactly.

In the past few years, Christmas has made me miserable with everything we’ve had to do and all the presents I’ve had to make, but this year, I think it has brought me a sense of comfort that I’ve needed for a while. I look forward to the next few weeks full of Secret Santa trades (OMG SOCIALIZING WITH MY FRIENDS!), actually allowing Christmas music in my car, holiday baking, and finishing up the rest of my gift buying/making and wrapping. Before I know it, I will hopefully be in Lexington, celebrating with my family.

This girl’s not a Scrooge this year, that’s for sure.

I am not going to go into lengthy detail about how my job is going. It has its nights of merit, but it just seems like there is a lot of drama going on. Overall, it’s still a decent job. I like the tasks I have to do, and I have the chance to move around a lot rather than sit in a chair for eight hours. I don’t mind the commute most days. I like listening to one of the radio shows that’s on while I drive to work between 9:00 to 11:00 at night. It’s just lonely sometimes, and every once in a while I wish I could have Fridays and Saturdays off or Saturdays and Sundays off so I could have the chance to visit with my friends or family.

I get to see Alex once a week. Sundays are usually our days. But it still isn’t ideal because he works Monday morning. I can’t wait until we are able to move. I’m crossing my fingers for March.

While I went down to visit him the last two weekends, Alex came to visit today. We were both a little tired, but we talked, watched part of a terrible movie (The Happening – what the hell is up with that movie?), decorated some Halloween cookies, and ate chili. We also cuddled under blankets because even though my house’s furnace was replaced in the past month or so, we haven’t turned the heat on yet. After stepping outside after my shift this morning and finding my car covered in frost (I happened to be wearing only my uniform and a jean jacket), I feel we should reconsider.

I was sad to see Alex go tonight, but I was glad I at least had the chance to see him for a few hours. We have had several obstacles to overcome together so far, and even though our schedules are our main one for the time being, I feel that we will one day eventually get around it and be happier.

After he left, I went back to carving a pumpkin. Mom and I went to a local farm a few weeks ago and picked out a humongous gourd. Mom tore it right off the vine and tried to carry it out of the pumpkin patch, but it wore her out and I had to run and fetch a wagon to take it to the cashier.

Anyway, it sat there for a bit, and eventually I got the inspiration for my carving. I used to never be a fan of horror films, though during the month of October, it is somewhat difficult to avoid. Freddy Krueger is, in my opinion, one of the most frightening of slasher-film villains and he has even haunted my nightmares (though of course, I’ve woken up from those…). I prefer my zombies to shamble though I don’t mind if they run, and my vampires most definitely don’t sparkle. Mom and I have been watching a lot of recent thriller and horror movies lately, and that’s been fun. I think my favorite was the original Let the Right One In. The ending was so abrupt and disturbing, yet in a way, endearing in reference to Oscar and Eli’s relationship.

Oh wait, anyway, I got off track. I swear I have a point to this rambling. So in my junior year of high school, I got my wisdom teeth removed around Halloween. I didn’t put together a costume, or at least I don’t remember having one. I went to a Halloween party the day after I had the surgery, and my friends said I just sat around, staring off into space and occasionally giggling. Also, I kept saying, “You’ve got red on you,” to a guy dressed up like Shaun from Shaun of the Dead. I seriously only remember saying it once.

While I was recovering from having my wisdom teeth out, I sat around on the couch a lot. It was before I took up knitting, so I didn’t do any of that, but we rented some movies. I had heard about Evil Dead and was curious, and that was on top of the video stack as well as Evil Dead II and the adaptation of Bret Easton Ellis’s The Rules of Attraction. I may or may not have watched American Psycho around that time, too. Anyway, I just remember watching the Evil Dead movies and I was so confused with the second one because I was doped up and couldn’t tell the difference between Evil Dead and Evil Dead II except the second one was funnier. But I liked it. I thought it was weird and Bruce Campbell was cool.  Eventually I got my hands on Army of Darkness, and I loved it. It was hilarious. I did an econ project my senior year of high school where I examined the film industry and what considerations have to go into making a movie, specifically a low-budget horror movie. I have watched Army of Darkness many times, and on my graduation from college, I wore a “Hail to the King, Baby” button on my gown.

So, anyway, my inspiration was my love for Army of Darkness, and after spending at least six hours over the course of four nights scraping images of Ash and Evil Ash out of this pumpkin, here are the results. I am so glad I was able to finish it in time for Halloween.

By the way, I actually didn’t realize I would have Halloween night off until last Sunday. With my old schedule, I would have been working. I wish I had noticed sooner, though. I’m not going to go through with making a costume this year. Reduce, reuse, recycle, they say. It should be fun, though. I’m going to go up north and hang out with some friends for Rocky Horror. I haven’t really seen anyone besides Alex for about a month. Oh, mature adult world, why do you have to suck sometimes?

Well, it’s been an interesting turn of events. Okay, not really that interesting. I am currently writing this in my town’s public library, using their wireless Internet access because ours at home have gone kaput. We don’t know why, it was slow last night and then, when we tried to fix it, we completely lost it. My mom called my Uncle Dave, who set it up, and he thinks it might have to do with the provider, but it’s been a day and it’s still not working. I texted Alex and told him we had no Internet and it was like DEFCON 5 at my house. He corrected me on my botched Wargames reference. It is in fact, a DEFCON 1 situation.

I hate to say how reliant we are on the Internet nowadays, but we are. My mom does the majority of her schoolwork online, which is good for her because she can plan out when she does her homework. Unfortunately, I think she has something due tonight and that’s why we’re here. I wanted the Internet only so I could check my e-mail (which is probably junk) and I could write my 750 words for the day, since I have a good 115 day streak going and I am hesitant to just let it slip through my fingers. I just hope we can make it home in time to see the new episode of The Big Bang Theory. One of my nerdcrushes Wil Wheaton is on it again tonight, and I can’t miss that.

Otherwise, I haven’t really needed the Internet. I’m hoping to finish a Christmas present for one of my brothers tonight, and then I have a bunch of other Christmas knitting to work on. I’ve even started reading again, though most of my reading is done at work. So that means that in a 738-page book that I started three weeks ago, I’ve gotten about 102 pages in. Oh well. I vow to get back into the reading habit. I have far too many books to let them go unread. The large tome I am working on is a collection of Rudyard Kipling’s horror and fantasy stories. I admittedly only bought it because I saw it had “The Mark of the Beast” in it, which I love, but I am quite interested at what I’ve read so far. His language is a little hard to decipher at times, but that’s to be expected. Just wait until I get to my collection of Shakespeare – I’m going to go out of my mind because of his workings on the English language.

Also, I watch too much television. Mom and I got the first season of The Walking Dead and devoured it. We’re looking forward to the new season starting on Sunday. I’ve recently gotten interested in It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and rediscovering South Park. My mother is not pleased. She also thinks I’m weird.

Anyway, nothing too exciting happening now. I’m a young, employed, apparently responsible adult now. I have been working at the hotel for four weeks now, though I’ve been in training for three. I actually enjoy my forty-five minute commute most days. I have noticed that the radio has a certain taste. It seemed like just about every time I was in the car either going to or coming from work, “Hotel California” would be playing. I don’t know if other hotel employees find that funny, but I thought it was hysterical. I have heard “In the Air Tonight” a lot, and that usually results in me belting out the lyrics and beating the drum part on my steering wheel. Also, Adele plays a lot, and though she has the most beautiful voice, there is only so many times I can take hearing “Rolling in the Deep” and “Someone Like You.” It’s such good music, but it makes me so sad and I really don’t have a reason to be sad right now.

Well, okay, maybe one reason. They are now getting me on a regular schedule. I’m going to have Sundays and Mondays off now instead of the proposed Thursdays and Fridays. That was my choice, though. I would much rather have Friday and Saturday off, but that’s not an option. I will, until some miracle happens, always work on Saturdays. So that sucks. I mean, I would be fine with my schedule, I just wish it didn’t seem like everyone I knew was in another time frame. I don’t know if I’ll actually get to visit my dad again until I have a year put in (because that’s when I earn vacation time). My friend Jennifer wrote on my Facebook wall the other day saying I should come visit her, and I’m just thinking, “Sure, but you’re still in school. You probably have classes or clinicals on Monday, so that’s probably not a good idea for me to come stay with you on Sunday…” but I really want to see her.

Before I was employed, I wanted to be a responsible adult. I wanted (and still want) to move out and be on my own. I wanted to feel like I was mature, or well, actually acting my age instead of feeling like nothing changed since the four years since high school. So now that I have a job to go to, why does that make me feel so crappy? I still don’t know what I want anymore, I guess.

Oddly enough, another song that reminds me of my job other than “Hotel California” is “Heaven Knows I’m Miserable Now.” I should make a mix-tape.

I have been caught in a holiday whirlwind for the past few days, though I’m sure many people have been, too. I’ve enjoyed it all, though. No major accidents, no tears, all good.

I drove to my (paternal) grandparents’ house in Richmond on Thursday. I made it there without a problem, blasting Devo all the way. I was the first family member to arrive, and I got to spend about an hour with my grandparents before my dad, Cindy, and my brothers showed up. I went out shopping with my grandma, dad, and Cindy, and when we returned, my aunt Cathy, uncle Rob, and cousins Kaity and Jack had arrived, and my aunt Jeanne, uncle Steve, and cousins Christopher, Matthew, and Brian had come over for dinner (they live close by). We had spaghetti, and it was a scramble for chairs.

As usual, I slept in the living room with my cousin Kaity. I don’t usually pull rank, but I sort of did this year. I hate sleeping on air mattresses, and I didn’t want to sleep on the floor, so I called the couch – which isn’t nearly as comfortable as one would hope, but it’s still a place to sleep. I said, “Merry Couch-mas” to Kaity when we were going to bed, due to our past Christmases; once, we shared one giant wraparound couch with my cousin Brian on Christmas Eve and that was interesting.

On Christmas Eve, we did a lot of hanging around the house, watching television and talking. I worked on a scarf for my mom. We went to Christmas Eve mass, and everything went well, though I started feeling sick because I went nine hours without having anything to eat. We came home and had beef and noodles for dinner.

In previous years on Christmas Eve, Kaity and I have been kicked out of the living room so last-minute wrapping of presents can take place and the adults can hang out without being bothered by the kids. We usually sit around, watching movies or something. Well, this year I had a bright idea – why don’t we go out and see a movie instead? I had been itching to see TRON: Legacy, since I bought the soundtrack a week ago – it’s effin’ amazing! Kaity hadn’t seen it, so we pitched the idea to our parents. They agreed. So after dinner, I got directions to the movie theater, and the two of us got to escape the craziness for a while. I even got to play a little Electric Six for her.

The theater was nearly empty and we got our choice of seats.  It was great. And then the movie – oh, the movie! I LOVED IT. I know it has its flaws, I really do (Penny Arcade pointed many out), but I can appreciate the film for what it is, and how it relates to the first film. Even if the plot isn’t the best, I think people can at least agree that it is visually-striking and the soundtrack is totally boss. I feel like the geekiest person in my family for how excited I still am about this film, but whatever. We spent a major part of Christmas Day watching and discussing the original Star Wars movies – we are a family of geeks.

After the movie, we left the theater to find it was snowing. The big, fluffy flakes were gorgeous. We got back home around 10:00, but I stayed in my car to talk to Alex. When I got back inside, I found everyone had gone to bed except Kaity, who had just changed into her pajamas. In addition to this, I was left without a blanket and pillow. I had to wake the little boys up (my brothers and my cousin Jack) in order to find at least one blanket to cover up with, but I was still left without a pillow. It was hard to sleep. When I was trying to get David to go back to bed, he told me, “Don’t you think that tonight is just the longest night of your life?” I know we were thinking of different reasons, but I couldn’t have agreed more. I didn’t sleep much at all.

I was up early, too. By 7:00, everyone was up and I was seated at the dining room table with a cup of coffee. We were unwrapping gifts by 8:00. I think this Christmas was perfect. My family was happy with the gifts I gave them, and I was happy with mine. Dad and Cindy got me a GPS so I’ll stop getting lost when I go places I’ve never been or aren’t familiar with. That was a nice surprise. I also got The Fantastic Mr. Fox (the movie), and a bunch of books on my Amazon Wish List I haven’t read before. I have a lot of reading to do. I also got gift cards and money to help support the growth of my “professional wardrobe” since I have very little to choose from when I go into the schools. If all I could wear were t-shirts and awesome graphic/band tees, I’d be set, but sadly, that’s not the case.

We had our traditional Christmas breakfast after opening gifts – pigs-in-blankets and scrambled eggs. Dinner was two hams, a turkey, green bean casserole, cheesy potatoes, sweet potatoes, applesauce, and rolls. No one will ever go hungry in my family – if they do, it’s their own damn fault. Like I said before, we watched Star Wars, episodes 4 through 6, but we also watched Scrooged and Despicable Me. Also, I learned how to make buckeyes! Grandma said we might run out, and since they are popular at Christmas, I told her that if she had the ingredients, I would make another batch of them. I was so honored to learn how to make them, and my grandpa even took pictures to commemorate the event.

It was a nice Christmas, and I was glad to see everyone. On Sunday, my dad, Cindy, and my brothers went back to Kentucky. I left around 2:00 and met my mom and (maternal) grandparents at the nearby Applebee’s. They had me open my presents in the restaurant. I got a nice blouse, gas cards, a holiday ornament shaped like car keys (ha!), and – drum roll please – a crock pot! I can’t wait to try it out!

We had a good meal, and then we parted ways. I drove my mom home. She’s been having back pain, and was on medication, so she shouldn’t have been driving anyway. She hadn’t been in my car before, either, so that was interesting. The only thing that sucks about having her in the passenger’s seat is that she critiques my driving, or she’ll be giving directions and say, “Go left!” and I’ll go left, and she’ll say, “No, I said go right!” and I’ll say, “You just said left!” and we’ll get into an argument about that…

I had to finish making my mom’s gifts before we could exchange them. I had to eventually finish the scarf in front of her, but she was so happy about it, she didn’t mind. She got me a doughnut pan, among other things. This is also another kitchen gadget I can’t wait to try out.

Yesterday, Mom and I went shopping. We spent some of the gift cards we received for Christmas. I usually don’t like spending mine all at once, but since I’m teaching in a few weeks and I need to expand my wardrobe, I can’t exactly wait around. I found some good deals, though. I found a turtleneck, a v-neck, two t-shirts, a cardigan, a brown skirt, and a purse (I’ve never carried a purse before! So weird!). That was only at two stores, too! Mom and I also stopped by Paradise Bakery for muffins and browsed Borders. Then, we went to see TRON: Legacy in 3-D. Yeah, I had to see it again. I’ve never seen a 3-D movie before, but I was curious, since it seems like that film would be amazing in 3-D. I won’t say it was bad, but I definitely won’t be seeing another 3-D film again. The glasses are too awkward over my real glasses, and then my eyes hurt mere minutes into the film. I had to close my eyes at times just to have them rest. I was still happy to see TRON: Legacy again – still amazing!

We came home, ate dinner, and watched Hellboy II: The Golden Army, since Mom got it through Netflix. While we watched that, I worked on a knitted Kindle cover for Alex, since he got a Kindle this year for Christmas. He is super excited about it, though I still prefer my physical, paper books. There’s just no feeling like the turning of pages in your hand.

I saw Alex today. I drove down to his house and we went bowling. We exchanged gifts, and we were both very happy. He says his gift was lame, but I truly appreciate it. I just wish that I lived in a place of my own where I could have nice things and make it look like a home. We don’t have a dining room table. I would die to have a nice dining room table, rather than just eating on the floor…

Anyway, we played with the Wii for a bit, and I stayed for dinner and dessert. I left about a quarter to 8:00, and went home. I had been invited to hang out with people at my friend Chris’s house, and I went over there about 9:00. It was Chris’s birthday and he’s 20 now, so strange! We played this game called Quelf, ate chips and brownies, watched Eddie Izzard’s “Dressed to Kill,” chatted, and played with kittens. Oh, if only I could have had one of those kittens! They were so cute!

So I’m home now, for a while. I think tomorrow is just going to be a lazy day. I think I need it.

I swear I’m not dead. It’s just that I thought I would be done after last week. Turns out, I’m not. I’ve got a unit plan due Tuesday, a paper due Friday, another small project I haven’t even started on due Friday, not to mention the readings I have to do, two small extra credit papers (because I really, really need the extra credit), my last week of teaching at the middle school, and work.

So, I’m not dead. But my brain is sorta dead. (And yeah, I’m an English major, and I just wrote “sorta.” If you have a problem, go stuff it.)

Oh, and it’s snowing! It’s been snowing quite a bit since the first of December. It’s pretty, but man, I’m not a fan of driving (and biking – yes, it’s happened) in it. I would much rather be curled up in my bed and staying warm, drinking hot cocoa, knitting, watching movies and all that crap…

Among all this, I haven’t had much time to work on my projects for Christmas. Bleh. I have the best of intentions – Mom even sent the sewing machine back up to school with me, even though I don’t have a table big enough for it in this entire apartment. I’m hoping that with all my free time during finals week, I’ll be able to do some craftiness.

Also, I can’t wait to lift the Buffy ban. I haven’t watched any since before Thanksgiving break. I made a pact with myself that I wouldn’t watch any more until I had my unit plan done. Although I might extend the ban until Thursday. I need to focus.

Despite things being busy as hell here, life is good. Well, except the fact I didn’t get my scholarship, so the library isn’t getting rid of me just yet – I’ll be working there on the weekends to earn some dough and help keep my finances in order. I don’t mind the work itself, I just know that student teaching demands a lot, and I don’t want to fail – I can’t fail – and throwing work into that mix is not going to be easy, and I’m tired of being so stressed out all the time. I’ve been tired of it for a very long, long time.

But anyway! Life is good! Alex came up this weekend. It was my fifth weekend in a row to see him. I won’t be seeing him for at least two weeks, now, but that’s all right. We made peanut butter blossoms. They were so tasty, though our first batch got really brown on the bottom and tasted a little burnt. We ate them all – not all on Friday night, but they were gone by the time Sunday afternoon came along.

We also watched Magnolia on Friday night. Alex had never seen it before. It’s my favorite movie, has been since the summer before my junior year of high school. I was going through a lot of identity and relationship issues, and was feeling really ostracized. I watched it at my dad’s house in New Orleans. I was crying 2/3 of the way through it. I identified a lot with Stanley and Donnie Smith – the “Quiz Kids.” I still do, to some extent. Magnolia is so beautiful. I hadn’t watched it since probably my junior year of high school, when I watched it with an ex. Every time Alex had suggested watching it before, I declined because usually I wasn’t up to a beautifully crafted, emotionally draining film that spans three hours. I finally agreed to watch it with him, though, and I sacrificed an extra hour of sleep for it. I was worried about what he would think of it. I think I’m always afraid of what people will think of my choices in movies. He enjoyed it, though, and I’m glad. I feel like, now that we have watched it together, he knows me on a deeper level – even though that probably sounds dorky.

I worked on Saturday morning, did some work on my unit plan, and we went over to our friend Leigh’s apartment that evening. It was a lot of fun, and I was glad to hang out with her and everyone else. It’s been a long semester, and we’ve all been busy. I miss socializing.

Anyway, it’s time for me to go to bed. Just a few more days, and I’m free!

Despite the fact that it was not in my original intentions, I had a lovely weekend at home. After I ranted about being the dumbest person ever, I pushed my driver’s seat back, put a foot up on my dashboard, and grabbed the box of freshman journals I had to grade. I enjoyed reading the students’ entries, and wished that I had more than four days left with them.

My mom pulled up when I had two journals left to grade. We hauled my stuff into the house and started doing laundry. Lots of laundry. I don’t even know how much laundry, it was that immense. We ate dinner, and then Mom sent me on a quick grocery-shopping trip. She’s been waiting to do that for years, and since I now have a license and a car, I can.

She did some homework, and I finished grading journals, and she helped me clean my fish tank because Bones really needed a clean home again. Then Mom did more homework, and I made homemade salsa. My hands smelled like cilantro for the rest of the night, but man, was that salsa tasty. We ate some of that with chips while we watched Kick-Ass.

I slept in on Saturday, and then we went to Bob Evans for brunch – Mom had a coupon. It was good, and Mom and I talked a lot. I miss her.

When we got back, I made sugar cookie dough and did homework. Then I made cookies and iced them. I think you’ll agree that they’re pretty awesome, especially the skulls. I had to cut out the eyes for them and the ghosts myself.

Mom and I ate more chips and salsa while watching The Fantastic Mr. Fox and Good Hair – the latter of which was rather enlightening!

I stayed up until 2:00 updating my music and burning CDs for my car. I got up around 8:45 this morning and Mom had made cinnamon rolls. They were so good. She sent me back to Muncie with some of those, some salsa, some bean casserole thing we had for dinner on Friday, and an unopened box of hot chocolate mix. She spoils me.

I got back to my apartment (where my house keys were sitting on my nightstand, mocking me), and unpacked. I had just enough time to get everything in place, and then I had to bike to work. I already got my lesson plan done, and I have about two and a half hours left of my shift. I suppose I should have brought a book. Oh well. After I get off, my grandparents are coming to visit me and take me out to dinner. They also spoil me, but it will be good to see them. Grandpa is having surgery this week. I hope everything goes well.

I had one thing I wanted to write about since it is Halloween. I love this holiday, but look at me – I’m lame and at work, not dressing up, no parties, nothing, really. And I think I’m really sad that there’s no Rocky Horror Picture Show for me tonight. I haven’t been the past few years, and I should have gone. My friends get to wreak havoc, and I don’t. But it means a lot more to me, or at least, it has in the past.

I thought of Rocky Horror today because I was listening to the soundtrack in my car during my drive. I sang along, sometimes shouting out lines from the audience participation. It made me nostalgic for the (slightly) wild girl I used to be.

I first learned of Rocky Horror through my mother. She used to go to the midnight showings with her friends. The Halloween when I was in seventh grade, VH1 showed it edited, and we watched it together. A while later, she bought the DVD and we watched it again. Sometimes late at night, I’d watch it by myself. I memorized it.

I met my friend Leigh in eighth grade. We shared a love of Rocky Horror. She had actually been to midnight showings at Hollywood Bar and Filmworks. The summer after eighth grade, I went with her, her family, and my friend Joe to see it at Hollywood Bar and Filmworks. The theater was packed and smoky. Joe and I were “virgins,” even though I had seen the movie multiple times – just not in the theater. Leigh drew a big lipstick “V” on my forehead. Their “de-virginizing” ceremony for that night was an auction. I was auctioned off to a woman with pierced nipples. She showed them to the audience to buy me, but then she let me go back and sit with Leigh and her family.

The show was a blast! I got home at 3:00 in the morning, my voice hoarse from screaming, clothes smelling like smoke and my mascara giving me raccoon eyes. And I had to do it again.

I don’t know how many more times I went after that, but I was sure to dress up. I wore fishnets, cat ears, feather boas, lots of stuff. Leigh and I had our pictures taken and put in the Indianapolis Star. I had a forty-year-old man dressed as Frank-n-Furter sit on my lap for “I’m Going Home.” I dreamed of playing Magenta in the shadow cast one day, I loved it that much.

But then I had a falling out with Leigh sophomore year, and Hollywood Bar and Filmworks shut its doors for good. Rocky Horror no more.

Leigh and I eventually made up. We’re still friends. I graduated, came to Ball State, and found out that, around Halloween, UPB did a showing of Rocky Horror. I joined the shadow cast and was supposed to play the Criminologist, but found that the director was a twat who didn’t know what she was doing, and she didn’t respect the cast. She wanted to make it more shock-worthy and less fun, if that makes sense. I think it does – Glee recently proved the same point that Rocky Horror might be shocking, but what is more important is having fun with it. So I quit the shadow cast, but I still went to the showing. It was pretty lame, since it was a university-sponsored. The shadow cast had been an embarrassment, so I am glad I had left it. I had way more fun being with my friends. Well, except for when I stepped on my camera with my high heel. That wasn’t so good. But Rocky Horror – it was always good.

So I’m sad I can’t be at a showing tonight, but in my heart, I’m there, screaming obscenities, dancing the Time Warp, and being an Unconventional Conventionalist.

Don’t dream it, be it…

Things have been going well here. Same old stuff, same old problems. The other night, I finally got around to sewing a case for my double-pointed needles, so now they’re all in one place and not secured by rubber bands. The smaller ones still like to slide around a bit, so I have to make sure the case is never turned upside down, but I’m happy because I actually accomplished something. I have a bad habit of starting projects and not finishing them. For example, right now – two dresses, three paintings (though my mom hung them up on her walls anyway), a sculpture, a bag, a skirt I need to mend, and any novel I’ve tried to produce in the last ten years. My room is piled with junk mainly because I am never at this house and my mom likes to throw any of my belongings in there without any order while I’m away, but also because I have only technically been at home for maybe nine days out of the entire summer, and probably not even that. I have had little time to get anything accomplished, as well as little will.

I’d like to write some actual works of literature, but I’m afraid having two classes this summer killed my ambition for the moment. All I want to do is sit around and knit and read. It would be nice to go out and visit people as well, but seeing as I don’t have a car and it is ridiculously hot to even attempt riding my bike, I don’t get out much. I was supposed to be throwing a party on Sunday for my friends to come over, but I realized that 1) my house is too disheveled to have guests, 2) I’m slightly antisocial, 3) I suck at throwing parties, 4) I’d be moving out two days after, and I’m stressed enough about that as it is and 5) having this party would be acknowledging that summer is over and I have to go back to school. So, I sort of canceled it. Not many people were putting much into it, either. But they decided to revive the party at a different location, so I guess that’s fine. I don’t know if I will go or not, but I probably should. They want me there.

I don’t want to go back to school. I could care less if I ever go back. I can’t wait until next year, when I’ll have my diploma and my only reason to go back to Ball State would be to visit friends or see my brothers graduate (if they chose to go there). I’m burnt out. I’m toast. I’m ready to just have a job and get on with my life.

Anyway, on a lighter note, I saw Alex Tuesday. We went to see Inception and shared a bag of Reese’s Pieces. It was a freaking cool movie. I was a bit lost in the first fifteen minutes, but then I caught on and it was just like… whoa. I’d totally see it again. I probably need to see it again. But I won’t see it in theaters again because I don’t have the money like I did back in high school when I’m pretty sure I saw a few movies multiple times. At home, I’ll miss the huge screen and ceiling-tile-shaking quality of sound, but that’s okay.

After the movie, we went back to my house and I made dinner. A storm came in right before Alex left. It was pouring as he ran to his car. I miss seeing him every day like I have the past couple years at school. Even last summer, we were both living up there and I could see him. Now, when we say goodbye, I never know how long it will be until I can see him again. At least we’ve improved our phone conversation skills from our first summer apart. Even if it is for only five minutes, we still talk every night and talk about what we did that day. I think it will be harder next year, especially since I’ll have some evening shifts, but we’ll make it through. I just miss him, that’s all.

Today, Mom and I are going to Gene’s Root Beer stand for dinner. It’s been forever since we’ve done it, and since it’s a seasonal operation, it’s special. I look forward to having a chili dog and a root beer float, even if I’m getting chubbier every day (or so it feels like it). I’ll feel better (ironically) when I move into the apartment, since I will try to eat better and exercise regularly. Not like here. The only thing that gets a workout are my fingers when I type or knit…

I’ve been busy lately – working out, writing, working, reading, going to class, knitting a sweater, watching Twin Peaks (I’ve only got one episode left!), and socializing. Yeah, I’ve been pretty much doing everything besides updating this thing. Apologies.

I had the house to myself most of this week until late Wednesday night, so I kept myself occupied. It was nice, but even better when Jess came home, because some nights alone in the apartment were scary, especially one incident where a particular part of Twin Peaks made me keep my door shut the whole night (Think Leo Johnson, second season, cake and creepy smile.).

Last Monday, I baked banana-chocolate-chip cookies after I got back from class, and then I met up with Sarah. We biked twenty-five miles on the Greenway. It was exhilarating, and I think my legs hurt all week because of it.  We also found wild mulberries and blackberries and picked them along the way. It was a great day.

Tuesday, I worked out with Sarah, but we were still sore, so we did a lot of upper-body work and did less cardio. Dom wasn’t going to be home, so I didn’t over and watch Firefly with him, but opted for my Twin Peaks addiction. I really need to get the film from interlibrary loan.

Wednesday after class, I went to the grocery store and then went over to visit Sarah’s apartment. We did yoga. I really do hope we can keep working out together over the school year. I feel so much better doing it.

Thursday, I worked out with Sarah and returned home. I did my homework, and planned to have another quiet evening of knitting, watching Futurama, finishing  Twin Peaks, and eating milk and cookies. Kelly came over to visit, and she said Carlos O’Kelly’s had dollar margarita specials. Jess and I decided to go with her, even though we had both wanted to see the new Futurama.  I was introduced to a few other people by the time we got to Carlos O’Kelly’s, though most of them escape me now. I was a little nervous and out of my element, since I knew only three people of the group.

We moved our party to the Locker Room later, and then ended up at the Chug, where we ended up singing karaoke. They had karaoke. I had never sung karaoke at a bar before, and Jess was like, “OH MY GOD WE NEED TO DO IT!” So we signed up to do it.

Meanwhile, Jess had told Bob that we were going to sing karaoke. He said, “I wish I could see that,” and she said, “You should come!” But Bob is in Auburn about an hour and a half away. He didn’t respond until about that much time later, and then he said, “Oh, I can’t, but where are you, anyway?” She told him, and a few minutes later, he walked in the door. It was the sweetest damn thing I had seen in a long time.

We sang along with a few other people who sang “Sweet Caroline,” “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and of course, “Don’t Stop Believin’.” Around midnight, Jess, Kelly, and I got on the stage and sang the Backstreet Boys’ “Larger Than Life.” I felt like an idiot, being a college girl singing a song I hadn’t listened to in ten years, sort of childish and dorky. It was great, though, and I totally want to go back to karaoke night at the Chug, just maybe not if I have to go to work in the morning. My throat was so sore from yelling.

Friday, I went to work, but I was tired. Alex came up. Jess left for a photography job, and we made dinner together and did one last practice at driving. We went to hang out with Thom, Nick, and Sarah, and we watched A View to a Kill. For the most part, I had a good night, but before we went to bed, I just started psyching myself out about the next morning’s drive test. It was pretty much my only shot for the time being, and I knew I had worked hard, but my stomach hurt and I was so anxious Alex had to calm me down and assure me that I was going to do just fine. I felt better, and we went to sleep.

I woke up Saturday morning, and wasn’t too nervous until I was sitting on the futon, eating frosted mini wheats, and staring off into space. Alex reassured me. My mind kept telling me, “You can do this, you’ll be fine,” but there was this little bit of doubt and fear still inside me.

I drove to the license bureau to get one last practice in order to warm myself up for the test. I was all right again, and I was confident. Alas, I soon found myself alone in Alex’s car alone with the instructor, and her cold exterior scared me. I was terrified when she made me parallel park. I screwed up. She reminded me to use my far right mirror. She said, “You’re not using your mirrors, use your mirrors,” and I swear to God I was using my mirrors but it wasn’t doing me any good. I tried a third time, and she was frustrated with me and I knew it and so I started to panic. I wanted to cry. I had come this far, and I just was screwing it all up.

She asked if I was okay. I said, “I think I just failed my test.” She said, “You haven’t failed the test, but you will if you don’t calm down. Now, pull out when you’re ready to.”

I sucked it up. Not all was lost. I just had to finish.

The rest of the test actually wasn’t all that bad, and even though I think she was frustrated when I tried to park, she unbuckled her seatbelt and said, “I’m going to pass you anyway, but you need to work on your parallel parking and stopping at your stop lines.” She left the car, and it took all I had to not cry – I was wearing makeup and didn’t want to smudge it for my driver’s license picture. I had passed!

I sat down by Alex as they processed my papers. I leaned on him and dripped a few tears on his shoulder. We were both so relieved I had passed, and I couldn’t have done it without him. He, who was frustrated at me the first few times I tried driving in his car. He, who loves cars so much, especially his “Domino,” and he let me drive her, despite my inexperience. He, who was my cheerleader when I felt like crap. I don’t know how I can repay him. He’s done so much for me, and I am grateful for it.

I called my mom and told her the good news. I called my dad and told him the good news. Everyone was celebrating. After five years, I had finally earned my driver’s license. It was a long and complicated journey, but I finally achieved what I should have at the age of sixteen. And in a few months, I should have a car of my very own to cherish, christen, and drive around. I can’t wait.

Sarah and Thom came over for dinner, which Alex helped me make. We baked some Italian herb monkey bread and made a balsamic vinegar – sausage – feta cheese pasta toss. It was all very good, and we ate it as we listened to songs from my favorites list on my iPod. After dinner, we sat on the porch and talked. We walked to the Chug, which was practically empty. We played skeeball, trying to outdo each other. My highest score was 21,000. The overall high score from our group that night was made by Thom, who got 24,000. The machine’s overall top score was 38,000.

We left the Chug and went home. We sat on the porch, continuing the conversation. Then I just got so tired, and I didn’t like being eaten by mosquitoes, so I called it a night.

We slept in until 11:00 on Sunday morning. We took our sweet time taking showers and eating leftover pasta for lunch. Jess told me that Bob was coming up to watch fireworks with her. She had been sad that this was her first Independence Day not cooking out or watching fireworks with her family, and even though I had invited her to join us, I think she still felt lonely. So, Bob decided to come up. So nice!

Alex and I were bored and went over to Silvertree to visit Krista, Sarah, Nick, and Thom. We ate garden tomato and basil chips. They were good. I had never seen the film Independence Day, which was on the television when we walked in, and even though it was halfway over, Krista was like, “OH MY GOD YOU HAVE TO SEE THIS!” and so she got her DVD and we watched it from the beginning. I enjoyed it, but then after it was over, we were just bored and bitching about Spider-Man 3, even though it took hours before anyone decided to change the channel to Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope.

Sarah and Thom made barbecue chicken, rice, and cumin mashed potatoes for dinner. Around 8:45, we stopped by my apartment to pick up a blanket, sparklers, and ice cream, and then met Krista and her friends Jeff and Ben at the middle school. Jess and Bob followed us as well, and all ten of us got on the MITS bus that was heading towards the fireworks place. As it turns out, it was just at the high school. We were like, “Oh, they could have told us it was here… that would have been easier…”

There were so many people at the school, and we were just trying to find a good place to sit, but that proved to be difficult because many people were being dumbasses and shooting crappy fireworks they had bought. We didn’t want to be hit by debris or have our blankets catch on fire, so we wanted to be away from the stupidity. We found a nice little place on a small slope by the tennis courts. We laid our blankets on the prickly grass, overlapping and making one giant continent. I kicked off my shoes because they were hurting me. I had bloody blisters all over my feet, and I winced as I walked around.

We passed out sparklers, and Nick let us borrow his lighter to light them. It had been so long since I had held a sparkler! We got pictures and danced around with them. Alex and I opened my pint of Chunky Monkey and shared it. It was just like old times, when my mom and I would each have a pint of ice cream as we watched fireworks.

Finally, around 10:00, all the dumb people in the crowd stopped trying to fire off their fireworks and the real show began. We had a prime spot. The explosions in the sky seemed so large, and I felt so small. My mouth hung open in awe throughout most of the show, barring the mosquito bites on my arms. It was quite magical. I know, it’s silly to think that something so small as fireworks could be so cool, but the show was truly impressive. I could have watched them for hours, just sitting there on my blanket with Alex, his arms wrapped around me.

When the show was over, we were caught up in the mass exodus. I felt like one of those people in the evacuation scenes of Independence Day because it was that crazy. Our group struggled to stay together at first, but we got through it. Someone kept throwing those little firecrackers that you set on the ground and watch pop, and so our group would rush along until we saw one of those lit on the ground, and we’d all have to step back and warn each other. The first one exploded, but the second was a dud and Jeff rubbed it out with his shoe.

We got on the bus back to where our cars were parked, and Alex and I gave up our seats to a couple with a lot of small children and a stroller. We moved to the back and found some spare seats, and I sat across from a woman and her fourteen-month-old son. He looked at me and smiled, and then he looked at Alex, who was sitting next to the toddler’s father, and smiled.

Today, we slept in late, took our showers, and had lunch while watching episodes of the Venture Bros. Alex left not long ago, and I’ve been writing and trying to work on homework. Jess and Bob are borrowing my Playstation for the moment, so Twin Peaks will have to wait, but that’s okay. I probably should concentrate on my class for a while. Only a few more weeks left! I just wish this one could have lasted longer…

Goals Completed:

#1: Receive my driver’s license.

#55: Sing karaoke at a bar.

This has been a good week. I’m back to my usual shifts at work, where I’m there in the morning. I have to get up early, but that’s all right. I have class at 11:00, and then I’m usually done around noon. My new class is also better. I get to read, write, and hone my creative non-fiction skills.
The power went out at work on Monday. It was only for a minute, but then later, in the afternoon, it went out again. I had stopped by to print a document when they announced it. Power was out all over campus, so even though Sarah and I originally planned to go to the gym, we couldn’t.

Jess and I had our roommate date Monday afternoon. We went to see Toy Story 3. Jess said it wasn’t her favorite of the Toy Story movies, but we both agreed that it was very good. I was surprised to see it be so adult, philosophical, and intense. It was funny in some parts, and I really enjoyed it, but my face and shirt were wet with tears the majority of the time.

The reason why I cried, I believe, is because when Toy Story came out in 1995, I was six. I don’t remember who I saw it with, but I know I saw it in theaters – because I never owned a copy in my childhood, that’s for sure. I had a small Woody doll, and I’m fairly certain I lost it in the airport when I went to visit my dad.

I saw Toy Story 2 at the age of ten. I don’t remember much else about that experience, but I have seen both movies multiple times thanks to my younger brothers, who are now ten and seven. The younger one even dressed up as Buzz Lightyear one year for Halloween. My brothers would play the Toy Story films multiple times, and I would notice something new about them each time. I grew appreciative of the films on another level, since I was older.

So now, with the final film, it’s strange. Andy is seventeen, and going to college. I have been in college for three (going on four) years, and so I remember how it was when I first left home, and how I have matured. I find myself relatable to Andy, and Woody, Buzz, and all the other toys represent all those toys that I had as well, so really, this last film was not only Andy saying goodbye to his toys, but me, saying goodbye to these characters I have loved so well.

In fact, this is my equivalent of Woody. His name is Max.

I got him for Christmas one of the first years during my parents’ divorce. I don’t remember who gave him to me, but I adored his fuzziness. I used to put him in my suitcase whenever I had to travel. I got a bit older, and he sat in my chair for a long time. When my mom and stepdad were going through a messy divorce during my sophomore year of high school, Max became my confidante. Some days, I even snuck him to school, and just knowing he was near made me feel better. I no longer need him in that way, but I do bring him to school and have him sit nearby.

Anyway, if you haven’t seen Toy Story 3 yet – go!

Tuesday, Sarah and I began our exercise program. I was sweaty and out of breath when we finished, but it was worth it. I am excited to get in shape. After the workout, I took a shower and hung out at Lemmy, Dom, and Pete’s house. We watched Firefly and ate Chinese food. Then I went home and hung out with Jess and Kelly for a bit.

Wednesday, Sarah, Nick, and I did David Carradine’s Tai Chi workout. The library has it on tape, and even though it is hilarious to see, it was actually quite effective. Sarah and I made stir-fry, and then we watched Borat with Thom. I had never seen it before. Yeah, I know, I’ve lived under a rock (not really, but I just never got around to it. I still haven’t seen Avatar yet, either, for your information).

Sarah ordered our concert tickets yesterday, too. Oh, what concert, you say? Well, the other day I was reading the paper and saw that DEVO was coming to town. Sarah loves DEVO with the same passion I have for Depeche Mode. I let her know, and she wondered if I wanted to go. After much deliberation about whether or not we can get down there, we decided that we were going. So yeah! Completely unexpected, but wholly welcome.

Today was also a good day. I finished Breakfast of Champions – I love Vonnegut! – and I worked out with Sarah. I had the day off, so before I went to class, I got my hair cut, and it feels and looks better. I’m also on the front page of the Daily News online, and I will be getting my license next week.

Also, tomorrow I get to see my love!

I love my life.