Archive | miscellaneous RSS for this section

Life and other annoyances

1926 US advertisement for lucky jewelry . &quo...

Image via Wikipedia

Life has not been fun lately.

I’m having a hard time adjusting to this new semester–I like all of my classes individually, but together…I don’t know. I think part of the problem is that I am going to school six days a week, and so I don’t feel like I’ve got much time to relax.

I did start on an anti-depressant, but I had the bad luck of getting hit by a head-cold/ear infection pretty much the same time I started taking the pills, and so I’ve been headachey and dizzy, and I don’t know what’s side effects from the medicine, and what’s because I’m sick.

Emotionally, though, I’m feeling more stable, so that’s a plus. I’m not losing my temper the way that I have been, and while I’m not happy, I don’t feel hopeless.

Even with the beginnings of stability, I feel like I’m being kicked in the teeth. And it’s nothing big, it’s just the little things that keep piling up until they get overwhelming. It’s the anxiety, the frustration of trying to understand the reading, the not being able to sleep, making stupid mistakes then paying the price…. You know, life.

 

Financial woes.

So, I love my Nook.  I love the touch screen navigation, and the convenience of having a library at my side at all times.  I love to browse the Barnes and Noble website, looking for new books.  I would and have recommended the Nook vigorously to anyone who’s asked about it.

But something tells me that I may have backed the wrong horse in the eReader race…

And all of a sudden, Barnes and Noble’s financial woes become crystal clear.

Finding Happiness

Things have been rough since the semester started this week.  Between the stress that comes from new classes, campus going from the ghost town it was over the summer to downtown Mumbai, coupled with some minor health concerns, life has not been fun.  And the beast that is depression has reared it’s ugly head, and is determined to take it’s share.

I have an appointment to see a therapist on Wednesday, and I think I’m going to ask for some anti-depressants.  I’ve noticed that I’ve been getting really angry and pissy lately–between the times when I just want to sit down and cry.  I’ve been off my meds for more than a year, but I think I need something to lift me up emotionally for the time being.

To that end, last night I asked my Facebook friends to share with me what makes them happy.  I did ask that they not talk about their children because, well, that biological clock is ticking pretty loudly, and hearing how other people’s kids make them happy makes it worse.  I love the responses I got:

being with people

ice cream

Dr Pepper (twice! I dislike Dr Pepper’s aftertaste, so I’m going to chalk this down as “a sweet treat”)

watching a favorite movie for the millionth time

reading a favorite book for a millionth time

exercising (’cause of the ice cream and Dr Pepper, I guess)

being in nature

going to the library

laughing so hard you cry

sticking your hand out the car window on a nice day

the stained glass window at the Orem Library: 

(which I have to admit, I’ve never really paid attention to–this window is in the children’s book section, and when I go to the library, I’m headed off to non-fiction than the fiction section.  I’ve glanced at the window, but next time I go to the library, I’ll be sure to go look at it)

Life is always better in the light of morning so I added my list:

that moment that something I’m making–be it a painting or some baking or a story or a blog post–begins to come together and I know it’s going to be awesome.

re-reading a good book

reading a good book for the first time

little dogs waiting to greet me when I come home

hummingbirds fighting at the feeder

waking up because your body tells you to, not because your alarm clock tells you to.

And of course, wonderful family and friends.

 

So, if you were to add to this list, what would you say? What always cheers you up?  I was amazed at how therapeutic just coming up with a list was.  I’d love to hear in the comments what makes you happy, but if you don’t want to share with the world, come up with one for yourself.

Happy Independence Day!

Okay, I’m a little late, what with the spending the weekend at my parents house, with additional visitors, (I love you all, but still, ugh), trying to convince a little dog that the world isn’t going to end just because there’s thunder and/or fireworks (ugh. Also: July is a tough month for Lulu), trying to do five days worth of homework in a day and a half (see: spending the weekend with family and friends. Also, ugh) and my washing machine breaking. (expletives considerably stronger than ugh. At least things didn’t flood) So, I hope both of my American readers had a better holiday weekend than I did, and I hope that the one outside the US simply had a good weekend–you know, because it’s Wednesday now…

Also, this:

This is from an advertisement for a local grocery store. I’m choosing to believe that whoever put this ad together knew full well what random quotes do to a phrase, and truly meant those quotation marks around “safe” and “sane”.

After all, “safe” and “sane” fireworks are the best kind, right?

Please, tell me. I don’t remember–I’ve spent the last three Fourth of July’s trying with various degrees of success to peel a nervous little dog from off my face.

Nature

I am a country girl at heart. I grew up in a town of less than 4,000 people. We moved there when I was eight, prior to that, we lived in a community with about 200 people–and that’s where I consider home.

Moving from the country to suburbia, where I now live, has brought some advantages–it’s nice to be able to go grocery shopping without worrying about the stores closing at 9, for instance.  However, while I love not having to worry about yard maintainance, I am keenly aware that the area surrounding my condo is far more black top than grass and flowers.

But, at the end of my parking lot lies a dirt road that’s been sealed off from vehicular traffic.  Crossing over that chain is like stepping into a different world. Rather than the oceans of asphalt, you have this:

I like to take the dogs back here, but I’d kinda forgotten about it.  See, it’s only good for dog walking during the spring–in the winter, it’s too wet and slick, and during the summer and fall all that pretty green grass dries up and distributes foxtails in little dogs coats, paws and in one terrifying instance, eyes.

But for now, it’s green enough that it’s a pleasure to walk through. I’m slightly amazed at how much it’s changed since the last time I had been back there.  For instance, apparently, a civilization of tiny plastic people rose and fell, leaving behind only ruins to prove of their exsistance:


One thing about living in Utah, if you’re not right in Salt Lake City, it’s not uncommon to find bits of rurality right in the middle of town.

Besides horses, I have bees, chickens, goats and cows for neighbors.

This year, in an effort to avoid walking a whole-gasp-tenth-wheeze-of a mile-gasp to find nature, I decided to see if I could bring nature to me.  A cheap hummingbird feeder later…

This is Herbert, and he is king.  There is at least one more hummingbird that visits me on a regular basis, but only if Herbert isn’t around. I’ve seen Bogey a couple of times today, but he’s too skittish to hang around when he sees me pulling out my camera. I can understand that, he might be nervous about pictures of him feeding here getting back to Herbert.

Herbert and Bogey are both male black-chinned hummingbirds, by the way. Herbert is back-lit in that picture, and most of the times that I’ve seen him, so it’s taken me a ridiculously long amount of time to figure that out.

It’s true that being out in nature–even just being outside is good for the psyche, good for the soul. It’s easy to forget that–at least it is for me.   So, get out and explore. Even if you go to a park or field or wooded area you think you know, you might be surprised what you find.

New semester, new drama

It’s currently a quarter to three. I have successfully avoided going to bed by cleaning house, doing homework and now writing a blog post.  It’s not that I don’t want to bed, it’s more that in the past few weeks I seem to have lost the ability to sleep. But, as it’s not affecting my daily activities, I’m more annoyed than concerned.

I survived last semester, despite what the frequency of my posting may have implied. In fact, I thrived. I got a 3.90 GPA for the semester. My GPA is now high enough that I can get a job on campus–you know, if there were a job opening on campus that I was qualified to do–and I have started summer semester.  I have two blocks of classes–Fit For Life (a health/exercise class) and 2D design first block, and then at the end of June, I’ll start stress management (stressed? who me?) and creative writing in the second block, with an online math class all semester long.

I’m beginning to think that the start-of-semester drama might just become a regular thing. I don’t know how what happened this week compares to what happened last semester–I suppose it’s worse, but I’m not as emotionally torn up about it.

Okay, so Monday, first day of class. Minor freak out because I’m the largest and most out of shape person in my Fit for Life class–even though that wasn’t really a surprise. Fat folk would tend to avoid that class, and get the required credit from a health class that would allow them to be sedentary. My 2D design class turned out to be nothing at all like I was expecting–and will require much more work. Slightly bigger freak out about that. After spending a lot of money on books, I came home, and began working on my online math class (I am NOT going to let myself fall behind) and then…blue screen of death.  A couple of hours trying to get the computer to restart, followed by a couple of phone calls to my computer engineer of a brother-in-law, and my hard drive died. Completely.

Yay.

Granted, it was much better to have this happen on the first day of the new semester rather than, say, three weeks ago when I was finishing up my final English paper and studying for finals, but it still left me in tears. Fortunately, the Brother-in-law has a several unused computers lying around his house and he (or, more properly, Sis) offered me use of one of them until I can get a new hard-drive.

So, Tuesday, no school, I went up to Sis’s house to trade computers (eventually, I was having car trouble on that day as well) and because she wasn’t feeling good, to keep her from killing her kids (it wasn’t QUITE that bad, but I did see some spectacular tantrums). This included several very educational games of “I Spy” to wit:

me: Is it a stoplight?

G: nope

me: is a go light?

G: YES!

It’s a little scary that I’m learning to think like a four-year old.

Then home, and more time and trips to Best Buy to set up the loaner computer than should have been strictly necessary. But, it works, I’m on line, and once again stressing over random story problems with no real-world application. But, once again, I hope that this constitutes all of the drama alotment for summer semester–or even just first block–so I can concentrate on my studying and getting through school as quickly as possible.

Everybody’s Changing

M.C. Escher, Metamorphosis II  Source: Wikipedia

Change is a constant in life, as hard as it is. Logically, I know that this is a good thing, that without change nothing would get done. Forget sitting around in mud huts, if we never changed, we would have never crawled out of the primordial stew. It is only when we change that we can grow and develop.

I know this, but lately, I’ve been looking at the lives of my friends.  When you live in a college town, and are surrounded by people who stubbornly refuse to grow up and graduate already, this is the time of year for change.  People are graduating, moving, getting married, quitting the crappy jobs they worked to pay for school and getting real jobs in their chosen professions. It’s all a bit overwhelming, and it’s not even me who’s doing the changing. Even the end of the semester–changing classes, having to meet a whole new set of people, and not going to sit with the friends that I’ve made over the past few months seems a little overwhelming.  I don’t want to make new friends, I just want to keep the ones I have.

To make matters worse, I’m also painfully aware of the consequences of not changing, namely being 30 years old, single, unemployed, and doing school the way I should have ten years ago. Refusing change equals stagnating, and I lost most of my twenties to stagnation.

So, onward and upward to better and brighter things. Or something like that. I know that change isn’t always–or even usually–bad. But still…

When Mormons attack.

One of my neighbors is a LOLcat.

Shocking, I know, but how else would you explain the note left on my door today?

We’ve got the cutesy handwriting and the purposeful misspellings (unless the author of this note honestly can’t spell “please”, “night” or “thanks”, in which case, she has bigger problems than a barking Lulu). The random swearing and the passive-aggressive nature has me confused, though. These weren’t qualities that I normally attributed to LOLcats.

If we were to look at option number two, I’d almost think that this was a Mormon schoolgirl who knows she’s not going to get in trouble for swearing at a stranger if she remains anonymous.  I think she failed to take into account the fact that the random swearing and the misspelled words make me much less likely to take this seriously than if she had taken a respectful tone.

So, to my neighbor who doesn’t have the courage to face me herself:

I’m sorry about Lulu. I’ve been working on keeping her quiet for the past three years. It has gotten much better, I promise, although I do acknowledge that we have a long way to go yet.

I would like to keep her inside all day, but there are times when I can’t be home to take her for a walk before she needs to relieve herself.  This is the reason I have the dog door onto my balcony, so she can go outside, in the little yard I had built for her, and not on my carpet.

Again, I apologize for her noisy behavior. We are working on it. I wish you had told me who you are so I can explain this to you in person, and not on my obscure blog that you probably aren’t going to read.

WARNING: Infants.

I didn't have my camera, and my phone takes lousy pictures, so you get to see the sign in it's original packaging.

As I was walking through the parking lot to the bus stop on my way home from class today, I spotted a car with a sign in the window that read “Caution! Baby Inside”. The image was what appeared to be a giant floating head over a banana (a quick internet search when I made it home told me that I was right about the banana, at least, but the sign didn’t specify a baby what.)

The sign made me think of nothing so much as the notices placed on cages that transport animals of various degrees of domestication from place to place, and I had to wonder: What is so scary about babies that I need to be cautious? If I got too close to the car, would it growl at me? Would it snap at my fingers if I tried to pet it? If I feed it my peanuts or bread crusts would it become too used to adults, and start following random people around begging for food? (Come to think of it, that may have been what happened with my 15 month old nephew, E.)

I then started to wonder what a dangerous baby was doing being left alone in a car in a college parking lot–sure the caretakers could have removed the infant and left the sign, but that would be irresponsible–why make people worry about being attacked by a baby when there is no baby present?

The day was chilly, bordering on cold, so I wasn’t worried about the baby overheating–but I wasn’t going to check on it if I was being warned of it’s presence. But still, should I notify someone that there is a dangerous infant alone in a car? Surely whoever is responsible for those types of situations would be trained in how to deal with dangerous creatures, such as the baby we were being warned of. But what if it wasn’t there? Would that mean that it got loose? Is there a baby wandering around campus, savaging innocent students as they study or wait for their classes? What if it was in the bushes surrounding the bus stop? What if it had its sights set on me?

Fortunately, at this point in time, my bus came, and I managed to make it home without being attacked by a rabid toddler.   I’m going to make sure to lock my doors and windows tonight, though, just to make sure no infants get into my house. Because, from what I hear, once you have a baby, there’s no getting rid of it.

Doggy Psychology

Max, you're expression perfectly sum up my feelings about what happened the other night.

I like to think that I understand dogs, Max and Lulu especially. I want to believe that the hours spent watching Animal Planet, and reading dog training advice (not to mention talking to the Trainers)  during my breaks when I was working at PetSmart weren’t for nothing. I’m quietly smug when I see other people struggling with doggy issues that I know all about. I want to think of myself as a competent dog owner.

The past three years with Max and Lulu, though, have showed me that for all that I though I knew, there’s a million things that I didn’t know.  And just when I think that I’m getting the hang of things, they throw me for a loop, and I’m left struggling in the dark.

For instance, a couple of nights ago I was going to bed at about 2 am. This isn’t as bad as it sounds–I had fallen asleep while reading earlier, and this just happened to be when I woke up,  and had time to brush my teeth and put on pajamas and do all of those other little annoying things that a decent person does before going to bed.

As I was settling down, Max started looking for a toy. This isn’t unusual, because you never know, but I might just wake up in the middle of the night and decide to play with him. Plus, it gives Max a distraction if he’s awake and I’m not. The problem was where he was looking for the toy. He kept pawing at the wall next to the bed, like the toy he wanted had fallen between the bed and the wall.

I thought this was a little strange, but gamely moved the bed away from the wall to try and find the toy he wanted–shih tzu‘s are stubborn, and it’s hard to distract Max from a toy he wants. The problem was, there was nothing there. Max crawled under the bed and looked around, all the while growling and chuffing at me like he wanted to play, and I was hiding a toy from him.  He got back up on the bed, and started digging at the bedding–that was really odd, because when I made the bed in the morning I make sure that any toys that spent the night with the dogs end up on the floor.  Still, I pulled back the blankets and sheets, examining each layer to see if I’d somehow missed a thin toy or something.

I hadn’t, so I put the bed back together, and pushed it back up against the wall, and tried to settle down again, but Max was having none of that–he still kept digging at the wall. I wondered if a walk would distract him from whatever it was he was looking for. Upon putting on shoes–the universally recognized symbol that Cori is about to go outside at our house–Lulu perked up and  followed me to the front door. Max kept digging at the mattress and wall.  I was able to call him to go on the walk, and we were able to get things taken care of, and we headed back upstairs.  Upon re-entering the house, Max, my velcro dog, the one who doesn’t like to be more than 10 feet away from me at any given time, made a beeline for the bed, and started digging and growling and huffing again–still playfully, though with a tinge of irritation.

It had been about forty-five minutes since this whole thing started, and I wanted to go to sleep–and it obviously wasn’t going to happen until Max had figured out that there was nothing there, so I grabbed a blanket and pillow, and went to sleep on the couch–cussing all the time. Here I’m supposed to be at least a quasi dog expert, and I just let my dog chase me out of my bed. As I lay on the couch, I pondered what could have caused Max to behave in such a manner–did we have mice? Possible, but we live on a third floor, and the wall he was digging at is an inside wall–it didn’t face the exterior and isn’t connected to a neighbor’s wall at all. Besides, it would be a weird place for mice to show up, I’d expect them in the kitchen or the bathroom, not the bedroom where the dogs spend most of their day.  Something from the utilities, perhaps? We-e-e-l-l…that wall has electricity, and I THINK it’s where the dryer vent exits, but there isn’t gas or water running through that wall. And as for the dryer vent–we have had starlings nesting in it, but there nest had been cleared out, and a cage put over the exterior hole so they couldn’t build a new one there. And besides, even where there were birds living inside that wall, Max never showed them any interest.

Finally, I convinced myself that it was something from downstairs that Max was smelling, that it just happened to come up along that wall. I wasn’t terribly satisfied with that explanation, but it was an explanation. Explanations are important. Especially when it’s nearing 3am and I want to sleep.

I heard Max in the bedroom for perhaps another 15 minutes, then he decided that whatever it was he wasn’t finding wasn’t worth spending the night away from his person, so he came out to join me on the couch. I took that as a sign that it was okay to move back into the bedroom, and did so with the resolve that if Max’s adventure were to continue, he’d spend the rest of the night locked in the crate.

Fortunately, he had calmed down to the point where his half-hearted growls could be quieted with a heavy hand on the shoulders, and I was able to get some sleep, and even make it to class on time the next day, throughly puzzled about what had happened, and why it had happened.

The next night, I went to bed at a much more decent time, and Max settled down quickly, the way he normally does. While I was going to sleep, I was thinking about the dream I had had the night before, trying to figure out if I could frame it into a story (the answer is no, at least not at this time) and I wondered if what Max was did the night before was the result of being woken up from a dream.

The way I figure it, Max sees me opening up parts of the wall all day long, in the form of doors, windows, cupboards and drawers. If he had been dreaming that I (or someone else) opened up the wall by the bed and hid something there, then I woke him up by coming to bed, would he know the difference between dreams and reality? And, if in his dream,  it was a really good toy or treat or whatever, than of course he’d keep going after it.

I don’t know if the dream explanation makes any sense, after all, I can’t exactly ask Max what he dreams about (well, I can,  I just don’t get an answer). As long as it means that I don’t have mice.

%d bloggers like this: