Thursday, October 3, 2013

Feel like crap

Ok, so I was going to document each day of the metabolic cleanse. You know, as I felt more and more like crap and then some miraculous shift in my body happens and I feel wonderful.

Yeah, well, that didn't happen.

Instead, the cleanse ended at the end of day 2 with me sick as a dog. I did a little research into what "experts" think of these cleanses, and my fears were confirmed: not only are they not necessary, but they can be dangerous. Humph. So I stopped the cleanse immediately, and tried to sleep as much as possible since I had my motorcycle class over the weekend.

I'd like to announce that thanks to copious amounts of cold medicine, I passed my motorcycle class! As soon as the certificate arrives, I can go get my full license to be a full fledged motorcycle bitch. On a 150cc scooter. Details, whatever.

I still feel like crap, and it's making it hard to think.

But I get to go to work tonight. Woo hoo. Honestly, I know I'm supposed to feel grateful that I even have a job. I mean, there's a lot of people that would be happy to have a job, even though they hate it. It took me such an incredibly long time to get this job that really, I should be grateful. But I just hate it so much! Most of the time I feel like an idiot, and when I get yelled at for doing exactly what I was told to do, it makes it nearly impossible to keep my head up and not start screaming profanities at people.

I'm thinking long and hard about what else I can do to make myself less than a useless lump of flesh in the house. So far, nothing's really getting better, but I'll keep beating the dead horse. There's really nothing else to do.

Except maybe keep chasing the bloody squirrel out of the yard.

No, that's not a euphemism.

But it's not bloody. That's just an emphatic.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Day one...oh my god

My doctor's office decided I should do a metabolic cleanse because they agree I'm still too fat, but whereas I'm excited about the 10+ pounds that have left my body, they seem less than impressed. Way to keep me motivated, bastards.

Anyway, I had to delay it it a bit for personal reasons, so yesterday was day number one. My god what have I done?

Let me explain. On this particular cleanse, there is no coffee, no soda, no caffeine or sugar of any kind actually, which also rules out chocolate. And I'm PMSing. Quite possibly I've been set up for failure.

Yesterday I was starving to death. That was in addition to the headache from the depths of Tartarus that threatened to make my head explode and implode at the same moment surely causing some sort of rip in the space time continuum thereby bringing the downfall of the human race. And hey, great news, the headache is even worse this morning!

According to the diet plan, you shouldn't be hungry at all. Why not? Because you can eat all the nuts, fruits, seeds, and rice cakes you want! Wow! Really? Oh no wait, I'm not a squirrel. I ate myself sick on fruits, nuts, seeds, and rice cakes yesterday. You know what happened? I was starving, my stomach was upset, and I had to run to the toilet so many times I lost count. The inherent problem with being able to eat as much fruit, seeds, nuts, and rice cakes as you want is that what if you don't want that?

Honestly, all I really want right now is a coffee. I want a coffee so bad right now I may actually cry.

I didn't really plan this one out very well. Most of the time my brain is foggy and sluggish, and if I have to remember anything for any length of time, I have to write it down. This cleanse is making that so much worse. I'm exhausted. Physically and mentally. Pulling my body out of bed this morning took an act of congress, and we know how efficient they are! This afternoon I get to go to the DMV to take my motorcycle permit test. If I pass, I will be amazed. And then, this weekend, I do my motorcycle class. It's an hour away. It starts at 7:30 in the freakin' morning Saturday and Sunday! I CAN'T HAVE COFFEE AND I FEEL LIKE OBLIVION!

That's just craptastic.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Land of milk and honey?

What happened to America?

When I left in 2007, sure America wasn't a shiny penny. She had her problems, things were never perfect, but you could still be proud. You could still hold your head high and declare with absolute confidence, "I am an American!"

Being out of the country really opened my eyes to how the rest of the world views us. Namely that we are loud, abrasive, overly emotional people who do everything big with utter abandon. And that's not always a bad thing, but it has to have it's place. I'm still proud that when you walk around during any of our holidays, there is no doubt in your mind that there is something special. Christmas? Lights, singing, fake snow blanketing southern California. Thanksgiving? Turkeys, pilgrims, Indians, cornucopia. Halloween? Every other house is haunted. Flag Day? Oh yes! Talking loudly and obnoxiously on the bus day? Well, there isn't a specific day for that, it's year round.

My point is, Americans are loud and boisterous, and yes, sometimes obnoxious, but I like to think of it in terms of us being puppies. We're lovable.

Our Country, however is not.

What the hell happened in the 5 years I was gone? Yeah, things weren't perfect when I left, but things have seriously turned into a shit storm now! Since being back I have been completely screwed over by several "big businesses." It's like the lawyers and politicians lost all accountability to the general populace and have turned the Country into their personal trash pile.

Kaplan University lied, charged exorbitant amounts for a joke of an education, and now, when I'm desperately trying to find out the steps I need to take to fight this conglomerate, they are harassing me on a daily basis. They've put the onus on me to come up with proof of what I've claimed. Ok, give me the recordings of the phone conversations where I was fed the lies. No? Can't do that, huh? Then I refuse to speak on the phone, all future contact needs to be in writing. But they don't like that because it gives me the power to produce the proof they're desperate for me not to have. In fact, when I do answer the phone when they call, there is no answer on their end, AND THEN THEY DISCONNECT!

Go back and read that last sentence again. Yeah, you read that right- they call me, then hang up on me.

But now it's happening again. Time Warner Cable is in my bad books. We cancelled and switched to Verizon. Why? Because Verizon put us on their fiber optic line. TV is clearer and internet is faster. But the biggest reason that we switched was that Time Warner kept lying to us. And they're still lying!

We woke up one morning with no tv, no internet, and no phone. Using a cell phone, we called TWC to find out what was going on and were told there was a line fault in the area and technicians were currently working on it. We took the dogs for a walk and returned an hour later with still nothing. Called again to see how long until they expected the line fault to be fixed and were told, "What line fault?" The first person we spoke to had made it up. There was no reported line fault and we were the only ones who had called with no service. They did something on their end to get service up, but tv never came back. We had to drive down to the shop and pick up a new box.

The new box had a lot of problems, too. The reception, never brilliant to begin with, was worse and it started dropping channels and changing channels randomly. We'd be watching a show and suddenly, the channel would change. But it was on the same number, just the wrong broadcast, so it would take several tries to get the correct broadcast back.

When we called to cancel service and were asked why, I tried to be nice and said it was because Verizon was putting us on their fiber optic line. "Do you know we also offer fiber optic?" came the response. Then why are we on copper? When we initially signed up we asked about the fiber optic line since Steve works from home, but were put on the copper line anyway. It's not until I cancel that they decide to try to offer us more.

But the real complaint here is what happened after we cancelled. We went into our old bank to close out the checking account we no longer use since it was getting those $10 service fees, but there was no money in it. That's when we found out that TWC had switched the payments. When we opened an account at the credit union, we switched all our monthly payments to that one. Including Time Warner. And the payment came out of the correct account for 2 months, before mysteriously going back to our old account. The one with no money in it. So, of course it was over drawn because the bank let the payments go through anyway. We paid the amount, and closed the account.

When we took the TWC box into the store, we were told we would receive a refund of $37 plus our original deposit amount of $50. So when I was expecting a check for $87, I was rather surprised to receive a bill for $53. Steve called and talked to a rep who apologized for their mistake and assured him it would be fixed. Then I got another bill for $53. Steve's away on a conference, so I called. Apparently, there was an outstanding charge of $115, don't know what for since the monthly statement is $53 and those have all been paid, or at least they were 2 weeks ago when we cancelled service. It truly sounds like dirty business dealings.

And this is my whole point. What happened? Why are businesses so dirty now? What happened to the regulations that used to be in place to protect consumers? Has America really fallen so far that there are no decent people in powerful positions left?

I'm disheartened and disillusioned. Proud to be an American, ashamed of my Country.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Amazing catalyst

On Facebook this morning (yes, I've fallen off the wagon), there was a post about getting a free belly dance hip scarf if you wrote a 600+ word article on what belly dance has meant for you in your life. Well, I'm a total whore for free stuff, especially free belly dance stuff- even what is sure to be the cheapest hip scarf in existence. And, for me, 600 words is short. So I wrote my article.

And wound up sobbing.

This is such great therapy, and I can't wait to dance more because writing this stuff down, actually identifying it and admitting to it has solidified in my head just how important the dance is to me. All those people who think its just a way to get attention, or it's little more, or less, than stripping can go on thinking whatever they want. I will feel bad for them that they cannot appreciate the beauty of all life has to offer.

If you're interested, here's the article:

I began belly dancing about 5 years ago when I was a stay at home mum in a new city, a new country! I’d always worked and gone out with friends, but my life suddenly changed and I felt I was losing myself. A community class offer for Egyptian style belly dance classes was advertised in the paper and I jumped at the chance. I’d always loved seeing the gypsy dancers at Renaissance Fairs and watching belly dancers at festivals. I knew that I would probably never be on stage as I was uncoordinated and graceful was never a word that anyone thought of when they met me. In fact, I was asked to leave a ballet class in college because I just couldn’t “get it.” 

I showed up to that first class dressed for yoga with a scarf I’d found in the back of my closet. I was nervous about what would happen; would I make a total fool of myself yet again? Class started and the instructor took the first several minutes to explain some of the philosophy behind belly dance. We are sisters, we are connected to the Earth, we are strong, beautiful women and anyone who tells us differently does not deserve to be in our lives. Then she began to make us move. It was elemental. The moves came naturally to me. This was what I was meant for. The instructor asked me how many years I’d been dancing! Me! Suddenly my brain and body clicked and for the first time in my life I felt whole. 

We practiced a full year before putting on a hafla. Back stage, doing all those final preparations- eyeliner and lipstick touch ups, frantically trying to rehearse one more time- I realized I was buzzing from excitement. There were no nerves, I knew the dance, I knew I could do it, and dang I looked good! Looking around at these strangers who became my sisters, even the guest dancers whom I’d never met were my sisters now, I was shocked to see the nerves playing out. One had a bottle of wine that she was trying to find courage in the bottom of, another was smearing her make-up with tears dripping down her face, one had her head between her knees taking deep breaths, and several were shaking so badly they were having a hard time walking. So I began to sing. I don’t know why, but it just felt right, and the tension simmering in the room lessened for a few moments. Until we lined up at the door to go onstage, at least. For me, that first step in front of a real audience was magical. I was at the front of the line, and I felt beautiful, strong, sure of myself for the first time. All of the nags and worries of life were not allowed on stage with me. On stage it was everything that was good about me, and none of the bad. My only complaint was that the performance didn’t last longer. I never wanted to leave that stage. 

Since that first step on stage, I’ve developed m dance persona into a person that I truly love. I’ve experimented with cabaret, Turkish, and tribal styles, but my passion, my love above all others is modern fusion. I still enjoy dancing with my sisters, but when I take the stage by myself, I know what it is to be truly alive. 

It may be said that I have been seduced by the audience, and very well that may be true. More importantly, though, I have been saved by dance. In the past 5 years I have gone through many changes in my life. We have moved countries, my son was diagnosed with several mental disorders, I have been hospitalized, and suicidal. There were days when I refused to eat because I felt I was hideous and didn’t deserve anything, even food and water. Those were the days, those incredibly bad days, when my husband would put the music on loud and tell me to move. Because as soon as I do I remember how strong I am inside, how beautiful I am on the outside, how much I love and am loved, and I feel connected, truly connected, to everyone in the world and the Earth herself. Belly dance pulls me back from the darkness in the times I most need a light. It awakens in me the power of healing, of love, and kindness- kindness to others and kindness to myself. I feel that I am a better person because I dance, because I am free.  

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Crystallized brain fragments

So apparently it's been a month, to the day, that I actually got my butt in here and updated this blog. I had the same problem when I was a kid and my parents kept buying me diaries. I love to write, and need some sort of release for my pent up, and not so pent up, aggressions, so they'd get me a diary. Then I'd loose that diary because a year later it would still have the first 5 day's entries, and then a lot of blank pages. And I'd have a lot of pent up aggression, so they'd buy me a new one and I'd write in it for 5 consecutive days before finding it a year later. It's a vicious cycle, people.

Anyway, a lot has happened in that month. Some of it even interesting. But I'm not going to discuss that right now. No, I have something much more important to say.

I remembered this morning hearing about how the human brain hardens as we get older, making it harder to learn things and remember junk. To prevent this we're supposed to constantly challenge ourselves to new experiences, learn new things, talk to new people, and when all else fails, to play puzzle games. This is supposed to keep our brains pliable, which in brain talk equates to healthy. Apparently.

That seems like a lot of work, though. There has to be an easier way to keep your brain squishy. So I started thinking, drinking alcohol is said to kill off brain cells. It's Darwinism! Kill off the weak brain cells so only the strongest survive. And what about full contact sports? Get a couple head injuries and bingo bango! Squishy brain! Don't like sports? A million head bangers in the 90's couldn't be wrong!

I don't know where I'm going with this. Maybe all those puzzle games have crystallized my brain. I need to go have a drink and start head banging.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Now what?

Ian is staying with my parents this weekend. Steve and I were supposed to be camping in San Luis Obispo, at a 3 day belly dance extravaganza. That was cancelled, but Ian was looking forward to spending the weekend with his grandparents that we decided to keep  that part as planned.

I hadn't realized how dependent I've become on him.

It's weird not to have him around, and we're both going, "Ok, so now what do we do?"

This morning, that question was answered for us fairly quickly by the dozens of maggots that invaded our kitchen, for the second time. We can't figure out what is going on! Steve now thinks maybe something has died in our roof space, and the maggots are dropping out of the light sockets in the ceiling. That's a great thought. I may wear a hat for a while.

While typing this, I had to go kill two more.

I'm thoroughly disgusted now.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Just getting silly

We have another new family member.

Ian's been wanting a cockatiel for a little over a year now, and despite a few doubts, we got him one for his birthday last week. Except it wasn't fully weaned by his birthday, so we had to wait 3 more days (until Steve's birthday) to actually bring it home.

I don't understand birds. He's huddled in his cage acting like we're trying to kill him, and from what I can gather from the internets, that's totally normal. But, I fucked up a little at first, and now I'm trying to run damage control. See, with other small animals that live most of their lives in cages, like rats and guinea pigs, it's important to take them out of their cages for bonding time right from day one. So that's what I did with bird. Apparently that was wrong. Birds want to be left the fuck alone for the first couple of days to adjust. Oops. So, damage control in the form of talking to bird, singing to bird, and feeding bird has ensued.

My doubts about Ian's ability to care for the bird are being slightly solidified, and most of it is my fault. I think he had this picture in his head (despite us telling him different and even reading the cockatiel care book we got) that the bird was going to come in the house, start singing and repeating everything he said, and be content to sit on his shoulder while he plays video games. Yeah, not going to happen. One good thing to happen, is that not only do I not mind spending time with the bird that I'm pretty much sure has decided I'm a devil, I actually kind of like it. Despite the bird's obvious contempt of me. But, I'm also keenly aware that Ian really needs to accept the responsibility of taking care of the bird.

Starting with bird's name. Ian was having a really hard time thinking of a name for the months leading up to getting the bird. I told him to wait until the bird arrived, and then he could see what the bird looked like- to help find a fitting name. Ian doesn't think like that. He needed a name. So I suggested Kai (pronounced like eye, with a k in front). It's a Maori word for food. I thought it would be funny. Maybe the bird is right, I am a devil. Anyway, once Ian discovered it was easy to spell, he was cool with naming his bird Kai. Until the day after the bird arrived. Now the bird's name is Sensei Kai, or just Sensei.  But Ian hasn't given us the 100% yet.

Our menagerie has well and truly started. I think next will be a frog or lizard of some sort. Steve really wants a snake, but I'm not sure I could deal with that. Actually, right now we're maxed out of animals for a bit. Toby needs some serious training, and Sensei needs some time to cope. Plus, we need time to spend with each of our babies.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Sick day from life

If I could, I'd take a sick day today. Not just from work, which I have to leave for soon, more training- yay- but from life itself. Just call life and be like, "Yeah, this isn't happening today, I'm just not going to be able to make it."

Basically, so many oddly bad things have happened in the three hours I've been awake. Like hundreds of maggots invading our kitchen. Go ahead, read that sentence again. Yes, that really happened.

I don't know. Maybe it's not as bad as it seems, but honestly, it seems really bad. But not over the top so bad that it awakens my inner super woman-I-can-do-anything type of bad. Just the blah-it's-not-worth-taking-another-step type of bad. I kind of wish it were the death and dismemberment type of bad because then it's easy to be like "Hell no! I'm going to kick this death and dismemberment in the ass! RAWR!" Instead it's kind of a muffled sob wondering what's next.

So, there should be sick days from life. But there's not. So I'm going to go to work, and hope that the bad stays at home.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013


I'm done.

Yesterday's training went fine. It's training, it's boring, it just is. I'm still not 100% sure the job is going to work out, and I won't know for a while. I've got to get on the floor, start seeing what kind of schedule I can get, yadda yadda yadda, and then we'll see.

Today has been much worse.

I went to Jo-Ann's to get an insert for a bra top I want to decorate for a dance costume and stabilizer for the embroidery machine. It took forever to find the stabilizers. Then, when I went to check out, it turns out it's not sold by Jo-Ann's, it's sold by the sewing machine place inside the store. The one where no one is at. The one that when the women are there, they're incredibly rude.

When I got home, the inserts I bought don't fit in the bra.

Today is not my day.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Today marks one of the most important days of my life: ten years ago, my son was born. I was 21 years old, single, with a restraining order against his biological father, scared and alone. Every bit of energy went into keeping this difficult child alive, and making ends meet.

Our lives have changed so radically over the last 10 years, I hardly recognize the person I was then. Most of my energy still goes into keeping this difficult child alive, but I've got more time for myself now. I still don't know what I'm doing most of the time, but I've become very adept at acting like I do.

I can't believe my little boy is now in double digits! Honestly, I just cannot get over that fact.

As another momentous occasion to mark today, it's my first day at my new job! Orientation, to be precise. Actually, day one of orientation. I've been hired for an on call position at Macy's as a cosmetic adviser. I get to play with make up! And they carry Bare Escentuals! So excited! But also scared out of my wits. It's been six years since I've had a job, and closer to 11 years since I worked retail! I'm terrified. And to show it, I have the biggest pimple I've had in....a really long time. Figures.

So, wish me luck on my first day. Wish Ian a happy birthday. And let's hope this job is easier than this kid! If I love the job half as much as I love this kid, I'll be in heaven.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Will we ever get there?

Today we're going to a friend's house to swim in her gorgeous pool. Honestly, she has the most beautiful house, a gorgeous yard... I'm ever so jealous! And although I'm very grateful to have met her, something I believe will open a number of doors, and even more grateful that she's such a lovely person that she invites us to her house to swim, being there does remind me of just how far away from our dreams we are.

The awful thing is, we were pretty close to those dreams in New Zealand. Or at least, closer than we are now. We had a great house that had studio space. We had friends. We were set up pretty well. Now we're in a scuzzy rental, no studio, no contacts, and several years away from being able to get back on track. It's depressing and frustrating as hell!

Luckily, when you're in a beautiful place with genuinely nice people, the frustration takes a back seat. So, I'll go relax, have fun, and enjoy my afternoon so that when I feel depressed this evening, at least I can do so with a good memory.

Monday, July 8, 2013

New addition...again

On Saturday, I convinced Steve that we should go look at the dogs needing homes in front of the local PetSmart. Although we wanted to take all of them, especially the pit bull mixes, none really called out as the perfect match.

Until we were about to leave.

Sitting in a cage, was Cesar, a wire haired terrier mix. I'm not a fan of long haired dogs and his cage was on top of another holding a pit bull, so I hadn't really noticed him. Steve, however, made not to subtle murmurings about how cute the dog was. We asked if we could take him out and say hello.

He's never really been on a leash before, or really had any training, so there's a bit of work to do, but it was instantly apparent that he is a very laid back and affectionate soul. We decided to get Zack and introduce them, see how they reacted to one another. It went well.

We haven't officially adopted him. We took him for a week to make sure it's a good fit, but we don't actually need the whole week. He's got his forever home.

Even though there's one little issue that's beginning to really drive me nuts: he keeps peeing inside.

It drives me up the wall! And of course, I can't watch him 24/7, and it's not as easy as with a puppy. With a puppy you can time it. There's no marking. And there's no bad habits. This little guy is 2 years old. We're getting him at the worst possible time: the teenage years. So, we're going to be relying heavily on Zack to help train him, and I'm not 100% sure Zack's up to it.

His name isn't Cesar anymore, either. His name is now Tobias Thorpe, Toby-wan, or just simply Toby. We had a day at the beach yesterday, and he's very good with other dogs, so maybe he'll help Zack to calm down a little. Asha, the cat, also seems to be dealing with him fairly well. I think it helps that she's bigger than he is.

Our first step before bringing him home on Saturday, though, was to wander over to the vet to get Toby checked out. After what we went through with Jack, we're a little gun shy about opening our hearts again. Aside from a bit of wax in his ears, filthy teeth, and a bum knee, he's in good health. We picked up some doggy toothpaste (because I haven't found the tube I bought a while back), and some ear cleaning solution. The knee will need supplements, but I suspect a bit of exercise will help as well.

The vet was also able to give us an update on Jack. His heart worm condition is pretty bad. He's in late stages, so his prognosis doesn't look good. They'll be doing a fundraiser, and Banfield (the vet company) has said they will match what the vets raise. His care is going to be expensive, but he couldn't be in a better place. Also, he's still living in the back of the vet office, but when he's able to, one of the vets is taking him home. He's got a lot of people who love him, and he's helping other animals who are scared and in a strange place. He's in pretty bad shape, but he's got the best possible chance he could get.

Saturday, July 6, 2013


I had an appointment at my doctor's office yesterday with the resident "life coach." Basically, someone else to tell me that I'm fat because I do all the wrong things. I drink too much, I don't eat right, and I don't get enough exercise. So yeah, I wasn't really relishing going to the appointment.

But I was wrong. The first sign that this was going to be a different sort of appointment was that she didn't make me get on the mental torture device scales. Instead, she said, "I don't care how much you weigh or what size pants you wear. I care about how you feel. If your body is working right, then that's good."

It was a little difficult, though. She was quite blunt and said I'm "fat all over," which despite the truth of that statement, having it put quite so succinctly was a bit hard to take. It wasn't a judgement, though, just a statement of fact. The weird thing was, she could list my symptoms easily- aches, fatigue, sensitive skin, itchy scalp, headaches, gas, etc. Then she told me dieting would be pointless right now. I will continue to get fatter no matter how well I eat, how much exercise I do, which is exactly what's been happening! Doctors keep telling me to cut down on the amounts I eat, only eat "good" food, and exercise. Well, I exercise and I'm very careful about what I eat. I've even been making huge efforts to cut back on alcohol. But I continue to gain weight. So I've been getting really frustrated.

According to the life coach, the weight gain, stress, headaches, lack of sleep, and skin issues all come down to two main things: intestines and sinuses. She suspects my intestines resemble a frat pad after a homecoming party that lasts a week. So, I'm now on massive amounts of probiotics, licorice, and no more Coke zero- regular Coke instead. As for my sinuses, I got a neti pot yesterday and I'm making it a part of daily life. I used it last night, and I actually could breathe freely for the first time in months!

I feel really good about where this is going. She told me I'm doing the right things, I just needed a little shove in the right direction. My body needs help to heal from past damage. All my little issues and history have taken their toll on my poor insides, but if we can heal that damage, I should come right. I love that her way of "dieting" isn't to deny yourself of all those things you know are bad for you, but to limit them or find better alternatives. Like the coke thing. I've been drinking coke zero to limit the calories I take in. I have one a day, that's it. She said to stop the zero, drink regular coke. One a day is not bad. Artificial sweeteners destroy your intestines, but your body still reacts like you've ingested sugar. Your body can deal with real sugar without the harm the chemicals do.

Plus it tastes better.

So, we'll see what happens. Right now I'm around 200 pounds, a size 16-18. I'd like to get down around 160 pounds, a size 10-12. That's about where I feel comfortable and don't get sick as often.

I will miss my boobs, though. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Happy Day of Freedom!

This is my first Independence Day in 6 years. Oddly enough, it's not one of the holiday's I missed whilst overseas, but now that I'm back I'm very excited about it.

Even though we're not really doing much of anything today.

We will, however, be watching the fireworks tonight. With our fried chicken, watermelon, and brownies.

I know that the 4th is to celebrate the birth of our nation, the freedoms we take for granted all too often, and the people that continue to fight for us. Honestly, I can't think of a better way to do that than with a picnic, fireworks, and rock and roll. How American is that? Add in a beer or two, and boy howdy!

America has some issues. Some pretty severe issues, as a matter of fact. We're not perfect. But this is a great country. People make this a great country. We fight with each other like siblings, but, like siblings, we love each other and will support one another no matter what. You don't see it while living here, and it's easy to be distracted by the hatred slung in every direction like a chimp in a bad mood. It's easy to feel alone when there's so much competition to be the best, and anything less than the best isn't worth the time and effort. But in a different country, it doesn't matter if you're from New York, Texas, California, or Wisconsin. American is American, and we come together like brothers and sisters separated for too long.

So next time you feel lost in the maw or like there's no one else around that gives a shit, just fly to New Zealand for a few months and find your tribe.

Happy 4th everyone! Remember, keep your animals safe tonight! It's scary and hurts their ears when those booms start going.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Disappointment continues to reign

I just found out that the 3 day belly dance workshop/performance/camp that Steve and I have been planning for for the last few months has been cancelled. The rug has been yanked from under me once again.

Steve's been building a tent, I've been sewing, we've gotten things sorted for the kids over the weekend, and were really looking forward to it. I'm done making plans. Lately, every time I make a plan to do something, it completely back fires and I wind up flailing around with my teeth kicked out. This is getting seriously old.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

And just like that, we're back to where we started

Yesterday was a very hard, emotional roller coaster, question the meaning of life, rage against the universe sort of day.

We took Jack to the vet and left him for some tests. I knew when I went to pick him up and asked if I could pay before they brought him out that something was wrong when the nurse said to hold off on paying because the doctor wanted to talk to me. Oh no.

The good news is: he doesn't have mange. The hair loss and dry skin is an over reaction to something like fleas. Or a side effect of the diabetes. Yeah, diabetes. Not confirmed, but probably. But that wasn't the really bad news. The really bad news is he tested positive for heart worms. The good news is: it's treatable. The bad news is: it costs $3,000-$5,000, up to 8 months of not being able to play with him, take him outside, and keeping him calm and quiet all the time, and he still may not survive the treatment. As horrible as it made us feel, we simply couldn't commit to it.

We called the vet and booked him in to be euthanized.

I stayed home with the kids, mainly because I was really worried about Ian. He took the news incredibly hard. Steve took Jack to the vet. And was gone for a really long time. So long, in fact, that I started getting worried and was about to text him, when he arrived home. His first words to me were, "They couldn't do it."

The vets have adopted Jack.

It's only temporary until they find someone who can take care of him, afford the treatments, and don't have a crazy house. He's got a chance. It's more than we could allow ourselves to hope for. He's such an amazing dog, though, and I'm not surprised that the vets couldn't put him down. He's the most friendly dog I've ever met, and I'm so happy that he's been given a third chance.

When Steve took him last night, I kept asking why he came to us if this was how it ended. We got 3 days with him, and then had no other choice than to put him down. It wasn't fair! When Steve came home with the great news, I finally understood, that's why he came. He's going to get the chance he deserves and a home that can truly care for him.

The moral of the story: vaccinate your pets. Please give them the best chance in life. It's so easy to protect them from things like this, but once it happens, sometimes it's just too late. And if you can't afford to take care of them, give them to someone who can. It's not fair to put them through this much pain and suffering when it can so easily be prevented. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

New pack member

Back in February a friend of ours put a message on Facebook asking for help. She had three dogs, and her fiance has two (?) and they were moving into a smaller place and just couldn't keep all the dogs. Her black lab, Jack, she claimed was extremely laid back and they decided he would be the one who could cope best with getting a new home.

It's been an interesting couple of months, but Jack joined our pack on Wednesday.

I really hope we did the right thing.

He's a good dog- she was right he's very laid back, eager to please, and intelligent. But he's also huge! People say how big Zack is (our mutt we brought with from New Zealand), but he's tiny compared to Jack. I've never brought an adult dog into a pack before, only ever started from the puppy stage. I always thought going to straight to adult dog would be so much easier. I still think that's sometimes possibly true, but not in this case. He's not really trained and it's making me really appreciate how well trained Zack is. When going through the feeding ritual this morning, I made Zack sit and wait until I released him for his food, all good. Then I needed Steve's help to get Jack to sit because I'm physically not strong enough to push his backside down. Unfortunately, every time I told Jack to sit, Zack would stop eating and sit and look at me. Poor guy!

I know we'll get there with him. I just wasn't expecting it to be this hard, you know? I'm taking him to the vet today as he has a skin issue. The back half of him has no hair to speak of, and he's itchy and in pain. It's so hard when he scratches and scratches and then looks at you with his big brown eyes and whines like, "Can you make it stop?" We're going to try, big guy.

The other major difference between the two dogs is the way they move. It's hilarious! Zack has quite a bit of huntaway in him, a herding breed from New Zealand, so he moves low and fast. He's very economical in the way he moves, no wasted effort. Jack, on the other hand, is a great big lumnoxing goof ball. He lollops along just happy to be here.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A step in the right direction

I am thrilled with the recent Supreme Court decision regarding gay marriage. Though I am not gay, I do think that the rights of human beings should be a concern for everyone. When one group tries to deny basic rights to another group based on gender, color, religion, sexual orientation, or any other reason, there is a rift that opens up in our collective energy. I don't think that the Supreme Court's decision to make this sort of discrimination unconstitutional will suddenly make everything better. We have battle scars now, and lines have been drawn quite deep. I am hopeful, however, that this will begin to move our society in a more accepting, forgiving phase of our evolution.

I have to say, though, I still don't really understand why this is still up for debate. I mean, fine, the church says no, but the church isn't supposed to be involved in politics. Doesn't anyone remember, "Separation of church and state"? The only arguments I've heard against gay marriage are based in religion making them completely invalid in this case.

Eh, whatever. Now is not the time to wonder about the apparent insanity of most of our culture. Now is the time to celebrate love, and the fact that the balance is slowly shifting. I'm a little more proud of being human today.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Hook, Line, and Sinker

As you may have gathered, I went back to school to finish my Associate's degree that I started back in 2001 (about 12 years ago for those of you keeping score). Now, some people would say that 12 years to get a 2 year degree is ridiculous. And I agree! But I did have my reasons.

Anyway, flash forward to my saving grace: online school. As irritating and pointless as it all seems, it does get the job done. I went with Kaplan University, for no other reason than the recruiter said it was affordable. Yes, I'm a dumbass.

I began taking classes while trying to sort out the muck of financial aid. Since we came to the US at the end of 2012 and Steve was still getting paid out of New Zealand until April 2013, our tax situation is really complicated. So complicated, in fact, that we have nothing to do with it. There's a big company that is in charge of filing our 2012 and 2013 returns, and they've got an extension until October to file the 2012 return since it's beyond complex. Honestly, splitting an atom is probably easier.

Why am I bringing this up? Because in order to get financial aid sorted, they have to see your tax returns. I don't really get it, but that's where it is. So I had to explain, repeatedly, to several different people in Kaplan's financial aid department about the tax situation. The end of each of those conversations was always pretty much the same: "I don't know how to do that, but I'm sure it'll be ok. I'll look into it." Which of course they never do.

Last week, it all came to a head. On my Kaplan portal in the financial area, where it's always said $0 due, it suddenly said $2,400 due August 1st. What? And that was after a $1,400 grant was applied, and another $100 "other" grant. What the hell is an "other" grant? The grand total for one term of classes was damned near $4,000!

One part of me was pissed off that I've been trying to work out this whole financial aid thing and just been running into one wall after another. The other thing that pissed me off was that I was told I qualified for a scholarship to take up to $12,000 off the cost of the degree. The final thing that pissed me off was that when I enrolled, I was told the total cost of getting the degree would "only be a couple thousand." Couple=two. Two thousand dollars, which was surpassed in the first term!

Oh, and that scholarship? Up to $12,000 for a bachelor's, up to $6,000 for an associate's, but you have to apply for it BEFORE you enroll with the school. What? No one told me that. I kept bringing it up during enrollment and was fobbed off. Yeah, yeah, we'll get to that later. Already enrolled? Can't do the scholarship now!

So I went into a really dark place. Darker than I've been for a long time, and if you read this with any regularity, you might be able to guess how scary that is.

That was Tuesday last week. Wednesday, I had my seminars, and even though I was 90% sure I would have to drop out because I can't afford the tuition, I went to the seminars. In the second one of the day, someone made the mistake of asking me how I was doing. I unloaded about being angry about the financial aid cock up. The professor responded with a "shut up and go away" response that felt a bit like a virtual slap across the face. The message was clear: we only want to know how you are if everything is fine.

Well, it's not fine. It's far from fine.

Wednesday afternoon, even more information came to light. Steve started doing some digging online and quickly discovered a few things about Kaplan that is disturbing to say the least.

Kaplan University has had multiple class action lawsuits brought against them for poor business practices. They use manipulative and hard selling techniques to recruit students.

Kaplan University charges close to 10 times the amount that other, similar but reputable colleges charge.

There have been instances when people have earned their degree from Kaplan University, but then told that until they pay what's owed, they will not receive said degree.

Even more disturbing, it appears that Kaplan University is using an online job board, Gigats, to recruit. It's how I got caught up in all of this. I applied for a job online, and was told to contact Gigats to do an online interview process. During the conversation with the representative at Gigats, I was told that getting my degree would greatly help my job search. Then, I was transferred. There have been other people, it turns out, that have said they are not interested in furthering their education and they get hung up on. Some have then called the hiring company directly only to be told that the company does not use Gigats, never heard of them, etc.

Anyway, I'm trying to withdraw from Kaplan, but having a few issues doing that. They seem to have lost my contact information. I'm really beginning to wonder how bad this is going to get. So now, instead of being back at square one, I'm a few steps back. This is frustrating.

Friday, June 14, 2013


I'm really feeling like I'm approaching the end of my abilities as a human. I watch people around me grow and acquire new skills. At first, I'm far superior due to a natural inclination, but it doesn't take long for people to pass me by until I'm left in a cloud of dust so thick I start coughing up bits of my own lung. I don't know, maybe I'm just a really slow learner. So slow that people give up on me because at first it looks as though I get it. But I plateau prematurely. It's a bit of a let down really.

I'm unable to move forward with anything I've started. I'm at a plateau with business, craft, dance, life in general. I hate so much, and it's taking all my strength to stay out of the fetal position so I have no energy to do anything else. I'm bored with classes and disappointed in myself for my lack of motivation, intelligence, and talent. I'm tired of being in pain. I'm tired of being fat. I'm tired of being a waste of space.

One of my daily reads is The Blogess. Today's post was her talking about this crippling bout of depression she's been going through for the last few weeks. Yeah, I'm right there with ya honey. The problem is, she keeps saying that depression lies, that it will get better, that you'll come out of this. Well, I don't really believe that anymore. Maybe I'm depressed because I really am the horrible person I think I am. I've been in this state for 20 years, it's not going to get better. I'm not coming out of this. This is who I am. I am a horrible, sad, angry, stupid person. Maybe my focus shouldn't be on getting better, but rather making peace with the fact that I will never be likeable.

PS As a strange aside, "likable" and "likeable" both show up as the correct spelling of the same word. So I keep adding the "e" then taking it away again because I can't decide which version I like better/least. Neither one looks 100% correct. I feel like this should trigger some amazing metaphor for life, but I'm coming up empty. Again.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Something great

Mediocrity is the ban of my existence.

I want to do something that I can be really proud of. Maybe the problem is that my expectations are too high. Or maybe I'm just a mediocre person.

I always seem to be somewhere in the middle. Never the best. Never the worst. Just a grey slab of meat using oxygen. I want to be the best at something.

I just have no idea what.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Positive thinking

In one of the courses I'm currently doing, we talked a bit about thinking positive, positive self-talk, and all things positively positive. It's a real happy feely mentality that is almost completely foreign to my brain. I've tried that positive thought coaching before. It turns into a bit of a bum fuck for me.

If you're unfamiliar with the theory, you've probably been living in a cave for the last 20 years. Basically, when you catch yourself thinking something negative, "I'm a horrible cook," you should instantly force yourself to make it positive, "I made a yummy diner." I struggle with this because my negative thoughts tend to be true. And if I feel positive about something, it takes approximately half a millisecond for someone to tear me down about it. Sometimes without even realizing they're doing it.

Goddess help me, I am a stubborn mule. I'm making huge efforts at this whole positive thinking bullshit once again. I figure, though, that positive self-thinking is a bit advanced for me. I mean, I usually just jump into things head first, sink or swim kind of thing, but I've already failed at this positive self-thought, a lot. So, I'm dialing back a bit. Baby steps, you know?

Positive thinking about others! Finding something good in everyone is easy!

No, it's fucking not.

People are making this whole positive thinking about others more difficult than positive self-thought. I mean, there are some people, most people in fact, in my classes that are perfectly lovely. Being the grammar Nazi I am, only second to Steve's grammar Naziness, I do, in turns, laugh, cry, and cringe over some of the most incredible spelling and grammar mix ups I've ever encountered.

But there are some that I simply cannot find redeeming features in. Quite possibly if we were in a brick and mortar class, there would be something. Really great hair, snazzy dresser, or clean fingernails. Something to detract from phrases like, "I don't really like reading other people's discussion posts. They're boring." Or, "Reading isn't really my thing. I'd rather wait for the movie."

I wish more than anything that I was making those up or at least embellishing. But no. No, I'm not. Not only do people really think that way, but they say it in a classroom setting, and THEY'RE BREEDING! I wouldn't be so upset about it because there is a real need for laborers who, through no fault of anyone, just are....what's the pc term for imbecile these days? The fact is, though, this is a business course. People in the class are here because they want to own a business, or be a high roller in some random company, or at least get that promotion to store manager.

But there are some I wouldn't even trust to wipe my dog's butt.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Wasting time

This isn't a real post, it's just me procrastinating. I have a lot that I should be doing, but zero motivation.

I should be sewing. I have a dress that's most of the way done. It's not for me. It's not for anyone. It's supposed to show what I'm capable of to bring into the local sewing shop to show the owner so she'll start referring clients to me. This could be the answer to my next "should be" topic.

I should be applying for jobs. I applied for one this morning but it's getting really hard for a couple of reasons. First, I've applied for countless jobs without even receiving so much as a thanks but no thanks letter. It's depressing. At least give me the satisfaction of being rejected. I hate being ignored. And second, all the jobs listed that I'm interested in and/or qualified for, I've already applied for at least once, in some cases multiple times. And how depressing is that? If someone does finally call, it's because they're so incredibly desperate after months of begging everyone else that they're now scraping the bottom. Of course, like the geek I am, I'll jump on that call and pretend that I was their second choice all along.

I should be preparing for Tribal Fusion camp. It's next month. I wanted 3 complete outfits ready to sell as well as some jewelry, hair falls, and dream catchers. Not to mention finishing the tent and making cushions. Meh.

I should be doing coursework for my 2 classes. I have seminars tomorrow to prepare for. Reading to do. Questions to answer. I repeat: Meh.

I should be exercising. The doctor told me not to because I have crippling shin splints. Doctors don't really know. I should be exercising. I'm just sitting here getting fatter. But then I feel guilty enough to exercise, stand up, and collapse in a twitching heap because my body hates me so much. Touche body. I'm not real keen on you these days either.

I should be cleaning. This place is a pig sty. It's gotten to the point where it's too big a job. It's scary. I should invite someone over for a visit. Then it would have to get cleaned.

So, there's a lot of things I should be doing. Some of which I actually want to be doing, but can't seem to get started. I'm a great planner, but a lousy executioner. And because I've given up on Gestapobook, I'm not particularly adept at procrastinating either. I'm at loose ends.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Sharing a goal....beh.

In my academic strategies class in the first week of school, we discussed how making a long term goal is great and all, but getting there is what really counts. One way of reaching your long term goal is to share it with those around you so that they can help you, even if it's just by keeping you motivated.

That only works if the people around you are positive, supportive, and can see how it will benefit them. Because let's face it, if someone thinks what you're doing will hurt them, they will tear you down every chance they get! Sometimes, "hurting them" simply means making your life better.

I finally shared my goal of cafe ownership last night. Most of the girls were really excited. But one, for who knows what reason, said, "That's a lot of work. You'll be a slave to it." Gee. Thanks for the pep talk!

"Being a slave" to the cafe is one of the things that keeps holding me back. I really didn't need to hear what a bad idea it is to open the business. I'm quite sensitive to my short comings, and really don't need or appreciate people pointing them out to me. And she's been doing it more and more. Not overtly, but in a subtle, under cutting way that hurts just the same. I feel like everything I try blows up in my face, and she's rubbing salt in the wound. The worst part is, if I want to keep dancing, I'm kind of stuck. I really want to teach, to explore my own style further, but I can't talk anyone into giving me the opportunity. Opportunities for anything I try seem to be few and far between, and most of them already taken.

It's frustrating at the best of times. Most of the time, it's just same black hole shit that I just can't seem to escape.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

I saved the world again, and no one will ever know...unless they read my blog

I have been driving myself nuts in my management course with this week's quiz. I took it 4 times.

The first time I scored a 90%. UNACCEPTABLE!

I was disgusted with myself. I got one wrong? Idiot! Steve meanwhile is standing behind me saying, "90% is great! That's amazing!"

"NO! I must retake the quiz."

The second try I got 80%. What the fuck?! NOOOOOO!!!! That explains why there are clouds over Southern California this morning- the world is coming to an end. Isn't idiocy one of the signs of the apocalypse? No? It should be.

I immediately took the quiz a third time and got back to my 90%. Still unacceptable, but less unacceptable than an 80%.

Here's the thing that is so ridiculous. When Ian comes home and says he got a 70% on a test, I'm over the moon. He sat down and actually took a test! He followed instructions and answered questions! That's amazing! He's a genius!

When Lauren comes home with a 40% on a test, I'm thinking, hey, she got a couple right. That's pretty impressive. She's actually making an effort at something.

But for me, 90% might as well be a 0. A big fat loser grade. I'm not top of the class, well then, shoot me now. I'm not worthy.

Instead, I got on the elliptical and exercised. And as the sweat started to drip, I suddenly realized something. When I changed the answer to the question I couldn't find the answer to in the book, I got an 80%. When I changed it back to what I originally thought, I got a 90% again. THAT'S NOT THE QUESTION I'M GETTING WRONG! It's that other one. That other one is not asking what I think it's been asking. It's a tricky son of a bitch!

So I went back and did the quiz again. This time, I got a 100%. Oh look, the sun is trying to come out to play.

And that's how I saved the world this morning. You're welcome.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day!

So what are you doing for Memorial day?

I've been out of the country for 6 years, so this is really my first Memorial day in all that time. I know the PC thing to say is that I use this day to remember all the men and women who have fought and died for this country. Really, though, it's just a day off. Because every day there are still men and women fighting and dying for this country- some of them even on the battlefield.

So, to everyone who has ever fought for the freedoms too many take for granted, thank you. To all the rest of us, let's try to make this a place where their sacrifices will not be in vain.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Down the rabbit hole, but not in the way that you think

I'm back down in the bottom of my deep dark hole.

Go away pervert, I'm not in the mood.

Basically, it started with Facebook telling me I'm wrong and a bad person. How did they do this? By saying that the link I posted to my wall showing that New York state has deemed arresting women for being topless is unconstitutional on the basis of discrimination is inciting hate speech. I'm still a little bit confused as to how that's hate speech, but fine, whatever.

So I started using google +  instead because the people running the show over there don't seem to have a stick the size of a redwood up their ass. It's refreshing. But all my friends are over on Facebook. I'm alone. I have no support network, or at least a significantly smaller one since now it's just Steve. And there is far too much crazy in my head for just one person to abate. And having just started school again, I'm really in need of that support network. So I thought, well, I'll check my Facebook and see if I've got any messages wondering why I haven't been on all week when I'm usually on several times a day.

Nope. No one gives a flying fuck if I'm around or not. Correction, things seem to be better if I'm not around. Fine. I'll leave you all alone and go fight my monsters by myself. Maybe I'll just make friends with my monsters. They seem to understand me better.

So yeah. That's where I am. I think that's where I'm gonna stay. It's a lot safer in the dark. If you don't try to get help, you can't be hurt when people tell you to fuck off. I still hurt, but at least they can't make it any worse. At least I know where I stand now, and I don't feel like such a huge idiot. Well  I do, but that's from the realization that I was deluding myself for so long.

I'll smile, tell everyone that I'm doing good. Such a weight off my chest, you know? And I'm getting so much more done now!

Except I'm not. Why should I?

Sunday, May 19, 2013


If there's one thing that really riles me up, it's discriminatory practices. It's fine for you, you, and you, but not you. You're different, go away.

You may be aware that this debate took place in New York recently, and New York Courts realized that discrimination is wrong. Policies in the state have now changed to reflect the realization of equality. Basically, women were being arrested for wearing pants, when clearly, only men are allowed to wear pants.

Silly, right?

Well, that's not really it, but the truth is not much different if you can get around your own mental limitations. What actually was decided is that there is no law against being topless in public, so when women were being arrested for baring their breasts, that was discrimination. Of course, the prudish turn it into a debate about nudity. My response to that is get over yourself and see the real issue at hand. When you can get in trouble because you are the wrong gender, that, boys and girls, is called discrimination. 

The fact of the matter is, you can discuss the values of it all you want. It still comes down to discrimination. Gay marriage? When you are not allowed to do something based on your sexual orientation, it's discrimination.

How long are we really going to debate this? I'm so sick of it! Women's suffrage and Civil Rights really kind of nailed this stuff on the head. Discrimination is wrong.

And yet, there seems to be no escaping it. I'm a woman so therefore, I am by nature less than a man.

I don't agree with that. My husband doesn't agree with that. In fact, if I were to put it that way to most anyone, my guess is most people wouldn't agree with that. Yet, if aliens landed here today, that's exactly what they would see.

Anyway, I posted a link to the article about New York on my Facebook feed. Of course, it incited an epic debate between me and a friend. I felt, however irritating the debate was, we both kept it civil and stated our views. There was no name calling, flaming, bashing, etc. It was simply a heated debate about an issue that we disagree on. It happens. Believe it or not, it's ok to disagree about things.

This morning, I had a message from Facebook telling me that they pulled the thread and I'm on warning. Of course, they can't really say why, but basically, freedom of speech is a myth.

I am beyond livid. Once again, I'm being told I'm wrong because I'm a woman and I don't follow the cattle. Sorry, but I don't think I'm wrong here.

Oh, and Facebook, you discriminate. How many topless men's photos are on Facebook? I've even seen them as profile pictures. Yet a photo of a woman that was unfortunately placed so her elbows, at first glance, appeared to be nipples, was flagged as inappropriate.

The Federal Court system has ruled that it is unconstitutional to have a law/rule apply to one gender only. In other words, if you don't want topless females, you can't have topless men. Or, better in my opinion, grow up, join the rest of the civilized world, and get over it! A breast is not bad.

Back to Facebook.

I'm not really sure how I want to deal with this. I'm entirely too tempted to walk away, nurse my wounds for a bit, and chalk it up to the end of the human race. But you know, the woman in New York sued the state and won, setting a precedence and creating change.

So, if you are a lawyer or know a lawyer who would be interested in a pretty solid case, please contact me. I follow this through if someone shows me the way.

Stop telling others that they don't have worth because they're different. 

Saturday, May 18, 2013

End of an era?

Last week, as I was eating a piece of toast for breakfast, I suddenly felt a tiny hard ball rolling around in my mouth.

Get your minds out of the gutter!

My tongue ring had, once again, unscrewed itself. It's not something that happens often, but it is common enough that I'm paranoid about it. I swallowed a ball once and considered myself lucky. I've read about people swallowing the shaft and it piercing their intestines on the way out.

So, with that in mind, some of you may be wondering why anyone would have a pierced tongue. There's no easy answer, and no one answer will fit everyone. I had plenty of reasons for getting mine pierced 8 years ago, but lately I've been wondering if it was still something I wanted.

Honestly, I've been debating this with myself for months! Do I or don't I? Because the thing is, the tongue heals so quickly that if you do decide to take the jewelry out, the hole closes pretty quick and if you change your mind you have to repierce. So I really wanted to be sure of my decision to leave the stud out.

I took the incident with the toast as a sign.

I do miss it a bit. My mouth feels a little lonely. After all, it's been nearly a decade having a ball resting on my tongue, making me aware of my mouth. Suddenly, it's the absence of that stimuli that's making me aware. And as silly as it sounds, even to me, I feel like this one little thing is redefining me. I have to figure out who I am all over again because of the loss of something most people didn't even know I had.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

School girl is much less sexy when you're actually going to school

Yesterday was my first day back in school after nearly 7 years! And no, I'm not really counting the cafe services course I took last year, because I didn't have to write essays for that.

I'm doing an online degree in business management to help make my dream of business ownership come to life. Now, I know that to own your own business, you don't really need to have a degree. This is more about picking up the skills I need to feel confident in my choices of ruling the world running a small business.

But oh, it's so much harder than I remembered! Or maybe it's just because I'm older and have actual responsibilities now. I really didn't need fate to thumb her nose at me, though, and pretty much flat out tell me this was a huge mistake.

Allow me to explain.

My first seminar EVER was due to start at 10am. So, at 9:30am, I was preparing to log in- I'm seriously paranoid about missing a class due to technical difficulties which I already experienced with the orientation seminar. So my paranoia was deep red. As I'm typing my introduction paragraph, the power shuts off. CLICK!

I swear I went through the 7 stages of grief in 10 seconds! I was so angry, depressed, and stressed out that I started cleaning. This is why houses in the 50's were so tidy. There was no internet to distract house wives, and they were still depressed and stressed out so they cleaned. Although, I don't think I'll make a habit of cleaning. Especially now, but I'll get to that.

Anyway, 15 minutes before my second seminar started, the power came back on. Thank goodness. Of course, I didn't have time to prepare for said seminar since the "classroom" had only been "opened" yesterday morning. I'm still not 100% on how all the pieces of these classes fit together. At least I was able to attend the second seminar which was a bit like being sucked into a wind tunnel with 12 cats. Overwhelming is a light way to put it. And I wasn't alone. Over in the chat window, it seems like a LOT of my fellow classmates were feeling... well, the words that were thrown around a lot were "lost" and "confused." Oh yes.

And after spending close to 6 hours yesterday sitting in front of my computer, developing a crick the size of Asia in my neck, losing half my hair, and indulging in a couple of crying jags, I feel like I have made absolutely NO progress.

Yeah. This is going to be hard.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Will there ever be an end?

Job hunting is the pits.

So, still looking for a job, but starting to feel like it's a serious waste of time. Everything is online now, which is great because you can apply for a job in your pj's with your morning coffee. Not so great because sometimes the internet has some serious issues.

Half the time, I'm unable to complete an application because "the system is experiencing technical difficulties" or "there was an unexpected error." It's incredibly frustrating and I'm starting to really feel that I'm the error. Like this is fate's little way of telling me, "no, you don't get a chance at this."

And before you think it, yes I know that it is occasionally possible to go into a place to apply for a job, but here's the thing. I can't. I'm sure there's some huge name for it. I'm sure there's medication I can take for it. But I think it simply comes down to the fact that I've maxed my brain out on risks. And they all keep blowing up in my face. Just the idea of putting myself on the line again makes me cry and wee a little.

It's bad enough putting myself out there for the things I want. Most of the job listings are the pits! Honestly, if there wasn't such a shortage of good jobs, no one would apply for these things. I'm amazed they can even list that sort of thing.

If you're in school, and can handle sick people, go into a nursing course. Seriously, those are 90% of the jobs listed! And take Spanish. Learn Spanish. Talk to people in Spanish. Because, in Southern California at least, they don't even want to hear from you unless you're bilingual.

Bah. Oh well. I guess I'll just keep plugging along. Hopefully, one of the things I do will take fruition and I'll be rich and famous.

Or something like that.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Happy Mother's Day!

My mother's day started much like any other day. Woke up and growled that the day starts much too early. That noise alerted the fur baby (our dog) to the fact that we were awake. His interpretation of morning is a bit different to mine, though. He jumps on the bed for snuggles. Unfortunately, the jumping on the bed part resulted in a few more bruises for me.

So, here's to all you mothers and single dads out there! I hope your day involves less pain.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Food for thought

This morning I logged into my coke habit Facebook, as per my morning routine. The very first post on my notifications was actually a link that one of my friends posted to a blog.

This is that link.

Ok, so now that you've read it and come did read it right? Yes, I know it's long, but just trust me on this. It's worth it. Just make sure you come back to this blog after you've read that one.

Ready now? Awesome.

So, if you're in the same frame of mind that I'm in, you probably got teary eyed while reading the list. I figure that's ok. I don't know why it's ok, specifically, maybe it just has something to do with my level of passion.

See, my problem is that I want to do too many things. Right now, I have not one, not two, but three businesses that I want to start. And when I think about throwing two away to focus on one, well, it's kind of like picking a favorite kid. Besides, I don't think my mind can really focus on one thing to the exclusion of everything else.

What are the businesses, you ask? Ok, fine. You didn't ask, but you get to hear it anyway.

First, the oldest: Batty4Arts. Steve is a fantastic artist, and I do a crapload of crafts and stuff that could, in theory, fit into Batty.

Hey! I just looked and our website for Batty is still active. Imagine that! I really wish I had the know how to run that website. As it is, all our website functions have to go through Steve. My mind cannot comprehend how to deal with the inner workings of websites. I may be able to do a class. But for the time being, Steve is it. Which is a problem because his job, the one that allows us to do things like eat and live, takes up most of his time. I wish he could cut down to 40 hours a week. Especially since that's how much he gets paid for. But most of his weeks are 50-60 hours! That doesn't leave a lot of time for anything else.

Which sucks and makes me angry.

Anyway, my second business is Katcina Belly Dance. Whereas Batty is both Steve and I, Katcina (pronounced ka-CHEE-na) is completely me. And, possibly for that reason, it's a bit flaky. See, I'm not sure if I want Katcina to be just for teaching and performing, or if I want to also sell costumes through it. Although, I think I may leave the costumes under Batty.

The third business may be the most painful for me. Silver Fern. This is another that's between Steve and I. Basically, it started (and until we can work through all the bureaucratic nonsense, still is) Silver Fern Cafe. In New Zealand, a cafe can be a range of businesses. It can be a full restaurant, a simple coffee cart, or pretty much anything in between. Here in the States, the apparent perception is that a cafe is a full on restaurant, which isn't really what we're going for.

I don't know, maybe we'll leave it as is.

If we can ever get the damned thing off the ground.

Ok, maybe I should go back to read that bad ass post again. Not now, though. Right now I have plants to repot, and costumes to start!

Friday, May 3, 2013


Warning: This is a mommy post. Just thought you should know.

Recently, I've read, heard, and/or dealt with a couple of things that have raised an issue for me. My son has special needs. It's not what he is, it's just one of his aspects. But if you were to say to me, "Oh, he's special needs," I'm not going to bitch you out. In fact, most of the time I won't even notice that little slip because I still do it myself. I'm trying not to, because in my mind it makes him a bit easier to live with if we're living with a little boy who has special needs rather than living with special needs connected to a penis.

It's not a personal affront to me if you use the word "is" not "has."

It is a personal affront if you decide you know how to "fix" him. Trust me, he's not broken! Yes, there are times I wish for a miracle. Yes, there are times I hope to wake up in the morning and find this has all been a nightmare. Yes, there are times when my husband holds me while I sob because it's just too hard.

Guess what? My friends who have typical children do the same thing. Not as often maybe, but it still happens.

Now, I wish I could say what labels fit my son. Not to describe him, but rather so other parents dealing with special needs can say BINGO! There's another member of our clan. Because it's kind of like a special club in a strange way. We do need support, and sometimes, the type of support we need can only come from other parents of children with special needs. So, the list of labels that have been heaped on my son are as follows: PDD-NOS, ADHD, ODD, Asberger's, Anxiety Disorder. Also on the suspected but unconfirmed list is bi-polar disorder.

Of course, every single doctor, therapist, teacher, and random "expert" on the street disagrees with one or more of those labels. "No, he talks to people, so he can't be Asbergers." "He sleeps at night, so that rules out ADHD and Anxiety." "PDD-NOS? No, I don't see that." Actually, the only label that's never been questioned is the ODD. But he exhibits traits from all of the above and others that no one can explain.

My son has Ianism. It's not an affliction (usually), it's not a disorder, it's just the way he is.

Do I wish he were different? Yeah, quite often. I wish I could have a whole conversation with him. I wish I could understand his perspective. I wish we could go for a random outing and not have to map out where exactly we're going, how long we'll be out, when and where food will be available, what food will be available, who's coming with, where the bathrooms are, etc. I wish I knew that when he grows up, he'll be able to have a job, a home, a family of his own. I wish I knew, with certainty, that he will be ok.

But he doesn't need to be fixed.

My son is not broken.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Love the things!

Ok, quick follow up to yesterday's wee adventure.

After we got our "pathetic" refund from George at Furniture and Beyond on Winchester Road in Temecula, CA- the worst shop in America- we headed to Living Spaces. They should rename it Loving Spaces! So pretty! So affordable! So...!!

Steve had actually looked online and found the bedroom set that was perfect for us, so the very nice lady working there had a really easy time selling us stuff.

The thing is, yes it was slightly more expensive. As in $100 more. But it's a solid set of drawers! The bottoms of the drawers are made of wood, not cardboard. And they delivered it to our house, same day, and even put it in the room!! That's service!

And they were all very nice. And didn't say our money was "pathetic." And didn't tell me to "zip it."

So, although the memory of George will fill me with righteous anger for a bit longer, at least there's a happy ending. One that involves gorgeous furniture!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Customer Service

I'm not one to brag, usually, but if there is one thing I do exceptionally well, it's customer service. So, it really pisses me off to get bad customer service. And when that bad customer service bleeds over into abuse, well. I'm left speechless.

Or at least that's what the jackass was probably hoping for.

Back story: April 19, Friday. Steve and I decided enough is enough. Our bedroom is filled with boxes of clothes and whatnot, the floor is covered in clothes, and I can't find 3/4 of my stuff. When we moved from New Zealand, we sold off our bedroom furniture. The houses we had been looking at on the market here all had amazing storage and closet space. So how did we wind up in the one that doesn't? The point is, we desperately need a dresser, and bedside tables would really come in handy, too.

So, April 19, we head out. The first place we stopped was Basset Furniture. Have you ever been there? Because they have gorgeous things. Oh I want all the things! And the lady that walked around with us was really nice. But, you pay a lot for gorgeous things, and it's just not in the budget right now. <Heavy sigh.>

The next place we went into was a budget furniture place. I didn't like any of the things in there. Probably because we had just come from the land of gorgeous furniture. But, again, the lady was nice and showed us the catalogues  of the furniture they have available "in the warehouse." Low and behold, we found a dresser and bedside tables that, while I didn't love them, they were serviceable. Still a bit more than I wanted to pay, but close enough that we could swing it.

We were informed that they would receive the items the next Friday, and we could pick them up on Saturday. She would call us Friday to let us know all was well.

Now, I keep debating whether I should name the store, but the fact is, if you get really good service somewhere, you don't hesitate to name that place. For instance, Cash n Carry in El Cajon? Great place! I wish there was one up here because I'd be in there every week! But if it's a bad place, you might tell your close friends and family, but to publicly denounce the place? Someone might get offended! So, I've been arguing with myself all day about it. I figure it's a bit like ripping a band aid off:

Furniture and Beyond on Winchester Road in Temecula, California is a very bad place. Avoid 

That's better. Back to my story.

April 26, Friday: the day they were supposed to call. Yeah, you guessed it. No call.

April 27, Saturday: We called them. And by "we" I mean I made Steve call. The woman who answered the phone remembered Steve from the week before, and thought it was strange no one had told her the items had come in. She'd "check into it" and call right back. Checking into it took 2 hours. When she finally called back, we didn't hear the phone, so she left a message saying the items would be delivered to the store on Tuesday, and she didn't know why.


April 30, Tuesday: Again, no phone call. So Steve called, again. Different woman this time, but same reaction: No idea,check into it, call back. This time, though, "checking into it" took 4 hours. When she called back, finally, she told Steve that the items we had ordered were out of stock in the warehouse, and that it would take 3-4 weeks from the time the order was placed for the items to be delivered to the store. Did we want to place the order?

I forgot to mention that on the 19th, a week and a half ago, when we placed the order, we paid in full. That's right. They took the entire payment, and now wanted to know if we wanted to place the order.

As it turns out, it was a deceptively easy question. The answer: No. No, we do not want to place the order, we want a refund. Easy peasy.

May 1, Wednesday: This is where it got fun. I was already upset at the service, or lack thereof, and upset that we still don't have any drawers, and I've been having a rough week anyway. So, I was very grateful that Steve came with me to the store to get the refund. Sometimes I just need his strength.

And oh how I needed it today!

We walked in, and the woman who had taken our order that first day was standing around. "Are you looking for George?" she asks.

"Anyone," replies Steve. I kept my mouth closed because I wouldn't be nearly so nice. Yeah, anyone who can see daylight out their rear, is along the lines of my thoughts.

George, a short, late middle aged, Israeli immigrant is standing by the counter with his plastic smile. Dude should be selling used cars.

Steve tries to explain the situation. Tries being the optimum word here because during his explanation, George is talking over him, interrupting (have I ever told you how much I loathe interruptions), and then. THEN! He makes a call to the warehouse, WHILE STEVE IS STILL TALKING! And I'm thinking, it just doesn't get anymore rude than this.

How wrong I was.

He gets off the phone and says, as though we were naughty children, "It be here next Friday." Um, fine, maybe someone else will want to buy your crap. Steve, showing a herculean amount of patience, starts to explain, once again, that we are walking away from this fiasco, and just want the refund.

I'm not nearly so patient. "It was supposed to be delivered LAST Friday!" Now, I admit, I raised my voice slightly. I wasn't yelling, Steve can certainly attest to that. I'm loud by nature, and sometimes I have a hard time hearing people. I figured maybe George was having that problem since he certainly wasn't listening.

"Zip it." Seriously. He told me to "ZIP IT" and made that motion like he was zipping his lips shut.

My eyes went really wide, and Steve started moving in between George and I. George is so lucky Steve was there.

It went on from there. Honestly, I was so angry I don't remember exact words. He did suggest that women are second class citizens. I wasn't allowed to talk. At one point I thought Steve was going to deck him, and it takes a LOT to get Steve's feathers ruffled. Hell, he lives with me!

Eventually, Steve sent me out to the car before I did something we'd...well, I can't say I'd regret it. But court dates can be rather inconvenient.

Apparently, George kept getting more obnoxious. He couldn't work the point of sale machine, so had to call that company. Steve said George was screaming at the person on the other end of the line and slamming his hand on the table. The word of the day on George's calendar was "stupid." "Stupid machine," and "stupid California," "stupid Temecula," "stupid customer."

The thing is, in addition to being the world's worst customer service person, George is giving a horrible name to Israelis and immigrants. I've known Israelis. Granted, not a lot, but a few. I've always found them to be very nice.

I also pay attention to the current public opinion of immigrants, being married to one, it's a personal issue. Let's face it, the general feeling towards immigrants in America is not positive. And a lot of it has to do with people like George. George didn't come here for a better life. He didn't come here so that his children could have opportunities that he didn't. Some immigrants have come to America for those reasons, and they work hard for the right to be here. People like George come here because the people in his own country can't stand him either.