Little Bits of This and That

Just because.

If I am going to make it a point to get into a schedule, I need to actually do so. Am I right? Of course I am.

I have been a bit heartbroken however. The canvas print I put on this page a couple posts back? The Wicked based painting by James Hance? Yeah. That one. The prints turn out to be much too expensive.  I simply can’t justify the expense. So, no wonderful green Elphie on my walls.

There **is** art on my walls now though – a start at making my restful, lovely hermit cave!

I promised pics waaaaaaaay back in March of the Karazhan posters framed and hung, if I managed to get it done.

Finally, I deliver!

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Husband was skeptical at first. He thought that anything game related was going to go in the office. It is true that the vast majority of my swag, and my game collectable stuff will be in the office. (If it ever comes out of storage. We have been here since the end of MARCH for goodness sake, and Pete is still promising me that each month is the very LAST for carrying over the storage. I **still** don’t have my bed here! Been sleeping in my chair for FOUR MONTHS! RAWR!)

These posters though, are truly something that can be on the living room wall. He should know by now that while I am a geek, I also have impeccable taste in most things, and a fairly decent eye for what looks good. My house will NOT be completely video game oriented. That is mostly for the offce.

That’s the husband critters buzzhead in the pic. Thank goodness he isn’t a comb over type! His hair is… diminishing. Instead of growing it out, he decided to go all super military on it. He has clippers, and buzzes it all off every few weeks. I then get to play clean up on the alfalfa ‘do he leaves behind. He **always** misses that one piece in the middle back – and it sticks up exactly like alfalfa’s did in “The Little Rascals”. (And I hope like hell y’all know what I mean there.)

We do have the table and chairs here as well – and a two canvas painting that the husband critters sister painted.  When Pete went down to see her/help with clear out some stuff she didn’t need, he fell in love with it. Because he liked it so much, she gave it to him. It was the first thing I hung on the wall.

When I put it up, I decided to troll him, and hang it backwards. Because I am not very good at trolling, he missed the point, and LOVES them this way:

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Beyond house settin’ up stuff, I have been gaming a bit. Well, a LOT, actually.

All of the sudden, I have way too many games again, and not near enough time. I’ve been testing the Beta for Final Fantasy XIV A Realm Reborn. (Square Enix agreed with the rest of the world that the first iteration of this game was NOT good, so they completely redid it.) I have been having a blast! I am enjoying this game immensely, and am waiting for phase 4 to start – the open, release candidate beta. Should be happening in a couple of weeks or so, since the launch date has been set firmly for August 27th, with early access for Collector Edition purchasers beginning the week prior, and that for those who stuck with the 1.0 version of the game two weeks before.

Civilization V came out with it’s latest expansion on the 9th of this month. A Brave New World is awesome! It added so much to the game that is already one of the best for turn based strategy (in my own opinion, of course) and made it even better! I have started a game as the Shoshone, and have been having a grand time figuring out the new stuff.
Neverwinter has been fun. Totally free to play – not even a box purchase required. It is of course run on microtransactions, but you don’t have to purchase anything if you really don’t want to. Most of what is sold is quality of life stuff. Unlike some other FTP games out there, it doesn’t hold back aspects of the game. You can play all parts of the game, with all abilities without having to pay a dime. You can purchase extras (like more character slots, bigger/more bags for carrying stuff and bank slots for storing stuff. Faster mounts… that kind of thing.)

Skyrim – still futzing around in that huge and marvelous world – and waiting eagerly for Elder Scrolls Online to come out next year! I signed up for that beta. Don’t know if I will have any chance at it, but one can hope!

Signed up for the beta for a new game coming out as well – Wildstar. This one is Sci Fi – and looks intriguing. We shall see if it lives up to the slowly growing hype it has been getting.

Still playing World of Warcraft of course.  Have my sixth maxed level character now, working on the next to get there.  WoW has been taking a bit of a back seat.  As I said in a post some time ago – it was the -only- game I played for years.  Now, it does get put on hold for a while when I want to try something different. I know it will always be there, well loved and comforting.

I have The Secret World, and can even run it… kinda. It is not what I would call a fun experience however. I need a better graphics card if I am going to enjoy this one – which also just went free to play (though it requires a box purchase) Steam had it for a steal during their summer sale though, so…

 

Besides games, I have been going through a creative phase. I pulled out my colored art stix (kinda like pencils, without the wood – the whole thing is a square colored pencil lead essentially) and my regular pencils/charcoal. Not going to show that though, at least not yet. I am super duper rusty – and want to see if I even have the stuff anymore!

Crochet though… I learned a few new methods, and had a grand time doing so!

First, is Broomstick Lace. This is pretty much what it sounds like. You use a broomstick (or appropriately sized tool – in my case, a piece of PVC pipe, as I could get my husband to give me some left over from redoing some piping on a job) to stretch rows of loops around:

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and then gather the big loops that are made as you crochet the next base row:

 

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Comes out GORGEOUS!

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And the yarn I am using here is amazing. Literally. The brand is not one of the yarn porn brands, but not a bad one – Lion Brand. The line is called “Amazing”, and the colorway for this one is called “Glacier Bay”. I have fallen in LOVE with this yarn. I adore the huge variety of colors it has throughout, and the varying intensities of those colors.

Here, I am using it again in some Granny Squares. These are about 8″ blocks, that I am considering using as base blocks to patchwork with other smaller blocks in solid colors to make a quilt patterned afghan.

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I am absolutely going to have to buy more of this yarn though! It is super soft wool with a bit of acrylic, making it very stable. It holds shape well, and won’t shrink as much as 100% wool would.

I also whomped together a homemade (and very temporary – this thing won’t hold up for any amount of **real** work on it) hairpin lace loom, to see if I would like that technique.  It is an interesting one, and very versatile.  I didn’t however, remember to get any pics. I will be buying a loom soonish though (only about $5, the problem is getting my hands on my car to actually go GET the damned thing.)  When I do, I will show you what this is and does! Super cool.

 

Cooking.

I have been trying some new things, either found on the interwebs, or shared by friends. One of the wins was homemade, baked not fried taquitos.

Assembling:

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And after baking:

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These were rather awesome. I made them the first time with flour torillas because that is what I had a metric ton of. Next time I make them – we will try with corn torillas!

Last, but not least, some cloud porn for your enjoyment! The clouds on this day were very different.  I had never seen them like this before.  The lines you can kinda see in the pics were very clearly delineated, making the entire sky look…  sculptured.

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Husband got totally exasperated with me when I called him out onto the balcony to look at the clouds – until he got there and saw them. Then of course, he was pointing out different places I should point the camera. I think I photographed the whole of the sky (that we can see from the balcony) that day. The strange, almost sculpted look of the clouds didn’t show  well in the pictures – but I picked the best two. These pictures unfortunately don’t do this very strange and beautiful sky the justice it deserves.

As I began.  A little about a lot about pretty much nothing, but it is a post, and I have written!

DAMN!  I’m on a roll!

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Of Procrastinating, Procedures, and Pet Battles! Oh My!

I could try to make all sorts of excuses for not posting the last couple of weeks, but I’m not gonna.

Truth is, I was just lazy.

I would start my weekend with the best of intentions for posting, and come late Friday night/early Saturday morning, I would realize that I had put it off TOO long, and I was too tired.

Decided that was NOT going to happen this week, so here I am!

I’ve been slacking on the crafting. I have the stuff, I even have it out where I can see it. I just can’t seem to get comfortable enough to DO it.

The counter where I sit at my computer is really too high – even with my office chair raised to the max, the counter comes up almost to my armpits. Means that I get tired arms very very quickly when doing anything that involves the “table”. Unfortunately, that does include (to some degree) my crafts, even the knitting. It gets in the way. And I just CANNOT get comfortable enough sitting on the bed to do much of anything. No back support, or if propped up against the headboard, I find I am awkward with the needlework while my legs are sticking right out in front of me.

I know. I’m weird. We ALL knew that, so we don’t need to dwell, right?  Right.
Onward.

I am not the only procrastinator around here. Hubster STILL hasn’t managed to check out listings being sent to get us OUT of here, and when my temp tags ran out on the 31st (I nagged him every week to get the Certification of Title paperwork from the previous owner, but it didn’t happen) he… extended the temp tags. Instead of getting the permanent ones. /sigh

At least I will be legal for the next month again. Would have been driving back here on expired tags Wednesday at midnight, if our systems at work hadn’t had a nervous breakdown. We did all the stuff that was waiting for out of queue time, and then were told to go home. NOT that I was unhappy about that! It was only a bit over an hour, and on my Friday! PLUS – I was legal driving back here! (The county where my office lives is notorious for “by the book” policemen, and this was Halloween night.)

Going into a short week this week, but not for fun. Have a docs appt on Wednesday, and won’t be in any shape to work Wednesday night. (Come ON good pain pills!) Made the appointment so that I could get done what I need to get done, and have a couple of days to recoup. Honestly, between allergies, a possible plague moving about the workplace, and the insomnia that is hitting again, maybe the drugs Imma have to take will get me back on track as well!

ANYway.

I have found a new addiction. And it might reach further than I would ever have thought.

Pet Battles.

Yup. You read that right. Pet battles.

With the Mists of Pandaria expansion for World of Warcraft, a new little mini game was added. Pet battles.

Now, all my girls in WoW have always been pet whores. It is why my account doesn’t have more gold on it than it does. They ALL had to have ALL THE PETS. Now, I have more to DO with those pets than just have an addon pull one out randomly to follow me around.

First, the Developers of WoW decided to make these “companion pets” account wide (which works better with the system they have set up) which means I had a BAZILLION AND ONE pets with all the dupes. (In reality, it was 1,438, of which about 148 were unique). The VAST majority of these could be caged, and put up on the in game auction house. (barring of course pets that were gained through Collector’s Editions, Real Money Pet Store… stuff like that). If it was gained in game, you could cage it, and try to get your gold back/make gold on them.

Finally! Something that **I** had a corner on the market for!

I have been doing pretty well with selling extra pets, (and oh so many more still in my SECOND bank alts guild bank… opened JUST for pets. One on each faction. I know. I am a bit… twisted. Again, we all knew this. Right?)

It is the actual BATTLING though, that I am addicted to.

Well, not the BATTLING per se, but the COLLECTING.

Go figure, huh?

There are special marked pets out in the world, and you can get your team of pets (chosen from what you have already, either pre expac, or captured) and head out into the world to battle and or capture these pets! THEY in turn, can be swapped into and out of your team, and so on, and so on, and so….

Remember me? The pet whore? No such thing as too many?

Yeah. Me. I have been taking my ‘lock out and about, battling to capture pets, looking for the rare ones, leveling up my “team”, and all round having a blast.

In fact, this weekend, that is pretty much all I did. (Few dailies on the two girls I have in the new zones, but that is it.)

What’s REALLY sad?

I am thinking about asking for/looking into getting a Nintendo 3DS for either Christmas, or my birthday. Solely so that I can get the Pokemon games. Because it is, from what I understand, the exact same thing, only more portable.

Seriously. Because now, I am worried that I will run out of pets to capture/upgrade (there are 4 “levels” of pets you can catch – poor, common, uncommon, and rare, so if you have say… an “uncommon” level skunk, and you run across a “rare”, you can battle that one, and if successful, add him to your pet book, either replacing the “uncommon” or just adding, as you can have up to 3 of any one kind of pet). My binge this weekend got me through a LOT of zones, and earned me a LOT of pets.

What will I do if I run out of pets to tame?!? The HORROR!

So possibly Pokemon. Because ya know, if I have to have an addiction – pet battling isn’t a bad one.

It could be crack.

Just sayin’.

Catch Up Time!

It is a me!

And while things are still crazy pants in the fashionably strapped jacket sort of way, I thought I might just go ahead and share some of it. Maybe it will make me less crazy, and more… BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Who am I kidding?

Have to say right off the bat – sorry Dad for any language. I will try, but I can’t guarantee there won’t be a bomb here or there. >.<

ANYway. Still here, still living, as is the hubster. (though he is on rather… thin ice. >.<)

STILL in ~ 100 – 150 Sq feet room with lil kitchenette and bath from hell. Looks to be at least DECEMBER before I can hope to live like a real, not… less than dependable member of society. /sigh. At least it is a roof. He did remember that I promised to cut him if I ended up under the overpass… and I didn’t end up there… HOWEVER.

Yeah. Money shot to hell and back again. I had had the brilliant idea of handing control over to him, as I couldn’t seem to get him to live by a budget of my making. Reverse psychology at its worst.

The thinking was this – I was supposed to have control of the money initially, and get us on track. He kept finding ways to make that NOT happen – up to and including not handing money over for jobs, taking money out of my purse, or wherever I hid it, ninjaing my debit card… SO – I had told him that I was tired. Giving up. He wanted to do the money thing? Figure the budget and how to pay everything with a variable income? He could have it. If I ended up under a bridge, or without internet, I would cut him. HE said that he was happy for the challenge. Just wait and see. It would be brilliant. Ummmm. Yeah.

Turns out – the house that he was supposedly “fixing up before they would rent to us”?

Not so much. He says they had a rental agreement (that the landlord broke – and since it was “handshake” he doesn’t have any proof) – but I think he is trying to save face, and to his face, I am letting him. However, my thoughts are as follows:

He had the job to fix it, but not to rent it. The money got spent. He didn’t have a back up – and now, we didn’t have a place to go, nor deposit/last month to get there. Stuff in storage, (with back payments owed, so I can’t even get into it to get books to read, or more clothing) bank account overdrawn, and he is pawning tools he needs to work, to pay basics, because my entire paycheck is now being swallowed by overdraft + fees. He fell behind, and… yeah. UGH. Lies to me time.

Let me get this straight right now. I ABHOR lies. Absolutely. Completely. I have told him AD NAUSEUM that lying is the very WORST thing he can do. Tell me the truth and I may be temporarily angry – lie to me and that shit stews. Seriously. Because I CANNOT take the next thing you say at face value now – and I need STABILITY damn it! Even if that stability has very very thin and whittled supports. They can be shored up, and eventually replaced. Keep shoring rotten supports? Without truly fixing them, even one at a time?

That building is eventually gonna fall down.

I have discussed before that stability is necessary for me to function. Take it away, and I don’t do so good. I like a schedule. I like stability. Hell. I used to LAMINATE my monthly budgets, so that I could use whiteboard markers if needed – and yet keep the basics there. (I know. Obsessive much? Still after a divorce, and multiple starting wage positions after so long – money, where it is and where it is going to BE is an important thing!)

So – paychecks are being swallowed whole by bank. Husbster doesn’t have a 40 hour a week job still. We have a “come to Jesus” talk, where I lay it out. He needs 40 hours. No more Mr. Big Time Contractor dreams. He cannot manage himself, or money well enough for that. 40 hours, where they take the taxes out, and he has to report to someone. NOW. My job is (or was… more on that later – not this blog, which looks to be headed towards the LONG side already) stable, with fantastic benefits and bonuses, but it doesn’t quite pay enough (hourly) to support one, much less two people. >.<

He did step up – and so far, it seems he has gotten himself into a decent place  (making good money, doing what he does best, for a guy that seems pretty standup…) .

He is currently working for an engineer who has some pretty hefty credentials on the East Coast, trying to break into the contracting business here in TX. Pay is good, at least for this 60 day eval phase. Boss seems to be pretty cool (there have been a few… issues these first few weeks, and he has stepped in and helped. He is either the most trusting man from New Jersey EVAR!, or he is truly impressed with the work that Pete does). Don’t get me wrong. Pete is FANTASTIC at what he does. He does a good job. He just needs that oversight to do it when he is supposed to. /sigh.

Onward. Money? The hubster got my bank account overdrawn to the point that ALL my pay for the month of May was sucked into a morass of overdraft fees. No end in sight. I went to my HR and set it up so that it wouldn’t be direct deposited anymore. (the bank WILL be paid. Just at a rate that leaves me money to live. Seriously.) AND, since I don’t have a ‘real’ address to mail a check to, they are having it delivered to the office. HOWEVER.

/sigh. After the first, flawless transition check, it has been a nightmare. My company decided to change payroll processors. >.<

Two weeks ago? Check wasn’t there when I went in on Saturday. (It is supposed to be there on Friday, but I couldn’t get there – Pete was working, so I didn’t have a way to get down to the office.) No problem – I had been told that if I didn’t make it for some reason on Fridays, it would be put in my team leads office, for me to get from him on Saturday (which is my new Monday work schedule wise).

EXCEPT – it wasn’t there. Team Lead hits up HR at home – and turns out that if it was mailed, it may be in the **LOCKED** mailbox – and I won’t be able to get it til Monday. /sigh. Makes things a bit tough – but Pete can pawn another tool for a night or two in the “inn”, an we will tough it out. EXCEPT –

it isn’t there Monday either. HR calls – and they say it is in the mail. Will be there that afternoon – or Tuesday at the latest.

Not so much. It isn’t til TUESDAY – that they admit that they direct deposited it to the account it wasn’t supposed to go to – and were trying to get it back, to send it out.

Head of HR in Austin steps in and says “NOT ACCEPTABLE!” It should never have gone there in the first place – and they need to cut a check – Fedex it, and THEN figure out how to reclaim from the bank.

Finally, the following Wednesday, I have my check.

Ok. Now, I am sitting down to do a budget, figure out with the money Pete is bringing in, what we can do – when we can do it… (Including re accessing storage, where my STUFF is, including NOT my stuff, like Mrs Kitters cook book that she loaned me and wants back – but I can’t get to until the past two months have been paid…)
***IT MUST BE SAID HERE***  That I have taken money BACK!  I have threatened Pete with more than cutting if I don’t see every penny of his check, every Friday from now on!  I will make sure that he has enough to fill the van every week with gas – and that there is a certain amount budgeted in as “miscellaneous” so that he can buy… whatever – so long as it includes wine for me!  I am GOING to have my glass of wine every night, damnit!

Get a budget – figure this weekend – TODAY – we will be able to get started paying everyone back, and saving money to move into a REAL place – where my stuff is!  With Pete having awesome pay – it can even be a NICE place – since we have to pay through the nose anyway – and at this point, he owes me 500000521354694 times, and at this rate, must kiss my butt til the sun explodes, and then falls back in on itself  At that point, he will ALMOST have made it up. >.< ( Not to mention – books for me to read, and Kits book)

EXCEPT – echos of two weeks ago. I show up at office on Friday – no check. Used to be (with old payroll company I guess) any checks coming to the office were sent to corporate headquarters in CA, then Fedexed to Austin by our HR out there. That way, there were tracking numbers and such – and they could trace it.

HR CA says that it didn’t go through them – payroll processing sent all mail direct – through the USPS. /sigh

There are a couple of problems here. While they say they have my address as the office in ATX address – they ALSO said last time that they had mailed it – when they had direct deposited to a bank where the DD had been removed. If they mailed it – but to my old address, it would end up being returned to sender – and the old post office was TERRIBAD about being on time. Seriously. Took two months for a Christmas card that I sent around Thanksgiving to get to AZ from TX >,< Not to mention OTHER things, that just never made it, to, or from.

So – as the receptionist (who does the mail thing) isn’t in on weekends, it looks like I wait again, until at least Monday to see if I have a check – or if they flubbed again. Gotta say – I am NOT enamored of the new payroll service so far. >.<

Need to get a new bank set up – with direct deposit again – so that I can live -and still pay the old bank off. (Not to mention everyone else. /sigh) Pete will end up pawning tools again, just to buy gas/groceries (because we were naive. I figured they screwed up the first time – they would triple check this time, but NO!) until I have the check. So – no books out of storage until probably NEXT weekend. Have to try to stretch what I am reading now, I guess. ( and it is HARD! Of course, because my reading material is limited, reading is ALL I want to do! >.< Contrary should be my middle damned name)

Trying hard to keep a positive face on this. There are other things that have happened in the last couple of months that have set me back, and I am trying desperately to work it all out – and still stay somewhat sane!

Gonna try to keep up here – one thing that DID seem to make it to this room ( though was buried in the closet for a bit) was some of my crafting stuff. Some yarn, my crochet hooks and knitting needles…. my lil cross stitch Christmas ornament stuff. Gonna try to get some of that done, and then maybe – PICTURES! ❤

Celebrate Good Times…

So, I may be a very smart person, but I can be incredibly silly sometimes.

When I started this job, I knew that it was 24/7/365 office, and I knew that set paid holidays off for the entire office did not happen. Note that the higher up, not service related branches DO get these days, as well as the week between Christmas and New Years. While we don’t get the week – we DO get a week or so worth of floating days, to take as we want/can, so we are not left in the cold.

Don’t get me wrong – the company pays for holidays, even for the Service departments, the same ones that most of corporate America pays for. There are 9 paid holidays a year – meaning if you have the day off, you get paid for it. If you work that day, you get double time for it.

The three big ones (Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years) have for the most part been on a kind of lottery system. Used to be, they would send out a communique asking for your first, second, and third choices – which would you want off the most. I would always choose “New Years”, because we don’t have family that we can travel to easily for the others, nor do we have children to think about. (Aren’t I the most thoughtful thing EVAR? Plus, I really do love New Years Eve with the hubster.)

Generally, everyone has gotten their choices, and as evidenced in “Random Hates Me…”, we have even been able to get service levels to a point where we can have MORE than normal the number of people off on these bigguns.

However – silly ol’ me always thought that the others, the not so family oriented ones, were basically “If you have the day off on your schedule, SCORE! If not, too bad about the day, but you get double time!”

Now, one of the very few things I miss about “normal” corporate America is the paid holidays. I **LIKED** having a day here or there – scheduled off and paid, even if we didn’t do the normal celebratory things on those days. (along with a schedule that allows me to sleep at night, and see the sun once in a while…)

I learned differently when a marvelous girl who used to be on my team, and defected for another (Love you Amanda!) with the same basic hours, but a 4/10 schedule, announced last fall that she was putting in for Labor day off, to have a day paid, without using vacation.

I was dumbfounded. It had never occurred to me that I could do this. New and exciting possibilities suddenly opened! Of course, I jumped on THAT bandwagon, asked for and got it as well… and it was HEAVEN. Paid holidays off, I have missed your sweet seduction for so long!

SO –

I am officially celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. day – by having it off! I already put in, and have had approved for that time. Hooray me for having a three day weekend, and NOT having to use any vacation or float time!

I really really am looking forward to this as well. No wild shopping trips planned – no people crowd places planned, no icky poo feeling (took the first and second off because of a Bronchitis flair up – NOT my idea of “good” time off.) Just… time off.  To do what I want!

Fair warning to the company: I am going to be putting in for as many of the “lesser” holidays as I can! Next up – President’s day! Really feelin’ the need to rock the celebration of the births of Washington and Lincoln!

I do have several plans. I have begun lists. (Three days – who wouldn’t?!?) However – I have a feeling that the cleaning of the “should be condemned at this point” house will be all on paper, with very little actual work being done. While I am not cool with that so much, I have a feeling that laze, plus a deep and urgent need to get at least ONE of my Old Republic girls a space ship will weigh heavily in on how much of my “work” list gets done.  Add the “reward” (read wine, or beer, or other potent potable) of the reward system of housecleaning, even if it doesn’t happen quite that way, and even more awesomeness!  Might even work a bit more on the hat/scarves that **didn’t** make it to the kids for Christmas.  I know.  I suck.  At least I hadn’t promised them at a particular time to the kids, eh?  Heck.  They don’t even know they are in the works!

No pics today – not gonna show off the condemned (or should be) house. Suffice to say, I will try to beat the guilt feelings of “should be doing something” down with the sweet stick of RPG. I have a feeling that I may be at least semi successful – even if responsibility does rear its ugly head and demand some of my time.

And, if I happen to exceed my own expectations? SCORE!

 

 

 

 

New Year! Just a few (five) days late!

Finally, I have reclaimed my house from the tree that ate Austin! It is back in its box, and back in the junk room.

Shut up, y’all. I do have a junk ROOM – not just a drawer. Between stuff my husband drags home from jobs, (we might USE it someday!) various tools and carpentry stuff, craft materials, books that don’t have shelves, and other stuff that can’t be gotten rid of… (damned government, requiring SEVEN years of back paperwork!) a drawer just does NOT suffice, and we don’t have a garage or a storage shed for this stuff.

Don’t get me wrong – we have a drawer too, where ostensibly, Pete is supposed to keep things like screwdriver tips, the odd nuts and other little stuff that comes home in pockets, as well as hand held tools.  Of course, they don’t go there initially.  I can’t tell you how many times I have stepped on a screw gun tip with my bare feet.  Good times!  NOT.

ANYway.  Back on track.

The tree did come down, although it was a couple days later than I would have liked. I had the terrible timing and bad taste to come down sick with bronchitis, mixed with a nasty digestive tract thing (that we won’t be discussing at all – yuck!) on New Years Day – and it lasted into Monday, and Tuesday. Ugh.

So – wee hours of Wednesday morning, when I was feeling only half zombified, I was able to get it down, and OUT of my living room.

Another side note here. When getting ready to slide furniture to its non holiday placement, I found a can of primer paint, hidden in the shadows between the chair and loveseat, in front of the table. /sigh.

I wonder if it went there because my husband just HAD to, because I had stated in no uncertain terms that that kind of stuff would NOT be allowed in the living room with the new stuffs. Attempt at alpha male “I am dominant – I can do what I want?” behavior? The world will never know. Rather than launching it at the van however, I just placed it in his seat at the dining table. Or what would be a dining table, if it weren’t covered in various papers, laptop, plates, cans, and other detritus left by that too common species, Maleous Sloppicus.

SO – lovely comfortable and yummy furniture is now set as it should be, and without the tree that ate Austin, the room actually feels… not roomy, but roomier! The ottoman and chair are huger than they seemed in the store, but I don’t mind!  Heck – we can both use it if we are both in the living room at the same time.  One of the pluses of cozy living space!

Next step to be taken will be to frame the Karazhan Theatre posters I got from the Blizzcon store, and hang them. (I know, I am a nerd, but they really are rather gorgeous) That should bring at least this room, up to par!

Living room as it is now:

Comfy!

Complete with the picture Pete’s mom painted and gave us (needs a frame, and a different wall) and a Spook, who has decided that we bought the chair JUST for him, and now pretty much lives in it.  Once I have another geek shelf, (mah swag shelf for work is full up!) the Star Wars statue, and the LOTR pez dispenser limited collection set that I scored as an “open me!” present at Christmas will have new homes as well. (What can I say?  I am a geek.  Proud of it, too!)

Fun fact – the table in the corner?  It is actually a very clever design, and was picked up in Germany by my Sister in Law when she lived there, while she worked for the FBI.  The top can flip up, and it becomes a rather throne like chair.  Another fun fact?  That table top is a big as a decent sized two/three person dining table.  Much larger than a standard sized bistro table.  Kinda says something about the scale of the furniture, yes?

And, just for fun, Callie wants attention when SHE wants attention. Here is a shot of her, demanding attention while I am reading at the computer:

Diva needs attention!

Note the placement of the cat – right between me, and where my keyboard would be if I were actually USING it.  And, she has done this while I have been using it…  say in the middle of a raid?  She will even, on occasion, roll around, deliberately striking keys, to see what will happen.  usually, this is to run my character into the nearest mobs, pulling them all.  It has to be deliberate, because it happens quite often.  In my case, the excuse that “the cat did it!” may just work…  hmmmmm.

Sorry for the very short, not very fun post. Still feeling punky, and not all that creative.

Oh Christmas Tree…

Holidays. I love decorating for them. I used to decorate for EVERY holiday. Christmas was the best. All of the sparkling, twinkling lights, the soft glow on the ornaments. Snuggling and cuddling with your best man, a bottle of wine, and kitties in the glow….   The way the cats would find a way to bring the tree down at least once a week during the season…

Well, maybe not so much the tree climbing.  As fun as it is coming home and finding the tree laid out, I could probably do with just memories on that one.

After I separated from my first husband, in 2001, I couldn’t find the heart to decorate. I had the stuff, I just didn’t have the energy to pull it out,.  In  2002, I was “sharing” one of my best boys, Izaak, with his mom. We both worked for the same company, me on days, and later graveyard, (24/7 office), and her on swing shift. Taking care of a 2 year old, I forced myself to decorate that year, for him. The rest of the time? Not so much. What presents would I put under the tree? With whom would I snuggle in the soft glow of the lights?

After I met Pete, it kinda continued. Not because I didn’t want to decorate, but because he is a master procrastinator.

First, I need to say that I am not one of those women who put up a tree the day after Thanksgiving, and leave it up for months, like my friend Sarah. ( BTW – Miss Sarah has her own blog, where she posts lots of pictures of her crafting, cooking and playing – as well as writing!)

ANYWAY, Miss Sarah told me she puts hers up, and leaves it up until her birthday in February! Good heavens. Thank goodness there is diversity in this world! Makes for fun and interesting times!  And thank even MORE goodness I am not expected to do this!  It would drive me even  battier than I already am!

I generally  will put the tree up and decorate about mid December, and that stuff comes DOWN on New Years day. No ifs, ands, or buts. I love the decorations, the soft lights, the shiny sparklies, the snuggles… (OOOOH! SHINY!!) After a few weeks though, the clutter starts to hit my claustrophobia nerve, and it has to go

I have been with Pete now since around August 2003. First year, we were not living together, and I was still in the “dun wanna bother” phase.

2004, we were in Massachusetts, but he was in his “mid life crisis” phase, and not sure if we were “right” Still didn’t want to bother . (Sigh.  Whole other story.  Maybe later.)

2005, we were engaged, and he was living with me. Promised that he would get a tree from his parents land. (They have 12 acres or so in the foothills of the Appalachians, and grow trees specifically for cutting at Christmas.) This was put off until roughly 2 days before Christmas, when I couldn’t see sacrificing a tree for one week of ornaments, and then death by wood chipper. 2006. 2007 and 2008, we were married, and the same. Promise of tree from folks land that just never happened…

2009 came, and we had moved to Austin. I was working for dream company, and his sister (who lives here in TX – San Antonio, to be semi exact) passed on a rather spectacular (if very large) fake tree that they had replaced. Seriously. You don’t want a real tree in TX unless you are fond of brown, shedding pines in your living area. This begins roughly 2 days from putting up the tree, regardless of how careful you are about filling the water resevoir in the stand.

OMG people! I had a TREE in 2009! Out of the box, set up and everything! Of course, I didn’t have lights or ornaments, so I had… a fake tree.  Period.  Big and green.  Its conquest and takeover of my living room was complete. /sigh

Last year, for the first time since 2002 and Izaak, I decorated. Pete’s mom had fallen a couple of times during late summer/early fall, breaking both arms and her pelvis. He had gone back to Massachusetts for most of  October and November to help out, and came back with a big box of ceramic ornaments. His mom has been teaching ceramics for more than 30 years. Has a studio, with molds, kilns, paints… the whole nine yards. Add some Walmart specials, and lights, and we were in business!

We did learn a very important lesson, and because of it, our tree will always looks half decorated, at least as long as these kitties are in our lives. Other cats I have had in my life have been successful in bringing the tree down – so much so that I had to have guy lines attached to the wall to keep it upright.  Thank goodness these couldn’t do that with the monster.

HOWEVER.  I have to leave the bottom 2 feet or so free of all but soft ornaments, or I will have an obstacle course of exploded land mine ornaments thoughtfully provided by Spook, with a generous helping of shredding from Callie.

  • From Spook: “Hey ma!  Its the holidays!  Chill out all ready.  Sorry about the dagger like shard of ceramic in your toe.  Shoulda watched where you were going!”
  • And Callie:  “It’s a tree! There might be a squirrel or bird up there!  I have to get it, since you won’t let me out to get the ones in the yard!  Might as well mangle this stuffed ornament and that ribbon while at it!  The squirrel might be hiding in it!”

This year, we plan on decorating again.  I am hoping that we can actually put a couple presents under it. (besides the nice new, non carnivorous living room furniture. Which will technically surround it, because I refuse to wait until “the day” to use it, if I have it.) If not, I might just wrap some empty boxes… because I am a dork. I know it, accept it, and embrace the awesome dorkiness that is me!

If we can, I would like to look for a slightly (MUCH) smaller tree. (even though I will probably need guy lines again). Seriously. The one we have now? Lovely, realistic looking, full, thick – and fills almost half of my not so large living room when up. (base diameter is about 5 feet.) Regardless – I am hoping that a tree, with attendant twinkles, sparkles, snuggles,  and claustrophobia will be part of life beginning next weekend. If the digital camera I want from Santa happens, there might even be pictures!

Competition.

I am not about competition.

I know that this is a strange statement, coming from someone who games. It however, is the truth coming from me.

I **DON’T** judge myself on how others are doing, nor how I am doing in relation to them. I go by how **I** am doing. Solely. (I admit that I am a little disappointed when I see a list, and despite a kick ass month, don’t rise in it – but it has to do with ME, and my minimums, not with others, and theirs.)

This is just my way my way. I aim to do the very best job I can, in what ever I am doing at the time. My evaluation is as follows:

  • Did I do the very best I could?
  • Did I improve?
  • If not, why? How can I improve upon it going forward?
  • If so, then what can I do to improve more next month/quarter?

Very simple, really.

HOWEVER

I work in a game studio. People here tend to be even more competitive than the norm. Not a bad thing, if that is how you push yourself. Competition can be a tool for some people. ANYthing that allows one to grow, and gives one the impetus to strive for better, to learn, and grow, and be MORE than they were before is marvelous, IMO.

Competition is not a motivator to me.

Side note:  This may be one of the reasons why I am not a fan of PvP gaming.  I can do it, and have fun – if I have a couple of glasses of wine and queue with a group of friends.  They can tell me where to go and what we want to do there, and I can have fun.  Merely going in by myself, queuing with strangers?  Aiming to do the  most killing blows?  or Honorable kills?  Or what have you?  Not so much.

Queue the neurotic part of me – when confronted, my first instinct is to curl up in a ball, evidenced by the post about SCARY WORLD. Competition to me feels like a confrontation.  An attack: “You aren’t doing as good as X! You are no good! Blather blather blather…”  When attacked, I want to curl up in a defensive ball, and hide.

This would not be conducive to better – rather, it would cause me to NOT want to try. I have worked very hard to minimize this part of me, and part of THAT, is to avoid the triggers that will cause this flight mode.

I bring this up, because at work, my immediate supervisor has implemented a “game”. The top three performers for the week, get to choose “cards” from a specially made deck, to play on the person of their choice. That person has to do as the card says. It is intended to be an impetus to push people to work as hard as they can, in a new, fun, and engaging way. In and of itself, not a bad thing. At all. The rest of the team thinks it is marvelous, and are having a great amount of fun.  Numbers are going up, and it is doing what it was intended to to.  Kudos to my immediate supervisor for that!

When broached to me as an idea, I decided to opt out. This is not something that is motivating to me, I have no problem with others playing, and will cheer on their victories. I don’t want to be involved in any immediate fashion.

Top of the list, or bottom, my actual NUMBERS are no one elses business, excluding my immediate supervisor and team leader. My numbers are well in the acceptable range (and flirt with “exceeds expectations” sometimes), so this is NOT because I would be ashamed. This is because I am NOT driven by the “Must be the top of everything” forces that seem to drive most people in my company. I **HAVE** been the best in other jobs – stepped in and immediately been accused of “making others look bad” and had it suggested that I “slow down, so that I don’t make others look bad in comparison”. I didn’t then, because when I work, or craft, or game, I do the VERY best I can – regardless of how it stacks up to others. I gave my best – I got better, I have won. Simple as that. Provided that I am and continue to perform at at least the expected level, and that (for personal satisfaction as well as possible promotion) I continue to give my utmost, and improve in the process, I have won. I don’t need to “beat” others for this to be an achievement.

This does not seem to satisfy everyone however. As a case in point, I caused a tempest in a teacup.

The cards in the deck are made to be played on anyone on the team. One team member ambushed me as soon as I came back in on Tuesday from my long weekend/holiday. He waved the card, asked if I knew how to speak like a pirate, and then stated that he might play the “talk like a pirate all day” card on me. I let him know that I wasn’t part of the competition. Kept it low key, as a simple statement.

Another side note: I do believe that part of this was the fact that I had missed the Monday announcement and card drawing, and the young man in question wanted to toot his horn a bit. There is nothing wrong with THAT either.  I sincerely congratulate him on achieving this!

An hour later, he tried to hand me the card, stating that I had to do this. I was his “choice” for the card. Again, I let him know – this time more forcefully (read panic stricken), that I was NOT participating. Even if I got in the top three, and could choose a card, I wouldn’t be playing – and I refused to do it. I was not going to participate in any way. He was going to have to choose someone else.

Yet another note.  Should probably start a footnote section:  Did I handle this in the best way possible?  Most probably  not.  Did I handle it in the only way I COULD at the time?  Definitely.  Panic attacks do not often open the door for tact.

Caused a ripple of “what’s going on? What’s the problem?” across the team. I got the feeling that several members felt that I wasn’t “being a good sport”.  Damned right I wasn’t. I felt put on the spot. Attacked.  Made me want to run away, hide, and try to breathe. That same ugly feeling I used to get as a teenager. Urge to scream, or kill pixels, or whatever I needed to do until I stopped revving and could just BREATHE.

Of course I couldn’t, because I still had most of my shift to work. I had tried to handle it tactfully, and it had blown up in my face.  Panic won the day.   Add repercussions (other, physical ones that we won’t go into here) that will carry out for days to come. The rest of the night was miserable, with self recrimination sneaking in to apply its teeth and claws to my already shredded dignity.

Not pleasant, not fun, not funny. Just scared rabbit looking for a bolt hole. And the feeling that I let everyone down, because I couldn’t, and wouldn’t play the role that was being thrust upon me out of the blue, in a “game that I had opted out of.  A real “stick in the mud”.

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