Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Random Thoughts on Missing My Family

My entire family lives in Southern Indiana, while I live in Virginia Beach, Virginia. That puts them all precisely 693 miles from me at all times. It can be rough sometimes, because my family is very close-knit. My mom and dad are still married after nearly 32 years of marriage, I have two sisters who still live at home with my mom and dad, and one sister who is married and lives on her own with her husband. They all live within 20 minutes of each other. We used to stay with my grandmother nearly every weekend, so I am also very close to her. I speak with my mother nearly every other day, and I speak with my grandmother at least twice a week, sometimes more.

In October 2008, Darrell said he wanted to relocate to the Louisville, Kentucky area (which is where my family is).  I had dreamed my entire childhood of getting away from there, and when presented with the opportunity to move back, and I was excited beyond my own imagination. In preparation for the move, I quit my well-paying job as a licensed automobile insurance agent and moved to Indiana to stay with my parents while Darrell stayed in Virginia Beach and began the job search. This move took place at the exact time of the economy crashing, which meant there were no jobs to be had.

It was very difficult being away from my husband for so long, and I was depressed much of the time, but I was with my family every day for the first time in nearly 12 years! I got to spend time with my mom and dad, get to know my sisters Toni and Sunni as adults, and get to know my youngest sister, Baili (pronounced like "Bailey") who was 9 at the time, on a one-on-one basis and face-to-face, rather than over the phone. She and I hit it off famously. We were immediate best friends, and we spent a lot of time together. Darrell doesn't understand the bond we made and have, and he says that sometimes he feels like I treat her as if she were my daughter rather than my sister, and I suppose in some ways I do, because I don't think I'll ever have the privilege of having my own daughter.

I decided to make the move back to Virginia Beach and put moving back to the Louisville area on the back burner until the economic crunch is over in February 2009. This was almost a year ago, yet I miss them all as if I just left them yesterday.

My sister Baili and I have been writing letters back and forth at her request. It's quaint, and it's sweet, and I love it. She feels like it's more personal than writing emails or sending text messages. I don't disagree in the slightest. It's actually fun writing letters by pen rather than by Microsoft Word!

I got my second letter from Baili today, and she mentioned in her letter that every time she thinks about all the fun we had she wants to cry because she misses me so much. I feel the same way. I wish I lived closer so we could spend more time together, and hopefully someday soon I will be able to make that jump, but for now, I'm in Virginia Beach and I'm homesick.


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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Random Thoughts on The Sookie Stackhouse Novels

I've been a fan of HBO's True Blood since it debuted in September 2008. I enjoyed the first season immensely and when it was over, I waited anxiously for the second season. It came and I was equally impressed with the new iteration. It was during the second season that I learned that the whole television series was based off of a series of books. I thought it was interesting and let it be. A few months ago I got an Amazon Kindle for Darrell and since he was in school, I started using it to read during downtime at work. I chose to read the first book in the Sookie Stackhouse Novels, or The Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlaine Harris, which was the basis for the first season of True Blood.

I was immediately enthralled and even addicted. Several people have asked me if the books are better than the TV series, or vice-versa, and I have to say that they are different. The show is very close to the book in most aspects, however, the books are all written from Sookie's point of view. While she is a telepath, she is not omniscient. What I mean by this is that the show goes into details of the lives of some of the other characters that the book does not go into. The characters are all the same people (for the most part), but you don't know what Sookie doesn't know. There are also some differences in how some of the stories are played out. Are they better or worse, no, they are merely different.

I believe that the show has helped me to envision the characters a little more roundly, if you will. What I mean by this is that I know exactly what Sookie looks like and what her accent sounds like, her mannerisms, and so forth.This is also true for Bill, Arlene, Jason, Lafayette, and most of the other characters. There are a few glaring differences, like the relationship Sookie and Tara have in the show is not the same as it is in the book, also Tara is white in the book. Another major difference is the way Sookie describes Sam over and over in the book, he is different in the show, but I just kind of overlook these differences and take them as kind of a "side story." It can be distracting, but overall, I think that the books benefit the show and the show benefit the books.

In total, there are (or will be) twelve Sookie Stackhouse books, and I'm currently reading the sixth one. These books are so well written that I feel like I know Sookie Stackhouse, and I feel like I've been to Bon Temps, Louisiana (which I just found out last week is a fictional place), and had drinks at Merlotte's with Jason and Hoyt, and even been to the "Fang Banger" bar in Shreveport, Fangtasia and gawked at Eric in all his splendor while Pam looked down on me for being a human.

I often say (jokingly) to Darrell, "you won't believe what trouble Sookie's been in lately!" I say this, because, that poor girl is ALWAYS getting into trouble. Now I'm leaving out details on purpose. I want you to go read the books, and watch the show. Don't be disappointed when the plots are slightly different, the stories are all excellent, and the character development is superb. I also have to warn you that there are some steamy scenes in there, too, so if you're faint of heart, or kind of weird about that, you might want to steer clear.

I also have this to say: HBO is filming the third season of True Blood, and it is supposedly falling inline with the books as far as some of the characters are concerned, so if they keep on the direction I hope they are, we're in for one hell of a ride with Sookie and the gang from Bon Temps!

Thoughts of Changing This Site

The original intent of this site was to be a 365Project where I take pictures every day and upload them to the site. Right from the start I started incorporating blog-like items with the pictures, which I think was a mistake on my part. I actually found that I enjoyed writing the blogs, but doing it daily along with a picture feels like a chore rather than something I should like doing. I got a comment from a good friend of mine that brought to my attention that other people might feel the same way. Here is her comment:

Disclaimer: this is constructive criticism; not an attack in anyway. I believe that your blog is a little lacking in substance. I read many of my friends’ and acquaintances’ blogs, and I rather enjoy them. The reason for this being that their blogs contain book, movie and music reviews, opinionated political essays and so on and so forth. Entries that recall things like daily activities are better served on a platform like LiveJournal.com. These entries, or at least this one in particular, seem to me like emphatic and loquacious Facebook status updates. Being the self-proclaimed tech nerd that you are, I’m surprised that you’re not writing compare/contrast essays on new pieces of portable technology or commenting on the usage of computerized special effects in say the newly released Avatar movie.

Just thoughts of mine. I applaud your effort to write – I just think it might behoove you to give us more to read so that we may want to return to see what more you have to say.

This is my response to her comment:
Stef,
Thank you for your candor. Quite honestly, I was thinking about this just yesterday. The hard part for me is that the goal of this site was intended to be a daily journal, particularly a 365Project where I take pictures everyday to visually document my daily activities, but I am finding that it is difficult to write something of substance every day to go along with these pictures, rather than a standard blog. I see where you're coming from with the suggestion of using Live Journal, but this site is a hosted site, rather than a site like Live Journal where it is on their servers. I wanted the flexibility to do what I want with the site rather than having to go with the restraints put on me by using WordPress.com, Live Journal, Blogger, etc.

Keeping that in mind, as I stated before, I am having a tremendously difficult time finding things to write about every day, so I think I may change the scope of the site and make it more of a blog. I believe if I changed the direction of the site, it would attract more readers, and could be a destination, rather than just someplace you go when you see the update link posted.

So yes, the site will be changing. I will take the direction of more of a blog and I will be writing about things that I find interesting, not just tech, but about the books I'm reading, movies/TV shows I've watched and enjoyed/hated, and many other things.

Stay tuned to see how things pan out!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

January 10, 2009

Today we slept until almost noon, but it's still my birthday weekend, so it's all good. We got up and Darrell made me an awesome breakfast with this egg dish he made with turkey, cheese, and I don't know what else was in it, he made these awesome fruit and yogurt parfaits, and I was STUFFED. Afterward we went to the mall to get our hair cut and then we went to Sam's Club to get some random stuff. The pic-of-the-day today is me taking a break and lounging for a minute at Sam's.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Random Thoughts About Me

Since you're reading this blog, you're probably a friend of mine, I went to school with you, we work together, or I know you from online. If not, that's cool too, but I figured I'd go ahead and give you 10 random things about me that you probably didn't know.


1. I sang competitively in high school (as a soloist, in a duet, in choir(s), and in show choir)
2. I taught myself BASIC (a programming language) when I was 14, even though I SUCK at math
3. I love to cook and to eat (obviously), but I hate the whole cleaning up thing, so I eat out a lot
4. I can crochet
5. I grew up in government housing (the projects) from the time I was 6 until I was 14
6. I've milked a cow
7. I've gotten lost walking alone at night in downtown Chicago
8. I've been in a commercial
9. My favorite home-cooked dish is spaghetti
10. I have absolutely NO sense of direction, which is why I have GPS with me everywhere



Today's picture is of the scarf I'm crocheting for Darrell. I started it yesterday!


And here's the commercial (it originally aired in March of 2006 in the Virginia Beach area). You can laugh, but I was on TV.

Friday, January 8, 2010

January 8, 2010

Today's picture is of me in my CPAP mask. It helps me not snore at night and breathe properly. I'm one sexy beast with it on, don't ya think?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Random Thoughts on My Birthday

As if you, my faithful readers, didn't know, today I turned 31. I am now officially in my 30s. Somehow, I still feel 13, so I guess it's not so bad. Today was an awesome day because I got to spend all day with Darrell. This is the first birthday I have had in as long as I can remember that we've been able to spend together all day because either I've had to work or he's had to work, but since he's been laid off, his calendar was free. We started the day off right by sleeping until 10:30, then we got up and he took me to lunch at Cracker Barrel (one of my favorite restaurants). We had an appointment at 2:00 to go see an apartment we're thinking about moving into in May. It was, in a word, awesome. I loved it. After that we went to see the new Meryl Streep movie, "It's Complicated." I laughed so hard I thought I was going to pee. Then we did some light shopping, bought a plant and then we went out to dinner at Burton's Grill. This is my absolute favorite restaurant because it's upscale, casual dining and the food is superb. Tonight, however, the food took nearly 45 minutes to make it to the table. For this, I got to have my birthday dinner complements of the management at Burton's Grill. Afterward we made the obligatory trip to Target where I got my very first pair of Converse All-Stars. Today was a no-nonsense, no-fuss birthday. No parties, no cake, no opening of presents. It was very nice to have a relaxing day that I could say was mine and I spent it how I wanted. Now the day is over, and it's been a very happy birthday, indeed.

I also wanted to thank those of you that wished me a happy birthday. I truly appreciate your thoughts.

Today's picture is the sun setting on my 31st birthday. I hope you enjoyed my day as much as I did!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

My Birthday is Tomorrow!

My 31st birthday is tomorrow (if you hadn't gathered that information already from the title of this post). I'm not quite sure how I feel about this. I almost as difficult as turning 30 was for me because now I'm no longer 30, I'm in my 30's. Yikes. What's even more odd for me is that my mother is only 45. She had me when she was 15, but that's a story for a completely different post. I have friends that are my mother's age. It never bothered me because my my mother and I are so close, but when I actually stop to think about it, it seems like I'm creeping up on her in age, and she's more like a peer now than my "elder," as it were.

Anyway, my birthday is tomorrow. I was born at 5:27AM on Sunday, 7 January 1979, to be precise.

Below is the last picture of me while I'm a 30-year-old. Tomorrow I'll be 30-something...



In this photo my eyes look odd, I've got some sort of weird crooked smile, but eh... I've still got my youth... for now anyway.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Random Thankfulness

I know we celebrated Thanksgiving here in the US in November, but I walked into my apartment this evening, and was hit with a rush of thankfulness. My partner, Darrell, and I have built quite a nice life for ourselves, and even though he is currently out of work, we still have a lot of very nice things, and we have each other and our kittens (they're over 3 years old, but they'll always be my kittens). I look around our small-ish apartment and I'm amazed at how beautiful it is. Granted, Darrell is home during the day now and he is keeping it virtually spotless, but that aside, I'm very happy with our life we've built.

In the sprit of being thankful for our beautiful things, I wanted to share a picture of the painting (yes, it's a painting, NOT a print) over our couch.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Random Thoughts of a New Blogger

Alright. I've been doing this for a couple of days, and it's been a learning curve, getting everything sat up the way I wanted it. I'm on the way to getting everything looking the way I want, and getting the plugins and widgets to work properly in WordPress, but I'm by no means an expert. I'd barely say I'm a novice at this whole blogging thing, but I want to keep doing it, more so for my own self satisfaction, but I have to admit, having some sort of legacy on the Internet appeals to me. So far, the hardest thing has been for me to be able to get the posts on time to the site! I work until late during the week, and so far, my MotoCLIQ (running Android) doesn't have an official WordPress app.

But I digress... Today I got my very first comment. I was excited to see my inbox give me validation to say that SOMEONE is reading this pitiful excuse for a blog, and what was it? Someone being rude. I think (I'm pretty sure anyway) I know who it is, but it was disheartening nonetheless. I guess I have to realize everyone isn't going to like what I have to say, and to a lot of people, the pictures that I'm posting might just be junk, but this is my attempt at journaling my life. I'm sure the blog will get more interesting as my writing style takes hold, and if people actually read it and view my pictures then they will be getting to know me better, and I might inspire someone else to get out there and start their own blog and pay it forward.

I guess that's enough of a "rant" for tonight!

Namasté

Pic-a-day for 1/4/2010

I wanted to share a picture of one of my cats, Fiyero (pronounced "fee-air-oh") lying in the new bed we got him.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Pic-a-day Jan 3, 2010

Sorry for posting this so late in the day, but I was playing Super Mario Bros Wii and then realized my laptop wasn't working properly, so I had to reinstall Windows 7. Next thing I know it's 10:30, and I haven't uploaded my pic of the day!

Today I thought I'd share a picture of the majority of my shot glass collection. Nestled in with the shot glasses is Buddha with a red string around him to ward off evil eye. When I think about it, these items together seem counterproductive. I may have to relocate the shot glass collection.... hmm...

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Random Thoughts of a Tech Support Rep

First real blog post of my new blog. I originally had a nice, long post about some of the things that irritate me about my job, but I took it down for fear that since I live my life so publicly it could be taken in a negative way, and I love my job and don't want to jeopardize it in any way.

Keeping that in mind, I have also been given very specific rules I have to adhere to since I live my life so publicly. One of those is that I cannot mention the company's name for whom I work. Just know that I work in technical support for digital cameras and camcorders ranging from pocket-sized point-and-shoot cameras to the big professional camcorders that your local news reporters lug around.

Now that we have that bit out of the way, I wanted to share a picture of my workstation. I have blurred out any of the elements that make it identifiable outside of the company I work (I almost put the company name in there, anonymity is going to be harder than I thought).

This is my workstation. There are many like it, but this one is mine.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

Hello everyone! This will be the first post of hopefully MANY more to come! I plan on uploading a picture every day to this site and doing blog posts periodically. Check back often to see what's going on in my life!

Picture for January 1, 2010

image

Big empty spot where the Christmas Tree was. :(

Gadget

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