Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Daily Life

Today, when I woke up, I couldn't believe that it was 6:20 am. It was still pitch black dark outside (I know it's winter) and Top Gear was still playing on Netflix. I must have advanced it in my sleep. I remember continuing once. Also, after going to bed at 9, Amy decided it would be awesome to start crying and freaking out at 11. I was just barely asleep. Gah.

I went to bed irritated about something, but it kept escaping me as to why. Finally, I remembered: one of my student loans had sent back my payment. Again. I've been struggling with figuring out why this company keeps sending back my payments, and why they keep saying I am behind, despite my paying more than the amount due before the due date.

It turns out, my account number on my online bill pay was off by one number. My bad. I thought I had checked it, but I must've missed the error when I did. This time I caught it.

I had called the company, ready to be angry and argumentative with them. But for once, I kept my temper and the conversation turned out fine! I was (and still am) very surprised at myself. Usually, I get myself ready for a fight and stay in that mindset for a long time. But this time, I knew that something wasn't quite right, and despite my best efforts, the problem could be me. It was.

So, the number I was sending the money to doesn't correspond with another account, thankfully. The bank has been sending back my payments 2 months late after trying to send it to the loan company. On one hand, it's good, because my money is coming back to me, and the loan company is willing to waive the late fees if I fax them the statements saying that the bank returned the payments. On the other hand, it's still a little bit of a clusterfuck and there is some residual annoyance over the situation.

In other news, I went to the gym today. I found the bike that worked. Turns out something weird happens with the type of bike I like to use... If you choose a preset course that requires bpm, you're screwed. None of the machines have bpm sensors that work. I figured that much out today. I had to keep resetting the bike for a few reasons. One reason was that I was trying to see what worked and what didn't on that particular bike. The resistance kind of worked, but I could only turn it up, not down. Also, almost all of the preset courses require bpm monitoring, except the cross-country course (which  goes from resistance level 1 to 4 to 7 in 5 minutes... ouch) and the resistance course. I didn't try the second one though. It started on level 6. No.

The second reason I had to keep restarting was because my left thigh was hurting like a motherfucker. I guess because my legs hurt so bad after being on my feet all evening (from 2-6:15) (okay in hindsight that doesn't seem like long... BUT I'm a weakling and I'm not used to it), the pain never really went away there. I actually had a hard time falling asleep (and staying asleep) because my legs and feet were hurting so badly. It was almost as bad as last semester, when on the first day, I was on my feet from 2-7:45 after 3 months of exerting little or no energy on anything. That week, I was in so much pain I felt like vomiting at the end of the day.

I'm proud of myself, though. I managed to bike 3 miles on resistance level 6 for like 20 miles. No pictures this time, because of the constant restarting. I really need to start stretching better. Wellllll I need to start being in shape but I have to start somewhere.

It's been really hard for me to keep myself busy. I know I need to get used to getting up so early, so I set my alarm for the same time every day, despite not needing to be on campus until 1 on MWF. So I don't have anything to do until then on those days. And when I get home on TR, I also don't have anything to do.

Everything needs to change in my routine, apparently. I know there are things around the house that should get done, and I also could be using that time to work out or do yoga or something. But I am so used to doing nothing. Napping. Reading. Watching Netflix. Damn I am a lazy ass.

I think I will start to unfuck my habitat. Maybe knit more. Definitely clean more. I even loaded the dishwasher and *gasp* started it today! That's 2 loads in like 3 days. That's amazing for me. What's even more amazing (and telling of how lazy I am) is that we had that many dirty dishes.

Monday, January 28, 2013


I have no idea what to do with myself in the mornings. Or the afternoon. Or really the evening. I'm trying to wake up between 6-8 am every morning so I can get used to having to be up at 6 on TR. I keep looking at the clock thinking it's going to be much later than it actually is.

I made an egg and some tea. That took no time. I cleaned up the couch. 2 minutes. I scrolled through tumblr and listened to music. I thought I'd been at it at least half an hour. Try closer to 15.

I know lots of people would love to have nothing to do, but I don't thrive under these conditions. I NEED something to do. But my brain stops me from doing much of anything:

I could do laundry. But then I would probably forget about it or run out of time and it would sit in the washing machine for forever and get disgusting.

There aren't enough dishes to fill the dishwasher. I could do it by hand, but then I probably wouldn't have enough hot water for a shower.

I could shower but then I'd just be bored with wet hair for a while.

There is any number of things I COULD do, but most involve me paying enough attention to the task to where I'm not paying attention to the time. Yes, I could set an alarm but that stresses me out. All I am doing then is waiting for the alarm. Running down the clock. This is stressing me out thinking about it all. Shit.

Thursday, January 24, 2013


Today, I was defeated by the gym. And myself I guess.

Since learning my spring schedule, I started to plan working out in the gym on campus. Tuesdays and Thursdays, I only have an 8 am class, so this week I have worked out after those classes. Tuesday went great, for a first day. I biked for more than 30 minutes and walked on the treadmill for a little while too.

I should mention that I worked out with the Wii fit yesterday.

Today though, I didn't fare so well. I realised that the bike machine I was using on Tuesday (and today) was broken-- the resistance didn't budge when it was supposed to (on the pre-set program I selected). Also, the resistance button didn't work. So I biked for a very sad 7 minutes on resistance level 1:
Then I moved on to another bike. Most of them are run by the electricity generated by the act of pedaling. The second bike must have had a short, because the screen kept blinking on and off (it was a different bike than the one pictured above). The next bike's seat was set so high I couldn't reach the pedals. The adjustment knob was broken. I gave up on bikes and went to an elliptical-the only one left without an "Out of order" sign on it. It too was out of order because nothing I did would turn the screen on. Then I went to a treadmill. The first one didn't work. I even tried to move the belt with my feet, but no.

I finally found a machine that worked, but it was so annoyed by then that I just stopped caring about working out. So, I walked at 3.5 mph for 7 minutes and 3 minutes at 3 mph.

Not a whole lot of calories were burned.

I keep hearing that no one is paying attention to anyone else really at the gym. But I can't help but think that I looked dumb going from machine to machine, looking hopeful, but then walking off in exasperation.

I'm trying to not let today discourage me. I walk around all the time, and often in a hurry. My job requires that I stand for more than an hour at a time, and move around a lot to keep students engaged. The act of holding up and moving around a body with my proportions and weight and everything is no small feat. I have crazy strong calves. It's kind of embarrassing, because I can't really wear high boots. And I like high boots. But at any rate, just being me and putting forth some effort in keeping mobile and active rather than just sitting on the couch or lying down and watching Top Gear is something to be proud of.

I came home and had a big salad for lunch and I'm drinking unsweetened green tea. I know things need to change. I don't have all the answers and I know I will screw up at some point. I can't let this crap get me down and allow myself to give up.

I did have a look around the gym myself and spotted a bike that worked. Hopefully I'll manage to snag it in the future.

I am amazingly exhausted so I doubt this is very coherent.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


If it weren't for the internet, a lot of things would be different. On the social side of things, I would have about 5 friends. (Whether or not I purposely distanced myself from IRL friends is another post)

So often, I hear things like "Online friends don't count" and "You can't really know a person unless you know them in person." On the other hand, I also hear a lot of what I said in my first couple of lines: "Online friends are real friends," "I love my online friends," and "the people I know on the internet are awesome."

The first set of statements is over-generalizing and too all-inclusive. The second set is generous. But, then, I suppose it all depends on your definition of "friend."

Oh, cyberbullying. It's so easy. You just sit down, decide you're right about everything, and type away. Like pretty much everyone on the internet, I have been on both ends of bullying on the internet. Recently, I've been trying to keep more to myself because of an incident that happened last summer on a crafting website's forum. I shared too much and someone decided to shame me for it. Endlessly.

Well friends, I stepped in it again. I asked for advice on the same forum-- in the same place as last time-- and got burned. This time, I asked for help in writing up an assignment for my lit class on fan fiction. The assignment is for the student to write a short piece of fan fiction while including some of the tenants of fiction we cover in the textbook. I thought it was a cute and fun activity-- it gets the student away from writing a boring old term paper that they probably won't enjoy.

I have done this before. I did it last year and had an expert come into the class and speak to them about writing fan fiction. This year, since I have such an early class, I didn't ask the expert to return because I didn't want to inconvenience her. So, I asked the internet.

Big mistake.

Most of the responses were warning me about copyright issues, which I hadn't thought of. That was helpful.

A few were very supportive and offered to help me form a good, solid overview of the beginnings of the subject.

But most were scathing: "Why would you teach something you obviously know nothing about?" "I can't figure out why you would pursue this subject as an assignment." "This is really not thought-through at all. You should consider changing your syllabus."

I'm paraphrasing, and I know that people from the website will read this and want to compare to the original post. For the record, the last one was from a private message sent through that website.

Maybe I'm crying "Wolf!" here. Much, much, MUCH worse happens every day. And I can't go all "YOU DON'T KNOW ME!" because I just can't. This is a forum that has 12,000 members. I should have known better. I shouldn't have asked for advice. I knew what was going to happen. Sort of.

When I started the thread, I really really thought that I would get some good input on how to write fan fiction  and how to convey it to my students. I didn't expect a parade. I didn't think people were going to come out of the woodwork to tell me that I was the most insightful and entrepreneurial teacher ever. I honestly thought I would get advice.

This has, of course, bummed me out. I feel defeated and deflated. I feel like never going back to that forum again.

I can't ask: "Why are people so much different on the internet than they are in person?" because I know the answer. No one is held accountable for being mean. The mods on the board I am talking about are amazing. They really are. They have so much more to deal with than my petty squabbles over a lesson plan and a handful of people sharing their opinions in a blunt and destructive way. But I asked them to shut the thread down, which they did in a timely manner. For that, I thank(ed) them. I didn't want to deal with it anymore. 

More than 70% of my Facebook friends list is made up of people I know strictly from this group. But I don't have all 12k of them as friends. Does that make those that are my "friends" any less valuable? I want to think no, but every time I get a little hurt, I withdraw a little more. I'm a pussy. I've said this countless times. When it comes to being social and nice and buddy buddy, most of the time I just can't do it.

So, am I a coward? Am I a social deviant? Do I suck at being a friend? I do consider my online friends to be just as real as my 5 "real life" friends.But at some point, I'm going to disagree with them.

But I come back with the belief that everyone I love is gonna leave me.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

It's too much

I have too much coming at me right now. It's a constant stream of endless opinions and thoughts and feelings and information and anger and just everything all at once. I can't handle this anymore.

A fight on my Facebook about gun control. Who's wrong and who's right? I'm fucking right because in my brain, that's how I feel. Who the fuck are you to come into my space and tell me I am wrong?

A fight on LSG about flu vaccinations. I am ROASTED and made to feel like shit because I don't get them. Everyone else's reasons for getting the vaccine is right, I am completely wrong, no questions asked.  The mods don't even give a fuck.

I can't go anywhere anymore. All I do is complain when I do land somewhere. I hate myself, the furnace is broken and we don't have the money to fix it, a winter storm is moving in, I hate myself, guns guns guns guns, rights, fuck. I am tired of fighting.

Earlier today, Kevin Smith posted that part of Hollywood was shut down because of an attempted suicide. He tweeted a picture of the person on the roof of a tall building, with a big inflatable mattress ting on the ground below. My first thought was: Why can't they just let them be? Why can't someone just be left alone?

I'm not saying that people don't deserve a special kind of attention when they are in that state. I'm not getting into that. What I am getting into is that once someone has made the decision, why can't people just let them be? The decision has been made. If you have never been in that place, never felt that helpless, then I can't help you to understand. But how someone feels afterward, how they feel when suddenly all of the attention is on them, the guilt they feel for making people worry, for hurting people, the shame they have afterward, the hurt and the pain and the absolute hopelessness coming back from an attempt... Sometimes I think it would just be better if they were left alone.

There is a forest in Japan where people go to kill themselves. People walk in with a rope leading out of the forest so they can either find their way back out if they don't, or so their bodies can be found if they do. Apparently there is a caretaker of the forest that has become a sort of guide for the lost souls. He talks to them, and tries to talk them out of it, but doesn't always succeed.

This isn't going to be noticed by anyone. I'm not going to post it on facebook. I need help. Why can'y I get help?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

I probably shouldn't be a mom, part 2

I was thinking about baby clothes. Sure, they're cute. Endless onesies that say clever things that kids don't understand (because they are babies) seem awesome, but let's do some math:

A 5- pack of plain onesies from Gerber is $10.99. Let's say you go through 3 a day (what the fuck do I know about kids?) and you do laundry once a week. That's $44 for a week's worth of clothes. But that little fucker is going to grow.

Let's say 4 packs of newborn clothing ($44), 4 of 0-3 months ($44), 4 of 3-6 months ($44), and 4 for 6-9 months ($44). That's $176 in the first year alone (not including 9-12 months), and that's if you go with bog-standard plain onesies. But people don't. They spend endless money on clothes that the child will wear once or twice. Then they freak out when the kid gets it dirty.

Kids are fuckin' filthy. 

In a previous post, I talked about how I wouldn't buy my kid many toys because they won't end up playing with most of them. And I'm still not kidding. The same goes for clothes, too.

Gender roles aside, buying a little girl a dress that can cost upwards of $70 is completely insane to me. If my little girl wants to look like a princess, that's fine. Let her run around in a tutu or some wings or something. Later on in life, if she "needs" a pair of jeans or shoes that will make her more awesome in her social group, meh. I can't rule out anything except that I cannot make peace with paying money for tons of clothes that the kid is almost immediately going to grow out of.

Sarah commented on the previously mentioned post, saying that her kids will never be cold or hungry, nor will they be bored, because only boring people get bored. Kids are far from boring. They are always wanting to do something fun, something cool, something completely new to them. As adults, we can take for granted the things the kids are seeing for the first time because it's not new to us.

My SIL was talking about her daughter, my niece, D. Apparently D is really interested in bugs and outdoorsy things. From what little time I have been able to spend with her, it seems that she is not interested in being a princess, or crazy clothes, or playing dress-up. I am not saying these things are bad for children. I am only stating that they are learned behaviors. If we tell our kids that material things are the most important things in life, they will continue to think that forever.

Back to clothes, who really looks at a kid's clothing anyway? Yeah, if they are dirty or unkempt, someone is going to notice. Teachers have a keen eye too. If a student shows up in the same shirt (it's easier to tell with shirts for various obvious reasons) constantly, one might be inclined to think that the child's home situation is not ideal, OR, crazily enough, the kid might really like that shirt. We might think, "That kid might not have much to choose from at home" but that's usually our own predetermined assumptions taking hold.

Really though, when it comes down to it, who is to say that lack of a huge wardrobe for a kid is a bad thing? Let's assume the clothes are clean, they fit the child, and they are appropriate to the season and climate. Social protocol dictates that you can and cannot do certain things when it comes to fashion.

We wear pink on Wednesdays.

Recently, actress Jada Pinkett Smith was criticized for allowing her daughter complete reign over her style choices: everything from her hair, to her clothing. The kid is 12. Does she know what's best for her? No. But Pinkett Smith hits on a very valuable lesson:  

"The question why I would let Willow cut her hair. First the 'let' must be challenged. This is a world where women, girls are constantly reminded that they don't belong to themselves; that their bodies are not their own, nor their power or self determination. I made a promise to endow my little girl with the power to always know that her body, spirit and her mind are her domain."

The idea of a parent controlling a child's actions are understandable. But at some point, you have to let go. "Allowing" a child to do something is one thing. I will allow my kid to get their ears pierced if they want. I will allow them to borrow the car. But at some point, parents start to make decisions for kids. This could go into a whole big thing about body image and good parenting and all that jazz.

I'm not going to go into that. No, I don't know you or your special circumstance. But I do know that any parent worth their salt is willing to go to the end of the Earth to make their child happy and healthy. However, I plan on taking a step back from what exactly is best for my future child. If that means depriving the kid from a unique outfit for every day of the week, so be it. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

I'll probably never understand addiction.

I used to smoke, but I was the worst kind of smoker: I'd have a pack on me at all times, but forget it was there until someone would ask to "borrow" one from me. Over the span of 3 years, I probably gave away 90% of my cigarettes. I didn't smoke at home-- I never felt the need. The only reason I "started" was because that was the only way I could get breaks at work. I tried just going out back and standing with the smokers for 5 minutes or so, but I would inevitably get caught and yelled at. It's so backwards. My bosses were fine with people taking 15 minutes to slowly kill themselves then go back into the restaurant, reeking or stale smoke and coughing like they had TB, but I couldn't take a small break just to rest. It's a very unjust system.

 I do like Cloves, though. I've had the same pack of Cloves in my purse
for almost two years.

I've never done any drugs. I've gotten a tiny contact high off someone smoking pot at the Art Alexakis solo show. I once took too many Tylenol cold & flu for my body size when I was in 9th grade. That's about it.

My mother is always afraid that I will become an alcoholic. I guess it's never too late to be looking out for that sort of thing, but I think I am past my drinking prime. Andy and I were talking about it the other day, and he doesn't remember ever having seen me drink myself into oblivion. One Halloween, I made Jungle Juice with 180 octane Everclear and drank most of it myself, along with some keg beer and 6 Stella Artios'. I just puked and laughed a lot. Alcohol has never really appealed to me. I just get a little warm after one or two beers and then I have to pee.

I've bought a few lottery tickets in my time. The day after my 18th birthday, I went to a casino and lost $40 to nickel slots. I never make bets.

I like carbs. I love noodles. But if someone told me I could never have noodles again, I would probably be fine. I can go weeks and months without coffee or tea. I don't drink pop. Caffeine isn't something I need.

I like water an awful lot, though.

Andy and I have said to one another countless times that we are really lucky that neither of us have any addictions that are costly or noticeable. Both of us have cravings, as all humans do, but it's not like we live on a rush of adrenaline or a high of any means. Maybe we're boring.

What brought this on was seeing a former co-worker at the pharmacy today. Let's call him Richard. Richard is a disgusting person. I can't even begin to tell you... ugh. I worked with him for 2 years and I don't think he once showered that entire time. What's more, he has like 5 kids and I'm pretty sure he's married. Anyway, we were checking out at the pharmacy at the same time today. He had two prescriptions adding up to $14. He said he couldn't afford both. In hindsight, I might have offered to pay for them, as he sounded quite ill. At any rate, he said he could pay for one-- the $4 one.

I felt pretty bad for Richard. People not being able to afford their basic needs like medication is one of the worst things I can imagine. I've been there. But I've never been an addict.

He declined paying at the counter for the prescription. I thought nothing of it. But I was driving out of the parking lot, and I saw him: prescription in one hand, a cube of Pepsi in the other hand.

Why? WHY? I just don't understand. If you need medicine, and can't afford it, why can't you put off buying 24 cans of battery acid that you're going to deposit straight into your stomach? I stopped feeling bad for him just then. Now I'm starting up again though. I suppose in the same way that people can't understand my mental state most of the time, I will never understand the idea of addiction.