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Things Only Letter Writers Will Understand

I've been a letter writer for as long as I can remember.  There is just something exciting about getting something in the mail that isn't junk or a bill.  In these days of email, texting, instant messaging, and social media, it's nice to get something in the mail that actually takes a while to read and respond to.  What could be more relaxing than sitting down and reading about another person that you know, but have never met in person?  You find out about different cultures, places, foods, people...not to mention the "tuck ins" that you can put in your envelopes and also get in return!  Tea, stickers, pictures...the list is endless!

I'm not saying social media and technology are bad, mind you.  It's through the world of Facebook and the internet that I found one of my absolute, favorite, amazing groups of people around:  The League of Extraordinary Penpals!  Yes, it's a paid letter writing group, but it opens you up to quite a bit of fun stuff.  For just $5/month, you can participate in mail swaps (currently it's a recycled mail art challenge), find out where to get all kinds of stationery, labels, stickers, whatever!  It's not for everyone, but it's a really fun group of people.  I've found I have a lot in common with these wonderful people. :)  I actually wrote a little review about the group that's listed here.

Anyway, so I can get out and do something productive, I'm going to post a list that I wrote this morning and it's already going everywhere in the various penpal groups on Facebook.  hehe.  I'll write more (possibly) about the joys of letter writing when I have a chance.

Does the list not make sense to you?  Then what are you waiting for?  Get out there and write some letters! ;)

The List!Collapse )

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Apocalypse/Survival Diary

I actually wrote a story.

Well, I suppose you can call it a story.  One of the LEP "swallenges" (swap challenge) for August was to write a seven entry diary of a post-apocalyptic world.  I couldn't resist doing that one, even though it meant that my ever-growing pile of letters would have to wait.  (Oops).  I'm actually sending it out a bit late (yeah, there was a time limit of a week or two) but I'm not feeling quite so bad because my partner is late as well.  lol.  Instead of using regular notebook paper or whatever, I went out and bought a tiny little spiral bound 40 page memo book.  It just seemed fitting.  (I used 36 of the 40 pages because I had used one for my notes and three for a false start).

I wasn't going to type it up after I was done with it, but I couldn't send it off without documenting it somehow electronically.  Total word count is 4146, without a title.  So, here it is - my as-yet-untitled apocalypse diary.  It's not my best work, but you can only fit so much into seven entries.  You'll have to forgive the holes in the story and the little slips.  (This one bugs me and I might go back and fix it if I ever re-write the story or flesh it out:  my character calls her mom "Mother" for the most part, but there was once or twice where I put "Mom" because that's what I called my mother.  Dang it for being distracted while writing!)  Oh, and the date?  Again, I was distracted when I wrote that part.  ;)  The math doesn't work, but just ignore that as best as you can!

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Nerd Fitness!

I'm a nerd and I'm proud!  There, I said it.  Not that anybody that knows me doesn't already know that. ;)

Anyhow, being a nerd is one thing, but being a lazy nerd is something else altogether.  I'm one of those nerds.  In my defense, I work two jobs that keep me hopping when I'm at work.  I'm either in the car, walking around the store, cleaning my mom's place, or walking around with a 10-12 pound balloon belt on my waist.  BUT, I also like to spend way too much time online.

I belong to a group online called the League of Extraordinary Penpals, which is a wonderful group of people (not just women) that love to not only write letters, but do other things as well.  There are several different "mini-clubs" within the LEP that are great fun.  What does that have to do with Nerd Fitness?  One of the groups is called "Clean and Simple Motivation" and that is just a group of us that shares ideas on how to get fit and stay healthy.  That's where Nerd Fitness comes in.

One of the girls posted a link to the Nerd Fitness Rebellion and the latest 6 week challenge that started on July 29th.  I read up on it, thinking that it was another "get fit by buying my stuff" schemes, but to my surprise, it wasn't!  True to the name, this is all about getting fit and basically, not being worried about what others think.  We're nerds.  We're weird.  You know what?  That's perfectly okay.  I'm not going to go into too much detail because I haven't had any caffeine yet today and this post is already sounding pretty choppy, disconnected, and derpy, but I just wanted to get this out there so that:

  1. You'll be able to see how easy it is to get in a workout when you don't have time to go to a gym (or like me, can't afford it)

  2. To hopefully give people the motivation and confidence they need to get out of the computer chair and exercise!

  3. To keep myself in check.  The boards have a great support system, but posting it here will also keep me honest.

Steve Kamb (the guy who started Nerd Fitness) has a bunch of great videos to get you started if you don't know where to go at first.  The blog posts are also fairly informative, with links to the videos on how to do a particular exercise properly.  One of the things I want to try is the Playground Workout since I've been taking Rachel to the park.  I didn't even know this existed until one of the girls responded to my intro and showed it to me (there's that support group again!)  The 20-Minute Hotel Room Workout looks fairly simple, too.

Once you ignore the typos (yeah, I noticed those right off - hehe), it's a pretty good site.  The guy knows what he's talking about and isn't afraid to say, "I'm human, I screw up like everyone else."  The only thing I don't care for is that unless you stumble upon it, you may not be able to find things easily.  He does have a "Rebel Fitness Guide" that you can buy, but I wouldn't do that unless I had the money to burn.  I think for now, the .pdfs that he's got and the videos and blog posts are enough.

I'm starting this challenge at 159 (darn it) and my first goal is ten pounds.  After that, I'll adjust the goal again.  We'll see where I am at the end of the six weeks.  I'm back to counting calories again, (ugh) but I'm not too worried about them this time.  I'm more focused on actually getting exercise and getting off my butt. ;)  I'll try to post regularly (ish) on my progress.  So far, I've gotten my lawn mowed (with my push mower) and gone on a four mile bike ride with Rachel.  Next time I mow my lawn, I'm going to stretch first. hehe.  My arms were sore yesterday!

Until next time!

Al Capone - another history paper

This one shouldn't have been hard, but for some reason, it was.  It was a total pain in the hiney!  The teacher liked it, at least.  She said it was "very realistic" even though personally I didn't care for what I wrote.  lol.  I could have done better with the advertisement I wrote, too.  Sigh.  Anyhow, here it is.

The Life and Death of Al Capone - A Radio Broadcast

Speakers: Newscaster 1 – George Teetotaler, Newscaster 2 – Heidi Flapper, Hallmark Singers 1, 2, and 3

(Newscast theme jingle plays)

NEWSCASTER 1, George:

Good evening. This is George Teetotaler from KRUP bringing you a special report. It has been brought to the attention of this station that the notorious gangster Al Capone, also known as "Scarface" has died at his home in Palm Island, Florida. The cause of death is said to be cardiac arrest.

As many of our listeners may be aware, Al Capone had been a well-known party in the era of Prohibition. His speakeasies and his crime connections were practically a household name. What does this mean for the general public? Heidi, do you have any ideas? What are your views on this "Robin Hood" of Chicago?

NEWSCASTER 2, Heidi:

Well, George, I would have to say that Al Capone is definitely not someone whom I would choose to be made into a hero. It may just be my opinion, but I do not believe that he was capable of doing any good for the economy. Speakeasies were houses for drunkards and nothing more. He encouraged an improper lifestyle.

NEWSCASTER 1, George:

What I was trying to say, Heidi, is simply that Al Capone may have been a gangster and a criminal, but if you look deeper into his history, he was not always this way. He started out with poor parents and did not even finish school, but still became one of the wealthiest men of his time and was by no means uneducated.

He was a complicated man. He was not only capable of murder, but willing to do so, yet he was never convicted for any of them. On the other side of this coin, he was also one of the first people to open up a soup kitchen for the less fortunate during the Depression. He also ordered clothing merchants to give out clothes at his own expense.

NEWSCASTER 2, Heidi:

But did that justify all of his killings?

NEWSCASTER 1, George:

I don’t believe it did, Heidi. I am not saying that what he did was necessarily right. I am just saying that he was a very complex individual. There is no doubt of what he did for the economic and cultural state of the society as a whole. When you think about it, he was the quintessential gangster. He killed people, true. He ran illegal operations, also true. He even went to prison for a time, though it was not for murder or even bootlegging. It was for tax evasion. When he got out, his health had gotten so bad that it was just a matter of time before he was forced to step down. With that, we will take a quick break from our sponsors – the wonderful girls at Hallmark!

(Hallmark theme music plays)

HALLMARK SINGERS 1, 2, and 3:

Who’s there when you’re in a pinch? Who’s there when you’ve got an itch? Hallmark!

HALLMARK SINGER 1:

Need a card for that special day?

HALLMARK SINGER 2:

Got a new baby on the way?

HALLMARK SINGER 3:

What do you do? Where do you go?

HALLMARK SINGERS 1, 2, and 3:

Hallmark is the place to go! We’ve got gifts and cards galore! Shiny things, silky things, silly things, and more! Hallmark!

(Hallmark theme music plays again and fades out)

(Newscast theme jingle plays)

NEWSCASTER 1, George:

Thank you, Hallmark Singers! Before the break, Heidi and I were discussing whether or not Al Capone was justified in what he did for the economy. When you think about it, Heidi, he actually did quite a bit to bolster the economic status of the time period.

NEWSCASTER 2, Heidi:

Really, George? How do you think that is true? He was a multi-millionaire, but not through any legal means. He ran speakeasies and several “fronts” for his businesses to disguise his wrongdoings. He had several men killed, whether or not he was jailed for their murders. How does that make him a boon to the economy?

NEWSCASTER 1, George:

Well, Heidi, when you think about what you just said – that he had several “fronts” for his illegal businesses, those were in fact legal businesses. That is why he went to jail, after all. With that, I will welcome callers in to the program to discuss what they felt about this man and his life and death. Going to the phones now…

(Fades to distant chatter, and then fades out).

Just about three months later...

I just noticed that it's been quite a while since my last post.  After reading back through a couple of posts, I see that not much has changed, unfortunately.  (I'm working on that, really!) 

So far, here's what's been going on:  Bobby has been working at BP since late February and doesn't get paid squat, but it's money.  He says he wants to find a better paying job, but doesn't have the time to look.  I can't say that I blame him, but I don't know what to think on that either.  He likes the people he works with, so if he wants to stay there a while (the job is supposed to last until early next year), it's fine.

I'm not working full time yet.  Honestly, I haven't had much of a chance to look, although I know that I'm going to have to look harder here in the next month.  Once Rachel gets back in school, it'll be easier.  I still don't want to have to go back to three jobs, but there isn't any way (short of a serious windfall) that I can see that we'll get out of this bloody hole that I got us into.  Sigh.  The main reason that I haven't looked is because this - July - is the busiest month for balloons and face painting.  Even that's been frustrating, lately.  (My boss got cancer and tried to do her books while SERIOUSLY hopped up on drugs and _)(#@ed them up back to November.  There are still two or three gigs she hasn't paid me for.)  Still, I really like this job, even if the boss irritates the snot out of me.  The same goes for my PCA job.  I tried to take on another client and it didn't work out.  The lady (and I use that term loosely) was nuts.  Diabetic, 70+ years old, set in her ways, etc.  I think I worked for her for three days (?) before she ended up in ICU because she didn't take her insulin and wouldn't allow me to give it to her.  Stupid old bat.

School is getting better, now that I'm out of those bloody algebra classes.  It's frustrating, but I'm getting through it.  I was supposed to graduate this year and because of the re-taking of three classes, it's looking like this time NEXT year instead.  >.<  Add to the fact that I don't know what I want to do with the damn piece of paper once I have it (and Bobby constantly asking me "What are you going to do with your degree once you're done?) and I just want to scream.  BUT, I managed to get my GPA back up to a 3.51 with the C+ I got in this last class, so I'm starting to feel a bit better about that at least.

I need to get to writing again.  I've got three letters to answer and I also have been telling Rachel some stories at night that she really seems to enjoy.  She's actually stopped having me read her stories and just tell her a "Fidget story" when it's my turn to take her to bed.  Fidget is a little gray kitten with a curiosity level that makes the saying "Curiosity killed the cat" sound like a serious understatement.  She's got a puppy sister named Cocoa that is half beagle, half bloodhound, and who is always trying to keep her out of trouble.  I think Rachel likes the stories mostly because Cocoa has hayfever and is always sneezing on Fidget.  Fidget also has a baaaaaaaaaaad flatulence problem. ;)

I've been relaxing by reading, crocheting, knitting, and watching Smallville again.  We're already up to Season 9!  Now we're getting into episodes I haven't seen yet!  Woohoo!

Anyhow, those are the updates for now.  I've had a rather crappy week, but there isn't a whole lot I can do about it other than deal.  (I found out that my absolute FAVORITE cashier at Fred Meyer put in his two weeks, too.  Dammit.  Also, the power supply on my desktop crapped out.  As if we didn't have enough to deal with!)  I'll post more when I have time.

Healthy-ish pizza!

I came across a webpage the other day (I think from someone on Facebook) and it had a couple of recipes I really wanted to try.  One was for Reese's Peanut Butter Bars and the other was for Zucchini Pizzas.  Now, when I showed the link to my husband, his reaction was "Ew."  My reaction was the complete opposite.  It was more of a "Ooh, those look good!"  Of course, though not a huge fan of zucchini, I like it well enough - mostly fried or steamed, though. 

So, the other day I went to the store and got a zucchini and a yellow crookneck squash, along with some turkey pepperoni and some shredded mozzarella cheese.  I'd had a bit of pizza sauce in the freezer, so that was one thing I didn't need to buy.  Much to my chagrin,the zucchini got a bit too cold in my fridge (oops) and got squishy (which was my turn to say "Ew."), so I had to toss it into the trash.  The crookneck was fine, though.  Even though I posted the link, I'll also post the recipe here for you, below the picture.  I also made the peanut butter bars, but didn't have a chance to take a picture of them.  I'll have to make them again soon.  They were YUMMY!

Now for the pizzas!Collapse )

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Of socks and yarn...

My practice swatch of knit one side - purl the next. ;)

When I was a small child, I used to sit and watch my mom crochet, knit, sew, and embroider. At the age of three, she taught me how to crochet. At first, it was just pot holders and such, but it was fine with me. I enjoyed sitting with my mom, both of us with our yarn. From there, embroidery and sewing followed. When I was nine, she decided that I had to learn to knit as well. (I have yet to finish a knitting project, more than twenty years later).


I didn't do as much as my mom, it seemed. Every year, she would knit socks for the entire family. That was something we all looked forward to every year. Imagine my confusion as a teenager when I stopped getting my socks. This went on for years and I never got up the nerve to ask her. Imagine my surprise when she asked me one winter day why I didn't like the knitted socks. It was a total case of miscommunication. The typical mother-daughter argument followed. "I DO like the socks! YOU quit making them for me!" "No! You never wore them!" "I wore them all the time! I still have the LAST pair you made for me!" The silence that followed was deafening. My mom didn't say another word about the subject. My poor husband looked worried that he'd have to step in, as he had many times before.


At least six months passed and I had since forgotten about the sock incident. My birthday came around that spring and my mom called me to say that she had a present for me. I went over, expecting the doily that she'd been working on and I knew I'd be getting at some point. She smiled at me in such a way that made me think the worst – was it going to be a purse or a nightgown? (These were things that I accepted graciously, but then relegated to the closet or my daughter – not really my thing). I opened the package to find nearly a dozen pairs of knitted socks. I think my mom must have used up most of her yarn stash in making those for me. When I asked her why she made so many, she said that she wanted to make up for all of the years when I hadn't gotten socks. It was just about one pair for each year.


Now that my mom is older, she is finally teaching me how to make those socks. The delay is all on my part. I have always preferred crocheting to knitting, but a part of me realized that once my mom is gone, the socks will stop coming. There isn't a pattern written anywhere that I can find. It was just something passed down from mother to daughter for as long as I can remember. One day, I hope that I will be the one showing my little girl the same stitches.

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Writer's Block: B.Y.O.B. Holidays

What is on your holiday wish list this year? One random answer will win a $50 Amazon gift card. [Details here]

Rant 10/25/11

If you don't want to read my rant, stop reading now! This is before I've had any coffee or decent sleep, so my "be nice" filters are OFF!


To all of my wonderful, sweet friends and family:

In this world there are many things I enjoy, from a nice cup of tea or coffee on a windy morning to reading a good book, playing with my daughter, or a nice, intelligent conversation with a good person.

I enjoy funny pictures, emails, and quotes, as well as good music and movies. I do believe in having faith in whatever you believe in and set out to do.

I like a picture or story with a touching idea or something that will just make you smile and am even willing to pass it on to others, post it on my profile, etc.

I understand that we all have our opinions, views, and beliefs and that yours may not be the same as mine. I respect that.

What am I getting at with all of this?

Just this: in this lovely world of technology – email, Facebook, and other forms of social media – all it takes is a simple click of a button to tell people what you believe in and hope that they just might believe the same.

Here's the thing that I don't believe a lot of people think about: what if those that you are so eagerly forwarding those posts to don't want to see them?

Really, I'm all about free speech, freedom of the press, etc. There are days when I don't honestly give a rat's hairy ass about offending people – if you don't like it, don't read it.

But even I have a limit.

I stay out of politics and religion for a reason, people. You make one tiny mention of either of those topics and the calmest, smartest, level-headed person becomes a RANTING IDIOT who only believes that their view is correct.

It really doesn't matter who you voted for – there is always going to be "the other guy" that someone else voted for and doesn't like your choice. Hell, even the person that you DID vote for isn't perfect. We're all human – we have flaws.

The status you just posted saying "re-post if you agree" about something political or religious? If I don't agree, do I get to block your posts?

The email you sent about someone who was dying and talked to Jesus and were miraculously cured, telling you that you MUST forward to so many people just so you can see something cool on your desktop or you'll get your wish/see your true love/get rich?

Seriously?

If I want to see a miracle, I'll look at my daughter. That's all it takes. Forwarding an email isn't going to make something miraculous happen, other than causing me to possibly piss a bunch of people off, which isn't really a miracle at all – it's a given.

Remember the song called "Heaven" by Live?

I don't need no one to tell me about heaven
I look at my daughter, and I believe.
I don't need no proof when it comes to God and truth
I can see the sunset and I perceive

I think this makes more than a bit of sense.

If forwarding an email were all it took to make me a millionaire, you can be damn sure that I'd forward multiple copies of everything in my bloody inbox! (And I have multiple email addresses, people – how easy would that be? I'd never have to work again!)

Why would I want to forward an email to "meet my true love" when I'm already happily married?

If I want to forward an email, the only thing that I really hope for is to make someone smile. If I can make them laugh, even better!

Now, like I said, I do like some of the emails. The email about the store owner who sold food for marbles to poor kids is one of my favorites and I enjoy reading it, as well as the teacher who had her kids write about their students.

I'm not saying that I don't like getting emails – I just DON'T LIKE PREACHY OR POLITICAL EMAILS!

Don't like Obama or Palin? That's fine. You can't like everyone in this world – that would just be boring.

Have a strong faith in your church or whatever god you happen to believe in (or don't believe in, for that matter)? Again, that's fine. We all choose to believe or not. That's called free will, people.

When you forward me that crap (and yes, most of it is crap in my eyes), I just roll my eyes and hit delete without even reading it.

By sending me that garbage, it feels like you're forcing your beliefs down my throat by way of my eyes and I come one step closer to just blocking your email altogether.

Think about that before you hit forward, okay?

Ho-hum...


I’m sitting here at work once again, with nothing work-related to do.

That’s one of the love-hate things I deal with every day here at work. I love my job, I really do. For the most part, I work with good people. (There are a couple of people that make me twitch, but not nearly as bad as where I was before.) Most of the time we get along, so that’s good. 

It’s just so different from where I was for so long. I went from always being busy and relishing the rare times where I didn’t have anything to do to the other end of the spectrum. Most of my days here are spent trying to find things to do. I manage, though. Hell, look at this post, for instance. I would never have had time to think about something like this before. I also can get caught up on schoolwork – I actually STARTED school again, for that matter. I can sit and write if I’m able to think of anything post-worthy.   (Heck, even if it’s not, it’s still writing!)

There are times when we’ve had a potluck and the entire company (well, our store, anyway) goes down into the shop for an hour and eats, talks and has a good time. That’s something that NEVER happened at CU1. There was always just too much going on. The MSC, especially, could never even have a staff meeting with everyone present. It was always done in groups. Strange…

I have to wonder how long it’ll take me to get used to this. I mean, I’ve been here almost a year already (!) and there are still some things that make me go O.o?

Bobby was right about one thing: I’ve got a good thing here. For the most part, I’m left to my own devices, which is nice. I’m not chained to a desk or a phone like I was before. I don’t have to deal with cranky people all day long (and the idiots that seem to follow them like lemmings). I’m learning all kinds of things. I never thought I’d be doing Accounting and I do Accounts Receivable and Payables almost on a daily basis. I inspect survival kits, write up certificates for marine rafts, do some grunt work now and then, (which doesn’t bother me a bit) and even help in the store.   If I need to leave early for an appointment, I don’t get the stink eye from my boss (from the Sales department, I do sometimes). If I’m feeling like crap, but still come in to work, I’ve gotten sent home because they feel that it’s more important for me to get well. (That and they don’t want me to infect the company. Lol.)

It’s all so strange, compared to where I was before. Yes, I still miss always having something to do and I still miss some of the people, but overall I’m glad I’m here.

I just need to look back on this post the next time I get pissed off and start looking for a new job. ;)


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