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Some mornings when I'm getting ready for work, I come across an article of clothing - a shirt, a dress, a pair of underwear, whatever. And I think "hey, I haven't worn this in *forever*! I'm totally wearing this today!"

Typically about an hour after I get to work, as said article of clothing is riding up/gapping open/falling down/some unfortunate combination of the above, I think "oh right. THIS is why I haven't worn it in forever."

For some reason, when I get home I don't immediately say "fuck this, I'm donating this/repurposing this/throwing this damn thing away". And so it gets washed and put away and at some point months later... "hey, I haven't worn this in *forever*!"
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It's been lovely to have some time off over the past couple weeks, but tomorrow it's back to the office. We're working on doing some planning for our projects group, but I learned in our last meeting that both of the other people in the group hate doing documentation, which is, ya know, like 50% of project management. Evidently their current method is filling in the documentation months after the project is complete, when their boss asks them why it isn't updated yet. I'm feeling not at all confident about how this is going to go moving forward. We're also having our reviews in the next couple weeks, and I'm very curious to see how it's going to go, since my boss has flat out said he has no idea what I do (thanks, boss).

Poor Zen is still quite ill. I took him to Urgent Care yesterday, they did a chest x-ray and strep test, but everything came back negative. They told him to take ibuprofen to control the fever and drink lots of fluids. Now it's just waiting for the flu to improve. He got a note for work excusing him until Wednesday, but as of today, he still feels absolutely terrible, so I don't know what happens if he's still this miserable on Wednesday. He insisted on coming to the grocery store with me today because he wanted to make a taco salad and wanted to pick his ingredients, but by the time we were ready to check out, he asked if I would mind if he waited in the car because he was feeling so weak. He hasn't kissed me since Wednesday and last night in the middle of the night he got up and slept on the couch. When I asked him why, he said he was afraid his coughing would wake me up and he didn't want to disturb my sleep. OK, well only one of us has the flu, maybe that person who needs better rest? I kept calling him to come back to bed, but I was too exhausted to get my eyes open and go out there and drag him back to bed (though I did get him there eventually). tbh, I'm a little amazed I've managed to not get sick (so far anyway). With my asthma, it could be really bad.

I've been enjoying relaxing and reading, I am determined to meet my 60 book reading goal for this year. I'm back in school starting a week from today, so I'm going to try to especially enjoy this week :) And as bad as it is that Zen is sick, I'm glad we've had a little extra time to be together the last few days. I was surprised at how much I missed him on that first shift when he was gone all evening and didn't get home til after 11pm. I know I'll get used to it, but it'll be an adjustment.

The water aerobics schedule should be back to normal this week. Last week I was one of two people who came on Tuesday, and one of three (the other two were a mother/son pair) on Thursday. In both cases, the others were happy to see me, it's always a little awkward being the only one. Typically the gym gets extra busy around now, hopefully it'll be OK. I don't begrudge anyone who wants to give the gym a shot, it's just a pain not being able to find a parking lot if I'm running late, especially this time of year when it's usually cold and snowy/icy.

I'm not making any resolutions, but I do want to do better this year - make better choices, be a better friend/partner/family member/employee, focus more on the positive stuff. I do think I need to find a way to write this out in a much more specific way, because otherwise it's too murky and too easy to talk myself out of it. Maybe I'll plan to write up something every week with what I did this week that falls into the "better" category.

I'd also like to get/make a new icon or two. I like my little fishy, but I'd like something different. I just don't know what yet.

Hope everyones 2017 has been good so far!
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We spent Christmas Eve with Zen's family and the day after Christmas with my family. I spent Christmas day wrapping and putting together a toy I got for my nephew, then I went to my folks house and made baked ziti and mashed potatoes as our vegetarian options for our dinner (my sister is a vegetarian). Zen went to his mom's for his yearly 15 minutes with his kids. Things went well with Zen's family. They are a little more "tease"-y than I like - it always seems on the verge of mean-spirited, especially from his brother-in-law (who also enjoys pissing off the cat). My family gathering went well except that my sister bailed at the last minute, and didn't even tell us she was bailing. She just didn't show up, and when my brother texted to ask if she was coming, she said she had previous plans with friends who were in from out of town (I mostly know who her friends are, and I'm not sure who this would be). Also not sure why she made plans in the first place since we had planned a while ago to get together the day after. I am hopeful that she really did have a thing to do and wasn't just bailing because Zen was going to be there.

This morning was one of *those* mornings. I decided I wanted a toasted bagel. I put it in the toaster, went to do some stuff, came back and it was charred. I adjusted the level, put another bagel in, and went to do some stuff. I popped it up early and it wasn't done, so I pushed it back down again. When I popped it up again? Charred. The third one I kept an eye on and STILL I almost burned it.

Then I had to go put air in my tire, because the nag light was on in my car. I went to get gas, and then drove over to their air machine... which was out of order. Went to another place, theirs was out of order too. Went to a third place, they didn't HAVE an air machine. Went to a fourth place and they had one that appeared to be functional, but it was placed right next to a parking space - which was occupied. So I had to wait for the person to come back and leave so I could park there and get air. What should have taken 2 minutes took more than 20, but fortunately the traffic on the highway was light so I wasn't *too* late for work.

Fortunately the rest of the day has been fine. I ordered pizza, so hopefully all will go well with that. :) LJ comments, like everyone else's apparently, are REALLY slow, so I'm going to try to get caught up. I hope everyone had a lovely weekend, whatever you did!
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Zen said he thinks his interview went well yesterday. The place is hiring for two positions, so hopefully this will work out for him. I know he'll be great once he finds a place, it's just the waiting that makes it hard. They didn't tell him when they plan on making their decision, but hopefully it's soon. Edited to add He just called to tell me that they offered him the job!!! He goes in to do paperwork on Friday and officially starts working on the 12th!!! YAAAAAAAAAAAAY!!!!!

Had a meeting this morning at work, and brought in a large cup that I had just filled with ice and water. Halfway through the meeting while talking, I gestured and knocked it over, spilling half the water and ice across the table (it has a snap-on lid, but it popped off). I moved the cup off to the side, and as I was cleaning it up (with help from a couple other people in the meeting), I knocked it over AGAIN on top of my phone and spilled the rest. Fortunately no electronics were injured, only my pride. I would say not a great start to the day, but actually my day started out with me sleeping through my alarm and waking up 20 minutes after I was supposed to be at work. Yeah, I think this is a 'should have just stayed in bed' day. :)

I've been meeting and discussing with our IT director at work and the current plan is that I am going to write up a recommendation for creating a Project Management Organization at work that I will head up. He said our mutual boss thinks it's a good idea too so this could be good. He also wants to start a Change Advisory Board that he wants me to head up, but wants me to get ITIL certified first. He gave me a book to read and study, but I'm in my last week and a half of classes so I'm going to wait until I'm done with that. It could mean a lot more interesting stuff for me to do at work next year.

I was talking with a colleague about Santa and belief in Santa. She said her son was starting to doubt last year, especially when something he asked Santa for that had a very particular shape came to the house in a box that made it clear what it was. She enlisted her sister to out of the blue tell him about how sometimes with certain items, Santa has to send it to your house in advance because it doesn't fit well in his sleigh, all to get him to keep believing. My mom told me the truth when I asked her about it. I'm sure I probably heard about it on the school bus or something, in first or second grade (at my school, the bus carried all kids from 1st through 8th grade). After she acknowledged it, I sat there for a minute and then said "so I guess that means no easter bunny or tooth fairy either." She enlisted me to keep it a secret from my younger siblings, and put me on duty to keep an eye on them to make sure they didn't come down when mom and dad were wrapping presents or assembling something or putting out the toys on Christmas Eve. They had me wrapping presents in another year or two. Today, Christmas is without question my least favorite holiday, not sure how much that stuff did or didn't contribute to that. When did you learn/figure out that Santa wasn't real? Do you love Christmas (or whatever winter holiday you might celebrate)?
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First a funny in a small world kind of way - I went to vote this morning, and the election judge who was looking up my name said she recognized my last name, that she thought her son used to have a friend at school with that last name. Turns out her son was friends with my brothers when they were in grade school (once I told her my brothers' names, it jogged her memory and she said 'that's right, the twins!'). What are the chances?

And a funny from taking my niece to the movies to see Trolls. The "bad guys" in the movie are called Bergens. When a bergen shows up close to the beginning of the movie and takes a bunch of trolls, the kid behind us yelled "I hate the bergen! I'm done with this movie, let's go!"
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I can hardly believe it's already the 23rd.

After I get bills paid today, we'll probably watch some football and maybe put up the plastic on our windows. You really need to put it up when it's not too cold out, so probably best to get it done today, or at least get a couple of the windows done. It's been a relatively busy weekend but we still had some good relaxation time, so I'm happy.

My niece and I are doing a team costume for Halloween. She is going to be Ariel. I am going to be Ursula the Sea Witch. I haven't started on my costume yet. Yeah, I know. The thing is though, I want my costume to be fun, but I don't need it to be really *good*. If I was wearing it to a con, I'd want it to be great. But I don't want to upstage my niece in any way, so I mostly just want it to be functional. My plan is to make tentacles (I ordered fabric, it should be here tomorrow) and attach them to an elastic waistband. I... don't have a sewing machine though, and I am for sure not sewing 8 tentacles by hand. So I'm going to go to my mom's and work on it there. I also have a backup plan if needed. I'm also thinking about taking off this Friday to take her to the zoo - they have special "mold-a-rama" pieces for Halloween, a red skull and a silver Frankenstein's monster head, and I want the skull :D

My class is going better than I expected. It's taking me some time to get accustomed to the coding, but it's nowhere near as hard as I was afraid it was going to be from the way the syllabus was written (also, do no teachers actually expect people to read the book? This class and the previous class, even though they SAY we're supposed to do the reading, the teachers seem to assume that no one has read anything). The teacher is passionate about what he's teaching, which I think really helps. However, he told us if we submitted our homework a couple days early, he would review it early and let us make changes before it was officially due. Our homework was due on Wednesday and I submitted mine on Monday, but it was Monday evening (around 7) so I wasn't sure if he'd have time to review it before class. He didn't review it. In class on Wednesday he sheepishly told us that he doesn't get notified when we upload our homework, so if we wanted him to review it early, to please email him and tell him that we submitted it and wanted him to review it. Meanwhile, he still hasn't reviewed it, and I don't want to work TOO much on the next homework (due Nov 2) until I find out if I did the first one right.

I'll have to see if I can get some pics of our Halloween decor. Zen said that at night it's "intimidating but not scary". I'm a little worried that it's too dark, as in not enough light for people to see where they're going. So I'll have to see if there's something we can do about it.

My fantasy football teams had a terrible start this year, at week 4 one team was 0 - 4 and the other was 1 - 3. Things are improving though, I'm currently 2 - 4 and 3 - 3 and this week looks promising. Being in Illinois, a lot of people are very excited about the Cubs going to the world series. idgaf about baseball, my whole family is full of White Sox fans, and I don't think I personally know any Cubs fans, so other than potential traffic issues, this has no impact on my life.
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When you are hosting a party, assuming that you are providing all or most of the food, do you tend to go overboard and have more food than you need, or do you try to get as close as you can to the exact amount of food you need?

I am my mother's daughter - she is always worried about us not having enough food for parties (~15 years later, she STILL brings up the first time my uncle hosted Christmas dinner at his house after his divorce when he insisted he had it all covered - and there was nowhere near enough food). When we host game night, we usually order pizza but we have a variety of snack foods. Everyone brings something, but some people bring more than others. I try to make sure that we have things like chips, nuts, cheese and fruit, etc. Others come with salsa and different salads, etc. When we're done, we clean up, exchange some of the stuff that people brought, and everyone heads out. Last night, one of the guests commented about how we always have more food than we need at our parties, but she always tries to limit things so there's no more than absolutely needed. I've noticed this at parties at her house, partially because I'm kind of a picky eater (for example, I can't stand spicy food), so I've left her parties ravenous before because there were no options that I liked (or I didn't want to try to make a meal of chips). I'm guessing probably something in the middle is better, but just wondering what everyone else does :)

The other question is about "layered" food. For example, layered cookies, string cheese, etc. I always peel my string cheese - I love eating it that way. I also eat things like cookies or candies in layers. How about you, do you take bites of the string cheese or peel it? Do you take apart cookies or candies or other foods that can be disassembled?
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Today is the 3rd anniversary of my first date with Zen. Yesterday was a great example of why he's such an amazing partner. After my dr appointment, I took my niece to the zoo for a few hours, and came home tired, hungry and sneezy (I assume it was allergies, I feel fine today but yesterday I was sneezing all day long, even before we went to the zoo), and I wanted to spend some more time preparing for my class. I had a taste for pasta, and when I got home I asked if he'd had dinner yet, thinking maybe we could have a quick dinner at our fave Italian place. He had already eaten. He'd had a long day too, working in the morning and then finishing painting the garage and doing a bunch of yardwork. He asked if I'd like this pasta dish he'd made before that I loved. I said that would be great, but we didn't have the ingredients. He said it only took a few ingredients and it would just be a quick trip to the store. I got up to go with him, but he insisted that I stay home and spend the time reading and preparing for my class. He ran to the store, got the ingredients, and cooked a delicious dinner while I read/studied. If he hadn't offered it, I probably would have made a sandwich or something. He was tired after a long day too, but his first priority was making sure that I was taken care of. I am so happy and so lucky. :)
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I don't think I ever really wrote an introductory post, so here's some info about me :) I'll put it behind a cut because it will probably get a little long. Also I apologize if you commented on my post in the initial friending frenzy, but when I attempted to respond it wanted me to prove that I was human, but the captcha thing wouldn't come up. I don't know why.
Read more... )
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Some background: I go to water aerobics every tuesday and thursday at 8pm. I've been doing for probably 8 or 9 years and I don't skip very often. The gym is pretty close to my house and I typically go wearing my suit under a dress so all I have to do is strip out of the dress and take a quick shower before I get in to the pool, so I should leave around 7:45, no later than 7:50 if I want to be on time.

So this is how it went last night.

6:50pm - Me: OK, I have a little less than an hour. Must keep an eye on the time though.

7:05pm - Me: OK, about 40 minutes. Still doing fine.

7:25pm - Me: in the next 15 minutes or so I should get my suit on so I'm ready to go.

7:53pm - Zen: Honey? Did you know it's 7:53?
Me (hurriedly pulling on my swimsuit): Um, yes, yes, I totally knew that. I was just planning on getting there a little late so Nick can yell at me, cuz I love it when Nick yells at me!

You would think after all this time I could get it together. But nope.
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Zen took his exam this morning and he just texted me that he passed! Now he is *officially* a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor. This means that after all of the schooling and internships and whatnot that he's been through, now he can *finally* work in his chosen field. I'm so excited and so proud of him. This has been a long time coming. Now just have to figure out how we're going to celebrate. Hooray!
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I had a really good conversation last night with my former boss about the potential at her workplace. She was very open and honest about her team, how things are going, personality issues that she's dealing with, and the fact that she wants me to *really* think about the commute because I'd have to go to that office at least 3 days/week. The company is large and there are several openings right now, but none of them are under her team at this time. She can apply to have one of them moved to her team but she doesn't know how long that will take (she's only been there for about a year). I really appreciated her honesty and openness about it (especially because some of the personality issues she's dealing with are not good), so I have lots to think about, but some time to think about it.

Also, when I returned home last night, Zen had finished up the back door! Pic below the cut! I love it so much. He has a little bit of cleanup to do around the door and he wants to paint the bit below it black, but I'm so happy with how it turned out.
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I took off Thursday and Friday to enjoy a long weekend, and spent some time with my niece, who is still struggling with jealousy about her baby brother. We had a fun Thursday visiting with her friend (and her friend's mommy, who is my friend :)) and going to the waterpark. Trying to get all of our schedules in alignment to hang out is pretty tough, so I'm happy we were able to work it out. Afterwards I took her out for ice cream and took her home. When I tried to leave, she followed me out the door and started to cry. I took her to the library and the movies on Friday, and she cried when it was time to leave. I'm a total sucker, it kills me when she starts to cry like that. It's also a new thing, and I'm not sure why it's been happening. She's also way more scared of stuff in movies than she used to be. I took her to see Wall-E and she insisted halfway through that it was too scary and she wanted to leave.

Saturday we had a fun game night and scheduled our next two game nights, which is good since weekends are starting to fill up. Sunday I went to brunch with my mom and we saw the play Deathtrap, which we both really enjoyed. The actors were excellent and we had good seats. Neither my mom nor I had seen this show before, so we were both surprised by the many twists and turns (as were our fellow audience members, given all the gasps and murmurs). I'm really glad we were able to go, it was a lot of fun for both of us.

While I was gone on Sunday, Zen replaced our back door. It was in bad shape (dry rotted) for a long time, and then a week or so ago he locked himself out of the house with no phone or anything, so he broke into the house by cutting a hole into the door. We had it covered up with additional wood and tape, but my mom had brought over her old front door several years ago with the intention of replacing the back door with it. Zen said it took a couple hours but now it looks really nice, and it feels very solid. I was surprised he got it done so quickly, and pleased (I've always been paranoid about someone breaking into our house, so feeling like it was so easy to get in the back door was making me extremely uneasy). We got into a discussion about painting the door and to my delight, Zen offered to paint it like a Tardis! He's got a list of other things that he's working on, but I'm very excited about this!

Today when I came in to work, I discovered that someone had tidied up my desk a bit. I don't know who or why. It wasn't a huge mess, but they wrapped up the cords neatly and put all my binder clips in a container and all my pens in one cup, and hung up a little bag someone had gotten me. I might not have even noticed if it wasn't for the cords and the bag. I have a friend at work who might have done it but she's been totally swamped so I can't imagine she took 20 minutes out of her busy day to make my desk more tidy. Just not sure what to make of it. This happened once before and no one ever claimed responsibility.

busy busy

Aug. 9th, 2016 06:26 pm
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Lots going on around here...

Work is still frustrating me. We have a new software package that we are going to use, in part, to track our contracts. I have done extensive testing and though the programmers are still working on some detailed information we need for the contracts, we are ready to start entering the basic information about the companies. I opened a ticket asking them to move the form for entering companies that we had customized in the test system to the live site so that we could start on this part of it. It's been over a week, and in monday morning's IT meeting, I brought it up, since no one had addressed it. The person who is supposed to be working on it said he had to check with his boss to see where it would be prioritized. The IT director asked them to make it happen sooner rather than later. After ignoring me for the rest of the day on Monday and most of today, I got an email this afternoon that it had been prioritized underneath training other employees. I don't know, maybe moving stuff into the live site is extremely difficult. But it's incredibly frustrating to still be sitting on hold.

Zen's testing situation is still frustrating me too. He needs to take a test that will allow him to FINALLY get a job in his field. I faxed in the paperwork on June 22nd, thinking that the sooner we could get it processed, the sooner he could take his test. Then we waited and waited (though they charged the credit card on the 22nd!). At the 3 week mark they told him they had just changed the test, he needed a new study guide, and it would take some time to get his approval. Last week (at the 6 week mark) he contacted them again and heard nothing until yesterday, when they told him they had sent the email (on 8/3) but it must not have come through. So finally we were relieved that all we had to do was schedule the test. Well, they sent instructions for registration that said that he needed to go to a website, select the test location, select the name of the test, and then pick a test date from the calendar. The problem is, there are NO test dates listed. The email states that if there are no test dates listed, they are "not accepting testers at this time" and you should either try back later or try a different location. We looked at all 6 locations, including the ones that are hours away from us. Exactly zero of them have any test dates listed. So he's going to check with them to see if this is correct and then it's more stinking waiting.

On a less-frustrating note, I took off Thursday and Friday and am going to do some fun stuff with my niece. A friend of mine who has a daughter about the same age as my niece invited us to go to a waterpark close to her house that has a really nice section for toddlers. So we're going to go in the late afternoon (starting around 4 or so) and let the girls have fun. I'd like to take her to see The Little Prince, which my app says came out last Friday, but which does not appear to be playing anywhere near us. Unfortunately it's going to be very hot on Thursday so that somewhat limits our plans.

I also got to visit with old coworkers last Friday, which was great. We always had a very "family" vibe there, and even though it's been a decade since I worked there(!), it was so wonderful visiting with everyone. About 20 current and former employees showed up and it was so much fun. I'm also having dinner tomorrow night with my former boss (from my current job), and I'm really looking forward to seeing her. We have game night this Saturday and on Sunday I'm going with my mom to brunch and a show called Deathtrap. We're actually going to the final show of the run, so I'm glad we were able to book our tickets.

I've been trying out Khan Academy on some math and programming things to try to get a sense of whether or not I want to continue to move forward on getting my Masters Degree in Business Analytics or if I'm just going to stick with the certificate program. I'm taking Machine Learning in October so I also figure it would be helpful to brush up on statistics before class starts.
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I know, I know, it's July. But I like to plan ahead :)

Last Halloween I tried to do a pair costume with my 3yo niece. She dressed up as Elsa and I dressed up as Anna. Unfortunately, the weather was terrible (cold + pouring rain) so my brother nixed my niece going trick or treating with me. I talked to her a few days later and she was *so mad* that her daddy wouldn't let her go with me, it was kind of hilarious.

I always dress up for Halloween when I pass out candy to the neighborhood kids. I live near a primary school and in an area with a lot of kids so I typically get 100+ kids every Halloween. In the past I have been: the tooth fairy, a pirate, wonder woman, the angel of death (I did my makeup to have kind of a skull look to my face, and though it wasn't that good, it was apparently good enough to scare a lot of kids), a vampire (the kids LOVED this one, loved the teeth, asked me a ton of questions like 'are those your real teeth?' 'were you born that way?'), little red riding hood, little bo peep, poison ivy, the queen of hearts, medusa, and the blue fairy from pinocchio. I have a box full of costumes and accessories :) This year my niece wants to be Ariel, so I *could* do Ursula, a costume I've considered doing in the past (when I told my niece this, she was bewildered at the thought that I might want to be the bad guy. She suggested that I should be the prince). However, she will probably change her plan 10 times before October rolls around, so I'll hold off on putting something together. For now.

Last year for our holiday card, Zen and I dressed up as Gandalf and Galadriel. We took a pic in the park by our house, I photoshopped us to have a Rivendell background (I'm not a great photoshopper, it took me like 3 days to manage it but it was good enough for me :)) and we put our holiday wishes on there in an elvish translation. I loved it, it's so us. We got tons of compliments on it. And then there was my mom, who (having never watched Lord of the Rings) said "I don't get it. It's weird. What's it supposed to mean?" Last night we were discussing our options for this year (after Zen said "you know it's July and 100 degrees outside right?"). We had considered Riker and Troi from ST:TNG but he thought it was too old and most people wouldn't get it (my mom certainly wouldn't, though she might recognize the star trek insignia). He suggested that we could be Luke and Leia as seen in The Force Awakens, but I said I thought he should be Han Solo if we were going that route cuz it would be a little creepy for us to be siblings (he disagreed). Then he suggested that we could be Pam Poovey and Sterling Archer from Archer (he knew I was considering a Pam costume last year), which is an idea I also love. And, sadly, my mom will not recognize either of those options either. And my mom would NOT appreciate Archer so I can't even just have her watch a couple episodes. I also said maybe we could go as Pam and Archer to DragonCon next year, and he liked that idea. So maybe we save Archer for next year and we do Star Wars this year. The good thing about that is costumes for both of those shouldn't be too complicated. I said if he really wants to be Luke, if he started growing out his beard now, it might be at the appropriate length by the time we take our picture ;)
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Not much new here. Work is quiet right now and the stuff I have to work on until things pick up is painfully boring and tedious. I decided to take tomorrow off to help my mom with my niece and nephew. Would like to take my niece to see the new Ice Age movie, but she has camp from 12:30 - 3:30 so that really limits our options. There are some early showings at the theater near my work, but it seems silly to drive that far. I'll see what else I can track down.

It's been almost a month and we're still waiting for the OK for Zen to take his exam so he can FINALLY start working in his field. I faxed in the application for him on 6/22, they charged the credit card the same day and then... nothing. After two weeks he emailed them to ask if they could let him know when he might expect to hear from them. A week after that he called them, and after getting transferred around a bunch, he finally got someone who told him that they changed the exam at the end of June, so they haven't approved anyone to take the new exam yet and it would "take some time". Oh, and it also meant the $80 study guide he got a few months ago is now out of date so he needed a NEW $80 study guide. Grr.

In the meantime, he spent several days outside cutting down/trimming back bushes, unwanted trees, weeds, and just about everything that was growing in the flower beds. He wants to till everything and start over from scratch. He filled up 16 yard waste bags so far and the rest of the stuff that still needs to be bagged will probably fill another 10. There are some plants I'm sad he yanked out, including a bleeding heart that I had rescued from a grocery store many years ago that was thriving at the edge of the patio, but I know that the beds were so overtaken with weeds and whatnot that we pretty much needed to start over from scratch. He's also talking about us maybe getting a nice patio set once he's done with all the outside work stuff. I like the idea of a fire table so we can make smores and maybe use the patio in the cooler months when there aren't a zillion bugs (I am not a hot weather person. The only thing I like about summer is watermelon :)). Of course, fire tables are quite expensive so I suppose it's just one more thing I'll add to our wish list (along with a bigger bed, a newer tv and a sectional couch :)).

Since he doesn't know what his job situation will be when the time comes for DragonCon (Sept 1), Zen is going to stay home this year. I knew it was only a 50/50 shot that he would be able to go (though I thought by now he'd have his official certification and be at least looking for a job) so I'm a little disappointed but OK. I booked my flights even though my friend who lives there is *also* looking for a job and may not be available to come pick me up at the airport (he got laid off at the end of March but has 8 months of severance pay so he's taking his time job hunting). However, there is a train that goes from the airport to a station very close to the hotel, so if he can't, I can go that route. I can't believe it's only 6 weeks away now!

This is always a financially difficult time of the year... the travel expenses for DragonCon, my property tax is due on Sept 1, 6mo of car insurance is due (and now that we have two cars, we have one due in Aug and one in Sept), plus all the other standard expenses. But I'm pretty good about putting money into savings every month so we should be OK. Of course this for some reason also ends up being the time of year I decide I need to buy All The Things. Zen and I plan to have an updated budgeting discussion once he has a job in his field. He got the notice that he'll have to start paying on his student loans in January of 2017 so that should give us time to plan.

A few friends at work are doing those clothing subscription things (like Netflix for clothes). I looked into it, and though I like the idea in theory, I don't think I can even begin to justify spending $60 - 100+ a month for clothes I don't keep (or, I guess, more if I did decide to keep some of them). If I had a job where I had to dress more professionally than I do now, and/or if I had a lot of social events where I would like to dress up but not buy/keep a fancy dress, I would probably be all over it. But I remember how I was when I had Netflix and I would get CDs in the mail - I wouldn't want to end up being that person who is paying every month to hang on to the same outfit for 6 months :) It is fun seeing my colleagues' new outfits though.

Zen and I had a date day last Saturday and went to see Hunt for the Wilderpeople, which we both loved! Our Saturday plans this weekend unexpectedly fell through so I am going to donate platelets at noon and after that we're going to have another date day :)
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Saturday Zen and I hosted game night at our house. The heat was a little bit of an issue (we only have a window unit and it was 90 degrees out) but compared to outside, it was nice in the house, plus we were just sitting around eating and playing board games so it wasn't like we were running around. I think for next time I want to get one more fan to move the air around a bit (we used to have one more but it broke). We're hosting again in 2 weeks.

Yesterday Zen and I had plans to take our parents to see "A Night of Magic with Dick Van Dyke" at the local theater.
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Sometimes I see ads that are just ridiculously horrible timing, and I think 'doesn't anyone think about these things before they send them out?'

A few weeks ago when there were deadly tornadoes in Oklahoma, the Weather Channel cut away from the tornado coverage briefly to hawk the 20th anniversary edition of the movie Twister. Really guys? You couldn't postpone that a day or two?

Today I got an email ad with the title "Take a bite out of Orlando with this thrilling summer travel special!" Maybe not the most sensitive thing to send out the day after a 2yo is killed in Orlando by an alligator. Just a thought.
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Have any of you had your makeup done? Say, at a makeup place or something? I've had mine done a few times, at places like a MAC store and a Sephora and a department store, and as a general rule I've been horribly disappointed. The department store one was when I was in high school and I thought that one turned out OK, but the other ones always left me looking orange. Maybe it would be different if I were to hire a professional to do my makeup. Has anyone done that? My mom and I had ours done at MAC a couple weeks before my brother's wedding to see if we could get some ideas and look good. When we were done, we bought a couple of items (as required) and when we got to the car we laughed about how terrible we looked. We should have taken a picture. It was just bad. Just wondering if others have better experiences than we do.

One of my friends lives in a condo building that has fireplaces in each condo (well, I guess I don't know if they're in EVERY condo but in at least some of them). Not sure why they have fireplaces actually because they're in a very warm area where it's never all that cold in the winter but that's something else. Anyway, in the past week or so, half a dozen wasps have come down the chimney. He doesn't like to kill them so he catches and releases them. I said he should contact his HOA so they can make sure there isn't a nest on the roof, but I was wondering if he sprayed, say, some paper towels with wasp spray and tucked them up into his chimney, if that would help deter them. He has never used his chimney for its intended purpose (and he's lived there for almost 20 years), but I don't know if that would actually keep them away. Any ideas?

What's your feeling on telling people to follow their dreams? I have a friend who has his degree and lots of experience in filmmaking, but as you can probably imagine, unless/until you're really well-known, it's hard to find work (and work you do find is usually unreliable and doesn't pay that well). He is struggling as he does this and does ridesharing to make enough to pay the rent. I enjoy some creative stuff, but I definitely don't have the drive/passion to be a professional in the creative arts. I've always leaned toward doing things that are practical (and, honestly, probably a bit on the safe side). I hope that he is able to find good and steady work in the field he's so excited about, but it's really hard seeing/hearing about how much he's struggling to just barely scrape by (he's also in his late 40s), barely making enough for rent, no insurance, no savings, etc. I'm not interested in telling him what he "should" or "shouldn't" do, but I feel like I have a tendency to be a wet blanket on folks who talk to me about lofty dreams. The whole "do what you love and the money will follow" thing has always seemed ridiculous to me, unless you happen to love programming or engineering or giving medical care. I don't want people to be miserable at their jobs, but I also think it's unrealistic to think that most people can both do work they truly love and also make enough money to have some semblance of financial stability (and really, a lot of people have neither of those things).
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Our cat is like a goldfish when it comes to eating. On a normal day, he gets a can of wet food in the morning (somewhere in the 6 - 7am range usually) and another can in the evening (usually in the 5 - 6pm range). He also has a bowl of hard food that Zen keeps filled all the time. He occasionally gets treats as well. He's a huge kitty. To tell us he's hungry, he cries at us, bats at this scratching post thing he has, and bolts into the kitchen if you even sort of move that direction. He is apparently hungry ALL. THE. TIME. 20 minutes after he gets his morning wet food, he's crying and batting at his scratching post. Any time we leave the house and come back he does it. If we fed him as often as he begged for it, he'd be the world's first 200lb house cat. Is everyone's cat like this? My best friend's sister is a vet, and following her recommendation, she feeds her cat 1/2 cup of hard food twice a day and that's *it*. She doesn't get treats or soft food. And while her cat does get huffy about being fed when it's close to mealtime, she doesn't seem to beg all day. She's also like 1/3 the size of our cat. I've never lived with cats before. Maybe this is just how they are?
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