Thursday, December 29, 2011


  Bone tired. Very grateful. Good trip. Dad home from hospital.

I could easily end it there in favor of a nap, but I'll attempt elaboration. I guess quite a bit of traveling, lots of stairs, and 7 hours in a car take it outta ya, cuz I've never been so grateful to not have to turn around and go right back to work. I'm off til Tuesday. I could cry with relief.

My brain is slowly waking up. We're in the 2011 home stretch, and I'm a resolutions maker. There are very specific things I want to accomplish next year. It'll be a list-making weekend. We'll recover and turtle, for the most part. Decadence.

I got some really great pressies, and there's holiday money burning a hole in my pocket. But I'll give any purchases serious thought. This ain't the time for an impulse purse. I oughta squirrel it all away, as I anticipate OT disappearing in the new year and I don't like to think about how hard it is to live on just what I make. Les will be looking again next year, but that's a part-time solution when we have some big-ass goals in mind. So much thinking and planning to occur...

I never take enough pics at the holidays, but those two just get me...the niece in all her splendor. We got her the stuffed fox for Christmas, which was a definite hit.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Contemplative...and excited about Christmas!

Yes, I called it Christmas. Yes, I'm a pagan who normally says "Happy Holidays" now. I may be celebrating the Solstice today, but it'll always be the Christmas season. I mean, really, what's in a name? Sure, it's named after a particular story in the Bible that I choose not to believe in, but Christmas is so much more than that. I hope to celebrate Yule and St. Nicholas' Day in the future as well. Why not? It's about so much more than Christianity this month...there are levels of different faiths and the beauty of the Santa myth that demand this month of quiet contemplation.

The AHA moment came earlier today, when I realized that what I'm feeling, this quiet, this wanting to live more simply, making time for more at-home work like bread making, knitting, small spurred by the holiday, but indicative of how I wished I lived my life. I want so badly to slow down a bit, to rely a pinch less on technology for entertainment (yes, I just got a Kindle Fire, but reading a book is quite a different brain activity than harvesting 4 different frickin' farms on Farmville). I have too many time sucks in my life. This solstice season is going to be about assessing, taking quiet note of my life, and writing down specific areas for this "improvement".

I've been baking this week for the holidays. I come home from work and get moving in the kitchen. It's taking away from my TV time, but not necessarily my relax time. Not a bad thing at all. While I certainly want to do the bulk of the baking/cooking on the weekends, I understand now that it can be done and it doesn't have to require a holiday celebration to happen.

Husby's family is stricken this season; it sounds like they're becoming obsessed with worry about Dad's health. I understand where it comes from, but it isn't healthy, and I wish I could counsel them on letting go a bit. Instead I'll bring my good mood to SC and try my damnedest to help out while I'm there and spread the cheer. At least this year I'm not faking it. I'm in a good place, a real holiday mood for the first time in years. I pray it sticks around.

Happy holidays, y'all! Hug your families tight!

Image of greens on gifts from here. Other two images from here.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Taking Stock

The Holidays. Need I say more?

Eh, I will anyway, you know that (::wink::).....Squeezing in 4 hours of OT this week between regular work, baking, and wrapping. Actually, that's a lie; the wrapping hasn't occured yet. Trying not to leave everything til Friday night, but my energy only stretches so far.

Not doing cookies this year. Seems unnatural, but really, with the traveling we're doing and as busy as I am right now, it's not worth the effort. Instead there's pound cake, and I hope to do peppermint bark and this nutella-sea salt fudge. We'll see...

Outside: I'm hoping the overcast conditions keep it from actually cranking up to 80 today. I fear I'm fooling myself.

Inside: low chatter, boredom, little sleepy...

Wearing: fat pants, brown shoes, blue top and favorite paisley over it.

Reading: A Simple Amish Christmas...sweet story. Gotta love Kindle freebies.

Creating: Ina Garten's pound cake the last 2 nights...prob 1 more night of that, then the candies.

Going: SC prob Saturday morning til Monday, then NC (via Spartanburg hopefully) til Wednesday, then home

For a holiday of peace, and prayers that next year we're in Spartanburg celebrating our own holidays for the first time, with simpler side trips to visit family. I'm a selfish girl, desperate for a house with a backyard for my future dog and garden.

Image from here.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Random Thoughts during OT

In Melanie's world, there are piles and piles of books. And Starbucks. And giant pillow chairs for sitting......

I've made myself a career as an editor. I correct other people's writing. I can accept that I haven't written my great American novel yet, because I've been too busy correcting other people's writing and earning a semi-decent wage in the process. And lack o' lithium makes me scatty and easily distracted by the shiny. And because my great American novel is still trapped on a 3½ inch floppy. And it needed a serious edit 5 years ago.

Just one thing....can we do anything about how incredibly f**king boring it is?!

My job, not the novel....novel's quite witty actually...if I can ever get it off the f**king disc!

Admittedly, my sitch is a little unique. I work for the Henry Ford of website companies. We crank out semi-decent, mostly templated masterpieces by the truckload that small to medium sized businesses snatch up for around $100 a month, because it turns out this Internet thing isn't going away, and some salesperson told them there's a chance their profits could increase by utilizing this perplexing tool.

It is perplexing to lots of small businesses out there still...the number of sites we get, with notes like: "customer does not receive email" or "customer does not own computer" boggles the mind. How the frick do you own a business nowadays without a computer? We talking paper book ledgers here or just a serious aversion to receiving spam, viruses, and chain letters? I may cringe at how technology has taken over our daily lives, but I also freely admit to loving my Kindle, my Internet trolling abilities, and my nifty new cell phone, which isn't even "smart," (thank goodness) but does have a full keyboard for texting now. Yes, Husby and I have joined the texting craze. It's rather pukeworthy in its adorableness. How 2 people can be married for (...6, 7, 8...) 12 years and still render each other squishy with little love notes isn't something I ever want to question. But I digress...

I like to think editing would be different for a news source or a book or magazine publishing company. The stories would be ever-changing, if more depressing occasionally, and there'd be more of a feeling of having my finger on the pulse of our society. Or something.

But this "production environment" is for the birds. We crank out sites by the 100s these days. Yes, it results in a nice quarterly EBITDA; handsome, if pedestrian sites; and I certainly don't disdain my daily wage, the copious OT I've been getting lately, or the holiday bonus that I pray they're bestowing on we worthy (and weary) souls tomorrow...

But it's boring as dog snot most days, and the inability of the copywriters and designers to grasp their jobs makes us editors want to lay our heads on our desks most days, if only to keep from launching our monitors across the office in frustration.

They've also hired so many of us now (copywriters, designers, and editors) that we're sitting too close to the Copy/Design section, and eventually those poor souls (poor, not just for their inadequate writing and design skills, but for the fact that they make less than I do, and I can't imagine living on less than what I make) are going to hear us bitching about their substandard work, and the animosity will build between the teams again, making constructive feedback impossible. And then management will scratch their heads, not move any of us, and demand that we fix it amongst ourselves. Asshats.

I celebrated 12 years with the company this month. I'm just blowing off steam here....I'm on OT and a little brain-tired. In spite of my bitching, I'm immensely grateful for the experience I've gained at the .com and hope I can continue working with them, even if we move out of state. Economy doesn't play a role in my gratitude for employment (yea, OK, that's bullshit, no one's indispensible and unless you're the 1%, you're scared of the state of the economy right now). What I mean is we have a brilliant CEO at the wheel and he's surrounded himself with the right people. We've managed to grow exponentially in the last 5 years, when plenty of other website companies were passing away in the wake of Republican economic policies. That's nothing to sneeze at. It's a good place to work, albeit with the same frustrations you'll find at any office environment. I ain't that special.

But I am a good editor. And that knowledge has helped me recently, helped me let up on myself for not publishing before I was 30....or, ehem, 40 for that matter. I can't measure myself against those I admire who have managed it, to publish amidst careers, farms, small people, dreams (like Jenna, Ashley, you guys!). They have brains that produce lithium, as far as I can tell. I don't know when I'll be fully medicated again, but I do know that my reasoning for not being fully medicated right now is sound, and wrapped in far too much hope and prayer to sway from, until we are certain that all natural or scientific methods have been exhausted. Man, I'm digressing tonight...just shifted to babymaking, if you didn't catch that.

So I accept my scattered personality. That ain't easy, when you were raised by a perfectionist, but by the time you're my age, you also have to stop blaming personality quirks on your parents. I've been out in the world plenty, plus parents that die before their time in my eyes get an instant pass on the bullshit they passed onto you. It's only fair. Didn't put him on a pedestal, actually; just brought things into perspective. Shitty way to learn a life lesson though...if there is a god, she and I are going to have a serious chat when the time comes.

If you stuck it out through this post, you're a true friend and I appreciate the support. My addled psyche needs a release occasionally, and y'all know I'm just journaling here. I won't cure cancer with this blog, or win bloggy awards for my insight. But I enjoy the heck out of giving you, my loyal 6½ readers, glimpses into Melanie's world...reminds me I can still write, when it feels like the only writing I do lately is correcting grammar and punctuation on yet-another frickin' auto repair or construction site.

Images from,, and respectively. Links stopped working for some reason...must be telling me my post is too long ; )

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Taking Stock

The days start to rush now. How the heck is it mid-December already? We're brainstorming about gifts and have almost everyone figured out, but I fear the shipping issue will trip me up if things don't come together quickly.

I'm too much of a former musician to ever wrap my pressies in sheet music; just liked the pic. I do like the simple wrapping ideas...may broach the subject with Husby, because butcher paper with some stamps on it and a pretty ribbon would be more my speed. The middle pic just reminds me that I really need to own a pizelle maker, cuz those cookies rock!

Outside: warming up...trying not to let in the ache that comes with that...

Inside: scattered today, but Chipotle will hopefully help.

Wearing: comfy sweater, best pants and shoes on the planet.

Reading: the occasional sociology text (man, i love my Kindle Fire!), but mostly websites with gift potential.

Creating: pound cake and cookies this weekend...and hopefully outfitting wrapping paper with my own touches.

Going: nowhere til we have to.

Dad J went back into the hospital, then back out again. The chemo is definitely causing the latest symptoms, not that they're getting straight answers out of the docs to that affect. His lymphatic system can't drain the fluid fast enough, so it builds up in his body cavity. Not fun. It'll be a fast and quiet Christmas there, hopefully. Prayers that his quality of life improves. Grandma's hanging in there. We'll travel to SC Christmas Eve, stay til Monday, then head to Mom and Meara in NC til Wednesdayish, I'm thinking. Gotta nail that down. Lil Bro offered to check on the cat for us, and we'll take him up on it, but still don't like leaving her that long; plus we'll both be travel-fried by then. I am taking us through Spartanburg on the way to Charlotte. Just haven't told Husby yet >: )

Have a great week, y'all!

Images from here.

Thursday, December 08, 2011

Taking Stock

Yea, I'm a day late...apologies to my 6½ loyal readers.

It's been a good week, really relaxing. I've been burning PTO, because at my company, it's use-it-or-lose-it on an annual basis. Spent the last 3 days mainly puttering around the house enjoying my new Kindle Fire. Downloaded a pile of free books, a couple of apps and games, and finally figured out the WiFi with Husby's help. Gotta thank Mom J for that sucker several more times; I'm having a blast!!!

There's a delightfully blonde story behind my WiFi woes. I had connected the damn thing last week, but for some reason it wasn't working. I had originally hoped that we could finally move the computer to another part of the apartment, thanks to the WiFi. However, the first discovery was thanks to Lil Sis, the fact that our computer's so old, it doesn't have a WiFi card. OK, no biggie, we can just hook it up for the Kindle. The diagram in the instructions was fairly idiotproof, but I still wasn't getting a working signal...

Sidebar: you know how it is with new electronic toys nowadays.....there's no paper instruction manuals anymore; they just give you a manual that's already loaded into the machine, that you can fetch up whenever you need to. So when I got the Kindle, I gave that a hard skim, but quickly disposed of a more thorough perusal because a) I wanted to play, and b) I'm pretty computer literate, even if this was my first touch-screen mechanism. Ego, thy name is Melanie.

So on Tuesday, after Husby had arrived home from SC and caught up on sleep, he took a look at my setup and deemed that it should be operational. But upon picking up the router, he made discovery #2...the tiny "Wireless" button that was covered up by one of those plastic sheets they put on screens and stuff...yea, wasn't pressed in. When you're looking at the router from a distance, it doesn't look like a button; it looks like a port for something, like earbuds or something. Don't ask me why I took the button to be an earbud we all know, routers don't exactly have "play" capability. I was doing a lot of OT last week, and the brain had definitely hit a wall.

OK, so after those discoveries, it should work, right? Wrong, still wasn't bringing anything up when I tried to access the web on the Kindle. So I begrudgingly admitted that it was time to give the User's Manual another perusal. It took maybe 2 minutes to discover that the reason it wasn't working on the Kindle was because I hadn't turned the frickin' Kindle's WiFi on!!! A quick trip into Settings, the clouds parted, my husband shook his head and sighed deeply, and I laughed at my idiocy for approximately 5 minutes...

That one's not even worth blaming on the lack o' lithium...Mom was blonde; it's a gene thing. Still pretty epic for me though, that level of dipshit.....

Outside: bliss...temps dropped last night, should be reasonable this weekend.

Inside: distracting...will be glad when people start leaving around 5 p.m., as I'm staying late tonight.

Wearing: my uniform (blue sweater, jeans, most comfy shoes on the planet)

Reading: Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, Plato's Republic, and a pile of other social theory-type books...def going through a phase, want to come up with an idea for a thesis, once I've plowed through a bunch of preliminary texts. Kind of going back to college again, without the college.

Creating: Did a fast knit last week of a Kindle case, and have ideas for a better one that will require the sewing machine. But my main creating this weekend will be holiday prep: pound cake, sugar cookie batters, and lists and crafting ideas to narrow down what needs to be made for whom.

Going: nowhere...really enjoying being at home right now.

Dad J starts feeling better. He's back in the hospital again. His symptoms flared up and it was time for his 2nd chemo on the new regimen, so they checked him in for pain management and monitoring. Sounds reasonable, but his quality of life ain't terrific right now, and they're talking about adding a pain pump outside the body, so any prayers are welcome...

My holiday spirit is growing slowly...we'll buy holiday lights and decorate a bit this weekend. I'm looking forward to being a bit more crafty this year. Normally I have great expectations and end up doing very little, but I really want to shift a bit away from the material and toward more handmade items for family. Baby steps, I know...and there are some family members that that just will never work on. Some people don't even get that baked goods should be considered part of the gift; they consider it "extra". But a girl can try.

Image from here.

Friday, December 02, 2011

Image says it all

I'm so fickle. Can't stand how quickly this year went by, but I'm really digging that it's December.

Feels like a time of beginnings, for some reason. In truth, it oughta be the time of endings, of reflection and powering down a bit...but with Solstice marking the return of the Sun, I find myself looking ahead as usual, instead of looking back. Certainly, we can learn from the past; but I'm definitely in "go" mode right now.

Thinking about decorating a bit...have some small tasks to do around the house after OT tomorrow. We're completely out of Christmas lights, which sucks, as I'd love to string those around the apartment, but have to wait til next check. So I'll look thru the holiday box and grab stuff outside from nature for displaying.

Dad J improving. Husby comes home Monday. I'm off most of next week, burning PTO so I don't lose it. Gonna be a much-needed-and-deserved break.

Image from here.