faery_whisper: (faefire)
I *had* to share this because I couldn't stop laughing. Back in 2004 (yes, we are going old school in my LJ), I posted this entry about this guy in Scotland who was advertising for a virgin to use as bait for the Loch Ness Monster. After reading the entry, I wondered if he had ever found a person who was willing to be bait. I didn't find anything on google on first glance, but I did find this link where he apparently has been named the protector of the monster. He also doesn't appreciate the cruel use of the word "monster" and instead insists that the government change the name to "creature." This seems somewhat ironic to me since he was perfectly ok with the sacrifice of a virgin to the "creature's" appetite.

Ah, the good ol' days of LJ, where communities were active and I could easily find crazy things without even looking for them.
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So, with the DNC convention going on, I was reminded that I got a job offer on the same day that Obama got elected 4 years ago. I even found the post where I made a comment on how his "economic plan" was already helping me and he hadn't even been inaugurated yet. ;) And it brought me, eventually, to the entry where I wrestled with whether or not to stay in a private sector law firm (and a small one at that) or take a chance on a government job that was part time. I ended up, as everyone knows, taking the state job due mostly to the fact that I would be able to finish my Associate's Degree at CSM before moving on to UMUC for my Bachelor's. I wanted to finish something quickly and I was sadly only like 20 credits or less from my AA at the time I went back to CSM.
a little too political for this entry )
But anyway, this post is not really meant to be about politics, and so I'll put the above behind a cut. I took a chance, even though there were more than a few people telling me not to give up the full time position for the uncertainty of part time. I took the job with the state. And it was hell for 2 years financially, and then hell the final year at DSS work wise. But it was worth it. I mean, look at me now. I'm basically in a law firm for the government. I have about the same salary I had in DC when I was at W&C, except that this time, I actually EARNED it and didn't get it through some warped sense of nepotism.

And I have to say, I'm kind of proud of myself. To go from a bad marriage fraught with financial storms and the stress of a newborn to now having completed the first major degree of my education, having a well paying job that I like and preparing for the next chapter in my educational pursuit. To go from struggling to make ends meet to being able to afford (with the help of my amazing boyfriend of course) a nice townhouse in a great neighborhood near an excellent school district! To go from not having much of a vacation in so many years to going on a wonderful, fun-filled trip to Disney World! And even beyond the financial gains, but also to the emotional, personal and familial gains. I get to live with the love of my life now after almost 4 years of only getting to see each other on the weekends if that, and before then, never getting to see it each other when he was in the military. I get to spend time with my daughter doing fun things and not just a few minutes inbetween answering conference questions, reading textbooks or writing papers. I get to spend real quality time with her, taking her to do fun things, snuggling with her during a movie, playing with her at the beach, etc etc etc.

And I'm in awe that one thing Obama said (that has gotten a lot of controversy) is so true and that is that I didn't do this alone. I'm paraphrasing, of course, but I had the support of my family, particularly my father and sister, helping to care for Denise when I had tests to take, papers to write or just needed a break. I had the support of my friends who sadly I didn't get to see much of, but I am happy to say that this summer, that has changed a lot! Jo and Walter have both said that we've seen each other more in the past couple of months than we've seen each other in the past few years!!! Dennis was and still is one of the most supportive people in my life, whether it was being completely understanding of my need to finish my degree or more recently when he stepped up to help cover some of my share of the financial burden when the child support payments stopped coming for a while. Thankfully that was a short-lived crisis!

So, to the question I posed in this entry I can truly answer that, yes, I did make the right decision, not just at that time, but for my life as a whole. I'm happy where I am professionally, emotionally, educationally, and personally. I definitely feel like I'm better off than I was 4 years ago and I can only hope that, regardless of who is president, I'm better off in the 4 years to come and beyond. :)

Six months

Sep. 13th, 2011 09:52 pm
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While initially I hated UMUC's new policy of 8 week sessions, I'm kind of loving it now. I registered for spring 2012, aka: my last semester. Because of the 8 week classes, I will start the final semester in January and be done by March 11th. That's right folks, I will be finished my Bachelor's degree in less than 6 months! WOOT!

Due to this relevation, I may take a breather from the job search outside of the state for a while because I want to take Denise to Disney world to celebrate my bachelor's and her 5th birthday (though, we may go for spring break so she doesn't miss school). We're getting to the point now where if I don't find something in the next month, I won't earn enough leave at the new job to go away for a week+. If I find a job in the state, it's no big deal because my leave will transfer, but outside of the state, even the federal govt, and I'm screwed.

It's comforting to know that my continuous statements of "I can survive anywhere for a year except (insert certain county here)" is no longer a real issue. While I won't get the hard copy of the degree until probably mid summer and it won't be on my transcript til late May/early June, I will be able to request a letter of completion to send to prospective employers after my grades post.

Ironic that it's 4 years to the month since I basically ended my marriage that I'll achieve the educational degree I've been working so hard towards. March is my life-changing month. Bought a house in March, got married in March, started W&C in March, separated in March, and now...finishing a degree in March. :P I can't really say it's a lucky month, but it's certainly a CHANGING month!

Six more months. I can do this. I'm still hoping for PG county, still applying to state positions that I qualify for (and may start applying to ones I don't currently qualify for, but will in 6 months just because), but at the same time, knowing that the light at the end of the tunnel may come in after the degree is completed. Another chapter of my life will soon be coming to a close, and with the achievement of another degree, I hope to finally stand again on my own two feet, on my own, with a new job and a new home. :)

A lot of people at work (mainly in the particular county in question) have told me that I'm "not as young as I think" and that I "need to start planning in the long term jobwise." I have been planning jobwise, and I know that they mean I should look to stick it out in a job longterm, but my argument with that right now is...I'm not done with my education yet. Even after my bachelor's is hanging on the wall in all its glory (assuming it gets there, the associates is still in the folder CSM gave me...), I still have plans to pursue my law degree. What's the point in settling in for the long haul when I'm nowhere near my career goal as of yet. The main "settling" I'm looking to do is to remain in government. I like the state...mostly, but I'd love the federal. I could go back to the private sector, and have honestly been looking into what's available to me. Getting some serious litigation experience as a paralegal would be beneficial for when I go for the bar. My boss works in both the government and the private sector and that, to me, is the dream job. His part time position with the state gives him all the benefits of state employment and a decent salary while his private practice provides a more lucrative living.

I've got ambitions that never sleep. :P And I'm not ready to settle into anything. I want to see where my education and my experience will take me and I'm looking forward to starting the next chapter of my life which includes law school and becoming an attorney. However, before I start law school, I want to take some time off, relax, recuperate and spend some serious time with my daughter. I'd like to finally take that step to move in with Dennis, maybe someday try my hand at marriage again though I can certainly admit to being more than a little gunshy on that scenario.

Anyway, just wanted to share some good news with some future anticipation. :D I can't believe I'm almost done the degree that has escaped me for 10+ years! :P
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I've been wanting to see Idina in concert since my sister introduced me to her two years ago (I'd heard her on Rent, but never really paid attention to the names of the voices on the soundtrack) and told me how awesome she is live. I missed her in July since I had my daughter that weekend, but when I heard she was coming to DC in October, I was bound and determined I wasn't missing her again!



I'm so glad I stuck to my resolution because last night was phenomenal. The National Symphony Orchestra is amazing and I definitely enjoyed listening to their renditions of broadway musical overtures. The banter onstage between Idina and Marvin Hamlish was hilarious and Idina herself was just breathtaking.



But I'm getting ahead of myself. I had quite a good time overall and I wanted to write about the experience in depth. I decided to go alone to the concert, mainly because when I bought the ticket, I found one in a decent seat for $20 because that was basically all I could afford, and also partly because I knew that Dennis was going to be testing in October so I doubted he could go. After dropping off Denise with her dad, I was on my way to the metro. I made really good time both driving and on the metro considering it was in the middle of the Friday night rush hour. The Kennedy Center has a great service they provide in a free shuttle that takes you from the metro to the building and back again, which saved me from a lot of walking in the cold and in not so comfortable shoes. :)



I decided to just grab a bite at their Cafe, which probably wasn't the best choice. $10 for a sandwich that was mediocre at best kind of sucked, but I got to meet some interesting people along the way. I did feel kind of silly though. Most people I met were there to see the NSO, not Idina. :P There wasn't much in the way of seating, so I sat at a huge round table with an older couple who were waiting for their son.



We didn't speak to each other at first, but eventually we started talking and I learned that they were season tickets holders for the POPS series. I explained my love of Idina and things that she's been in, but they'd never heard of her, or heard her, before. I told them they were in for a treat! I didn't see them after the show, so I hope they enjoyed it. Their son had their tickets and they were slightly annoyed with him since he was running late, but the woman told me her son would be late to his own funeral, so they were good-natured about it. They asked me a lot about Southern Maryland and when their son arrived, they learned that I had metroed it in. I got the usual looks of sympathy/apprehension when I told them I take the green line. Which were even more amusing to me after the Tea Party rally that Rachel Maddow made such fun of on her show regarding their "approved" map of DC for where ralliers would be "safe." :)



After we parted ways, it was time for the show and I was pleased to find that there were quite a few empty seats around my seat. They started the first "half" without Idina, and informed us it would be the shortest first half ever. Marvin came on and said "welcome to winter. Yesterday we had summer, now we're in winter. I'm staying at the Four Seasons, but I'm only getting two." :) I liked him a lot, he had a good sense of humor and was a fun presence on the stage.



The NSO played overtures to things like Gypsy, Annie Get Your Gun, and My Fair Lady. Then they took a break and after the intermission, Idina came out! She looked amazing! She sang a few songs I hadn't heard of, and some songs from her shows, like from Rent. The song she sang from Rent was interesting because it wasn't really "her" song in the show. It was No Day But Today, but she did an amazing job at it. She also sang the song she sang on Glee, Lady Gaga's Poker Face, which was...interesting. It was funny because she interrupted the song in the middle and started explaining about the experience of being on Glee and how this song was supposed to be a reuniting of her character with her character's daughter and how she just couldn't see that from the lyrics. :P She then explained the experience of being on Glee because she was still breastfeeding at the time and she was pumping on set. She said something like "I had to pump my boobs" and after they had been talking for a bit, Marvin goes "well, as long as we're pausing the song, I need to ask something." He then walked over to the signer who was signing everything for the deaf and asked how they signed "pump my boobs." I think that was the funniest moment of the night.



At one point, Idina sang part of "For Good" from Wicked acapello without a mike which was just awesome! You could tell why she was Broadway for so long! Her final song before the encore was "Defying Gravity" and I cried. That song, it was introduced to me at a time in my life when I really needed it. I had come home from NC, broken, still angry and bitter about the end of my marriage and the falling out of a friendship I thought could withstand anything. I was broke, in debt, and not in the best place mentally, and that song helped me to believe that I could do anything if I set my mind to it. That no obstacles could hold me down and that my future is unlimited. It's been one of my favorite songs ever since and I thought the first time I saw it live when I saw Wicked this spring was an experience. That did not compare to how it felt hearing Idina sing it live, especially since it was her voice that I heard when I was in that low point, and hearing it live last night just filled me with so many emotions. Some sad at the memory of that time in my life, but most proud of myself for getting to a point where I could afford to enjoy this moment and that the song is still true as I keep continuing to overcome my obstacles.


After the show, there was a crowd of people trying to catch a glimpse of Idina. I didn't stick around, though my sister did get to meet her once and said she was really nice as she spoke to everyone who was waiting for her on the other side of the gate. I just stood in line for the shuttle and headed back to the metro, and then home. And the ride was completely uneventful...except for some interesting Halloween costumes. :)



I'm really glad I was able to go last night. Glad I had been able to afford the ticket, glad the cold I'm not fighting didn't fully take over last night so I could enjoy the experience, and hell, even glad that the ex was on time to get Denise and didn't back out at the last minute. I loved the show and I hope to see Idina again in the future. Anyway, just wanted to share the experience.

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faery_whisper: (Default)
So, I've seen a couple of my LJ friends doing this and I think it'd be nice to do something other than rant about drama. It'd be nice to focus on happier things and from what I've seen of what other people have written, it might help me to be a little introspective and less reactive for at least one entry per day. ;)

Here we go...

the list )

Day 1 )
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That's right friends, I FINALLY got to get my WICKED fix on Saturday night! OMG, fucking amazing show! It was such a change from my usual musical, Rent, in that they actually had like elaborate set changes and awesome ones at that! HOLY CRAP awesome!

So, backtracking a bit, Kate and I decided to head down around 3. My sister thought we were crazy for leaving so early; however, she and her friends were going to see a matinee, so the likelihood of their meal with show was dinner AFTER the show...whereas Kate and I wanted to do it before. We got to Richmond by 5, found the parking garage, parked AND got free parking* and then walked to the restaurant. The theatre's website had advertised a local cafe that was doing a WICKED special, so Kate and I were all over that! We picked a parking garage that was roughly halfway between the place and the theatre, so we walked quite a bit. It took us about 20 minutes to a half hour to walk to the restaurant and then there was a 30 minute wait. So, we finally got to eat around 6. This is what I expected, and after NYC's lack of a really nice dinner, I really wanted to do WICKED right, and so we did. The Strawberry Cafe(which is where we went) was pretty good. I started my night off right with an apple martini(haven't had one in a while) and then decided to really get into the spirit of WICKED and had a "Wicked Witch" which, surprisingly, was red instead of green. :P But really good! The deal was that you could get 2 entrees and an appetizer for $26. With the drinks, it ended up being significantly more, but worth it. :P I had another WICKED special of crab cakes over a salad with some sort of strawberry dressing that was delish!

Anyway, after dinner, we booked it over to the venue since it was after 7 and we knew it'd be about another 20-30 minute walk. We got there around 7:45, grabbed our seats and enjoyed a spectacular performance! The special effects, the scene changes, the actors, the singing, it was PHENOMENAL! I am SO glad I chose this of the choices my sister gave me for a grad present cause it was just amazing! And I will say this, I LOVE the song Defying Gravity, I quote it constantly, it's like my number one theme song. I teared up during the live performance of it. I just...I totally identified with Elphaba and after falling in love with that song right after returning to MD, I just felt so moved. It was so powerful, and perfect, and just...I have an English degree and cannot find enough adjectives to fully describe what it was like for me. Kate had asked prior to the show about the song because I do quote it and mention it so often and I think after the performance, she completely understand why it's my fave song. :D

We had such good seats too! They were in the orchestra, almost under the balcony, but still really close and really awesome! I may have to uproot RENT from my favorite musicals simply because of the awe I felt watching WICKED. It was beautiful, so beautiful and I love how they try to keep it in line with the Wizard of Oz, which anyone in my family can tell you was a fave of mine when I was a kid. I'd finish watching it, rewind it, and start it over again... Can you imagine what I would have been like if it was on dvd back then? :P It gives such depth to the Wizard of Oz because it stays true to the story while adding a lot of explanation for how these characters came to be the way they are. I cannot explain how much I loved it!

It was over much too soon, and we headed back home. So worth it though and I see that it's coming to DC summer 2011, so I'm SO there. Kate and I talked about hitting up NYC sometime this summer, but I think I want to see something new if we do go, like Jersey Boys or the Lion King or even Mama Mia! I did see they are trying to turn WICKED into a movie, but there doesn't appear to be a consensus on WHEN it will become a movie.

Today was mostly spent on my Anthropology research paper, which the rough draft is finished, thank goodness. After that, I watched "Believe: The Eddie Izzard story" which I had netflixed. I need to buy it, it was just that amazing of a story. I was really moved when he started talking about his mother who died when he was only like 7 or 8 from cancer. He said "The big problem is that everything I do in life is me trying to get her back. I think if I do everything, that maybe she'll come back." I completely understand and relate to that. It may seem contradictory to look at some of the decisions I made in the past few years, but I think a lot of that was also just me trying to rush at life, to experience everything because after mom's death, I was afraid that life wouldn't be long enough for me. Now, I have a better understanding that life isn't about reaching all your goals before you die, but continuing to make new goals and enjoying the journey to each one. And I can't really regret things I did in the past because, while they didn't always (or even very often) turn out the way I planned or hoped, I learned a lot from them, and most importantly to me, I lived through them. I once wrote in an old journal entry about a "friend" who is no longer about how I felt that this person hadn't really lived or experienced much of what life had to offer. And in comparison to myself I wrote: "I may be a wayward spirit, I may have made bad choices that landed me in bad situations, but at least I not only lived to tell the tale, I also have a tale to tell!" So, while I hope and plan to make smarter choices in the future, I cannot begin to believe or expect that my life will ever cease to have a bit of recklessness to it, a bit of an adventurers spirit, and I, for one, don't see that as a bad thing!

*We got free parking in Richmond because when we pulled into the parking garage, after searching for something in his little booth, the attendant just told us to pay on the way out. Well, when we came back to the garage, there was no one in the booth and barely any cars left in the garage. We stopped and waited for a second at the booth to see if someone would come over, but then we just left...
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I've had this journal for over 6 years, and I'm sad to say the majority of my entries were depressed or angry. So, I'd like to post one that's completely happy and positive.

My life...is just...I can't describe how good it's getting. It hasn't been easy, some of it I've been fighting hard for, but it's been SO worth the fights, drama, and bullshit.

I've spoken in more detail with my supervisors, the HR director at St. Mary's and even the director of the entire department at Calvert(really really nice guy) about my desire to become full time. There's been tentative talk that St. Mary's may have a position for me to combine with my current one that will bring my hours to full time, but there's some scheduling conflicts involved in that. I'm hoping it works out though because I'd love to stay in my current position as this is the first time EVER that I have LOVED a job. I love my co-workers, my bosses, my attorney...it's just so awesome and I'm so happy! I'm exhausted everyday from school, work and Denise, but I go to bed every night with a smile.

I also have an interview with the Board of Elections next week. It's the same salary scale as me, and it's still law-based(dealing with election laws), but it's more administrative than legally structured. Still, it's local, which means I can keep Denise where she is, it's full time, and it's still with the state, so I can keep all my benefits!!! I'm hoping that if it doesn't work out that the position in February does, but I will start throwing myself back into the job search after exams.

School is just...I'm so proud of myself! I took a challenging semester, 5 classes, all online, and knowing that I'd have more than my fair share of drama to boot. While I could have done better in some of my classes, I'm proud of my expected GPA of about 3.4 that I kept up in spite of it all! And in a little over a month, I'll be reaping the benefits of finally finishing a college degree. I graduate January 14th and I'm thrilled! The college was even willing to put my diploma in my maiden name as I didn't want my success associated with my failure.

And the hits just keep on coming! I spoke with my advisor at UMUC on Wednesday and today my transcripts have posted! I should start out right at the halfway mark for my bachelors and I'm already registered for 10 credits for spring semester! If I can keep up the 10 credit run for each semester, I should finish by fall of 2011 which is my first goal! And if I can obtain full time at either of the options listed above or anywhere else I might apply, I plan to work there for the 2 years as I finish school and then, depending on what I'm doing, I plan to try to either go federal or go to Annapolis in the state. Hopefully everything will work out so that I can meet my move out goal of spring 2012 as well!

My relationships have also improved. My sister and I seem to have settled most of our differences and spend a lot more time together now than we ever have in the past. I've seen a different side of my dad since Denise came into his life and I'm loving the improvements in our relationship. I've reconnected with most of my support networks, and many dear friends I had lost during my reign of the stupid. I've reconnected with the lost love, the "one that got away" so to speak, and I'm finally understanding the meaning of the phrase "happy, healthy relationship." I'm so happy for him, as he's at an interview right now and if he gets this position, it'll help move our lives forward. Then, it'll be my turn to get full time employment. ;) And most importantly, I have significantly improved my relationship with my daughter. Being in a better place mentally, emotionally, and even physically has helped me so much to be a better mother. Having the support of so many friends and family has been a blessing to my relationship with Denise. I love her so much and I know if it wasn't for her, I may never have realized my potential.

Usually around this time of year, I'm depressed, crying my eyes out, mourning my mother. My only sadness right now centers around the fact that I'm finally getting my life together, and she's not here to see it. But I know that she'll be smiling down on me when I walk across that stage in January and accept my diploma. I have so much to be thankful for that all my sadness is replaced by the knowledge that she finally can be proud of me! I'm finally getting it right!

Life is good, and I'm finally happy with it!
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The last line of this song(notes and all) has been stuck in my head all day today, so I finally looked it up to get it out and in full version in front of me. I love this song, and haven't heard it in ages, but I know why it's there. And like it says, we can't go back again, there's no use given in, and there's no way to know what might have been. It can go for two different parts of my life, one where it's a bit too sweet and nostalgic, but the line above does speak wonders, and the other where it's ok to be nostalgic and accept the bittersweet. :)

Writing...

Jul. 3rd, 2009 08:49 am
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I've been inspired to write again. Not just a little short story or poem or blog entry, but another novel. Let me tell you, it's been YEARS since I've really felt this bout of inspiration strike. The last novel I wrote was back in high school, and it is one I will likely never see again due to letting someone who is no longer a part of my life take it to read it. This will teach me to not make copies. ;)

This novel is not at all in the same genre as that last one. In fact, this is no mere novel at all that I've been inspired to write. I have so many ideas running through my head that I can foresee this becoming a trilogy. It has to do with the strange world that was "created" in my marriage, but with my own creative flair brought in. Some of the character aspects will change, as will many of the original stories to better fit in with the world I'm creating. It'll be a fantasy/science fiction sort of tale, which was NEVER what I envisioned myself writing. I always hoped to one day craft my stories more in the vein of mystery writer Mary Higgins Clark, however, I just do not have her flair for writing mysterys. This story is just bursting out of me though. And I think with enough time and effort put into it, I will eventually have something that may be worthy of publishing.

My main focus will be on the strong female character I've created and added to the mix. I've been doing a lot of character development particularly with her over the past few weeks, without much idea of what I wanted to do with her. It was just like her character was speaking to me and demanding to be known. It was only last night that it started to take on the shape of a real story. I had some ideas before then, and had originally just planned to focus the story solely around her, but then I felt I needed that strong male lead to really add to it. And then, it just kind of formed into 2 stories... The third story(or in reality the second of the trilogy) is going to take some brainstorming, although I have a good idea of what I think it'll center around.

Anyway, I'm hoping to really start working on it once this class ends and try to work on it as much as possible throughout the semesters, but mainly on breaks. I know that it will likely take me a LONG time to get even just the first book finished, but I'm looking forward to starting it. I think I'll have to use some of the discipline I've learned with doing schoolwork on weeknights and not seeing people during the semester like I did spring and summer semesters to set aside time daily, or at least regular times each week to write. I'm sure at some point I'll just write as creativity strikes, but I seem to do well under some form of structure. We'll see.

I'm excited though, and may share some of what I write on here for commentary and the like. I'm not really planning to set it up for publishing, but if it ends up being something that might be worthy of trying for, we'll cross that bridge when we come to it. For now, like my other two novels, it's just for fun and for me to share my writing with friends and family. :)

Relay

Jun. 7th, 2009 08:25 am
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So, last night was an interesting evening, full of emotions of all kinds. I'm actually going to write two separate entries because one event in particular needs an entry all it's own.

I took Denise there in the afternoon for about an hour. My grandmother showed up right before we left, so we left a bit later than I anticipated, but oh well. Denise had a lot of fun wandering around and waving at EVERYONE we passed. I don't know where the social butterfly gene came from, it must have skipped my siblings and I and gone straight to my daughter.

She was actually the oldest girl among our teammates children who came. There was one very small newborn, and a one year old while we were there and I found out later that my biggest myspace fan showed up with her daughter as well, but she and I missed each other. :P I was too busy watching belly dancing at that time...more on that later.

I took her home a little after 6 to get her fed, bathed and to bed. Then I headed back. As soon as I got there, I heard the music that was....quite literally, music to my ears! The soft pulsing beat of arabic music. My intent was to immediately rush over to the center stage to enjoy my favorite dance, but I first stopped to drop off my bag at the tent and at that point I found out our team had gotten silver for the amount of money we raised, so we took a picture in front of the sign. After that, I ran over to the belly dancing! Oh it was wonderful. Not quite as glitzy and glamorous as the gala DR and I went to in DC, but any belly dancing is totally worth the experience. My sister teased me, of course, but oh well. I was in heaven. I finally worked up the nerve after watching most of the performance to ask the woman who looked in charge about lessons. Sure enough, they not only have them, but they are right here! In St. Mary's at the Parks and Rec building. She has a beginners class starting on the 22nd, but it's at 6 and I know I can't do that. But she said in the fall she would have more classes, so...maybe...if I can afford it, I'll start taking it again. :D

The last dance they did was a greek line dance that I'm not really sure I got, but I got to hold hands with a REALLY hot guy...who was probably quite a few years younger then me and I'm fairly certain gay. :P I've got to get used to that though. Next weekend, my sister, me and an old family friend are all headed up to to meet my uncle and his fiance in DC for DC Pride and I'm sure I'll see quite a few gorgeous but totally uninterested guys there. Dennis actually had a field day with this when I told him about my intended trip to DC. He was like "erm...you're going to a gay pride parade? Is there something you want to tell me?" I told him I was going with my uncle and that my sister just said it was a lot of fun. Kinda like mardi gras, but you didn't have to do anything to get the beads. I told him I had plans to dye my hair and what not before going and he laughed and was like "trying to look good for the lesbians?" Why not? More beads that way! ;) Who knows, maybe I'll finally be converted like Jess always wanted. :P

After that, I teamed up with my sister and her friend and we walked for a bit. Then it was time for the luminaries ceremony. We found mom's luminary(which I took a pic of lit up on my cell) and stood by it to light it. They had a screen up to display pics and names of those honored or remembered who were still fighting, had survived, or had lost their fight with cancer. Unfortunately, the pic Dawn sent of mom didn't make it to them, but they had her name. And once all the luminaries were lit, we did the walk of remembrance and then just kept walking for a good while. Time flew by a lot faster than expected. Before I knew it, it was 11 and they were doing the fight back ceremony.

I think there's one button I'm never going to be able to move and that is the anger I feel when people continuously tote doing the "right thing" and going to the doctor for cancer screenings. My mom kept trying to find out what was wrong with her and no doctor ever found out til the one finally suggested a colonoscophy. By then, it was too late for her, but luckily for my siblings and I, we know what we have to do to not share her fate. I'm not saying I don't agree with trying, but I am saying that sometimes it doesn't work as well as you hope it would.

Anyway, at one point, Dawn, her friend and I were walking and talking about how we have lost 2 great aunts and our mom to colon cancer and Dawn paused at one point and said "so..."and I ended with "we're pretty much screwed." :P

After the fight back ceremony, it was kind of dead for me. We didn't walk anymore and Dawn started making comments about going home since I had told her I needed to get some sleep to function today. As it turns out, I didn't fall asleep until 6am, and then was woken up at 7 by Denise. I found out after rushing to get her that she had lost her pacifier and had actually laid back down to sleep when I came bursting in. *sigh* I need a camera in there so I can see when she needs me and when she doesn't...

But I headed home about 12:30ish. I parked as far away as possible when I came back cause there was no parking close by, so I had a nice long walk. I got home a little before 1:30 and then spent about an hour on the phone with Dennis. I needed to...process some things. :P I'm going to write more about that later though.

All in all, I think Relay was a success. I had a lot of fun with my sister and her co-workers. I had to wonder if St. Mary's DSS had a team there, but if they did, I didn't see anyone I recognized. I did run into Denise's old teacher from her last daycare. Denise recognized her before I did and ran up to give her a quick hug before rushing back to me. I think she was afraid seeing her meant that I would leave her. :P

Looking forward to next year, where I hope to raise more money.
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I had stuff to do throughout the day today, but a lot of it was spent contemplating mother's day gifts. I know, I know, I don't have a mother, who am I buying gifts for? It's a surprise, but it's something I've done before.

I got a voicemail from the state's attorney that said Travis has agreed to the guidelines they figured out, and they just needed to go over a few details with me before the court order goes through. So, that's good news, at least now there will be consequences if he doesn't pay again. Although, from what I have seen on various friend's LJ's and even a few RL friends, it's far from over. Still, I do have a bit of peace of mind.

I tried to call the paralegal there back, but got her voicemail, so I left her a message. I'm hoping to hear back from her before I head out(which I'll be doing in about a half hour). I'm just wondering when he'll stop paying me and will start having the wages deducted, so I can plan for that, as I'm sure it'll take a little bit of time to get set up. We should be getting the NC tax return next week though(from what there system says). I found out, after getting incredibly irritated with the fact that our return had the same damn status for a month, that NC is holding checks for a while because of the economy, and that they were 4 weeks behind. However, they now have our status as the check written, so it should be here soon. I can pay a bit more to the summer session with my share and get Denise a "big" birthday gift. I'm looking at swingsets, but am afraid to get a "toddler" type one if she's going to outgrow it quickly. It says 2-6 years though, so that would be a good investment if she does play with it for that long. I just want something for her to do in the backyard year round when it's not too cold and is sunny. The pool will be open soon(and I saw this AWESOME floatation device with a motor for toddlers that *I* want for ME :P), so at least then she can go swimming. She had a blast with that last summer. I wish it was open for her party, but it'll likely be too cold.

I got the invitations all done last night and will be stopping by the post office to mail them on the way to pick up Denise. So, keep a look out! :P I can't believe my little one is turning 2! And she's becoming SUCH a big girl too! I wrote a bit on my myspace last night about her. The other day at daycare, she had a tick in her ear. :( I held her while the director got it out with tweazers. We got the whole thing, so she's good, but I'm wary to go for walks with her now. She likes to wander among the "flowers"(read: weeds) on the side of the road, particularly picking the dandelions because I showed her how if she blew on them, the seeds would scatter. She loves to do that! She also saw DR running past us yesterday and went running towards him, dragging me behind. He swears she said "hi David" but I think he imagined it. However, when an old family friend who is now a police officer, like his dad, drove by, DR said "it's the police!" And Denise echoed "it's the peas!" *lol* She tried to run after him, but he was too fast for her. She had a lot of fun last Sunday when we walked over there to give his family their invitations(I'm inviting his sister and her little girl as well).

She also is destined to be an only child. This little girl in her class came up to me Wednesday, and when we finished with the tick problem, Denise left my lap to go wander, and this little girl jumped in her spot. When Denise saw it, she would have none of this, and started pushing the girl out of my lap saying "my mama! mine!" Then yesterday and this morning, she pushed the little girl away saying "no! my mama!" *lol* So, yeah, only child...

Sociology is done now, as far as I'm concerned. I submitted my last two journal assignments and I'm not planning to do quiz 8 since my quiz average is at 89% with the six highest quiz scores. If my last quiz is another "A", it'll increase that a few percentage points. I'm preparing for my Com exam on Monday, which we can use one full notecard for(my partner got to do one side, I do the other) and I filled out my side last night. I'm going to look over my notes over this weekend to prepare, but I'm not worried. I was one of 3 people who got the highest grade on the midterm. :) I hope to get my research paper back for English on Monday, but since not everyone turned them in, she might wait until she's done with all of them. I get 10 bonus points for turning it in on Wednesday. I'm pretty much guaranteed an "A" in that class.

I got the books for Pop Culture, and I think I've found enough quotes to cover the different movies/tv shows I've discussed in my paper, so once I add those to the paper, I should be done with it for GOOD. The final version is due on the 30th! I'm hoping to take that final quiz on Wednesday, so I can be officially done with BOTH my online classes!

So glad it's Friday. So ready to start my weekend! Tonight is Dollhouse with DR, tomorrow is dinner with Dennis, and Saturday daytime and Sunday are reserved for hanging out with Denise and schoolwork. I'm looking forward to it!
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So, St. Mary's DSS received a bomb threat today. Technically, the threat specifically pointed out that it was in one of the court-related buildings. Well, the courthouse in "downtown" Leonardtown was also evacuated, but since we have District Court in our building, we had to be evacuated and searched as well. Two hours later, I'm not sure they found anything...

I spent the two hours sitting in DR's mom's car with a bunch of other women, discussing various co-workers I've never met, and regaling them with some hilarious stories from my days at W&C. At some points, the three women in the back seat would get into their own discussion, leaving me and DR's mom to talk amongst ourselves. I really like her a lot, she's a very sweet person

I've been thinking about my future plans and how I hope to be out of my dad's by 2011. I'm still not 100% sure I'll get out in 2011. I'm torn between wanting to continue my focus on school for at least another year to really get a jumpstart on my bachelor's degree, and going back to work full time once I get my associates. I could, theoretically, do both, but it'd be easier to do both when Denise was older and better able to help herself. But I don't want to wait until then to start pursuing my bachelor's. I think I'm just going to have to see how taking classes completely online goes. I like that I've had a taste of that with CSM, and I think I've been doing pretty well with it, but now ALL of my classes will likely be online. Which also brought up the thought process of daycare, and how I wouldn't qualify for assistance over 20 hours if I wasn't going to school in an actual classroom. As it is now, DSS isn't paying what it should be with my income because I really have 6 hours of classes, and they are only paying for 4. But it's better than nothing, so I don't complain, and I'm still getting money for the 20 hours of work too. So, I will need to work fulltime, or at least work more than I do now in order to qualify for the hours I put Denise in daycare, or put her in a part time program, which might be hard to find. We shall see.

Anyway, it's time for me to head out, so I'm going to end this. I'm a bit concerned now though, Calvert had a bomb threat similar to this on March 19th...
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So, coming to Communications was kind of a wasted effort today. I mean, we got 5 points for our last "quiz" if we showed up on time, and I met with my partner for the exam next week. We divided up the chapters and I'm doing the last two since she wasn't here for parts of those. It shouldn't be as bad as I originally thought, which is good. Once this is over, we only have one more paper to do with that class and then we are done for the semester! WOOT!

Women's Lit is also coming to a close, although I have to go to the class in a half hour. My research paper, that I haven't even really started writing, is due on Wednesday, but it's only 1250 words and I've already written up a generic outline that sums up what I plan to write about, now it's just about organizing the thoughts and putting them down on paper. I will work on it tonight and tomorrow night, but I also have to work on my Sociology quiz, which is supposed to be due tomorrow night. However, he hasn't sent us the grades from our last quiz yet and if he takes this long, he normally gives us an extra day, which I have yet to take advantage of. If he does it this time around, I plan to work on it Wednesday. It really doesn't matter as he's only counting 5 of the 8 quizzes and I've gotten B's and A's on 5 thus far, with the 6th one still awaiting a grade. Pop Culture has one more quiz due on May 4th and I have already finished the readings for two of the lectures as well as the lecture questions for those two. I still need to tweak that research paper again, but I'll do that at the end of the week after the research paper for English is signed, sealed and delivered.

I am SO glad that this semester is almost over and I am in the home stretch! Even with the ridiculous hours for my math class, I do not foresee the summer being anywhere NEAR as bad as the spring semester was. Fall might be if I do what I want to do, but even that shouldn't be too terrible. This semester just had a ton of reading to do and it was hard to balance, but I did it!

I'm actually thinking about taking some time "off" towards the end of the week and going out, if dad is willing to babysit. After my research paper for English is turned in, that'll be a huge load off my back and I can really start relaxing. So, I'm thinking I might just go out to dinner or maybe catch a movie and let off a little steam. This semester hasn't been just stressful due to school, as we all know that the dreaded ex has continuously made his presence known throughout it. Dennis told me that I seem to constantly deal with a high level of stress and that's not necessarily a good thing, but at least in this case, I handled it well enough to keep up with my job, my schoolwork and my daughter even with all the buttons certain people tried to press. It's just like John said, I have to move my buttons, which I'm working on.

If there's one thing I have learned about myself recently it is that I am a survivor. People have told me in the past that they did not know if they could pick up and move forward as I have done with some of the events of my past, but my philosophy is as long as I'm alive, I have to live. As I wrote in my creative essay recently, I am that girl on the beach, I am drawing that line in the sand, and to life and any enemies, I am defiantly shouting: "Hit me with your best shot!"
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I've decided instead of writing about my weekend, I'm just going to post something I wrote during my weekend and call it a day. So...enjoy. :)

I sit before the ocean, my oldest friend. The clam serenity I feel before it, the old familiar openness brings me great peace. I can be myself in her prescense. She has rocked me since childhood in her rolling waves. She has watched me like a mother with her child; protecting, guiding and listening. I feel a sense of belonging, as if I have returned home from a long, arduous journey abroad.

She is happy to see me. Her waves envelop my feet like an embrace. The sun glinting on her waves is reminscent of a soft, welcoming smile. The wind pushes me closer to her and I revel in our reunification. The sun beats down like a warming comfort as we settle down for a long talk.

She knows life has not been so kind since my last visit. She has heard as much from the bay and the rivers I have turned to in her stead in quiet contemplation. She knows of my moves, impending divorce, and continuous romantic upheaval. She is steadfast in her comfort and concern as I explain in greater detail. She knows my heart hurts and my soul seeks refuge in her vastness. She soothes me in the whisper of her crashing waves, much as they lulled me to sleep last night. I pour all my troubles, fears and transgressions into her, and she disperses them to little drops of nothingness in the depths of her waters. Her tears hit my face as mists from the water and I know she understands my pain.

She tells me that life is much like herself. It builds up to a great wave, peaks, crests, crashes and recedes to prepare for the next big wave. And, like the ocean, many waves may come in simultaneously or only slightly staggered and sometimes it is hard to prepare for so many at once.

She can not tell me what to do to prepare, nor can she fix the waves that have already crashed on me. Yet, she teaches me how to get back up again when I am knocked down, and reminds me that she is always here to take my problems into herself, so that I may deal with them clear-mindedly.

She knows my heart is too open and reminds me that falling in love is much like sinking into the sand as the tide recedes. If I don't keep moving my feet, I may sink too far and lose my footing and fall deep into the waters. Once my footing is lost, I may not resurface until I have lost too much.

Yet, she worries that I think moving my feet means jumping from relationship to relationship. She gently pushes and pulls my feet to show that in order to keep from losing my footing, all that is required is a simple step back...

The sun glints in her smile as I regale her with tales of toddlerhood, and she playfully crashes a more forceful tide into my legs as a mock scolding for not bringing my daughter to see her. She laments her pain at the loss of my mother who, like me, found solace in her depths. She assures me that my mother's soul is still felt on a beautiful, balmy, breezy day, and if I listen close, I can hear her voice carried on the wind, like a seagulls call.

She douses me with enthusiastic force when I divulge about my job. Her thrill and pride are evident in the sudden increase of tide. I know she is excited for me to finish my degree and start my life over, and she folds me over and over again in her tender embrace.

I turn to walk a little further down the beach as she turns her attention to some children playing nearby, but she keeps a constant dialogue with me as her waves gently caress my bare skin.

When with her, I feel small, and thus, my problems seem lost in the vast horizon stretched before me. Watching the sun lift from the depths of her body, I am in awe of her power, strength and force. She can bring great cities to ruin when her rage is incited, or gently rock sea weary sailors to sleep.

She understands my free spirit and wayward soul as she, herself, constantly changes each new day. She relishes my constant search for something more, but encourages a sense of stability by pushing me back onto the shore when her temper is too rough.

Before we part each time, she grants me a piece of herself to take with me and comfort me. A simple, beautiful shell, blessed with her love that brings me back to her side when I put it to my ear.

She encourages me to return to her soon. The goodbye is always bittersweet. I am her wayward daughter, finding new adventures and seeking new experiences. I wll return again to her, though we both wish under better circumstances. Her caress softens and the mist hits my face again as we bid a final farewell. We share one heart, one soul and we each have a piece of the other to hold onto until we meet again.
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Do you ever have a moment where you find yourself thinking "this is what I've been looking for?" I had that tonight. Sitting at a table in the house down the street with the family I grew to love for well over a year and I have missed so terribly in the time we weren't speaking... I felt like I had come home.

There's so many emotions going through my head this evening, I cannot write them all out. I know where my heart lies now, I know where I'm meant to be. All doubts vanished as I sat around playing games, laughing and bantering with the people that were like my second family.

I cannot express how happy I am to feel like I'm on the same team with my own family again. I cannot express how much it meant that my father, who rarely says anything to anyone, let alone speaks his mind to someone he can't stand, stepped up and told someone to leave his daughter alone. I don't care if he didn't do it for me, if he did it for Denise or if he did it just because Karen pestered him to. Whatever the reason, he did it.

Last year was probably one of the hardest of my life. And I can imagine that I've still got a lot of hard times to go through. But you can't beat the people you have in your corner. You can't forget the way it felt to take a night off from arguing, and instead enjoy the company of those you loved so much in the past, and the joy you feel at getting another chance at building up a relationship with them again.

I want to do things right this time. Not just for Denise, but for myself. I want to stop selling myself short, taking less than what I deserve and settling for only giving and not really receiving from relationships. This last week has been hell, and I'm still processing it. In some ways, I wasn't really up to the social aspect of the evening, but I'm also so incredibly glad that I went. Despite the emotional turmoil I had been put through, I needed to laugh like I did tonight. I needed to feel what I did tonight. Some of it was hard, knowing how much time I've lost because of stupid decisions, mistakes, and fear...but there's more time to gain.

I know now where my heart truly lies.
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