Monday, December 31, 2012

A Moving Experience

For about the past ten days we've been moving from the apartment where we've resided these last seven years into a house, owned by some friends who moved to Texas. This all came about fairly suddenly, and while I was sorry to spend most if the badly needed time off I had in between semesters moving, I thought, it will be good--a fresh start, a clean slate.

At first, things were going well. We were making good progress, but then, after three days of moving truckloads of heavy stuff, mattresses, etc., we could hardly move and had to take a day off to rest, as well as get some stuff arranged and out of the way. We were both exhausted and put off going back the apartment a little. Sunday we were there working hard, because we are supposed to be out by December 31, and I was feeling tired, but like we almost had the downstairs under control. I went upstairs for something and took a look in the "craft" room and my room, and I was appalled at the amount of stuff left. I started crying and asked myself, why is there so much stuff?!

In the last year got hooked watching the show Hoarders and I recognized some behaviors. Now, I've always lived in a messy house, and my grandparents have a farm jam packed with stuff, so I come by it naturally, and I thought to myself, Katie, this is where you will be some day if you do not do something now. Standing there last night, looking at the stuff all around me, I had the realization that someday is here. I am not going to be.a hoarder, I AM a hoarder.

Somewhere along the way, perhaps food wasn't cutting it anymore, so I started collecting stuff. I didn't have the people in my life I wanted, so anything that was connected to a memory, thrown in a box. Or some things, well, I've gone without.a lot of stuff being poor, so I deserve this. Then, it just sits in a bag somewhere until I've forgotten it ever existed.

I am a sick person.

As disgusted as I am with myself, I am vowing, here and now, that this is going to stop and I am going to get a handle on things before I end up the crazy cat lady on some TV show.

So, this move has been one pain in the A$$, I'm not sure if my back or knee will ever be the same, and all my "relaxation time" is gone, but it has been a real eye opener, and I am hoping, a turning point.

And what perfect timing, right on New Year's Eve!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

It Feels So Good!

Well, I've come to learn that my family has many issues...vices...addictions, call them what you want. Alcoholism, drug addiction, food addiction, hoarding, they all run in my family. After watching the show Hoarders I was horrified to identify some of the same tendencies/attitudes not only in my family, but in myself.

There is crap everywhere!

I'm ashamed to admit that we have stuff piled everywhere, and I have become increasingly tired of it. I've lived in a messy, disorganized home as long as I can remember, but I've never liked it. I wanted to so something, but the task seemed so overwhelming. As I've been talking to my counselor, she advised that I start small. She said that I was experiencing chaos at work, and them when I got home it was chaos and that probably added to my stress level. Definitely!

A clean slate...

Some friends of ours moved and so mom and I are going to rent their house and get out of our apartment. At first I was disgruntled that the time I had taken off for the holiday in order to relax, recharge, and do some things just for me would now be taken up by moving, but I am beginning to see this as a clean slate. The can start fresh by getting rid of stuff we don't need or have room for and by getting organized from the start. Also, there is no better time to start making new habits.

  • No eating dinner in front of the TV.
  • No leaving stuff lying around in bags.
  • Go through the mail every week.

There's a lot to be done and not much time to do it, but today I spent many hours going through papers and old mail, throwing stuff out, getting some ready to shred, saving what was needed. It was a laborious project, but man did it feel good!

Lord help me, this time I will not let stuff take control of my life!!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Saga of Agent Double Gnome Seven: Road Trip Part 2

Subjects have stopped in Kansas to meet a contact.  Going to catch a few winks before continuing surveillance...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

At The End Of The Tunnel.

Very faint, but growing brighter... look, a light.

So, after a very rough, challenging, and horribly stressful seven months, which I was certain would kill me, things are starting to look up.  My new boss started yesterday.  My next higher up boss has him so busy that I've barely seen him, but he is an official employee.  And while he doesn't know much yet, the responsibility has lifted from my poor, beaten down body as if and elephant had been sitting on me and finally stood up.  From now on, I can say "you deal with this."  Don't get me wrong, it's not that I minded making the decisions, (it was actually kind of liberating at times) but it was having to be responsible for every single action, decision, process, etc.

The big challenge for me is not going to be getting along with the new boss, not training him... no, it will be letting go of hard feelings from being treated so poorly.  It's not fair, but I am a bigger person than that.  I won't let them break me.

Here's hoping for warm sunny days ahead!  (And not so much time between posts! YIKES!)

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sticks and Stones.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me?

That is bullsh*t!  Words are the most powerful weapon in the universe.

As you may or may not be aware, October is National Anti-Bullying Month.  Here in my town we have jumped on the Not In Our Town bandwagon.  Many cities and towns have joined the movement after a tragedy, but we are the first to join proactively.  We have orange t-shirts that say Not In Our Town on the front and on the back they are personalized: Not In Our Schools, Not In Our College, Not On Our Watch, etc.  We have shown several films such as Finding Kind, Light in the Darkness, and we've had Rachel's Challenge presented to our schools and town.  We even made a float for the Homecoming and Oktemberfest parades.  (That's me in the center with the sunglasses.)

Bullying is something very personal to me.

It started as soon as I went to school.  I was the fat kid.  I can remember kids laughing at me as I walked past to get my mat to sit on the floor in kindergarten.  I lived right by the school, so I often rode my bike  on the playground and played on the equipment there, and I can remember riding down the sidewalk one day past some older boys, and a few in my grade and they starting insulting me and throwing water balloons at me.  Luckily, I was on my bike and managed to miss any missiles flying in my direction.  I did have a few friends in grade school, and the teasing wasn't so bad.

Then came Middle School.

I think all children should be shipped off to labor camps during those years.  Middle school aged kids are ruthless!  This is the time in my life where I started to look down when I walked, avoiding eye contact.  I heard all kinds of hurtful words.  If you can imagine it, I was called it.  Tugboat, fatso, Titanic...

Eighth grade was the worst.

That's the year that my own friends turned on me and I had literally no one.  I was extremely depressed and contemplated suicide on a weekly basis.  That was the year I tried to starve myself.  It was also the the year I began having migraines and feeling nauseated all the time.  The school nurse rolled her eyes when she saw me coming.  I missed 22 days of school that year, yet no one wondered if there was some deeper issue.  I remember I even had my own cheer.  One boy named Chris used to chant for me "Katie K. is fat and gay," which is ironic since he was the one who was gay.

High school was no real improvement.  I had a group of friends who spent all their time stabbing each other in the back.  As much heartache as they caused me, at least I belonged somewhere--I had a table in the lunchroom which was almost the most important thing in life at that time.

I recently read somewhere that bullying is like crumpling up a piece of paper and then trying to smooth it out again--the person you bullied never quite recovers.  This is very true.  I'm 31 and still trying to undo the damage.

Is it any wonder that I feel worthless?  Is it any wonder that I have tried to protect myself?  Is it any wonder that I am angry?  Angry at those who terrorized me.  Angry that the adults in my life didn't do anything.

That anger has consumed me.

Still to this day, I walk with my eyes toward the ground.  When I look in a mirror, sometimes I burst into tears.  That is the power of words.  That is why we must each endeavor to choose our words and actions carefully.

I remember a 2004 episode of Without a Trace called Wannabe*.  At that time we watched the show every week, and as I sat there watching, I felt sad, and I also knew exactly what the boy was feeling.  A boy named Eric was bullied and felt like a loser.  At the end of the episode, he hanged himself.

The first time I watched it, I burst into tears and sobbed uncontrollably for probably twenty minutes.  That could have been me, I said.  Still today, I cannot watch that episode, or even a clip of it, without crying.  Even thinking about it is enough to bring tears to my eyes.

My wish is for no one to be bullied, teased, made fun of--whatever you want to call it.  I get upset when people make bullying out to be only against gays or certain groups.  Let's stop bullying of any kind!  Do we have to say "don't bully so and so," or can we just say "don't bully"?

Won't you join me in doing your part to prevent bullying?  Help make this world a better place so that another overweight little girl doesn't have to grow up ashamed of who she is, thinking that there is something wrong with her.

*If you would like to watch a fanvid of the episode with the song that is featured in the episode, click here.

Sunday, October 7, 2012


Dad and I took a class at the Iowa River Gun Club range yesterday.  About a month ago we took a class to get our Permit to Carry, and the man who did that class said we do a class at the range to teach you how to fire.  Dad and I said sure!  (I mean it was only $15 bucks and all we had to do was bring eye and ear protection, and ourselves.)

It turned out that there were only four of us in the class.  Dad and I and a very nice couple.  The other lady and I both had pink safety glasses, which is a very important detail...

We took it nice and slow.  Rich set us up with Ruger Mark II .22's.  
Ruger MK II, nice gun.  I highly recommend.
We loaded one round, shot, loaded one round, shot, one round, shot... Then we worked up to two rounds, then three until we'd shot 10 rounds.

1st target.  First round missed by less than .25 inches.

We shot another ten rounds...

2nd target...10 hits.

Then we had fun!  Five rounds at a time, we had to load the magazine and fire off all five rounds in 20 seconds.

3rd target, all 25 rounds within the 7 circle, except the one that whizzed passed his right ear.

Afterwards, dad and I went snooping and he ended up buying a Mark III in stainless steel.  Needless to say, as soon as I am able, I'munna be buyin' my own and down at the range a LOT!

Cider Day Rules!

On September 30 I took two of my students and we went and picked apples and got some fresh, made while you wait apple cider.  Not sure what they thought of it, but mom and I sure had fun!

Hinegardner's Orchard has Cider Day during which you can come pick apples and for each bushel you pick, you get a ticket for a "free" gallon of cider.  Now, we did end up having to pay $1 for the jug, which was ok, I just wasn't prepared for that.  Still, it was a fun outdoorsy day, with a sweet reward!

We picked 4 bushels.

The booty...a fresh golden delicious apple, which I picked myself, and fresh cider.

Hmm, maybe I should make some apple crisp...

Saturday, September 22, 2012

A Day of Firsts.

Well, what a day!  I walked 17 blocks from home to meet the Not In Our Town float to walk in the Oktemberfest parade.  I believe this was the first time I'd ever been in the Oktemberfest parade.  Then dad and I went to the General Store and looked at guns.  I held a couple Glocks, a Smith and Wesson, and a couple Rugers.  Then we stopped at a gas station near my house and I hot some hot chocolate to warm me up after walking in 56 degree, windy weather for two hours.  I had just been thinking last week how I'd never been in this particular gas station even though it's only a couple block from my house.

Then, after eating a couple tacos from Taco John's, we drove to Daryl's to snoop some more, and he offered to let us shoot a couple rounds downstairs in the indoor range.  I had never shot a gun before, and I have to admit I was nervous.  I almost said no when he asked, but I'm glad I didn't.  I shot five rounds from a Ruger .22, and 2 rounds from a 9mm.  I'm pretty pleased with the result.  Two in the black, but all on the target.  The lower hole on the black was my first shot from the 9mm.  If I was used to holding that weight in front of me, I think I would have done much better, but not bad for my first seven shots!

Then, after an already big day, mom and I drove down to the World Food Festival in Des Moines.  IT was interesting, but very crowded and I had little patience for it by that point.  The most notable foods we tried were Grilled Spam Musubi (below) and the Chicken Pelmeni.

Chebureki (top) and Chicken Pelmeni.

It is now 10:20 p.m. and I am exhausted.  It has been, however, a great day.

I want to shoot.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

My Name's Mat...Doormat.

Ok, so I've talked a little about what's going on at work.  There were basically three main employees; L the supervisor, M the 30 hr. a week associate, and moi, the full-time associate.  M quit two weeks before the end of the spring semester and L retired in June, though she was gone most of May.

Since then I have been, pretty much, the only employee.

Thank God I have Sharon, although only eight hours a week, I don't know what I'd do without her!!!  What it comes down to is this, that for several months now I have been on my own most of the time, and nothing gets done unless I do it; rephrase--I've been doing three people's jobs and not gotten paid a dime for it.  Now, I know what the logical answer is, don't do the other people's's not that simple.  It's like any business, there are day to day things that have to be done, and some things that are not my job have to get done before I can do the things that are my job.  (Besides, I'm the one who has to deal with the fallout of things not getting done, so I have to deal with it one way or another.)

I applied for the slightly updated position of Library Services Manager and was one of the first three interviews.  I knew that the only thing I had going for me was my four years in this library.  Unfortunately, in the past, we were not really allowed to grow or try new things in the library, so I had been doing pretty much the same thing for those four years.  So, I was not in the least surprised when they decided to offer to the other two, outside, candidates.

The problem started when my acting supervisor, the guy one step up the food chain, told me that there was nothing wrong with me, they just really wanted someone with more experience--understandable.  However, when I half jokingly/half seriously said "well, you never know, no one has accepted yet--you might be stuck with me" and he said "and we would be fine with that" things started to get messy.

Eventually, an offer was made to the first candidate which was declined.  (I knew going in to this that it was going to be a painful process because we don't pay anything close to competitive.)  Then, eventually, an offer was made to the second candidate--also declined.  This is when acting supervisor started to get a clue that the semester was now three weeks away and we had one employee.  (He hadn't hired anyone to replace M because they wanted the new Manager to do it, even though I said we need at least temporary help, and was told by another higher up that we don't do temporary help.

Guess what?  We do do temporary help, because we are now three weeks into the semester and everyone is pissed about the situation.

I was never offered the position even though they "would be fine" with me.  It was when they invited me to be on the search committee that I understood that they would not, in fact, "be fine with me" and I now had exactly zero chance.

Round two of interviews.

I sit in as a member of the committee and was not greatly encouraged by the interviews.  In fact I was downright disheartened.  The first one was not too bad, though I didn't feel he was the strongest candidate.  The last one, also on Skype, was an immediate no, and the middle one (the one face to face) was a very bright young woman--fresh out of grad school, no experience other than student or intern positions.  Here's where my heart busted into a million tiny, razor sharp shards--one of the committee members said "she'll grow into the position" when others said she had no experience.

This is when I knew that I could not be a part of this, as much I wanted input on my future boss, and even though I'm the only one there who really knows how our library works, for my health and sanity, I could not be a part of this.  It was too personal.

I couldn't it there and look at each candidate and think "why are they choosing to invest in them over me?"

So, I drafted a carefully, respectfully written email and sent it to acting supervisor and I copied it to the entire committee.

That's when acting supervisor asked me to come to his office.

I was unafraid.  What more could he do to me?  He couldn't fire me.  He was surprised, he said, by my email and the timing, and he was dismayed that I had sent it to everyone.  He said, personally, he would not have done that.  (I thought to myself, and??)  I said that I didn't want there to be any questions from anyone as to why I stepped down.  I also said later, when he again said he would not have sent it to everyone, that you never know--if he'd been through what I'd been through, he may have done exactly what I did.

I was fearless, I vented (respectfully), and I made peace.

I will not be silently abused.  I may not get compensated for all the extra work I have done, I may be stressed out, but they will not get the best of me!  I will not let them destroy my spirit. They will not win.

Next interviews are set for next Friday.

I won't be there. :)

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Soul Search -- Part 1

Ok, things have been a bit stressful lately, as in the past three months.  My co-worker quit in April and my supervisor retired in June, leaving me as the only full-time employee, and pretty much the only one there.  Thank God for Sharon!  She comes in eight hours a week and helps me, and I don't know what I'd do without her.  The semester starts in two weeks...need I say more?

All complaining aside...

I decided to start seeing a counselor to help me work some things out.  I really like her, and I feel that our sessions will be very beneficial.  Previously, we have talked about how I see myself and how I think others see me, and how it would look if those two lists merged, in other words, how do I want people to see me.  (I think the real issue is how do I want to see myself, but we'll come back to that.)  Last week we talked about why I think I can't do things, or why I think people won't like me.  It sounded stupid to say it out loud and I almost felt ashamed, but I admitted that for me, it all comes back to my weight.

I have been hurt and disappointed by those around me, especially people close to me, and so I've built a sort of cocoon around myself to keep myself safe.  I have a ready excuse for anything bad in my life.  A person doesn't like me: it's  because of my weight.  Someone doesn't think I'm attractive: my weight.  I didn't get to do something: weight.  She looked at me and asked "so are you safe?"  Hmmm.  "Do you still get hurt and disappointed?"  Yes.  "So, you're not really safe then are you?"  No.  She looked me in the eye and said "you need to decide who you want to be, whether it's the same or different, but either way you have to accept your choice."

There is a quote which says that it is the same amount of work to be miserable or happy.  That may be so, but being miserable is familiar work.

Aaron Thomas spoke at our staff day yesterday.  He's the son of the late coach from Parkersburg, Ed Thomas, who was murdered by a former student in 2009.  He talked about how his father made a difference in peoples' lives, how he was über optimistic, maybe to a fault, but could make something good out of tragedy.  He asked us what kind of person we were, if we would be someone's call when they needed someone on whom they could depend.

Sometimes, in order to move forward, you have to actually admit, verbalize those things which you keep hidden down in your innermost self, so bear with me.

What am I really afraid of?

I am not afraid that people don't like me.  I know that people like me, perhaps not as well as I would wish, but they like me nonetheless.  I am not afraid that I am not good enough.  I am good enough.  I am intelligent, creative, and extremely capable and people know it.  I am not afraid that I am worthless and have no potential.  I am not afraid that no one could love me, a fat person.

I am afraid that people really do like me, because then I'd have no excuse to stay away from people.  I am afraid that I am good enough, because then I would have to live up to it.  I am afraid that I am worthwhile and have great potential.  I am afraid that someone could love me and my fat, lumpy body, which I have convinced myself is so disgusting.

I have taken all the horrible things in my life and used them to convince myself that just because a few people in my life have called me awful names, hurt me mentally or physically, that everyone feels that way.  All I see is my fat, so that must be what everyone else sees.  People ask me why I've not dated and I think to myself, "duh, I'm fat!"  In my mind, the answer to everything is, "because I'm fat."

But what if that wasn't my answer...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Up Cycled

I've got a good ol', trusty Singer sewing machine--nothing special, but sturdy.  We've been through  a lot together; years of 4-H, wardrobe malfunctions (ok, just tears and hems coming out), and my just not being able to find clothes that fit.  Unfortunately, something is a little screwed up, but the imbecile at the sewing center only wants to sell new ones, even though he is SUPPOSED to be able to fix old ones.  I just wanted the thing cleaned!
Well, we ended up ordering a new, pretty fancy one of of Amazon for a good deal and I decided I wanted to use it!

I see lots of neat clothes that I wish I could wear and one day I decided that if I couldn't buy them, I would make my own!  Enter comfy, baggy, gray men's t-shirt...

I'd had this t-shirt for AGES!  (I think I got it in 2000!!)  And it's really comfy, but not so attractive; perfect, I thought, for dabbling in up-cycling.

First step: remove pocket.

Second step: find the center of the side (on both sides).

Third step: baste a line from hem to about half way between the hem and armpit.

Fourth step: grab one thread and bunch up so that fabric is ruched.  (I did the same on the sleeves)

Fifth step: cut neck opening bigger and hem.


And  voilà!  You now have a stylish, yet comfortable, top for the cost of the time if took you and the embellishments.

Hmm... I am envisioning an entire up-cycled t-shirt wardrobe!!!

Monday, July 23, 2012

You're Never Fully Dressed

...without your smile!

My teeth are not stained, and I don't feel obsessed with having perfectly white teeth, but I have decided to try a little experiment.  I ready a pin about swishing with peroxide, because that is the main ingredient of whiteners.  (I've recently started having urges to go as natural as possible and not use fake, harsh chemicals and stuff.)  So, out of curiosity, mostly, I decided to try some peroxide and see if it does anything for my pearly off-whites.

Please note, if you try this at home DO NOT SWALLOW THE PEROXIDE! 

It would be really funny if it bleached my tongue....

Day 1

Update 8/1/12:  I gave up on this cuz it tastes like crap!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Another Year Younger

Well,  a little over two weeks ago I turned 31.  Amazing how time flies isn't it?  I feel like I've been out high school for a couple years, but not for 13.  Hopefully, I'm a little wiser...hopefully.

On the plus side, I don't think I look much different.  People have thought I was 21 since I was 15.  I'm ok with that.
Winter 2011.

My senior pic.

I had a wonderful time celebrating for, I think, the third year in a row, with one of my favorite peeps in the world, whose b'day is the day before mine.  She is, in fact, an entire year older than me.  :)  My bday, just wouldn't be my bday without my Lins!

Another milestone, yesterday marks the one year anniversary of my Lasik eye surgery!

Hmm, what will next year bring?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

I'm a Grown-Up Now!

Let me just clear a few things up before we start.

  1. I am thirty, soon to be thirty-one.
  2. Every cent I makes goes to college debt.
  3. Yes, I live with my mother.
Ok, now that I've got that off my chest...

I've lived with my mother, except for some brief time at college and overseas, since I was nine, and up to this point, I have not minded.  Now, there are some interesting family dynamics.  My parents divorced when I was like eight months old.  My brother and I lived with dad, but mom was there to take care of us all day.  She was there when I got up and there to put me to bed at night.  I had a really good friend in kindergarten who moved away to Texas with her family as many families did at that time.  (Fisher Controls  moved a whole gob of jobs south.)   This started a trend in my life.  I had a few friends who either moved or we went to different schools, then later I had friends who constantly stabbed each other in the back...really a toxic group.  My point is, for a lot of years, mom tried to be my friend as well as my mom.  She really tried to make sure I felt ok and to build me up.

This really didn't work out well.  Bless her, she tried.  But we were so much alike, and we both had problems, and I was so depressed...we fought a lot.  We are both messy, at least together, we both stay up too late during the week and sleep too late on the weekends, and we both medicate ourselves with food.  I never had to work.  Not at school, not at home.  (Now, I've had jobs, I have to work to support myself, I'm talking chores/household stuff.)  Now I don't know how to keep a tidy home, and I had a hell of a time applying myself in college when I wanted to, because I didn't know how.  My brother was the genius, but I got by with pretty good grades and very little effort, so I didn't know how to dig in and really study.

Fast forward fifteen years.  Mom is still trying to be my best friend, still trying to make sure my life is bearable.  Over the last couple years, I really would have liked to get out on my own, have my own place, have my own life.  Unless I work five jobs, it's just not possible.  Lately, I've been getting restless, and for some odd reason mom has gotten very clingy.  I feel like she can't keep track of anything without me, although I know she is fully capable.  I think it's a subconscious way of keeping me close.  She's upset that my brother is talking about moving to Colorado, and she wants to keep me close.  I know she enjoys my company, but I think we have become too dependent on one another.

Today, it hit me like a ton of bricks.  I NEED MY OWN SPACE!

The other thing I've been thinking about is my faith.  I believe in God and I always will.  The problem comes with other people.  Perhaps some of it stems from the fact that I put my all into a church for about twelve years, it was my family, my life, and then all of the sudden, I can't even get people to return my phone call.  Then, Saturday night, I was hanging out with my fifteen year old cousin and we watched Joyful Noise.  (It was not bad.  Little slow in the middle.)  I looked at Queen Latifah's character, pretty closed minded, everything was very black and white.  Then you have stuff like gay marriage.  No matter how you or I personally feel about all things "gay", this country was founded on religious freedom.  Do we really have the right to tell people they can't get married?  (Ok, yes, there should be age limits, and animals should be off limits.)  I guess what I'm saying is, I don't want to be a cookie cutter person.  I'm not going to just blindly believe things because someone, even someone I trust and respect, tells me it's so.  And I don't like those people, like Queen Latifah's character, who are closed-minded in that this it's what's right, and that's that.

Maybe that makes me a bad Christian (I've never claimed to be a good one), but I believe what is more important is to love people, whether they are different from me, or not.  That is what is going to make a difference in people's lives.  I don't have to agree with or like someone's choices or lifestyle to love them and respect them as a brother (or sister) in humanity.  I understand why people are turned of by Christianity.  People get together talking about love and acceptance and holiness, and then treat other people no differently.  I am guilty of that.

At this point in my life, I want to have my faith and beliefs, and discover for myself the truth.  I don't want to be spoon fed.

I feel like I'm actually becoming myself.  For so long I've been someone to kind of morphs to be different things with different people.  Not that my core beliefs changed, but that used or didn't use words according to whom I was with, etc.  Time to become myself, and be myself no matter what.

And that involves having my own space.

I still love you mom, we just need to learn how to live without each other.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Second Place...I DO!

Isn't it funny how our ideas, ideals, thoughts, dreams and plans evolve as we age?

Case in point:

When I was a teenager, desperate to belong to someone and to be loved, I had it all planned out.  (I'm certain that most of us little girls do.)  I would be married and starting a family by the time I was twenty-five.  This person would be my entire world, we would be extremely happy, and of course, all my issues would be solved because someone could finally love me, even the way I was.  (For those of you who don't know how I was, or thought I was, that was fat, ugly, worthless and unloveable.)  I know, quite a feat for anyone, especially since I was doing my best to be absolutely certain that I was completely unlovable, although it took me till a few years ago to realize I was doing so.  I mean, I didn't want to be incapable, like I couldn't do anything on my own, but I basically wanted someone to be my life.

Older and a little, very little, wiser my plans seemed to have shifted a slightly.

Recently, I was reading some articles and checking out websites having to do with the Avengers movie and its stars, and I came across an article about Jeremy Renner which talked about how he found dating to be difficult since he couldn't find a woman who wanted to be second chair to his career.  My first reaction was, well duh!, but I began to think about it.  At this point in my life, nearly thirty-one years old, still single, never dated, still screwed up in the head, what do I really want from a relationship?  Forget my childish plans, what do I want now?

At this time, this moment, I want to have security, stability, companionship, respect, and of course love.  I think I could be perfectly happy in a relationship where we each had our own projects, our own goals and things to do, but we acted as a mutual support to the other.  I don't want one person to be my life.  By this point, I've lived on my own long enough to have become independent and sort of set in my ways, so I want the freedom to be me, with the security of knowing that someone is there with me to enjoy life, love me, and be there when I really need them.  As long as two people work on their relationship and can agree to the terms, I don't think I'd mind being second.

Yes, I can see it—husband off filming movies while I dig into my writing, welding and other hobbies.  We enjoy time together in between, and of course communicate regularly when apart.  Hmm, I rather think it could work!

So, Jeremy if you're reading this, I'd give it a shot...just give me a call!

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Long Weekend

Well, my long holiday weekend was long, for certain!

I took Friday off since last week was the only week this month I could take vacation, and I thought I would have a nice relaxing weekend and really dig into this story that's been tumbling around in my head.  Mom took Friday off, so we just kinda bummed around and didn't do anything serious.  Saturday we slept in and then mom had to go to work in the early afternoon.  Ok, I thought, here's my chance to put some meat on the bones of this story.  I didn't get right into it, I took my time getting dressed and such and then checked my email and facebook.  Then I decided I would watch a little bit of Neo Ned while I finally ate a sandwich.  Somewhere not too far in to the movie, my aunt Joy called and said that my grandpa was bringing my grandma up to the ER with chest pains.

Needless to say, I dropped everything and went to the ER where I sat with Grandpa for nigh on 6 hours.

All is well, however!  It turned out to be diverticulitisan infection in her intestines.  She's on antibiotics and should be fine.


Thursday, May 24, 2012

MCC professor wins Roger Ebert Thumbs Up award -

This is an article about my instructor and colleague.  Congrats Carolyn!

MCC professor wins Roger Ebert Thumbs Up award - | News, Sports, Jobs, Community info - Times Republican

MCC professor wins Roger Ebert Thumbs Up award

Briggs honored for her ‘Higher Ground’ screenplay

May 13, 2012
By LEVI CASTLE - Contributing Writer , Times-Republican
The last few years have been extremely momentous for Carolyn Briggs, a small-town woman with large ambitions and the evident willpower to achieve them. Briggs, a professor of English at Marshalltown Community College, is a long-time writer whose book has seen much recent success; both in print and in film.
In 2002, Briggs's memoir was published as "This Dark World: A Memoir of Salvation Found and Lost." The book details the true story of Briggs's hardships and blessings of growing up with an extremely Christian community, family and culture.
After a few years of trying to find its place among various screenwriters in an attempt to make a movie of the book, the memoir finally found who was meant to write the screenplay: the author herself.
When Briggs was approached by Vera Farmiga, a successful name in Hollywood acting and filmmaking, a friendship was started that led to an eight-month collaboration in the making of the screen adaption, titled "Higher Ground."
The film was just as exciting for Farmiga as it was for Briggs as it was the actress's directorial debut.
"Vera flew to Iowa and sat in my living room with me. We looked -chapter-by-chapter - through my book and chose which scenes we thought would work for a movie. Her husband even showed me how to use a computer program that would help me write the screenplay. The entire experience was so surreal; it's still so unbelievable to me," said Briggs.
"Higher Ground" saw outstanding reviews as soon as it was released in mid-2011, following the honor of being showcased at the Sundance Film Festival.
Over time, the film has received even more praise from well-known critics.
"Just when I thought all the hype over the film was fading, I was notified that Roger Ebert had chosen the film as one of twelve films for his Ebertfest, which is held in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois," said Briggs. Briggs and her husband David were flown out to attend the festival, which played the film to a crowd of 1,600 people.
After the film was shown at the festival, Briggs was presented with an award known as the Roger Ebert Thumbs Up award, which is an actual cast of the critic's hand and is made by the same people who make the Oscars.
"I knelt beside Mr. Ebert at the festival and told him how appreciative and ecstatic I was of his review of the film. He didn't have a voice at the time, so he responded by writing on a piece of paper: 'What's not to like?'" said Briggs. "I still find it difficult to fully comprehend how thrilling this entire experience has been."

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Which Road Shall I Travel...

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I, I took the one...

Since the little bubble of my life has been tumbled around by a mixture of foreseen and unforeseen events, and in the shadow of my looming thirty-first birthday, I have started thinking—I need to take a good look at my life and decide what it is that I really want.  Which road shall I take?  Who am I?  Who do I want to be?  How do I want to occupy my time?  Who do I want to be with?  What do I believe?  When am I going to man up and take life by the balls?

Upon hearing the news that my supervisor was retiring, colleagues began asking me if I was going to apply for her position.  I suppose I should be flattered by that, although perhaps they were hoping I wouldn't.  At first, I dismissed their questions saying that they would never hire me, I don't have the correct degree or much experience.  In fact, I don't have any "management" experience and, although I think I could do a bang-up  job in that position, I just blew it off.  (I also questioned whether I wanted the added responsibility, and to be working closer with the administration.)

Then, as time went on and I saw how things were developing—how slowly the hiring process would actually be, the fact that no other staff would be hired until a supervisor was in place, the fact that my mother wants to move and I cannot afford to live on my own—all of these things caused me to ask myself what do I want, what would be best for me?  If I apply for the supervisor position, the worst that can happen is that they don't hire me.  On the other hand, they might hire me.  That would mean a raise and, of course, more responsibilities, however, since I'm the one who has been dragging the library along with me in order to update, I don't think it will be a problem.

The pluses: better pay, great experience, looks good on a résumé, being able to live on my own.  Combined with my new position as YFU coordinator, it would be very good for the ol' résumé.  That's all in the not so distant future.  Looking ahead, what do I want in the long run?

Who am I?

I am insecure.  I am self-conscious.  I am intelligent.  I can, at times, swear like a sailor.  I am clumsy.  I am messy.  At times, I am lazy.  I am very negative.  I also have a very tender heart, and am very emotional.  Sometimes, I am too shy and just let things pass me by.

Who do I want to be?

I want to be graceful and elegant.  I want to be a lady with class and poise.  I want to be so beautiful on the inside that it spills over onto the outside.  I want to be able to focus on the positive, so that when something comes along that just isn't fair, I can look it in the eye, say "this isn't fair, I don't like it, but I'm going to make the best of it!"  I want to be that person around whom everyone enjoys being.  I want to be able to put my creativity to good use.  I want to see life as an adventure!

I want to leave a positive impact on the world.

I want to be a wife and mother.  I want to be a soul mate.  I want to matter to someone.

I want to write.  I want to travel.  I want to paint and weld.  I want to take photographs.  I want to drive a race car.  I want to act.

I want to not be obese, I want to be curvy and sensuous.

I want to find value in myself.

I want to find a man who can love me as I am, but who inspires me to be better—who will be my coach and my cheerleader.  I want a man who brings out the best in me and whose best I can bring out.  I want a man who will respect me and whom I can respect.  I want someone mature, solid in himself.

So, I have the path that I have been traveling on which has brought unhappiness and unfulfillment, or a new path, barely tread upon, which leads to fulfillment, happiness and contentment.  The old path is worn and clear, easy to find my way.  The new one is thick with grass and there are many obstacles.

The only question left is, which will I choose...

The Road Not Taken

Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn the really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I marked the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I,
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.


I've been excitedly awaiting my gastric sleeve surgery and this weekend was a three day weekend. I was planning to get so much done. Boy...