Thursday, February 28, 2008

Quickest Blog Post Ever...

* New job's going well. It's taken some adjusting, but I really like the job itself. It's the long commute and not moving from a desk for 8 hours that's killing me. Soooo tired.

* I pulled in at work this morning to see one dog humping another one in the lot across the street. Sweet.

* Had a few rough nights here this week. Stupid drama I won't go into now, but tomorrow night is going to be THE worst and no one else involved even knows it yet. :(

* Lots of exciting things going on over at Jen Wilson's site. OK. Probably not nearly as exciting to anyone here as it is for us over there, but still... LOL! I've had a TON of fun this past week over there and made some cool new friends. :)

* OK. This workin' girl needs to go to bed. Ugh. Soooo tired. I'll try to update a bit more over the weekend...

Sunday, February 24, 2008


Here's a layout I just did for the Laundry Line challenge over at Jen Wilson Designs.

Dress Up

Complete credits can be seen here.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

New Poll...

Hey gang...

I put a new poll up over there ------>

Answer it, will ya? I'm, um, just asking and stuff. :P


What to say. I dunno. LOL! Nothing particularly exciting happened today. Steve worked on the sunroom most of the day... I returned a video... the girls both went to school... See? Nothing exciting. LOL!

I did, however, finally clean up our damn living room which was being overrun by toys and other crap. I also reorganized my desk and threw away a TON of old papers and crap that I don't know why I was keeping. I'm "preparing" the area for when I start working again, which is THIS Monday. ACK! I'll have to go into the office (about an hour away) for a week or two, but after that, it's all telecommute, baby. Sa-weet! I'm actually pretty excited. :)

Steve's excited because I told him I'm getting my belly button pierced soon. If I could design/find that perfect tattoo I see in my head, I'd get that done too. But that may have to wait... :)

I ran on our new elliptical machine yesterday AND today. How's that for consistency? LOL! Today, I even threw in some sit-ups and some weight stuff. I'm totally cool with my current weight (which is near what it was in high school), but I'd really like to tone things up a bit. It's amazing how two people (the old me and the new me) can weigh the same, but look totally different. LOL! So I'd like some definition in my abs, and I'd like to tone up in my ass and thighs a a bit. Holy shit, I may be able to wear a bikini this summer!! Can you imagine?! (Please don't. It's still sort of scary.)

Steve & I both have haircut appointments on Friday. I'm taking him to "my guy." We both desperately need them, and I knew that if I didn't make him go with me, he'd never go (and he needs one WAY worse than I do). I think Steve may get his eyebrows waxed while we're there. Dare I dream? LOL! I'm totally going to take pictures if it happens, so stay tuned... LOL!

I can't believe I start a "real" job again in less than a week. This is so surreal to me. I'll have to go into the office at first, and the thought of getting dressed every day, commuting, packing a lunch, paying tolls, etc. is so weird. I used to do it every day for years without blinking, but now, it's going to be totally new again. I'm excited though. The stability... the steady paycheck... the medical benefits... the feeling of self-worth... exercising parts of my brain that haven't been used in awhile... It's all good. But now I have to buy a few pairs of pants this week for when I have to go into the office. I have NO pants (other than jeans) that fit me since my weight loss, so I kind of have no choice.

It's butt-fucking-cold outside right now, and is supposed to be for the next week at least. I am soooo over winter. Granted, we didn't get as much snow as we could have (which is cool), but this sub-zero weather really sucks some serious ass. I want SPRING, dammit. Because spring means summer is approaching. And summer means I have a ton of friends flying in for visits, which kicks ass.

Speaking of summer... what the hell am I supposed to do with Grace all summer? Now that I got this job, I have to work/be available every day. Sure, I can fudge some stuff here and there, but I can't make the kid sit here all day, every day for 5 days a week all summer long. She could go to the daycare my mom works at (where Hannah goes) at least a few days a week, but I have some issues. Her class would be going to the city's public pool every day (not our "city"... we live 30 minutes from the daycare). My biggest fear is drowning -- for me OR my kids), so this is something I'm a little leery about. Shit. And we live in such a small town, that there ARE no programs/centers/daycares/etc. to send her to. Hmmm.... What to do. I guess I'll worry about that closer to the summer. Yeah. That's it. Because procrastinating has worked so well for me in the past. [rolling eyes]

So who else is watching American Idol? We're obsessed. We freely admit it. I was so pumped for tonight and it didn't disappoint, for the most part. I definitely have a good 4 or 5 favorite guys going into this, but I don't ever decide for sure until after the second or third week. What about everyone else? Anyone you particularly like?

Anyway, as you've just witnessed, I've got nothing good or exciting to say what-so-ever. So with that, I'll put you out of your misery and end today's blog entry. Until tomorrow... :)

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Screw the Partridges -- There's a New Band in Town

So today, my parents, my sister, and the four of us drove 45 minutes to visit my brother and sister-in-law. While there, Kyle (my brother) broke out his XBox and turned on "Rock Band," which is basically XBox's version of the infamous Guitar Hero for Wii. The thing is, with the XBox version, there's also a drum set. AND  a bass guitar. So while we were there, the whole gang of us fought over took turns playing the different instruments. Poor Gracie. She only wanted to play the drums. But the ignorant mean people adults in the room were greedy and wouldn't let her play nearly as much as they did.

I think we may put together some sort of nation-wide tour. Because seriously... we kicked some serious ass when we played Weezer and Black Sabbath. Sweet.

My brother jamming on the drums...

Rock Star Wannabe


My sister and Grace concentrating on their parts...

Such Concentration


My brother, Steve and my sister-in-law kicking some Rock Band ass...

Rock Band


Hannah, realizing the game was too hard for her, settled for playing the air drums...

Little Drummer Girl

Friday, February 15, 2008

Happy Valentine's Day!

OK. So I'm a day late, but at least I said it. Steve and I don't really "do" Valentine's Day. No cards. No flowers. No gifts. But I'm cool with that. LOL! I never really saw the fascination with Valentine's Day actually.

But the kids enjoy it. They get all sorts of cards, candy and presents -- what's not to like? LOL! Anyway, here are a few shots of the girls yesterday after school, checking out their V-Day loot.

Look Grandma!


The Loot


Be Mine

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Something important to me...

I have two dear friends who both have sons that have been diagnosed with autism. I have learned a lot about autism from both of them and I admire the two of them SOOO much for what they've done to make their sons' lives as "normal" as possible.

One of my friends is a special ed. teacher in Chicago and the Early Childhood department in her school district has put together a team for the Chicago Walk Now for Autism.  The walk is on Sunday, May 18th, and my friend is accepting donations on a website. If you have a few extra dollars to spare (Or even one! Every little bit counts!), can you click on the link below and offer a donation? It would mean so much to me, her, and all of the people out there dealing with autism on a daily basis. Thanks gang! Love ya!

Go support Tracey & Billy!

Holy SHIT!

Sorry for the title, but that was my comment tonight around 5:15 when I walked past my computer and checked my email. Remember a few weeks ago when I interviewed for that job? The one that I really, REALLY wanted -- partly because it sounded interesting, but mostly because I could work from home 99.9% of the time? Well, a few days afterwards, I emailed the woman who interviewed me (who happens to be the president of the company) and just thanked her for contacting me, having me come in, etc. The truth is, I was just hoping she'd respond and give me some sort of hint of how I did, if I was being considered, when I'd know their decision, etc. But she never responded. I was bummed, but since I hadn't asked any direct questions in that email, I realized she didn't HAVE to respond, and let it go.

A week later, I still hadn't heard either way and it was driving me insane. Normally, I don't get that obsessed over an interview or a shot at a job. But I had felt like I really did well in the interview. Sometimes I leave an interview with a feeling that I didn't do horrible or anything, but that I (or the interviewee) just wasn't "feeling it." But this one was different. I KNEW it was the place I was supposed to work. So I emailed her again. I wasn't insane or anything. It was literally 2 or 3 sentences long and just said that I was still anxious to hear their decision and politely inquired if they had made a decision or not yet and that either way, I'd be good. Once again -- nothing. Not an email. Not a phone call. Nada.

It was a serious blow to my ego. I'm okay with not getting a job. The competition out there is stiff right now and there are a TON of technical writers better than me, so I don't mind if someone else gets a job I want. But no response at all? Damn. I felt like a leper. I was seriously wondering what psychotic thing I had done or said that made the woman afraid to even respond to my email. I convinced myself she had decided I was a prostitute based on the outfit I had to wear that day (since it was the only one that fit). I was a basket case.

I had kind of let it go again, but it still irked me. I mean, as the president of a company, wouldn't common courtesy tell you to respond and at least say, "I'm sorry, but we gave it to someone else." Great. Now I know and I can continue my job search.

But anyway...

At 5:15 or so tonight, I'm walking past the computer and see I have a new email. I glance and see it's from her. The woman who interviewed me and then caused me serious self-esteem issues for the past 2 weeks. I think, "Shit. Do I open it? She wouldn't have ignored me a week ago if I had the job." But I sucked it up and clicked on the sucker. This is what I saw...


I am sooooo sorry not to contact you back.

We have been struggling internally with making a decision on exactly what we wanted to do. But we have decided and want to know if you are still available?"

Oh my god! Now, I made myself not get my hopes up yet. Asking me if I'm available doesn't mean I have the job. It just means they may have narrowed it down to a few people. So I take a deep breath, and respond with something along the lines of "Absolutely I'm still available."

I now sit in front of my computer, obsessively waiting for a response. It was kind of late in the evening, so I didn't know if I caught her before she left for the day, etc. But about 10 minutes later, I got this...

"Wonderful!  Thank you for your patience.

I will put together an offer letter and send it your way.

When do you think you would want to start?"

Glass shattered when I screamed. OK. So not really, but it was close.

I GOT THE FUCKING JOB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Words cannot describe the joy I felt. The weight that was lifted off my shoulder at the moment I read that email. I can WORK FROM HOME! And for the first time in 2.5 years, we'll once again have full medical benefits and dental insurance and a 401K. And I'll have a steady paycheck. And when Hannah starts kindergarten in September, I can put my babies on the bus every morning and be here every afternoon when they get back off the bus. And I can take them to their after-school stuff and be around when they need me. And if one of them gets sick at school, I can go right down the street and bring them home. Life doesn't get any better than that, my friends.

And I must admit, that beyond being excited about it because of the financial stability thing (which is HUGE right now for me), I'm excited about the job itself. The company as NEVER had a technical writer before, which amazes me since they're a computer software company. I mean, if a client buys your software, shouldn't you have a writer who writes the user guide and stuff? What the hell? So this is an entirely new position for them too. Their existing documentation and website SUCKS, which is where I'll come in. They also want someone who can test their software. I have experience in that too, which is how she came to call me when she saw my resume. They were going to hire 2 part-time people... one to do the writing and one to do the testing. But then they saw my resume online and thought it might be cool to hire one person to do both jobs. (I'm assuming that's what she meant tonight when she mentioned the "internal struggle" within the company.) So I get to go in and start from scratch. I get to revamp and reorganize and do things the way I want to, which totally kicks ass.

So anyway, I know this is totally rambling and probably of no interest to anyone else reading this. But I am ONE happy girl tonight. Of course, now that my stress has been reduced by an astronomical amount, I'll probably gain back all 20 lbs. that I've lost due to not eating, but I don't even care. LOL! Well, I sort of do. Because my friend Heather and I are going to get our belly buttons pierced sometime soon now that we've both lost weight due to not eating because of stress. Right Heather? RIGHT?! ;)

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Stop the ride! I want to get off!

Sigh. OK. So soooo much has been going on here lately, that sometimes, I feel like my head is spinning. And then other times, I'm in such a funk that I feel like I'm watching the world go by in slow motion. It's a rather surreal experience, and one that I'm hoping ends soon. I'm a freaking mess for so many reasons and I'm really, truly tired of feeling that way. But I'm not here to be all "deep" or anything. I'm just going to bullet point my life for the past few days. Some are frickin' hilarious, others are depressing, and some are downright pathetic. But they're all me, so if you don't like some of it, or want to make fun of me for some of it, so be it. [shrug] All I know is that I'm not sleeping much, not eating much, drinking too much and smoking WAY too much as a way to "escape" from what has become my life. Dear god, that sounds dramatic. LOL! I'm not suicidal or anything, but I've got to do something because I'm not "me" anymore and that kind of makes me sad.

* I lost 7 more pounds in the past week (that's right... one pound per day) because I'm so damned stressed out about numerous things that I literally don't eat much at all (if anything). I eat one meal a day (if that) and then maybe one little snack at night. A few bites of food fills me to the point where I feel like I'm going to explode if I force another bite of food in my mouth. I'm NOT doing it on purpose, but when I'm stressed, I don't eat. For example, a few days ago, the ONLY food I consumed in 24 hours was half a pack of Ramen noodles and 3 pretzels. The next day, it was even less. I now weigh what I did in high school for the first time since high school and all of the new jeans I just bought right before Christmas are way too big on me. [sigh] I am NOT happy about this, but until I find some balance in my life, I don't see anything changing anytime soon. (And PLEASE don't comment that I have an eating disorder. I'm not avoiding food because I want to lose weight. It's just that some people pig out when they're stressed, whereas I just get nauseous and don't really want to eat. This is about stress... NOT about weight or food in particular.)

* Have become obsessed with job search websites. The thing is, since I'm a freelance/contract writer, I don't only obsessively check the "standard" job search sites like and, but all freelancing sites too. Every hour of every single frickin' day, I have about 25 sites I check for new listings. I'm starting to become one of those freaky, obsessive people that the neighborhood kids talk about. But I won't be the "Cat Lady." I'll be the "Internet Job Search Lady" that stares at her computer screen without blinking.

* Sleep. What's sleep? I don't like to go to sleep. Because once I go to sleep, time goes too fast and then I wake up and  have to face another day of stress and depression. So I stay up as late as I possibly can. Because once everyone else in the house is sleeping, and the phone has stopped ringing, I find total peace. Nighttime is a beautiful thing. Hence the 3-4 hours of sleep a night I've been getting for the past month.

* Let's veer from the depressing shit and focus on the fun shit for a moment, shall we? Since the girls sleep at my parents' house every Saturday night, Steve and I have started going out to eat every weekend, which has been awesome. It's the one night a week where I actually eat more than a few bites of food, and it has really allowed Steve and I to reconnect.

* This past Saturday night was the best. We went to a bar/restaurant less than a mile down the street from us and the bartender remembered us from the week before. The events that followed were truly hilarious. The next few bullets are going to all discuss those events...

* A couple from another county were there that night. The guy was seriously the biggest talker/babbler I've ever met in my life. He told us they were in town to visit his buddy who is in federal prison for a DUI. The conversations between the two of them and Steve & I eventually veered to Harley's, hunting and kids. Very nice people, but rednecks in the truest sense of the word.

* I think at one point, we all traded emails and phone numbers, but since we haven't yet heard from them, I can't be sure if that ever actually took place. And I can't find the paper they wrote their information down on, so it's all up to them now. LOL!

* Random old men were at the bar. One was a guy who did "a ton of work" on our house before we bought it... One was a dude that drops $300 every weekend there (according to the kickass bartender) just buying rounds of drinks for everyone else there (including us that night).

* A business dude from Atlanta, GA shows up and is playing on his laptop and is drinking lemon martinis from cool funky-stemmed glasses. He let me sample some of his drink at one point. (Note to self: Don't drink out of other out-of-state men's glasses in bars.)

* My high school chemistry teacher's son and his wife show up at one point where we discuss the HUGE crush I had on his old-as-dirt dad when I was in school and he was my teacher.

* Steve (who was drunk off his ass) at one point yells to me across the bar and shows me that he's wearing the chemistry teacher's son's wife's rabbit fur boots and says he wants a pair too. (I have NO idea how he came about to wearing HER boots, but it was funny as hell at the time.)

* Talked to a guy who has a pregnant daughter in jail and a 16-year-old son who just got arrested for a DUI.

* Had another drink bought for us from a local dentist's brother. The dentist is the one who wants to give me a full set of upper dentures and his brother said I'm way too young for dentures and I should go see his buddy... another dentist in town. Sibling loyalty be gone.

* Had ALL of the people there that night (including the bartender) tell me they want me to waitress there because I'd be a blast and they'd tip me well. Yeah. Great. I'll go from making between $30 to $50 an hour (depending on the project and/or client) to making $3.00 an hour plus tips. Sure. [sigh] (Note: I have NOTHING against waitresses and it was one of my favorite jobs of all time. And I may very well do it again for awhile if I have to. I was a damn good one and really enjoyed it. But right now, the pay may not cut it for me.)

* Had another drink bought for us by some other random person I can't recollect. But kudos to them.

* Had the Atlanta, GA dude ask me if I had a smoke. Thinking he meant cigarettes, I said, "Sure!" Then he said, "No. Not that kind of smoke." Um, no. No, I don't. But I know a few people that could hook him up next time he's in town. LOL!

* Ordered a gin and tonic at one point. I used to LOVE my gin and tonics, but have since become a total beer girl, so how or why I decided to go back to my "old man drink" that night is beyond me.

* Left there with a giddy, drunk Steve and we're still not really sure how we got home. Oy. Thank god it's only 30 seconds from our house is all I can say.

* Can't wait to go back this Saturday. ;)

* Got several calls today from recruiters for some open tech writer positions  not too far from me that I REALLY want a shot at. So far, so good, but I've recently learned not to get my hopes up.

* Got a call from my sister tonight that my dad took my mom to the ER for chest pain. She mentioned to me on Saturday that she had some tightness in her chest and trouble breathing, but hasn't mentioned it since, so I thought it had passed. Apparently not. They're still not sure what's going on, although they think they've ruled out a heart attack type thing, so we'll see. She's there overnight tonight, but there are no definite answers yet. So any extra thoughts and/or prayers would be greatly appreciated if you don't mind. My mom and I are REALLY close and she's practically a second mother to my girls, so something happening to her would be a absolute tragedy in our lives. I'm not trying to be pessimistic, but the way my life has been going lately, and with the stress I already have going on, this is the LAST thing I wanted to happen. :(

I guess that's it. A glimpse into my life the past few days. See why I drink? And smoke? And don't eat? LOL!

But so we can end on a good note, I'd like to give a shout out to my girls. I have 2 of them that have booked flights to come in and visit me one weekend this summer, and another one & her husband coming to visit the weekend after that. I am soooo excited and happy and thrilled about it that I can't even put it into words. I don't get along with very many girls (that whole catty/competitive thing turned me off in high school and I've never gotten past it), so the fact that I've formed some female bonds thrills me. I've met all of them in person several times, so I know we'll be lifelong friends. :)

And beyond those three that are coming to visit, I have another 5 or 6 girlfriends I know from the internet that I email daily. These women have truly gotten me through everything in my life since the day I "met" them. They are the most supportive people I have in my life right now, and without them, I honestly don't know how much worse I'd be mentally. They're my "rocks" and I'd like to give a shout out to them right now. I have one that emails me daily with job leads and advice, which has proven invaluable in my job search. But beyond that, she's also so much like me, it's scary. We have such similar thoughts that I KNOW that if we lived in the same town, we'd be such good friends that people couldn't separate us if they tried. --- One that always throws a bit of sarcasm into her responses which keeps me grounded and makes me laugh. --- One that is dealing with some huge, stressful shit herself, and yet always offers me hugs and support and a hell of a lot of laughs. --- One that's just "nice" and that I know will always say those nice things I need to hear. She's one of those people that has probably never pissed anyone off in her life. --- One that has shown me that as a mother, we do what we need to do and deal with it, regardless of what we want to do. --- And one that's just "my girl." I've met her numerous times, have loved her dearly since the day I met her online and then in person, and that I know would do anything for me if I asked her.

THIS is what makes life what it is. THIS is what helps people get through the times in life when you want to just give up and say fuck it. So thank you girls. You know who you are and I truly hope you realize that your friendship means the world to me and is the ONLY thing (literally) keeping me from going off the deep end these days. And for that, I thank you. And I owe you all. BIG time. ;)

PS: I realize that half of this post was rather depressing. I swear I'll try to make tomorrow's post a little less "emotional" and a bit more on the humorous side. I swear to god, to say I don't even know who the hell I am these days is not an understatement. But the old "Alien" is in there somewhere and I'm determined to find her again, if it's the last thing I do. For real.

PPS: I mentioned my weight loss earlier. As much as I realize that it happened in the WRONG ways and not on purpose, I'd just like to say that DAMN, I feel good about it. LOL! That's wrong, isn't it?  But I can't help it. So WOOHOO for that little aspect of my life's drama. ;)

Monday, February 11, 2008

Wow. Long time, no blog.

Sorry I haven't been around. Just busy, not in the mood to blog, etc. Truthfully, I don't have too much to say today either. LOL! Grace just left for school. She had a 2-hour delay because it is flippin' freezing outside today. Like bitter. Brrrrr....

Anyway, I finally made a new layout this weekend. I haven't scrapped in awhile, so it was nice to finally get one done. Here it is if you're interested... It's a picture of Gracie writing out her Valentines for her class party on Thursday. Full credits can be seen here.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Drive by...

OK. So this won't be long, although it should be. But it's 1:30 in the morning, everyone else here in the house is sleeping, and I really should be too. Granted, I'm not even the least bit tired, but if I don't go to bed soon, I'm going to feel like a big piece of shit tomorrow and that's not cool.

But I wanted to swing by and post a hello. I don't really have too much to update you on. Little stuff here and there... I pissed off two separate people, but don't care because I'm done with the bullshit... I reconnected with an old friend, which thrills me... I've decided that I'm done not saying what's on my mind -- if you're going to be a psycho bitch, I'm going to be a psycho bitch right back... I still didn't hear about the job I interviewed for last week and I'm still searching for some sort of employment... I'm still not eating or sleeping much... I'm still dropping weight like it's my job (See? That's what they should pay me for...)... Found out after the Superbowl party we were at that my guy friend from high school asked Steve if I'm sick because I've lost so much weight (LOL!)... Haven't worked out since that one day last week (LOL!)... Am fascinated that people actually like Hillary Clinton -- is it just because she's a chick? Because I'm all for a woman president. But her? Ick. She's as psycho as I am, and god knows, I couldn't run a country...

Hmmm... that pretty much sums it all up right there. Exciting stuff, no? Yeah. I didn't think so either. Maybe some sort of cool, mind-blowing stuff will happen tomorrow that will have you on the edge of your seats as you read my blog entry. I highly doubt it, but one can hope, right? ;)

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

New Weekly Layouts

So the original template/layout I was using for my weekly Project 365 photos wasn't working for me anymore. I'm not even sure why I started to not like them, but I wanted a "cleaner" look I think. So I redid all of my weekly ones and I think I'm much happier with this format. What do you think?

I think I'll change out the color of the background with each new month, but I haven't decided for sure yet.

Week #1

Project 365 - Week 1


Week #2

Project 365 - Week 2


Week #3

Project 365 - Week 3


Week #4

Project 365 - Week 4


Week #5

Project 365 - Week 5

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Project 365 Monthly Template

Here it is! FINALLY! LOL! I stripped out the stuff I had to and I finally have the template for those of you that want to download. It's the one that looks like this:

Project 365 - January 2008

Obviously, I stripped out my photos (LOL!) and I had to take the date stamp out too since that's made by another designer, but everything else is there, including the number stickers. The numbers 2 - 31 are flattened, but I left number 1 as a layered file (the background and then the number), in case you wanted to use a different font or change it or something. I'll post February's template a little later today.

Oh, and this is nothing fancy. Since I originally didn't think I'd be sharing this, I didn't bother making the layers different colors or anything, but everything's labeled in the layers palette, so you shouldn't have too much trouble.

So without further ado, the download link for January's template is here:

Download Template Here