Saturday, December 10, 2011

Nutella Hot Chocolate

I came across this recipe for Nutella hot chocolate while browsing through Lauren Conrad's site and i cannot wait to try it! Also, I had no idea making whipped cream was so easy! I definitely need to try that instead of buying it in a can.
Nutella Hot Chocolate (1 serving)
1 cup milk (I use skim)
2 1/2 Tbsp Nutella
1 Tbsp Cocoa
Tiny pinch of salt
In a small sauce pan over medium heat, whisk all ingredients together until well blended and hot.
Pour in a cup and top with homemade whipped cream and shaved chocolate.
HOMEMADE WHIPPED CREAM
1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream
2 Tbsp Sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Place a medium bowl and your beaters from your electric mixer in the freezer for 10 minutes (this helps the whipped cream stiffen faster)
Pour all ingredients into the chilled bowl and start to beat. Start off on low and gradually work your way up to high. It will be done when it is the consistency of ..well…whipped cream. Don’t over beat.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

December Already

I love this time of the year. In fact, this is the first autumn so far where I can see the change in the leaves. Living along the coast for the past 15 years of life had many advantages but living in Bakersfield during this season has given me one I've never seen before, the change in colors. Jeff and I walked around our neighborhood the other day and I was so pleasantly surprised to see all of the different colored trees, the golden colored leaves perfectly fallen from trees onto dark grassy lawns. The weather seems to match as well. It's cold during the day and even colder at night. I'm not one for turning on the heater but I've been doing that quite a bit lately. I enjoy the cold but sometimes it just gets into your bones and becomes uncomfortable.

I'm really looking forward to Christmas in Bakersfield. We haven't put up decorations yet and since we're house sitting for my parents next week I doubt we will get any up until the following weekend. Still, I look forward to the first Christmas Jeff and I spend together.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Hostess and Chef

Thanksgiving was a great success! My mom and Grandma came out from Lompoc and my Uncle came out from Valencia to have a wonderful Thanksgiving with an embarrassing abundance of food. I may have gone a bit overboard...

In addition to a few pounds of turkey from Honey Baked Ham (courtesy of my grandpa) we had mashed potatoes, cheese souflee, rolls, green bean casserole, stuffed mushrooms, crab and red pepper dip, a ricotta-honey-fig dip, pumpkin cheesecake... I think I'm forgetting a few things. It was a lot. In fact, we didn't even get to make everything we purchased with the intent to make because we basically ran out of space and serving dishes. Oh, and everything was homemade which everything so much better!

Here are some photos of Jeff and me preparing all the food.


Hot crab and red pepper dip




Pumpkin butterscotch cookies





Preparing the stuffed mushrooms








Jeff kneading the bread dough


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Feeling Flowery

Our budget for the rest of the month is a bit tight but I really want some flowers in the apartment for Thanksgiving. I saw this post over at LaurenConrad.com and it has me feeling very flowery!
Tuesday Ten: Falling for Fall FlowersTuesday Ten: Falling for Fall Flowers

A Change of Scenery

This morning I woke up very inspired to transform my blog into a very festive holiday theme. I love the tools you can use over at ColourLovers to make patterns and palettes. I actually use them very frequently in my Sims game so that my Sims can have very lovely and fashionable furniture. So, what do you think?

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

That's a Pretty Old Brochure, Dude

Did anyone happen to catch Glee last night? There was particular exchange between characters Finn and the new foreign exchange student (the one Brittany thought was a leprechaun) that really spoke to me. The new kid is being bullied because he's foreign (and in one really confusing exchange, someone told him to "go back to Mexico") and he explains to Finn that he thought America was a place where people who were different were accepted and differences even encouraged. Finn's reaction to this is, "That's a pretty old brochure, dude."
This was such a revelation to me because it sums up exactly how I feel about where our country is headed. I took particular notice because it coincides with my virtual project, the Acceptivity project. Anyway, we do have this idea of America being accepting of everyone and yet there are a lot of hypocrites who work very hard (trolls of the real world) to work as much against this notion as possible. Or at least it seems that way.

Anyway, I was tweeting about it earlier (because #thatsaprettyoldbrochure is such a fantastic hashtag) and wanted to know if anyone else felt like that when watching the episode. It really does seem like an old brochure these days.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Hello, Sunshine!

I finally did it this morning! I got up before the sun did and I'm working on my school work for the week! A few weeks ago I randomly woke up at 7 in the morning (or maybe I did it on purpose, I can't remember) and I got so much work done that day! Something that I haven't really been able to replicate since. So for a few days now I've been trying to get up around 6 and it hasn't been working. The past few days I've gotten up around 9 and I always feel like I'm not getting much accomplished.

We tried going to bed earlier last night and it just didn't work. We ended up getting up at midnight and watching 3 episodes of Family Guy before we were tired enough to go to bed. I don't know how I actually managed to get up at 6:20 because I don't recall the alarm clock going off, but here I am! It's 6:47 and I'm watching a video for school. Fingers crossed I feel the same sense of accomplishment at the end of the day as I felt so many weeks ago!

Monday, October 24, 2011

I Am a Mucus Factory

Friday evening I was hit hard and fast with a rather nasty sinus infection. It was really the anti-perfect end to an anti-perfect week.

  • On Monday my grandma fell at work and was rushed to the hopsital.

  • On Tuedsay I drove the 150 miles out to Lompoc to help take care of my grandma.

  • On Wednesday I got to spend the entire morning with my grandma, taking her to a doctor appointment and running errands around town. That night I drove back home to Bakersfield.

  • On Thursday I had a lot of reading to catch up on as I got no work done in Lompoc.

  • On Friday I still had a lot of work to do. Then I got sick.

Saturday morning was the community garage sale and Jeff and I were up from 4:30am until a very bad hour late Saturday evening. By not taking any medication I was able to get all my school work done. I'm not sure if anything that I wrote can be read and understood by another human being but I'm hoping it can. Sunday - yesterday - I finally took medication and floated along in a Benadryl haze for most of the day.

Today I am a mucus factory. I'm starting to get my appetite back a little but not much. I've been eating even though I haven't been hungry, simply because my body could have been starving and I would have had no idea, that's how sick I've been.

For some reason my workload with school is much lighter this week than it has been in weeks prior so I'm using it as an opportunity to stay proactive on my job search and get better. I haven't been outside since Saturday morning and my goal is to at least be able to walk downstairs and check the mail sometime this week. Probably when I go to pick up my iPad.

Oh yeah, I broke my iPad Monday night. Anti-perfect week and all!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

This One's For You, Jeff!

Jeff is looking at my blog's site stats right now and unintentionally making me feel bad for not blogging more. So, here's to you, Jeffrey. A new entry on my blog!

 

Thursday, October 13, 2011

85% (or, an Asian F)

I think I have developed a better sense of graduate school now. I'm in the third week of the term and I've had my first unhappy grade: an 85%. I neglected to recall some pertinent facts from the syllabus in my Identity in the Virtual Age class and wrote last week's paper in the wrong format. The professor made sure to emphasize the fact that there is a difference between undergrad writing and graduate writing. Perhaps it's the absence of physicality in my grad school program that has made me not feel that I'm a graduate student. That being said, I'm more in that frame of mind today than I was two weeks ago.

Why does an 85% bother me when it isn't that bad of a grade? Because I've always worked hard to get A's and despite that hard work I always managed to miss a straight-A semester by one class grade. I'm still in the pursuit of that elusive 4.0 term.

I was assured by my professor, Jeffrey and a calculator that this minor setback will be minuscule in the grand scheme of things. In fact, that 15% accounts for less than 1% of my final grade, assuming I continue to do well in the remaining weeks.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Graduate Student

I'm in the second day of the first week of graduate school. I thought I'd feel different. You know when you have a life changing event you somehow expect to feel different? Maybe it's not something you're supposed to feel instantaneously. I certainly didn't feel different for a long time after graduating from CSUCI. I suppose I wanted to feel different about being a graduate student. Alas, I don't.

I had a few different expectations upon starting school again and so far the impact has been minimal. Except for an enormous amount of reading I have to accomplish this week nothing really feels all that different. Again, maybe it takes some time.

I haven't been feeling well today. I'm wearing socks, sweat pants and a hoodie with the air conditioner on. My logic? I'd rather be warm in cold air than warm in warm air. Jeff isn't really buying it though. At least I'm comfortable. He says I should take a nap or just go to bed all together but I hate the idea of not getting any work done and throwing off my sleep schedule.

Hmm, come to think of it, I should have realized that sleeping more than 9 hours last night was a clue that I'm not feeling my best. I should try to make it into bed earlier tonight. I'm sure the 36 page article I'm about to read will help out with that.

On another note, it really sucks when my ADD kicks in while I'm doing required reading.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Our First Party :)

Though Jeff and I have only lived in Bakersfield for two weeks it feels like so much longer. I miss my mom and grandma and was really looking forward to them coming out to visit. They had only seen the apartment in pictures and since we finally got the place cleaned up and put together it was an absolute perfect time to have them come out for a party. We also happened to be celebrating my grandma's 75th birthday!

Homemade Ranch DressingWe put together all of the fixings for tacos, sat around the dining table and talked and ate and enjoyed really yummy food! The highlight of our lunch was the homemade ranch dressing I made this morning. I've never made anything like it before and it turned out absolutely perfect!

It had just enough zing to it without being overpowering. Ranch is something I typically associate with just salads or dipping but this particular recipe has me imagining all the different things I can do with it!

Homemade Ranch Dressing


No preservatives. No high-fructose corn syrup. Creamy, tangy homemade ranch dressing in 5 minutes!


No preservatives. No high-fructose corn syrup. Creamy, tangy homemade ranch dressing in 5 minutes!

Ingredients



  • 3/4 cup mayonnaise

  • 3/4 cup sour cream

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil

  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice

  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup buttermilk

  • 1 small bunch of chives

  • Small handful of parsley

  • 1 clove garlic

  • 1/2 tsp salt

  • 1/4 tsp white pepper

Instructions




  1. Place all ingredients with 1/4 cup of buttermilk in a blender

  2. Blend for 10 seconds. Check consistency and blend in additional buttermilk if desired. Less buttermilk for dipping, more for dressing.

  3. Store in an air-tight jar in the fridge.

Nutritional Information Calories: 102.3 | Fat: 10.7 | Fiber 0 WW Points: 3


Notes


Yields: 16 2-Tbsp servings

Adapted from The Gourmet Cookbook, 2004

Estimated time: 5 minutes

As you can see from the photo mine came out a bit greener than what is expected. Truth be told a "bunch of chives" and a "small handful of parsley" is fantastically vague. Pretty sure the reason mine came out so green was because I over estimated the amount of chives and parsley required. Regardless, it tastes wonderful and I look forward to making it again in the future!

Tomorrow I will have to tell you about the positively divine cream cheese bundt cake I made!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Oh well.

Got the call yesterday that I didn't get the job. Great.

Honestly, have you ever had a job interview where afterwards you felt the dread of having to actually go to that job? That's how I felt. I want something that is creatively challenging, that will keep me happily surprised every day and will make me feel proud. Creating a filing system just does not fit those criteria.

Something better will come along. :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

Here's What's New With Me

It's been a little over a week since Jeff and I moved into our apartment in Bakersfield and so far life is terrific. While Jeff may be used to having every store available to him from his life in Valencia, it is quite a new experience for me; and they have everything here! There is something like four Targets in Bakersfield. Many Wal Marts. Every store I like to shop at is here, with the exception of Apple/Mac. It is a very pleasant surprise!

Our apartment is very close to completion, though I feel we have more stuff than square footage will allow. So far our big walk-in closet is being used to store all the unpacked boxes that we've yet to get to. We were hoping to have everything done by, well, yesterday, but that hasn't happened. It will happen. It's a bit daunting to unpack your old life and acclimate it to your new life in a new place.

Jeff officially starts his grad program today and I begin the first day of a two week orientation for my grad program. I'll probably start working on that while Jeff is away at school for a few hours. I'm really looking forward to having classes and papers and deadlines and the like. Really I'm just looking forward to having a schedule so that I'm not sitting around the apartment day dreaming about my new life. And one thing to help this scenario would be a job... and speaking of which...

I had a job interview this morning! It was all very last minute; in fact the rep from AppleOne called me 20 minutes before my alarm went off (serves me right for trying to sleep in until 9am) and I got ready in a jiffy to drive out to the interview site. It was for a small farming company here in Bakersfield, one that was founded around 2007. It's probably the first instance where my interviewer was younger than me but I suppose the older I get that is to be expected. I'm guessing he probably thought I was much younger than I am and I'm fine with that. Anyway, the job seems like it could be a great way to flex some organization muscle and really help a smaller company tidy up the administrative side of things. Perhaps in my own naivete I was expecting it to be an office somewhere in a field. (To be fair, this was not uncommon in Lompoc!) It was, in fact, in a very nice building in an industrial part of town in northern Bakersfield about 12 miles away. Things will work out the way they are meant to and if I'm the right girl for the job then I will do everything I can to do the best job possible.

In other news, Jeff's birthday passed by quietly and without much fanfare. I made him dinner (homemade pasta with chicken and salad) and cupcakes (vanilla bean) with homemade frosting (silky vanilla). We were meant to go to Valencia last weekend to have a part at his parent's house but his mom was sick. So, we've rescheduled to possible this Saturday, which means we are going to have a very busy weekend. Valencia with Jeff's parents on Saturday and my parents are coming out here on Sunday where we will be having a party for my grandma's birthday.

Until then there are still many things to do here. And who knows?! Maybe I'll be working soon!

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Almost Home Sweet Home

We are on day three of our move to Bakersfield and we've saved the most for last. Today we are renting a trailer and moving all the big stuff - TV, dining table and chairs, recliner, bed - to our new apartment. Jeff and I are both crabby and it seems a little sick from our Mexican food dinner last night. The weather is supposed to be in the triple digits today and Jeff and his dad have to haul all that stuff upstairs. Goodness.

Because of my knees and back I will most likely be organizing inside while they move the furniture. I put plenty of water in the fridge last night so that should be refreshing.
I can't wait for this day to be over.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

My Life in Boxes

Since receiving the news that we were approved to live in the apartment I've felt much more comfortable with packing. I didn't want to start until I knew for sure we were 100% going. I have more than enough boxes and I'm really trying to make a concerted effort to throw away things I don't need to avoid moving junk that may just be thrown away out in Bakersfield.

The plan is for Jeff to come up early Thursday morning and to pack all my stuff up in his dad's SUV and my car, and drive out to Bakersfield. Once there we will sign the lease and move my stuff into the apartment. We will also measure the apartment for furniture. We will leave my car in our parking spot and take the SUV back to his parent's house in Valencia. Friday morning we will begin to move his furniture and stuff to the apartment and Friday night should be the first night we spend in the apartment.

Also, and I just think this part is kind of funny, I've never seen the apartment before so I am literally moving with no idea of what the apartment looks like, if it feels like home, if I like it, etc. I guess I just have to trust that I will love it!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

All Good Things

Two pieces of completely outstanding and wonderful news occurred yesterday.

First, we have been approved for the apartment. There is still some paperwork to be faxed and completed by Jeff's dad since he co-signed for us, but it is basically ours. They said we could even move in earlier if we wanted to, but September 1st is the earliest Jeff and I could do that. My last day at work is a week from today and we're moving the day after. So I think that time frame is already pretty strict.

Second, I GOT ACCEPTED INTO GRADUATE SCHOOL!!! I received an email from Fielding yesterday informing me I have been accepted. So today began a month long process for enrolling and student orientations and faxing and mailing paperwork and on and on and on.

How is it possible that I'm only two days into this and I'm completely exhausted?

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Sleepy Saturday

This morning was the first time I woke up and completely forgot I was supposed to go to work. Thankfully I remembered right after I hit the snooze button and before I got back in to bed. Since then I have developed a headache/migraine and I'm feeling chilly in the office.

As far as the whole Bakersfield situation is concerned, Jeff found another apartment that is a lot less expensive and he put a deposit down on Thursday. We should be hearing about it Monday. I haven't started packing up my room yet and I feel I won't be able to until I know for sure I have a home to move into. I did start cleaning last night and that was when it hit me that it is going to take a lot more time and effort to pack than I originally anticipated.

Jeff is coming up today and he has offered to help with the packing and whatnot. I'm just happy that I will get to spend time with him.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Terrific Tuesday

The word of the day today must be terrific because I'm saying it a lot and that is how I'm feeling. Fingers crossed that it continues for the remainder of the day!

Edited @ 10pm

Yes. Today was a great day. I gave notice to my boss and it wasn't nearly what I thought it would be. He didn't even react all that much. Strange.

I called Fielding to check up on my admission status and they informed me that my admission portfolio has been sent to the program director for review. So that means I should be hearing back from someone either by the end of this week or maybe next week. It was a great thing I called because they alerted me to the fact that I had no completed some of the financial aid steps, such as the entrance counseling and signing a master promissory note. So I got those done (on the iPad, no less) and tomorrow I just have to fax in a signed document and I'm done.

On the apartment front, they did call to say that they were attempting to verify that I had indeed lived in Anacapa Village at CSUCI but they weren't getting a lot of cooperation from the school (shocker) so I managed to take care of that, I think. I imagine we'll be hearing a final word from them tomorrow.

And then on the job front, I heard back from the lady I interviewed with last week and things are looking good. I feel like a full time job is right around the corner. In the meantime, I'm helping out a friend who is the owner of a surrogacy practice in Los Angeles, Santa Barbara and San Francisco. I get to dive into some social media projects and help out a great organization at the same time.

My grandma says that things are falling into place for me and I can't help but think that it is somehow true. And then there is that tiny, nagging voice that is telling me to not get too happy too quickly. Maybe that voice will go away once the apartment comes through. I still feel like the apartment is the key to everything.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Reading the Signs

I am a person who believes in signs. I'm not quite sure how to succinctly define what I mean but I hope you understand. The location of my interview last Thursday was two doors down from Starbucks. I take that as a good sign because I love Starbucks. Also, it was convenient because Starbucks offers free WiFi and Jeff was able to comfortably wait for me to attend my interview while he enjoyed the free WiFi on my iPad.

Shortly after an interview that put an embarrassingly big smile on my face Jeff and I went looking for an apartment. We went to pre-selected complexes and were having no luck. One complex gave us a map of other complexes we didn't even know existed and one of them was Rio Paseo. Rio Paseo looks like the apartments we toured and fell in love with in Oxnard (Serenade at River Park). They also happened to be the only complex with any openings. As we exited I noticed a car with a CSUCI alumni license plate holder and took it as a great sign.

That was Thursday. Friday evening we decided to go for it. Saturday morning they had two 1-bedrooms left so Jeff and his parents drove out to Bakersfield. By the time they got there only one was left. Apartment 8E. They put a deposit down. Sunday morning I drove out there with my mom and grandma and put in my application. Today, Monday, I received a postcard from Rio Paseo in the mail.

Crystal,
Thank you for visiting our beautiful community. We'd love to welcome you "Home" here at Rio Paseo =) Please call us with any questions! It was so nice to meet you.


Another sign.

There is still a part of me that is holding back despite all of the excitement that is building up around us. I've been asking myself if it's a feeling that things will not turn out the way we planned them (yet again) or if I'm simply apprehensive because I've never done anything like this before. Which is the most logical answer? I think the correct answer is that I'm scared. Scared in the way any normal person would be if they were making enormous changes to their life. I don't question anything about my life with Jeffrey because I am completely and totally in love with him. But I've been talking for so long about moving forward with our lives together and now something is really happening. If I weren't scared I would lack perspective, right?

Tomorrow I've told myself I will give my formal two weeks notice but there is a part of me that is apprehensive. Maybe I should wait until we know for sure we have the apartment? What happens if we don't get in for whatever reason? What if I have to cancel moving and rescind my notice. Is that really what I'm afraid of? Would that be embarrassing? Would it be worth getting embarrassed about?

My mom has been making delcarative statements that scare me. When you move out this or when you move out that. I tell her nothing is certain and to please not jinx it. And yet I'm the one interpreting signs that I believe the universe is giving me. All I know is that things are going to change one way or the other and there is no way to bypass that. Everything will change. To not be flummoxed would be silly, right?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Case of the Tuesdays

In one way I look forward to Tuesdays because it is the only day of the week I work a full day, which is great for my paycheck. When I'm not feeling well on a Tuesday, it's a problem. I made it to work and everything was fine. I was a bit grumpy this morning and may have been a touch short with a client (I will apologize to him when he comes in on Saturday). Then I had a bit of an upset stomach and a general feeling of uneasiness. And so, at noon when I would normally go to lunch, I went home for the day.

I stopped by Subway for takeout on the way home and was happily surprised when a little girl who was holding the door open for her companions also insisted she hold it open for me. Even my mother was impressed when I told her what happened. It's the kind of thing I was raised to do and sometimes fail to.

My sandwhich was terrific (footlong meatball marinara on Italian herb and cheese bread with mayo and olives). I'm also trying to keep hydrated (Deja Blue water is a personal favorite) and I find that the more water I drink the more thirsty I become. Strange, isn't it? Fatigue overtook me and what was meant to be a 1 and a half hour nap turned into nearly 3 hours. My grandma always says that if your body needs to sleep and keeps you asleep, it's a good thing. And yet I'm the one who is afraid it will mess up my sleep schedule. (That's why I don't allow myself to sleep in much, even on Sundays).

The rest of the week is going to be very different for me. Tomorrow before work I will pack, then after work I will make the lovely drive down to Valencia. If I time it correctly I could be driving along the 101 in Santa Barbara and northern Ventura as the sun is dipping into the ocean. I can already imagine opening the sun roof and listening to awesome music. Maybe I should make a playlist?

Thursday is Bakersfield. My interview is at 10 (still deciding what to wear) and then we're looking at apartments the rest of the day. This will be my first trip to Bakersfield and I'm curious to see what the city is all about. Friday I'll come back home and resume my weekly schedule. Although, it feels as if the rest of my life hinges upon this Thursday.

I try not to let the anxiety get to me and so far I think I'm doing an okay job. The anxiety isn't manifesting physically or emotionally just yet. Maybe that means I'm handling it better than I have in the past?

Anyway, I'm really excited by this job opportunity and I want to make the best impression possible. I have AMAZING letters of recommendation to bring with me and honestly, if I was hiring someone and I read these letters, I would hire them. Not to sound arrogant, because I am quite humbled by the things my long-time companions have said about me, but it does give me a boost of confidence to know I'm going into this job interview armed with as much as possible.

In the meantime it is still Tuesday, still rather early, and I'm just trying to relax and stay hydrated. And I'm trying to push the apprehension away and out of my mind.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Internet Has Grown Up

The Internet turns 20 today and we have all come a long way from the days of chat rooms and that familiar jingle, "you've got mail!" it hasn't been 20 years for me, but there has been a computer presence in my home almost as long. In fact, I remember being able to navigate somewhat through the DOS commands our first computer required. I remember classroom trips to the computer lab to play Oregon Trail and Where In the World is Carmen San Diego. Oh, the nostalgia.

Our first computer with a Windows operating system (the kind that didn't require DOS) was a Compaq Presario, given to us by my grandpa. Another Compaq followed after that. Around the age of 18 I went half-and-half on a Compaq desktop with my family. Soon after that I got my first laptop, also a Compaq, for a whopping $1,000. The last desktop I ever bought is still with me today (it has all of the Sims 2 games on it) and I will use it from time to time, but I haven't lately. After I graduated from community college I was gifted an Acer laptop to take with me to CSU Channel Islands. A year later I jointly purchased a MacBook with Jeff. I gave the Acer to my grandma. I used the MacBook for as long as I could before Jeff took it over full time to use in his last two years in school. February of last year was when my mom bought me the laptop I use now, a shiny red Dell. All of these computers aided me in learning everything I could about the Internet. Years before I learned Photoshop I had Jasc Paint Shop Pro versions 5 & 7. I learned how to code in HTML, DHTML, and later CSS. In the summer of 1998 I asked my mom if I could make a web page. She only had one question; is it free? Was it! I first ventured into Tripod (my screen name was sweetsugar98. Then Geocities sometime later. That very first site had a maroon background with a picture of the Backstreet Boys dressed in yellow, or vise versa. Many summer nights were spent searching for everything related to the Backstreet Boys.

This was all before Google, MySpace, Facebook and Twitter.

It is difficult to imagine what our lives would be like if we never had the Internet. Though I imagine no one really guessed it would change our lives so drastically when the Internet first made an appearance 20 years ago. What will happen in the next 20?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Another Week Gone By

I feel like this week has been fraught with strangeness. Moreover, it seems like the week went by pretty fast. On Monday I applied for a terrific job in Bakersfield. On Tuesday I was called by employer of said terrific job to come in for an interview (that will be next Thursday). On Wednesday I was supposed to have plans with my family but there were some communication errors that delayed the plans and left me a bit grumpy. On Thursday I was lazy and stayed in my pajamas for as long as possible (though I did not neglect to shower). That night at work I kept getting the creepy crawlies. Today I watched some tv, my Sims game became corrupted, and I spent a few hours trying to fix everything up. I went to work for a little while, Taco Bell for dinner, and here I am in bed a couple hours earlier than the last couple nights. Tomorrow I will wake up, go to work, do those rescheduled plans with my family and have some time off until the process starts over once again next week.
I cannot wait to have more structure in my life. No, seriously.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Dinner

I was volunteered to make dinner tonight using our fresh purchases from this morning's Farmers Market. Veggie quiche (crooked yellow squash, asparagus, corn, sweet peas and butternut squash) with cheese and topped with spinach and feta hummus. Fruit on the side. The quiche had breadcrumbs in both the bottom and top. The eggs were mixed with rosemary and thyme.
It's amazing how much more satisfying home cooked food with fresh ingredients is than fast food junk. I wish we could eat like this all the time! And I'm glad it all turned out well because I was just mixing things together that I thought would work!
I made two pies worth of quiche so there is plenty for breakfast or lunch tomorrow!

Sunday Farmer's Market



My mom and I had the same great idea this morning: Farmer's Market. It's a new addition to our little city and one that has been growing tremendously over the weeks. We picked up a tremendous assortment of goods, including two pies, sweet corn, asparagus, lemon cucumbers, blackberries, strawberries, fresh eggs, avocado, mozzarella, hummus, Mediterranean pesto pizza and much more. I didn't keep track of how much we spent but it was maybe close to $50 between the two of us. Oh and we also got some really delicious garlic flavored pistachios! I treated her to a cheap breakfast at Jack in the Box (surprisingly delicious breakfast burritos!) and we slowly made our way home.

I have to say it's been so nice getting along with my mom. We haven't fought in a while and everything has pretty much been smooth sailing. Curiously enough I've also been getting along well with my father. We haven't been corresponding as much the past few weeks due to his busy work schedule, but we have been getting along much better than we have in the past. I explained this to my mom and she asked me, "Does that mean you have forgiven him?" It was a difficult question to answer. I don't feel anger towards him like I have in the past and while I know he's hurt me I also know I have probably hurt him. If I have forgiven him my heart and mind did it quietly. I do know that it's a lot easier to refer to him as my "father" or my "dad" these days, so maybe I have forgiven him. And maybe he's forgiven me.

Anyway, back to the Farmer's Market. If they ever start selling locally made cheese I will go every weekend, lol!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

It was supposed to be a good day



It was supposed to be a good day. Wake up, go to work, run errands, find out if I’ll be moving to Bakersfield with my boyfriend while he attends graduate school. He has had this conversation with his parents twice before, both times in different contexts and at different points in our relationship. Here we are, 3 years and nearly 3 months into a terrific relationship and we’ve hit an iceberg. Make that two icebergs.

Apparently I’m not good enough for their son. Apparently I’m a distraction. Three years and three months apparently means nothing to them because they could care less. They don’t think he should be distracted by a relationship while he is in school. Nevermind the fact they were married when they were both still in school. They don’t think it’s good enough for him to just get a Masters degree; he needs a PhD. Nevermind the fact that neither of them has a PhD and his mother only has a Bachelors, same as me. Nevermind the fact that we’re in love and want to get married. Never-fucking-mind.

I grew up where he grew up. I went to the same college. I come from a similar ethnic background. I have the same belief system as they do. My uncle lives two blocks away from them. I’m attending graduate school in the fall. I love and adore their son in ways they can’t. What am I doing wrong?

We talked about an alternate plan so we would feel better but the silence in my mind has me thinking other things now. Maybe I’m tired of fighting. Maybe I’m tired of always compromising. Maybe I’m tired of putting my life on hold. But what else can I do if this is the man I love and want to spend the rest of my life with?

It’s so unfair. I’ve spent the last two years travelling back and forth from my home to his college apartment while he finished school. I’ve put up with further distance in the months since he has graduated and moved back home. I see him twice a month now – if I’m lucky. And now he will move to Bakersfield and I will never see him more than once or twice a trimester.

What more can I do? I can’t fight these people for the rest of my life and chances are if they don’t think I am good enough now they will never ever think I’m good enough later. It’s a losing battle.

There is no title that sums up how I feel

It was supposed to be a good day. Wake up, go to work, run errands, find out if I'll be moving to Bakersfield with my boyfriend while he attends graduate school. He has had this conversation with his parents twice before, both times in different contexts and at different points in our relationship. Here we are, 3 years and nearly 3 months into a terrific relationship and we've hit an iceberg. Make that two icebergs.

Apparently I'm not good enough for their son. Apparently I'm a distraction. Three years and three months apparently means nothing to them because they could care less. They don't think he should be distracted by a relationship while he is in school. Nevermind the fact they were married when they were both still in school. They don't think it's good enough for him to just get a Masters degree; he needs a PhD. Nevermind the fact that neither of them has a PhD and his mother only has a Bachelors, same as me. Nevermind the fact that we're in love and want to get married. Never-fucking-mind.

I grew up where he grew up. I went to the same college. I come from a similar ethnic background. I have the same belief system as they do. My uncle lives two blocks away from them. I'm attending graduate school in the fall. I love and adore their son in ways they can't. What am I doing wrong?

We talked about an alternate plan so we would feel better but the silence in my mind has me thinking other things now. Maybe I'm tired of fighting. Maybe I'm tired of always compromising. Maybe I'm tired of putting my life on hold. But what else can I do if this is the man I love and want to spend the rest of my life with?

It's so unfair. I've spent the last two years travelling back and forth from my home to his college apartment while he finished school. I've put up with further distance in the months since he has graduated and moved back home. I see him twice a month now - if I'm lucky. And now he will move to Bakersfield and I will never see him more than once or twice a trimester.

What more can I do? I can't fight these people for the rest of my life and chances are if they don't think I am good enough now they will never ever think I'm good enough later. It's a losing battle.

Shoe Sorrow

Last weekend I ordered two pairs of shoes. The first is a lovely pair of flats that are gold and glittery and otherwise very simple. The second pair is a red, open toe pump with a slightly stacked heel. Both are size 13; neither of them fit on my right foot. So after work I'm going to return them and probably never order from that shop again. I've had to return every pair of shoes I have purchased there in recent memory. My feet are so unlucky. If only I wore a size 10.

Friday, July 29, 2011

My Newest Love

This just came in the mail today and it was love at first sight.

Nearly A Graduate

So the application to Fielding was submitted. The supplemental materials (resume, statement of purpose) were submitted. CSU Channel Islands sent my official transcripts (that was a battle I lost and paid for). The final piece of the puzzle is a letter of recommendation.

I asked Linda, a co-worker and friend to write it. She is doing her doctorate work at Fielding and for the past almost 6 months I've had the chance to get to know her. We became fast friends. Anyway, she sent me a rough draft of the recommendation and holy balls, I didn't know I was that wonderful! She described me in a way that I never would have though of myself. I guess that's a good thing though.

That should be going out hopefully by this weekend (which is tomorrow!) and within a few weeks I should know for sure if I've been accepted. I think I will be. In the letter of recommendation Linda said I possess a certain "spark" that is in line with the environment of Fielding. My GPA more than qualifies me and while I thought at first that my statement of purpose was too informal, I was relieved to hear that the statement is meant to reflect your personality and goals. And apparently it is absolutely fine to say that you don't know what you want to do but feel the answers will reveal themselves to you in time. I think I've always felt that way.

While I am waiting on my own graduate school acceptance, Jeff is dealing with the post-acceptance fervor of it all. He is attending CSU Bakersfield and this past Tuesday drove out there to get a feel for the place. His parents have returned from their 3 week vacation to Europe and I suspect those difficult conversations will be had starting today. Interestingly, when he took his grandmother out for dinner the other night she asked him, point blank, if he planned on marrying me. Without hesitation he declared "yes" and she responded "good." And then remarked on his lack of hesitation. Needless to say I was delighted to hear this exchange.

I think there are a lot of changes in store. Whether I continue working part time and attending school here in Lompoc or moving to Bakersfield to work full time and do school part time, my future is changing. I look forward to having things to do again, to having deadlines and papers scheduled into my calendar. I have missed the student way of life and I can't wait to go back into it, head first.

Monday, July 25, 2011

How I Spent (Most of) My Saturday


I went to work at 8:45 and got off at noon. Then my day began. I made the 2 hour trip to Valencia and was happily welcomed into a wonderfully air conditioned home with amazing food prepared by my better bearded half. Not 30 minutes after arrival we headed out to (I don't know the name of the city but it is part of Santa Clarita) to finally have my car's transmission flushed. That took about an hour (and cost $156) and then we headed to O'Reilly's for a new ac belt for my car. Those are just two of the maintenance jobs I needed performed on my car to get it back into excellent condition. Jeff put on the ac belt and I helped by actually wrapping the belt around the pulley. It was a dirty ob and I was a total girl about it but at least I helped! Anyway, this is boring so just take a look at these photos I took.

I'm not sure what he is looking at but I know it has something to do with my car. He really spent a long time outside working on my car. I could tell that he was really treating it with the same interest and respect he would treat his own car with. He had the front jacked up and the right front wheel taken off and was gaining access by laying down under it. It looked like he could have been decapitated so easily. I know he knows what he is doing and I trust him completely, but it was still rather frightening to see him in that position.

This is Mortimer, Jeff's 18 year old cat. He is the skinniest thing you have ever seen in your life. It isn't that he doesn't eat; he eats constantly throughout the day. In fact, if my Snuggles ate as much as Morty he would be rather obese. Morty has a thyroid problem that keeps him looking skeletal. Most of the time I'm afraid to pet him because the feel of his spine and ribs alarms me. He just has the sweetest disposition.

At one point a neighbor came by to chat with us. I politely excused myself under the guise of doing laundry and went in and watched Jennifer's Body while I waited for Jeff to finish. The movie finished first and I wasn't able to get a jeff inside until a little after midnight. His neighbor talks so much. He is a sweet kid and apparently has HFA - High Functioning Autism. He seemed to be incredibly intelligent but I can only take so much chatter in a day.

Anyway. I am so relieved to have my car back in excellent condition. It has taken a long time and a lot of money (some of which I am still paying back) but I can finally feel comfortable behind the wheel knowing that nothing is stripped or cracked and may kill me. Thanks, Jeffy!

Back at Home

I'm back in the land of the boring after a fun weekend with Jeffrey in 101 degree weather. Thankfully we were in air conditioning for most of it. Part of that time included seeing the final Harry Potter movie in epic IMAX 3D glory. Now that was what a great movie experience should be. I am at work now, having arrived straight from Jeff's with two stops along the way. I have a lot more to blog about once I am home changed into some fresh pajamas.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

I am Moving

While my physical location will remain the same (for now) I am pleased to announce that I will be converting over to WordPress so that my blog will be hosted on my own site - crystalcierlak.com.
I've already imported everything over there; it is only a matter of formally switching. That should be happening this weekend.

Monday, July 18, 2011

One Step Closer

I am a bit closer to that grad school acceptance. I'm RSVP'd for a Fielding webinar to learn all about the Media Psychology and Social Change on Thursday. Linda (counselor at work who also attended Fielding) is writing me a letter of recommendation. And hopefully CSUCI will relinquish its vice-like hold on my official transcripts after they remove that ridiculous financial hold on my account.
Good start to my week!

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Headache in the Making

I'm applying to graduate school. Since I was at CSU Channel Islands the other day with Jeff I decided to drop off my official transcript request in person. Fine.

This morning I receive a letter stating my request cannot be processed because there is a financial hold on my account. I know what it is and it pisses me off.


I call the appropriate office and they confirm that it is housing who put the hold on my account. To make a long story short, Anacapa Housing at my school (aka: the dorms I lived in for two years) has been trying to charge me $55 since the day I moved out, claiming that I didn't vacuum the carpet in my room or clean the bathroom. Except I did. My mother, grandmother, and Jeff were there with me helping me clean. I remember it distinctly because this happened literally five minutes after turning the tassel on my hat to indicate I was graduated.

I have been disputing this charge for TWO AND A HALF YEARS. I have disputed it with them. When they threatened to send my to collection my mother took over and disputed it. Written statements by both my mom and grandma were sent to backup my dispute and to verify the room was clean. Nothing happened after that. But the charge is still there.

So now, someone - probably an intern or student worker - is "researching" into it to find out what can be done.

Allow me to explain something about housing.... they are the creation of the devil. I LOVE LOVE LOVE my school and I enjoyed living in the dorms at times (especially because it's how I met Jeff) but the housing office itself is an atrocious institution that is hell-bent on making the lives of its residents positively miserable. And now they're f-ing with my graduate education. Not ok.


I hope to God this gets fixed and everything is resolved. Two and a half years is too long to dispute a $55 charge (which I refuse to pay).

Thursday, July 14, 2011

A Small Complaint

So there was a client at work who had made arrangements to miss two group sessions on account of work commitments. That was fine and I made notations in his chart and all was great in the world. Except the third week, the group he was meant to show up for, he was about 30 minutes late and I had to mark him down as a no-show. The next week, which was last Thursday, he showed up on time even though there was no group (though he didn't know that). Well he arrives today and come to find out he's been discharged - by his counselor, for missing FOUR groups. Except he hadn't missed four, he had missed three and two of them were excused. Turns out the counselor didn't even look at the chart notes and discharged him just based on her own illogical reasoning (seriously, the woman is f-ing bonkers). To make matters worse I was the one apologizing profusely and feeling like the meanest bitch in the world when it was her fault. She didn't even take the smallest bit of responsibility (and she did take a small amount) until I jokingly offered to let him yell at me because he looked so upset.

It left me feeling disgusting and my opinion of her has decreased even more considerably than it has from previous incidences. Ugh. What a nutjob.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Quick Check-in

I've been visiting Jeff in Valencia since Saturday and we're been having a lot of fun relaxing and cooking and driving around and just being young and silly. I truly need to blog more often but I totally feel spending time with my boyfriend is more important, lol. Perhaps sad, but true! Anyway I'm promising myself I will blog more often - I'm even thinking of more topics and things to blog about!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

June 6th

My grandpa's wife - I guess that'd make her my step-grandma - is not doing very well. She's been hospitalized with congestive heart failure and is having difficulties keeping certain essentials at normal levels in her body, such as potassium and other similar things. She was meant to leave the hospital about today but that isn't going to happen. I haven't talked with him directly but I understand my grandpa is in a state. Understandably. He completely forgot to go to one appointment yesterday. Maybe she is the one to always remind him to look at his calendar? I know that's how it is with Jeff and me.

I haven't been feeling well myself, though nothing compared to what my step-grandma is going through. Woke up with a headache, which started to turn into a migraine, and also had to contend with nausea and other stomach problems. Taking a shower was quite difficult and I kept trying not to throw up in the shower. I'm doing better now, especially after lying down in my air conditioned room. I called out sick from work. I think I maybe could have gone after all but who knows how that would have affected me. I'm still feeling rather icky but at least I got to take a shower. I had made a sandwich at one point and every time I took a bite I could feel my body wanting to throw it up. I was finally able to finish it after rested in bed, and I think that helped keep my strength up.

Last night I noticed my feet were swollen and they are again today. My grandma gave me a water pill to help. I hope it does.

Though none of this seems nearly as bad as what my step-grandma is going through. I can't get her out of my mind. She and I have never been particularly close but I know I would be quite upset if she passed like this. That would only be compounded by feeling a great loss for my grandfather, who has spent the better part of 30 years with her by his side. I can only imagine I would be nothing short of catatonic if Jeff passed on. I can't imagine what that would be like to lose someone after 30 years. I think I'd probably just contemplate killing myself. Unless we had kids.

Anyway, that intensity aside, I think I'll call my grandpa to let him know I'm thinking about him.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Things Always Turn Out Okay In the End

Just wanted to follow up to this post. I never did get to look at that budget and it turns out we can't just cancel the cable because it's packaged as the holy trinity with the phone and Internet. So basically that day my grandma came home and informed me she had found an extra $40 in her budget that could be used for groceries. I was immediately incredulous. You can't get groceries for three people for $40 and have it last a week. 

But, I went to the grocery store with her and was able to pick out a lot of stuff... bread, lunch meats, cheese, mac and cheese, individual pizzas, hot dogs, almond granola bars, coffee creamer and chocolate milk.... for just a few cents under $30. Granted it's not the best food in the world, health-wise, but it's protein and tastes delicious and when you have the mentality of wanting to eat out a lot it's kind of handy to have that quality of junk food at home. There's no going hungry this week. I get paid either this Friday or next Tuesday and I can pick up a few things to tide us over until the next shopping trip.

Another thing that happened was my grandma decided to put me in charge of the grocery shopping. This is actually good news because it means when the budget is a bit bigger I can squeeze in some things that are much healthier, like chicken breasts, salad, veggies and fruits. In the meantime the pizzas and hot dogs and sandwiches are enough to hold us over until things improve. And things will improve; they always do.  

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Hello There

Snuggles
Hope you are having a relaxing Sunday!

Untitled


I wish I discovered awesome things in the middle of the day rather than at the end. That way I wouldn't be up well past my intended sleep time playing around on my iPad. Lol. Maybe this way I have more creative dreams?
In any event, goodnight. Pleasant and creative dreams!

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Hunger Games

I have generally avoided revealing intimate and extraordinarily private details of my life, but there is something weighing so heavily on my heart that I have to share it somewhere. Besides, no one is reading this anyway.

This morning as I was getting ready for work I was thinking about how I would come home and pour through the weekly ads and my coupons while doing laundry. When I asked my grandma if we would be able to do the grocery shopping today she said, much to me extraordinary disappointment, NO.

Oh.

Yeah. So in my household the bills always get paid but there is hardly ever food in the fridge. Sure we manage to eat and never truly go hungry, but the amount of money wasted on fast food is gross. According to my grandma there is a specific amount of money budgeted monthly for food but I just don't believe that. I am not seeing that amount of food in our house every month. Jeffrey used to eat like a king for half of that budget and he always bought meat. Apparently this budget includes the household toiletries. I'm still not seeing that in the house.

I told grandma that I think we should cancel the cable if it means less financial stress. We don't need television. We have literally hundreds of DVDs and with the amount of free television available on the Internet it is feasible to go without cable. Do I like having high definition channels, watching every movie channel and all the other channels we have? Of course. Would I rather not have to worry about eating canned peaches in order to have something in my stomach? You betcha.

This afternoon I am going to go over the budget with my grandma and see where we can cut things out. With my own personal finances I am going to reduce my cell phone plan from the unlimited web/data/minutes at $65 a month to the unlimited/300 minutes plan for $25 a month. We are going to have to buy Sunday papers to clip coupons and we are going to use coupons for everything we buy.

This morning I was close to tears when I heard there was no budget for food for the next week to two weeks. I kept wondering how I was going to make it. Suddenly thoughts of escaping home were filling my mind and I was wondering where I could go and who would take me in. But then I would be abandoning my family, wouldn't I? My grandma wouldn't do that to me and I won't do that to her.

My grandma has done everything she ever could for me and I long ago promised I would return the favor in kind. I'm not able to provide for her financially due to the limitations of my job but I try to help out in other ways. If killing some of the extra luxuries in our home for the sake of eating is what needs to happen, then so be it. It won't be forever. It will just force us to be extra creative to keep entertained.

...

I'm surprised by my own optimism. When did I get this way? Guess I'm doing an okay job of not letting the depression take a hold of my life again. This morning I had some coffee and grabbed some crackers, a Dr. Pepper and some popcorn to eat at work. One of the clients brought in donuts and I got to have one. I'm hungry and feeling a bit under nourished. But I think it will be okay. Fingers crossed.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Have a Laugh

A friend of mine from college recently did some stand-up at a club in LA and it's pretty funny. My favorite line comes courtesy of a bathroom text message from a date.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The First Day of Summer

Edit 2/18/12 photos no longer available

I went into this day thinking it was going to feel like the longest day of the year, but it didn’t feel that bad while at work. Well since work I’ve been at home and it does feel like the day is stretching out rather lazily. Not that I’m complaining. But I am rather tired and it’s not even 8pm yet and therefore too early to go to bed.
Today was the third day in a row I went to the pool with my mom. Monday and Tuesday we went for just about 30 minutes but today we probably spent more than an hour. I’m really sore but I feel good about it. I love that swimming is also exercising without the unpleasantness of sweating or not having fun. I’ve got a good base tan started and I’m hoping it will develop further throughout the rest of the summer.


I was pretty tan as a child, as you can see in this picture. For many years I attended the YMCA in Valencia after school and during the summers. We would occasionally have a day called “Y on Wheels” and I remember one day getting ready to go skating with my roller blades (remember those? I was terrible at them!) and a counselor asked me if I was wearing nylons. I had no idea the significance of that question at the time but I know all too well now that I was asked because they didn’t believe I was naturally that color. I guess I technically wasn’t. I was a beautiful golden brown as a child, thanks to countless days swimming, going to the beach twice a week a few summers with the YMCA, and generally being a child. I think at one point I may have looked as if I were of some sort of Latin descent. Nearly Eastern European, thanks to my Polish grandfather, so I’m a bit more olive-y white than European-white.

I was also a plump child, lol. Still am in a lot of ways, though I’m okay with it and love myself to pieces (and so on and so forth). I do love swimming and the fact that I’m getting a great exercise just makes it all the better. I try to alternate between exercising my arms and legs; I’d love to have leaner arms.

And of course the tan doesn’t hurt!

I’m looking forward to summer this year. Is it because I have my own personal air conditioner in my room? Partly. Something about this summer, with the swimming and the tanning, has made me want to have brightly colored alcoholic drinks to make me bubbly. It’s also making me want to make a killer summer playlist on iTunes.

I welcome summer with open arms (and chlorinated water in my ears).

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

I regret admitting that I had hoped I would have seen an email from my biological father in my inbox this morning. But nothing. What if I did or said something wrong and it's all over? Or if now that he has a job he likes he is too busy to communicate with me. That kind of sucks. I was under the impression that he wanted to keep communicating and getting to know each other. Now I don't know. Ironic that today should be the day I have that realization.

I will just go about my business as if it is any other Sunday. Because it is. And the only thing special about today, June 19, is that it is Jeff's parent's 35th anniversary. Jeff is making bacon wrapped filet mignon and other things. His sister, Kelly, is supposedly coming over and they are going to have a lovely family day.
I and a lovely family day yesterday. So today I am going to do laundry, play some video games and maybe watch a movie. Happy Sunday.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Of the Holidays I Do Not Participate In

Fathers Day has been the one that is secretly the most bittersweet. It is a day I celebrated as a kid by making my grandfather a paper tie or doodling something for my uncle. Eventually my grandpa moved away to Florida and my uncle had kids of his own. So I stopped participating. Some years I will send a card to my grandpa but it has become less important over the years.

The subject of my biological father has not always been great. The man thought to be him was confirmed when I was 14 years old via paternity test with the state of California. I remember seeing the results back then, something like 99.987% possibility. Maybe the only way to have really known would have been to have seen the deed done in June 1982 and watch my mom every day until she gave birth. But anyways. I wish I had known as much about DNA and biology as I do now; it may have helped.

Things were fine at first and my parents were speaking and making plans. In December of 9th grade (this would have been around 1997 I think) I was supposed to formally meet him for the very first time. That never happened. I got scared and called the whole thing off. I remember the feeling because I have had it twice since then about 2 different circumstances. The second time was when A long distance boyfriend was meant to come visit me and I got scared. I wanted to tell him not to come see me but I didn't. I seldom ever speak of him and that time because it causes me a lot of embarrassment. The third and last time I felt that particular scared feeling was the morning I drove to Jeff's house in late June of 2008. We had been dating for nearly two months and were taking a trip to Vegas. That feeling, however, melted away into comfort and I have never again experienced that uncomfortable scary feeling. I digress.

My teenage years were very painful and I spent most of it very depressed. I remember making lame attempts at suicide a few times. I call them lame now because I realize it was just a way for me to get attention. Of course I realize the absolute severity of taking your own life. Hindsight is 20/20 and all that. The point is that I was very unhappy. The following Spring my biological father was in a severe car accident and I thought he would die. I made several attempts to check on him and after a day or so I was being told nasty things by people who didn't know me and my mom and I were being blamed for the accident.
Today I consider myself lucky to know that I will probably never be in a position where I am seeking child support. The experience was extremely unpleasant. And though that money has slowly trickled in over the years I have only ever benefitted from it once or twice. In fact, for years I never even knew it was still coming every month. It caused a huge rift when I could have used it in college and certain family members said it was meant for my mother. Hmmm, wonder why it is called child support then? No matter. I put myself through college and will spend the next 9 years and 4 months paying it all back.
There are many things. Am not including in the story and this is usually the point where I get mad. I can feel those feelings of hurt and resentment trying to rise in me now. But that is in the past and my mom and I are making an honest effort to have a better relationship. Dwelling on all of that negative crap will do me no good.

Throughout the last 13 years or so I have come into contact with my biological father a couple times. All efforts have turned into dramatic messes. Thinking back on it I realize I was not ready at any of those times to know him. I think there was a lot of growing up that needed to happen (mostly on my side, some on his) before we could communicate effectively. I think a lot of that growing up was accomplished because of going to school, obtaining a college education, and being with Jeff. I give myself a lot of credit for trying to improve and be a better person, but a lot of it is because of Jeff. He brought a lit and a happiness into my life. So much so that I am a much more delightful person now than I have ever been. Long gone is the depressed teenager.

In recent months communication with my biological father has resumed and it has been a much more positive experience than it was any other time. This time I don't have random people from their shared past emailing me to tell me what a slut they believe my mother to have been at that time (she wasn't, and you aren't a decent human for saying those things to me). In fact, I have been very careful not to mention certain things to him. Rarely do I mention my mother, or our past conversations, or anything about paternity tests. He has since stopped referring to me as his "alleged" daughter. I still call him my "biological father". The word dad still seems foreign to me. Plus it denotes a much closer relationship than I have with mine.
Lately the communication has slowed. It used to be multiple emails a day and not there are whole days where I don't hear anything. In fact, he never replied to my last email, sent a few days ago. It disappoints me but I know that he is busy with a new job and with that has brought some excitement into his life and he probably doesn't have time to communicate with me as much. Things were going well and I was feeling encouraged to share more. That feeling has closed a bit but I know it could easily be reopened.
I won't be celebrating Fathers Day tomorrow. It is difficult to do something you have purposely not done in 20 years.

Perhaps by the time i am ready to celebrate it will be with my kids and Jeffrey. Or maybe sooner. I don't know. I guess tomorrow I will just think about the fact that I at least have a father.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Potty Mouth

Have you ever had your mouth washed out with soap? Well I have. And apparently it didn’t work.
Case in point: last week at our monthly staff meeting I was talking about something unimportant and I meant to say, “I don’t want to be a schmuck.” Well, schmuck is not what came out of my mouth. In fact, I actually said, quite by accident, “I don’t want to be a douchebag.”

There was a lot of laughing and blushing. Apparently the thought of me uttering an occasional bad word is seen as shocking. Okay, that word is a bit more colorful than “bad”. I didn’t intend to use that word; it just came out.

Then today at work while on the phone with a co-worker, I was expressing my frustration with the copy/fax machine when I let out a few expletives. She seemed to think it was funny and I was tired of having to excuse myself for my French. So, I decided to just fuck it all and went on a full cursing tirade against the damn machine. Co-worker laughed more than I thought was possible for her and then said she should get off the phone before her ear burns off.

Honestly, what is it about me that people find it so shocking when I cuss?
(This would be the moment when Jeffrey would make a joke about Orbitz gum in that wonderful fake British accent. Dirty mouth? Clean it up!)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Happy Surprises

After all my complaining and worrying about money and gas I had a rather happy surprise. On my lunch break I headed to Bank of America to deposit my ten I cash and the small check from EDD I got yesterday and then take out $60 for gas. I recently went to a station where cash customers pay less per gallon. So I went with my $60, hoping the empty light wouldn't come on on the way there, and filled up... At $3.75 per gallon! The lowest I have paid in a long time.
I was expecting it to take most of my money...but it didn't. I actually left with $17 in cash and a full tank! Since all the bills are paid and my car is full and the fridge at home is stocked, I get to have $17 all to myself! I love happy surprises!

Another Weekend Gone

Doesn't it suck when the weekend was so long it was boring and too short to have been fun? Friday morning I dropped my mom off at the Amtrak stop (she spent the weekend down in LA with friends) and a few hours later Jeff came up from Valencia. We actually had a pleasant weekend up until Sunday afternoon. We had gone grocery shopping with my grandma, saw Super 8 (which was amazing btw) and just hung around watching movies and episodes of House and How It's Made.

Sunday afternoon consisted of nearly 4 hours of traffic from Lompoc to Panorama City, dinner at the house of my mom's friend (who I don't like, and I felt excluded the whole time) and then drove back to Lompoc that evening. Except the traffic drove me nuts (I took half a Xanax even before we got into traffic) and I sat in the back seat with Jeff on the way home and tried to ignore my grandma speeding in my car like she was driving her Camaro. We got down there in just over a quarter of a tank and when I got in my car yesterday to go to work I was nearly on empty. I got completely screwed out of that deal. Sure, give me money to come pick you up but please be sure I have at least as much gas leftover as I started with. Giving me $10 out of the kindness of your heart isn't going to get me to work this week.

I try not to speed and I don't drive with the a/c on so my gas will go farther. I wish guest drivers were as considerate.

Anyway, Jeff is going back to Valencia this morning and my life will go back to being joyless, mundane and devoid of much laughter. It will be a good 3 to 4 weeks before I can see him again and I am not looking forward to that. Oh well. Things will be better next month.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Another Friday

There’s a job opening at Toyota/Scion in Santa Maria that is full time and I’ve applied for it. It’s for a service drive assistant which doesn’t sound terribly appealing, except that it’s full time and offers health benefits, including dental. That is almost as important as the pay per hour. I’m not fluent by any means in car culture but I have been learning here and there from Jeff. If it works out, great, and if not then I still have my current job and won’t have to worry that I can’t support myself.

It’s definitely been a struggle to stay in an emotional state that is not that of depression. I keep reminding myself that my bills are paid and that’s a great thing, but it is difficult to be happy about that when I see how little is in my bank account right now. Fortunately my grandma is getting paid today and that will alleviate a lot of struggle in the home. I can only hope that Jeff and I never have to live paycheck to paycheck as my family as for more than a decade. I think that’s Jeff’s wish, too, though he doesn’t have as much experience because his parents are rather comfortable in their financial situation and he has never had to really want for anything.

Speaking of Jeff, he is coming up here to Lompoc for the weekend and I couldn’t be happier about it! It’s been just shy of 2 weeks since I last saw him and I miss him greatly. My mom is going out of town for the weekend and my grandma will be out on the golf course most of Saturday and Sunday, so he and I will get to spend some alone time together which will be nice. I definitely want to get the XBOX 360 set up somewhere in the house so I can take advantage of that when I want.

I’ve been thinking about my blog and my website and how I want them both to evolve. I’m thinking I’d like to start doing product reviews. Not like the ones that all those pretty girls on YouTube do but text reviews. I don’t want to put myself on camera. This was inspired by some new products I’ve been trying lately that have been really wonderful and I’d love it if more people had the same experience.

Well I’m leaving in an hour to take my mom to the bus stop so she can leave for her trip. Got to put on makeup and fix my hair so I don’t look like I just came out of the shower.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Hello, Gorgeous!

I don't know if I have ever said this before (I must have) but it smells really good outside and the day is so pretty today! That and a couple slices of vegetarian pizza during this afternoon's staff meeting have cured my morning grumpiness.

And I am sure the venti white mocha with caramel drizzle from Starbucks has nothing to do with it!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

June Gloom/Mobile Version

I read in the paper that even though the rain has ended for now, June Gloom would be staying with us. In all honesty I wish it was like this all the time. I'm a fan of sunshine every once in a while but to me nothing is better than grey skies, white and dark grey clouds, and a slight chill in the air. I just don't do well in heat and I rather like rain. In fact, whenever I turn on ambient music I always play rain; it's just the most soothing sound.

In other news, I have apparently activated a mobile version of What's Up Crystal? that can be viewed on any phone with internet access. It's basically a truncated version of the site but it's probably better than loading the whole thing on a tiny screen. I'll be trying it out later today to see how it really looks.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Update: A Bit Sick

I have been feeling just a bit sick for the past few weeks. Nothing more than some slight laryngitis. Last night I felt my throat changing and I knew what it meant: I was about to get more sick. This morning my voice is screeching in and out, there us irritation in my throat and my ears feel a bit cottony. Looks as if all the foreplay is about to end and I'm going to get screwed - by a nasty head cold.
(I feel dirty for having used such an unladylike expression. Apologies.)

Update: Since writing this morning my throat has gotten a bit worse, my eyes are droopy and my nose is starting to run, something it never does. My throat is starting to feel a bit like it did a couple years ago when I had mono. I am praying to the universe right now that I don't have mono. Please please please no!
Maybe I can go home early?

I other news my face is looking rather good since I started using witch hazel on Sunday night. The redness in my cheeks (believed to be rosacea) has diminished somewhat. Could I be on my way to flawless skin? A girl can hope!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Better Than I Thought

To be quite honest I thought Sunday was going to be a dull and uneventful day. It wasn’t!

My grandma and I drove across town to the 7-11 to get some Sunday papers and then we stopped by my favorite store, Fresh & Easy, to pick up some breakfast claws (so delicious!) Unfortunately the papers were missing some coupons (coupon thieves at 7/11 probably) so my mom and I stopped by the Village Market to get new copies. While we were there we stopped by the brand new Farmer’s Market; it was the inaugural weekend of the new program. There wasn’t a lot there but we did buy some hummus (which was delicious) and walk around to every booth. There wasn’t a lot there but there were a lot of people and since it’s going to be going on every Sunday it should only grow. I’m rather looking forward to it!

We also made trips to Walgreens, CVS and Wal Mart that morning. We ended up going back to CVS and Walgreens due to some really amazing coupons that allowed me to get some new shampoo and conditioner (a very lovely experience this morning, and they are organic) and some new lipstick. The rest of the afternoon was spent having a video chat with Jeff via Skype and couponing. Overall not a bad day at all!

I attempted to put some some curl in my hair today but it just was not having it. As soon as I put it up in a lovely little ponytail and sprayed hair spray on it it pretty much came undone. Instead of curly it was just vaguely wavy. And thin. I should have put the thickening product in it today but I was so engrossed in the lovely smell from my new shampoo and conditioner that I didn’t want to risk it with more product.

Work was pleasant enough. The couple who brought in their six kids last week came in again today but only brought one kid with them, and she was super quiet. I had some down time and was able to catch up on all the news from the WWDC. I even made a few quick phone calls to Jeff to excitedly tell him about some of the new features coming out in Lion and iOS5. I know, I know… I’m a nerd.

This week I’m going to try to convince my boss to let me make a website for him. He’s really stuck in the past and really is not a tech-savvy person, but I’m hoping I can convince him to give it a shot. We’ll see!