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

Hope you are having a relaxing Sunday!


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.


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!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Friday, June 3, 2011

Opportunity: Please Knock Loudly

Edit: Maybe depression is nothing more than the realization that you so desperately want your life to mean so much more than it currently does. For me that meaning is in being creative and being with Jeff. I don't have either right now. Most people judge the value of their life as a comparison to those around them. That's why the recommended friends section of Facebook is a dangerous thing to look at. But in all seriousness, there has to be someone out there comparing their life to mine and deciding mine is better, right? Because I feel that is all I do sometimes, compare myself to others, always feeling like I am coming up short.

That feeling of struggling to maintain emotional homeostasis is a crushing one. I think I view my depression as hanging over the side of a cliff by my fingers. I know I could let go and just diminish into deep and dark mindset, but then there’s the maybe-logical side of wanting to hold on in case I can pick myself up.

Shortly after that thought, I came to the conclusion that there is no opportunity out there for me that is interesting. Therefore, I should create my own. Looking for the perfect job is like looking for the perfect boyfriend… Is it? I didn’t find Jeffrey. He just happened to be there. Maybe that’s what opportunity is? Discovering something that has been there all along that you never quite looked at right before?

How can I create my own opportunity? What am I good at? Lots of things, actually, but none so well that I can do it for a job. Wouldn’t I already be doing that if I were? If the perfect job for me does not exist then isn’t it up to me to create it? What is it though?

Thinking about it seems to stave off the depression, so I think I’ll continue to ponder what opportunities I can make for myself next.

In the Poor House

In an attempt to take a super smart approach to my finances I bought the Numbers app for my iPad. If you aren't familiar with Apple products Numbers is their equivalent to Excel (although more hipster and less nerdy). I created a balance record (since I lost mine during Jeff's move; they're probably hanging out with his missing glasses) and put a budget down so I could take a look at it. Okay, I don't have many bills to pay but the fact that I get paid shit does not help.

Not to mention I'm paying back a little over $600 in loans to my grandma and uncle for the repairs to my car (which still isn't fully repaired).

As soon as I see the measly pay go into my account I immediately pay my student loans (11 days in advance, but so what?), attempt to pay  Virgin Mobile (5 days in advance) but either their site doesn't like Chrome or they're just down for maintenance. I paid for my car. And I put $50 in my savings to account for gas for the entire month. Oh yes, I get paid once a month so I have to do all this planning out ahead of time and starve the remaining 30 days.

So I'm paying $20 back towards my uncle (even though I don't really think he expects me to pay him back, but I am going to) and only $10 back towards my grandma because of mental reasons I've rationalized in my head and am not going to explain here.

Oh and I owed this month on my hosting for plus I owed for last month too. That was paid. I bought all but one of my necessary toiletries for the month. So far the only bill I can't pay is the Lane Bryant card, which goes directly to Jeff. I really need to figure that out because I cannot not pay him. I could use the remaining $28 I have left over but then I very literally will have no money. I've resigned myself to the fact that I'm not going to be buying Starbucks or anything else any time soon but I at least need to have some money.

The only bright spot I can see in all this so far is that I still may have something coming in from EDD at least once or twice this month. That would help matters greatly. But I cannot rely on that and since it's all a combination of back pay and current pay it is almost impossible to calculate.

I guess the other bright spot is that I have increased hours for this month. Financially speaking, however, that will not help any towards this month as that will all be in my July paycheck.

And here I thought being financially responsible was supposed to feel good. I didn't go to college so I could number crunch my way into poverty. Yes I like knowing that my bills are paid and I'm paying for them myself and paying back for the repairs on my car, but I'd also like to be able to see Jeffrey this month and that just is not possible right now.

Aren't I supposed to be enjoying my life?

Thursday, June 2, 2011

10 Years Ago

It seems as if you realize just how ensconced you are into your adult life when you reach a particular anniversary, and for me, that point is today. Ten years ago today I graduated from high school.
I didn't even realize it until this evening when I was driving to work. I was wondering why there was so much traffic in town and after about a minute realized I was in the middle of post-graduation traffic. That's right, I remembered, local high schools graduate on a Thursday. A couple miles later I realized I graduated ten years ago today.
And just yesterday I colored my hair to cover the grey. How appropriate.
Happy anniversary, class of 2001!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

You Can Find Me In Hell

I can appreciate that times are tough and babysitters are expensive (assumption on my part) but bringing your 6 kids to your counseling appointment so I can watch them for you is so not cool. And I'm not getting paid to be given a headache by kids who can't appreciate that when the phone rings business is happening and I need to be able to hear everyone else.
This is effective birth control.