The website overhaul that I mentioned in the previous post is – finally – done!
Has it really been four years since I’ve written one of these? Hmm, I seem to recall passing thoughts of such a post each of the past three years, but more pressing to do’s got in the way. Truth be known, I probably wouldn’t have done this one had I not been on vacation from work this past week. Anyway! Here are some of the things occupying my time.
* enduring changing conditions at work. In January, the boss I’ve had for the 2.5 years at my current company retired. His former second-in-command took the reigns, and for several months, it was the nightmare I had feared. To say the least, the new boss is a micromanager, and his default state of impatiently oozing with sarcasm was only made worse by his promotion. I was to the point where I was regularly checking the job listings, because to think of staying indefinitely with that man in that highly negative environment was too much to bear. But I found out in September that our contract was only renewed until March of next year. Although the higher-ups express confidence that we’ll get another renewal, I’m not counting on that. In any case, I decided that – as things have calmed down a bit – I’ll at least try to make it through the end of this year. Can’t quit before I get all of my vacation and holidays, right? 😉
* mentally projecting myself elsewhere. From a recent letter to my friend Michele: “Thank you, thank you, thank! you! for the b-day graphic with Tom Hiddleston. If seeing the trailer for the movie you mentioned reminded me of him, the suggestion of running away to Bali with him has (happily!) planted him front and center in my thoughts. Plus it has been giving me much-needed mental escapes since I first saw the b-day graphic. Back at work on the second, I was so inspired that I did a Bali image search and changed my work computer background to support my daydreams. I imagine myself standing on that balcony, in that beautiful, exotic, romantic place. I’m looking out at the scenery; he’s standing behind me with his arms wrapped around me, and I feel so protected, and relieved that he’s taken me away from all the stress and bad mojo at work. :sighs dreamily:”
* chewing carefully. I’ve been having sporadic pain in one of my molars when I chew a certain way. During my dental cleaning earlier this month, I mentioned this pain, and in his inspection, the dentist spied a crack under the filling. Last week I went for a temporary crown, with plans to go back for the permanent in a couple of weeks.
* reading carefully and carefully considering my diet. I’m still dealing with the eye symptoms that started back in November of 2013. It (eye strain?) tends to flare up after long sessions of reading/computer time, and so I’ve continued pacing myself, taking breaks and cutting out “extra” reading. My side (gall bladder?) issues have also continued, but have also been pretty mild, and I like to think it’s because I’ve made a concerted effort to eat as nutritiously as possible… well, as is possible without spending a fortune of $$ or an excessive amount of time researching and planning exactly what “nutritious” means.
* making sure Aldi gives me the sale price. I’ve been going to the Aldi grocery store near work almost every week for well over a year. I’ve been loving their low prices, but recently I’ve noticed a disturbing trend in which the additional markdowns noted on the shelf don’t make it into the cash register. My response is to hold such items to the end of my order, and as the cashier reaches for it, I quiz, “Are these the ones that are (insert sale price here)??”
* desperately seeking new music. This time last year, the 80’s and 90’s music radio station that I’ve enjoyed for several years started to play Christmas music full time. Alas, when that ended, they changed their format to country music. My sister defaulted the living room radio back to the repeat-o-songs station we had previously, but their non-variety has irked me more than it did before. I guess, having heard some actual variety, I’m not ready to give it up. So I’ve been exploring other options. I’ve downloaded quite a bit of the free music Amazon has to offer, plus I discovered that we have a local jazz station. (Jazz is SO calming on my way into work. :big smile: )
* possibly closing in on a decent way to wear my hair. Years ago, I worked with a lady who shared that she would be going the next day to a hair appointment. With delight, she declared that she would then be “lookin’ decent.” That phrasing struck a chord with me: it sounded humble and yet attainable, although for me, the quest remains. But I refused to accept that the only styling option for my latest lackluster ‘do was a helmet-y mom bob, and I ventured to try some techniques that were brand new to me. And at least twice I have *loved* the results. Unfortunately, the aforementioned techniques involve a lot of dumb luck, and now the challenge has become replicating a love-able (read “decent”) look. Fortunately, I have a picture! I will call in professional help if I need to. And if my attempts in the mean time look a bit weird, I shrug happily that I like it better than my previous Bowl Head, and I put my hand on my hip, hold my head up, and carry on as if I meant for it to look this way. (For you Buffy fans, as a confidence-booster, I tell myself, “I wear the hair: it does not wear me.” 😄 )
* tried in vain to build a dream. As I’ve mentioned repeatedly on this blog, my long-time dream is to build my own home. Earlier this year, I took the first steps by talking to a builder and a bank, but I ran into a brick wall, and I’m sad to report that it wasn’t the one that I envision as a focal wall in the sitting area by the new kitchen. I was bummed out… devastated, actually … about it for quite a while, until I accepted that this simply wasn’t the right time. In retrospect, I realized that to continue the way it had been going would have meant settling. I definitely need to think more about what I want, and now I can do so more intelligently, with what I learned in this initial effort.
* waiting on people to do what they say they will. (Grr!) Before Memorial Day, we noticed that our roof was leaking by the chimney. A lot. (No doubt due to the fact that, while in the attic, you could look up next to the chimney and see daylight.) I contacted the roofer. Six to eight weeks later, a guy shows up and works on it. Still leaking! I texted the roofer again – as this seems to be the only way to get through to him – and he immediately responded with apologies… and then weeks went by with no word. I finally texted again. In early November, the guy finally came out again, and his patch job seemed to have worked… until my Mom just reported that she sees another leak. :pulls hair out:
* finally(!) getting back to website work. Much of my free time has been spent working on the new layout for my so-called personal site. I didn’t realize how much I had missed my website hobby, but I’m so glad to be back at it, even if I must do so gradually to avoid aggravating the eye issues mentioned earlier in this post. Actually, having to take my time on it has turned out to be a blessing, too, because it’s giving me a chance to consider my options for each step. Hopefully, if this continues, whenever I do finish it, I know it won’t be perfect, but I can feel as if the final project is complete, the result of a good effort.
1. What did you do in 2013 that you’d never done before?
Sat in an interview as one of the interviewers, waited three years to wear a coat I bought, made crock-pot green bean casserole, discovered I get body aches when I chew sugar-free gum regularly, used a rebate credit card, wore a wrist brace at work, used reading glasses, made an online purchase on “cyber Monday,” used the shuttle service during a car repair, had a bird poop in my coffee cup, and learned to use caution while walking under trees with an open coffee cup.
2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
For 2013, I wanted to make more nutritious food choices and walk more; I’d say I accomplished the first but could’ve done much better on the second.
For 2014, I want to continue to make nutritious food choices and read the Old Testament.
3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
4. Did anyone close to you die?
Yes. Loki, the last of the batch of kittens that I took over feeding when their mom disappeared. Wow, I loved that cat.
5. Where did you travel?
only to local cities that I’ve visited before
6. What would you like to have in 2014 that you lacked in 2013?
My biggest dream is still to own a home. If I can get closer to that in 2014, that would be awesome.
7. What date from 2013 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
Perhaps Black Friday, because quite a few things happened, such as, I found #11, and the power button popped off of our TV.
8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
I organized the Thanksgiving pot-luck lunch for my office, and I thought it turned out really well.
9. What was your biggest failure?
At work I made at least 3 *completely* boneheaded mistakes.
10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
My left eye eye began (and continues, sigh) to show strong signs of eye strain, making this the third time in a row that I’ll end the year with a new “ailment.”
11. What was the best thing you bought?
Captain America: The First Avenger. I’d been waiting for a good sale (because rare is the movie I like well enough to pay more than $10 for), and I found it for $6! (Needless to say that was a previously-viewed version, but it plays perfectly.)
12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
the people at my church
13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Let’s just say that someone close to me made a decision that I disagreed with. Very much.
14. Where did most of your money go?
Well, it seemed as if I was always at the gas station. Gotta love commuting.
15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
The fact that I *do* seem closer – close! – to getting my own home!
16. What song will always remind you of 2013?
17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
Happier or sadder? Happier
Older or wiser? Wiser
Thinner or fatter? Maybe a little fatter
Richer or poorer? Richer, because – unlike in 2012 – I was employed for the whole year
18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
responded appropriately to situations I find myself in and to other people
19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
been annoyed at my family
20. Did your heart break?
Yes. See #4. :*(
21. How did you spend Christmas?
My mom, sister and I opened our gifts around nine, after I set up our two low-frills video cameras to capture the festivities. Again this year, the new camera had “low battery” issues, even with new batteries. Then, I made lunch, including crock-pot green bean casserole and our traditional Yum Yum Muffins. I took pictures of our opened gifts, then computered on two smallish projects. We ended the day with Mom and me watching the videotape of our 2012 Christmas while I recorded it to DVD, and (again this year) we enjoyed the cheese-tastic Babes in Toyland, 1986 version.
22. How will you spend New Year’s Eve?
I’ll be holding down the fort at work along with the 2 or 3 other people who are not on vacation. Later at home, the fam and I will probably watch some DVDs, and then ring the new year in as we typically do: sleeping.
23. What was your favorite TV program?
Thanks to DVDs, I’m enjoying getting reacquainted with that 80’s classic, Square Pegs.
24. What were your greatest food discoveries?
I re-found the mega-delicious Lean Cuisine Butternut Squash frozen entrée that I used to get years ago.
25. What was the best book you read?
The New Testament (in the Bible, in case that’s not clear)
26. What was your greatest musical discovery?
Arguably, my favorite of the new songs I’ve heard this year is “Every Good Thing” by The Afters.
27. What did you want and get?
There were several biggies, with one of those being that my “mystery” side pain from 2011 continues to show much improvement.
28. What did you want and not get?
For my eye issues to clear up… although they are improving. I think. I hope!
29. What was your favorite film?
Films Seen This Year and Really Liked: Thor: The Dark World
Films Seen This Year and Liked: Argo, Iron Man 3
Films Seen This Year That Weren’t Quite What I Expected: Red 2
30. What did you do on your birthday?
I took off of work. I started the day “computering” on a few small projects. I ate my favorite lunch, watched some of my favorite music videos, and listened to some of my favorite songs. I made a fruitless attempt at shopping; fortunately I’d already purchased some things in the weeks before. I downloaded a song that I had forgotten how much I liked. I tried a few artsy shots with the camera, although the end results did not work for what I had in mind.
31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
if I had heard “thank you” more at work
32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2013?
I made one change to my look: I decided to grow my hair out a bit, because I still don’t recognize myself in pictures with shorter hair. As far as clothes go, basically the same as last year: casual, with many days of wearing jeans and “girly” tops when the weather’s warm. 🙂
33. What kept you sane?
Faith – and the music of WAY-FM to remind me of what matters
34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
I remain enamored with (the character) Loki, from The Avengers and the Thor movie series.
Runner-up: Steven Weber’s character on the TV show Wings, because I can’t look at him without being reminded of Loki…albeit a smarmy and much less violent version.
Third Place: Bruce Davison’s character on the TV show Hunter also caught my eye.
35. What political issue stirred you the most?
Obamacare. While I concur that changes to the healthcare system were/are in order, THIS is so(!) not(!) what was needed – and I think its disastrous rollout proves that.
36. Who did you miss?
our sweet kitties, Loki and Thora
37. Who was the best new person you met?
Bonnie, the hairstylist who gives me the kind of cut I need, while including the features I want
38. What changed the most in your life this year?
I found out that I’m related to my best friend from third grade! Her grandfather and my great-grandfather were brothers.
39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2013.
I don’t have to keep a lot of material things in order to hold on to the memories.
40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
“This is the stuff that gets under my skin, but I’ve gotta trust You know exactly what You’re doing. Might not be what I would choose, but this the stuff You use.” ~ “This Is The Stuff” by Francesca Battistelli
Twice recently, people I know have offered their general assessments of me, and both times the word they chose to sum me up is quiet. Believe it or not, this never fails to surprise me. I like to think that others would describe me as nice, or sincere, or smart, because let’s face it “quiet” is not generally seen as a compliment. But I don’t think either of these people meant it as an insult; they were just calling it as they see it.
So, with this Quiet label now hanging onto me, I’ve also realized why I’m so quiet: it’s very important to me that when I do talk, I feel heard. Far too often, when I do venture to speak out in a group setting, even if I manage not to stutter over the words, I won’t be halfway through my thought before someone interrupts me. I know, I’m probably just being too sensitive, but when that happens – especially when they don’t bother to acknowledge it with an “Oh, I’m sorry, but you were saying…?” – my instinctive reaction is to clam up. As Rod Stewart sings, “There ain’t no point in talkin’ when there’s nobody listenin’…”
In said group settings, sometimes I’ll notice more than one person talking at a time. Apparently they don’t care whether anyone listens or not. (Side note: I’m not sure that’s preferable to quietness.) Not me. I need for at least one person to show me that I’ve made a connection. Look at me. Maybe nod a little. Don’t interrupt. And when I’m finished, please make at least some small acknowledgement of what I’ve said before changing the subject.
Again, I can admit that maybe I’m being too sensitive to expect such perfect conditions in every group setting. But what about in my personal relationships? Am I being unreasonable to want to feel heard – “validated” if you will – when I talk to the people who are supposed to care about me?
I mention this because yesterday I got together with my so-called boyfriend. He’d had to work the previous three weekends, so it’d been about a month since our last date. And I was really looking forward to going out and catching up, even making a mental list of some of the things that had been going on so I could share them. So he arrives and we head off. He talked about work, and I listened. When that topic seemed to be done, I ventured to mention some of what I’d been up to… and just a few minutes into it, he interrupts to comment on some people holding signs by the road. Okay, Anne, I thought. Don’t be so sensitive. Just carry on. So I resumed my story… and he interrupts *again* to comment on the signs people have for some political candidate. And does he acknowledge the interruption and come back to my story? Well, if he had, would I have been reduced to writing an angry blog about it?
This has been one of my biggest complaints about him for the longest now, and not only because such interruptions are flamingly rude. No, to me, the upsetting part about this pattern of him not listening is that it reflects inescapably the truth that he simply isn’t interested in what I have to say, in how I think… in who I am. “Oh, Anne,” you might respond. “You’re not being fair, complaining about it here but not letting him know.” But see, that’s perhaps the most upsetting part of all. I *have* let him know. Repeatedly. Generally and specifically. But from what I’ve seen, he’s either not interested in or not capable of behaving any other way.
I go back and forth in my feelings of whether Jeff and I are meant to be together for the long haul. Then something like this happens and makes it clear that we definitely are not. I refuse to spend the rest of my life begging someone to be interested in me. In fact, now I’m seriously wondering just how many more of my Saturdays I should spend that way. I’ve already decided that I’m not going to be free next weekend… and very likely not the one after that, either.
FYI, my initial response to the interruptions mentioned above was to clam up. Instead I dropped my subject altogether and commented that woo hoo, finally something good (Mission Impossible 4) was playing at the dollar theatre; I added pointedly that was good because we’d be spared the burden of further conversation.
See, that’s what happens when Quiet Girl’s attempts to talk are not well-received. She morphs into her evil twin: Stony Silence.
Because the last four posts are all about badness which is *happily* not representative of my day-to-day, I’d like to share some of the other things that have been keeping me busy. I…
am still employed. Right after the last post, I found a great opportunity. Out of respect, before applying, I went ahead and casually but directly asked my boss, “You keep pointing out how we don’t have much work; should I go ahead and be putting out feelers for other jobs?” He basically said that things weren’t quite that dire, and that if I left they’d have to replace me. So, although our outlook past September 30 is uncertain, I decided to stick with them. I mean, they gave me a chance when no one else would; the least I can do is hang around as long as they need me.
encourage/nag my sister to continue her job hunt. She had her first real interview last week, and it sounds like it went well, although the lady said she had ten to fifteen other people to talk to. A decision was supposed to be made “in two weeks.” :crosses fingers:
sweltered in the heat working in my mom’s yard. With the tree damage from the tornadoes, our yard work was already impacted, but then we lost another month trying in vain to get our old riding lawn mower repaired. Plus, for weeks at a time it was either raining or it felt like 100 degrees outside. Thankfully, the rain finally eased off (and slowed the growing) and we got another mower last week. Considering all the challenges, I’d say the yard already looks pretty good. If the weather would cooperate, it would look great.
spend a lot of time making sure the neighbor’s dog is not in my mother’s yard. Yes, she’s just a puppy (a big puppy), but after seeing a little dog kill one of our kittens two years ago, you’ll excuse me if I’d rather keep the canines at bay.
remain in a very neutral place with my so-called boyfriend. Yeah, nothing really new to say about that. August 5 was the six-year anniversary of our first date. I don’t think we’re going to make it another six.
transcribed a couple of episodes of my favorite old TV shows. After that huge transcript site suddenly shut down, some of the other Scarecrow and Mrs. King fans and I decided to pool our efforts and replace the scripts. I plan to finish my second episode this month, and I’ve discovered that transcribing is right up my alley. When I like a show, I can watch it over and over. Plus, I like to think of the process – listening to a line of dialogue and then attempting to type it – as a good mental exercise.
continue to work on updating my websites. I recently finished the last of my “really ambitious” layout overhauls, and now I hope to move on to the less ambitious but more numerous content updates.
Ray, The Ex Who Will Not Go Away, tried to call me again yesterday. And having said that, I can save a lot of time in this post by pointing you to the July 25, 2010 entry with the similar title and the same situation, because it all still applies. I’m still absolutely boggled as to what makes this guy keep calling me.
The only difference is that the last time, he sounded friendly and upbeat, as if him calling me was the most natural thing in the world — and not a notion so inexplicable, so completely far-fetched that even the most Insane Troll Logic would stop and say, “Wait, maybe this is a bad idea…” This time he sounded a bit forlorn in his brief, quiet, “Anne, this is Ray. Call me.” Um, yeah, he had a better chance with upbeat, because sad and moody I had *more* than enough of in the year before we parted ways.
And at this point it’s been over ten years that we broke up. Over! Ten! Years! Some people may think, “Oh, you should be flattered! You still have a hold on him after all this time!” Believe me, the *only* thing that has a hold on him is that he wants what he doesn’t have. True to form, when he had me, he didn’t want me.
Obviously, he still doesn’t have even the tiniest clue how positively miserable I was during the last part of our so-called relationship, or he would understand what a waste of time it is for him to even think about me, much less call.
I made a note of his number, and I’m actually thinking of calling and telling him in no uncertain terms to forget about me. I’d love to say the line I thought up after he called whenever-it-was years ago, “You didn’t call me all those times I wanted you to, so stop calling me now.” I could explain that all those tears I cried must’ve washed him right out of my heart, and I could finish with, “I’m still dating that guy I told you about five years ago, but even if I wasn’t – even if you were the Last Man on Earth! – I still would not be with you.”
Then again, this is a guy who just doesn’t seem to get what I’m trying to convey. With his track record, I suspect that if I did call him, even if just to tell him not to call, he’d somehow be encouraged by that. :boggles, yet again:
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to see whether my mom’s phone bundle includes the call blocking service.
As an update to a previous situation, I present two snippets from my most recent email to Michele.
I have been waiting to vent since Saturday. As Jeff and I were sitting down to eat, he mentioned things he’d read at two different websites. So I took the chance to inquire, “In all of this website-reading, have you had the chance to look at mine?” “Not lately.” I felt like pressing the matter with, “Um, exactly how long is lately?” But he then proceeded to say, “Oh, I might need for you to send me one of the addresses again, because I lost them. When I moved to a new computer…”
Okay, I’m really trying to appreciate his (FINALLY!!) being honest and to not be petty about this but there is SO MUCH about this that bothers me. First, again, I wanted to press the matter and ask when exactly he moved to a new computer, because he’d told me (when I previously asked about the websites a few months ago) that he’d have time to visit them during his vacation, which was in August. Second, he cares so little about it that he waits until I ask him point blank about them to mumble, “oh, yeah, could you resend that?” Along that line, he obviously doesn’t care about them – or ME – at all to even remember ONE of them in the first place?! (This makes me especially peeved because as I’ve said, he prides himself on remembering tons of useless trivia -and yet! He can’t remember what matters to me. Un-freakin’-believable. )
I’d suspected many months ago that the reason he wasn’t emailing me is because he’d lost my email address, and I’d say that’s all but confirmed, with him asking me to send them to him. At that I did get a little venom-y and replied, “We haven’t emailed since 2008. Why break tradition?” And about re-acquainting him with the websites, I wanted to respond like a typical scorned woman and withdraw with a chilly, “Don’t bother.” Again, I know it’s petty, but I have no intention of sending him the websites’ link again. He didn’t care to visit them in over a year, despite my repeatedly saying how much that would mean to me – and him saying repeatedly that he WOULD visit them!
As I said, this really threw me for a loop, and I was quiet for a few minutes. Then I tried to get over it and finally responded to his attempts at making conversation, but now I kinda hate that I “gave up” so easily, because (as ever) he really, truly doesn’t understand that he lost even more points there. When he talked about losing the address, he wasn’t even apologetic; he was just stating facts, like he does.
A few days later, I finished the letter with the latest development.
About Jeff, I did see him yesterday, and I did manage to bring up the websites thing. I broached the subject by referring to an article I’d seen this week which said that women tend to apologize more than men. (That’s sort of a “Well, duh!” but the article went on to say that it wasn’t because men thought apologizing was weak (or whatever) but it was because they had a higher “threshold” of what they thought merited an apology.) Then I was like, “Along those lines…” and I simply explained that my feelings were hurt when he confessed that he lost the websites’ addresses. I didn’t want to beat a dead horse, but I did want him to understand why, and I pointed out how he prides himself on a good memory yet nothing about not even one name or one of the 20(!) topics of websites I have stood out to him…? And that I’d repeatedly said how important it was to me to be heard (esp. with the sites) and he’d repeatedly said that he’d visit them, even as recently as during his vacation, “yet that came and went without a word about them.” He listened quietly, and I don’t think he felt too beat up on, which was good. I wasn’t trying to put him on the spot; I didn’t really even expect him to say anything in response. I explained that I simply wanted to get that off my chest, “and maybe later, if I decide to share the sites with you again, you’ll make a little more effort to visit them? Maybe.” Then I let the subject drop and moved on to another article I read.
Will this little speech change anything? :shrug: Who knows. At least I’m trying! As with my previous efforts, I was pleased with having said something, and in a way that I didn’t think was harsh.
I’ve very recently been thinking about that truth “you may have to fight a battle more than once to win it.” Like when I tried talking to Jeff about my hurt feelings, and I acknowledged that it might not change anything, but I’m trying. It’s actually kind of unrealistic for me to think that I’d say a few sentences, and he’d understand them perfectly, and respond perfectly. ‘Cause you know, I don’t understand or respond to people perfectly either. I think that’s why the Bible so often repeats itself on important matters: because we’re all works in progress. Maybe when we understand that – in ourselves, and in others, and in our relationships with each other – we can find the patience it takes to stick with them and work on it.