Friday, February 20, 2015

Happy 11/18 Anniversary

18 years ago I said "I love you" to the man who would become my husband. I was sixteen and exploring the new world of America Online (AOL). My best friend had moved to North Carolina and, being the naive and unworldly child that I was, I didn't think North Carolina was that big and I'd find someone who might end up knowing my best friend. I entered in the profile search terms of writer and North Carolina and looked for people online. Then I looked for ages that were appropriate. There was only one person online and of an age that was appropriate with writer as a hobby: rayd0gg36.

I immediately sent an instant message to him and waited for a response. Nothing. So I sent an e-mail telling him how I read his profile and thought he sounded interesting. I asked him if he wanted to talk. When I logged on the next day, I had a missed instant message from him and a reply e-mail. For the next day or so we played tag and then finally started talking.

We shared the basics about ourselves and where we lived and our ages and what grade we were in. We talked about writing and family and book interests. We talked about television and things like that. Turns out he was playing this game called Neverwinter Nights and he couldn't get messages from me when he was in there. I couldn't get the game to run on the computer I had (still don't understand why).

I remember first messaging him around the end of January in 1997. But I always remembered that we picked February 20th as our anniversary because for some reason it stuck in our heads that we had first said "I love you" on that day.

We've been through so much in our time together. We broke up once when we thought it wasn't going to work out when I went off to college. We spent 5 years doing the LD thing and then I moved down to North Carolina after I graduated college in 2002. I started the Masters Program at UNC and we rented a house together. I later switched over to NCState. We had been "engaged" since at least 1999, even though we kept it a secret for a little while, because my parents weren't huge fans of him. Every year I'd ask him "so do you want to get married this year?"

The week before our anniversary in 2004, I asked again. This time he said, "let's talk about it when I get home." Sure enough, our 7th year together was the lucky year and by that Friday, we were married at the court house in a small ceremony with family. We had an informal wedding/party that June with family in Wisconsin. I still laugh that at both ceremonies we all wore black.

Shortly after that we encountered our first big married-life issue. In 2005, my husband was immediately put into urgent care for some intestinal issues. We literally spent over 2 weeks in the hospital. It was so hard, but I needed to be there for him, taking care of him. There was a long road to recovery ahead of him, including dealing with stitches on the stomach (which do burst open when you bend to pet your dog). But I proved to him that I could be there and help him be strong.

Things were going well. We had pets and a house and I was finishing school. I applied for a PhD program in Edinburgh, Scotland and we moved overseas in 2007. I left first that August and he came late that October. It was so hard to be apart from each other for almost four months (we technically left each other in July). But once we were together again, it was wonderful! We traveled together and talked and walked and explored where we lived.

Then, in 2009, my father passed away, followed by my grandfather. My husband was my rock. We had just decided to try to have a child at the time, so things were even more difficult to deal with. Even when he had to leave me in July, because he had to return to work in Edinburgh, we talked endlessly. It was during that time that we learned my grandmother was dying. When I had to return to Edinburgh for school, my grandmother passed away shortly after my return and I found out that my first pregnancy had ended. A month later we were preparing to return to the United States.

Later that November, we learned that we were going to have our first child. I had chosen a new career path in education. My husband also was going to try to help with the family business. We moved in with my mom. Partially to help with our precarious state moving back from overseas, but also to give her company and support while she dealt with the loss of some very major people in our family.

In 2010, our daughter was born and my husband became Super Dad. We were a tiny family and so happy spending all of our time together and sharing responsibilities with our daughter. It was the best decision we'd made and even five years later, she is still keeping us on our toes and challenging us to be awesome.

I can't even begin to imagine at the young age of 16 that this man would have been the person who kept me afloat through all the crazy hardships and challenges we've encountered. Sure I was young and idealistic and I felt we'd be together forever, I was a kid. At the same time, it takes two to make this work and he has always been just as committed as I have been. I also can't believe it's been 18 years already. I couldn't imagine a life without him. Even when things get hard, we push through them. We just try to make little adjustments, but it never means we don't love each other. Life happens and we work together to try to solve it. I need him more than anyone to help with just the daily minutia of existence. His random joke, his hug, his smile, his little quick message. . . it just makes everything wonderful. If ever I had a term, I truly feel that we were souls destine to meet over the miles, because we are soulmates.  The ying to my yang, the peanut butter to my jelly, the abbott to my costello, the han to my leia, the ben to my leslie, the ring to my gollum, the Carl to my Ellie. You get the point.

If I hadn't done that profile search and seen his name at the top of the list with that little green dot next to his name. . .we might never have ended up together. Or what other kind of weird circumstances would have brought us together.

And, seriously people. . . this guy has got to be the most amazing find for putting up with someone as crazy as me. He is so understanding and supportive. He is always there for me when I need him and I wouldn't feel more blessed than to have someone who takes care of me. His very presence by my side can change the whole feel of my day.

So Happy Anniversary to the person who has made my life the blessing it is today. I think we're at a point where you and I together have a continued bright future for the love that blossomed all those years ago. I love you with all of my heart.

Monday, February 9, 2015

28 Days of Lists - Day 9: In My Bag (or Wallet)

Day 9 is what is in my bag. Can I just ask. . . what isn't in my bag? I'm going to be brutally honest, so be prepared.

1. Homemade Calendar Notebook
2. Marker Pens
3. 3 packs of Cherry-Lime gum
4. Random packs of Tic-Tacs (and some loose ones)
5. Sunglasses
6. Wallet
7. Pins (oh so many pins... 20+)
8. Tampons!
9. Car Keys
10. Quick Tooth Brush with Breath Freshner
11. Dark Chocolate and Pretzel Granola Bar (2)
12. Orange Pac-Man Ghost Stress Guy
13. Random Pens
14. Business Cards
15. Black Mascara
16. Black Eye Liner
17. Cell Phone
18. Lip Plumper
19. Kindle Fire
20. Purple Ear Buds
21. Plastic Spoon
22. Subway Gift Card
23. Work Badge and Lanyard
24. Post-it Note Packet
25. Coupons for Local Restaraunts

Sunday, February 8, 2015

28 Days of Lists - Day 8: About You

There's so much about me out there, I'm not really sure what to share about me. I mean, all these lists are about me. Well, let's see what I turn up with.

1. Lived in Scotland

And I miss it all the time. I know I took full advantage of living there, but I still feel like I could have taken even more advantage. I learned the joy of wandering while I lived there.

2. Was a Film Critic

No, seriously.... I was a film critic. Mingled with the big wigs, like Martin Scorsese and Sydney Pollack. Myself and my husband ran our own site and had a podcast with our friend. It was really quite awesome, but after some things that happened in Scotland I fell away from film criticism because I realized I was snarky enough to be successful. I was too heartfelt and real. Everything about me comes from the heart.

3. Wish I could dye my hair a crazy color

When I was younger I wanted to do RED, but I wasn't allowed. I've also wanted to do blue and purple, but I almost feel like my age and job are in the way a little bit. Who knows. . . maybe someday I'll make the jump and at least have like. . . red or blue bangs!

4.  I am an INFJ.

After all these years I still register as an INFJ on the Myers-Briggs. I've taken the test at every university I've been to, because they offered it for free and it's been really great. Sadly, I'm the most awkward of them all. On the flip side, it also explains my sensitivity to energies.

5. I swam in the Aegean Sea in March

When we visited Athens, we took a bus to the beach so we could swim in the sea (the bus drive said 15 minutes.... it was the longest 15 minutes of our life....). Strangely enough, the end of March is the COLDEST time to swim in the sea, but we did it anyways! Then when we bought postcards of our trip in Athens, we were given a plate. We, um... left the plate in our hotel room. It seemed a little sketchy to us.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

28 Days of Lists - Day 7: Things I Would Tell My 20-Something Self

I feel like my 20's are still too much with me, even though I'm about 4 years out of them. It was my biggest period of change. Honestly, for who isn't it one of their biggest changing eras. I have a few things I'd tell myself, but. . .I think I lived it the most honestly and life-embracing that I could. But here are a few things:

1. Pick up the dog poop!

Seriously. . . it just became such an issue everywhere we went, because I trusted my husband and I'd defend that he picked it up, but apparently it wasn't always being done. Just apologize and pick it up. ::sigh:: DAMN YOU DOG POOP!

2. Don't Doubt Yourself

No matter how much they beat you down and tell you everything about you is wrong, remember you felt that way for a reason and there's nothing wrong with you not wanting to be part of their group. They're miserable and wanted to drag you down to their miserable level.

3. Unpack and Purge and Stop Accepting Stuff

When you move, unpack EVERYTHING and purge what you don't need. Then, once you've done that, don't accept tons of junk from other people. Just because someone gives it to you doesn't mean you HAVE to keep it.


Stop doubting that you're a geek. . . you loved Hero Quest. . . you loved movies. . . you loved books. . . don't not understand who you are. You're just at a different place than these other guys. Embrace the games and the Guild.

5. Just Stay Away

Keep away from people and don't let them persuade you otherwise. While a said mentality, the people you meet are not worth the pain they will put you through. And if you do #4, you'll be better off all around.

Friday, February 6, 2015

28 Days of Lists - Day 6: Antidotes

Day 6 is Antidotes. . . I had to giggle at this, because I was trying to think of antidotes NOT for the zombie apocalypse. I guess that will be #1!

1. Zombie Antidote

I don't want to be one of them.

2. Truth Serum Antidote

There's nothing more violating that being FORCED to speak things you'd rather keep hidden.

3.  Tracker-Jacker Antidote

What better way to bring two lovers together than with an antidote!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

28 Days of Lists - Day 5: Fears

Day 5 is Fears. . . and I have a few I can share, but some are too personal and I don't want trolls to take advantage of my honesty. So if I had to face my fearscape in Divergent, what would I face. . .

1. Falling

This has been mistaken for a fear of heights, but it's really just unstable heights. I don't fear the height, I fear the giving away of what I stand on to cause me to fall! I LOVE the heights. . . Eiffel Tower included, but when I can see through the floor, it sends me into a meltdown. I rise above it, though, because the experience and the memory far outweigh the silly mind games.

2. The Unseen

I don't fear ghosts, but I have such an active imagination that I can actually scare myself by creating the things unseen. So when I was 18, it was The Blair Witch. Even after I knew it was a hoax, it didn't change the fear that something was there. Something was watching. I can't say I'm fearless when I'm hunting what I fear, but there it is. Let's just call it the unseen.

3. People I Don't Know/Unfamiliar Situations

Like with falling, it's one of those fears I deal with and get over, but I actually develop a severe anxiety when meeting with strangers. Whether it's going to a party or participating in something public or an event. . . if I don't know the people there, it really creates a huge build up of anxiety, which is clearly directed from fear. I can become uncomfortable an agitated, as well, and that never goes over well.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

28 Days of Lists - Day 4: Geek Girl Power

Day 4 is Geek Girl Power and I wasn't sure what to do with this, so I just tried to think of geeky power.

1. Leslie Knope from Parks and Recreation

Um. . . seriously made me feel empowered as a geeky woman.

2. Felicia Day from . . . well. . . the internet

LOVE HER! Seriously representing and giving geek women a voice in geekdom. There are tons of other women, too, but Day really helped bring it out, I think.


Is that cheating? I hope not! GO GEEK GIRLS!

4. Rachel Maddow

Talk about a news nerd! She is so awesome and just really lets her passion for news and entertaining show. Like a female Jon Stewart. Love her to pieces.

5. Michonne from The Walking Dead

Well centered, well-meaning, tough, and just an all around bad-ass. If I survive the Zombie Apocalypse, I want to be like Michonne. For all her losses, she rises again and moves forward being strong, contemplative, and caring. The sword doesn't hurt.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

28 Days of Lists - Day 3: Things I Would Tell My Teen Self

Day 3 is things I would tell my teen self. . . and that's a tough one, but here I go. . .

1. Don't Graduate Early

You need your senior year to develop who you are as an individual and to learn some of the skills that you're going to miss when you start college. Don't try to get a year ahead, because it's really only going to put you years behind.


I didn't know how to identify myself and it made it very difficult for me, but I was a geek and I was too scared to join the groups that would really have shown me who I was. Even when I met my husband, you didn't term yourself things like that, but that's exactly what we were. I wish I had found D&D and all that, but that's my advice #3.

3. Fantasy and Sci-Fi are not BAD things!

Don't let my parents distaste for the books your brother read and his playacting derail what you really enjoyed. I know you want your parents love, but you know deep down that you love these things, too. Don't let him stand alone. It was his friends who made it weird. That doesn't mean it's all weird. Don't hide your love X-Files, enhance it with some Star Trek: TNG.

4. Listen to your Forensics Coach

If I had forced myself to be more dedicated to my forensics, I could have gone far, instead of screwing around acting like I knew it all already. At least I went out on a bang with my Dead Poet's Society piece.

5. Seriously. . . stay away from the car. 

People used you and you abused the car. Slow down and be responsible.

6. Be forceful about your boyfriend's sister.

Tell him it's kind of a make-it-or-break-it deal here. She is poison and will seek to create nothing to terrible drama and issues for us because you let her!

7. Stop having roommates.

No, seriously. . . they are nothing but trouble and even the ones you think are nice will turn on you in the end for some petty reason or anything. You're better off living alone. Hell, just get your own apartment off campus so you don't have tons of issues period!

8. Be proud of being you.

Don't let others dictate to you who you are and what you can or cannot be like. It will only drive you mad trying to please everyone, because there's nothing to show for all the traumatic effort you put into it.

9. Go All In 

That guy you're dating. . . he's the one and will love you for a very long time. You'll have the most amazing daughter ever and he'll be the biggest support you've ever had through everything you ever do. You've found your soulmate. Have no regrets, only love.

Monday, February 2, 2015

28 Days of Lists - Day 2: Who Inspires Me

Day 2 is Who Inspires Me. This one is a bit rough, because I get it all depends.

1. Family

My grandfather was a huge inspiration in my life and helped me to realize my passions. I also share my love of Peter Pan and Dr. Strangelove with him. He also showed me how easy it is to cook and kind of inspired me to be more creative in my food choices, exposing me to flavor combinations I'd never heard of in my youth. He was always my biggest influence and when he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's it was devastating. Even moreso, because I found out after his mind had already drifted a bit too far into the void. It was during my traveling and moving days. Other family has been inspirational to me and I love them for all that they expose me to and help me through.

2. My Husband

His ability to deal with the world and be so calm about things is really inspirational to me. Plus his ability to put up with me. ;-)

3. Felicia Day

She really did help me come out of the geek closet. She gave me that touchstone to help me realize what I was holding back my whole life. What I was denying of myself. I felt if someone this amazing was a geek and had no problem being open about it, why was I not being open about my own self? My first entry on here about finding myself talks all about how she inspired me.

4. My daughter

Her ability to be so sweet and innocent and so caring about everyone. . . I wish I could still be like that and my hope for her is to never have to feel the pain of life that I've felt. She inspires me to continue to find myself and bring back and rebuild the me that has been so damaged.

5. My Iggles

Yeah, my girls. They always lift me up and might not even know it. Love them to bits and pieces and how they are so happy about life. Love 'em!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

28 Days of Lists - Day 1: Geeky Favorites

My house over at my favorite geeky girl site is doing a 28 Days of Lists challenge. Every day post a list. There's no specific amount listed (5 is always good.... or my favorite numbers 3, 9, or 15).  I just wanted to be able to have some fun with this and keep myself feeling awesome.

So let's start with Day 1: Geeky Favorites

1. Tabletop Games

Can't really explain much about this, because it's very self-explanatory. Here's the picture

2. The Walking Dead (Zombies)

I seriously am in love with The Walking Dead. I have delved into both the comics and the television show. My husband and I are just addicted to the show. One of my students last year watched it and whenever we see each other now, it's "did you see that last episode!" "OH I KNOW!" Good times. Plus it goes into my enjoyment of things zombies.

3. Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit

I really liked the books when I was a youth, but I LOVE the movies and the visual-style of it. What I consider my past-long-forgotten was in the film industry, so I love film and I am a sucker for cinematography. I love the framing of scenes and lighting and color. The pallet of the 16:9. But I also love quotes from the books and so much of the culture. It's a package deal.

4. Stephen King

I think out of all of these, I have been a Stephen King fan since way back in middle school. I remember actually reading Eyes of the Dragon as my first Stephen King book and then as I got older, I started reading more and more of his books. I don't remember why, but something connected with King in my childhood always made it feel like a shameful read. Maybe it was my private Lutheran school or something adults said or something. I don't know, but I love everything Stephen King and I am definitely a super fan. I mean, seriously, I was reading Anne Rice and those YA R.L. Stine and Christopher Pike. I guess I get that Stephen King was going to be so much more graphic in his writing than the YA novels, but still.... all well.  "Go then. . . there are other worlds than these." ~ The Gunslinger

5. Supernatural

My husband and I are super geeks for Supernatural. We love the characters, the stories, the seriousness, the silliness and Castiel and Crowley. We like the whole kit-and-kaboodle. Good stuff.

6. Pins (pinbacks, buttons, whatever)

I collect pins. I've always collected pins. I LOVE pins. Even when I was a little kid, I had to have pins that I could pin all over the place I am a relentless collector of pins. What always breaks my heart about pins is that they fall off. That's hard for me, because I cherish them and want to show them off, but I am too scared to lose them. I am also an avid collector of Hard Rock Cafe pins. If you live near a Hard Rock Cafe anywhere in the world, think of me and grab a local pin.

7. Cups

Not just any cups. . . those tall plastic tumbler cups with the plastic straws. I have a geek collection of these and it's starting to drive my husband nuts, because we're running out of room. I use these the most in the summer, because I start making my green tea drink and have to put it in something. I have so many of my fandoms in the cups. Good stuff.

8. T-Shirts

I am a t-shirt freak. No, seriously. . . another thing I have way too many of. I use them for teaching or just expressing my love of geek. I am in love with t-shirts. They are my favorite thing to wear and, well. . . I like to let the world know stuff when they look at me other than "hey, look... an awkward girl!" Good times. I love Woot!shirt, SnorgTees, and TeeFury. TeeVillian is another one that I've found some great shirts on. I've been trying to get at least one for each of my fandoms.

9. Sci-Fi

Yeah, I love Science Fiction. It's my favorite thing to read. It's usually my preferred movie genre between Fantasy and Sci-Fi. It's also the thing that I have the longest history with. I read Ender's Game and was totally hooked. I even have Ender engraved on the inside of my class ring. I love Star Wars and Star Trek and Asimov and Futurama. It's kind of my go-to and I love it!

I'll stop with 9 today for this list. Kind of got carried away, but I don't know exactly what means Geeky Favorites... I have so many.