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Bored=Meme about reading and books (woot!) July 30, 2008

Posted by Sparkel in books & movies & shows, meme.
1 comment so far

Do you remember how you developed a love of reading?
My parents always read a lot, and constantly took us to the library or a book store. My siblings and I each had our own bookshelves in our rooms, and my parents kept a huge one in the living room and several in hallways. I remember always finding it so strange if I went to a friends house and they didn’t have books everywhere.  A common question in my house has always been “what are you reading?” rather than “are you reading anything?”, so it was pretty much assumed that we would all love to read.

What are some books you loved as a child?
Anything by Shel Silverstein, this great children’s encyclopedia my parents got that I read letter by letter one summer, The Bearenstein Bears books, Dr. Seuss books, Calvin and Hobbes collections, the Ramona books, The Baby Sitters Club series, Nancy Drew books, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, A Promise is a Promise, those scary story collections, and many, many more.

What is your favorite genre?
Fiction. But not really chick-lit.

Do you have a favorite novel?
Several: The Time Traveler’s Wife, the Twilight series, Atlas Shrugged, The Perks of Being a Wallflower, The Unbearable Lightness of Being, Atonement, Harry Potter series, etc.

Where do you usually read?
In my car during red lights, while waiting in line, at Starbucks before work sometimes, in my cozy chair in my room, or on the couch in the living room.

When do you usually read?
Usually whenever I have to wait for something or someone if I’m out (I carry books at all times), before work, or before I go to sleep.

Do you usually have more than one book you are reading at a time?
Sometimes I’m between books and just want to go back and read certain parts from certain books.

Do you read nonfiction in a different way or place than you read fiction?
Nope. But to be fair, I don’t read as much nonfiction as I’d like or probably should.

Do you buy most of the books you read, or borrow them, or check them out from the library?
I buy them.

Do you keep most of the books you buy?
Yes, it’s very rare that I’ll give away a book, but I usually lend them once I’m done.

If you have children, what are some of the favorite books you have shared with them?
I don’t have children, but if I do I could name hundreds of books I’d love to share with them, such as The Giving Tree, Goodnight Moon, The Runaway Bunny, Where the Wild Things Are, Corduroy, Love You Forever, Where the Sidewalk Ends, The Lorax, Are You My Mother?, Clifford, Amelia Bedelia, The Paper Bag Princess, and so many more.

What are you reading now?
A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray

Do you keep a To Be Read List?
Absolutely.

What’s next?
Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer. Can. Not. Wait!!

Favorite book to read over and over?
The Twilight books, The Time Traveler’s Wife, and any of the Calvin and Hobbes collections.

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It’s cool, I’ve got plans anyway. July 30, 2008

Posted by Sparkel in realizations, to friend or not to friend, traveling.
2 comments

I love being in the mood to make proactive changes and get stuff done. I polished my resume and applied to six jobs yesterday. I cleaned the crap out of my kitchen and bathroom (and pretended not to notice when the kitchen later looked like a tornado (made up of food and silverware) blew through it), managed to eat exactly according to my new fancy diet plan, have gone to the gym every day, made a colorful and extremely convoluted budget using Excel, which came in handy when I decided that my gift to M for when he finished grad school next June will be a week-long trip to…somewhere. I’m deciding between Greece, Brazil, Puerto Rico or just going on a cruise. I’m setting aside a substantial sum each month that I can afford whether or not I get a better-paying job. And I feel GOOD.

I also came to the conclusion yesterday (which was reached in part due to the lovely and oh so helpful comments from yesterdays post that confirmed what I already felt) that I’m tired of chasing people. I’m tired of trying to better my relationship with people, or go out of my way, or beg people to hang out with me. The fact is, I know exactly who the people in my life are. I know when I’m being crapped on, or when someone is giving less than I give them. The funny thing is that it’s usually the people who are the most insincere and quickest to disappear who insist you’re their BFF forever and ever and you just mean oh so much to them. (*Barf*)

I don’t like realizing that someone is more important to me than I am to them. Especially when it’s already in the back of my mind and about more than one person. It’s bothered me more than I let on, and I’m just sick of chasing things that will forever remain just out of reach. I’m sick of working up the courage to let someone know something’s bothering me only to have them resent me for thinking they’re less than perfect. I’ve come to the sad conclusion that there are situations where confrontations do no good because some people don’t want to hear the truth about themselves. They don’t care that they hurt you, they don’t care that you’re inconvenienced. If they did, they wouldn’t do a lot of things in the first place.

It sucks because it’s lonely by yourself. But honestly, it’s lonely either way, and my time is better spent on better people.

Tough Love July 29, 2008

Posted by Sparkel in annoyances, family, I know life isn't supposed to be fair but jeez....
3 comments

I told my sister that she and her boyfriend need to move out by the end of next month.

Granted, they already announced they were planning on leaving “in September, maybe?”, but after dealing with enough of their antics I’ve officially decided that an indefinite date is not good enough. The hard (and dumb) thing about it is that I truthfully feel really bad about it. I was selfishly excited when she moved in because it meant I would FINALLY have someone from my family living with me again, and I wouldn’t feel so alone, and there would be someone on my side, HURRAH! But almost from the get-go I began to feel like I was being taken advantaged of. I wasn’t seen as the owner of the house, or as the older sister who so generously provided a refuge, two things I was sure wouldn’t even be questioned. I honestly thought she would be so grateful that she would make a solid effort to actually oh I dunno, clean up after herself, or say…turn off the stove, or um, gee…not leave the front door open ALL. NIGHT. LONG. on two occasions. The biggest fight we got into was because she refused to clean the bathroom they share with M’s mom for the first four months they were living there, and when I repeatedly asked her when she would do it, she completely brushed me off. I finally reached my breaking point after a week of repeatedly harassing her to do it, and she actually got angry with me for yelling at her.

They have this whole “we can do whatever we want regardless of anyone else” mentality. I told them to please not cook past eleven because four of us need to wake up at 6 for work, and you can hear the going-ons in the kitchen from everywhere in the house. They would stumble home at 2 am, and sure enough, I’d hear the microwave or chopping sounds. The breaking point for that battle was when they did it at 4 am one night and had the nerve to try to tell me they were having “an early breakfast.” Like that makes any difference whatsoever. It was annoying as hell, and the most annoying part was being made to feel like I’m some random CRAZY person with a stick up her butt for constantly needing to practically parent the two of them.

He lost his key (which I bought) about a month in. Then she lost her key the other night. I get it, keys get lost, shit happens, yadda yadda. But! They were home all day Sunday (granted they were sleeping) and didn’t get another key made. They asked me to drive them to Outback for dinner at 8 pm, but didn’t ask anyone for a ride to Home Depot. So, they go out with their friends, and then come home at midnight and crawl through the front window. This was mind boggling mainly because they constantly did the same thing when they were living at my parents, and it was a HUGE bone of contention with my dad. Call me paranoid, but I mean, way to announce to the (admittedly not exactly pristine) neighborhood that we keep our windows unlocked. And they purposely left it unlocked before I gave them a ride. That’s what makes me really angry. The planning and the sneaking and the lying and the assumption that I’m a total idiot who will always be none the wiser.

I’ve had enough.

But, I am dealing with the nagging whisper “she’s your sister” that’s trying to plague me with guilt. So, my question to you: how do you deal with someone you like/love when they refuse to behave like a decent person?

Progress. July 28, 2008

Posted by Sparkel in I kinda love my life, realizations.
1 comment so far

The vast majority of my days feel so monotonous and plain that it’s sometimes difficult to believe that time is passing at all. In fact, if someone were to walk up and announce that I’m just living the same day over and over, that my life is actually on a loop, I’m not getting older, the whole feeling of not really being where I think I should be in any area is a false alarm, because CONGRATULATIONS!, I actually get all this time back and this was only a practice run, I would simply jump and cheer. *cue the happy tears*

There are those sure-fire reminders that time actually is passing. For instance, birthdays. Both mine and friends. It seems like only yesterday my goddaughter was born, and she’ll turn four her next birthday. And I reflect on the time that has passed and wonder “what have I done?” or “what have I checked off of my beloved to-do lists?”

I spend a lot of time feeling depressed about my lack of funds, pages written, health insurance, paid vacation time, vacations period, and that feeling of “man oh man, wouldja look at meee!” that comes when you’ve gotten stuff done.

But every so often I take the time to look at my life and notice how far I’ve really come. That while living in my first apartment wasn’t the best experience due to the unfortunate roommate situation, I actually lived on my own for a while there. And now, even though I spend a LOT of time wishing everyone at my house (except M) would just kinda fade into oblivion, it’s pretty sweet that I partially own my own house. That’s one thing I would have plain guffawed at if I thought to add to my “things to do before 25” list.

Sometimes I sit in the room I share with my boyfriend (check!), look around at the matching bedroom set I bought with money I earned for myself (check!) and just grin as the feeling of progress sinks in. I do the same thing in my car sometimes. It’s not so brand-new (check!) anymore, and never really as clean as it should be, but it’s mine and I’ve worked for it, and I just feel proud.

Sometimes I’m sitting at work when I receive a call from my beloved M, asking if I checked the email about a nice dining set, or I try to answer his “what should we do about the patio/bathroom floors/cabinets?” questions and I just feel like an adult. A full-blown adult with a good relationship and a house to call (partially) my own.

It’s no summer in Italy (still unchecked), but it’s the farthest I’ve been. And that my friends, feels like progress.

Frenemies July 25, 2008

Posted by Sparkel in to friend or not to friend.
2 comments

I know it’s a fairly common occurrence (especially, or maybe only?) in friendships between women for feelings of underlying animosity, jealousy, unresolved tensions and just plain dislike to exist. I have known many an acquaintance who, should I run into them at Starbucks, or happen to share a college class with, I will exchange polite pleasantries and ask about their life, offering “ooh’s” and “aww’s” when appropriate. What I don’t like to admit is than my curious questions usually come out so I can measure my progress and current life situation against theirs, and then snark about the person later with my actual friends.

It’s not a good thing to realize about yourself, no matter how many people you know who do the exact same thing.

I’ve had a little experience with this, but it’s still very difficult to reconcile when one of your closest friends becomes a person you feel the need to snark on. To go from declarations of “OMGEE BFF’s For-EVAH!” to the behind-her-back admittance of “man, I feel like I don’t even know her anymore.” To realize qualities that you honestly wish you hadn’t realized, because now there’s really no going back. You’re stuck with the opinion that the person you’ve poured your heart out to really isn’t that great of a person. How do you even begin your explanation when the conversation that starts with “you’ve been really distant lately…” begins?

Looking back, I’ve come to the conclusion that it is very, very difficult to stay close with a person over a long period of time. I had a few friends in high school who I literally could not imagine not speaking to. I consider myself to be a fairly passionate person, and I think it bleeds into every relationship that I have. My high school friendships were all-consuming, spending every minute together, able to just walk into the others house and be treated like family, telling each other EVERY. LITTLE. DETAIL., calling each other crying at 2 am thing. And each friendship each just kinda burnt out, either due to growing apart, or an Ultimate Betrayal.

I feel like a five year old, whining “it’s not fair!!” Friendships aren’t supposed to be like that. What’s the saying? “You can’t choose your family, but you can choose your friends.” Why can’t people just be who they are, treat each other decently, sympathize, lend an ear or a shoulder, and give the kind of friendship you want in return? Why is every single relationship so complicated? I realize that a lot of effort and compromise must come when you’re trying to reconcile two different people’s opinions and feelings. But should it really be this much work all the time?

An obvious solution is to just be honest. But let’s be honest. Some people don’t want to hear the bad things you think of them. Some people would rather just pretend that everyone loves them, that they’re admirable and wonderful, and you’d just be raining on their parade. Telling them how you feel would only serve to make you feel better, and even that would be short-lived, because odds are, your friend would just put a distance and resent you until the day comes when you run into them at Starbucks, ask about their life, and then call your current BFF so you can snark.

And maybe later, when you’re alone with your memories, just sadly reminisce and wonder why all relationships have to be so damn confusing.

This makes me happy. July 9, 2008

Posted by Sparkel in Uncategorized.
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Meme July 7, 2008

Posted by Sparkel in meme.
3 comments

1. What bill do you hate paying the most?
Rent.  It’s my most necessary bill, but also my biggest bill, and usually causes me to weep openly.

2. Where was the last place you had a romantic dinner?
Hmmm…probably the restaurant M took me to for our anniversary.

3. Last time you puked from drinking?
I’m proud to say that I’ve never puked from drinking.

4. When is the last time you got drunk and danced on a bar?
Never done that either.

5. Name of your first grade teacher?
Mrs. Cowell.

6. What do you really want to be doing right now?
Lying on a beach somewhere in Europe while inspiration hits like lightning and I write my first novel which is brilliant enough to bring me millions and allow me to repeat the beach/inspiration/writing scenario for the rest of my days.

7. What did you want to be when you were growing up?
I’ve always wanted to be a writer and work in film.

8. How many colleges did you attend?
Two.  One community college, and now a state school.

9. Why did you choose the shirt that you have on right now?
It’s not really a shirt.  It’s a sweater that matches the sundress I’m wearing, and I chose it because my boss frowns on employees coming in looking like they’re hitting the beach later.

10. GAS PRICES?
Ridiculous.

11. If you could move anywhere and take someone with you?
I would move to Italy and take me M.

12. First thought when the alarm went off this morning?
My alarm was M, and my first thought was “why are you waking me up, you evil, evil man?”

13. Last thought before going to sleep last night?
Debating whether to go downstairs and read.

14. Favorite style of underwear?
Boyshorts would be my fav if they didn’t so obviously wish they were thongs and attack my booty.

15. Favorite style of underwear for the opposite sex?
Skimply lacy little thongs.

16. What errand/chore do you despise?
Cleaning the bathroom and paying bills.

17. If you didn’t have to work, would you volunteer?
I like to think so.

18. Get up early or sleep in?
I would actually love it if my body needed less sleep.  I tend to see sleep as a waste of time.

19. What is your favorite cartoon character?
Belle from Beauty and the Beast.

20. Favorite NON sexual thing to do at night with a girl/guy?
Have a good conversation.

21. Have you found real love yet?
Yes I have 😀

22. When did you first start feeling old?
When I started wondering why the kids at starbucks or the movie theater weren’t home in bed already and why can’t they turn down that damn music?!

23. Favorite 80’s movie?
Oh lordy, so many.  Teen Witch, Goonies, Labrynth, Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, A Christmas Story, Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Stand By Me, Pee Wee’s Big Adventure, E.T., Gremlins, The Princess Bride, The Outsiders, The Brave Little Toaster.  Holy crap, all my favorite movies are 80’s movies!

24. Your favorite lunch meat?
Turkey breast.

25. What do you get every time you go into Sam’s Club?
I haven’t been since I was a kid.

26. Beach or lake?
Beach

27. Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual?
No.  I think people just abuse love and relationships in general, so it’s become something of a joke.

28. How many people do you stalk on livejournal?
Hundreds.

29. Favorite guilty pleasure?
Watching bad movies and snarking on them, the Twilight series.

30. Favorite movie you wouldn’t want anyone to find out about?
I am extremely proud of my weird taste in movies, so none.

31. What’s your drink?
Long Island.

32. Cowboys or Indians?
Indians.

33. Cops or Robbers?
Cops.

34. Who from high school would you like to run into?
Mostly just teachers.  My peer group pretty much sucked.

35. What radio station is your car radio tuned to right now?
I don’t listen to the radio much, so I have no idea.

36. Norm or Cliff?

I haven’t watched Cheers too much so I honestly couldn’t tell ya.

37. The Cosby Show or the Simpsons?
The Cosby Show.

38. Worst relationship mistake that you wish you could take back?
Allowing myself to be treated even a smidge less than I know I deserve.

39. Do you like the person who sits directly across from you at work?
I sit directly across from a wall.  But yes, I do like it more than most of the people here.

40. If you could get away with it, who would you kill?
Ann Coulter and random people I come in contact with.  Let’s just say that crowd at Luray Cavers is lucky I’m not telekinetic.

41. What famous person(s) would you like to party with?
Pick a trainwreck, any trainwreck.  Simply for the entertainment value.  Otherwise, Natalie Portman.  I’m not sure how much of a party it would be, but I’d just drool all over her.

42. What famous person would you like to sleep with?
Edward Cullen 😀

43. Have you ever had to use a fire extinguisher for its intended purpose?
Nope.

44. Last book you read for real?
The Host by Stephenie Meyer.

45. Do you have a teddy bear?
Somewhere, yes.

46. Strangest place you have ever brushed your teeth?
My parents house.

47. Somewhere in California you’ve never been and would like to go?
San Francisco.

48. Do you go to church?
Nope.

49. At this point in your life would you rather start a new career or a new relationship?
Career, hands down.

50. Just how OLD are you?
23 in body, 95 in mind, and 7 at heart.

Adventures in Luray July 7, 2008

Posted by Sparkel in I kinda love my life, M, traveling.
1 comment so far

Apologies for the semi-depressing last post. I’ve been in a funk for a while, but I’ve decided to jet-propel myself out of it.

This weekend helped some. M has been talking about going to Luray Caverns for months, and we finally went Saturday. I figured we really only needed a day to get there (2 hours) take the tour, stop by Skyline Drive on the way back for a few hours, and then drive home, but M really wanted to stay overnight, so we did. Actually M wanted to stay all three days, but I a) couldn’t and b) thought it was overkill. We moseyed our way through the tiny town of Luray, got some grub, then saw the caverns. They were pretty impressive and all, but does it bother anyone else when “natural wonders” are made completely commercialized? There were light fixtures all over the place, and the floor is paved. The final straw for M and I was when one of the tour guides turned an organ on from a switch inside one of the stalagmite formations. I mean, what the hell? Who wires stalagmite? We just cracked up. Also, the tour guides? Utterly useless. One girl took five minutes to shine a flashlight on two stones to not only tell you that they resembled a “sheep dog” and “flying camel” (?), but she took the time to point out “the leg………….the other leg………the tail………..” It was ridiculous. Nothing about how it formed, what will happen while they still form, even details on how they turned it into the tourist trap that it is. Just “this is what we think this looks like. Neato, huh?”

Also, does anyone else get aggravated at people en masse? I’m not trying to come off like a serial killer or anything, but every time I’m around more than say, twenty people at a time, I feel angry and annoyed by every little thing that everyone does. They tell you all over the caverns to not touch the formations, and everywhere you look some idiot is caressing one of them. There are these beautiful pools all over the place that are filled with coins. COINS! This is made even more incredulous by the fact that there’s a designated part of the caverns that is called a wishing well and is meant for people to throw coins, but apparently the visitors are not only too stupid, but have just waaay too much money. “Oh honey, look, a puddle. Surely we can toss $10 in pennies inside, and all our wishes will come true!” By the end of the tour I was just wishing for blinders and felt some not-so-secret satisfaction when a kid whacked his head on a guard rail while he leaned over to rub a stone.

Either I’m not fit for society, or society is not fit for my admittedly-high standards. (AKA common sense and respect for others.)

We went to Skyline Drive yesterday and M wanted to see a waterfall. So he saw a sign that he swears said “something-something-falls,” so we stop and start walking. Three and a half miles later we arrive at a stream that sorta-kinda-but-not-really flows down through a few rocks at one point. I don’t know if M’s waterfall was just farther down or in fact imaginary. All I know is that hiking the three miles back uphill while on meds pretty much sucked. I think I lost a lot of M’s admiration and respect due to my constant huffing and puffing and “can. we. PLEAAAAASE. STOP!?” and “WHY OH WHY DO I LISTEN TO YOUUU?” rants. He offered to carry me piggy-back, probably assuming that the normally sweet and stubborn and “oh no, you take the last piece” loving girlfriend he thought he knew would insist on walking so as not to put him out. Because when I stopped and grinned for the first time in an hour and charged at him with a gleam in my eye, he had the nerve to stick his hands out, eyes wide with horror, and push me away insisting “see, you just ran! I knew you had it in you! Come on we’re almost there!”, then walked on at a faster pace, assuming that my rage at his piggy-back teasing and subsequent sudden NEED to kick him would cause me to practically chase him to the car. There’s no drug like adrenaline? No. There’s no drug like “I’m going to KILL. YOU.” womanly anger.

I realize I didn’t make it seem like it, but the weekend was a lot of fun. We also saw Wall E (so! cute!) and bonded even more (which didn’t seem possible.) And needless to say, we’re both happy to be home.  Though whenever I go on a trip, even one a mere two hours away for two days, I sort of expect time to stand-still while I’m gone.  So when M woke me up at 6:15 this morning and said “we gotta go,” I squinted at him and angrily demanded “where?!”  M: “…work…”  Me: *blink blink*  “What happened to Sunday?”  *pause* Ohhh the hike…”  Nuff said.

Hope you had a good weekend too!

What I’ve Done vs. What I Could Do if I actually, you know…Did It. July 4, 2008

Posted by Sparkel in meee, realizations.
2 comments

I’m currently sitting at my desk bemoaning the fact that I’m at work on Independence Day.  I realize the underlying cause of this bemoaning is the fact that I wouldn’t necessarily need to be at work if it weren’t for the fact that I missed a few hours each day due to a visit to the doctor and the pain that hits like a sledgehammer from contracting a vicious little bitch of a virus that just does not want to go away or be suppressed no matter how many different medications I shove its way.

Of course, dealing with said virus would be easier if my job provides health insurance or paid sick leave.  Dealing with being sick would also be easier if it were the only troublesome thing on my plate, but because I mistakenly turned a paper in past it’s lock date, and subsequently received a zero for the assignment and a D for the class and lost my financial aid for next year, right now my life just seems to suck all over the place.

This line of thinking conjures up the realization that while life has handed me a few lemons of late, my attitude could stand some fine-tuning, and that would make the biggest difference of all in every day right now.

There are things that happen that can’t really be helped.  Getting sick came out of nowhere and shocked the hell out of me.  And frankly, I have moments where all I wanna do is lay in bed and pout and moan about how unfair it is.  And how now I have to be sick F-O-R-E-V-E-R and why oh why did this happen to meeee??  And then there are things like the mess with my class, or never-ending money woes, or time management issues, or weight issues that are 110% my fault and responsibility.  I complain all the time and never get anywhere.  “My job is boring.”  Well, who’s job is it to hand me another one?  “I never have money.”  Okay, and who’s job is it to give me more than I earn?  And monitor my spending habits to ensure I don’t waste all of it away yet again?  “I lost financial aid for school.”  Well, I shoulda read that due date more carefully.  “I’m fat and gross.”  And I belong to a gym and have 100% control over what goes into my mouth.

I’m 23 and still seem to operate under the assumption that when my life stinks I have the right to complain, instead of either a) listening to that nagging voice that’s ALWAYS right and doing what I know I should in the first place or b) taking the necessary steps to fix my own messes.  If I don’t make enough money, well then I guess i need to make more.  If I don’t like my job, well I guess I should find one i like more.  The one thing in life I can control is my actions, and what do I do?  Pretty much nothing.

I’m honestly amazed that I don’t get slapped more often.