Like birds returning to nesting grounds, I find myself in the back-to-school section talking myself into notebooks, pens and pencils. The logic of stocking office supplies for household use at ridiculously low prices is not up for debate in my world. Ever been in a home where you can’t scrounge up a notepad and a pen to keep score in a card game? It wasn’t my house.

I kept my purchases to a minimum (so far) this August. Two composition books and a three pack of Sharpie pens in black, blue and red. Not bad for an office supply hoarder.

Other times of year, I limit myself to buying notebooks with specific purpose in mind. At forty cents each, the composition books sitting around “just in case” doesn’t bother me. Yet something about a blank notebook begs for a project.

Composition books say journal to me or at least a place to record something for future reference – quotations or recipes, for example. I wouldn’t use one for to-do lists or drafting poems where I want to finish the task by tearing out the page. If I cannot neatly remove a page, I don’t remove them. I love legal pads or steno pads for those disposable tasks, if not a plain old spiral notebook.

With the fresh pure pages as the clincher, I decided to start a one sentence journal. I liked the idea in Gretchen Rubin‘s The Happiness Project to keep a brief daily journal documenting a moment. As she says, “The days are long, but the years are short.” Or as I think of it, it all runs together. Pattern and routine are comforting, but they blur the days.

I found myself on the phone with Kate earlier this week responding to her inquiry about my weekend activities with “I don’t remember.” Now, I’d worked all three days (we include Friday as a weekend day), so that contributed to my brain fog. Still, I was frightened at the idea of looking back on my days as tiring but nondescript. Thinking I must have done something fun and important isn’t the same as vivid recollections of good times. So I have vowed to record something, anything, each night before bed to look back at how much goodness even my dullest days contain.

Several days into my “One Sentence Journal” I am laughing at myself for keeping the name. Writing less than a half a page in nearly impossible, a problem I can only partially attribute to large handwriting. The name is a reminder to be brief. The purpose capture a moment, thought, or feeling rather than a full recording of the day’s happenings. Even the example from her journal Gretchen gave in the book was, I believe, three sentences. Meeting word count has never been my problem. Consistently writing has been. Asking as little as one sentence of myself should, in theory, should be easy.

The question, intimidating and inspiring, becomes: What do I say about today?


In the two months since Netflix has added four of the five Star Trek series to their streaming service (Deep Space Nine is to be added in October), Chris and I have watched nothing else. No hyperbole. If they offered a Trek only package, we wouldn’t miss the rest. We’ll go back to other things in time. Daniel Jackson and Stargate: SG-1 will eventually draw us back.

Going back to the beginning, watching The Original Series, has reaffirmed my dedication to Star Trek. I see why it was my gateway drug to science fiction. The characters are completing. The stories stand up far better than their television contemporaries. The acting is superb. Even Shatner – God bless his overacting soul – acts just as Kirk should. I could go on for days about Gene Roddenberry’s vision and how the show influenced entertainment and culture. Little can be said on the topic which has not been said, studied and documented by fans and scholars.

It is rather the intimate aspect of being a fan – I self identify as a Trekkie – I wish to discuss. Being a fan, as apposed to simply liking something, means whatever you are fanatical about never gets old. What you love shapes how you look at the world. With Star Trek, the morality behind the story is part of the appeal. Not only respecting other races and cultures, but looking at problems through the prism of logic and science are Star Trek values. I have always said I can’t be raciest (any other type of bigot, for that matter) because I’m a Trekkie.

I have watched Star Trek: The Original Series since I was a kid. My family watched reruns after dinner. The Next Generation came out and my second grade friends at school thought Wesley Crusher was dreamy. My heart always belonged to TOS and Spock, but I was glad my obsession wasn’t as weird thanks to the modern version. I thought about the characters and wrote myself into the script in my head. I remember crafting a communicator out of a paper plate. Not the most typical imaginative play, no?

As the years passed, I spent less time watching Star Trek. I don’t know why, but my family didn’t finish watching The Next Generation in first run. I have theories. With only one television in the house programing competed with Nintendo. Dad loves video games, nuff said. I retreated more into books for entertainment and company.

My best friend Kate and I had Star Trek – specifically Star Trek loving moms who passed along their passion – in common. When we meet, two short blonde sixth graders living in Navy housing in Hawaii, Star Trek it was like finding as sister. Her mom had stacks of paperback Star Trek novels against the mirror on her dresser and a deep love for Captain Kirk. I admired the dedication and loved having someone to discuss Spock, McCoy and the others with. Oddly enough, I don’t believe in the two years we spent practically living in each other’s homes we ever watched Star Trek together. It was Quantum Leap repeats on USA in the wee hours of the morning and Indiana Jones on VHS until we could sing “Anything Goes” in Mandarin.

In my teens I read classic science fiction. Issac Asimov and Robert Silverberg primarily. One could spend ages reading Asimov without making it through his extensive catalog. I didn’t come close.

I grew up, married a non-geek (I know, what was I thinking?), went about my business. I read romance, crime, whatever books came to hand, watched Law & Order and documentaries. I didn’t deliberately avoid Star Trek and science fiction, but didn’t seek it out either. One could argue the problem with that period of my life is I didn’t seek out what I loved and what makes me happy, but I digress.

A few years ago, three maybe now, I let Kate pick out a handful of Star Trek novels for me at the annual YMCA booksale in St Louis and I filled my DVR with various incarnations of Star Trek. Worth mentioning, too, is the 2009 reboot which pleased me greatly. I don’t recall which came first, but, as the cliche goes, the rest is history.

I won’t be going years without Star Trek again. Might go days or weeks, but never years. I haven’t seen every episode of Deep Space Nine, so my October and beyond program choices are sewn up. It’s all rewatchable for pure pleasure and for noticing details. Best of all, I love finding connections between the various stories and crews. I smile every time it crosses my mind how horrified McCoy would have been to see Dr Phlox using leeches and worms in Sickbay.

It is no coincidence Chris and I can sit around for hours watching Star Trek together. Our first messages back and forth, around a year ago now, centered around our mutual love of Trek. He was preparing for Dragon*Con, putting the finishing touches on his Klingon costume. I was planning a pilgrimage – yes, a pilgrimage – to see Captain Kirk’s chair at the Science Fiction Hall of Fame in Seattle before leaving for South Carolina.

Any wonder we’re planning a Klingon wedding?


I canceled my cable in November.


I wasn’t trying to cut back on my television consumption. Nor do I deny the value of the programming available. It’s popular to talk about how bad, shallow and devoid of intellect the old boob tube is. I’ve said for years, it all depends on what you watch. I admit my enjoyment of all sorts of random programs. History Channel or Discovery Health in the middle of the night? Yes, please.


Here’s the thing: I moved into my apartment the first of September and started cable service within a week. I opted not to get a DVR since I was living alone and my schedule, at the time, was wide open. I set a reminder on my Blackberry for the two first run shows I cared about seeing. Big Bang Theory, of course, and Law & Order: Special Victims Unit.


After watching the first episodes of the new season of SVU, I found I simply didn’t care. It is impossible to say if the change was me or the show. The Law & Order franchises where something I’d always watched with my ex making it a part of a different time in my life. Plus,  I’ve seen so many episodes of the various incarnations the stories had begun to run together.  I’ll always think of myself as an Law & Order person, but it was clear I needed a break.


I went along for a while watching Big Bang Theory on Thursday night. It was an event. I’d typically bake off some refrigerated cookie dough and brew tea to enjoy while I watched in bed because I didn’t own living room furniture. Even with all the excitement in my life lately, that half hour was a highlight of my week.


One Thursday night in October, I turned on my modestly sized flat screen to the realization it was tuned to CBS. I racked my brain to figure out what I’d been watching when it hit me: Big Bang Theory is the only CBS show I’ve ever watched on a regular basis. I hadn’t so much as turned on the TV in an entire week.


It was strange to come to this place from television as my primary source of entertainment for years. Man, I’d loved my DVR.


I struggled with the decision to give up Big Bang Theory. I’m almost embarrassed to admit how much. But Sheldon’s love for Spock makes my love for Spock seem normal and proportionate.


Lucky for me, began streaming episodes of Big Bang Theory a few days after airing on the network. Problem solved!




I’ve got to say: My life is grand.
My best friend Kate sent me home from her house with a The Happiness Project to read on the flight home. In the book, Gretchen Rubin takes readers along as she spends a year exploring happiness with scholarly zeal and scientific curiosity. It’s a good read and got me thinking about happiness without feeling like a self help book. Her point wasn’t cultivating happiness as a cure for clinical depression. By her own admission, her life was good when she began thinking about happiness. Her project wasn’t about changing her life, but about being happier in life.


One concept from the book I latched onto was how happiness unexamined is less valuable. If you don’t think you’re happy, how can you be happy? The other side of the argument is if you have to ask wither you are happy, are you?  For me, thinking about happiness and what works or what doesn’t in my life is important. I’ve been some scary places ignoring unhappiness and depression. I’d plugged away at life. I’m not in that place anymore, but I’m ever aware of my relationship with happiness and stress. I think of it as being mindful – checking in with myself as if to ask “does this make you happy, Tina?”

I’d really love to read the book again, take some notes and share some thoughts here on my blog. I’ve subscribed to Gretchen’s blog, but haven’t played with all the toys and tools on her website yet. I’m undecided as to wither I intend to start my own formalized happiness project anytime soon. I’m busy and happy. My life fits me.

I have only one nagging concern – one missing and neglected piece. I don’t write anymore. It’s easy to see from my blog, I haven’t blogged. I’ve barely even Tweeted. I don’t have a notebook in my purse or nebulous bits of poems in my head. The idea of writing fiction seems as lost a dream as going to Harvard. Reading about Gretchen, lawyer turned writer, talking about doing what you love, but also working through frustration doing things which lead to long term happiness struck a cord. Writing is great… after it’s done. Or those rare times words gush before I’ve even thought about what comes next. Otherwise, it’s work.

I had been thinking on a blogging comeback – and blogging has always been a writing exercise for me – for a while before I took the trip to see Kate.

The question I began to ask myself: Why do I still think I ought to be writing?

The Happiness Project helped me find the answer: I go back to writing when things are bad in my life. Without fail, I look back on every traumatic event immediately followed by the purchase of a new notebook. When I’m happy, I’m busy living. Too busy to slow down and cultivate what is important to the deepest parts of myself? Seems to be a flaw in my logic.

The worst part is how difficult the process becomes when you haven’t kept up. Practice makes perfect. I know full well without discipline comes first in any creative endeavor. Typing out this post has been excruciating, to be honest, and I’ve taken much longer than I intended. What I’m pushing toward is publishing because once I have hit the button, posted to Facebook and Twitter that I have, I’ve accomplished something. One step at a time, I intend to blog consistently enough to call myself a blogger again. I’d love to build on blogging to make words my profession in some form or another.

First, I’m going to go ahead and hit publish.


Tomorrow, I take an important step in expanding my credibility as a geek.

No, I’m not getting the IDIC tattoo I’ve (half) joked about for years.

I’m attending my first convention. Even better, it’s a Star Trek convention. Best of all, I’m going with my favorite Klingon. Chris had offered for me to go and share accommodations for TrekTrax long before we were dating. In fact, we talked about it our first in person meeting which happened to take place the Thursday after Dragon*Con. Like Thanksgiving, we intend to mark the occasion on that Thursday each year regardless of the date. He seemed so nervous the pictures he showed me of his Klingon costume would scare me off.  On the contrary, I was suffering con-envy (valid medical condition) and was genuinely impressed with the work he’d obviously put into the costume. I was, after all, the girl who made a point to visit Captain Kirk’s chair before leaving Seattle.

It seems a little silly posting the night before a bit event, but I’m doing it anyway. For one thing, I haven’t been the most faithful of bloggers. It’s not advised to point out absences, but I’ve been pitiful. Oops. Be on the lookout for stories and pictures from the convention. If I’m a good little blogger, I might even post from the hotel, but I wouldn’t advise anyone hold their breath.

I’m oddly nervous. I don’t know how normal it is to have nervousness along with excitement for a new adventure, but I’ve always experienced even the happiest of events with the odd mixture of feelings. With this, I suspect it’s partly because I want to love the convention experience and partly because I don’t really know what to expect. That is, besides unadulterated awesomeness and a hotel full of people who don’t think my obsessions are weird. If I went back in time and told my fifteen year old self about it, she’d laugh and go back to reading Issac Asimov. Yes, Tina, there is a community of people like you. They are called “geeks” and you’ll fit right in.


I have not resolved to reform my procrastination this year, clearly, or I would have written about New Year’s resolutions, plans and goals sometime before the middle of January.

Even now I struggle to explain where I am in relation to where I was a year ago to anyone who hasn’t shared the journey with me. I spent a few minutes reading over what I wrote about plans for 2010 on my old blog. So much has changed. It is disorienting to attempt to see life from through the eyes of the woman I was twelve short months ago. If she only knew what goodness waited for her, maybe the transition wouldn’t have been so hard.

What I planned last year got preempted by life altering events I could not have predicted when I sat down to blog my yearly “looking back” and “looking forward” year end posts. I tend to do similar reflection around my birthday. I wasn’t blogging much when I turned thirty in August, but rest assured by August 2011, I will have much to reflect upon.

I don’t reflect much these days as I am busy living. When I do it is with a thankful heart. I have survived much and have a life I never imagined. It’s not without challenges, but perfection isn’t a requirement for happiness.

Over the last few months of 2010, the puzzle pieces of my life have come together in a shape they will likely hold to through 2011. I spend as much time as possible with my beloved Chris.  I am working two jobs, neither of which I intend to discuss on this blog. I have great friends, some who have been with me for years and some who have joined my life recently. They are invaluable. Life moves on day by day in predictable pattern.

I do have a handful of goals for the year.

First, I’ll be getting my driver’s license as soon as possible. My typical explanation, as with so much in my life, as to why I’ve never had one is “it’s complicated.”

After that, I will be considering the merits of replacing two jobs with one full-time gig. Again, will likely not discuss job situations on the blog. I’ve never had trouble finding work, but I do not know if there is anything I desire for a career beyond working whatever job comes to hand. Unlike last year, when I was determined to go to college at great personal sacrifice, I am unsure if formal education is necessary or practical for me.

My overall goal – the one I would dub a resolution – is to cook actual meals. Wrapped up in cooking is eating healthy stuff in portions appropriate to allow continued progress on the weight loss I managed in 2010. I don’t want to have to “diet” but rather would like to develop healthy eating habits. It’s easier for me to motivate myself to cook for two, so I including feeding Chris in this resolution. It will be easier to accomplish when we are living under the same roof (we’re working on details), but even now I can and do put together meals. I’d like to do some batch cooking with portioned out left overs to avoid the trap of eating out or eating badly when life gets busy. And life is always busy.

So far, I can report some success in the kitchen. I ordered spices online to made Indian food, the followed through and cooked something. I made Chicken Tikka Masala. It was so good. Even better, Chris loved it. I’d never considered myself the domestic type, but given the chance, it appears I am. As I get more confident in the kitchen, I intend to launch my food blog, OgleFood. I’ve owned the domain for, maybe, three years. I love the idea of lots of pictures and a celebration of good food.

While I joke about procrastination, I am working on my time management skills. Blast and darn you interwebs with all your goodness. I can waste infinite amounts of time – the only asset I haven’t found a way to stretch. I have piles of books I want to read, unwritten blog posts, and hundreds of hours in movies and tv shows to watch. If only I could quit sleep. Short of that, I can only do my dead level best to put every minute toward something worthwhile. I expect mixed results. Realistic expectations are a key to happiness, after all.

I learned enough in 2010 to know I can’t plan for everything, so I’m content to otherwise let 2011 happen as it happens. We’ll meet back here in a eleven months to discuss, okay?


I figure when a good portion of my Christmas day was spent watching BBC America’s Doctor Who marathon, I’m entitled to count the next day as Boxing Day.

It’s unfortunate we Americans do not formally celebrate Boxing Day. In fact, all major holidays should come with a recovery day. I’d be all for the Fifth of July and All Saint’s Day being official pajama and rest days.

I had a wonderful Christmas. Couldn’t have been more perfect. Spending the day with Chris and his family on our first Christmas together was topped off with a lovely layer of snow. It’s been decades since South Carolina had a white Christmas. Even the snow was perfect – a few inches of pretty without making the roads dangerous. The picture below was the view from my balcony this morning.

The self portrait was also taken on my balcony. I’d have worn a coat, but I wanted to show off my awesome t-shirt and pretty new necklace.  My beloved has wonderful taste on both counts. I didn’t do well with the shirt, I know, but you can check it out on ThinkGeek. I’m mildly obsessed with Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I’m also enough of a geek-snob to love an obscure reference. Was super excited to get a comment on the shirt while out to lunch this afternoon. Even better, I found blue tights to compliment my first geek t-shirt. Someday, no doubt, I’ll have an impressive collection of tees a vast majority of people won’t understand. With any luck, I’ll find tights to go with all of them. Skirts, tights and tees referencing science fiction  – we’ll call the look “geek-girly-girl” and go with it.

Festive in Red

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The automatic timer on my camera is doubling as a full length mirror. Of all the things I don’t have yet, like any living room furniture, I would say I’m least worried about a mirror.  The camera does the job and leaves me with an image of what I looked like at the before I head out and smudge my lipstick. Not a bad thing. I tend towards being camera shy, so it does me good to put myself in front of the camera. I intend to participate in Cass‘ Sunday Self Portrait, if not weekly, often as I did on the old blog.

I took this picture Saturday afternoon in my empty living room before heading out for a Christmas party at a friend’s house. It was a great time. Any evening which includes Chris, good friends, yummy food, and a screening of Wrath of Khan is automatically one of the best parties I’ve ever attended. Our gracious host Doug has an enviable number of Star Trek model starships. Fortunately for everyone, he doesn’t have batteries in them or I’d still be gleefully pressing buttons.

I’m digging the red tights, my newest acquisition. The only thing missing is some festive Christmas jewelry. Back in junior high and high school, I used to deck myself out in holiday accessories. Antlers, candy cane striped tights, gaudy holiday themed earrings and necklaces. I’d even made myself anklets with bells on them. If there is one thing I love as much as I love Christmas lights – and I freaking adore lights – it’s bells. Next year, I’ll have to return to the personal tradition that once had my high school counselor call me “festively annoying.” A proud moment. Where there a reasonable excuse, I’d wear bells all year long.


Simple question: Where are you from?

My answer is a little complicated.

I live in Simpsonville, South Carolina,

by way of Kent, Washington

by way of Farmington, Missouri

by way of Sheridan, New York

by way of Kent, Washington

by way of Silverdale, Washington

by way of Eva Beach, Hawaii

by way of Bangor, Washington

by way of Bremerton, Washington

by way of Groton, Connecticut

by way of New London, Connecticut

by way of Bremerton, Washington

by way of San Diego, California

by way of Bremerton, Washington

by way of San Diego, California

by way of Norwich, Connecticut

by way of Somersworth, New Hampshire.

by way of Dover, New Hampshire.

Aren’t you glad you asked?

Even I get confused.

After checking with Mom, I added Somersworth to the list. Makes for a eighteen moves in thirty years. As a kid, I went to eight elementary schools – one of them three different times – two middle schools and two high schools. As an adult, I’ve moved four times. I cannot say for sure for how long I’ve landed here in South Carolina. Today, I’m here and have no plans to leave.

I wonder who I would have been had I been raised in fewer places. Less open minded. Less adaptable. Less independent. I suspect I’d have been less of a nerd. I would have been more mainstream in my thinking, you see, growing up with a consistent peer group to measure myself against. To think I might have read fewer books, found learning less important or not developed a love for classic science fiction. Horrifying.