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.


Here at NerdBliss, I strive to maintain a spoiler free environment.

Sweet visuals. Cool music. Not much plot.

As I’ve been told, the original movie is much the same. I’ve not seen it. Blame Netflix for not streaming it. Or the fact I’m too young to have seen it when it came out in 1982. Either way, Legacy was my firHere at NerdBliss, I strive to maintain a spoiler free environment.

I loved the look of the movie. The elder Flynn’s place in the digital world, as pictured above, especially excited my minimalist side. The table and chandelier are drool worthy. Every set is visually stunning. All the action looks so darn slick. Exactly how it should for the story.

The music is seamlessly joined with the visuals. The soundtrack by Daft Punk goes a long way towards evangelizing on behalf of House and electronic music. I’m learning to enjoy the genera thanks to Chris and his diverse musical taste. The movie was like a feature length, 3D music video. I don’t mean that in a bad way.

In defense of the film, I will say I tend not to go for action based movies. I’m sort of into more intellectual and more talking in my movies, less racing and things blowing up. It’s not a defect in the movie, but a poor match for my taste. I can also report Chris found it lived up to his expectations, but did not exceed them. Not high praise, but still worthwhile for fans of the original movie, fans of Daft Punk, and fans of slick action movies.