Here

I’ve passed a milestone in my life without noticing it passed. Not everyone measures their life how I’ve measured mine. Most people do not start all their stories by saying “When I lived in…

Few people can say, at the age of thirty-five, they’ve beat their livelong record for living in the same place for the longest amount of time.

My previous record was Kent, Washington from Thanksgiving 1996 to just after July 4th 2001. I calculated it out today to 55 months or 4 years and 7 months. In that time, I got my first job, graduated high school, and moved out with a boyfriend who would become my ex-husband.

I moved to Simpsonville, South Carolina at the very end of August 2010. Sixty-one months ago. Or five years and one month. I did make one small move a few months after I arrived; I went from an upstairs one bedroom into a downstairs two bedroom in the same building in February 2011. Chris moved in with me in April. We’ve gotten married three times since then. Strange, but true.

I don’t regret having moved around so much both as a child and an adult. I do sometimes wistfully wonder how my life would have turned out with a more traditional path. I understand not everyone has the classic upbringing of Mom and Dad in a house in a neighborhood from birth until graduation with happy visits to grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins for summers and Christmas. In 2015, one would have to be delusional to believe a fantasy image from a children’s picture book bares any resemblance to reality.

Still, in moves per year, I’m an outlier. In big and small ways, it’s impacted who I am. My perspective is a little different in ways both helpful and challenging.

For now, I’m perfectly happy where I am, but I don’t credit geography with my happiness. If I’ve learned nothing else in my travels, I’ve learned wherever you go you take yourself with you. Change your behavior, thoughts, and associations to change your life. Otherwise, it’s the same story on a different set.

I have no plans to leave the Greenville area in the near future, but since when have my plans had any influence on what happens?

About Tina

“Being a geek is all about being honest about what you enjoy and not being afraid to demonstrate that affection. It means never having to play it cool about how much you like something.” – Simon Pegg

Hi. I’m Tina.

Nerd. Geek. Dork.

I’ve heard many debates on the finer points of distinction between the three interrelated terms, but no matter the definition, I’ll proudly claim each title. Denying it would be futile.

My interests seldom fall into the mainstream. I pursue those interests with obsessive passion, in many cases, over a lifetime. I hide my shyness under a whole lot of friendly. Do I seem self-conscious? I’m not as socially inept as I used to be, but sometimes I wonder if people are just being polite.

As for nerd-geek-dork cred, I’m a bookworm, Trekkie and lover of wordplay. I love the real universe almost as much as the fictional universes I’d rather ponder and discuss. When I think of “the classics,” Issac Asimov comes to mind along with Jane Eyre. People, facts, and ideas interest me. A friend of mine once said – without a trace of sarcasm – “Tina knows everything.” I’ll admit, I don’t know everything about anything. Knowing a little something about just about everything is a thrill for me especially learning new things to keep connecting the dots between pockets of understanding.

My biography doesn’t summarize easily. My geographical history is confusing to say the least. I have adopted this Douglas Adams quote – “I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” – as my personal maxim. It is a literal and metaphorical truth.

All my stories start “when I lived in…” thanks to my upbringing as a Navy brat and three major relocations as an adult. I’m a potted plant. Very portable. For conversational purposes, I claim Seattle as my hometown. I graduated high school in the area and one of my sets of parents – mom and step-dad – plus my brother and sister-in-law still live in that same town. Mom would tell you I got the gypsy blood, whatever that means. All I know is the internet and unlimited long distance keep me connected to people I love regardless of how far away until the day I can hop on a transporter pad to spending the day with my friend Kate and her daughter in St. Louis and be home in time for bed.

Days are brighter, more fun and much geekier with my chess-playing Klingon husband Chris. We met in September 2010 having exchanged a few messages over the preceding months. It was a week after I’d moved to South Carolina and he’d come home from Dragon*Con fresh from his first costumed outing. He nervously showed me pictures taken at the con of him in full Klingon gear complete with forehead ridges. I don’t think he believed me at the time that I didn’t find it even the tiniest bit weird or lame, but rather found the fact he makes an excellent Klingon and learned to sew in order to make it impressive and exciting. We started dating in late October and in February 2011, our relationship got serious when he took me to my first convention – Trek Trax Atlanta – and it was everything I could have hoped.

As he promised early on, Chris has expanded my universe not just by adding Firefly, Doctor Who and Stargate to my repertoire of fandoms, but in being kind, loving and a wonderful listener. So easy to live with, too. We could not be, I don’t think, better matched in interests and in temperament. He’s not much of a reader and I can’t play chess, but we both love Star Trek in all it’s incarnations above just about anything. And isn’t that what really counts? He proposed at Emerald City ComiCon 2012 and we got married at ConCarolinas 2013 in a Klingon style ceremony in costumes we made ourselves. Dragon*Con is our Christmas – anticipated and planned for – but it is the stuff of everyday life – trips to Costco, our passion for healthy eating and a dedication to making the best of even life’s challenges – which contributes to me being happier than I’ve ever been.

Life isn’t perfect, but it doesn’t have to be. Life is good. Even adversity has it’s place. I’ve grown steadily over time and I look forward to becoming an ever better version of myself little by little.

This blog is intended to be a reflection of my interests, activities, and opinions. It tends toward book reviews, stories of conventions and crafting adventures along with updates on my mental and physical healthy and anything else I need to write about. I intend to blog more than I actually publish, but having my own corner of the internet on which to express myself isn’t something I’m willing to give up. I cherish the friends I’ve made since I first started blogging way back in 2006 and I love to meet new people, online and in real life.

I reserve the right to evolve as a person and a blogger at any time along with the right to use more commas then strictly necessary.

ABOUT LUNCH

 

The Queen’s Meme: The Lunch Mee

With my crazy work schedule, breakfast is at 3 in the afternoon, lunch at 11 at night and supper around 4 am. Things get a little wonky planning these meals. Keep that in mind as you read my answers.

1. What do you typically have for lunch? Some sort of protein and veggies. Chicken breasts, salmon patties, hamburger or turkey burgers or sometimes “taco stuff” which is ground beef and black beans with taco seasoning but without the taco shell or tortilla.

2. If you work outside your home, do you pack your lunch? Almost every single day. Between saving money on getting delivery since our building isn’t close enough to anything to go pick up fast food and the health benefits of not eating out all the time, it’s a given we’ll pack lunch except for rare occasions. On those rare occasions when we are short on time or have somewhere to go before work, Subway tends to be our go-to lunch.

3. Do you ever cheat on the scheduled “hour” for lunch at work or have you been known to stretch it just a little? If I don’t get back to my desk on time to clock in, I don’t get paid for my time. In addition, being late back too often it could impact wither or not I have a job at all. So, no, I don’t cheat on my half-hour lunch.

4. What is your favorite restaurant for the midday meal? Saffron Indian for the lunch buffet. They were my first experience with Indian cuisine. At first, my taste buds didn’t know what to make of all those spices, but I loved it from the beginning. These days, we go to the local Indian market for spice blends and lentils.

5. Are you more interested in the company or the food? It is the marriage of food and company which makes a lunch delightful. Human company is, of course, lovely, but I will accept the company of a good book as happily. A great short story or witty essay writing is better company than mediocre people, in my opinion.

6. Tell us about your last lunch date and what made it special. August 16th, the day before my birthday, Chris and I met his mom and dad for lunch – our breakfast – to celebrate.

7. What is on your lunch box? I use a large insulated bag suitable for two since Chris and I work together three days of the week. It’s blue plaid.

EIGHTY-EIGHT QUESTIONS (ONE TO TWENTY-TWO)

Sunday Stealing: The 88 Meme

 

1. What type questions do you hate on a meme? Questions which only apply to high school or college aged people. I don’t see many of those types answering the weekly memes I play, for one thing, and they make me feel old.

2. If you married the last person you texted, what would your last name be? Bennett. I would naturally ask Kate took take back her maiden name before we moved somewhere it would be legal of us to marry. Of course, it’s far more likely we’ll go ahead and remain same-sex platonic life partners.

3. Were you happy when you woke up today? Yes. I was happy to drag my butt out of bed on the second day of a three day stretch of 11 hour workdays, sore as heck from the notch up in intensity I’ve taken on in my Wii Fit workouts. Tired, slow moving, but happy.

4. When were you on the phone last? And with who? A client sometime with in the last hour. Got to love the night shift in a call center.

5. Who are you excited for? My friend Alex who is going to Dragon*Con this coming weekend.

7. Honestly, who was the last person to tell you they love you? Chris, earlier today via chat.

8. What’s the last thing you put in your mouth? Tea. Earl gray. Hot.

9. Have a best friend? Yes. I have several friends who qualify for the “best friend” title. Kate, Renee, and – most recent addition – Alex.

10. Were you ever or are you scared to fall in love? No. I love easily but I have learned over the years that love is not always the best indication of wither someone belongs in your life. This goes for relationships of all types – not just romantic. Loving someone, in an of itself, isn’t scary to me.

11. Do you think teenagers can be in love? Certainly. Even children can be in love. I think those younger forms of love and “puppy love” are normal and healthy ways for people to learn about romance. They should not be written off as less than real, but neither should they be treated as though they ought to last forever.

12. Last person you wanted to punch in the face? I plead the fifth.

13. What time is it right this second? 1:53 AM Eastern Standard Time.

14. What do you want right now? To go home.

15. Who was the last person you took a picture with? Likely Chris, but I don’t remember.

16. Are you single/taken/heartbroken/or confused? Taken. Engaged, if you want to get technical.

17. When was the last time you cried? A few weeks ago in the shower. I was stressed and thinking about things I can’t change. The release of tears did a world of good.

18. Do you have a good relationship with your parents? I do. It’s not a Norman Rockwell painting, but they love me and do the best they can to help me in life. Can’t ask for more than that.

19. Do you find it hard to trust others? Trust, but verify, I have no problem with. If anything, I have trouble depending on others.

20. How fast does your mind change? Not fast at all. I came to think what I think for a reason and it takes a worthy reason and deliberation to change it.

21. I bet you miss somebody right now. Who is it? Most of all, Sabrina, Kate’s daughter and my dear niece. I miss other people, but which a child, you miss out on so much being there which can’t be made up in phone calls and texts like with grown ups.

22. Can you honestly say you’re okay right now? More than okay.

I’m told there will be more questions of the promised eighty-eight next week. Maybe I’ll answer them. I hope the anticipation isn’t hard on anybody ;-)

UPON TURNING THRITY-TWO

As is my habit, I am composing a post to commentate my birthday and to reflect upon the last year of my life and making plans for the coming year. Once upon a time, I did a similar thing in my paper journals for my eyes only, but as spiral notebooks have given way to WordPress, I publish the results for the world to read if it chooses. I have skipped years under both methods and, with the exception of last year, my words are gone, but here I am having lived one more year.

And a what a wonderful year it has been. Never have I been so busy. Just a few days ago, I told Chris how I often wish I could move up time from all those years I didn’t have much going on to now when every moment of every day seems packed to the gills.

We went from my birthday last year to Dragon*Con Labor Day weekend in the blink of an eye, then on to the holiday season. It was my second in a row working retail and hopefully my last for the rest of my days. Going from sixteen or twenty hours to thirty or more for the holiday season was rough on my body more than the rest of me. In large part, my recent return to working in a call center was based on the need to stop abusing my feet, knees and hips on those concrete floors. But I am getting ahead of myself as I didn’t start the new job until June. In fact, only a few weeks came between my decision to find something and accepting the new position.

The New Year brought one thing and one thing only: sewing. We thought we planned plenty of time for the work we’d committed to in preparation to be the Klingon wedding at Trex Trax Atlanta in late April. We spent almost as many hours telling friends and co-workers it would not be a legal and binding wedding, or at least not on this planet.

In March, I took Chris to Seattle to meet my family and George Takei at Emerald City Comic Con. I cannot speak for Mr. Takei, but my family was very impressed with Chris and thrilled he chose to propose at the convention while they could be a part of it. I was surprised at the timing, not the question itself, as it should be. The setting was perfectly us and couldn’t have been more geek-romantic including a video of the moment I innocently thought was to tease our con-going friends who couldn’t be with us.

Being engaged leads to the inevitable question: “When are you getting married?”

We put off those questions for a while with the urgency over getting every detail ready for our Klingon ceremony. Outfitting ourselves from head to (in my case) toe was no small undertaking. I was at the sewing machine until 2 AM the night before the convention and stitched a detail or two on the car ride to Atlanta, not to mention a few missed seams I didn’t find until ironing everything in the hours before the big event. Don’t let me fool you, though, it was better to be busy than to worry about the performance itself.

For better or worse, too, I’d agreed to compete in the Miss Klingon pageant that weekend. And I did. I was awful, but I entered to round out the number of contestants to a robust three Klingon ladies. I certainly hope enough warriors step up next time that I will not be needed next year. I’ve made it clear I never, ever want to see video of the event, but I’m glad I had the guts to do it.

I am far more proud of the costume I tossed together in the last 48 hours before the convention than I am my time on the stage, but admittedly, I am extremely proud to have fulfilled the dream I’d had as a little kid to learn to sew. Chris was instrumental in teaching me how to use a sewing machine and encouraging both my costuming projects and general craftiness. While there aren’t enough hours in the day for all the ideas in my head, for the first time in my life, I feel like I’m allowed to have hobbies even if they require the twin resources of time and money. It doesn’t sound like a big deal for most people, but it’s huge for me.

About that wedding stuff: While it’s very important to us to have a marriage legal here on Earth, not just in the Klingon Empire, I’m not concerned in the least about the details of a wedding. It’s just not something that ever mattered to me for a variety of reasons. We do intend to figure out a time when, at the very least, my parents will be able to fly out for the event. Early next year seems likely, but at present other factors keep us from setting a firm date. Truth be told, the main thing I’m looking forward to is changing my name. It will be the main practical change marriage will bring as it is with so many couples who live together beforehand, but it is of special concern to me. I elected to keep my married name when I got divorced, both because it did not seem worth the effort in paperwork to change twice within a couple years knowing Chris and I were intending to marry eventually and because my ties to my maiden name never went as deep as most since I’d used my step-dad’s name growing up. While I don’t regret that choice, I think it’s understandable I’m ready to shed the last day-to-day reminder of my previous relationship. It’s weird sometimes to think nearly everyone I interact with on a daily basis doesn’t consider the association and after nearly eleven years, I don’t think about it every day either.

As mentioned above, I took a new job in a call center. Chris and I managed to end up in the same training class and we are both working a weird late night shift. It is my personal policy not to discuss work on the interwebs, except to say, work is work and it pays the bills.
I’m grateful to have always been extremely employable. I still, and likely always will, consider the possibility of college, but this fall is not in the cards and likely not spring either, and I’m not sold on my desire to do it like I was a few years ago.

Worth mentioning is the one frustration I can’t seem to get past: Despite efforts – my own and others – I’ve reached yet another birthday without a driver’s license. I was 18 or 19 when I first got a learner’s permit in Washington State, but never actually drove there. Sometime after I moved to Western New York in 2001, I again got a permit and this time actually drove, but I hadn’t driven at all since I left there in 2005. I’ve had more than a few road blocks since I’ve moved here, too. First, my eyesight is now bad enough I couldn’t pass the DMV’s vision test without glasses like I could when I was younger. Now, I have a permit, but I seldom have access to a car I can drive as I’m limited by my height. Plenty of short people are going to see that and claim they can drive anything, but I assure you, the difference between being 5’0 or 5’2 tall and 4’9 makes that not the case for me. Our friend Alex has taken me out driving a few times. I can drive his van, but our schedules, the restriction on permits to driving between 6 am and midnight, plus various other responsibilities on both sides make it tricky to rack up the necessary amount of practice time. It was, however, a relief to find I hadn’t lost the knack entirely in all the years since I was last behind the wheel, but I am not even close to ready to pass a driver’s exam. We are, slowly but surely, saving for another car and hoping Chris’ car (which I can’t drive) will remain on the road long enough to allow us to have two cars while saving for it’s replacement.

Truth be told, I feel defeated by the whole situation and I don’t really see myself ever having the independence nearly every adult in our country takes for granted. Most adults who aren’t licensed drivers have done something to be striped of the privilege, but that is not my situation. No one thought to make it a priority when I was a teenager and, as an adult, it’s been one struggle after another and I just haven’t been able to make it work. It would be one thing to live in an area with mass transit, but living where I do, I am effectively trapped and totally dependent on other people to get around. My choices are limited in so many ways. I can’t take just any job. I can’t make a doctor’s appointment without figuring out who is going to take me. I can’t go to the store by myself unless I want to spend an hour, round trip, walking route with no sidewalks or street lights which only gets me to the closest places. If I really need something, of course, I have more than I few people who would be willing to come get me and I am thankful for that, but the difference between needing something and being able to go somewhere because I feel like going is a large gap. I try really hard not to let it get me down, but it’s hard not to dwell on it when I’m stuck at home on my days off.

Not to leave my post on a downer, though I’ve past my midnight Eastern standard time birthday deadline for publication, I should share my more hopeful plans for the coming year. It is good to remember I have control in a handful of areas of my life when I don’t always feel like I do.

After a too long period of slacking off on proper eating and fitness, I’ve been back on track the last month or so. I bought myself a Wii Fit and while my goal of logging an hour of workout time every single day has proved a bit lofty, I have at least stepped on the balance board every single day. I try to divide my time primarily between yoga and aerobic games. Food-wise, it’s as simple as keeping the house free of problem foods. My big one is bread. I would eat toast all day and often would when I was stuck home alone. Sticking with simple to cook proteins, veggies and fruits and limiting meals out to a few times a week is easy enough, really. I don’t think of it as a “diet” and it only takes a few weeks to remember how much better I feel when I’m taking care of myself. I’ve also started (as of today) a joint supplement which comes highly recommended and I hope to get relief from the aches which keep me from working out as hard and as much as I’d like.

The other area I am looking to make some headway in is various creative pursuits. As always, I’m going to maintain a blog in some form or fashion. You’ll notice, I’ve been more regular lately than I have been in the life of this site. As I always say, blog hosting is cheaper than therapy. I may or may not make an effort to monetize. Certainly, it’s not my main goal with being here or I would worry about SEO and the like.

I’ve toyed with the idea of participating in National Novel Writing Month and even read No Plot? No Problem!: A Low-Stress, High-Velocity Guide to Writing a Novel in 30 Days. I don’t know if November is the best month for me to make the attempt and the idea of joining the big group of people who make the attempt every year doesn’t appeal to me. I am too much an individualist to desire that sort of thing. Now, a few well placed friends would be another matter. I still don’t know if fiction is something I’m suited to write, but I do feel I ought to try if for no other reason than to prove to myself I don’t want to pursue it further.

One thing I know for sure having spent many, many hours over the cutting table (okay, actually, the bed with a cardboard cutting mat on it) and the sewing machine is that writing alone is not enough creative outlet. I need pleasure of making something with my hands. Inspiration and gathering supplies followed by the frustrations and triumphs of developing new skills or the calming tedium of tasks like cutting patterns or sewing straight lines all contribute to a sense of accomplishment like I’ve not found in other tasks. I think it is having something concrete to show for my labor, something both attractive and practical, which not just anyone can recreate without some level of skill. I also find a certain pleasure in a project which can be accomplished in a few hours, especially between more time intensive projects. To that end, and because I am a cold blooded capitalist, I’ve decided to open an Etsy store with some small projects. My inventory is still under development, but I’ve had good feedback so far on the items I’ve been working on. You’ll be able to search me under “Nerdbliss” and once I have everything set up, I’ll have a widget on the blog and will bore my few but precious readers with pictures and links. I have no illusions about quitting my day (night?) job, but I wouldn’t mind if it paid for the additions to my stash. I’ve carefully compared prices on supplies so even if my sales are modest, my profit margins will make it possible to invest in more variety of materials with the goal of a modest but steady income.

Before, I write past midnight on the West coast, I should call it a year. It’s been an overwhelmingly good one. Even on the hardest days, I am content with the most important parts of my life. I am happy, but still driven to make my life and the lives of those I care for a little better as we go along. I have opportunities to express myself and be productive. I am well loved and cared for by a diverse network of family and friends. I am both lucky and blessed.

AUTHENTIC MEME

Sunday Stealing: The Authentic Meme

1. How long have you been blogging? I started in late 2006 on MySpace, moved to my first domain in 2007 and registered NerdBliss in December 2010.

2. Did you go to college? I look several classes through University of Phoenix Online many years ago, but otherwise, no.

3. Where have you traveled? Throughout much of the contentious United States, three of the Hawaiian Islands and several parts of Canada.

4. Which celebrity do you get mistaken for? I do not strongly resemble any celebrity.

5. What are your three biggest pet peeves? Lack of professionalism, people who project the assumption the world revolves around them and no one else matters, and being treated like I don’t know what I’m doing by someone who has asked for my help. You can’t tell I work with the public from those answers, can you?

6. What is your favorite movie? If I had to pick one (today): Office Space.

7. What is your drink of choice; wine, beer, or liquor. Or Water, Soda, Tea? Of the first set: liquor. Of the second: tea. The only one of the six I’ll always pass on is beer. I’ve yet to find one that’s not icky.

8. What is something you enjoy to do when you have me time? Reading or sewing.

9. What is your biggest phobia? I don’t believe I have any fears which qualify for the strict definition of phobia, however, I do have anxieties and neurosis. The biggest ones all really come down to a fear of loosing what I hold dear or being trapped, physically or in circumstance.

10. Share with us an embarrassing moment of your past?

11. What day would you love to relive again? Why? Any given day during the summer between my seventh and eighth grade years. Those days spent with my best friend Kate in Hawaii were pure gold.

12. If your life was turned into a movie… what actor would your best friend think should play you? Someone pretty, but shorter than the actress playing her. Years ago, I would have said Drew Barrymore, but I don’t know if that’s still a relevant pick.

13. What are the jobs you had in high school/college/the early years? I worked for Payless Shoe from the beginning of my senior year of high school until the week I turned 25.

14. Show us a picture from high school or college. If you insist. I don’t have many, but my friend Amy sent me this one a few years back. I know it was taken the week I graduated high school because Kate had flown out to attend.

15. If you could travel anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, where would you go? With all the Doctor Who I’ve been watching lately, I’d love a grand tour of the British Isles.

16. Where do you see your life 6 and 1/2 years from now? Where will I be – assuming my math is correct – the 13th of January 2019? Let’s see. I’ll be 38 years old. Chris and I will feel like we’ve been married forever. We’d have either moved to a house in the Greenville area or moved to Atlanta, but either way, settled in for the long haul. We’ll either have one child and be deciding if a second is in the cards or already had two children. I’ll be busy with family and juggling employment of some sort with creative endeavors, some of which will hopefully be adding to the household income. I might be taking my sweet time earning some sort of college degree, one or two classes at a time, or I might have finally decided what I learn on my own is more than enough education.

17. If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would it be and why? Now isn’t bad. I’m old enough to be generally respected but still young enough to be considered youthful.

18. What 5 songs are included on the soundtrack to your life? (You can pick “Middle School”, “High School”, “College”, “Post College” or any format you like.)
1. “Puttin’ on the Ritz” – A gift from my Uncle Danny on 45 and the first piece of music I ever owned.

2. “You’re My Best Friend” – Queen always deserves recognition, for Kate and because Queen and Kate are intertwined in my life.

3. “When I’m Sixty-Four” – My favorite Beatles song which isn’t nothing and a good representation of my ideal romance.

4. “Who Needs Sleep?” – To represent my late teens, insomnia and sleep apnea along with Barenaked Ladies’ Stunt which I’ve listened to a billion times.

5. Art of the Dress (Trance remix) – For MLP:FiM and learning to push past the frustrations in sewing.

19. Romney picked Paul Ryan to run as his veep. Any thoughts? Nope. I’ve stayed out of political discussions as much as possible for a very long time.

20. Your chance: Pick a meme you’ve done for us to steal. Bud and Judd will visit EVERY post today. Feel free to say, “Bugger off”, or anything like that. How about the Employment Enjoyment Meme?

ALL OVER THE PLACE

The Queen’s Meme: All Over the Place

1. Pretend you are making a passion quilt. What would be on the center square? If not the Enterprise, the whole quilt would be book spines featuring my favorite novels.

2. One of those traffic cameras catches you running a red light and you get a ticket in the mail. What else did the camera catch inside your vehicle that you might not want everyone to see? Empty Starbucks cups on the floor.

3. When is the last time you had to cancel plans? I’m in the process of canceling plans for Dragon*Con 2012, but still squarely in the denial phase of mourning. It’s Labor Day weekend and I haven’t been able to set even a single day off approved.

4. What is your favorite magazine? National Geographic. I haven’t had a subscription since my early teens, but it’s the only magazine besides Highlights for Children for which I have nostalgic longings.

5. What is the riskiest thing you have ever done? Moving to South Carolina without ever having set foot in the state with a year lease on an apartment. Nearly two years later, I can safely say my risk paid off in all sorts of ways I never could have predicted.

6. Have you ever worked in an office with someone who drove you crazy? What did they do and how did you handle it? Yes. The type of stuff that drives me crazy is usually one end of the spectrum or the other. Blatant lack of professionalism drives me crazy. Swearing, dressing nice for the club or stealing co-worker’s lunches out of the break room fridge. Not cool people. Act like a grown-up. Just as annoying, however, as I find unprofessional people, I can’t standing being micromanaged or people who get all uptight about pointless details. The bottom line of what I have to do to satisfy the client(s) and keep my boss from being annoyed with me is pretty much all I want to hear about, then leave me be to do my job. The example I can give of this is an old team lead of mine. I worked in a third party call center for a telecommunications company. Sometimes accounts would require credits for various reasons and we agents would fill out paper tickets with all the information for a team lead to review. This guy would come back hours or days later to let me know about my tickets, explaining in great detail, why he elected to approve or decline the credit. It was not in the form of coaching, but a follow up on my request. Now, to those who have never worked in a call center, it sounds rather nice to hear back on an issue you’re working. But, in a call center for a national company, you’re never going to see the account again and if you do, you can read the notes. I would have taken dozens or hundreds of other calls since I wrote out the ticket. Bless his heart (as they say here in the South), I never found a diplomatic way to say, “Once the call disconnects, I don’t care. Note the account with what you did to cover both our butts and forget about it.” I don’t know how people who sweat every transaction and maintain their sanity, but I know it doesn’t help anything.

7. What is the weirdest or most unusual thing you’ve ever done in an elevator? I once took a picture of a Wookie with a disassembled robot on his back in an packed to the brim elevator.

STILL TOO TIRED

Sunday Stealing: The Too Tired to Think Meme, Part 2

26. What type of errands do you like running? I love shopping at Costco. Once you have a routine, it’s fast and pleasant. It’s easy, too, to keep in our primary good eating items for much less than a regular grocery store: Frozen meats and fish, fresh and frozen veggies, and various fruits.

27. Have you ever eaten snow? Not that I remember, but most of my childhood was spent in places where it seldom snows enough to eat snow without also eating grass and dirt.

28. What color are your bedsheets? The current set is Ivory, but their is a pale blue set, too.

29. What’s your favorite flower? Lilacs or Queen Anne’s Lace. Both low maintenance and abundant blooms.

30. Do you do ballet? Like all little girls, I went through a period where I wanted to take ballet. I was around seven years old and in first grade. I would have been awful, but I am in favor of kids and grownups alike trying things at with they naturally stink for the many benefits struggling to learn a new skill brings. Plus, maybe I’d be slightly less awkward if I’d taken a dance or martial arts class.

31. Do you listen to classical music? Does the Animaniacs soundtrack count? Classical music was MADE for cartoons.

32. What is the first TV Theme song that pops in your head? Tossed salads and scrambled eggs:

33. Do you watch Sponge Bob? I have seen a handful of episodes in the company of various children, but I do not like it. I always say, I prefer my “chemically enhanced” style of cartoon to be made for adults like Auqa Teen Hunger Force.

34. What temperature is it outside right now? Hot, but not unbearable is my unscientific assessment. Weather.com says 85 degrees.

35. Do people consider you smart? Generally, yes. I am well spoken with a large vocabulary and a head for trivia. I’m not sure if that makes me smart, but it does make me seem smart.

36. How many piercing do you have? One in each earlobe, same as I’ve had since I was nine. I rarely wear earrings.

37. Are you signed on [to] AIM? Not since ’99.

38. Have you ever tried gluing your fingers together? Lucky for me, I learned how to separate my fingers for the Vulcan Live Long and Prosper greeting without resorting to adhesives.

39. How do you feel about your family? I love my family. I don’t know most of my relatives very well.

40. Do you have an iPod? Nope. I’ve never owned an Apple product. I started using iTunes a couple years ago to subscribe to podcasts which I sometimes transfer to my Android phone. Not impressed enough to join the Mac culture.

41. What time do you go to bed? These days, bedtime is 5 or 5:30 am.

42. What CD is currently in your CD player? I don’t use a CD player. We have an FM transmitter in the car and I have a few dozen tracks on my phone.

43. What movie do you know every line to? The Princess Bride.

44. What is your favorite salad dressing? French.

45. What do you want for Christmas this year? I never know what I want for Christmas.

46. What family member/friend lives the farthest from you? Where? Gloria lives in Australia. We met through blogging, but have spent enough time chatting and shared serious enough conversations to count as “real” friends.

47. Do you like hugs? When appropriate. I am not typically an “I just met you, let’s hug” person, but I love hugs from friends and family.

48. Last time you had butterflies in your stomach? At the dress rehearsal for our Klingon wedding.

49. What’s the way people most often mispronounce any part of your name? Not exactly a mispronouncing, but I find people often get my first name wrong or shorten it any which way without regard for what I actually am called. My full first name is Christina and my nickname Tina. Most people call me Tina and many are confused when they don’t see a Tina on the roster even though it’s a common shorting. I have even thought about legally changing to Tina to avoid having to explain I’m Christina to people who know me as Tina. Besides not being sure how my mother would feel about it, the fact I’d still have a paper trail of documents under Christina and would have to explain I changed it legally to avoid confusion would be trading one confusion for another. The other thing that happens I get called Chrisy, Cristy, Christine or, the worst, Chris. While those are perfectly fine names, none of them are mine.

50. Last person you hugged? Chris.

I SAW THE LIGHT

Saturday 9: I Saw the Light

1. Has something ever made you “see the light”? I hope everyone answers yes. I am, sad to say, often a hard study when it comes to anything important enough to qualify for a “see the light” experience. When a course correction is required, it is most often my subconscious and my body’s stress indicators that clue me in. I get anxious, suffer insomnia, digestive issues, headaches or menstruation troubles often before I am aware of problems. If I pay attention to the signals, I can take stock of my personal life, work situation, and other areas to figure out where I need to make changes before my health and sanity are impacted.

2. Do you believe you have any control over your luck? Yes and no. I hold both that hard work is the primary factor in success and that factors beyond a person’s control can make success more or less difficult. The main outside factor everyone contends with is upbringing. For better or for worse, our family situation is the foundation upon which we build our lives. The positive end of those outside factors is what we call “luck.” I feel like much of what looks like luck past childhood is closer to serendipity or at least it seems true in my life that much of my luck is happy accidents.

3. What is something you have had difficulty rising above? See answer number two. In all seriousness, I was diagnosed with CP in my left side around the time I started crawling. I went through all kinds of physical therapy and wearing leg braces or being in a cast to stretch my Achilles tendon. I had surgery when I was in kindergarten to lengthen that tendon and spent what seemed like forever in a cast from my toes to my butt. All this was going on while I was a military brat being regularly uprooted and I was small by genetics along with socially awkward.

4. Would you want to be rich? Heck yes! For me, being rich would mean no longer needing to trade my time for money. Since time is the one commodity it’s impossible to replace, the hours I spend doing things I wouldn’t do for free never feel like a fair trade.

5. Tell us about a current or old song that helps you “face the world.” Lately, I’ve found happiness and comfort in a couple tracks: Splendid by Professor Elemental and Art of the Dress (Trance remix) are two off the top of my head.

6. Has any dream of yours come true? More than one, but a fond one was my dream of attending science fiction or Star Trek conventions. It doesn’t seem so long ago that each year when the internet was abuzz with news from San Diego ComicCon, I would long to be there. At the time, I didn’t see attending as a realistic possibility for a handful of reasons. Now conventions are a regular part of my year and I love every second of the experience. Some of my favorite bits I didn’t even imagine before Chris took me to my first con, Trek Trax 2011. I adore my fandom friends, working on costumes, and even sharing hotel room with our little band of roommates. It’s all beautiful and exciting and exhausting.

7. What would you change if you became “the king or queen” of your country? I would enforce my number one fashion rule: Leggings are NOT pants. Same goes for “Jeggings” and any other “ggings” they invent. Either a long tunic top, dress or skirt must be worn over over them. I don’t care how thin or fit a women is, it’s unattractive to show off the intimate details of the anatomy through skin tight fabric. Frankly, I’d rather see a naked person walking around.

8. How do you feel about LGBT rights? I’m for marriage equality and any other equal protection under the law regardless of sexual orientation or any other criteria.

9. Have you ever been disappointed in yourself? Anyone who is remotely self-aware would have to answer yes to this question. I am most disappointed when I don’t follow through on things I want to do. Sometimes my expectations are too high. I find myself, for example, making a to-do list for my day off which is plum unrealistic and then I’m disappointed at the end of the night when I haven’t completed my tasks.

EMPLOYMENT ENJOYMENT

The Employment Enjoyment Meme

1. What kind of work do you do? I work in a call center doing technical support for various clients of the clients who pay the company that pays me. When people call the IT Help Desk for their organization, they get me and often don’t realize I’m not only not an employee of said organization, but I’m at least a few states away.

2. During the course of your lifetime, which job or career has been your favorite or most fulfilling? The short time I was a receptionist for an OB/GYN was the most fulfilling. Unlike selling someone something or helping with wireless bills or logging into websites, I was a small part of caring for the patients health and pregnancies. It was easy to express genuine concern and compassion in a way other customer service positions don’t inspire. And babies! Can’t go wrong with a steady stream of newborns to cuddle and coo over.

3. Do you think it’s necessary in your life to have a day-to-day “career” that is meaningful and service-oriented or do you function better in “just a job” with a steady paycheck? So far I’ve been on the “just a job” end of the employment spectrum. As long as I am respected by management for the job I’m doing, I’m pretty content being a cog in the machine. I find meaning in my personal life and hobbies. Work needs to be pleasant, but ideally, it is left at work when I clock out.

4. Was there ever a time in your life when you wanted to stay home with your children instead of working, even if it meant less money in the household? First of all, I don’t have children. If I’m lucky enough to have a child or children in the next few years, I would like to be in the position to not have to work full time. If we can afford it, I would consider a part time position to get myself out of the house a few days a week. I’d spent the last nearly two years working part time up until a month ago and while I kept busy at home, I got stir-crazy for lack of regular human interaction. Two days in a row wasn’t bad. Three or more was horrible. I can’t imagine, say, four years of not having a regular place to go. On the other hand, I would prefer not putting my child in daycare for forty hours a week. Scheduling opposite shifts from Chris so one of us is always home isn’t a pleasant thought either. I covet the time we have together even now. It is certainly difficult to say for sure what our needs and options will be when the time comes. I know it will be a challenge, but a wonderfully rewarding one.

5. Tell us your worst boss story. My second manager at Payless Shoe was awful. I still don’t know what the heck he actually did around the store. We would have two weeks worth of shipment still boxed up in the backroom no matter how hard I worked. He didn’t like me because I didn’t think his flirting was cute like the girls he liked to hire did. After I moved away, one of my part-time girls put in her notice and reported him for sexual harassment.

6. Have your ever been the boss? Do you like this this role? I held the title of assistant manager most of the seven years I worked for Payless Shoe which simply meant I had most of the responsibility and none of the privileges of being as store manager. If the manager didn’t want to do something and the part-timers couldn’t, I was stuck with it. It was like being in the valley of the saying “shit rolls down hill” getting crap from both sides. At one point, I was “acting manager” of my store while my manager was out on maternity leave. It was hard because I still didn’t have access to everything a manager did and would have to get managers from other stores to help me. The worst part for both of those positions is the fact it’s so difficult to motivate people who don’t have work ethic in the first place. You don’t have to do much at all for those who come to the table with a work ethic. I had a girl who complained every night about what we called “straightening” shoes. All you do is ensure each pair is in their proper place. It’s tedious, but it’s what you get paid for and we would always work back to back in the store so we could keep each other company. Whining about it simply made it that much more unpleasant.

7.  What is your dream occupation? I always assumed I would write for a living. I never doubted I would be a novelist, because journalism didn’t appeal to me. Today, I don’t know if I have fiction in me. I have personal writing and commentary along with an occasional poem, but I’m not sure about anything else. I don’t have a drive to make money writing, but I am open to the idea. I am happier when I simply keep up with blogging. I guess, when it comes right down to it, my answers to questions 3 and 4 have more to do with the reality of my dream “occupation” or work/life balance and what I choose to invest myself in.