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Baron of the blurry tail


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Originally uploaded by setauuta
I just got an email from my mom about her cat Baron (he's in the icon). He's getting older, about 12 now, and he's not been doing so well since Milky (they may as well have been brothers - Baron lived with him his whole life) died a couple of months ago. This is what she said was happening:

email from my momCollapse )

Has anybody heard of anything like this before? Baron's always been kind of a sickly cat - he has a very sensitive stomach, and can only eat certain kinds of foods or else he'll throw up all over the place. The last time he had a physical (or "mature cat checkup", I think the vet called it), everything came back just fine. Any info you guys may have, or even just some good thoughts, would be greatly appreciated.

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Ah, NaNo...

So far, I'm in pretty decent shape. Admittedly, it's only day 4, but we'll see.

I was rather amused to discover, upon discussing the plot with Eric, that I'm writing a horror novel. That was...unexpected. Of course, so was having one of my two main characters turn sinister on me. She was supposed to be a hippy! The hell, man.

If any of y'all are interested, I'm posting what I've got on my writing LJ setauuta_muse - just friend me, I'll get you back, and you can see the crap that's there. I'm also (surprise!) setauuta on NaNoWriMo.org if you want a friend there.

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Seattle Dining

Hey, Seattle Dining folks! There's a poll over here - you should take it, and you should come! We're meeting in Seattle this time.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about, ask! I will tell you! I have way too many exclamation points today!

Oh, yeah! I have a journal!

It's been awhile, I know. Let's see...since I last posted, I started the new job and started getting settled in. I've received my first few paychecks (WOO!), and dealt with an H1N1 outbreak in the office. Eric and I have started trying to work out more regularly, and I've lost a net total of about 3 pounds - he's lost around 8. We've had a couple more Seattle Dining outings, and I've not yet uploaded the pictures or written up the post-mortems. I've been reading LJ, but not really felt the need to post - as you can see, my life is less than exciting.

So...yeah. That's me. It's after midnight on the 1st, so I'll be starting the grand craziness of NaNo, again. I never claimed to be all that smart. (Well, maybe I have, but clearly I was wrong.)

Week of no work

So, right now I'm in a holding pattern with the job thing. I have to wait for a background check to clear before I can get started, which means I've been at home all week. Last weekend, Eric and I went on a big grocery run so I could have something to eat and something to do while at home. You see, when I'm home all day, I get bored and watch a lot of Food Network. This, naturally, makes me hungry. So far this week, I've made chocolate chip cookies, olive oil and garlic steak, roasted garlic mashed potatoes, and way too many cracker pizzas (Ritz crackers + pepperoni + tomato sauce + cheddar, in the oven for about 10 minutes = Stephie comfort food). Eric got in on the act last night, as he was home sick and got bored and hungry as well, and made steak, eggs, and bacon. (Incidentally, the reason steak keeps coming up is because we found a really good deal on some sirloin last weekend - it's not normally on regular rotation at our house.)

Tonight, well, the rest of the steak had been thawed, and I was bored and hungry again. I ended up making a chile colorado (sort of) with Spanish rice and tortillas. I'm not one to toot my own horn, but damn, did this turn out well! Considering the meat was basically me going "hey, that sounds good, let's throw that in!", this is the closest I can come to a recipe:

2 sirloin steaks, cubed
tomato sauce
chili powder
ancho chili powder
garlic salt
ground cumin
adobo paste
water

In a large saucepan, brown the steak in oil (I used garlic olive oil, because, well, we love us some garlic in this house). Once the steak is browned, add the tomato sauce and spices (I used about 2 tsp of the adobo paste, because I wasn't sure how strong it would be, but next time I would use more), and add enough water to cover the meat by about an inch. Simmer until the sauce is reduced by about half. Ta-da!

The meat was really tender, probably because it was simmering for so long, and the sauce turned out nicely. I would probably add some fresh garlic in the pot when browning the meat, but that's about it. The timing worked pretty well, too - after I got the meat simmering, I started the rice. After I got the rice simmering, I started the tortillas, and by the time I finished the tortillas, the rice and meat were done. It was a very tasty dinner, and I'm sure it'll reheat well for Eric's lunch tomorrow. He's currently at Katie and John's, dropping off roughly a third of the the board game collection for the PAX open gaming library. He's also managed to wrangle a three-day pass, as an exhibitor for a local game store (basically, he'll be in the board game area teaching folks to play whatever's available - otherwise known as Eric heaven). It's going to be weird, having the weekend alone, too, but I'm really enjoying the whole "time to myself" thing. Plus, I'll have the car this weekend, which means I can go out and about a bit if I so desire. We shall see.

And now, I clean up, and then back to sewing - I've gotten pretty far with seanb and trilliumgrl's wedding sampler, and then I need to finish up the birth announcement for Eric's brother's second kid. Hopefully, when I call the recruiter tomorrow, I'll be able to get a more definite answer on when I'm starting. As much as I'm enjoying the time off, I really want to get back to work.

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So, yesterday, I was told around 4pm that the general counsel for Amazon (M) was finally back from the East coast, and I was scheduled to meet with her at 3:30 today. 'Bout freakin' time, I thought. Today was the last day of my contract, so it seemed only fitting.

At 2 o'clock, my coworkers took me to a tea shop (Seattle Best Tea), where we had an hour long tea tasting and lesson on Taiwanese teas. It was made of awesome - I didn't think my coworkers would care too much about tea (but dammit, it was my going away party!), but they seemed really interested, and several of them ended up buying tea by the time we left. At 3, I took off for the shuttle to my interview, partly so I could be sure to be on time, and partly so I could hit the ladies room first (hey, YOU drink tea for an hour and then hold it). I ended up being about twenty minutes early.

Finally, 3:30 comes around and M comes in and we start the whole interview thing. It felt very informal, just asking me about why I wanted to be in the legal department, how is my attention to detail, have I ever dealt with confidentiality issues, that sort of thing. 15 minutes later, it's over and I'm heading back to my office. She told me that I would hear from the hiring manager (A) "shortly" - I was less than confident that her definition of "shortly" would match mine.

When I got back, I kept working on some projects I'd been sitting on, and emailed A to let him know I'd met with M, she said I'd hear from him, here's my home email and phone number (since, y'know, I'd be gone in a couple of hours). An hour later, I got the call - I GOT THE JOB. I'll be getting my official offer on Monday, and I have to wait for a background check, so it'll be a week to a week and a half before I get to start, but I think I can deal. I don't mind taking a break from work, so long as I have a job to come to at the end. I get to be a REAL employee with, like, BENEFITS and crap.

So, that was my Friday. How are you?

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Oh, right! The internet!

I haven't exactly been present online lately. To be honest, I don't think I've really been all that present in person, either. I'm not doing so great. There's a lot of work stuff going on, most importantly that my contract ends on Friday and I don't have anything lined up. I'm in a hiring loop for a position in the legal department at Amazon, but there's been some hold ups regarding scheduling one final interview (with the general counsel for Amazon - they don't fool around in legal), so no decision can be made. For reference, I applied for this position back in May. Yes, I've contacted my temp agency, and I hope they'll have something for me soon, but I'm not sure. That's the worst part - I'm not sure what's going on.

The impending lack of job is leading to all sorts of panic regarding money and what am I doing with my life, a bunch of boring existential ranting that I won't trouble you with here. Suffice to say that I haven't been sleeping well. I'm almost looking forward to being unemployed, as it'll give me a chance to get caught up on my sleep - well, and then some, because my depression tends to go the "sleep all day, don't eat" route.

Every time I go to rant here about work stuff (training my successor, applying for a permanent position in my team and not only not getting it, but having the other temp who applied for it have a position created for him), it sounds so damned whiny. And yes, I'm well aware that 9/10th of all LJ content is whiny and/or ranty, but it's the principle of the thing.

So, yeah. I'm here, but not fully. I don't particularly want to spend time with people, either online or off. Hopefully I won't miss anything important.

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The Milky-cat is gone

As many of you know, Milky, my very first kitty ever, has been very ill for the last few months. He's been going downhill pretty quickly, and when I talked to my mother (he lives with her now) earlier today, she said that he was only getting worse. She wanted to know if I wanted to come down to see him again, and I decided that I did.

Well, Eric got a phone call while we were at Game Night - as soon as he said that it was Mom, I knew. I'm still not entirely sure what happened - she was crying really hard when she told me, so I *think* she said that she got home from work and he was worse, seizing, maybe?, and she took him to the vet and he was gone. I think. Right now, I'm not going to ask her. All I know is that he's gone.

The story of the Milky-catCollapse )

His last few months were rough, and in a way, I'm glad he went the way he did - it means that my mother was spared the pain of making that decision, which I know she would second-guess forever. Still, this is going to be hard.

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Hark! She has returned!

Made it back from NC late Sunday night (Eric made it back late Monday night). The wedding was made of awesome. For pictures, you can look here - it's the most recent stuff on Eric's photostream.

I had my in-person interview yesterday, and I think it went really well. I won't know anything for a few weeks, since it's a position for a new legal assistant for a new attorney, and they want to hire the new lawyer and assistant around the same time. We'll see what happens.

So. Tired. Back to work - while I was gone, my inbox exploded. :)

Fair warning

So, the phone interview I had went well (as seen in my previous post), and in theory I should be getting an in-person interview "soon". Considering it's been taking the recruiters quite some time to get back to me in the first place, I'll believe it when I see it.

In the meantime, I'm at work right now and have been since quarter after 7, and will be until...well, too dang late, really. I'm trying to cram as many work hours as I can in before I leave on Wednesday for Angela's wedding (EEEE!), while still being able to, y'know, sleep occasionally and all that jazz.

FFS. I had to deal with computer issues yesterday (my keyboard and mouse came unplugged, and when I went to plug them back in, the part they plug into got pushed into the computer itself) - I managed to fix that, eventually, but discovered in the process just how badly tangled all the cords under my desk are. As I was typing this, I stretched out a foot, not even thinking I was near the cords, and unplugged my computer. In plugging it back in, out came the keyboard and mouse again. I managed to get it fixed, obviously, but the hell, man. Theoretically, Deskside should be coming to fix the actual port on my computer tomorrow, but in the meantime, I need to, I don't know, not move? I straightened things out as best I can for the moment, and also discovered that no one vacuums the offices at all (ewwwwwww) and am now sneezy and itchy (and grumpy and sleepy...) from the dust. Fan-freakin-tastic. Anywho, I'm going to bandage up my fingertip, restart everything, and hope I didn't lose too much work. It doesn't look like it, thankfully - my stuff auto-saves with rather alarming frequency.

ANYWAY. The point of this post was to let folks know that I won't really be around too much for the next week or so. I leave Wednesday at too damned early, and come back on Sunday at not horrifically late. So, have good week, try not get eated. :)

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WHY IS THERE NO ONE TO SQUEE WITH??

Phone interview went well - basically, a quick "wow, you filled this questionnaire out really well, and I've heard good things about you, let's get you straight to an in-person interview!" I should be getting that scheduling notice either today or Monday, and the recruiter said that it would probably be ON Monday, so I'm dressing up.

My co-workers aren't here! There's no one to squee with! Admittedly, I just got off the phone with my mother, so there was some over-the-phone squeeing there, and email squees from Eric and his mother, but but but EEEEEE!

See, one of the good things about the "hope for the best, expect the worst" philosophy is that when things DO go well, it comes as a big, happy-making surprise. :)

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I'm on the couch, cats nearby, dancing on television.
No matter how many tears have fallen, more lurk, waiting.
My mother's tears still ring in my memory.
Only one thought runs through my mind:
I want to go home.

But I don't know where that is.

The Milky-cat appears to have the first signs of kidney failure, and possibly high blood pressure. He'll be going in for more tests on Saturday. It's a matter of maintenance, not treatment. I was doing all right until I asked my mother how she was doing, and she started to cry. Work was frustrating, and every day I don't have a permanent job lined up, I panic more. I start thinking that I made a huge mistake leaving my old job - sure, I hated it, but it paid the bills and meant I could take care of my family. I never should have left.

It's not a great time to be a Stephie right now.

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*worryfret*

Could y'all do me a favor and think healthy kitty thoughts for my kitty, Milky? He's my very first cat ever, and apparently he's not doing so well. He's about 12, almost 13 now, and he's lost quite a bit of weight and is "acting weird" according to my mother - meowing much louder and more constantly than normal, randomly hiding, things like that. He still seems to be eating (less, and eating more of Baron's wet food than his own crunchy stuff) and using the litter box just fine, but... We're taking him to the vet on Saturday to get the elderly cat check-up and blood work and all that.

Don't tell Ramses, but he's my favorite cat ever, and I'm not really ready to let him go yet.

Pictures of the Milky-catCollapse )

May. 27th, 2009

I'm realizing something about myself. The more I feel like people don't trust me, don't believe I know what I'm doing, or just feel the need to criticize everything I do, the less tolerant I am of errant dirt and clutter. I feel like I don't have a lot of control right now, but dammit, I can clean up the crap inside the microwave! I also become more interested in my cross-stitch and crochet. There are RULES, there's ORDER, it makes SENSE.

It should say something about how the day is going, then, when I spend 10 minutes cleaning out the inside of the work microwave and wiping down all the counters, and I have a burning desire to go home and work on the Egyptian Sampler I haven't touched in nearly two years. Yeah. It's been a great day.

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Psst! deleva and metal_aria!

Remember those mythical creatures stamps that I posted about awhile back? They're available now here, and yes, they ship to the US.
So, last night Eric and I kept hearing a cat crying outside. Every once in awhile we would hear what sounded like a cat's paw on a door, but we couldn't tell whose door was being pawed. (We live in an apartment complex, and our door and our neighbor's door are very close to each other.) We used to have a neighbor who would let his cats out during the day, and not always hear them when they wanted to come back in at night, so we thought that perhaps this was the case again. We couldn't bear to hear the kitty sound so upset, so we thought we'd try to find him or her and let the owner know to let the cat in (like we had with the old neighbor).

Imagine our surprise when we open our door and in streaked the cat! She was gray and silver, and my first thought was actually that it was a possum, not a cat. She came running in and immediately made it quite clear that she DID NOT like other cats. Feina hid, as she's a big wimp. Ramses, on the other hand, was merely curious, and kept trying to sniff out the interloper. She was having none of that, and started hissing and growling at him, which confused the heck out of him. He didn't so much hide as make a strategic retreat.

We realized that we couldn't really keep this cat in our apartment, but we weren't really sure what to do - it was about 10:30 at night, and I wasn't really all that keen on calling Animal Control or anything like that, since she was obviously someone's pet (long-haired cat, well groomed, but no collar - grr!). We tried some of the neighbors, but they said they didn't have a cat, and she wasn't theirs. We finally convinced her to leave the apartment and get down off our stoop, but it took some convincing.

This morning, we opened the door very cautiously and there she was again! We managed to keep her from coming back in, but she didn't look like she was planning to leave anytime soon. I feel so bad about making her stay outside like that, but we really can't take her in. I'm just hoping that she finds her way home soon.

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Seattle Dining

The attendance poll is up! Just a reminder, the meeting point is at the Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood - specifically, at the fountain outside of Borders (between Borders and P.F. Changs).

Hope to see y'all there!

Pretties!

Hey, deleva!




From Neil Gaiman's blog, a set of stamps of Dave McKean's mythical creatures. Lookit the dragon!

A request

Can y'all do me a favor? Give me some good news.

Pictures of adorable children, puppies, kittens, whatever. You remembered where you parked, your boss gave you a compliment, you've got a good lead on a job, something. Anything. You saw flowers blooming, the weather matches what you prefer (be that sunny, rainy, or something else entirely), your lunch was good. I just...I need to remember that it hasn't all gone to crap. That while the bad may seem to outweigh the good right now, it will swing back around. Hell, even tell me I'm being melodramatic, stupid, and oversensitive about everything, especially since I'm one of the lucky ones right now. Just...help?

The muses have come out again

Why is it that the muses always come out when it's least convenient? This time, it was in the shower. Long story short, I'm going to do Script Frenzy this year, or at least, I'm going to try. Eric had been asking me for some flash fiction or drabbles for an RPG he's working on, and I realized how easy it would be to turn some of that into a stage play. I'll probably be writing a bit of flash fiction and such until April 1st, as I can't actually start working on the script until, and if all goes well, then I'll keep the flash up until November and NaNoWriMo. I'm realizing just how many possibilities there are in this world Eric's creating, and I want to play in it for awhile.

If any of y'all are interested in my (admittedly not great) scribblings, they can be found in setauuta_muse. I keep all of that locked, so let me know and I'll friend you so you can see.

Associations Meme

Association Meme: Comment to this post and I will give you 5 subjects/things I associate you with. Then post this in your LJ and elaborate on the subjects given. (Associations from apestyle and princessgeek)

From apestyle - Cats, knitting, panic attacks, Spanish, actingCollapse )

From princessgeek - Hair, musicals, cats, Eric, OregonCollapse )

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Recipe testing

Early last month, lifeflowson on cooking asked for some recipe testers for her cookbook. I jumped at the chance, and with her permission, put up a few pictures of the first meal - Olive Oil and Garlic Steak with Bacon Stuffing. Here's the finished plate:



More pictures on my blog here.

State of Steph report

So, I'm home feeling like crap, as you do. There's some kind of super-bug going around my office, which took my manager out earlier this week. i ended up leaving work early yesterday, when I realized I'd been staring at my computer screen for about 20 minutes without comprehending a thing I saw. My manager told me I looked pretty bad, and I should go home.

I'm still a temp for the moment, though I did talk to my manager earlier this week about the possibility of turning my position into a full-time "real" postion with the company. The position didn't even exist a little over a year ago, and has only been worked by temps. I can't get a definitive answer right now, as we are in the midst of the Screwiest Weeks Ever, but maybe once things settle down. My contract isn't up until the end of June at the earliest, so there's still time.

Incidentally, after Monster.com got hacked a few weeks ago, I went in and changed my password, and decided to clean up/update my resume while I was there. Since then, I've been contacted by four different employment agencies. One of them had a specific job opening in mind for me - contract to hire at AT&T, doing something very similar to what I'm doing at Amazon now, paying $metric_crapload more than I'm making now. I sent in my resume, and am waiting to hear if I get an interview. If I had my druthers, I'd stay here full-time, but the important thing at this point is to get a stable, permanent position.

In other news, there isn't much going on. The apartment is still looking pretty good - Feina's injury definitely shook us both up, and we're fighting hard to make sure things never get that bad again. I rearranged the living room last weekend, and it only confused the cats a little bit. NorWesCon approches, which means I'm going to be getting my geek on soon. We have our hotel room for GenCon booked, meaning yay! More geek! Other than that...yeah, not much going on.

Why is it that, when not feeling well, napping on the couch is more appealing than going back to bed? Admittedly, in our case the bedroom has an eastern exposure, meaning it's too damned bright in there right now. Anyway, to sleep with me. Here's hoping that'll be enough to kick this out of my system.

seattledining reminder

Just a reminder - this Tuesday, March 3rd, is the next meeting of the seattledining group. The meeting place is in the Southcenter Mall in Tukwila - go to the Food Court and find the escalator up to the movie theater, and we'll be meeting near the base of that escalator. We plan to meet up at 6pm.

If you wish to join us, please visit this post and fill out the poll, or comment on this entry. Don't forget to bring the name of a restaurant in the area to throw in the hat.

Hope to see you there!

Snagged from deleva

Ask me to take a picture of any aspect of my life that you're interested in - it can be anything from the house I live in to my favorite shoes. Leave your choice here as a comment, and I will reciprocate by taking the pictures and posting them as an LJ entry. That way you get to know a little bit about my life, if you're remotely interested in it.

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Feb. 15th, 2009

My dear friends James and Dawn got married today, and they asked me to make something to go in front of their cake at the reception. They are super-geeks, and they wanted me to use a line they couldn't quite fit into their vows.

Haberdashery and geekdom combine!Collapse )

I'm not hugely happy with how the meeple turned out, but the bride and groom seemed to be happy with it.

(x-posted to cross_stitch)

Feb. 13th, 2009

My father, as many of you know, served in the US Air Force for his entire adult life. He joined when he was 18, and he died two months before his retirement was due to start. He was in military security for the bulk of his career, and toward the end moved over to the courier service. Because of these two jobs, he had to travel quite a bit. He would go TDY (basically, a longer-term temporary duty) several times while I was growing up - twice for a year at a stretch, but usually for anywhere between two and six months. This was back before email, before internet in the home was common, and before cell phones and cheap long distance.

My mother, my brother, and I would write letters to my father frequently - two or three times a month, at the very least. We also would record messages to him on cassette (remember those?) and send those with our letters in a carefully padded envelope. He made sure to write back to us, usually writing a little every day for a couple of weeks and then sending it. He didn't send cassettes, but he would try to take photos, and he always described what the country he was staying in was like. He picked up what he called the "important parts" of several different languages - basically, enough to swear in traffic and say that he was US military.

When he came back, he was always sure to bring a few things he'd found as souvenirs - I still have a few of them, though some got lost along the way, with the moves between bases and everything that goes with them. He also would bring back mementos for himself, usually in the form of currency. He would keep at least one or two bills of whatever currency was used in the country he had been to. He kept these bills, his "funny money," in a small, zip-locked bag - the kind you see used as pencil cases in Trapper Keepers. (Wow, I'm really dating myself with this entry, aren't I?)

Ten years ago, my father died of a heart attack. It took several days, but my mother, my brother, and I managed to go into his bedroom and start going through his things. There's a lot you can discover about someone when you go through their personal affects - my mother, for instance, had the dubious pleasure of finding my father's porn collection. She then proceeded to show it to me, which was something I could have lived without. But I digress.

Among the things close to his chair (he had a big Lazy Boy recliner, and he practically lived in that thing - the chair is at my mother's place now, and we still refer to it as Dad's chair) were the detritus of a life in steady progress. He had a few books he was reading, a few work papers. His stereo was right next to his chair, with his favorite CDs within easy reach - Sousa, Wagner, Charley Pride, Lee Greenwood. He also had a few things that obviously meant a lot to him, tucked away but kept nearby - we found a stash of the letters we'd sent, along with the cassettes we'd made (and dear God, did I have a squeaky, lisping voice as a kid!), and his envelope of funny money.

We went through what we found, commenting and laughing (how the hell did Dad get a foot-long hunting knife through customs? A HOOKAH? Seriously?), and deciding if we wanted any of the things there. There were several things my brother wanted, but there was really only one that held any meaning for me - the funny money. I'm still not entirely sure why. I just know that I had liked going through the different bills with him when I was a child, as he explained what each one was and showed me on a map where each country was. There's also a small piece of paper (torn from one of his ubiquitous notebooks) that lists how much of each currency he had. It's nice to have something with his handwriting on it - his handwriting is rather distressingly similar to my brother's, now that I think of it.

The envelope moved with me to college, and later to Everett. I've always known where it is, even if it wasn't anywhere close at hand, because it was important. The most recent resting place was inside a box of legal-sized envelopes. The box had fallen on the floor under a standing jewelry box in the hallway, as our place was, as I've mentioned before, a complete sty.

Eric and I have several absolutely amazing friends. (I'd say most, if not all, of you reading this fall into that category.) Three of them came over on Wednesday to help us prepare for the apartment inspection. They are hard-working, wonderful people who, in spite of their amazing compassion and generosity, somehow lack the ability to read my mind. (Shocking, I know.) A lot of trash got throw out of the apartment on Wednesday, as a lot of junk got purged. In the process, the box of legal envelopes made its way into the trash, as well.

This morning, I realized the envelope of funny money was gone. I panicked. This was something that I planned to hand down to my child someday, while telling him or her all about his/her grandfather's Adventures in Foreign Lands. We searched the apartment, called the friends who helped us clean to see if they remembered anything - and it appeared lost.

On the way out the door this morning, as I was nearing hysterical tears, I looked at the dumpster where the trash had ended up. It hadn't been emptied yet. "The trash is still there," I told Eric. "I'm going to find that envelope."

"It'll be near the bottom, probably," he told me.

"I don't care. I have to find it."

We got home from work, and lo, the dumpster was still full. We did one more search around the apartment, made one more round of calls, and then - then, my friends, my husband showed me the most impressive act of love and devotion I have ever seen or heard of.

He climbed into the dumpster.

We were pulling out bags, going through the ones we knew were ours and re-bagging them after tearing them apart, and then he climbed into the dumpster. This thing was quite full - evidently, we weren't the only ones frantically cleaning before the inspection, and there was at least one very dead Christmas tree in there.

He got down to nearly the bottom of the dumpster, handing me bags to go through or to get out of his way - and suddenly, there it was. The box of legal envelopes, with the envelope of funny money still tucked inside. I made sure it was there, and still intact, and nearly started crying. There was a box of important papers that we thought had also gotten throw away by accident, and we had been keeping an eye out for it, as well, but after finding the envelope, we decided to hell with it - the envelope was the only irreplaceable thing. Eric carefully climbed back out of the dumpster, we put the trash back where it belonged, and got inside to clean up.

I feel horribly that the whole thing happened, and I take full responsibility for it - if I had taken better care of the envelope, it wouldn't have been in a position to be thrown out. I am well aware that the problems with the apartment are my fault, and I am striving to make sure it never gets to that point again. I can't thank my friends enough for helping us. And, well, let's face it - my husband wins. I mean, how many people do you know are willing to climb into a full dumpster to help you find something small that was lost through your own negligence?

And now, to sleep. Good night, all.

Stressful day is full of stress!

Ever had one of those days where, at the end of it, when you start to relax, you realize just how tense your body has been all day due to the stress of the day? It's been one of those days.

Right before we go to leave this morning, Eric notices that Feina is limping. She's not really liking us to touch her back paw. Well, I have the more flexible work schedule, so I drop Eric off and take Feina to a vet we found online, figuring I'd take her in, get whatever meds or whathaveyou they gave her, drop her at home, and go in to work late. The clinic was walk-in only, so we didn't have to worry about making an appointment. I say that I took her to the vet so casually, but it involved a twenty-minute chase around the apartment as she proved that, even with a gimpy leg, she is freakishly fast and limber when she wants to get away.

We get to the vet, and about an hour later we are taken back. I had to disassemble the crate to get her out of it, and had to help the vet tech wrap her in one of Eric's sweatshirts (that I'd thrown in the crate to help her calm down) so she could take Feina back to be weighed. Taking her out of the crate was when we noticed that she was bleeding. The vet herself comes back about ten minutes later, gives her a full check-up, and then looks at her leg.

You know that little fleshy bump on the back of a cat's back leg, above their paw and below their knee? Yeah, that bump was cut open. When I saw it, I couldn't believe that the Fuzz was being so calm, considering. The vet said that it looked like whatever had cut her had gotten the muscle a little bit, too, and possibly a tendon. She put her on the ground so she could see her move, to see if she was putting any weight at all on the paw. Feina immediately ran under the chair, of course, but she was still putting weight on the paw, which was good. The vet said that she wanted to stitch her up, because it was so deep, and she didn't want to risk it getting infected or the cut getting worse. I, of course, told her to do what she needed to do - when it comes to the cats, I'm not going to go the cheap route regarding their health. She left to get an estimate, and then again for the waivers and all that fun stuff. Feina, meanwhile was trying to hide as much of herself as she could, and managed to get under a little chest of drawers in the room right before the surgical tech came in to take her back. We had to move the furniture, and she, of course, wiggled her way out of my arms and went under a chair instead, but eventually the tech got her taken back. I called Eric, and that's when I broke down a little bit - she just seemed so scared.

I had to wait around for awhile, and I realized that there really wasn't any point in going into work - by the time I made it to the office, I'd have to turn around and pick her up. I ended up killing time at the mall (the vet clinic shares a parking lot with the Alderwood Mall), and talking to my mother and Eric on the phone some more.

I picked her up, as she did just fine with the surgery, and went to pick up Eric. I got stuck on the wrong side of the right exit, and so had a nice little "I'm lost!" panic attack, before I finally made it to Eric's office. He spent the ride home with Feina's carrier in his lap, talking to her and stroking her through the cage door. She was happy to have him.

We made it home, and there was a note on the door. The apartment complex is inspecting the apartment on Thursday. This is the straw that broke the camel's back. Why? Well, to be completely blunt, Eric and I are lazy slobs. Anyone who's come to our apartment knows that it is a wreck, a complete sty. It's no wonder Feina hurt herself on something, really. So the fact that people are going to be inspecting the place? Yeah, complete panic breakdown. Eric managed to get me fairly calmed down, and we did a good chunk of work tonight (there's carpet in the living room again! Who knew?), and Gahan and Sammy are helping us tomorrow during the day/after work. I'm also going to be calling the apartment manager tomorrow and letting them know that we have an injured cat here, and it would be best not to have strangers roaming around while we're not there, and can we please reschedule for two weeks from now (when her stitches should be dissolved)? Here's hoping.

On that note, I'm going to try to get some sleep, and not think about the fact that calling out today may be one of the final nails in the coffin of my chances of getting hired as a full-time employee. Who knows - the way the guy at my temp agency sounded when I called him (as I'm supposed to), I may not be continuing with them, either, once my contract is up. Wouldn't that be special?

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Lack of substance

I know I haven't really posted anything of substance for, well, awhile. It seems that everytime I start to post something, I second-guess myself. "Who's really going to care," I think, "that the headaches are coming back? Who will care that I had a job interview cancelled because the position was filled? Who cares that the apartment is still a sty, and the panic attacks are getting bad again?"

There are some fantastic people on my friends' list, people who have my journal on their lists. There are people who save lives, teach children, create art, and at the very least write much better than I do. I...well, I...ah, well, I...

Yeah. There isn't much that I do. I'm not a particularly good writer, and when it comes to myself, and my life? Well...even if I can think of anything to write, I have a hard time believing anyone will care.

So, I suppose that this is my apology for a lack of substance. If nothing else, I know that I'll be posting at least once a month to seattledining and most likely cross-posting to my Blogspot blog, Cooking, cross-stitch, and commuting. I'll still be reading my friends' list, though - it's nice to see how people with some kind of purpose do it.

Your daily dose of me

  • 14:56 @superdaisy: Quiero practicar mi español, pero tengo que trabajar mucho. ¿Tal vez más tarde? #
  • 06:38 Feel like I've been hit by a bus. Staying home today - probably not the wisest idea work-wise, but necessary health-wise. #
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Your daily dose of me

  • 22:07 The inaugural meeting of the Seattle Dining group went well. See setauuta.blogspot.com/ for recap and pictures. #
  • 09:25 Due to an early birthdaversary present from my husband, I have satellite radio with signal! I can pause! I can record! Squee! #
  • 10:31 Any good thoughts y'all have, send my boss's way - his very pregnant wife is in the hospital, the baby's having some heart issues. #
  • 10:31 They will most likely be doing a C-section later today. #
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Sure, why not?

As seen on several people's journals of late.

The first ten people to respond to this post will get something made by me! My choice. For you.

This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:
# I make no guarantees that you will like what I make!
# What I create will be just for you.
# It'll be done this year. (Might be a bit.)
# You have no clue what it's going to be. It may be a story. It may be something crocheted or cross-stitched. I may bake you something and mail it to you. Who knows? Not you, that's for sure!
# I reserve the right to do something extremely strange.

The catch? Oh, the catch is that you have to repost! (The standard post is actually for the first five people, but since I've commented on more than one person's post, I felt like I should bump up the number for myself. Yeah, I'm odd, but y'all knew that, right?)

Oh, and I'll probably have to ask for mailing addresses, as there are only a few of y'all that I've met in real life and/or know where you live. Odd, that.

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You know you're married...

When the sweetest thing your husband can do for you is not surprise you with flowers (though that is very sweet and lovely). It's not taking you out for a romantic dinner date.

No, it's when he scrubs out the bath tub. When he hadn't been asked to do so. When, in fact, you'd mentioned the night before that you would probably try to scrub it out in the morning.

Yeah. My husband FTW. :)

Attention Washington-area WWE fans!

We have two tickets to WWE's No Way Out at the Key Arena on February 15th, and we cannot use them due to unexpectedly-scheduled weddingness (not ours, obviously). Details can be found here.

Let us know either here or at the entry linked above if you're interested.

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1AM and still awake

I haven't been sleeping for crap for the last few...days? Weeks, more like it. Well, not without a sleep aid or three, and that's not really a road I want to go down again. You'd think that I would be able to fall asleep a bit more easily when I'm this tired, but no. At least I don't have to get up in 5 hours - I'm going in to work for a bit, but not until 9.

I have to admit, one of the entertaining things that happens when I'm tired but not sleepy is the random near-dreams I have. Tonight, President Obama came to GenCon and I taught him Dungeon Twister. He then proceeded to stomp the hell out of me, probably at least in part due to the fact that part of me was jumping up and down and squealing "I'm playing DT with the President OMGWTFBBQ!!1!". It was very odd.

Cut for stupidityCollapse )
Ugh. This is what happens when it's 1:30 in the morning and I'm still awake and getting maudlin and stupid. I'm going to try that whole "sleep" thing again. Wish me luck.

Life outside of LJ? Shocking!

So, I know there's been a bit of concern about the future of LiveJournal, and I realized after seeing a few of my friends do this that it might be a good idea. So, here be my presences (boy, does that word look wrong) elsewhere on the internet.

Safe bet, though - if you see setauuta online somewhere, chances are it's me. :)

Twitter
Facebook
Blogspot (which will probably be my main presence if LJ dies, but doesn't get updated often now)
BoardGameGeek (I'm working on being more active here)
GoodReads
Ravelry

...and really, I'm on way too many websites. :)

And so begins the year

But first, kitty pictures! Eric got some new toys for the camera. :)

Cut because they're kinda bigCollapse )

In other news...New Year's went the way it normally does - dinner at Black Angus (SO glad we made a reservation this year, 'cause DANG), followed by Game (All) Night at Phoenix. I played all of one game the whole night (Mah-Jongg, so it was a long game). I ended up going home around 5:30, and had just dozed off when Eric called to be picked up. Figures. :) New Year's Day was mellow and sleepy, and then work on Friday was SLOW. I was all alone again, and honestly, with it being as slow as it was, I'm concerned that it may be decided that they don't need two of us in here, and won't hire me on when my contract is up. I've applied for my position (it's up in the internal site), so we'll see what comes of that. Either way, I still have at least until the end of the month (or the end of March - it's a 4-6 month contract). We shall see.

Not much else going on in the Life of Stephie. Really hoping we won't have to deal with Snowpocalypse 2: Revenge of the Snowpocalypse anytime soon, because I would really like to have a couple of normal work weeks. Woo, excitement. :)

And another year comes to an end...

Time to start planning for the new year. But first, that "first line of the first post of the month" meme.

Goodness, I'm boringCollapse )

As for next year?
Goals, which I'm sure interest no one but meCollapse )

I'm putting a lot of pressure on 2009, I realize. I guess it just seems like I didn't really do much in 2008, and I've got some ground to make up. I know it's not a race, but I can't help but feel horribly behind. It just seems like I should be more of an adult than I am by now, and I'm hoping to change that.

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Christmas time is here...

Survived "actual" Christmas (which is Christmas 2 of 3 this year). It was actually quite nice - it was the first time Eric and I had a Christmas alone, as we did Christmas 1 with my mother a couple of weeks ago, and Christmas 3 will be happening tomorrow with Eric's family. We couldn't really get out yesterday, so we were forced to spend all day together in the apartment. Oh noes! Whatever shall we do? :)

Christmas Eve, we didn't go into work - trying to get out of our driveway wasn't happening until late afternoon. (Completely random sidenote: I'm listening to On Broadway on my satellite radio, and they've just started playing a song called "The Calling" from Altar Boyz. The chorus? "Jesus called me on my cellphone." It's a show about a Christian boy band. I highly recommend it. /sidenote) In the afternoon, we went out to get the veggies needed for 10-bean soup, and spent some time at Brian's playing Neuroshima Hex and Ninja versus Ninja, both of which are much fun. (Plus, NINJA! How can you go wrong?)

Christmas Day was soup and bread-making, laundry-doing, and watching Eric play Call of Duty: World at War (one of his gifts from me) on the 360 while I sewed and watched a little NCIS on my laptop. The soup turned out well, the bread was nummy (sourdough just goes so well with a good, hearty soup), and the day ended pretty early as we were both exhausted.

Today? I'm at work (and working hard, as you can see :)), and Eric's running the game store. So, if any of y'all are in the Lynnwood/Mukilteo area, and feel up for playing some board games, check out Phoenix Games on the Mukilteo Speedway - the guy with the glasses and goatee behind the counter will be more than happy to play a game with you. :) After work, I'll be heading down there, as our usual Game Night has been moved to tonight (it's normally Wednesday). Come! Play! Pick up a game or three!

Oh, and in case any of you were curious you can see the finished cross-stitches I did this year here.

Today by the numbers (so far)

Hours of sleep last night: 5 1/2ish
Jackknifed buses seen on the way in: 3 (all within 3 blocks of my office)
People normally in my department: 3
People in that department here today: 1 (no prizes for guessing who)
Vendors that need a righteous smack-down: 2 (but it's still early)
Cups of tea had: 1 (again, it's still early, and cup #2 is brewing)
Vicodin taken: 1/2 (mmm, Headache of Doom!)
Time I started work this morning: 7am
Time I'll finish tonight: Anybody's guess
Times I've wished I could work from home: Too many to count

It's gonna be a day.

PS - if you're trying to get to the Washington State DOT website and it's down, try here instead: they have a Twitter

Sick day

I woke up this morning with a bad case of the woozies, so I stayed home from work and spent most of the day in bed sewing and watching NCIS on DVD. The kitties decided that the best place to be was snuggled up with me.

Feina at my feet


Ramses against my side


The woozies appear to be a side effect of the Amazonian death cold (my boss has been fighting it for awhile). I'm doing better now, and will hopefully be able to make it into work tomorrow. This is, of course, provided Snowpocalypse 2008 doesn't shut us down. We've seen some ice, but it'll depend on how much comes down tonight. I keep forgetting that western Washington doesn't deal well with anything other than the Washington Drool when it comes to weather.

There's not much else going on right now - just trying to get a Christmas present for my mother-in-law finished before Saturday, as we're doing the gift exchange with that family then. We may be having Christmas dinner on Christmas with them, but that's still up in the air (I think). Sadly, because of the woozies, Date Night will be very boring this week. Le sigh.

The first Christmas of the year

We spent this past weekend in Portland, visiting my mom and having our first Christmas of the year. Eric and I have a minimum of two Christmases, usually three - one with my mom, one with his family, and one that's just us. Which family gets "real" Christmas (as in, December 25th) alternates every year, and this year belongs to Eric's family. Thus, Christmas with my mom happened disgustingly early.

I'm discovering that my mother is full of contradictions. She told me several times over the weekend that it looks like I'm losing weight, and then proceeded to load me up with candy, cookies, and brownies. Helpful, Ma. Eric and I have split the candy in half and brought it in to our respective workplaces, so hopefully it'll get eaten soon. The cookies, though, those are mine. Bwahahaha.

As per usual, Mom and Eric both spent too much money. Well, Eric, and Ramses and Feina, as they use him as his agent of Christmas gift-giving. :) Seriously, we need to discuss Ramses' allowance or something - he should NOT be able to afford to get me a 250G external hard drive. Also, squee! It means I actually have some place to stash my distressingly large mp3 collection (well, it's distressingly large to me - I'm sure it's next to nothing for some of you fine folk). Next thing is to save up for a new and bigger iPod, as the current StephiePod display is starting to go, and it's pretty well full. Something to look forward to. Mom seemed to appreciate her gifts, especially the patriotic kitty cross-stitch - I'll post pictures of all the cross-stitched presents once I finish them all, just to keep them all together.

We went to see Bolt yesterday, as well. It was very cute, and had flashes of Pixar brilliance, but Disney by itself is not quite on the same level. Regardless, there are bits that had me giggling for quite some time afterwards. All in all, it was a nice weekend. Very strange at times, as we ended up getting turned around at one point and wound up driving past my old dorms, which did nothing so much as remind me in a flood of all kinds of crap (both good and bad) from those four years at Reed. While I enjoyed college, I think it's a little painful for me to be near the center of all those memories - it doesn't do much but remind me of not necessarily better times, but times when there were many, MANY more possibilities than there are now. Something to ponder.

In other news...well, there isn't any, really. What can I say? I'm boring. :) Now, back to work with me.

Ugh

So, Eric and I live in an apartment, in a complex filled with little four-apartment buildings. We're on the top floor of ours, so we have neighbors directly below us and to the side (and the ones to the side have people directly below them). The neighbors downstairs (both apartments) have rotated through a few times - I think we're on family #3 in the one directly below us, and #2 on the ones next to them.

We didn't get to sleep until way too late last night (long-ass conversation that was probably a long time in coming, but seriously, can we have one of these conversations when it's NOT 11pm already?), and I had just barely drifted off when...*BOOM* *car alarm*

We're still not entirely sure what the hell happened. The boom sounded more like something exploding than like, say, gunshots or anything like that. We didn't hear any breaking glass, there was no smoke that we could see or smell, and someone turned off the car alarm right away (it was that neighbor's car going off - ours was right next to it, and did nothing, and neither car looked damaged in any way). Woke us up good, though, and both the cats were not happy. Well, Ramses was curious and spent most of the night in the window, but Feina was Not Happy and took some time before she allowed herself to be calmed down.

The result of this, however, is a sleep-deprived Stephie. Now, if this had been about 6 or 7 years ago, it would have meant a big bottle of Coke and some chocolate, and I'd have shaken it off (mostly). Now? Sleep deprivation is a huge Headache of Doom trigger, and I can't seem to handle colas or most caffeinated sodas anymore. I made it in to work, though, and by gum I'm staying. Some green tea and half a Vicodin seem to be helping with the Headache, and some good chairdancing music seems to be helping with the residual ucky affects of both sleep deprivation and the Vicodin. Speaking of which...those of you who work in office-type settings or someplace where you can listen to music while you work - do you chairdance? What do you listen to when you need to wake up and focus a bit more?

Back to work with me. Dinner with Dawn tonight (trying out a new Thai place by home), and then probably home and more cross-stitch. I've managed to finish and frame Mom's piece, and Eric's dad's piece is finished (but needs framing). To finish is Eric's mom's piece and nephew Ryan's piece, then framing everything. Woo!

Mmm, turkey

Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. We spent most of today (well, this morning and afternoon) with Eric's parents, his two brothers, sister-in-law, and two nephews - meaning we finally got to meet Ryan, our newest nephew. He's an extremely mellow 4-month-old, and his big brother continues to be a very sweet kid (he'll be three in January).

We spend every Thanksgiving with Eric's folks, because Mom's not really into the whole big-turkey-dinner thing. Ever since Daddy died, I think she's been relieved not to have to deal with the whole thing. She's come up to Eric's folks' place once for Thanksgiving, and that was the year he and I were engaged. She said she wanted to meet them at least once before the wedding, which makes sense. Ever since then, Eric's mom has really wanted my mom to come back up, spend the holidays with them, stuff like that. Mom has found ways of refusing every year - to her holidays are about spending time with her own family, not being awkward and uncomfortable around someone else's. Plus, as she's fond of reminding me, SHE didn't marry them - that's all me. :)

The big dinner tonight was from Safeway, again - my sister-in-law has been going through some problems with OCD since the newest nephew was born, and Eric's mom wanted to give her a "sanitized" meal - I guess she figured my sister-in-law would be happier with a meal from a box from a store than one cooked at home (though the food still had to be heated in the oven at home, but still). I honestly didn't see anything strange in her behavior, so either she's good at hiding it, or her therapy sessions are starting to help (or a little of both). In the end, a good time was had by all.

We left early (around 4 or so, I think) because we both have to work tomorrow. Since then, we've been vegging in front of the big glowy box (and the two smaller glowy boxes, as we've both been surfing the web at the same time). The next step, of course, is worrying about Christmas - we're heading Portland-wards for Christmas with my mom the weekend of the 6th, which should be fun. It does mean getting her gifts together on much shorter notice than usual, which could be problematic with regards to the cross-stitch I'm working on for her. We'll see. After than, Christmas with Eric's family (which could end up being the Saturday before Christmas, depending on how schedules work out - Eric and I both have to work Christmas Eve, and I have to work the day after Christmas). Money's tight this year, just like everyone else, and it doesn't help that I took a rather significant pay cut when I switched jobs. I suspect that our Christmas, like everyone else's, will be smaller than years past. We'll make it work, though - we always do.

There are many things to be thankful for this year, not the least of which being the community of friends and semi-perfect strangers whose identities I only know through the power of the internet. Thank you all.

Writer's Block: The Wrath of Ohrwurm

German has a word for everything, like ohrwurm. Translated literally as "earworm" in English, it's the word for songs that get stuck in your head and won't go away. What earworm of a song do you most dread burrowing into your head?


Well, anybody who knows me knows that I am super-susceptible to earworms. gamethyme likes to exploit this, particularly with regards to that stupid Toys R Us jingle or the Oscar Meyer jingles. Those are probably the worst, but just about anything will get a song running through my head until either I can remember the entire song (or the entire SHOW if it's a show tune - curse of being a musical theater geek) or I blast it out of my head. I've found that the Winnie-the-Pooh song and singing Amazing Grace to the tune of the theme song from Gilligan's Island work best for getting things out. :)
So, an interesting conversation with Eric last night made me realize just how many gaps I have in my knowledge of fantasy and sci-fi literature. I didn't really start reading fantasy or sci-fi until...college, maybe? And even then, there are the classics that I've just...never gotten to. That's not to say that I don't know the basics - I know where my towel is, and how to get to Narnia, but that's more through osmosis of trivia than necessarily through reading the books myself.

So I ask you, friends of the internet - what do you think are the core, must-read books in fantasy and/or sci-fi? Assume I've read nothing - I am a blank slate. :)

Question of the random unit of time!

(cross-posted to thequestionclub
To those of you accustomed to sharing a bed (in the sleeping sense, not necessarily in the "fun" sense):

What do you do if you can't fall asleep, and your bed-mate is drifting off/already asleep? Do you stay in the room with them, or go to another room so you don't keep them awake?

Can you sleep well/at all when you aren't sharing a bed with your usual bed-mate?

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