Friday, February 27, 2015

Rest in Peace Mr. Spock

When I was a teenager, I got very interested in Star Trek. It was when Star Trek: The Next Generation was on the air. I started with TNG but my love of Star Trek got me into exploring the original series. I quickly fell in love with that.

While McCoy is my all time favorite Star Trek character, Leonard Nimoy's Spock was always really fun to watch. I loved seeing him in the movies, especially in the first Star Trek reboot. The scene with him and Zachary Quinto is just awesome.

Today I was just working and surfing on Facebook when my feed exploded with the news that Leonard Nimoy had passed away. I knew had been sick and in the hospital, but it felt like a punch to the gut. I'm sure many other Star Trek fans are feeling the same way.

I'm feeling very sad, but also feeling lucky to have enjoyed his work for all these years. I'm also feeling extremely lucky that I got to meet him a few years ago at Dragon Con. His line was very long so he didn't have a lot of time to give each person but he was very nice and kind to Todd and I. It was a great experience. 

Like I did when Gene Roddenberry  passed away, I will be spending my afternoon watching Star Trek movies. I'll probably start with The Wrath of Khan and then the Search for Spock while I try not to cry too much. 


Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Date Night!

When you are married with a child, alone time can be a rarity. Luckily, Todd and I have fun with Emily in tow quite often, but we do like our occasional date nights.

This past Saturday we went down to GA to visit my aunt and uncle. We missed the holidays with me being so sick so we went down mostly to see family. We spent several hours - my cousin, Casey, and his wife, Serella, brought their kids over. Emily played with them happily - their oldest is only six months younger than Emily.

Seeing family was great, but my aunt and uncle offered to watch Emily so we could go to a movie. Todd and I left a little early so we could also go to dinner. The movie theater we picked was party of a huge mall and we misjudged the time so we had plenty of time.

The mall was great! We just had supper in the food court and then did some looking around / shopping. I may have squealed out loud when I saw they had a Disney store. They also had a Lego store and a cool Japanese store that had a lot of anime stuff.

I only bought something at the Disney Store though. I got Emily new pj's because they were having a sale. Todd also found a great Nightmare Before Christmas hoodie for me and a Sofia the First stuffed griffin for Emily in the clearance section. It was a great deal!

We took our stuff back to the car and went to the theater. We saw Kingsman which was excellent and we saw it in this fancy theater that had reclining chairs. It was an interesting experience. The chairs were very comfy and it was almost iMax like with the sound quality. The screen seemed bigger too.

It was really nice to get some one on one time with Todd outside of the house. Hopefully we'll be able to do it again soon!

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Ashless Ash Wednesday

Today is Ash Wednesday which marks the start of Lent. Usually my church has two services tonight, and usually Emily and I go. My church does the ashes on the forehead as a reminder that we come from ashes and to ashes we will return.

But with the nasty weather we've been getting and the chance for more snow today, my church decided yesterday to cancel the services tonight. I had been on the fence on trying to go, so I'm glad my decision was made for me.

Emily is a little sad - she loves getting the ashes on her forehead. I'm a little sad too, it's one of my favorite services of the year. It's really a powerful reminder of our mortality to start off Lent. But it's better than trying to drive on roads that may be icy.

Instead, we'll read stories in Emily's Bible and pretend we give each other ashes. All while we stay warm and safe in our house.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Snow, Ice and Near Death

We got a massive ice storm here yesterday. Lots and lots of accidents shown on the news station's Facebook page. Todd was at work last night, though he knows how to drive on slick roads. Even with it only being a mile away in an SUV with brand new tires, it took him a half hour to get home.

All of this took me back to a time when I was a complete dumb ass about snow and ice, and nearly got myself killed.

Todd and I were living in Bay City, Michigan at the time. It was a Sunday and I had spent the day in Mount Pleasant watching the Daytona 500 with a friend. Todd had called me and told me that the snow was starting and I should get going. But I dawdled and left much later than I should have.

At the time, I was driving my VW New Bug. I had bought the car in the springtime and didn't take into account that it was super low to the ground and therefore not ideal for traveling in the snow.

I took it slow and the trip from Mount Pleasant, which normally only takes about an hour, took forever. Even going slow, I was sliding a lot. I was on the highway and just at my exit when I slid into a snowbank just off the road.

I started doing the go forward, go backward thing to unstick myself. I had been doing this for a few minutes when I looked in my rear view mirror. There was a semi bearing down on me, and I knew the driver wasn't in total control of his rig.

Just at that moment, I got unstuck and I gunned it a little to get out of the semi's path. I knew in my heart that if he had hit me, I would have been dead. The rest of the drive home, I sobbed my eyes out. I have never been so scared in my life.

Todd comforted me when I got home, but in typical Todd fashion he also told me that I should have listened to him. I agreed - I had been totally dumb for not listening to him and leaving sooner before the roads got so bad.

Since moving to NC nearly 10 years, I haven't had much chance to drive on icy roads. We don't get a lot of snow and when we do, things shut down. I usually just stay inside, especially since I started working from home.

Today I'm glad to be inside and not on the icy roads. I wouldn't want to have a repeat of that scary night all those years ago.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

In the Days Before Internet

We liked books in the olden days
I work in tech support so I hear all day long how awful it is to be without internet. I know that we live in a world now that we are so dependent on the internet that when it goes down, it's a crisis.

Personally, I love the internet but I'm old enough to remember a time without it. I was born in the late 70's and didn't get online until I was in college. A friend on Facebook posted a link today - 20 Questions I Have For People Who Were In Their 20s Before Cell Phones & Internet. I thought I'd try to answer the questions as I remember to the olden days of the 1980's.

1. How did you make plans? My non-internet days were mostly high school and college. So you'd make plans either at school or via the phone. Not hard but could be more time consuming than now when trying to have to work with your friends' parents' schedules too.

2. How did you CANCEL plans? Again - there was a wonderful thing called a phone. And answering machines!

3. How did you know who was calling you before you picked up the phone? You didn't. It was phone roulette. It could be your mom or a bill collector, and you wouldn't know. Now by the time I got into college in the 90's there was caller ID. Growing up in the 80's though, you just answered the phone. Didn't think about who might be on the other end.

4. How did you rid of the fear that is calling people? Personally - I didn't. I don't like the phone and I don't like calling people. I made the minimum amount of calls a person could make growing up and was extremely happy when texting and email became a thing you could use.

5. How did you find out information about people before you went on dates with them? You asked their friends. Most of the people I dated in my life (which isn't a lot), I met either through friends or through clubs / activities.

6. How did you find people to date in the first place??? Like I said above - you'd meet people through friends, through clubs, through classes.

I met my first boyfriend through a sci-fi club my college best friend and I tried to start. Other people I dated were from my group of friends. And Todd was my college best friend's husband's childhood best friend. I didn't need the internet to find dates and I didn't date that much.

7. How did you keep tabs on exes? You didn't - which isn't a bad thing!

8. How did you keep tabs on what your entire graduating class from high school was doing? Again, you didn't. I got Facebook after I got out of college and it was a trip to see what everyone from high school was doing.

9. How did you look for jobs? Paper want ads, signs in business windows, bulletin boards, word of mouth. I didn't use the internet to find a job until I was out of college.

10. How did your parents get in touch with you when you were out? You didn't unless you needed to. There was pay phones all over back then. I didn't really do much beyond go to friends' houses or the movies, so it was not a concern. My parents knew where I was.

11. How did your survive waiting for meetings, appointments, trains, or anything without being able to pass time by pretending to look busy on your phone? Personally I daydreamed. I'm a writer so even as a kid, so I had no issue entertaining myself quietly when need be.

12. How did you do ANYTHING at work before email? Now, I didn't have a job before internet. Even my first fast food jobs had connections to be able to ring things up. But I'm guessing it was very long and tedious to do office work.

13. How did you tell co-workers (or someone else you were meeting) that you were going to be late when you were stuck in traffic or stuck on some disabled subway car? You didn't. You'd explain when you got there. If the person you were meeting wasn't there, you'd just call them once you go home. Honestly majority of the time, this was a non-issue.

14. How did you sign up for classes at the gym? I never used a gym until I got to college. The classes I signed up for were actual college classes. I took fencing, which was a blast. But I'm assuming that you'd go to the gym or call.

15. How did you know where you were or where you were going ever? This is something I struggled with because I'm not great at reading maps. Until the internet came about and mapquest, I didn't really venture out of my comfort zone.

16. What did you have to do if you broke down on the side of the road? I never broke down on the side of the road or was with my parents when they did. But if you did, you'd walk until you got to someplace with a phone.

17. How did you always have change on you to use these pay phones? When I was younger and had my first job, all I had was cash. And with cash comes change. It's just something that people always had in their wallets.

18. How did you research anything for school? There is wonderful thing that is called the Library. When I was in high school, that's what we used. In college when the internet was used, most teachers would not allow internet sources for papers because the internet was too new. So still off to the library so research the old fashioned way.

19. How did you find out about the weather? You'd watch the evening news. Every night, my parents would watch the news and about halfway through they would show the weather forecast. You could also look outside for current weather.

20. How did you stay in touch with friends? All my friends were through school so it wasn't hard through the school year. Otherwise there was still this wonderful invention called the telephone.

I do understand how strange it must be to think about no internet but we weren't completely in the dark ages. The author of the article seems to forget that even though we didn't have smart phones or cell phones, we did have phones. We had access to knowledge via the library and the television. We had books and games to amuse ourselves.

Now I do love the internet. I'm obviously using the internet right now to write this - I'm also working from home via the internet. It's made life better in a lot of ways but we did live and happily so without being tethered to the internet.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Imperfect Bodies

Me at the end of high school
Last week, a wonderful author friend of mine posted a really moving post about her history of body issues. It made me think a lot about my own issues with my own imperfect body.

My mom was a beautiful woman. She wasn't very tall but she was naturally skinny with a beautiful face. She was as close to the ideal that I've seen without plastic surgery. This made me feel like my body was about as far from the ideal as I could get from a young age.

I did not inherit my mom's skinny genes. My body type comes from my dad, so I'm short and squat. I have hips and I have boobs. But I also have a tendency to be overweight. Add in that I've always preferred reading and watching TV over any kind of exercise, I've been considered overweight since I was a teenager.

Looking back at pictures now, I wasn't really overweight. My body is shaped to carry more weight around my middle because of the hips that I've got. Even now when I'm actually overweight, I'm still carrying all the extra weight in my middle.

But my body issues really started before I even hit puberty. You see, I'm extremely short. My parents were concerned about how short I was when I was a kid. They even, briefly, looked into having me stretched because my doctor thought I would be under five feet. The 80's were a strange time.

In the end, I did reach five feet but barely. I've met women who were shorter but not very many. I'm a hobbit, short and round. And I was bullied because I was short and round for many years.

In elementary school, I was teased for being short. In middle school, I was verbally and physically abused by this girl who was twice as big as I was. I think the reason she bullied me was because I was so much smaller than she was.

In high school, I was still bullied for my size but now it was also because I was hugely geeky and didn't hide it at all. I wasn't bullied as much as I was in middle school, but I do remember vividly an incident where I was surrounded by a bunch of guys. One of them forced me to kiss him - he and his friends thought this was so funny.

I was so embarrassed at the time. And I felt like I had done something wrong to warrant such behavior. Looking back on it now, I know that I had been assaulted. I hate even now to call it a sexual assault but it kind of was. This guy forced himself on me even though it was only a kiss.

I never told my mom about that incident. I just wanted to forget it and move on. My mom stood up
Me now
for me - she causing a ruckus with the principal was how the bullying, at least the physical stuff, stopped in middle school. But she also is one of the main reasons why I have a poor view of my body.

Mom was well meaning but she was always on me to lose weight. She'd tell me that boys would like me more if I lost weight among other things. I'm honestly a bit lazy so I didn't do much about it. I still would have rather read than exercise. My sister, who is got my dad's genes too, went overboard - she was anorexic for a while when she was in high school. She was obsessed with being skinny like our mom.

Going to college helped me with my body issues. I was on my own for the first time, and I realized that I was pretty. Still not hot or overly attractive, but pretty. I started dating and my first boyfriend was head over heels for me. Unfortunately he was also extremely tall which made things very awkward since I'm so short.

I was in the best shape of my life in college because I walked everywhere. But I still had a thick middle and my mom still got on me to lose weight. Even though I was not the ideal, I dated some in college.

After college and after my mom passed, I got rounder. Going from walking everywhere to sitting at a desk all day made me put on a lot of weight. The grief of losing my mom plus the chronic pain issues that started soon after, and I was round.

Even though my body is not ideal, I still managed to attract my wonderful husband. Even though my body fails me in lots of ways with my chronic pain, it also helped me grow and nourish Emily.

Todd and I were talking about it a while ago and we both realize that neither of us will ever be skinny. He's very solid and even though he's lost a lot of weight, he's still a big guy. Even if I lose the 50 pounds I'd like to for health reasons, I'll still have a thick middle. That's just how we were made.

I hope to teach Emily to love her imperfect body the way it is. No-one is perfect so we need to stop trying to achieve an ideal that isn't possible.