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13th September 2009

9:02pm: Michigan Ren Fair
Today I went to the Michigan Renaissance Festival for the first time since 1992. I spent much money, but had a decent time. Her I am, in period sunglasses. Frank, of course, is wearing his usual outfit.

Ren Fair 2009

2nd August 2009

5:08pm: Wistful Sigh...
I just saw the latest Harry Potter film. Trust me, I don't go to see Harry Potter; I couldn't give a fig about Harry Potter. But I do so love Severus Snape, and Alan Rickman did such an excellent job in this one. (Not that he hasn't done an excellent job in all of the films, mind you.) At any rate, now I have new image fodder for my infantile fantasies!

21st July 2009

7:51pm: Noise Camp 15
Frank and Me at Noise Camp 15

I'm not exactly thrilled with this picture. I didn't have any makeup on because I couldn't find it in my horrifically messy room. Unfortunately, this means that it's rather evident that I'm lacking some collagen. I probably shouldn't care. But I do.

5th July 2009

6:38am: Progress?
Unfortunately, I'm not doing very well with my weight-loss goal -- if pounds are all you're counting. I actually weigh five pounds more now than when I started. However, I've lost inches everywhere except my thighs (which stayed the same) and my calves (which got bigger). I've dropped from a size 8 to a size 6. I'm starting to see definition in my arms that I haven't seen since I was on the high-school swim team. My blood pressure is 100 over 60, my resting heart rate is 78, and my cholesterol is within acceptable limits for the first time ever. I'm pretty happy with all of this, but I'd still like to lower my body fat percentage. It was 29% in mid-June. I would be ecstatic if I could lower it to 20% by my 40th birthday. I'd eventually like to get it down to 15%, but, at my age, that's going to take some serious commitment. If I can get to that number, I don't really care what the scale says.

26th April 2009

7:19pm: Another Rare Outing
Last night, Frank and I went to see my friend's band His Name is Alive at The UFO Factory in Detroit. (Actually, we went out last weekend, too, to see Elvis Hitler -- we've been being remarkably social!) Unfortunately, it may have been the last His Name is Alive show. We shall see, I guess. Warren always has some musical project underway, however. But here's a pretty decent picture.

Frank and Nicolle at HNIA 20090425

3rd April 2009

5:54pm: It's About Time
Finally, at least one state has come to its senses. Hopefully, others will follow.

(Thanks to sultmhoor for this link.)

23rd March 2009

4:07pm: Time to Get Serious
I knew I wouldn't lose weight by dieting alone. I knew that, but I've been trying anyway. In over two months of dieting, I've lost a whopping 3.5 pounds. No question, I need to start exercising.

I know I don't look that bad...for my age. But I'd really like to get rid of that qualifier. I just want to look good.

Here's my goal: lose 20 pounds by the time I'm 40. That gives me a year and eight days. Should be plenty of time.

Youth is definitely wasted on the young.

13th March 2009

9:18pm: No Outlet
I have so many things I need to talk to someone about, but that someone doesn't exist.

I suppose I should bring up these things with my therapist, but my therapist is no help at all. She either spouts off some tired, old psychobabble shit, or she tries to illustrate a point by discussing her own family.

My father isn't a person. He's a nice guy, but empty inside. My mother and my sister are so wrapped up in their own private hells that they wouldn't be able to hear a word I said. And some of the things I need to talk about, well...not with them.

I have very few friends, and none that are so close that I can just pour my heart out to them. This is my fault for being such a loner, for isolating myself so much from the world.

I can't discuss these things here. They are too personal, and I might end up hurting someone's feelings.

I feel like I am going to explode.

Oh well. Life sucks, and I knew that.

[Edit: And I really don't want to bother anyone with my problems, anyway, so wishing I had someone to bother is rather futile.]

12th March 2009

6:08pm: When Users Don't Test
I've had a hell of a week. I've maxed out my comp time, and I've been working for free for several hours every day. My new application went live on Monday, and I lost count of how many things went wrong. But if the users had tested some of the functions just once, I would have known about the problems months before deployment. I suppose I should have done more testing, so I suppose it's ultimately my fault, but I really could have used the feedback from the people who will actually be using the application.

At any rate, I have most of the bugs squashed now. I have one big one to tackle tomorrow, along with a handful of smaller ones. Then I think I'll take a few days off, as soon as my schedule allows.

1st March 2009

4:01pm: Fiscal Irresponsibility
I've just made one of the stupider decisions in my life, and I did it voluntarily. My sister, who has been plagued with money problems for as long as she has been working, is experiencing some very disturbing medical symptoms. It's a problem she's dealt with before, and she has now relapsed. Because of her financial situation, she wasn't going to seek medical treatment, even though she might very well be flirting with cancer. I told her to go to the doctor, that I would help with the costs that her health insurance won't cover.

My mother used to help my sister out with this sort of thing, but my mother has been laid off since Thanksgiving. My father has already "loaned" my sister around a hundred thousand dollars over the years.

I can't really afford this. And I wish my family weren't so damned dysfunctional. But it's the only family I have. I feel honor-bound to help out. I know I've fallen prey to irrational emotions, and I'm compromising my ability to provide for my own small family. I regret making this choice.

But I would regret it even more if I hadn't.

28th February 2009

10:18pm: Sadder Than I Ought to Be
Today I said farewell to my old car, a 2002 Ford Focus with 207,000 miles on it. After sinking around five grand into it since September, I declined to put another couple thousand into it for a new master cylinder and wheel bearings. My dad helped me find a DIY mechanic who was interested in taking it off my hands. (Which I'm grateful for, because the dealership would not have given me very much for it.)

I feel like I've lost an old friend. My new car, a 2009 Ford Focus, is fine and all, but I'm just not all that excited about it. Part of this is the worry of taking on a car payment again. But you'd think that I'd feel at least a little bit geeked about having a new car.

Maybe I need to go back on antidepressants.

4th February 2009

9:44am: Pseudo-Family Tragedy
My mother's best friend, who is practically family, has just been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer (which doesn't have a very good survival rate). We are hoping that the tumor was discovered early enough so that it hasn't metastasized, but we really don't know much else right now. (And what can you give someone with cancer? A get well card might be disturbingly inappropriate, as there's a chance she may never get well. But I don't want to just pretend as if nothing's happened.)

And my mother gets this news on top of being laid off, so I'm extremely worried about her ability to cope right now. My mother was planning on working until she was 70, or even later. She needs the intellectual stimulation. She also doesn't have quite enough to retire on. But now we think that she's being discriminated against because she's 62. She hasn't even had an interview. Granted, she's a mechanical engineer with all her experience in the automotive industry, so jobs are going to be scarce, but you'd think she'd at least get an interview out of the resumes she's sent out.

I don't know what I can do for her if she gets any more bad news.

2nd December 2008

6:38pm: Frustration (and Exhaustion)
Today my users tested my new application. It was not a huge success. Not because of bugs, mind you. For one thing, we ran over our allotted time by an hour, and we only covered the first screen. Much of this time was spent bringing up issues that should have been addressed during the design stage. Now I have to retool large sections of the application to make these changes -- in a day and a half. I should be working late tonight, but I just couldn't stomach it any longer. Hey, I only have 19 hours of comp time accrued; what's five more hours? I guess I'll just have to put in that extra time tomorrow night.

11th November 2008

10:21pm: No More Commuting
For over six years, I have been driving an hour one way from my home to my work. Two months ago, however, I moved much closer to my work -- but I had such a mess at my old residence that I needed to continue to drive there every day and finish cleaning and packing. I finished that at the end of October, but I still had a storage unit to take care of. Today, Frank and I emptied that out and gave most of the contents to charity.

So now I'll only have to make that long drive for family occasions.

6th November 2008

10:16pm: Proud
My daughter just earned her first all-As report card. This is amazing to me, as she has been struggling with school since kindergarten. I don't really know to what I should give credit for the improvement. Perhaps it's just that she's taking high school more seriously than elementary or middle school. Or maybe it's the new environment. (I also won't discount the possibility that the schools here are easier than our previous school district.) Whatever the case, I hope that she maintains this level of achievement.

1st November 2008

10:10pm: It's Official
I turned in my keys to my old place today. I am fully moved out! (Unfortunately, I am not fully moved in. I am surrounded by boxes.)

31st October 2008

12:31am: Almost Done
I've been working my ass off for a couple of weeks now, trying to finish moving. Tonight, I finally loaded up the last of my shit and spent several hours cleaning. (I only had time for a half-assed job, unfortunately, but at least it's cleaner that it was.) Now, I just need to meet up with the landlord tomorrow (if I can get hold of him, that is) and hand in my keys. (And cringe when he notices how hard me and M**** were on the apartment -- if I get any of my security deposit back, I'll be amazed.)

Next up: unpacking and carting all my cast-offs to the Salvation Army.

Someday, I just might have some time to myself again.

13th October 2008

11:03pm: Meme From sultmhoor
1. Name and middle name?
Nicolle Dawn

2. What holiday is your birthday closest to?

3. Favorite flavor of pie?
Don't have one; I like a variety.

4. Does it bother you when someone says they will call you and they don't?
Selectively. Sometimes I don't even notice.

5. Are you allergic to anything?
Mold, grass, dust, pollen, penicillin...there are others, but I can't remember what they are.

6. Is there anything special you want for Christmas?
I have too much junk as it is; I'd settle for more time and energy.

7. When was the last time you went swimming?
It's been over a year.

8. Do you like cheesecake?
Definitely, but without any fruit topping.

9. How many of the US states have you lived in?
Two: Michigan and Indiana.

10. Have you traveled outside the country?
Yes; to Canada and Mexico.

11. Do you keep a planner or calendar with daily events?
No, but I should.

12. Does anyone like you?
I hope so.

13. Do you have any strange pets?
Sort of. They're not really my pets, but my boyfriend's cats can be pretty strange.

14. What is your dream car?
An MG Sprite. I've wanted one since I was nine years old. I had an opportunity to buy one a few years back, but I decided against it. The maintenance is just not worth it.

15. What did you do today?
Woke up. Showered. Woke up my daughter. Got ready for work. Made my daughter's lunch. Drove my daughter to school. Went to work. Picked up my daughter from school. Went back to work. Went to my old home to continue sorting and packing. Came home. Ate dinner. Washed dishes. Went online.

16. Are you bipolar?
My shrink thinks so, and Lithium seems to be helping, so I guess there's a good chance I am.

17. What is the main ringtone on your cell?
The default ringtone. Fancy ringtones actually bother me.

18. Where would you want to go on a first date?
Hopefully I won't have any more first dates. But if I did, I'd like to eat dinner at a nice restaurant and go watch some live blues or jazz.

19. When is the last time you were hugged?
Just a few minutes ago, by my daughter.

20. Has anyone ever sang or played for you personally?
Sure, but only informally.

21. How important is romance?
I'm not even sure what constitutes romance. I don't think it's very important to me.

22. Have you ever bungee jumped?
No, and I won't, ever.

23. Have you ever been white water rafting?
No, and I won't, ever.

24. Has anyone ten years older than you ever hit on you?
Hmmm...the father of the son I placed for adoption was 13 years older than I am, but I believe I was the one to pick him up.

25. Are you a cavity-free kid?
Alas, no.

26. Are you an extreme racist?
No, I'm not a racist at all.

27. What song are you listening to right now?
No song; I can be boring that way.

28. What is your favorite song at the moment?
I don't like choosing favorites for anything.

29. What was the last movie you watched?
It's been so long, I really can't remember.

30. Where was the last house you went to besides your house?
Does it count that I went to my old house before coming home? If not, then the last house I was at was my mother's on Labor Day (yes, I don't get out much).

31. Have you ever seriously vandalized someone else's property?
No; I haven't even lightheartedly done so.

32. Have you ever been punched?

33. What's the first thing you notice about the opposite (or if preferred, same) sex?

34. Can you open a beer bottle with a body part other than your hand?
No, and I don't even want to open one with my hand.

35. What do you usually order from Olive Garden?
I haven't been there in so long that I don't even know what's on their menu.

36. Say something totally random about yourself.
I'm addicted to Hanjie puzzles.

37. Do you have an mp3 player?
My car stero plays mp3s on CD.

38. Has anyone ever said you look like a celebrity?
Yes: Cindi Lauper, Bette Midler, Greta Garbo, someone else I forgot.

39. Do you have freckles?

40. Are you comfortable with your height?
No; I'm much too short.

41. Do you love someone?
Several someones.

42. How tall are you?
5'3 3/4''

43. Do you speak any other language other than English?
Unfortunately, no, but I'd like to teach myself Old English someday.

44. How do you like your steak cooked?
Very rare.

45. Has anyone you were really close to passed away?
Yes, all my grandparents, especially my maternal grandmother.

46. Do you watch MTV?
I don't watch television at all.

47. What is something that really annoys you?

48. Have you talked with your parents about the birds and the bees?
My mom used to discuss her sex life with me whether I wanted to hear it or not. My father has never mentioned sex in all of the years I've known him.

49. What is the best thing in your refrigerator right now?
I don't really know. I don't do the cooking, so I don't look in the refrigerator.

50. When is the last time you had professional pictures taken?
My first wedding.

51. Do you have a crush on somebody?
Yes, I've had a crush on my boyfriend for about two more years than we've been together!

52. Does that person like you back?
Well,I'd imagine so.

53. Do you drive when you go on long trips?
Not on the last few trips I've made, but I used to.

54. What's the latest you have ever stayed out?
Nine in the morning?

55. Have you ever thought that you were honestly going to die?
Whenever I pass out I get a little bit of that fear. (I faint easily.)

56. Were you ever rushed by an ambulance into the emergency room?

57. Have you broken a bone or had stitches?
I broke my pinky toe! I've had a tonsillectomy, a hunk of wood surgically removed from my hand, oral surgery, a C-section, and a VBAC requiring stitches.

58. Anyone on your mind right now?
My daughter and my boyfriend.

59. What color is your hair?
It's a mix: dark ash blonde, light brown, and scattered strands of white. I even find some red and black hairs in there sometimes.

60. What did you do last night?
Came home from the old place after packing and sorting, ate dinner, washed dishes, then solved an online Hanjie puzzle.

8th October 2008

10:25pm: Migraine
I have lost the last two days to a migraine that had me worshipping the porcelain god. I did not need this latest interruption. I have deadlines at work and deadlines for moving. Let's hope there aren't any more interruptions for the rest of the month.

5th October 2008

10:52pm: I Am an Incompetent Mother
No explanation; it's too personal. I'm just pissing and moaning about things that I should be working on changing instead. I guess I should be glad my kid isn't stealing, vandalizing, smoking, drinking, doing drugs, and/or having sex. (I remember what I was like at her age, after all.)

It sucks having a strong-willed child when you are, well, sort of wimpy.

4th October 2008

11:51pm: Progress
I got a lot done at the old place today, and I found many things that I had been looking for. I look forward to the day that I can live without the insane mess all around me -- but I still have half the living room and all of the kitchen to go through. (I'm dreading the kitchen.)

I'm beginning to amass a small mountain of objects that I need to give away. I just need to find an outfit that will accept odd items like toys and small electronics. I even have a large scooter to give away.

28th September 2008

6:15pm: Making Progress
I have finished cleaning up and organizing the upstairs of my old townhouse (except for M****'s room, which is an entirely separate issue). I have piles to move and piles to give away (and I've already thrown out the piles of trash). Tomorrow, I start on the downstairs.

I may just have this done by the end of October, provided that there are no more car surprises.

27th September 2008

7:48pm: Lovely
Turns out that my car's troubles were all caused by a bad set of calipers. If I had realized the source earlier, I could have saved myself a lot of money. On the other hand, all the repairs I paid for were all things that were about to break anyway, so I can't be too upset. I am going to call the dealership, however, and let them know that their diagnostic skills suck.

25th September 2008

6:45pm: More Car Woes
I got my car back. It is not fixed. I'm going to be raising some hell on the phone tomorrow.

Also, I found out that I have to recode several large sections of my current application because the users finally got around to specifying what they really wanted.

Oh well.

24th September 2008

7:09pm: Still No Car
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