So very True - Image by Anne Taintor

So very True - Image by Anne Taintor
I would like this on my very own business cards

Sunday, August 12, 2012

2 1/2 months later

I'm not good at doing much lately except for drinking Miller 64 and enjoying summer.  I have spent the usual amount of time surfing the net and stalking my favorite bloggers and managed to keep myself amused.  Since regaining my vision, I read all three of the book in the Hunger Games trilogy.  I am still nursing a book hangover having just completed Mockingjay about six hours ago.  There has been an abundance of yard work, gardening and beer drinking bocce ball.  A few parties here and there and the usual douchebaggery that goes on living with three males.  The testosterone levels increased for the last month with the visit of my husband's almost-12-year-old son (that would equal 11 but this is the age he presents himself).  Needless to say there has also been an increase in horror movie watching, WWE, video games and outings to stock car races. 

I also feel like I just woke up the inner-Nikki.  By that, I mean the me that used to be me prior to being 30-somethingish.  The me who was more wanton and spontaneous.   I feel so frustrated with life events that are outside of my control that I have just had to start accepting them for what they are and move on in spite of what that may mean.  Changes are coming.  Not sure when but they are.  It's rather like forecasting a storm by the feelings in your bones.  Mine is more like a storm in my head and heart that has been brewing for way too long.  Grab an umbrella and hold on tight.  

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Eye of the Beholder

The last few months have a been a blur - literally.  After experiencing iritis in February, things still aren't back to normal.  I experienced another flare up and my eyesight got worse.  The eye drops were finally stopped two weeks ago.  My eye has scarring around the pupil which has caused my pupil to remain enlarged even after the dilating drops were stopped a month prior to the other drops.  While it is not as pronounced as it was, I still feel a bit like a freak.  One pupil still makes me look like I am half on drugs.  I still can't focus well and I am rather light-sensitive although not to the point of being a vampire (any more, thank goodness!).  I have taken this time to reorganize and purge all kinds of crap lingering around the house.  I am proud to say that I would no longer qualify to be featured on the show "Hoarders".

All this lack of vision, has affected my reading ability and it also attacked my sense of doing anything.  Perhaps that is also called depression or boredom, unsure which it was.  This weekend I was so happy to have a three day weekend that I spent Saturday being completely selfish of my time.  I spent the day doing something mindless and rather odd (according to my children).  I was feeling crafty yet I just purged many of my "found" objects and sources of inspiration in my earlier cleaning frenzies.  Luckily, I had a porcelain doll that happened to catch my good eye.  Really.  That just wasn't meant to be a stupid pun.  

My neighbor just had a yard sale and she piled up the leftovers on the sidewalk with a "free" sign.  While supervising my 10 year old son mow her lawn, I took the opportunity to dig through the discards.  I rescued two strands of net lights for bushes (score!), two metal boxes which I have already began to alter into memento holders and a Victorian-style bride doll.  She had seen better days.  Her hair was in good shape but her stockings were yellowed; her face was dirty; and she seemed as if she had been played with instead of put on the shelf and left alone to collect dust as most dolls of this nature.  Perfect for transforming into something more modern!  I dyed her hair, added body jewelry and art, and completely overhauled her dress.  I cut off the lace top and high collar -  removed the long and puffy parts of the sleeves - added some color and fanciful decorations utilizing other found items from previous scavenging adventures.

Much like Cinderella morphing from an ember-tinged housecleaning slave this poor little bride has become the envy of all dolls stuck in the much fascinated about but ultimately boring and female-oppressed era.  She now resembles more of a rockabilly chick.  I was going for The Cigarette Girls Burlesque-inspired look.  I think it was almost achieved.  I am stoked.  Now, I just have to figure out what to do with her.  I don't think my husband appreciates having a tattooed and pierced doll on the mantle above the fireplace.

This is obviously the before picture.
My camera battery died before I could take a picture of her horrible up-do.
I think you can get the idea of what she looked like - rather conservative.

In this one you can see her nose piercing and multiple earrings.
If you look hard you can see the butterfly tattoo on her leg and tattoos on her forearm.

I made the corset-style ties out of eye-hooks and latches that were in a sewing kit I purchased at an  estate sale.  I know they were old.  The price tag was still on the card they were sewn onto - 19¢

This tattoo is my favorite since it goes against everything Victorian and prude.
Too bad it doesn't show up well in this picture.

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Is it wrong to mock your children?  If so, I have been a bad mother for quite some time.  In my house it is not uncommon for the boys to say my name like "mmmmooohhhhhmm" and for me to respond with their name in the same tone.  When I have had it with bad attitudes they are exhibiting I start answering their questions in the same manner. 

"Mom, when is dinner?"  
"No, Mom, what is for dinner?"  
"Mom, come on, what are we having for dinner."  
"Why do you have to ask me so many questions?  I can't think....."

A few weeks ago, I got so frustrated at feeding the children and having them act like dogs that get fed and come running to their dishes only to run away away again after scarfing down their food, I just didn't make dinner.  Not at all.  It was after 8:30 when my oldest son came out and asked about dinner.  My husband informed him that Mom wasn't making anything because she was tired of the way they expect to be fed and don't interact with me unless forced.  He looks at me.  The younger one stands by his side, eyes open wide..I unleashed.  Why do I have to go in their rooms to talk to them?  Why do I have to force conversations?  They hadn't been asking me anything or talking to me unless they wanted something.  After they get answers they disappear to their rooms to play on ipods, xbox, blah, blah.  Why should I cook dinner for someone who doesn't care back?  I wouldn't cook dinner for dad if he ignored me all the time.  Why are they different?  They had cereal that evening.  I got the response I wanted because now they make a point to come out of their caves (aka bedrooms) and at least say "hello" when I get home at night.

Occasionally, I go on strike to make a point.  Sometimes this affects my husband, sometimes not.  It can be the little things that I get tired of doing without others pitching in.  Laundry.  Dishes.  Grocery shopping.  Once they realize it, they pitch in and life returns to normal.  Should this even happen?  Do other mothers go through this?  I don't care who says parenting is wonderful.  It makes me want to drink.

Monday, February 20, 2012

The "Eyes" Have it

February sucks!  I hate it.  It has not been a good month for me.  I will be happy when it is over.  It is a good thing it is the shortest month because it may end up killing me.  I think this leap-year of 29 days is crap.  I would prefer this was a normal year.  

On February 1st, I woke up with what I thought was allergies and my left eye was red and watering.  On February 2nd, I woke up with my left eye swollen and feeling like it was popping out of the socket.  It wasn't watering.  It was like a hose was hooked up to it due to the amount of tears that were streaming from it.  It was blood red.  The light was excruciating.  I had to fashion a makeshift eye patch out of a silk scarf and call my best friend to pick the kids up and take them to school.  There was no way I could drive.  I couldn't even keep my eye open and all light seemed to feel like a knife twisting in my cornea.   Moving my eye felt like have a muscle strain in my head.   Horrid!  I took my first sick day at work.   At least it was for a good reason...

This is how I felt the first morning

I found an eye doctor and a diagnosis that day.   The doctor said I had Iritis (eye-right-us).  It is an inflammation of the iris.  In me--that is the blue part of my eye.  It began to swell.  The pupil couldn't constrict or dilate due to the inflammation. I learned that even if one eye is closed (or covered with a patch or a silk scarf) that the eye will still react to light when the seeing eye does.  That explains the constant pain and watering even though it was covered.  I was prescribed steroid eye drops and another to dilate my pupil.  It started to get better.  I went in for a follow up the next Monday.  The doctor said everything looked good and to start tapering the dosage.  So I did.  Then things started to get progressively worse.  A week later I was back to where I had been two weeks prior.  I was referred to a specialist.

The specialist said the inflammation had gotten ahead of the medication.  Even though I had dilating drops, my pupil was not dilated.  My vision had a white blur which was caused by the build up of white blood cells in the eye.  My pupil couldn't move.  It fused to the iris.  I had a number of tears inside my eye caused by the pupil trying to move.  Essentially, it was like superglue in my eyeball.  I got more eye drops to be used every hour for a week.  Dilating drops twice a day now.  Return visit in a week.

Do you see how creepy it looks with one pupil dilated!!!

At this point, it seems to be healing but it still hurts like hell.  My eye is super light sensitive.  On the plus side, it is no longer blood red, just bloodshot.  Worse than hangover bloodshot but better.  I have been wearing a pair of fit-over sunglasses over the top of my normal glasses for over two weeks.  I feel like Stevie Wonder.   

What I have discovered is that this Iritis is similar to having arthritis in your eyeball.  WTF!  It is also the third leading cause of blindness is the world, behind glaucoma and cataracts.   The clincher is that if left untreated or out of control it can cause the aforementioned.  There is really no way to determine what caused this unless I have another case of it.  Usually it is caused by autoimmune disorders.  Blah!!!!!  Aargh!!!  Also, all the literature I seem to find has pictures of eyeballs.  Makes sense but I hate looking at eyeballs.  Also, my sister has a phobia of them so we haven't been facetiming as often since my eye creeps her out.  

This is the kind of diagram I see on nearly all the literature I read about Iritis

My life activities have been affected.  I can't read since I can't focus.  This really bites because I was reading "Atlas Shrugged" and now there is no way I am going to finish before it is due back at the library.  The tv's have all been dimmed.  I can't watch tv in bed either because it can't be turned down enough to stop my eye from watering.  Watching tv with one shut sucks because I just end up falling asleep.  Sleeping is hard since my eye waters at night and feels like it is popping out of my socket.  My computer LED backlight is turned off.  It is difficult to type from copy at work.  It is hard to proof read also.  If you find typos in this, please keep them to yourself.  I don't care.  It is hard to write when you can't see.  Driving is near impossible when you can't focus, or open your eye, or stop the eye from watering.  In Montana, the snow is like driving on a mirror and it reflects the light.  It is more like driving at night when everyone coming at you has their brights on.   The curtains at home are drawn.  It is like being a vampire.  The light may kill me.  I hate this!  It shouldn't be call "iritis" it should be called eye-wrongus.  Plus, I feel like Popeye.  

It's too bad that an eye-patch won't help.  I would wear one like this if it did.....

Sunday, January 29, 2012

English is my first language, dork is my second

I have not been able to learn to speak in a foreign language.  I have tried Spanish, French and Russian.  Didn't take.  Programming languages - a different story.  I seem to understand code like it was the dominant language of my youth.  I pick it up quickly.  If it is something I am unfamiliar with all I need to do is read a source code and I can figure it out.  

I had a Commodore 64 when I was 11.  I was able to figure out the code to make the creepy voice speak phonetically to pronounce curse words until my dad caught me.  After that, the computer moved locations and I had to use it in his presence.  Blah!  I was off to a good start though.

My early foundations were on DOS.  It really blows me away that no one seems to use DOS anymore.  If more people understood it they wouldn't need computer repair technicians as often.  Many of my computer problems have been solved at home by using what is now called “Command Prompt.” When I was on the phone with tech support for a networking problem, they actually tried to walk me through it. It was hard not to laugh.

When I first started a geocities web page (1997ish), I had windows 3.1.  It was not Java enabled.  I couldn't use the cool features to drag and drop text and images.  I checked out a HTML book from the library and typed the whole page in longhand.  I was dedicated and bored.  I can still program in HTML and the things I don't know I just look up on the internet. 

In college, I spent at least one class a semester programming and coding which was later used for GIS.  I know there was basic, python, visual basic, C, Pascal, and java (which I studied on my own).  I can produce queries like no other in Access and link them through other applications.  I also learned how to import data from other programs and geographically represent them on maps.  Oh, good times... 

The new web page at works allows widgets for text and images but not solid coding.  You can't upload scripts--only images to the host site.   I have found how to circumnavigate this to produce flash slideshows.  I researched flash enabled slideshows using flickr.  The slideshows that are created through flickr are boring.  They can't continually run.  They automatically stop when the last picture is reached and you can't edit information around them to say what the picture is showing.  

I found a slideshow I liked and embedded the link into the new work website.  I edited the source code to reference our flickr account and the set of pictures I wanted.  Because I copied a section of code, I could modify the background colors, text colors and image size.  The best part is the source code file is located on another site so no extra storage space is used on the hosting site.  Quite ingenious.  The new web page has two different galleries: one of promotional items and one that shows the screen prints we have produced.  I am now starting to learn CSS3.  I would like to modify the site to be more personalized and professional.  Just because we have a basic template doesn't mean I can't jazz it up.  I have also signed up with Code Academy (if it is good enough for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, it is good enough for me).  The best way to learn is by doing and for free!  

My years of coding in html, basic and C++ are finally coming in handy.  It is nice to have a job that uses some of my former abilities and encourages me to learn more.  Now, if I can convince them to let me me take the online class for Illustrator...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Housekeeping = Stripping

Well, this is a first.  Craigslist has a post for housekeepers wearing lingerie.  It pays $15 an hour plus tips.  Hmmmmm.  Rather interesting since the other day there was a post for nude housekeepers that only paid $10 an hour.  It was quickly taken down.  It happened so fast that I didn't even get a screen shot of it.  Some prude must have reported it for inappropriate content.  I have know idea why they would....

Do you think nude or scantily clad housekeepers clean homes with stripper poles?  I was a stripper before but it only involved cleaning (see old post for explanation as I was not a "real" stripper, it was a job title).

I wonder if this is even legal.  Flathead County has some rather strict regulations on stripping, peep shows, nudity, blah, blah.  The City of Whitefish has even tighter restrictions.  I learned this when someone wanted to open a topless burger joint when I was a planner.  It didn't happen.

Life is a cabert!

Update 1-24-12: So this posting was on Craigslist tonight. Apparently the poster was rather upset that "fem-nazi sheep" had been reporting his post.  Tee-hee! (I wonder if he listens to Michael Savage or Rush Limbaugh since that is usually how they refer to women....)

Update 1-26-12: The last posted was deleted and another new one has appeared.  It is much nicer than the last one.  This poor guy must have consulted an attorney.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Essential Internet Site Collection

My sister has been asking which sites I read/check on a regular basis.  She has shared some excellent twitter contacts.  I have been laughing ever since I stole her twitter list.  I am now posting the list that I follow with the most regularity for her.  By posting it here, it won't get lost in her inbox.  So here you go, Hia, they are in no particular order:

The Oatmeal  - The best comic site out there!
My Favorite and My Best - Funny and sometimes obscene blogs about interior decorating, pop culture and random tv shows. 
Hyperbole and a Half - This was a regular but she is writing a book now so she rarely posts.  Her old stuff is great though.  Read the traumatic story about fishing.
The Pioneer Woman - Ree's site was much better before she started getting famous.
The Bloggess - You never know what will be posted here.  She also has a few other sites and writes articles that are worth reading.  Jenny rocks and she has a haunted doll house.  I am very jealous of it.
OddTodd - His older flash videos are hilarious.  The best one was about being unemployed.  He actually got a job because of it. His daily posts are about rather trivial things but typically entertaining.
Reddit -  News, pictures, memes are posted by random people and voted up or down the list.
No Ordinary Roller Coaster - Canadian gay guy with a drinking problem.
Hanzismatter - This site is dedicated to making fun of the English translation of tattoos stupid people get
Cyanide & Happiness - Comic strip for the disturbed.  The site also hosts a bazillion others that are worth reading when you are bored.
Steam Me Up, Kid - Hasn't been updated lately but very entertaining and lewd.
Ugly House Photos - Exactly what it sounds like.
Six in the Suburbs - Six cousins post recipes, stories, blah, blah.  Me likey.
Funny or Die - Go here if you need to laugh.
Regretsy - Lambasts stupid and bizarre crafts posted on Etsy.  Also has links to sister sites like Lamebook and Passive-Aggressive Notes.

I have many more bookmarked that I can add if you need more.  This should keep you entertained for awhile....I also left off the ones that I know you read, like, otherwise it would be here.  

Somehow I left off one of my favorites!  I am chagrined.  Mommy Wants Vodka - there is no explaining it.  It changes.  She is a hip mom.  I adore her.  

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What's the Plan, Stan?

"Always have a plan, even for the little things.  Don't just go out and say you are going out for a Coke.  Decide ahead of time - if they don't have a Coke, then have a Pepsi.  If no Pepsi, then a Fanta.  Don't ever get caught by surprise, learn to always think ahead, be prepared."  Carlos Fonseca.  
Sandinista: Carlos Fonseca and the Nicaraguan Revolution; Matilde Zimmerman

I have always been one to have a plan and goals.  I remember my earliest ones starting in high school. Get the hell out of there.  So I doubled up on classes and graduated a year and a half early.  It then moved into getting a job that pays at least $8 an hour (in the early '90's that was a decent pay and gas was still under $1 a gallon).  Then my goal morphed into getting a promotion.  Did it.  I floundered a bit because I did somethings backwards and got married and had a baby.  Got divorced at 20 so I moved to Idaho to begin again.  Started the job thing all over.  My goal changed from getting a promotion (although I did get raises) to going to college.  After three (3) years of working, I was finally in a place where I could work part-time and go to school full-time.  While I was in school my goals were educationally attainable.  Get a 4.0.  Done.  Dean's List.  Done.  Scholarships.  Done.  Go to Oxford.  Done.  

After college, I just had my part-time job become a full-time job.  I then advanced a few times from that position.  I got bored with Idaho.  I changed my goal to moving and finding a job at the same time.  Done.  Then it was the regular milestones of monotony:  make more money.  Government jobs are good like that.  My goals meshed with moving up so I became a certified floodplain manager; certified residential building inspector; and finally a certified planner.  I think I was also certifiably stupid because even with all the credentials I didn't foresee the economic downtown in construction.  I wasn't prepared to lose my job.  Metaphorically speaking it was as much of a shock as taking your dog for a walk and a car jumps the curb and runs over your dog - killing it in front of you while the leash is still in your hand.  (That is a real scenario too.  My friend, Bad Luck Amanda, had it happen to her).

Had I prepared, I would have had a plan in place rather than flailing around and collecting a pitiful amount of compensation in the form of unemployment benefits.  I would have been able to walk out of the planning department, breathed a sigh of relief and jumped into my next adventure.  I never would have ended up at the assisted living facility wiping asses for almost a year.  I wouldn't have ended up in the comfortable position I am in now and thoroughly enjoy, even though it does nothing to promote my job interests resume-wise.  

I am so frustrated with it all right now.  I could wish for a break that lets me use my strengths (e.g., typing, writing, customer service, analytic thinking and research) or I could actually do something about it.  And that's what I'm going to do, dammit.  

Right now I have a part-time position on the horizon. It is back in the planning field.  I can work it around my existing job.  It would allow me to use my brain again and I would be continually learning.  Honestly, that is what I miss the most about my former line of work.  I was learning every day.  I had to research trends and apply them to a local community level.  I had to memorize them so I didn't look like a bumbling idiot answering questions on the public access channel that replayed the videos of the city council meetings.  It was as if I was still in school.  

I am also applying for a part-time position as a research assistant.  It won't require ever meeting my boss.  It would involve researching material for that person to write a book and communicating online.  And typing, loads of it.  Transcription.  Tons of it.  F-U-N!  Plus, it would be something that would allow me to feel like I am contributing something by no longer being idle and just preparing paperwork.  If wishes were fishes, the sea would be full.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.

*Note:  I am afraid I have lost my sense of humor.  I still love to smile but not much is funny.  I am beginning to think it is the winter.  Maybe I have S.A.D. or maybe I am bored from not thinking.  Either way it needs to stop.  I will have to figure it out.  Lately my only source of enjoyment has been pinterest and trying out new hairstyles including fish-bone braids and no heat curls.  For Christ's Sake!  Somethings gotta give*

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Web Technology and Parenting Rant

My skills are finally benefiting me.  This week we will launch a new website at work that I have created as an assignment.  I wish it could be super, duper rockin' with flash enabled gadgets and woozits all over but, alas, it will not.  We have a web hosting company that uses templates for promotional items that can be customized with your name, logo, etc.  The current templates look like web sites created in 1999 using simple html code only and no Javascript.  Luckily, the new launch is on a platform that is reminiscent of  It is more of a drag and drop and you can embed your own code in objects to circumvent their templates.  There is also CSS which allows a full overhaul from the basic setup.  I am rather excited since it should give the company an edge.  Finally, we will look like we know what we are doing.  My boss is stoked and has really been talking it up.  You would have thought I just invented the Internet if Al Gore hadn't done it first from they way he is describing it.

The web hosting company is impressed with what I was able to do with the basic membership and has asked if they can use our site as an example of what can be done with the site without purchasing the custom option.  Our representative even offered me a job if I want to move to California, which I don't.  Yes, I complain about the cold in Montana but there are way too many in SoCal for me to deal with on a daily basis.  I like quiet, sparse and predictable.  Plus, I am not the best at programming.  I just have a knack for figuring out what I want to do and only researching the aspects that are needed to do it.

On the home front this week it has all been about arguing.  My 10 year-old is practicing his mediation skills.  The arguing has all been about cleaning his bedroom.  It is not that bad.  It doesn't look like this:

And it wasn't even this bad:

Whatever the case, you would have thought it was a very difficult project due to the arguing and fits that were being had (and that was on both sides because I felt like Mommy Dearest was going to make a second coming due to my frustration level with the whole thing)

Now it is Sunday evening and the job is almost done.  Thank goodness.  I suppose I will get an 18 hour reprieve until he gets home from school tomorrow and has to pick it up again.....Parenting.  Blech!

PS.  Neither of the pictures posted above were taken of my home.  They were clipped from the internet.  I just felt the urge to clarify that.