Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Back To The Grind

Long weekends are great, but it's hard getting back into the groove once they are over with.

Memorial Day weekend wasn't long enough. It probably didn't help that I spent a good portion of Saturday and Sunday doing a deep clean on my house since that was way overdue. Then on Monday, Todd and I helped my best friend and her family move.

It was fairly easy for me - I was on toddler duty. But it was really hot for the menfolk who were actually packing up the truck. Thankfully everything was packed and ready to go, so it didn't take them very long.

Even though I went to bed fairly early, I slept poorly last night. And my toddler decided that 5:30 AM was a good time to get up this morning. I was a very cranky mommy this morning.

I had school today, and it didn't go very well. It was okay for me - what we are doing is fairly easy right now. My class had to move to a different room last week because of the size of the class, and my teacher fought with the computer for a while this morning trying to get the program we are suppose to be learning up on the overheard screen.

She was unsuccessful, so she had to explain everything. This lead to a lot of questions from the folks who aren't very good with computer programs. We are already behind in both of my classes because of computer software issues.

But at least it's a short week. Only two more days of classes, and then I have ConCarolinas to look forward to on Saturday and Sunday. I'll be toddler free both days, and there is going to be a Firefly LARP on Saturday, so it should be an awesome time.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Problem With Craigslist

Now I love Craigslist - I've made decent money selling stuff we don't use and gotten some neat toys for Emily off it.

What I hate is the people - most people I buy and sell from arrive at the pre-arranged meeting time within a few minutes. But then there are the people who are so inconsiderate that don't arrive on time.

The worst was when I had to wait nearly an hour, with Emily in the car, only be be paid partly in pennies!

Today it happened again though. I was selling gas drops that were still in the package. I got there a few minutes early and proceeded to wait. I got an email after waiting 15 minutes that they were running late and had to get gas (which is ironic since we were meeting at the Ingles Gas Station), and I ended up having to wait another 10 minutes.

When they got there, the girl took the gas drops but neglected to have the money ready. I'm not sure if she thought I was just going to give them to her, but for having to sit there for almost a 1/2 hour, I deserved that dollar!

I will continue to sell things on Craigslist but it still annoy me how some people are. My time is worth something too.

The End of Nursing

Nursing My Baby
I've been kind of dreading writing this post, partly because I'm a little sad that we are done nursing.

One of the things I felt very strongly about when I was pregnant was being able to nurse right away. Thankfully, even though I had a c-section, I was able to nurse Emily in the recovery room.

We had some of the normal issues most nursing moms and babies have at the beginning. I was planning on going back to work, so I got a pump. When I didn't go back to work, I still pumped a little so I could get a break sometimes.

I stopped pumping right around the time Emily turned 1, but we did keep nursing. She did start drinking water so she didn't need bottles so much anymore.

I was pretty happy with our nursing relationship and was going to let her nurse until she self weaned. But then I got sick and was in the hospital for 5 days. I didn't nurse her at all when I was in the hospital.

When I got home, all Emily wanted to do want was nurse, but now it was very uncomfortable and sometimes painful for me. Because of this, I had to start the weaning process. I cut her nursing down until once a day at night, but even that was really uncomfortable for me.

Recently we changed our bedtime routine, and cut out that last nursing session. I'm really glad I was able to nurse her for 2 1/2 years, but I'm not terribly happy that getting sick and the fallout from that was the reason I had to wean Emily from breastfeeding.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Problem With Naps

Naps are good... for Toddlers
So, a while ago I started napping when Emily naps, mostly because I was not getting enough sleep at night.

Now Emily has been sleeping through the night for quite a while, but I still have been taking naps with her.

This is bad for several reasons - for one, I lose 2 to 3 hours in the afternoon. For another, I've been so groggy that it takes me a while to wake back up.

I think it's time for me to cut out my nap. I can get more done during the day, be able to get an episode or two of BSG in and maybe I won't feel like a walking zombie all of the time.

On a side note, not having anything to do with naps, this blog is now listed on Top Mommy Blogs - if you like my blog and feel like it, I'd really appreciate it if you'd click the button to vote for my blog!

Thursday, May 26, 2011


When I was a kid, thunderstorms freaked me out. I remember hiding under my blankets during some really nasty storms before bolting to my parents room for safety.

My child doesn't seem to have that fear - we are getting a pretty big storm right now that started before Emily was all the way asleep. Despite the booms and bangs, she fell right to sleep.

It just shows that my daughter doesn't have my personalty in the least, which isn't a bad thing. Even at two years old, she is very fearless and very determined in what she wants. And not a lot frightens her.

In fact, motorcycle noises and zombies there the only things off the top of my head. I'm sure her fearlessness will be years on my life as she get older, but I do love the person she is becoming.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

6 Months

Yesterday, it was 6 months since the start of my ordeal over Christmas. I haven't really talked much about it here, but it's on my mind quite a lot.

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day 2010, I don't remember anything. Todd says I acted really strange and paranoid the entire time. The day after Christmas I do remember, but it was really odd and foggy. I was seeing things out of the right side of my vision that weren't there, and I was far too paranoid to sleep. I ended up watching the entire season (to that point) of 'No Ordinary Family'.

Well, after that we got a friend (my best friend, I think) to watch Emily, then Todd drove me to the ER at Mission Hospital. That drive was really surreal because even though I had made it hundreds of times (since I go to school very near Mission) everything looked strange.

We spent all day in the ER having various tests run on me. Finally at like 10 pm, I was admitted. The next few days I did a lot of staring at the TV and sleeping. After 5 days in the hospital, they finally let me out.

Thankfully I had great friends who helped take care of Emmy so Todd could come be with me in the hospital. Once I left, they didn't really know what had happened. Stroke and seizure were some of the things that were mentioned.

I had thought I was doing better once I left, but when I got home I felt really lost. Nothing in my house looked familiar. I didn't know where anything was and it took several weeks for things to start looking normal again. And I was still seeing things that were not there out of my right side.

I tried to just resume normal life. Thank God for snow storms that happened at the first of the year and pushed back the start of school. Even when school started, I didn't feel ready to be a normal person again.

I got to see a neurologist and a neurosurgeon, and have more MRI's. I, apparently, have a mass in my brain, but it has gone down. Eventually the doctors said they thought it was just a virus, but that doesn't really reassure me that it's not going to happen again.

But I try not to worry about it. I was very worried about my grades right before I got sick so my husband thinks the worry had something to do with whatever happened.

So that's my story and now it's been 6 months. In another six months, I want to have my first novel ready for publishing. This deadline is extremely important to me, partly because of what happened last Christmas.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Fanaticon 2 Review

Fanaticon is a local one day convention that is free. It took place in downtown Asheville on May 21st at the Asheville Art Museum.

My experience with Fanaticon is a little different than most peoples, since I spent the majority of the day at the Charlotte Browncoats table.

I got there a little before 10 and got to see some of the opening ceremonies. Once we got in, I went straight to the Browncoat table, which was in the same area as last year.

My husband brought Emily with him, and checked out the con, including the kids area. Unfortunately the area was geared towards older kids and not really toddlers. I'd love to see this area expanded for next year to include some activities that toddler friendly since I saw so many toddlers throughout the day.

The only thing I did besides help man the Browncoat table was the costume parade. The juggling show at the beginning was fun though it meant there was a bit of lag as all the costumed folks made their way backstage.

It was very hot this year. I don't remember it being so hot last year. We were on an upper floor and there was at least some air flow. The couple of times I went downstairs, the heat became a bit too much. I felt bad for the vendors who were in the heat of things.

I do think that Fanaticon has outgrown the Asheville Art Museum. I think the heat had something to do with the thousands of people being crammed into such a small space.

I also do think that the comic dealers should be put elsewhere - it always causes quite the traffic jam at the start because the aisle is very narrow. With all the people pouring in, and then the people to stop right away to look, it makes it difficult to get past that point.

Despite these complaints, I do think that Fanaticon is very well run. As someone who spent most of the day as at an exhibitor table, it was nice when the staff members brought us water and asked if we needed anything.

I do hope that this con continues to grow! It's very nice that Asheville has it's own con.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

How I Spent My Day Before (And After) The Rapture

At Fanaticon 2
According to some religious fanatics, the Rapture was suppose to happen yesterday. Since I thought that was a bunch of hooey, I went on with my plans for the day.

Yesterday was Fanaticon 2 in Downtown Asheville, and I was going to be helping out at the Charlotte Browncoats table to help promote them and their CSTS showing for this year.

Despite getting lost in stupid Downtown Asheville, I made it to the Asheville Art Museum a few minutes before they opened the door with Todd and Emily arriving a few minutes after me (since they did not get lost as they had the GPS).

The turnout for this year's Fanaticon was great as it was last year. We got  a neat bag of swag that included Shrek ears for Emily and some Star Trek Monopoly pieces in honor of the new Klingon Monopoly game that is going to be coming out soon.

The Charlotte Browncoats table was in the same area as it was last year so I found it rather quickly. Todd and Emily wandered off, and didn't stay very long since it as really crowded.

I spent most of my day at the table, promoting Asheville Browncoats along with CSTS and the Charlotte group. I did take some time to participate in the costume parade since I was wearing my Kaylee Layer Cake costume.

I did end up taking off a little early since there were bands playing downstairs right under us, and it was very loud. Plus I had to get home to change for the 2nd part of my day. On my way back to my car, someone had put some clothes on the sidewalk next to 'end of the world' signs. I really hope if the Rapture does happen that I get to keep my clothes!

I went home, husband went to get food for him and Emily. But before he left, he found our missing cat in the neighbor's yard. He managed to sneak up on him and grab him before the kitty ran off again. That really made my day because I was really upset that he was missing.

Then I was off to SC for a going away party. One of my Greenville Browncoat friends is moving to Las Vegas, so we had a going away party at Mexican restaurant that has karaoke. I was on the road when the Rapture was suppose to happen but I didn't notice anything strange.

Since I was Emily-free, I was able to stay until after 10 and I got to sing 3 songs. It was great to hang out with friends, sing songs (There was a Rat Pack / End of the World theme going on with the songs our group was singing) and have some time away from my toddler.

But I didn't get home until nearly midnight so I was beat. And then, of course, I was up around 7 am thanks to my tiny dictator of a daughter.

So I spent my day geeking out and not worrying about the end of the world. It was a really shiny time!

Saturday, May 21, 2011


So, in addition to being a blogger and mom, I'm also an inspiring author. I've been writing stories for, well, over a decade. My first story was a blatant Star Wars rip-off that I wrote when I was in the 5th or 6th grade.

I've continued to write over the years, and, I hope, I've gotten a lot better. I'm feeling I'm ready to make that plunge into the publishing world, and I've made it my goal to have my current work in progress ready for publishing by Christmas 2011.

This is really important to me since I got so sick over Christmas last year. I really want to have accomplished something big by Christmas this year, kind of to make up for the fact that I do not remember Christmas Eve or Christmas Day 2010.

As I work on my novel, I am thinking about my options once I am ready to start selling it. I was talking to a friend of mine today, and she has some experience in the publishing world and she told me that self-publishing is basically considered a cop-out in the publishing world.

So I'm just not sure what to do. Both traditional and self-publishing have their advantages and their disadvantages.

Though mostly I need to find time to write every day. I'm on Chapter 6 right now so I have a while to do before my first draft is even finished.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Spoiler Free Review - Thor

Since I'm a mom, I tend not to be able to see movies right away when they are released. So I didn't get chance to see Thor until this past weeked.

We got a sitter for Emily and went to see it in 3-D on Sunday. My husband had already seen it opening weekend, and he had said it was very good so I had been looking very forward to it.

I wasn't disappointed - Thor was amazing, especially in 3-D. The story was interesting, it had funny parts and the action sequences were awesome in 3-D. Now I know more about mythical Thor than comic book Thor, but I did know the basis of the story. Anthony Hopkins as Odin was perfect casting, and Chris Hemsworth was wonderful as Thor.

I think anyone would enjoy this movie and it's well worth it to see it in the theater.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Many Faces of Me

Because of the internet, I think many of us have pseudonyms that they have used in the past and even now. I've had several and I thought I'd share them here.

Technically, I got my first nickname very early since my name is actually Amanda. My family always called me Mandy though (except my mom who call me Manda). I always liked Mandy better, but I use Amanda if I need a professional name.

When I first got on the internet when I was early in my college days, I found a great chat site where there was roleplaying games happening. I started playing in the Star Wars room, and I picked the name Neisa Sondra for my character's name.

Now Neisa was a character from my first book that I wrote in like the 7th grade. I couldn't think of a name when I joined the chat room so I picked that one. I became known as Neisa around the internet because it become my user name of choice.

In the chat room, Neisa was a Jedi Healer who bounced back and forth from light to dark. She really had a lot of issues, but she was fun to play.

It was a few years later, and I wanted a new character. Since Eowyn (from 'Lord of the Rings') was already taken as a user name on that chat room, I became Eoywin.

 She was originally a Dark side Princess with Force powers and no memory. But as I moved away from roleplaying online, I continued to use Eoywin as my user name. This was the name I was using when I joined the Bpal forums, so there is still a lot of people who know me by this online name.

But when I joined up with the Greenville Browncoats several years ago, there were already a few other Mandy's - Good and Evil. So I asked what Mandy I should be. Someone suggested Chaos, and it stuck.

So Chaos Mandy is how I'm known in Browncoat circles and it's the name I go by most of the time now. It's also the name I picked to go by when I started writing for GeekMom.

We'll just have to see if I pick up any more names as time goes on!

Weekend Stuff

I had a busy weekend this weekend, which is why I haven't had a chance to blog.

After I got laid off from my job, I floundered around for a while trying to get a new job. Once it became clear that the economy was so screwed up that I was going to get a new job for a while, my husband and I decided that I ought to go back to school.

But I still missed having my own money. It was early 2009 when I was introduced to ChaCha, which is a company where you text in a question and you get a human generated answer. I become a Guide and I answer the questions that come in.

I only make 10 to 20 cents a question, so it can be hard sometimes to make money. If I do a little all month, I can easily make the payout before the monthly payout date. But if I'm busy or if I slack off, I have to do a mad dash at the end of the money to make it to the payoff amount.

I had not intended on slacking off this month, but thanks to my best friend, I discovered a new and faster way to make money. I've started writing articles and making approximately $2. Most of the articles don't take too long to write so it's a lot easier to build up money faster.

But I haven't made enough via articles to want to forego the ChaCha money this month, so I spent all of Friday and Saturday madly answering questions. I made my goal about 6 pm on Saturday night and pretty much passed out afterward because I had staying up way too late trying to work.

Yesterday, I pretty much took the day off. My best friend watched Emily while Todd and I went to see Thor  (which was very good!). Once we got home and got Emily asleep, I played WoW while Todd and I watched Easy A (which was a cute movie).

I'm off school this week so I'm hoping to get a lot of article work done!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

AshevilleMommies and The Mommies Network

I'd like to preface this entry by saying a few things which may not make any sense to some of you until you read below.

1) Even though I applied for and didn't get the Chapter Manager job for AshevilleMommies, I'm not angry or bitter. Honestly, I applied before I knew I had to take summer classes and before I started writing for GeekMom. While I would have done the job to the best of my ability, I'm actually relieved that I don't have something else added to my plate right now.

2) I did email The Mommies Network to get their side of all of this, so this post can have both sides. While they did email me back, it took a while to get any actual answers out of them. Their answers will be covered below.

I joined AshevilleMommies, which is a part of The Mommies Network in July 2009. It was really a godsend because I was really struggling with being a stay at home mom and with my postpartum depression. When I joined, this was a thriving community with lots of people on the forums and lots of things for both the kids and moms.

Just about a year later, there was some drama that I wasn't really involved with beyond knowing the folks it did involve. It had to do with a long standing member used a swear word, and because of that she was briefly banned. I think there may have been other things going on beyond that, but I really wasn't involved.

A new mommies group was formed and lots of the members of AshevilleMommies moved to that group. I did make an account with the other group since lots of my friends were there, but I did keep up with AM.

After the split, AM was a ghost town, and a newer member stepped up to be the Site Administrator. She and I never got along, but I tried my best to be pleasant at events that we were both at.

It was a few months after the split I signed up to be Promotions manager. I did the job to the best of my ability, promoting the site on social media among other ways. I was getting really stressed over school at the time, so I was only the manager for a couple of months when I had to step down. It wasn't too long after I got so sick and ended up in the hospital.

Now, I will admit to not being very happy with AshevilleMommies in recent months, mostly because a lot of the activities aren't the sort of thing I could go to or could even afford. Activity on the forum has been way down again, and the site seems to be dying a slow death.

The majority of the activities were either Mom's Night Out, which I personally can never attend since my husband works 2nd shift. Or activities that I cannot afford.

Case in point, there was a Portrait Party that was scheduled which would cost $40 to have a 1/2 session and that included 1 free print. I was a bit annoyed so I posted that I thought that wasn't a very good deal and how I wished there was some more activities that weren't so expensive.

Turns out the Portrait Party is a fundraiser for AshevilleMommies, but that wasn't put anywhere in the original post. If I had know that, I might have still been a bit annoyed, but I wouldn't have said anything. But this was just a sign of tings to come as far as secrets and not disclosing things.

So in February, the current Site Admin announces she is moving away so she has to step down from her position. I thought about it for a long time, and I decide to apply, since I had some ideas to bring the site back up to it's former glory.

It was around this time that The Mommies Network puts a post on the AshevilleMommies boards that if no candidate is found, the site will be shut down. This post was actually put up a week after I had sent my application in, which struck me as odd.

Once I had applied, I waited to see if my application was received. I waited about a week and then had to email The Mommies Network to see if they had gotten my application. In fact, I think the post about the site shutting down was what prompted me to email them.

I was told that they got my application and so I waited. I did get an email at the beginning of April asking what part I had to play in the earlier drama and what I did for the rival site. I post pretty much what I said above and was perfectly honest.

There was more waiting, and more posts asking for more applications. To which, I sent a private message to the person on The Mommies Network if I was not being considered to which I got the reply, "I'll look into it". I never got a reply back.

A few weeks ago I got the email stating that I was not chosen. It didn't really surprise me, but I was curious who had gotten the job. I was also curious if the current site admin's dislike of me had something to do with it.

The waiting continued and some people where really concerned that no-one was chosen and expressed this on the forums. The Mommies Network didn't have the courtesy post that someone had been chosen, letting all those members worry. I did come forward and say that I had applied, and since I had been declined for the job someone must have gotten it.

Today it was announced who the new admin is, and it is someone who has only been a member of the site for a few months. It just really struck me as odd.

So I emailed The Mommies Network to get their side because I do want to strive present both sides. They say that the current Site Admin had no input at all in who got the job, and finally after emailing back and forth all day, they finally admitted they considered me not appropriate for the job because of my involvement with the rival mommy group. So they were going to actually shut the site down if no-one else applied.

I just wish they had been honest with me from the beginning. I wish they had let me know that I wasn't what they thought was an appropriate candidate from the beginning. I wish it hadn't have taken all day to get a straight answer from them. And I really wish they hadn't been so secretive with the members of AshevilleMommies. It's not a good feeling knowing that a group you depend on might dissolve without getting any clear answers from the people in charge.

I do wish the new Site Admin the best of luck. The site is on life support and I'm not sure it's going to be able to rebound at all. For me, I'm pretty much done with AshevilleMommies and The Mommies Network. I've had enough of the secrets and drama.

I really hope I have presented this without sounding angry and bitter - I'm really not either of those things. Mostly I'm annoyed. I just also feel that there should be something out there about this company and their practices so potential members in other cities can try to avoid the issues that I've had. It's honestly hard enough just being a mom!

Busy, Busy

It's been a busy week and it's only Wednesday! I took my last finals on Monday, and now I'm trying to work at lot at my at home jobs during the interim between Spring and Summer semesters.

Though yesterday I spent a good portion of the day at my best friend, Dolli's house. She, I and her husband played a variety of board games such as Settlers of Catan, Zombie Fluxx and Apples to Apples. It was a lot of fun.

But because I didn't get a lot of work done yesterday, I'm having to make up for it today.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Belated Mother's Day Post

I spent yesterday with my wonderful family so I didn't get a chance to make a Mother's day post. Mother's day is a mixed holiday for me because my mom passed away in 2002 from a long battle with cancer.

In the morning we went to church, which made me think of my mom and made me weepy. But it was a good service with an excellent sermon by Pastor Mark.

After church, Todd made waffles and bacon for brunch. After we ate,Emily and I took a nap. Once we woke up, Todd was playing with Emily so I could get some work done. But then he asked me if I wanted to go to Coldstone for a snack.

I never turn down ice cream so we headed down to Biltmore Square for some ice cream. It was a beautiful day here in NC, and we had a nice little walk to Coldstone.

After our treat, we headed home. I worked some more while Todd made hamburgers on the grill. After supper, he played with Emily until it was time for bed.

Once Emily was asleep, Todd and I played Nintendo Monopoly which was very fun, though the game ended up as a draw.

All in all, it was a very nice mother's day!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Bad Drivers Make Me Upset

I'm so going to get in an accident one of these days and it won't be my fault!

I know that I'm not the best driver in the world, but I'm aware of that so I try and pay extra attention while I'm driving. I do know enough to be able to merge and be aware of my surroundings though.

Yesterday I was coming home from school and I was nearly involved in a several car pile up because some idiot decided to stop on the on ramp and sit there until traffic was completely clear on the highway. Thankfully there was no accident because everyone coming up behind him was able to break and get onto the highway. Merging is necessary dude! The traffic wasn't even that heavy.

Then today, I was also coming back from school when this guy pulled out right in front of me. Again I had to slam on my brakes and thank God no-one was right behind me. He was just totally oblivious to his surroundings and nearly had me crash right into him. 

Needless to say, I'm going to be a little nervous getting into my car tomorrow.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Breastfeeding in Public

I'm a breastfeeding mom. Thankfully, I never had any issues so Emily never had to have formula. And when she was smaller, I breastfed in public quite a bit.

Since she's 2 1/2 and since we are down to one nursing session a day (if that), I haven't breastfed in public in a long time. When I did though, I never used a cover because Emily is very warm-bloodied and she would sweat a ton. Plus I got good enough that I wasn't really flashing anyone.

Today we went out to lunch and there was a couple with a baby that couldn't have been more than 6 months old. When the baby got hungry the mom nursed her, at least that's what I assume that she was doing because she draped a blanket over herself and her baby. It looks really uncomfortable, and she couldn't eat while her baby was eating.

I know a lot of people are uncomfortable with nursing in public, both doing it and watching it. But I think if that woman had nursed without the blanket over her head, it would have been a lot less noticeable. As it was, everyone in that area of the restaurant knew what she was doing.