Thursday, March 22, 2012

Back To Work

I haven't had a traditional, out of the house job for over three years. I got laid off the day before I was suppose to go back to work after maternity. After I looked for a job for six months in vain (it was 2009), I decided to go back to school.

Well, I got my Medical Office Administration degree in December, so it was time to find a new job. After the fail I had in 2009, I decided to use a temp. agency to help me.

I set up daycare for Emily and applied at one temp. agency. I was going to apply to more, but the first one was able to find me a job which I started on Monday.

It's been interesting getting back into the workforce. First, the day I started happened to be my birthday. I would not recommend to anyone to not start a new job on your birthday, especially when you only have a vague idea what you might be doing.

While starting the job on my birthday was nerve-wreaking enough, having to pick Emily up from the sitter was worse. Since Todd works 2nd shift, we only need someone to watch Emily for a couple of hours a day. A stay at home mom who has a little girl who is a year older than Emily watches her while both of us are at work. Emily has a great time over there and she doesn't like leaving when I pick her up.

Monday was the worst day - she had a temper tantrum all the way to the car. It really hurt my feelings. Thankfully things have gotten better since then.

I'm doing office work, logging and organizing old files. Mostly I sit on my butt, but I do need to move the file boxes a few times each day. And the first day, I needed to reorganize and move all the boxes. I'm not used to that sort of physical activity and I'm sore all over.

Mostly I'm just tired and sore. I'm very glad that tomorrow is Friday. I knew that there would be a curve as I got used to working again, but I didn't realize how tired I would be. Right now, I'm feeling sentimental about my days as a stay at home mom. But I'm sure things will be better as my body adjusts and once I get that first paycheck next week!

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Star Wars: The Old Republic Free Trial Weekend

Jedi Knight Chaos Mandy
I'm not going to post about St. Patrick's Day because I honestly really dislike St. Patrick's Day. I was always annoyed as a child that some guy named Patrick got a holiday and I didn't, even though my birthday is two days after the green beer holiday. As I grew up, I realized that I didn't like watered down beer and pretty much ignore this holiday.

Instead, I'm going to talk about Bioware's very special birthday present to me. Which is the free trial weekend of Star Wars: The Old Republic (SWTOR) MMORPG.

I've wanted to play SWTOR for a while now. It just came out last December so it's still very shiny and new. So I was really surprised to find out that they were having a free weekend. From this past Thursday to some point on Monday, you can download and play SWTOR for free.

I got a new laptop recently but I wasn't sure if it was going to be good enough to play this game. My best friend, Dolli, who is much more computer saavy than I am looked up the specs for me to see if it would work. According to the minimum specs, my laptop's video card wasn't good enough.

Even knowing this, I decided to download the game just to see. Surprisingly, after the game downloaded, it actually ran! I'm not sure why the minimum specs said I couldn't because I don't even have any lag.

So I've been trying to play SWTOR as much as possible the last couple of days. My husband has been great about making sure I get some playing time while it is free. Tomorrow I won't get to play at all, because we'll be heading to Dolli's house to play our table top game and eat cake for my birthday.

I'll be buying a subscription sometime in the future, because it's a very fun game. I've made it to level 8 with my Jedi Knight (who is green so she will never be pinched on St. Patrick's Day). I'm looking forward to exploring more of the world as well as making a 2nd character who is evil!

I'd recommend Star Wars: The Old Republic to any Star Wars fans, but especially the ones who loved Knight of the Old Republic like I did. It's a very good game.

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Friday, March 16, 2012

It's Just God Bowling

We are getting some massive thunderstorms moving through the area today. Right after Emily woke up from her nap there was a huge clap of thunder right over our house. She buried her head into my side and wouldn't emerge until the worst had past.

Another storm moved through at her normal bedtime, and I let her stay up a little later than usual since I knew it would be impossible to get her to stay in her room with the loud cracks of thunder.

There were a few distant rumbles as I tucked her into bed. So I told her the old line that my parents used to tell me. "It's just God bowling up in Heaven."

While I know this isn't the case (probably?), it does seem plausible to me. When I was in college, our Student Activity Center had a bowling alley as well as a pool. The pool locker rooms were right under the bowling alley and it did sound just like thunder over our heads.

I hope that the storms stay away for the rest of the night and that my daughter can get some sleep. God can hopefully work on his bowling game some other day.

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Writing Challenge - Nothing but Hollowness

Twilight had always been one of my favorite times of day, when the sky would go orange and darken as as night came. But on this day, as I stood on a bridge, watching the sun leave the sky, I felt nothing but hollowness. My vacant eyes watched as the sun descended down signaling the end of another day, but for me it felt like the end of all my hopes and dreams.

As the tears fell softly from my bright, blue eyes, my hand moved to settle over my stomach. It wasn't too long ago that I thought that everything I ever wanted was going to come true. There was the positive pregnancy test after years of trying to have a baby with my husband.

Today should have been a wonderful day as I had my first ultrasound. First look at my long awaited baby as well as hearing that blessed child's heartbeat. But the sound of his or her heart never reached my ears as we were told that the baby had stopped growing.

Dead wasn't a word I wanted to think of. How could this baby be dead? The tears were coming faster now as the darkness wrapped around me. I knew that this feeling of hopelessness and utter grief would pass. I knew that there might even be other children in my future. But for now, I stood on that bridge with my face to the sky, grieving for the baby that would never be in my arms.


For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, Alyssa Reyans challenged me with "Standing on the bridge,watching the sun leave the sky,nothing but hollowness behind my vacant eyes.The tears fall tirelessly and then I... (write about what caused the person to be in this place with these emotions)" and I challenged Mediocre Wayne with "The Fight of Your Life"

Friday, March 9, 2012

Old CDs

Old School Me!
Our cars have only had tape players for a while now. I have a cassette adapter that lets me use my MP3 player, so I would just put on there the songs we want to listen to for road trips.

Well, we got Red Car a few weeks ago and it has a CD player. It also has a cassette player but it doesn't like my adapter. So it's pretty much CDs or the radio. For some reason, I kept a lot of old mix CDs I made back in 2003 and 2004.

I got to listen to several of these CDs as Emily and I went to my best friend's house recently. It's really interesting to see how my music preferences have changed and how they have stayed the same.

Back in 2003, I was just out of college having graduated in August 2002. I was living at home with my dad and my sister, until she got married. It was August 2003 that my daily chronic headaches started and I was starting to date Todd.

2003 / 2004 Mandy is a lot different than current Me. I had a lot of issues, mostly health wise, but some others as well. My life was in a state of flux as I tried to make the transition from college student to adult. Now my life is a lot more stable, thanks to being married and being a mom.

Back in 2003 / 2004, I was listening to a lot of Japanese pop music (J-pop) and a lot of country. There is at least one J-pop and Rascal Flatts song on the mix CDs. I enjoyed listening to the J-pop, since it's been years since I had heard a lot of those songs. These days, I don't watch a lot of anime which is where my J-pop likes came from.

I go in stages where I listen to a lot of country, and I'm just not in a country phase right now. I skipped over most of the Rascal Flatts songs because I wasn't really that interested. One group that was on the CDs that I still love was Evanescence. And one CD has Accidentally In Love by the Counting Crows, which is my ringtone for Todd, since it is our 1st dance song.

I did have a whole CD of showtunes, which is another current favorite of mine. Though I do tend now to listen to the Glee versions rather than the originals. I listen to more rock now too, though a few CDs did have a little rock as I was first really getting into it.

I have a few more mix CDs to listen to. I look forward to taking a trip back to the mind of 2003 / 2004 Mandy!

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Thursday, March 8, 2012

Writing Challenge - Nostalgia

The baby was screaming at my breast and my toddler was literally running around my feet. The life of a stay at home mom wasn't a glamorous one and some days it just made me so tired. I turned on the TV as I sank into my armchair.

After I latched my baby on, I switched on Pandora to let my favorite music wash over me. I was in college in the 1990's and it was my favorite time in my life. I had carefully set my Pandora channels to play all of my favorites from the late 90's.

I closed my eyes for just a moment and thought about my life. While the kids were a rather new addition, things hadn't changed much since I graduated college. I was still living in the town I had gone to school in since my husband was still in college, now studying for his Master's. He had just started school when I was finishing up.

I didn't like change, and hadn't really wanted to have kids. My husband had insisted for years and I finally gave in. My life had been perfect. I had gotten an office job at the college and it was like I was caught in a wonderful time loop where I could relive my college days while earning money.

Now everything had changed and I didn't like it one bit. My toddler climbed into my lap and snuggled into my side. I looked down at my children, feeling a wash of emotion as I looked at them. I held them close as a newer song slipped its way into my Pandora station.

"Maybe change isn't so bad," I mused as I kissed the top of my children's head and thought about moving on from my 90's life.


For the IndieInk Writing Challenge this week, trencher challenged me with "Remember the 90's? Remember Extreme Ghostbusters and Achy Breaky Heart? Well this character does, but he or she is pushing 30 and hasn't moved on. Let's explore this person and their nostalgia kick. What do they get out of it? How do they interact with the world around them?" and I challenged The Lime with "The Vomit Of Life"

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The Worst Dream

Me and My Mom
I've been having vivid dreams since I was very small and some of them have been really scary. But the worst dream I've ever had is a recurring one about my mom.

My mom passed away in August 2002 and I still miss her everyday. The dream involves my mom being alive again. In the dream though, she is still sick. I'm so glad to have her back in the beginning of the dream, but things go downhill from there. I have to watch her decline and pass away all over again.

I only have this dream once or twice a year, but I always wake up feeling awful after I have it, which is how I felt today since I had the dream last night. I'd much rather dream about zombies than watch my mom die all over again.

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Saturday, March 3, 2012

A Day At The Museum!

My best friend, Dolli, is part of a mommy's group where she lives. She had organized a playdate to go to the Catawba Science Center this past Friday because it was Free Friday.

The Science Center has a dinosaur exhibit right now and it sounded like something that Emily would enjoy. So we drove over the night before and had a sleepover. We got up bright and early on Friday so we could get to there in time to meet another mom and her son from Dolli's mommy group.

We got in and we were given stickers to wear for Free Friday. We weren't sure before we got there if it was going to be free for everyone or if it was just going to be the kids. But it was free for everyone, which was shiny.

In the building we started out in, there was a bunch of fish. There was also a tank of sting rays and little sharks. We also got to see a tank with all the types of fish from Finding Nemo as well as some sea horses.

From there, we went to another building and that was where the dinosaur exhibit was. We weren't sure what kind of exhibit it would be, but it was very good. There was a bunch of dinosaur toys when we first walked in and the kids played with those for a little while.

Emily is three but the other kids with us were two. Emily wasn't afraid of the dinosaurs, even though they moved and some of them would roar if you got close to it.

Kaylee, Dolli's daughter, was especially freaked out by the huge dinosaurs. I don't think she knew what to make of it. But she did manage to have fun when the kids started playing in the dinosaur bone dig, which was kind of like a sandbox.

All three kids happily played in the dig box for a few minutes. We ended up following a tour of kids all day but at the tail end of our time in the dinosaur exhibit, we were in there by ourselves - expect for the museum worker, who was dressed up like an archeologist.

When it was time to leave the dinosaur exhibit, Emily was sad because she really liked it. She actually kept asking to see more dinosaurs. It was really cute. The dinosaur exhibit is going to be there until September 2nd, so I think we are going to have to try and go again sometime before it's gone.

Since it was the free Friday day, there was tons of kids everywhere. We think that there were two groups, probably from schools, there too. It made things interesting as we moved on to the other things to see.

There was a ton of hands on stuff everywhere we went, but the next section was really geared towards kids. The first room we came across had rocks, fossils, stuffed animals and more. And many of those things were out so kids could touch them.

Emily had a great time looking at the rocks and fossils. Maybe she'll grow up to be a rock hound like her Pop-Pop and grandma! We spent some time in there, and then we moved to the next room.

This room had a bunch of tables and chairs set up like stations. There was a station where you could play with toy gears, one with Legos, one with blocks and more. There was also compressed air tubing running around the room where the kids could put a ball in and watch it travel around the room. There was also a bunch of famous science quotes on the wall.

Emily really loved this room, especially the compressed air tubing. She could have probably stayed in there for a long time. The next room wasn't my favorite since it was geared towards older kids. There was a bunch of things where you could put a ball on a track and it was zoom down into a bucket.

Emily wanted to stay in the ball room but there was a lot of big kids there, so we went to the next room, which was much more toddler friendly. There was a playhouse and a tube that lead up into another area that had stuffed animals to play with. But Emily's part of this room was trying to catch fish with the help of a fishing rod that had a magnet on it.

By the time we had gotten to that last room, we had been at the science center for two hours. It was getting to be lunch time so we decided to call it a day and head to a nearby mall for lunch. It was the same mall that Dolli and I took the girl trick or treating.

We had a nice lunch in the food court and then we rode the carousel before we left. Emily really liked that and was brave enough to take her hands off for a minute.

Emily and I hung out with Dolli and Kaylee for the rest of the afternoon. We had dinner with them and headed back home. We managed to avoid all the bad weather on the drive home but got some pretty bad thunderstorms for the rest of the evening.

Emily had been so pooped that she fell asleep in the car. Usually she'll wake up when we get home, but she was so tired that she fell back asleep when I put her on the couch. I hurried to get all her bedtime stuff inside and I got her bed made up. I put her in bed and tucked her in, and she barely woke up while I was transferring her.

We had a great time but we both tired today. It's going to be a lazy Saturday for me and Emily!

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