For today's post, I thought it might be fun to write five random facts about me.  Here goes:

  1. I can pop my nose.  No, not like when people cup both hands over their nose and use their thumbnails to click the backs of their teeth.  Like, really, seriously pop my nose.  I think it's amusing and it creeps people the hell out.
  2. I've never seen The Princess Bride.  I don't want to see it.  It doesn't bother me that I haven't seen it.  And when people find this out and shout, "You haven't seen The Princess Bride?!" like it's some shortfall in my 80s credentials, I just tell them that I always thought it looked stupid.  It usually gets people to huff and walk off, which makes me laugh.
  3. I've never seen The Goonies.  I don't want to see it.  It doesn't bother me that I haven't seen it.  And judging from some conversations I've heard others have about it, it's a movie that's way more entertaining when you're twelve than an adult, and it's kind of sexist and racist.  No thanks.
  4. I've never been drunk.  Anyone who knows me in real life is probably not a bit surprised about this.
  5. I'm not a big fan of Prince.  I can appreciate that he was a brilliant and extremely accomplished writer and musician and will wholeheartedly argue that stance with anyone who says differently.  However, I've never been a huge fan of his music, and change the station when most of his songs start playing.

So what are some random facts about you?  Comment below!

 

Pet peeves.  All of us have a few of them.  Here are a couple of mine:

Not putting shopping carts in the corrals.  Yes, I know, it's hot/cold/rainy/etc. outside, and the cart corral is five spaces away from you.  Too bad.  Just too bad.  It's not OK in any way, shape, or form to leave the shopping cart a) in another parking space, b) propped crookedly on the island cement and the parking lot, c) just outside the cart corral.

My new "favorite" is people who only have a few bags and don't need the cart         to get the bags to the car, so they leave the carts inside.  Like this:

And finally, how lazy do you have to be to leave the shopping cart in the parking lot AT ALDI?

Badly parked cars.  Cars parked inside the lines, but one side is RIGHT ON THE YELLOW PARKING LINE.  Cars sharing two parking spots.  Cars parked diagonally, either inside the lines of their own space or across two or more spaces.

Honestly, it takes every fiber of my being to not take pictures and Facebook shame people like this.  It takes thirty seconds to repark the car if you're not doing it correctly, so just take the extra time and do it right.  Please.

Being late all the time.  I admit, I'm one of those people who runs early for just about everything.  Running right on time for an appointment makes me antsy, and if I think I'm going to be even two minutes late for something, I call the other person to let them know.

That there are people in the world who are constantly late for everything drives me nuts.  Please don't get me wrong--if someone is late a couple of times because they lost track of time, I understand that that happens.  That happens to all of us.  But I know some people who are late to everything because they just are.  It's rude and irritating.  It shows me that that person thinks that my time isn't as valuable as their time.

So what are your pet peeves?  Let me know in the comments.

 

2

After last week's heavy post about my mental health, I decided that this week I would write about something a little lighter and more fun and tell you about my three recurring nightmares and the dream that made me laugh.

The one I have most often involves toilets.  In my nightmare, I'm always trying to find a toilet because sometimes one needs to use a toilet.  For some reason, I'm always trying to find a toilet in a locker room, the size of an Amtrak lobby, that's filled with toilets.  But they're all out in the open, not in stalls.  Variation on a theme:  some of them are in stalls, but it's like three to four toilets to a stall, and the stalls aren't the cleanest.  Second variation on a theme: Many of the toilets are in stalls, but they haven't been flushed or they're out of service.  Fourth variation on a theme: I'm trying to find a place to take a shower and all the showers are out in the open.

 
The nightmare I have less frequently, but still often enough to mention, is the old "I skipped all my classes and now have to show up for the final exam" trope.  It's usually always a math or literature class, and I haven't done any of the homework.  Bonus points if the math class is taught by Pat, the man who taught precalc and discreet math my senior year of high school (shout out to all my Uni friends).

Honorable mention goes to the dreams in which someone in my family gets sick or dies or Jeff divorces me.  Fortunately, I don't have those dreams too often, as I wake up crying and then can't get back to sleep.  Huge props to my anxiety kicking in while I sleep.

And now the dream that woke me up because I was laughing in my sleep.  I forget the whole dream, but I was at my Aunt's house and for some reason brought in a dog and pony and told her it was a dog and pony show.  Honestly, it still makes me laugh.

What are some of your dreams or nightmares?  Are they as stupid as mine?

PS--you can subscribe to or follow my blog by signing up to receive emails.  I'd love to have you join the fun!

A few years ago, I saw this on another blog I read.  Here goes:

1. You have 50 dollars in your pocket--what do you do with it?
I used to be a bank teller.  I never have more than $2 in cash in my pocket.

2. What is your most guilty pleasure?
Harry Potter Fanfiction.

3. Have you ever seen someone die?
Like the moment a person actually takes that last breath?  No.

Like the hours before and after someone passes away?  Yes.

4. Are you confused as to what lies ahead of you?
All the time.

5. What was the last movie you saw, for pleasure, and would you recommend it?
Saturday night, I made a double feature of Bridget Jones's Baby and Can't Buy Me Love on Netflix.  If you like fun chick flicks, then yes, I'd rec them both.

6. Superman or Batman?
Batman. Especially Val Kilmer's Batman.

7. If the person you like does not accept you, would you continue to wait for them to change their feelings?
I've been married for far too long to even remember what this sort of thing felt like.

8. If the person you secretly like is already attached, what would you do?
Well, the person I not-so-secretly like is attached to me...

9. Is there anything that has made you unhappy recently?
As much as I despise even mentioning the man, Trump.  Every time I see his picture or read about something he did or said, my blood boils.

10. If you could have chosen at birth whether to be a boy or a girl, which would you be?
My answer depends on my mood. Mostly, I like being girl. But there are times when i want to be a boy.

11. Which of the 7 Deadly Sins do you think you relate to the most; why?
Pride. My high opinion of myself is my horrible downfall. (this was the other blogger's original entry, and it's good, so I'm not changing it)

12. Who would be your ultimate seven dinner guests?
C.S. Lewis, J.K. Rowling, Benedict Cumberbatch, The Doctor, Rich Mullins, my brother, and Jesus.

13. Clinton or Obama?
Obama. (Please come back, Mr. Obama...)

14. Would you rather be a really good person or a really interesting person?
I'd rather be a really good person.

15. Do you believe in some form of life after death?
Definitely.

16. Which fictional character could you most see yourself marrying?
Charlie Weasley.  George Weasley.  The Doctor.

17. Best bald Star Trek Captain - Picard or Sisko?
Picard.

18. Do you have a motto? If yes which one?
Love one another.

19. What type of friends do you have?
Well, I think they're cool.

20. What place most speaks to you?
Any road, especially an interstate, that has a lot of trees on both sides.  Better still when the road curves and as you come around the curve, the scenery opens up to trees, trees, and more trees.

 

So I can think of many things I'd love to do, though I don't have a bucket list (you know, that list of things you need to do before you die).  Maybe I should have a bucket list.  Do you have a bucket list?

But this is not that list.  This is a list of fifty things I'll never do.  Ok, I know, never is a long time.  I could change my mind on some of these items, because hey, I'm allowed to change my mind.  But since I'm not getting any younger and I seem to be set in my ways, I'm pretty confident that these are the things I'll never do.

  1. Read Twilight.
  2. Watch the Twilight movies.
  3. Get a tongue piercing.
  4. Tattoo my face.
  5. Get drunk.
  6. Eat liver.
  7. Find the fountain of youth.
  8. Run a marathon.
  9. Run a half marathon.
  10. Run circles around my back yard.
  11. Consider Sarah Palin a serious political anything.
  12. Send Rush Limbaugh fan mail.
  13. Wear anything that is mustard yellow.
  14. Camp.
  15. Bungee jump.
  16. Enjoy red wine.
  17. Enjoy most white wine.
  18. Consider Justin Bieber talented.
  19. Wear leather pants.
  20. Go to any country that forces women to wear a head covering.
  21. Be a judge for American Idol.
  22. Be a judge on any show Simon Cowell is on or has his hands in.
  23. Like Simon Cowell.
  24. Think Tom Cruise is sane.
  25. Carry a purse.
  26. Have a pet rat.
  27. Like football.
  28. Understand why people like The Sound of Music and The Wizard of Oz.
  29. Smoke a cigarette.
  30. Smoke a cigar.
  31. Smoke a turkey.
  32. Change my mind about Severus Snape.
  33. Believe Fred Weasley is dead.
  34. Kick ass and take names.
  35. Consider myself "plucky."
  36. Become an extrovert.
  37. Smile all the time.
  38. Mudwrestling.
  39. Join the military.
  40. Cheer for the Cardinals.
  41. Consider Coors or Bud anything but horse piss.
  42. Join a girl gang.
  43. Wear high heels.
  44. Join a convent.
  45. Finish this list... holy crap, am I done yet?  This is taking forever.  Wait, I mean Stand-up comedy.
  46. Intentionally swallow a tapeworm.
  47. Give love a bad name.
  48. Rule the world.
  49. Vogue.
  50. Stop believin'.

So-- what are fifty things that you won't do?  Or even just a few?

I don't like to be scared, so as you can imagine, I'm not a huge fan of the horror genre.

My two best friends, on the other hand, love watching horror movies and shows.  In fact, most of the people I know enjoy horror, so I get to hear what's scary as hell and what's not on a regular basis.

American Horror Story?  Never seen an episode.

The Shining?  Never read it, never watched the movie with Jack Nicholson.

Up until about six months ago, I'd never watched an episode of Supernatural.  People who know what I like to watch are always surprised to find that out, because Supernatural really is right up my alley.

It's not that I've never seen a horror movie before.  When I was sixteen, some friends and I watched Pet Sematary.  I finally got to sleep hours later after wearing myself out and convincing myself that no undead cats were going to come into my room.  Several years ago I watched The Devil's Advocate and it creeped me the hell out so badly that every time I'd think of the part where that chick's face does the weird thing, I have to get up and turn on all the lights in the house.  And yeah, I know, that wasn't really a horror movie.

I told you I'm a lightweight.

OK, so here are some things I've found scary over the years.  Feel free to laugh, I really don't mind.

1.  Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Hush"

If I say "The Gentlemen," what do you think of?  If you're a Buffy fan, you know exactly what I'm talking about.  If not, watch this.  Or don't.

2.  Supernatural, "Pilot"

OK, according to everything I'd read, Supernatural wasn't supposed to be scary scary.  Teenagers were watching it.  It was on prime time television every week.  And since I like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Supernatural should be something I'd enjoy.

Yeah.  After I watched the Pilot episode in Netflix, I took like a one year break from trying to watch it again.  And only after several people told me that overall, the series really wasn't as creepy as the pilot episode.  I just started watching it again a few days ago.  You can be sure I skipped the "Bloody Mary" episode.

3.  Haunted Houses run by community organizations

When I was little, my mom was in this Women's Club that did a haunted house every October at a church CE building during Halloween week.  The year that I was nine or ten, they moved the haunted house from the CE building to the old hotel across town.  This hotel hadn't been used for years, so it was the perfect place for a haunted house.

I had been through the haunted house the year before when it was in the CE building, and it wasn't too bad.  I went through the old hotel in the daylight, and it wasn't too bad.  I thought I could handle going through at night.

I tried to go through the haunted house on a Friday night.  I was OK in the first three or four rooms, which were mostly dark and had a couple of people jump out to startle our group.  Then we got to the fifth room.  Where my mom was being beheaded.  Yeah, I had to leave the group.

I don't remember a lot after that.  I think they turned the lights on and had an adult escort me back to the beginning.  Dad took me home.  I slept with the light on in my closet that night, and every time I'd try to fall asleep, I started dreaming that vampires were coming out of my closet.

No, I haven't been in a haunted house since then.

4. The Monster at the End of This Book

I'm 42.  Seeing this book cover still gives me the willies.

I can count the number I've times I tried to read The Monster at the End of This Book on one hand when I was little.  Usually I got to this page and had to stop.

Needless to say, Liam never had this book as a kid.

5.  Old dolls

You remember that old story about the china doll who comes to life in the middle of the night and kills people?

Somebody told me that story when I was six.  I had one china doll in my room at that time, and I think I hid her under the bed that night.  And then cowered with the blanket over my head all night long.

6. Weeping Angels

"Blink" is one of my favorite Doctor Who episodes, and I thought the Weeping Angels were pretty cool.  But then Amy Pond meets them in "The Time of Angels":

"are you looking at me?"

And she keeps looking.

"I said, are you looking at me?"

And looking...

And looking...

"Didn't your mum tell you not to stare?"

I love "Blink," but this scene creeps me out just enough:

7. Anything that startles me

I'm easily startled.  Usually I can end up laughing at myself about it, like the times my friend Kathleen and I would nearly walk into each other coming around the corner at the office (she's easily startled too).  We'd squeal a bit, twitch, then laugh at each other.  This happened about once a week.

Or the times when Jeff will quietly come around the corner in the house while my mind is totally focused on a task.  As soon as he says, "Steph" I practically jump and my adrenaline is rushing.

I would be worthless in a horror movie.

The absolute worst though is this video I saw online about fifteen years ago.  It's about three minutes long, and it's like a cartoon type video.  A little girl and her dog are playing and it's nice and soothing and then the end comes and all of a sudden the girl is just looking straight at the screen and screaming.  And then, unfortunately, I am too.

I hate that video.

So there you go. Some silly things that scare me because I'm a horror genre lightweight.

I will send the Weeping Angels after any of you who use this information against me.

"A new commandment I give to you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this, everyone will know that you are my disciples if you love one another."  (John 13:34-35)

Please bear with me.  I have stuff to say, but it's not going to be flowing or terribly coherent.

I have a tattoo on my left wrist that says "love one another."  Originally, I was going to get all of verse 34 (above) on my wrist, but decided that those three words were enough and it would be a succinct reminder of the rest of those two verses.

I hope that those three words are written in my mind and on my heart so that I remember them in everything I say or do.  In reality, I know I still need to work on how I talk and act.  Having those three words written on my wrist is a visual reminder when my heart is too hurt or my mind too angry to stop me from doing or saying something stupid and unkind.

I'm not telling you this to convince you that I'm perfect and loving all the time.  Far from it.  But I don't understand hatred.  There are some people I strongly dislike in this world, but I deal with it by not thinking about them at all instead of stewing about how strongly I dislike them.  I don't understand utter loathing and stewing about it.  I try to remember that love isn't always a feeling; in fact, love is usually a way we act.  I use the definition of love from 1 Cor. 13:4-7 as my guide so that even if I'm not feeling loving towards someone, I can still act loving by being patient, kind, trusting, and hopeful (among other things).  The kindest thing we can do is forgive people who hurt us.  Failing that, the kindest thing we can do is to not think about certain people at all. It's better to not think about them than to stew in your hatred.

So I don't understand why people are so horrible to other people.  I don't understand how you can hate someone because of the way they look, the color of their skin, who they're attracted to, who they love, or who they worship or don't worship.  I don't understand wanting to harm someone because they're different from me.  I don't understand wishing a whole group of people would die because of the way they've chosen to live their lives (if those choices don't hurt anyone else).  There are some ways people choose to live their lives that I don't understand and would never do myself, but if what they're doing isn't hurting themselves or anyone else, then why is it any of my business?

So I don't understand why the individuals who have committed acts of terrorism in the United States over the last several years have done so.

I don't understand how someone can hate the members of a whole community because of one thing.  Because they're gay.  Because they're transgender.  Because they're African-American or Chinese or Indian or Latino or Jewish.  Because they're Muslim or atheist or pagan or another Christian denomination.  Because they wear turbans or burqas or all black or dresses.  Because they're women.

What kind of hatred must you have in your heart that the sight of two men kissing incites you to pick up a gun and kill people at a gay club?

This upsets me on two levels.  On a general level, I wonder how someone can have that much hatred for any individual and that much more hatred for a whole community.  On a more personal level it upsets me because I've lost a sibling to cancer  and my very best friend in the whole world, who is practically my sister, is a member of the LGBTQ community.

How many people lost siblings yesterday at The Pulse, and what if it had been this woman I love as a sister?

As a person who has lost a sibling and a person who loves someone in the LGBTQ community, this is just a nightmare.  And it didn't even happen to me.

Tonight there are people grieving because some guy hated homosexuals.  Tonight there are people, like my sister-friend, who are living in fear because other people, who also hate homosexuals, are calling the shootings yesterday "God's will."

And I don't understand because the God I worship loves everyone so much that He sent His only Son to earth.  And I don't understand because that Son, Jesus, told us to love God and love our neighbor.  And this Jesus told us to love one another.  And I don't understand how people can think that this same God hates certain people when the Bible says He loves everyone so fiercely.

I don't understand and my heart is broken for all the parents weeping for children they lost and all the siblings who are in shock because their brother or sister isn't ever coming home and for all the people living in fear because they're gay, transgender, African-American, Muslim, Jewish, a girl, or anything else that might make them the victim of bigotry and violence.

I asked my sister-friend yesterday what I could do to help her besides pray.  She said "Keep speaking up and standing out."

So this is me speaking out.  Condemning the hatred and violence in this world.  Encouraging others to remember that God wants us to love one another and not hate.

And it starts here, with me, and this little reminder I have on my left wrist that simply says, "love one another."

(Continued from Part I)

For the first year or so, I made it through because the job itself wasn't that bad, it just wasn't something I enjoyed doing.  Still, the work was easy, I did it well, and if I had a rough day, I had my fantastic friends.

During the second year, while the job itself became easier, I had a difficult time doing it because I'm an introvert who was stuck answering phones and greeting people who came into the office.  To be fair, there weren't that many of either, but as a receptionist, I had to be "on" all the time.  And the work itself became monotonous.  I really hate monotonous work.

At the same time, the director and I developed a mutual dislike for each other.  The working environment became negative and my morale decreased.  My fantastic friends helped some, but even their encouragement couldn't improve the rough days.  When people asked me how work was, I would tell them I hated it, but I wanted to stick it out for a little while longer because I really  adored most of the people I worked with.  There's definitely something to be said for working with people who are such good friends, and I wasn't ready to not see them every day.

At the beginning of the third year, my brother died.  I hated my job, and I'd just watched my little brother battle cancer.  Life is too short to continue to do something I hate, so I began looking for other jobs.

A couple of incidents in September 2015 made going to work almost unbearable.  I couldn't use my love for my friends as a reason to stay, and the atmosphere had become so bad that I really wanted to quit my job (without having another in place) or make the director fire me.

Since I couldn't afford to just leave, I started praying to be fired.

There were three of four times after that that I almost walked out of the job.  I'd already packed most of my stuff and taken it home so that whatever happened, I'd be ready to leave in a hurry. But I didn't just leave because I didn't want to make the situation more difficult for my supervisor than it already was.  I was more worried about her being swamped than I was about my own mental health.

On December 7, I cried as soon as I got into the office. I told the friend I was closest to at the office that I wouldn't just quit was because I didn't want to create more work for everyone else.  She said, "Steph, as much as I love you and don't want to see you leave, I know you hate it here and you need to do what's best for you.  Don't worry about us and don't worry about creating more work for anyone else."

On December 8, I woke up dreading going to work -- again -- but with the feeling that it would be my last day.  I really believe that God told me to finish up a few tasks and clean up a couple of documents, and I did so.  I left files in order with directions on how to find computer files that would be used routinely.  When the director requested a 3 pm meeting with me, I knew he was going to fire me and let some people know what was going on.  When he fired me at 3:15, I let the same people know that it had happened, packed up the rest of my stuff, and left.  I knew I'd done my best given the circumstances and I left my area more organized than I'd found it.

So here's the point:

Loyalty can be misplaced.  Sometimes severely.  It's good to be loyal, but be loyal to people and not things.  A job is just a job.  Stuff is just stuff.  People are living, breathing beings with feelings that can be hurt.  Make sure that the people you choose to be loyal to are worth that loyalty.  If they become unworthy, back away slowly.  Be nice, but don't insist on remaining loyal to someone who won't be loyal to you.

You don't have to hang onto people who are hurting you or things that don't fit.

And on that note, I'm going to go buy some ankle socks.

What do you think about loyalty?  Have I missed my calling a true Hufflepuff, or is this pretty spot-on?

 

Yes, they're clean. I'm just really hard on my socks.
Yes, they're clean. I'm just really hard on my socks.

Yup.  That's a pair of my socks.

I'm really hard on socks and will wear them out before I get new ones.  A few months ago, I had to throw several pairs of ankle socks away (they had holes).  I bought a six pack of this kind because I thought it might be good to have some socks that are longer than the ankle socks I've been wearing.

I don't like them.

They're too tight at the opening and too long on my leg and I guess I'm picky about socks because I just don't like them.

But I've been sadly committed to these socks because there's nothing really wrong with them.  They serve their purpose, I paid for them, and it's too late to take them back to Target for an exchange.

So I keep wearing socks I don't like because of misplaced loyalty.

Funny, this feels like a life theme to me.

I am a loyal person.  Whenever there's one of those friendship tests floating on Facebook and the question is, "what do your friends remember you for?" and one of the answers is "loyalty," that's the answer I pick every single time.

If you are my friend, you are my friend until you've made it abundantly clear that you don't want to be my friend anymore.  If you ask me to serve on a committee or do some volunteer work, and I say yes, I will do it.  I may not like what I'm doing, but I will do it until the task is completed.  I may not ever do it again, but I will finish what I started.

I don't flake out on people.  I've always been this way, and I don't anticipate a change anytime soon.

But sometimes this loyalty becomes misplaced.

For example, my last job.

When I started it, I was excited!  I was going to be doing research and writing, something that I'd been wanting to do for a long time.  I've always wanted to be paid to write.  I'd just come from a job as a bank teller that I despised, and I wasn't particularly fond of many of my bank co-workers.  This was going to be a drastic change, and while I was excited, I was nervous about whether or not I'd like it.  It was a one year internship, so I figured I could do anything for a year.  If I hated it, I would be able to leave quietly at the end of the year and count this as more life experience.

I loved it.  And more importantly, I adored most of the people I worked with and became close friends with several of them.  At the end of the year, I got hired in a permanent position.  As in any job, there were good days and some really rough days.  Having actual friends in the workplace made the rough days manageable and the good days fantastic.

About four years ago, the director who hired me retired.  A little over a year after that, the new guy demoted me, and I became the office receptionist.

I hated it.

(Continue to Part II)

 

I know y'all have been waiting at your computers for two days for an update.  ::snicker:::

Thanks to the good people at Micropower, most of the files on my flash drive were retrieved.  I was especially relieved to see that the 15,000+ word story I'd been writing was completely intact, because there were some files that just didn't transfer over the the new flash drive.  Fortunately for me, I was saved a major meltdown and lots of work because I had copies of all of those files on my computer.

Whew.

So what have we learned, ladies and gentlemen:

  1.  Take good care of your things; and
  2. Have more than one backup of all your computer files.

I think once I get this new flash drive organized today, I'm going to store all my files in Google Drive too.  I don't know that my brain could take this kind of stress again.  Technology is great when it works, but sometimes it's finicky.