Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas: The Good, The Bad, and the Just Plain Weird

I promised a Christmas recap, and here it is!

Disclaimer: I am not a miserable ungrateful bitch, but yes I *am* about to complain about certain Christmas presents. Consider yourself warned.

The Good:

-Good grades! I made the Deans List! I was incredibly excited as I've never in my life managed to get decent grades. I hope I can keep it up.
-The "We Are Happy To Serve You" mug I'd been asking for
-A Northface fleece vest
-A $130 Cashmere sweater
-Tons of art supply stuff including 2 table easels of varying size, brushes, canvases and paints
-Mamma Mia! (I feel like such a typical girl saying this, but words cannot describe how much I love this movie)
-$60 to buy Ugg boots with. This money will likely go towards bills... money given to me for Christmas generally never gets spent on what it's supposed to.

The Bad:
-Random toiletries. My mother means well and every year fills my stocking with various soaps, scrubs, face masks, shaving cream, toothpaste, etc. that is usually from the dollar store. I tried to stop her from doing that this year by being *very* specific about the things I wanted, but to no avail. I still got a crapload of cheap stuff that I won't use. (I'm very picky about those products.)
-Another scarf, hat and glove set
-Some strange black wrap/shawl thing. If I can figure out exactly how to wear it without looking like an old lady, it may move from the The Bad list.

The Just Plain Weird:
-Fake. HAIR. Not like actual long clip in extensions (which would have been a very good gift), but those weird clumps of hair attached to elastic bands that you wrap around a bun.

This is bad enough, but worse still? She got it in light brown... and my hair is red. (I know I need to get my roots done, but jeez, Ma...)

I'm very happy with The Good, considering donating The Bad to a homeless shelter/soup kitchen (I'm sure they'd be much more appreciative of it), but have no idea what to do with The Just Plain Weird. I emailed the website that sells the hair, but they won't give me a refund-- all they'll do is refund my mother's credit card. I don't want to risk hurting her feelings, but thats what I might end up doing.

Um, that is unless any of you want to buy some weird hair scrunchies?

I was incredibly happy that my stocking was mostly free of candy. In past years, there's been so much damn chocolate in my stocking, which I then wind up eating and being depressed about. I declared a "no candy" rule this year, which was adhered to with the exception of fruit snacks and a Nerds Rope (both were acceptable and welcome).

I splurged this weekend and got a manicure, pedicure and my eyebrows waxed. I'd been neglecting my appearance in that regard for quite some time, and it feels wonderful to be well-maintained again. It's an expense, but I had to reward myself for doing well in my classes. I'm dying my hair tonight... I've reverted back to box dye (Dear economy: You suck! Love, my soon-to-be-fried hair) so this should be an adventure. I haven't tortured my hair in this respect in a few years.

I need to get my bangs trimmed and exchange my cashmere sweater for a smaller size, possibly tomorrow after I pick up a shift at work for a friend.

That's all that's been going on here lately, I've just been working, relaxing, and enjoying my brief vacation from school.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Can I have cookies with extra fortune, please?

That fortune came in my fortune cookie tonight. I hope for once it's right.

Not much is new here... I've spent lots of time lately working, painting, going to the gym and watching The Office with Jay, courtesy of Netflix.

I get my grades back from this semester on Christmas Eve, and I'm dying to see them. I also secured an internship at the college next semester... I'll be working my ass of as usual, but it will hopefully pay off.

Nothing exciting! I'll check back later with my grades and Christmas gift tally. :)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The 12 Days of Christmas....

Because Jay and I are impatient, sometimes slightly excitable people, we decided to break from the "normal" Christmas tradition that is held by most people (that is, opening gifts on Christmas Day) and instead, we're giving each other one gift a day. This so far is working out very well, and I think in the long run it will make us appreciate each gift more, rather then getting overwhelmed with lots of new stuff all on Christmas Day!

To date, I've given him this nifty little Static Electricity Eliminator, (since he is ALWAYS getting shocked. It was by far the coolest thing I've ever seen, and useful.), and a "gamer" iron-on patch. Tomorrow he's getting a Ninja Tips For Healthy Living Poster that he was ogling at the store today.

He's given me a pink cushy case for my cell phone, a new power cord for my laptop (it's technically his old cord, but he doesn't use it and it is SO AMAZING to be back on my laptop again!) and today, a new nose ring. It's 14 k gold and I'm PRETTY sure there's a real diamond in it. (The front of the package says "diamond" and the back says .0225 CT. Any jewelers out there familiar with that terminology?) Either way, it's cute and it's in my nose :D

Had a pretty good day today... it started with coffee and muffins (I need to remember how good it feels just to get out of the house early in the morning when I'm NOT going to work. Lack of money leaves me cooped up during the weekends and even something as simple as walking to get coffee in the early morning sunlight can make me appreciative of a day off), included some wandering around Northampton (in the freezing cold, unfortunately) and awesome Mexican food. Sold back some DVDs and VHS tapes at Turn It Up! and made almost $40, which was supposed to assist in my monthly car payment but instead went mostly to Christmas presents and food.

Came home and there was an Elle magazine waiting for me in my mailbox... I had won a free subscription MONTHS ago and it seemed like it was never going to come, but finally it is here!

Tomorrow I need to finish up some studying for my Mass Communication and Audio Production finals, and hopefully get some sewing done. After Monday, I am finished with this semester! Huzzah!

All for now.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Pipe Dreams

When I was much younger, I wanted to be an actress. I used to memorize films and act them out with friends, and as soon as my middle school offered an "Improv Workshop", I jumped at the chance to take it. I made my parents fork over big bucks (and I mean BIG, somewhere along the lines of $60 a class, money that didn't come easily for my family!) for Musical Theater Workshop classes and Summerstage classes at a little studio near my house.

But I was always an extra. The big roles always went to the same kids. I had a few lines at best-- sometimes my character didn't even have a first name.

I gave up my dream my freshman year of high school, after being cast as yet another unnamed extra in the play "Anything Goes". I had had enough.

I quit drama and only looked back bitterly from then on, until in 2001 when I moved to a small town and met a girl who insisted I join drama.

I did, earning *slightly* bigger parts, but still background roles-- a pirate in Peter Pan, the Police Lieutenant in Arsenic & Old Lace.

I gave up after that, again, until one of my requirements for college this year was Acting 1. I took it, and it was interesting, but I didn't do much else other then have fun with it. I didn't give it too much thought. Today was my last class, and we did a final scene.

At the end of class, one of my classmates came up to me and told me he wished he had a brain like mine when it came to memorization. I argued that I had tacked the last half page of my script onto the wall of the stage so I could read it. He told me earnestly that he expected to see me in Hollywood one day.

That one sentence set me back about 10 years.

I realized, after he said that, my classmates had essentially been telling me this all year. The word they most often used was "a natural". A natural? For real? Clearly, they had nothing to gain from saying things like this, so I have to assume they weren't pulling my chain.

I spent the entire drive home today contemplating Hollywood. Could I make it there? Is the dream of stardom one I shouldn't have abandoned so easily? Is there a chance for me out there?

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I've run into an interesting predicament this holiday season that I can only describe as 'independence and recession guilt'. I'm sure a lot of you are feeling it too.

In the past, this is how I've regarded Christmas: I work hard for everything I get during the year, & I'm able to get mostly everything that I need. Christmas is the time I should get that one thing that I really WANT, but can't afford.

Now, this didn't ever mean anything extravagant, like a Lexus or beach house or what-have-you. Two years ago it was an iPod, last year it was an iPod stereo system. Nice things that are JUST beyond my price range, but that my family could afford to get me.

This year, I don't know what to ask for. There are things I want, of course, but they're completely beyond the usual price range (the big "want" being a Macbook Pro. I get a slight student discount off it, but it would still be just under $2,000).

Generally, my mother will give me little practical things (there are razors, chapstick and cigarettes in my stocking every year without fail) and maybe a gift card or some cash, since she knows I'm in a bad way financially and does what she can to help. The buying of the "big gift" has always been left up to my stepfather. My mother always acts like she's mad at him for spending so much money (she sets a $25 limit) but really she's not.

This year, I felt guilty asking for a Macbook. And a Roxy Schwinn. And a pair of Ugg boots. And a Northface Vest. And a argyle sweater.

So instead, I did some online scrounging and was able to find a Northface vest for under $50, and an argyle sweater for about $20. I suggested a pair of Ugg knock offs, provided that they had a rubber sole. (I have $12 Wal-Mart knockoffs now, and while they're perfect and comfortable, the sole is literally made of cardboard and fuzzy stuff, and the fuzzy stuff wore off on the first day. They are NOT going to keep me standing upright in the ice, and that's my only concern.)

It will be a surprise to open presents on Christmas, especially considering my stepfather doesn't like to shop online, and I sent him a ton of online links.


Did some Christmas shopping with my mom today... came home and hung up stockings and set up the tree I borrowed from a friend. It was looking a little bare (times are hard. I only bought one box of 18 ornaments and kinda hoped that would be enough... it was not) so Jay started adding little household items to the tree.

It's now covered in yarn (strung around it like garland), keychains, name tags, bracelets and a large pen that's shaped like a flower. I thought it was silly at first, but it looks better this way... it's more personalized. I think I'll keep it like this.

Watched Chocolat while drinking hot chocolate (lets face it-- you HAVE to have something chocolate while watching that movie!) and now I'm craving chocolate with chili peppers.

Have a lot of homework to finish up before the semester wraps next week. I'm looking forward to having a bit of time off, selling my textbooks for cash and getting my grades... I think I've done pretty well this semester.

I leave you with this random strange thought:

I was reading the back of the plastic bag the toilet paper comes in the other day, and I noticed they were advertising "Cottonelle for Kids" toilet paper. Immediately, I find myself wondering what's different about "kids" toilet paper. The bag doesn't want to let me wonder, so it says, "Helps kids know how much toliet paper to use!"

...excuse me?

Is there a little mark on the toliet paper that suggests 3 sheets for pee, 4 sheets for poop, and 6 sheets for a particularly messy poop? HOW DOES MY TOLIET PAPER CONFIRM THIS INFORMATION?

I went to the website for clarification. Lucky for me, I was not the first wonder-er.

From the FAQ:

I don't understand how this shows children how much toilet paper to use.
Each segment of paw-prints and Puppy is roughly 5 sheets long. Starting with a first paw print, the child should be instructed to follow the paw prints to the Puppy and then tear at the Puppy. This will provide roughly 5 sheets of toilet paper, an average amount for one wipe. A new segment of toilet paper should be taken for each subsequent wipe.

So, there you go everyone. Just in case you ever wondered how much toliet paper you SHOULD be using, 5 sheets is the 'average'.

(I want to know how they determined the average, however. Was this the average amount used by people around Cottonelle offices? Were Americans actually polled? Is there a camera pointed at my toliet paper roll?)

I'm going to go to sleep before I sound any more shizophrenic.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

New Years Resolutions:

It's that time of year where everyone is trying to figure out what exactly it was they promised they'd do differently this year and most likely failed at.

I'm not generally the type of person who makes New Years Resolutions. Mostly because A) Most resolutions are broken within the first month, and B) Why wait til New Years to change something that needs changing?

For the past 5 or so years, my "New Years Resolution" has been "not to make a resolution".

This year, New Years just happens to coincide with my brain going, "Hey! There's a lot about me that I'm not currently happy with." So I guess, this time, you win, Resolution. I will make you this year. A short list of things that need fixin'...

1) Skin problems. I've probably never mentioned it here because it's something I find highly embarrassing, but I have some kind of weird skin problem that drives me absolutely mad. I can't wear black (or any dark, solid colors, really) without looking like I have massive amounts of dandruff. Only it's NOT dandruff. Before I started Cosmetology school back in 2003, I went to a dermatologist for it and the products they gave me were able to clear up about half of it (I had it on my face at the time as well) but they did nothing for the biggest problem area-- the back of my neck, under my hair. I've literally tried every product on the market, and probably half of the products in the pharmacy.

The other day, I was finally able to make an appointment for mid-January with a highly recommended dermatologist in my area (after being told for over two years that they weren't accepting new patients!). So I hope that soon this will be a thing of the past!

2) Weight. Or, more specifically, spare tire. My thighs used to be what drove me nuts, but not anymore. I get a small discount off a gym membership through my job, and I decided that if I passed my National Certification Exam (which I did) my present to myself would be a gym membership. However, with the economy being what it is, and my BILLS being as massive as they are, this has not been something I could do as immediately as I had hoped. I still plan on doing it, though.

2b) Eating better. I've already kind of started this one (I had a bowl of oatmeal and two salads yesterday), the trick is just keeping it up.

3) Smoking. The problem here is that I don't really WANT to stop, but I know that I should. I was jumping on the bed with Jay the other day (and no, that's not a euphemism, we were actually jumping on the bed) and I was winded after not even a minute. Smoking will also impede my exercise regimen once I start it. So, I guess I'm not going to say that I should QUIT smoking, but I'm going to try to cut way down.

Everything else, I think is going according to plan. I'm working hard in school (taking 5 classes next semester, and hopefully I can take some over the summer. With a little luck, I'll graduate soon, and once that happens I will find myself with an entirely new set of resolutions AND decisions!)

What do you think? After finishing a 2- year college, what should I do? Look for a new job that better utilizes my skills, or move on to a four year college? What did you choose to do? Do you feel you've made the right decision?