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Life, as it is, and as it should be

Last time I wrote (which, admittedly, was a long time ago) I was so worried that I wasn't making the right choice in taking a job with American Express Business Travel.  That this was the devil putting up different ways to procrastinate from doing what God was really calling me to do.  But I have to continually think about what I see and hear around me and re-group on that.  One of my old professors, Martin Buinicki, had this conversation with me before I graduated.  I was so conflicted on graduate school and where my future was headed that he really counseled me on the decision.  He didn't argue for either side but instead planted the seed in my mind that it doesn't matter where I end up because either way, it's all part of God's plan.  If I made a decision that I felt wasn't right, it was still going to be part of God's plan and still going to serve a higher purpose.  That is something I need to remind myself of every so often.  God will lead me and I need to have more trust!

I can definitely see the reason I've been "stuck" here in STC.  I need this time to grow and be ready to move on.  I need this time to take the next step in my life.  School was so draining on me and I leaned very heavily on my mother at that time.  To just up and leave after college, leaving everything I knew behind (and my biggest source of support) was something I was torn about.  I love my family and enjoy spending time with them (though definitely sometimes I do NOT enjoy spending time with them).  I needed to be here to extricate myself from that support and find a way to be on my own (if that makes ANY sense to you guys!).  I also needed this time to re-group with God.  If I had moved, my energies would have been fixated on starting a new life in a new place.  I wouldn't have given time to God like I should have!  Being here, where many times there is nothing to do, I was able to re-connect.  I was called by my church to be part of weekly Eucharistic Adoration, and it is through that time that I give every Tuesday that God has really changed my life around.

But really, the reason for this post today revolves all around the Christian radio station I've started listening to in the past month.  I used to listen to K-Love all the time during certain times in college and every time I drove when I came home, K-Love would be on in my car.  But the past few years I had a falling out with God and stopped listening to K-Love.  Just recently, my mother said how much she loved listening to K-Love and that really got me started listening to the station again.  Luckily for me, too, or else I would have missed this amazing message this morning.  One of the DJ's related the story of how he came to be working with K-Love.  He left a life of successful mainstream radio and TV to work with the K-Love station as it was just starting up.  And he said there were times he'd be driving home asking God, "What are you doing?  Why am I here?"  The answer he received from God really shocked me, just as it shocked him.  "Remember all that play time you had with mainstream radio?  How much fun you had?  Well, I hope you were paying attention because that was school and I'm calling you to use all that you learned for me."  What a powerful statement!  God works in mysterious ways sometimes, but it always rocks me to my core when I see all of his pieces fit together in my life.  Today is one of those days and it is amazing.  I now feel that Iam working at AMEX to learn all I can learn about this business and then wait for God to call me to use all of my knowledge for him.  And it's amazing to hear that today, especially.  I was on a phone call with a colleague yesterday and we were speaking about my progress in the industry and how my role in the company had taken a different path, how I had become more support and less what I was hired on for.  Which was great, because they need me as this support role, but she also encouraged me to keep learning.  And at the time, I was thinking, "No way!  I'd be WAY too busy at work if I finally learned what I am supposed to!"  I was really resistant to the idea.  I liked my easy little life and I liked making a new job for myself within my group.  But if I left AMEX without learning the whole sourcing and/or planning process, I would regret it.  I would know that I left without learning what I was supposed to.  And what's more, I would leave with no strong marketable skills.  So really, this was God speaking through K-Love to tell me to get going!  I'm here to learn and use what I've learned for him.  And that, is amazing.  I couldn't ask for a better place to learn these skills, either.

Many of you may or may not have heard but I'm seriously considering moving to Nashville, TN or Savannah, GA in the near to distant future.  I have a few things I want to learn before I go, though.  I think I'm going to start with getting a motorcycle license and buying a moped.  :)  Also, ballroom dancing lessons if I can afford them.  :)  I've started doing Curves.  It's awesome.  I love weightlifting and the women there are so great.  I'm probably one of the youngest ones there working out but that's OK.  I needed to start exercising and this was a great way to get me started.  They also do Zumba during workouts and I've taken some of those classes, too.  Zumba is crazy fun!  I really should take a full class of that.  :)  So much is changing in my life and I thank God for all of it!
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Life, as it is, maybe not as it should be

It's been a pretty good week, thus far.  Spent a lot of time with my family, enjoyed the transformation of my room from messy storage space to bedroom/home office.  I purged a lot of stuff last week.  It was a LOT of work.  Especially since I don't like giving things up.  It's especially hard for me to get rid of things that I'VE paid for that can still be used.  I may not be using it a whole lot anymore, but it can still be used.  I feel bad getting rid of it, because when I need it again, I may have to buy it a second time.  Or, it just feels like I threw my money down the drain.  At any rate, my room is coming along nicely.  :)  And the cable was finally fixed in my room.  My picture quality actually looks like TV, instead of a lot of fuzzy, black and white nothing.  It's only taken, what, 10 years to do this?  Lol. 

I'm still living with the parents, but it's starting to get easier to live here.  Not that I want to be.   But part of that acceptance came when I stopping doing creative things.  I've been on a hiatus from the Artist's Way course since the end of August and I can't seem to get myself to start it up again.  It's quite depressing.  My dad got me a job through his American Express connections.  I'll be working as a meeting planner for American Express.  Not sure if this is a lifelong career, but it's a start to making money...a lot of money.  I don't know.  The whole thing just feels wrong to me.  From the get go, I was hired simply because my dad used to work for AmEx, and his connections trickled down to this job.  I was hired after a 15 minute conversation and told that I would be given everything I would need for a home office, and they would pay some of my bills.  I was floored.  It seemed like too much, and it was too easy.  I'm working for "corporate America," and I just don't know if this is what God intended for me, especially since my Matt. 10 revelation.  It's so hard to know, though.  When I meditated on the possibility of leaving on my own to travel, I knew that it would begin in October, if it were to begin at all.  I figured that if I wasn't supposed to leave, then something would come along before October.  And this did come along.  And it came along very easily!  It just doesn't feel right to me.  I don't know.  I feel like a sell-out, I guess.  Is this really accomplishing anything in the world?  In the grand scheme of things?  No.  What am I accomplishing?  Making businessmen happy by running a large meeting for them.  But maybe I'm looking at this the completely wrong way.  Perhaps this is where I am meant to be and my work ethic is supposed to portray my care for others and my Christian ethics.  I felt that way at church a few Sundays ago.  The priest talked about a man who was a builder, and he wanted to retire.  The man he worked for asked him if he could build one more house for him, as a personal favor.  The builder took the job, because he respected his employer, but his heart wasn't in it.  He did a lot of poor craftsmanship, and some of his work wasn't up to code.  He put in a lot of lower quality materials, as well.  Some of you may already know how this ends, but bear with me.  On the day it was finished, the man's employer came to look over the finished house.  When he arrived, though, he handed the builder a key and said, "This is your house.  I am so grateful for all of the work you have done for me, and this is my thanks to you."  The builder was so surprised, but ended up thinking, 'If only I had known that this was MY house.  I would have done things so differently.'  That story really struck a cord with me.  I have to care for this job as if I were planning these meetings and events for myself.  How would I want the meeting to go if it were MY meeting?  How would I want to be cared for?  And perhaps in all of that, I will exude a professional, Christian work ethic and those that I plan meetings for will notice and appreciate the care that gets put into my plans.  All I can do is the best I can, and if this is where God wants to lead me, then I will take this challenge and do the best I can.  I just hope this is where God wants me to be!  Hopefully by next summer I will either move out and away, or out and into a nearby apartment with friends.

I'm trying to get started with Yoga.  A friend recommended I try it out because of how it has helped her and the health benefits of it all.  She swears by Wai Lana yoga, so we'll see how I do.  Just bought my first ever Yoga mat today at Marshalls.  Can't seem to find any yoga videos at discount stores, but Wai Lana is also on TV for free, and because my family pays for HDTV, I can record the show so I don't have to wake up before 7am to do it!  :)  My little brother says he wants to do it with me!  How cute!  I think my younger sister should definitely do it with me, if she wants to continue with dance.  But she probably won't want to take the time out of her day...

I've been making dinner in my house recently, and everyone has really enjoyed the dishes that I've cooked.  It's satisfying to me to be able to cook.  I love cooking and learning new techniques.  Today I made an Indian dish with rice, lots of vegetables, and some beef.  The flavor came from a spice packet mix, and a can of coconut milk.  It was a little spicy, but mostly good.  I was pleased with it.  It wasn't exactly what I wanted, but I don't have the exact recipe for what I want.  So this was good enough until I get the recipe I want.  :)  It's some kind of panang curry.  So if anyone has that recipe, let me know!  All I know is that it involves fish sauce (which cooks off, but smells awful until it is cooked off).

Here's a recipe I really want to try!!

Pumpkin Ale Ice Cream Float (from Rachel Ray)
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 pt. vanilla ice cream
2 12-oz. bottles of pumpkin ale
4 gingersnaps, crumbled (optional)

Using an electric mixer with a wisk attachment, whip the cream, sugar, and cinnamon until blended.  Scoop the ice cream into 4 highball glasses and add half a bottle of beer to each glass.  Top with whipped cream and gingersnaps.

It sounds amazing!
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It's Been Five Long Days...

I can't believe I've gone this long without writing.  I'm a little disappointed, but I've been tired recently.  I read in my book that writing should be like play, but it's been so long that it takes me a long time to remember what it's like to let go of myself and actually play.  It's a really hard thing to do for me, because I believe I've blocked out a lot of painful memories by not playing and forgetting what it's like to be a kid. 

I've had many revelations recently.  First and foremost, the longer I stay here in my parent's house, the less I recognize who I am.  Second, I'm getting more and more impatient to start my independent life.  Third, Ever After has the ability to make me cry just thinking about having no match of my own.  I just don't know if it's in the cards for me.  I really hope it is. 

I finished reading the second Wolves of Mercy Falls book, Linger, by Maggie Stiefvater.  It was good, but the next (and final) book doesn't come out until next July!  I can't believe I have to wait that long!!!  But I can completely understand the length of time.  It takes a long time to write a book.  I've never done it, but I can imagine the amount of work that goes into it.  

My thoughts keep going into this direction that I need to just pick up and leave my house, and start walking.  Doesn't matter where to, and doesn't matter how long I roam, but I need to get going.  My mind tells me that it will be better on the road, and that I will find what I've been looking for by traveling around.  I feel it rooted so firmly in me, that I wish I could shake it off.  I don't want to travel by foot.  I don't want to sleep on the ground, go without a shower, go without a bathroom...  There are so many modern conveniences that I count on that I just don't want to give up.  This is why I'm not out roaming.  Plus, I am worried for my safely.  Really, I just can't figure out exactly what's stopping me.  If I believe that God will provide for me while I'm on the road and trust in him, then why am I hesitating?  If this is where I need to be, then who am I to say no?  I really wish I could talk objectively to someone about this.  I mean, this is how God sent out his disciples.  He told them to take nothing but what they absolutely needed and to live off of the generosity of a place.  And if no one would take them in, then to shake the dust off their sandals as they left the town.  (http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew%2010&version=NIV)  I really feel that this is the next step for me, and it scares me to death.  What kind of life can I make out of that?  How can I really trust in the Lord to take care of me when I have nothing to take care of myself?  But that is exactly what he told his disciples.  Perhaps I should pick up Dietrich Bonhoeffer's book The Cost of Discipleship...  Maybe I should talk to my parish priest.  But I can't imagine getting any sound advice from there.  Then again, maybe I'm not giving them enough credit.  Perhaps I shall reach out to my adopted family and see what they say.  They've always been such a source of support for me.  I can't imagine my college life, or my adult life, for that matter, without them.  I feel so detached from everyone, now-a-days.  My life in college seems so far away, like I can't pick it up anymore.

I have to admit, I've been on the down side ever since talking with a close friend.  She gave me some advice that I would never have expected to hear from her, and it's exactly what everyone else has been telling me.  So, either I can no longer hear God's voice and have been ignoring him for the past few months, OR everywhere I turn there are more obstacles for me to jump over to truly follow God's path.  I've been praying the Prayer of Jabez for the past few weeks.  Maybe this is the answer to my prayer.  If so, then holy cow did he really enlarge my territory!

Life outside of major metaphysical dilemmas has been pretty average.  I worked for my dad a bit last week, finished the August newsletter for his company.  I need to fix up the pictures, now, because he says that they're stretched out and funny looking and it makes the entire newsletter look awful.  So I had to listen to a lecture on the proper way to shrink a picture.  Ugh.

I keep listening to the Ever After theme, thinking it will keep me in some inspired state, but really, all it's doing is reminding me of the giant decisions that are on my shoulders.  Kristen says to just live in the moment, in the present, and not think about the future.  But right now, when everyone wants to know what my future will be, it's SO hard.  I feel like I'm doing something wrong if I don't think about it.  My parents make me feel guilty enough if I don't work on it every day.  Do you see how hard it is to live in the moment?  This is why Ben gave me Annie Dillard to read all those years ago.  I need more of that, more focused attention throughout my day.  Less avoidance and tuning out.  Maybe one of these days I'll get it right.  :)

This isn't really the post I wanted to write, but it is what it is.  Hopefully it's not too weird for you all...  Any suggestions, post!
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Yes, it's late, but I needed to write this up.  I've been gone all weekend and have just been able to write here. 

Turns out my Aunt doesn't work in Madison!  She works in the town she lives in: Janesville, WI!  At any rate, it was so good to see her.  We're barely two hours away, and we never get up to see her.  My mother feels very guilty about it.  It was so nice to visit, though.  I feel guilty visiting, sometimes, because there's so many of us!  And just one of her.  She has to accommodate a lot of people.  But she didn't appear to mind at all.  She was glad to have us.  She remembered a lot of candy favorites of my siblings and my parents, so she had the whole place stocked with foods that we all liked and enjoyed.  We ended up shopping a lot.  That was great.  I bought a bunch of stuff at Big Lots, because it's quality goods cheap!  I got discounted scrapbook stuff, a webcam, and an awesome journal for my morning pages.  :)  We stopped a few other places before my dad and little brother showed up.  When they arrived, we went mini-golfing, out to a good Japanese Steakhouse restaurant in Janesville, and then to a local park.  We watched the movie "Whatever Happened to the Morgans" or something like that.  It was alright, but nothing spectacular.  I don't like Sarah Jessica Parker at all.  Hugh Grant was amazing, though, as usual.

My little brother, Jacob, had warts on his fingers.  He went into the dermatologist, and he decided that he would put this chemical stuff on it to get rid of them over time...what it does is there's this yellow stuff that gets put on your skin which burns until the skin forms blisters.  Eventually you'll be able to peel away the skin and the blisters will go away on their own and with them, some of the warts.  He has to keep going back, up to 7 times until these are all gone!  I'm beginning to think that this is all something to make the doctor money.  At any rate, one of the warts/blisters looks AWFUL!  The skin looks butterflied from the finger.  It's puffy, diseased looking, and looks like it's bleeding internally.  In short, disgusting.  I keep calling him a leper.  I'm beginning to feel bad that I keep bringing it up.  I shouldn't destroy his confidence like that.  But it's nasty!!  Sorry, Jacob!  I hope it gets better soon.  That finger looks really bad.  I told him he should tell people he has gangrene.  Haha.  He asked what that was, and I showed him gross pictures on Google.

Well, I'm on the hunt for Freelance writing jobs.  I've found a few leads from a great site, Freelancewritinggigs.com.  :)  I hope something comes of them.  I'm getting frustrated from hearing about my bum-status from my parents.  Seriously.  How many times can they hint that they don't mind having an employed college graduate live at home, but not an unemployed college graduate?  Too many. 

My pie continues to be great.  My family didn't eat it past the first day, but I've been enjoying it for a while.  It's still delicious.  I'd probably make a thinner crust next time.  It gets to be too much.  Maybe a little less salt and a little more sugar.  :/  I'll have to experiment.  Maybe a little more milk and a little less oil?  Not sure.

Someone's walking around upstairs.....Melissa, maybe?  I hope so. 

I keep selling more books.  Which is great!  My purse sold for a fair amount of money.  :)  I watched The Next Food Network Star last night.  Aria went home, thankfully!  I thought she should've gone home instead of Brad, last week.  That was a HUGE mistake!  I think Brad was made for Iron Chef, plus, his was the only original show that I wanted to watch on a regular basis!  The others I might watch every once in a while, but not as often as I'd have watched Brad.  His philosophy on food was in alignment with me.  I wanted to learn what he had to teach me, not what these others might be able to teach me.  You know, I find it funny that everyone made a big deal about Brad not having a culinary perspective when Tom doesn't really have a culinary perspective that I can understand.  His show is Big Tom!  What the heck does that mean?  Big how?  At least Brad knew that he wanted to teach professional cooking techniques to home cooks, and later that he wanted to teach us about the food he learned about from his travels.  I really wanted to see that show!  Food Network you let me down!  Plus, Brad was SO easy on the eyes.  What a cutie.  :)  This is sort of like beating a dead horse, though.  I've read numerous posts on how Brad needed to stay.  So I'll stop this rant and tell you all to go to http://www.foodnetwork.com/the-next-food-network-star-fan-vote/package/index.html and vote for Brad up to 10 times a day, so he can win the fan vote and do his own show online!  :) 

I think I'll stop writing here tonight.  Hope you all have a rockin' week!
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Writer's Block: My Journey

If you had the chance to travel anywhere in the world for a year, where would you go?

There are two answers to this question.  First, I would love to travel back to my roots: Ireland.  There is so much I could learn from my country and so much community to enjoy.  Traveling there would be amazing.  Living there for a year would be spectacular!  The culture, the language, the dancing, the music...all of it is extremely compelling.

The second answer is I would travel around my home country: USA.  There is so much HERE that I have yet to see, so many people I have yet to meet, and so much left undone.  I don't have to go to a different country to enjoy a life-changing experience.  I just have to travel slowly and travel simply.  In that very act, I will find the life-changing experience I am longing for.  If I had the courage I'd leave today, pack a sack and go on foot.  Live off of others' generosity.  Get to know the real America from the couches of the everyday man/woman/family.  There's no telling what I would find, who I would meet, and what I would learn.
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Late Night Updates and Midnight Munchies

I don't really have the munchies, nor am I munching on anything...it just sounded cool, haha!  :)

I haven't been doing too well with my Artist's Way course this week.  It's partly felt like a week off from the course, because all of the tasks for this week seem to easy to do.  But I haven't done my artist date, and I'm leaving for a family visit tomorrow.  So, maybe I should try to get it in early before we leave and work on the other tasks in the car.  I'm going to visit my aunt with the rest of my family.  She lives in Janesville, WI and is one of the nicest and fun-loving people I know.  She's my mom's youngest sister and she works as a grade school counselor in Madison.  I can't imagine a kinder soul to work with those children.  Sadly, that also means that she lets herself get taken advantage of alot.  My aunt hardly ever has time off.  But it seems that she still loves what she does, and that is the important thing.  :)  I haven't seen her since my graduation, so I'm excited to be going to visit her.

I ended up baking a Buttermilk pie yesterday, and it was a complete success.  The pie tastes amazing.  It actually reminds of a lot of french toast!  Some of my family members also ate the dish and said it tasted good.  I can't believe that there are people in this world who don't like pie.  It's surely a travesty.  My youngest sister, for example, won't even try pie!  I think that I am the only one in my family, with the exception of my parents, who likes pie.  And not just certain pies...I am probably the only one who likes almost any type of pie.  It's like a little slice of happiness.  What made this experience better was the admiration I got from others in the family.  Normally, my baking a pie doesn't generate this much interest.  However, my sister kept remarking about how it smelled like french toast.  My youngest sister said it looked like french toast.  And while neither of them tried a piece, they at least marvelled at its beauty.  :)  I could've made a better crust, but other than that, the pie cooked perfectly!  Which was great.

Turns out I make a lot of food that my family enjoys.  My mother was eating an artichoke for dinner, and she wasn't making an official sit down dinner for everyone else.  I didn't feel like Beef Stroganauf left-overs for the third night in a row, so I decided to make myself something nice.  I made a beef stir-fry with meat, onions, garlic, and sugar-snap peas.  The sauce was just soy sauce, beef broth, and cornstarch.  Toward the end I added a little Worchestershire and it probably could've used a little sugar.  You serve all of that over noodles, and voila! a great stir-fry.  My dad ate it with me and he thought it was good.  I can be inventive when I want to be, and the experiments usually turn out good.  :)  For example, homemade macaroni with whatever leftover cheese was in the fridge.  That was always delicious.

Worked for my dad again today.  He had me write an email campaign for his company, Vapor-eze.  I was writing to people who had bought an air purifier in the past, letting them know that they can buy another one, or a replacement filter, this month and receive 20% off.  Also letting them know that their friends and family members can save them money through referrals.  At least I got to do something I found productive.  I think the email worked out pretty well.  However, my dad's goals and my goals are completely separate.  I believe that the advantage of a small business is to connect with its customers on a more personal level.  Therefore, all of my email marketing is going to be more personal.  In fact, I wouldn't mind writing about our family, letting the customers know that this is a family (and friend) owned business.  I'm not sure my dad would feel the same way as me.  He also had me create a Twitter account for VaporEze.  While Twitter is confident that it has a lot to offer the business world, I am not so sure that it has a lot to offer my dad's vaporizer/humidifier/air purifier company.  But who knows?  My mother and sister are getting a good laugh out of what I'm doing.  They find it hilarious that I have become my dad's marketing assistant (who works on no pay) even though I have no marketing experience.  I sat in on a meeting today that mostly made sense, but part of the time I couldn't understand what the guy was getting at.  He kept talking about network affiliates, and I got confused as to exactly what those companies did and who paid who.  So, if you're interested...you can see my lame Twitter message up on our Twitter account.  :/  Hopefully it does some good.  Not sure what else I'll write on it.  Can't imagine my dad wants me writing things like: "Just finished writing an awesome blog on livejournal!"  Haha!  or  "Anyone want to hire a recent graduate with an English and Theology degree?"  That would make my day, though.  :)

I've gotten obsessed with the song "Ramblin' Rover."  I'm close to buying the song on iTunes.

Got "robbed" at the oil change place the other day.  I never know what to believe when I go in to get things done on my car.  I hadn't changed the oil in a while...three months over the recommended change date.  So, they told me that my oil was all gross, sticky, etc., and they recommended an engine flush.  But this was an additional cost to an oil change and if I didn't do the engine flush then but decided upon it later, I'd have to pay for another oil change!  It seemed counter-intuitive to wait, if it was that bad, so I paid for it.  My dad was flabbergasted.  I was just embarassed.  I wish I could just work on the car myself, so I'd know what it needed and wouldn't have to sit there like an idiot listening to all of the things that I should do to the car that will cost me an arm and a leg to do.  Grrr!

I'm now looking more serioiusly into writing freelance online.  I had talked to a friend about it a while ago, because that is his only source of income for now, and he gave me some pointers and where I can get started.  We'll see if anything comes of it.  The most important thing is to get my writing out there and see if anyone becomes interested from what I publish.  Now I just need to come up with some "high quality writing samples" that will get me a job with these freelance companies!!  Any idea as to what I should write about for these?  I'm not sure what's appropriate...  There's also a cool poetry contest going on.  If you submit a 48-100 page draft, you could be selected to win $500, and see your manuscript being published.  See?  http://www.freelancewritinggigs.com/2010/08/poetry-contest-with-500-prize-and-manuscript-publication/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+freelancewritinggigs%2FrZJD+(FWJ+-+Main)  If I had that much poetry written, I'd probably submit something, even thought it would cost me $20 to enter it.

My books are getting sold on half.com, and the purse I have for sale is doing well.  I hope to make enough with these to cover car expenses.  I was getting kind of excited that I'd have some spending money, until I went in and had my car looked at.  :(  Boo!  

Well, it's getting late, so I'm going to type out some lyrics to "Ramblin' Rover" and call it a night.  :)  It's really a great song.  You can listen to The Fables sing it on Playlist.com, but The Highwaymen and Dubliners also do a good rendition.

"There are sober men a plenty
And drunkards barely twenty
There are men of over ninety
That have never yet kissed a girl
But give me a ramblin' rover
Fae Orkney down to Dover
And we'll roam the country over
And together we'll face the world!"

Amazing.  :)
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First Lapse

I think this is the longest I've gone without writing something.  I meant to write a quick blurb on Sunday but forgot to.  The weekend was pretty good for me.  No work, and I just did my own thing.  On Saturday I went out to a park and took some photos.  It was a good time.  Afterward went shopping at a very cute shop in downtown Geneva called The Paper Merchant.  I love that store.  It's been in business for a long time and I hope it stays around for a while.  Went to church that night and sang a beautiful song after communion.  I can't remember the words at the moment, but it's one of my favorite church hymns.  Later on that night we went to see some antique cars at the Dupage Expo Center and had some amazing ice cream at Oberweiss.  My dad and Jacob played chess while the rest of us watched.  Jacob didn't pay attention too well, so he got trounced by my dad.  :)  Poor kid.

I've been making sure to limit my time on UO so I don't get obsessed with the game and pass up important life experiences to play it.  

Sunday my family went to a water park while I stayed home.  Part of the time I played UO, part of the time I packaged up lots of books that I'd sold, and a lot of the time I wrote a letter to my friend.  I watched last week's episode of The Next Food Network Star and played with Pepper.  She was being devious.  :)  I worked more with my Artist's Way course and felt very good about my progress.  Talked with Faith for a while that night about what I was doing, and just things in general.  :)  I love her to pieces for being a creative person like me and loving to write.  We can connect on a completely different level from other people in my family.  I ended up staying up WAY too late playing UO.  Therefore, didn't get out of bed yesterday until 11:30.  Wasn't downstairs until 12:30.

Went to the post office to mail out a bunch of packages, came home and got excited to see that the shipping was all covered by half.com.  I was worried that I wouldn't be reimbursed enough.  Worked for my dad for 3 hours.  Hated it.  More excel spreadsheets.  I did the same thing today from 11:30-4:15.  Ugh.  Finally some time for myself.  But I'm so hungry I only want to make dinner.  I've resolved to make a buttermilk pie for the first time in my life this week.  Hopefully tomorrow.  :)  

There's some cool workshops going on at Archivers that I think would be fun to go to (and free!)  We'll see if I make it there.  Life is kind of at a standstill right now.  I've worked out a schedule for my days, mostly, but I wish there was some stability on the horizon.  I guess I just need to pray more and trust in God that everything will work out.  I've given up trying to control my future, but it looks like I've given up my future entirely, to my family.  Which may be true...maybe I'm just lazy and don't want to look for a job?  I don't know.  I'm still expecting this big bolt of lightening to come down from the sky and show me what it is that I'm being called to do, lol.  :(  Say some prayers, eh?
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    Sounds from the Wii.....
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Oh my long lost friend...I mean...game...

Today I worked for my dad again.  It was boring, but at least he let me stop when I wanted to.  Maybe he'll give me a reprieve for the weekend.  I had wanted to visit some friends this weekend, but he had me working.  :(  Darn this being unemployed and at the mercy of my parents...  So I was creating more email lists in excel.  It was boring and hard on my eyes.  Stared at a computer screen from 12:00pm until 4:30pm.  Hardly any breaks.  At least my dad is grateful for the work I'm doing.  That helps. 

After that, I helped my mom make dinner.  It was delicious.  We made shish kabobs with buttery orzo noodles, teriyaki rice, and corn on the cob (from the farmers market!).  :)  It was great.  Plus, it was cool enough to eat outside in the gazebo.  It was a lovely night.  My parents and Jacob decided to go see The Sorcerer's Apprentice at the movie theater while the rest of us stayed home and did our own thing.  Me?  I decided to download Ultima Online for the third time in my life, because I miss the game.  I haven't played since...high school?  Senior year?  I think that's when it was...  This free server seemed good, though, so I decided to try it out.  http://www.uoex.net/  :)  Hopefully I won't let the game suck my life away like it used to...  However, it is a good inspiration for me.  I used to get good stories and character names from this game the last time I played it.  This time I'm going to use the game as another medium for my writing.  I'm going to log the adventures of my character and see if it's any fun.  :)  Writing the diary of a fictional character...sounds amazing!  :D  Haha!

Yesterday I decided to put up a profile on plentyoffish.com because I'm tired of not knowing where to meet someone.  We'll see if anything comes from it.  I'm planning to continue writing a letter tonight, and writing an email to my old adviser that is long overdue.  :)  Carolyn you are truly amazing!!

So, good bye and good night!
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Early Morning Blues

I had another pointless early morning today.  Woke up at 6:45, in the car by 7:30, sat in traffic for 15 minutes for a 15 minute trip.  Got to the job application place later than I wanted, not sure what to expect.  Went in, dressed very nicely, to just sit in a room and fill out a paper application and hand it into a corporate drone who could care less about me and refused to talk with me.  Left the place feeling defeated again.  If they're interested, they'll call me in a week.  Don't really want to be a corporate purchasing agent, but it pays $23 an hour and my parents are keen on me getting this position with ALDI.  Ugh.  Came home in a bad mood, tired, went upstairs and slept for another two hours, trying to get away from the horrible feeling of the whole application process.

When I went back downstairs, my grandparents were here.  It was nice to see them and catch up a little.  They're going to be gone on a trip for the next week or two.  They brought us some farm grown sweet corn from the stand near their house.  My mom loves that corn.  :)

Had to work for my dad today.  He wouldn't let me put it off any longer.  So he showed me how he was transferring from one email account to a new one and how he wanted me to make new email lists.  So I was given a short tutorial on how to take information from Quickbooks and put it into Microsoft Excel.  Finished for the day four hours later.  Yes, it was as awful as I'd imagined and I have yet to learn anything useful.  My dad probably wanted me to get more done, but he was gone at a White Sox game with the rest of my family.  Whoopie!  The upside is that he's going to have me writing newsletters, so at least there will be some writing involved.  That might even be fun...?  Haha.  I ate leftovers and opened the last bottle of Biltmore wine that Megan's mom brought to Valpo.  The one we didn't drink, lol.  Took the dog for a walk and came back to work on my Artist's Way course.  Pepper wasn't too happy that I was exiling her to the basement.  Oh well.  :)  Luckily Melissa came home, so she could hang out with her. 

Now just enjoying being alone and doing my own thing.  :)

Books are selling, someone bid on my purse.  Things are looking up.  Yes, God does provide.  I am grateful for the letter I received from my friend yesterday.  It has given me a new affirmation that I have posted in my "office" and my bedroom for inspiration: "You have the strength necessary, just find the courage!"  She is truly a blessing.  And amazing for being a pen pal through snail mail.  :)  I think I admire her and her lifestyle more than she realizes...more than she's ever realized.  :)

Listening to crickets blend in with my Irish music.  It's a peaceful night.
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    Irish music on Pandora.com
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Hounded by a scootering maniac...

My little brother keeps scootering into the room to see what I'm doing.  It's funny and annoying at the same time.  Lol. 

So the career fair I painstakingly prepared for yesterday was a bust.  I was expecting it to be bigger with more employers than those listed in the newspaper.  The ad made it seem like there would be quite a few.  There were 10 in a room a little bigger than my family room.  And hundreds of people.  Ugh!  Not only was it intimidating and overwhelming (this being the first career fair I've ever attended), I didn't want any of the jobs there.  After speaking with a representative for the company who put the fair together, he said they hardly ever got employers at their career fairs who were interested in hiring writers and basically told me that my dream wasn't marketable and no one would hire me.  So he say, "I guess it's good to dream, though."  Sending me into a spiraling depression, thinking that my dream will actually never come true.  This is the first part of this Artist's Way course.  It's all about defeating the negative statements and turning them into positives.  But I'm finding it hard to defeat the voices in me that say that I won't ever be a writer or an artist and how ridiculous I sound in wanting that.  I need to exorcise these demons!! 

At least I stayed productive today.  I put all of my old school books up for sale on half.com, put my old purse up for sale, sold 4 books, and later I plan to do some work with the Artist's Way course and write a response letter back to a friend of mine.  I'm beginning to suspect that we have a better long distance relationship, now, than being together in person, lol.  She's also a working artist, though.  If you're interested in looking at her stuff, she's recently started a shop on etsy: http://www.etsy.com/shop/mbristle  She's making me a cool necklace from the Celtic tree of life symbol that we picked up at the renaissance faire a few weekends ago.  It'll be a great reminder of our friendship and our times at the ren. faire.  :)  I can't wait until it's ready.  
There's a job my parents think I would be great for that I should go apply for tomorrow.  You can only apply in person, and they start taking applications at 6:30 in the morning.  I suppose I'd be good for the job.  It's being a purchasing assistant for Aldi, the grocery store.  While I know a lot about buying groceries and what kinds of food people should be demanding from companies like Aldi, I'm still not certain I have the experience to get this job.  After applying for said job, my dad wants me to spend the whole day with him to learn about internet marketing, quickbooks, adobe illustrator, and other things that sound like they will suck out my soul.  But maybe they won't.  Maybe they'll be good tools to know, if I do need to market myself for art that I create.  Who knows.  Maybe I should just bite the bullet.  I applied for the archdiocese job today.  Maybe something great would come of that.  It would be nice to have a job that lets me be creative and use my writing skills, plus working for a church would be amazing.  That's all of my schooling rolled into one nice package!  Please let me get this job!

I'm considering writing freelance for a while, too, if possible and cost effective.  It may get me a writing job with someone more reputable, the more I work at it.  Who knows?  Wish me luck!
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