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Long time no post!

Ten's red Chucks
Hi guys!

I didn't realize how long I'd been away until I received a "nudge" from a friend. Thank you for that!

I finished last semester with a 4.0 and then I took two weeks off both school and work. During that time, I spent quantity time with Justin and Dominic and leveled my brand-new Final Fantasy XIV character from 1 - 43. My goal was 50, but I couldn't quite make it. C'est la vie.

I'm back to work and school now, but I feel less panicked about this semester than last. I'm taking Sociology 101, Jewish History, Southeastern Asian History, and US Women's History. There are familiar faces in all my classes except Sociology, so that's nice.

My main reason for posting though, is to share this thread. You'll need to read through twice. You'll see why by the end. Background: I have 5 siblings. We text each other little stories about our day and then send selfies in response. It's silly, but we all seem to enjoy it. Also, my sister, Afton, eloped yesterday. (I typed this exactly as it appears on my phone)

Dec. 14, 4:58 PM
Amanda: (image of the tape section of Walmart. It's completely empty.) No tape on Christmas Eve!!!! What shall we do???

Aaron: Go to the office.

Tony: Ask a friend for their tape

Aaron: St Glue

Amanda: (image of a full tape display in another part of the store) You just have to know where to look. :) AND...I really wasn't out. Hahaha. I was just thinking of you guys.

Annissa: I always think of the Christmas Eve mom and dad ran all around town looking for tape and Aaron suggesting they just go to the office. Every Christmas.

Amanda: Actually, it was Aaron who was forced to run around town for yours.

Annissa: Oh no! Hahaha! I never knew that (Not Delivered)

Annissa: Mom forced me to get my drivers license. It's stuff like that that reminds me why I was avoiding it!

Amanda: He came home crying because there was no tape to be found everywhere. Aaron the said...why can't we just go to the office and get tape from there???? Please!

Amanda: Anywhere... not everywhere. Haha

Amanda: LOL

Tony: Hahaha

Aaron: And I got in trouble for not trying hard enough to fit d tape while you guys were using g elders glue

Amanda: So true

Aaron: (image of a child-size trampoline assembly manual) 36 pages

December 25, 3:18 am
Amanda: Woot!!! That's awesome!

Aaron: (image of assembled trampoline) Baby's first mma ring

Amanda: Hahaha! I love it and I know Gabe will too!

Annissa: Cool! Dominic desperately wants a trampoline, but it would be a matter of hours before some neighborhood kid would be suing me, m sure.

Annissa: (Image of Dominic playing with a building set he got for Christmas) Playing with the Christmas gifts

Yesterday 9:12 PM

Annissa: (Thumbs-up selfie) Congrats Affy!

Aaron: Congrats too. I thought the wedding was in may

Afton: The May ceremony is still on. Josh didn't want to wait that long to make it official.

Amanda: I'm soo excited for you guys!!! :)

Aaron: (Broken link)

Aaron: Oops

Aaron: (Thumbs-up selfie)

Alex: (Thumbs-up selfie)

Amanda: I think this deserves a duckface selfie (Amanda making an expression that isn't duck-face [totally an in-joke])

Amanda: I approve of this marriage

Afton: (image of her giving the thumbs-up while snuggling with her new husband)

Alex: I approve of both the marriage and Josh's sweet outfit.

Amanda: Show pics of the outfits

Aaron: Wtf Amanda. Where's the thumb?

Amanda: I tried. I really tried. This was the best I could do, lol

Amanda: (Thumbs-up selfie) Okay, here we go. duckface attempt.

Today, 12:10 a.m.
Tony: Can u take me off this group message? I don't know who you are!!

Aaron: Whut evah sellout

Alex: Nope, sorry dude. You're family now.

Aaron: Was there a vote?

Afton: I was thinking that random number was a mystery Tony number. Who set this message board up?!

Aaron: Wait. That's not tiny?

Aaron: Tony

Afton: Tony has a 360 area code

Aaron: So who is that?

Afton: Our new mystery friend? HEY! New mystery friend!!! HEY!!! Yeah! You! ......hi.

Alex: What a jerk

Amanda: Mom says she likes you guys. You make her laugh.

Afton: So...where is Tony?

Amanda: Okay, Tony lost that number... hahaha Sorry strange person, we will start a new thread without you. Buh bye. :)

Afton: Lots of laughs, stranger. Keep in touch!

[end message]

I read most of that this morning, but re-reading the whole thread, I realized that the stranger had been responding to us! It was when we started posting pictures of ourselves that they realized that they had no idea who we are. We started a new thread with the real Tony, but Amanda is mortified that she sent out the picture of her making a dumb face to a total stranger.

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Ten's red Chucks
I had tickets to see The Day of the Doctor yesterday and the theater MESSED IT UP! Like messed it up hard core!

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Oct. 9th, 2013

Ten's red Chucks
You know what I miss? I miss reading Doctor Who fic for hours on end!

This semester continues to be crazy and I am smack-dab in the midst of it. On the plus side, the event that I'm researching the most would make an excellent backdrop to a DW story. Well, maybe more of a Torchwood story. It's a true crime that was never solved and has a lot of very strange aspects to it. It's gruesome, so I won't get into details. But look up The Mad Butcher of Kingsbury Run if you're interested. There's only one decapitated head pic on that site, but it's so poor in quality that you wouldn't know it was bodiless unless I told you. Which I just did. Sorry.

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This is me not panicking

Ten's red Chucks
See? Perfectly calm. Perfectly calm ignoring the nagging sense of dread in my gut. Because I'm stupid and signed up for a class not realizing what it was or what I would be expected to do.

What happened is this: I arranged my schedule around my "writing intensive" course. A writing intensive is a course that teaches you how to write in your chosen discipline. In my case, my writing intensive is "The Historian's Craft." Everyone I've talked to has said it's not difficult at all. You'll discuss how to find sources and how to cite in Turabian. But I went ahead and signed up for a notoriously tough teacher. He handed us packets at the beginning of the course. Not syllabi. Packets. Thick ones that detailed all of the projects we will be expected to complete this semester. Well, it's a writing intensive, and I can handle that, I suppose.

I also signed up for a Selected Topics history course. ST courses are whatever the available professors feel like (and are qualified) to teach that semester. In this case, I'm learning about National Parks. (As an aside, my local PBS station is airing the documentary that is my main source for this class, "National Parks: America's Best Idea." They're decent and you might be interested in watching them if your local PBS affiliate is also showing them.) This course requires me to turn in class notes, a personal journal, and write a presentation on the park of my choice (I requested Mammoth Cave with Hawaii Volcanoes and Petrified Forest as my second and third choices). I feel comfortable with this course. I enjoy it. It is my safe, quiet spot.

I enrolled in Ohio State history online through a regional campus. Going through a regional campus saved me a *ton* of money and the teacher has excellent reviews. The downside is that the regional campuses have smaller classes and require more work. I have weekly discussion posts to write, five papers, and a research project. Plus midterm and final, as per usual. Luckily, I can work ahead in this class because everything opened on Day 1. I've spent every spare moment researching and writing my papers to get them out of the way so I can focus on other projects.

I also stupidly enrolled in "Intro to Communications" thinking that it would not be very work-intensive. I thought it would be like my other online classes where you watch a lecture and then take a quiz, but I was wrong. I've never been wronger, not even on the wrongest day of my life. It didn't occur to me for one second that "Communications" is speech class. So the one class I was counting on to not be research and writing-intensive has turned into one of my most research and writing-intensive with the added bonus of having to give five speeches. And that's when I started to freak out a little.

Because I have roughly 15 papers to research and write this semester when I have in the past only had 3 or 4 papers, and I'm not quite sure how I'm going to do it. I'd drop a class, but if I do that, I will have to put off graduation for an additional six months and I desperately want to graduate on time.

But I'm not panicking.

In other news, Justin interviewed for and got a new job with his current company. He is now a corporate trainer and will fly around the country teaching the stores how to use the new Point of Sale system. There are a lot of upsides to this: increased pay and increased opportunities for advancement being two. The downside is, he will be gone for 7-10 days at a time, which leaves just me to handle everything at home in addition to my stupid school schedule.

But I think I have everything in-hand and I'm not panicking. I drop Dominic off in the morning and go to work. Go to class in the afternoon and head back to work. The in-laws will pick up Dominic from school and I will pick up Dominic from them. Then he will practice his piano lessons, eat his dinner, and take a bath, and then we will spend time together doing his homework or reading together. Then, I can use my last 90 minutes of the day to do my reading/writing.

I've already completed one of my papers and I'm working on the second for Ohio history. None of the other classes have given me enough info to work with, so I'm a month ahead in just the one class and I'm hoping to get a bit further ahead because the other classes will soon need some writing done.

But I'm not panicking.

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Ten's red Chucks
I've read a run of really great books lately, and I thought I'd post the list here in case any of you might be interested.

"The Testament of Jessie Lamb" by Jane Rogers - Set in the near future, terrorists have released a virus that kills pregnant women. Everyone is infected and becoming pregnant is a death sentence. This story is told from the point of view of a teenage girl, and I found it really interesting to see how society changes around her while she's dealing with normal teenage stuff (and not-so-normal teenage stuff). A lot of really great questions about sexuality, parenthood, and consent are brought up, but they're not answered, and that left me a little unsatisfied. I was also not satisfied by the ending for reasons I can't state without spoiling the story. I'd still recommend this book, though, because it left me thinking about it for several days afterward.

"The Ocean at the End of the Lane" by Neil Gaiman - Told from the point of view of a 7 year old boy, this is a bedtime story for adults, not for children. Magic.

"Never Let Me Go" by Katsuo Ishiguro - I think Ishiguro may actually be one of my all-time favorite authors. His stories are so subtle and beautiful and they never fail to pull me in, even though they tend to be very sad. I didn't find this story as heart-wrenching as I'd expected, maybe because the "secret" of the Hailsham students' purpose isn't so secret and they're all consigned to it. Even the one glimmering hope just delays the inevitable, but maybe that's also what's so tragic about it.

"I Am Legend" by Richard Matheson - I put off reading this for far too long. I love post-apocalyptic horror and the twist in this one is absolutely, delightfully horrible.

"Sunshine" by Robin McKinley - Before you get the idea that I'm really into vampire fiction, let me tell you that that's not the case. I like Buffy and the aforementioned "I Am Legend", but that's pretty much the extent of it. This book came highly recommended by mirandawave, and I trust her judgment completely. I have mixed emotions about this book, though. See, I didn't read it; I listened to the audiobook, and, unfortunately, the narrator was terrible. She made the main character, Sunshine, sound very young, very petty, and very self-centered (and, I'm sorry, but Sunshine's real name sounds like it came straight from Tara Gillesbie's "My Immortal"). I started imagining the words the narrator was reading with different inflections and Sunshine immediately became more reasonable, relatable, and likable. She also has an unusual voice which I would have found interesting and pleasant under normal circumstances, but that I found ridiculous when she was reading just about any male character, especially the ancient vampire Constantine. Narrator aside, I think this is a solid story if you like vampire fiction.

"The Cuckoo's Calling" by Robert Galbraith - I think everyone by now is aware that Galbraith is a nom de plume of J. K. Rowling, and having read the book now, I understand completely why she chose to write this under a different name. This isn't Harry Potter. Not even close. This is a gritty detective novel full of very un-Harry Potter-ish language. It has quite a bit less murder, though, so when I read reviews from people upset at how much more adult this book is than Harry Potter, it strikes me as a bit funny. Detective stories are not my favorite, but I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I found the characters to be well-developed and surprising, and I had no idea who the killer was until the reveal. In fact, I even went "Nuh-uh!!!" when I got to that part because I'd completely ruled that character out.

So how 'bout you? Read any good books lately?

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Aug. 6th, 2013

Ten's red Chucks
I just got back to work from my Modern Latin America class and when I shrugged off my backpack, I heard a sound like separating Velcro, so I turned my head and pulled on my shirt to see if I had something stuck to it and noticed that a large tear had opened up over my left shoulder blade. Reeeally hoping that's brand new or I'm totally humiliated.

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Jul. 9th, 2013

Ten's red Chucks
I’ve been trying to keep careful notes of my days so I can journal them later, but lately I’ve been failing miserably in this regard. So today I’m going to try to remember any/all of the interesting things that have happened since I last wrote. I’ll start with this dream that I wrote down a while back. I have no idea when I wrote it.
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May. 21st, 2013

Ten's red Chucks
Me: I smell something burning. Do you smell that?

T: Yeah, I think it's my baseboard heater. I think it just kicked on.

Me: That's not good. I hope we don't die.

T: We're not going to die.

Me: Pretty sure you're wrong about that. We've all got to go sometime.

T: Not me. I'm going to live forever.

Me: That would be boring.

T: You think?

Me: Yeah. Like Highlander. "Who wants to live forever?"

T: I would never have guessed you knew that movie.

Me: Yeah, well, you'll quickly discover just how big a nerd I am.

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A Spoiler-Free Doctor Who Review

Ten's red Chucks
I liked it.

In other news, I should update about life and stuff. I'll do that later! :D

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Routines are good. Follow the routine.

Ten's red Chucks
Wednesdays have become odd at my school. The past few weeks, the parking lots have been full on Wednesdays. Usually, there's some sort of sign letting me know what's happening, but not anymore. They're just full and I end up parking even further from the building where I need to be for my class. That's what I was thinking when I pulled into the auxiliary lot and parked in one of the back spaces.

I noticed as I pulled into the spot that the car next to me was parked at an odd angle and was surprised when there was a person in the car looking straight at me. She looked me in the eye, glanced at the space between our cars and then went back to whatever she had been doing before I pulled into the space. So I was thinking about the oddly full lots and the look this girl gave me as I parked when I unplugged my phone from the car's speaker system and plugged in my headphones for my walk. I put on the headphones, turned on the music, climbed out of the car, pulled my backpack out of the back seat, and started to walk for class. As I crossed behind my car, I thought, "Oh... maybe I did park too close. Wouldn't hurt me to move over a little." So I threw my backpack back into the back seat and realized that I didn't have my car key. I panicked for a moment thinking I'd just locked myself out of my car, but quickly dismissed the idea since I'd just opened the back door. I opened the front door and realized my keys were still in the ignition. And that I'd never turned off the vehicle.

So, basically, because things were slightly weird today, I nearly walked away from my unlocked car while it was running. Thank goodness I decided to move my car for that girl who was still in hers!

My foot is still bothering me a little bit. I'm due for new shoes, so I used the remainder of the Amazon gift certificate my co-workers gave me to purchase a pair of Merrell barefoot shoes. My hope is that the shoes will strengthen my foot and leg muscles enough that the pain will stop. I should also see a doctor because I don't know what the hell happened that made it hurt so much. I do know the boots I was wearing when I hurt my foot were terrible. I threw them away.

I'm so out of shape that it's almost a joke. When I started the semester, I would get winded just walking on level ground. The fact that I have to climb a hill both ways was torture. I've noticed lately that even though the walk up the steep side of the hill* still winds me a bit, I walk much faster and without nearly as much panting. I feel pretty good about that. Also, a rather form-fitted jacket I've got fits slightly better than it did a few weeks ago. I'm not losing weight, but apparently I'm becoming more fit. Nice.

*I took a picture of the steep side of the hill shortly after a winter storm came through. The whole thing was a sheet of ice that was nearly impossible to navigate. I had to walk in the salted street to get down the hill on my way to class.

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