and bought another humidifier. Mine died a sad death, and with my financial woes--and the fact that I was hoping to replace it with an identical one, but it's been discontinued--I've been without for several months. Not so good with the sinus issues--I swear I could feel my sinus lining cracking, and I've been getting daily headaches. Doing my lovely disgusting sinuses rinses helps, but it's also hard to do as often as necessary to really help--I can't do it too close to bedtime, or it runs down the back of my throat while I sleep. I can't do it before work, because for a couple of hours afterward if I lean over the salt water runs out my nose. So basically, I can only do it when I'm home for the next three hours without sleeping or heading to work.

So I bought a $20 humidifier at the Wally World. It seems to be working fairly well--my room already smells misty--although I prefer the kind that puts out visible mist. But I'm looking forward to going to bed tonight, snuggling into my warm fluffy comforters and falling asleep to the hum of the fan and the smell of mist.

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My kitchen is functional, but only barely. The work area is sort of a L-shape, with the fridge and stove next to each other on the short side of the L. Then there's a blank wall, which is the closet of the room on the other side. The long is of the L is very limited counter space, bisected by a double sink. There's a decent amount of empty space to move around in, but not much in the way of cabinets or shelves. If I could re-arrange it, I think I'd move the stove and fridge to the corner where the table is, just against the opposite wall; and make more counter space where they are. Or maybe put a rectangular table there, and use a moveable island for more counter space and storage.

I wish I could enter the Maple Leaf kitchen makeover contest ... but, alas, I'm not Canadian. If you are, the contest runs through December 15th--just go to the website and enter your email address daily. Maple Leaf is giving away a $32,000 kitchen makeover, or one of 12 Frigidaire fridges stocked with chicken. A cool new fridge and a bunch of poultry? Sweet! Also, everybody who enters will be eligible for a $500 rebate from Frigidaire!

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No wonder I bombed my classes in the years before I moved. I can hardly keep up now, with one job and classes I love. Just too many assignments and tests and such--at least one major thing every week, in addition to the daily stuff. Not that I'm really complaining, because I really am enjoying it. But I should probably stop being so hard on myself about those two years I totally flaked, because I was taking more classes then and going through an endless series of chaotic events. And then I was depressed, and then I made some bad decisions, so I'm behind the "usual" curve.

Sometimes I just feel like crap because I'm not hitting those societal milestones; but you know what? That's okay. I'm happy (aside from the weird slump I'm in now), and I've had some great experiences and some bad ones, and I've made good mistakes and bad ones. I don't have to adhere to a specific timeline for accomplishing things. What I'm feeling about it is actually similar to the process of adjusting to fat acceptance--similar feelings about "should" and "shouldn't" and self-hate about "should have". It's similar also because it's a recurring battle. I still fight diet thoughts sometimes, and I still fight failure thoughts sometimes.

But the thing about considering myself a failure? That would mean I'd given up on still achieving whatever it is.

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I went to my dad's for dinner this week. A while after I got there, we were sitting on the desk just listening to the winds in the trees, talking about nothing.

Suddenly my dad squints at me and says, "Why does it look like you've dumped a few pounds?"

Here we go again, I thought, but just shrugged and said "I don't know."

Right away he got all tense. "Well, have you?" Again, I said I didn't know, and his nostrils flared. "Well who the hell would know then!"

I laughed a little and told him (again), "Dad, I don't weigh myself."

He looked me for a minute; I could practically see his brain failing to understand a woman not obsessed with her weight. "Well, do your pants fit different, do you feel better, anything?"

"Nope."

He looked at me again and then sighed and said okay and let it drop. I doubt I actually look any different; I think he was just hoping to prod me in to dieting by "complimenting" me. He just can't seem to wrap his head around the fact that I don't monitor every ounce I weigh and every bite I take. Or rather, he can't believe that it's not because I'm "giving up", or that I'm not in denial about it being "a problem".

Later, I mentioned going to the physical therapist on campus about the fact that I walk funny. I always have, a little; but waitressing and working retail has exacerbated it. Specifically, I pronate inward and walk duck-footed, my right foot terribly so. So I tell my dad I went to this appointment, and right away he says "Well isn't the problem obvious?"

I played dumb; I made him make the ignorant statement that it's because of my weight. When I asked why the medical professional didn't say a word about my weight then, he said "She just didn't want to hurt your feelings." Right, because doctors are SO concerned about not upsetting fat people. I told him I've always walked weird, and he snapped at me, "Right, so lets not do something about the problem and see if maybe it enhances your life!"

I repeated that I remembered kids making fun of me in kindergarten for walking goofy, and continued telling him about the things the therapist said and how we were approaching it. I basically didn't give him a chance to throw any more fat blaming crap at me, because I'm just weary of it. I could understand him going directly to that if I hadn't always walked like this. But I didn't start getting chubby until I was about eight, and I obviously had started walking, and walking oddly, way before that. Even at that age, I struggled to keep up with other kids walking or running.

But of course, I'm fat now, so that's got to be the problem.

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Too bad I have to go out in it!

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This is awesome.

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(This is a sponsored post.)

If you are, then you should check out the Accor Hotels 3-Day Super Sale Asia Pacific. They've got some sweet deals on rooms--one million of them, to be exact, across Thailand, Korea, China, Japan, HK, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Japan, Malaysia, New Zealand, Fiji, Indonesia, Taiwan, India, Bali. They've got hotel rooms in Fiji and Thailand for $30 USD! Really great deals! There are different rates for different chains owned by Accor: Sofitel, Pullman, Grand Mercure, Novotel, Mercure, All Seasons and Ibis hotels are participating.

It looks like they have some really awesome hotels, very luxurious. It's been freezing cold here and we got two feet of snow this week, so I really wish I could bail on this week and head for .... oh, I don't know, it's summer is Australia! How sweet would that be? I've been to Australia before, to Sydney and Adelaide; but I'd love to see the Gold Coast. Then again, since I've been there before, maybe I'd go to New Zealand instead. I'm not quite brave enough for Thailand or Japan--I'm really a pansy when it comes to non-English speaking countries. I was pretty much terrified the entire time I was in Germany. Of course, that was eight years ago. Maybe I'd be brave enough after all. And it would be really awesome to see the Great Wall of China, I've kind of wanted to see that since I was a kid.

Alas, I have not the money for a trip. The room has to be booked between October 27 and October 29--but it's good for any time between December 9th and April 10th, so if you've got a trip planned, jump on these deals!

ETA: Sale extended through 10/30!

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For my creative writing class, I have to write a twelve page story. I started out with something, but was told the subject wasn't appropriate for the assignment. So I started over. I decided to write a sort of fat acceptance journey story, but it's a little more difficult than I thought--mainly because I'm having to put myself back in to a self-hating mindset to write the beginning.

It's really triggering. I'm looking at my stretch marks and hating them; I'm feeling like my stomach is disgusting; I'm feeling depressed. And then there's an aspect that's not so awful: recalling that great post-workout feeling, remembering how interesting it was to run my hands over my body and feel a new, weird shape emerging.

But of course, the end result is an urge to diet, and an urge to hate myself. I should've chosen a different story topic.

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I'm sitting here after a perfecty decent night at work; really a good night, actually. Nothing is wrong; there's no impending doom; nothing unusual happened. And yet I feel all twitchy and stressed and guilty. I feel like I've done something wrong, and I haven't.

I get this every once in a while; I don't know why. It's maddening, though, because when you feel guilty you want to do something to make up for whatever you did wrong. But I didn't do anything, dammit!

Ahrg. I'm going to go watch Roseanne or something stupid like that.

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I love my kittens.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

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I have a French test tomorrow, as well as a quiz over a book for my history class. I have to go see my dad for dinner tomorrow (not that I don't want to, just the time issue); that's after the maintenance guy comes to change my furnace filter sometime in the afternoon.

Then I have a history writing assignment due Thursday, as well as a French oral exam, and a meeting with my creative writing teacher about my fiction "portfolio" that's due next week. Which is comprised mostly of a story that I haven't finished. Considering the teacher's comments on the last story I turned in, and the extremely low bar set by my classmates, I just haven't had any particular urge to really work on it.

I need to list more stuff on ebay in the next couple of days so I have any hope of getting the money for the things in time for November rent; I have laundry and general cleaning to do; I have a history exam next Thursday and one the following Monday, so I need to start studying for all of those; and I'm working about 35 hours this week in addition to all of that.

Any somewhere in all of that, I need to make time to do a serious job search, because I've had about all the shit I can take at my current one.

For now, I think I'll crawl in to bed.

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I feel like things aren't going well today. I did finally get my October rent money, but don't have long at all to come up with November. I got written up at work for something that was only partly my fault. One of my coworkers was apparently complaining that I don't do my share of the closing work (which is bullshit). I'm trying to do my French homework and I feel like my brain is just blank. I'm hungry and don't have any food, but also feel too depressed to go get anything.

I hate days like this.

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Apparently, toy companies can't just base their 80s-era toy sales on nostalgia: they also have to give them "makeovers" to fit with ridiculous standards today. Strawberry Shortcake got it last year, which just pissed me off--I have fond memories of Shortcake! My first tricycle was a read and white SS tricycle, with a white seat and printed with strawberries. I loved that thing, I wish when I grew out of it that I'd thought to keep it for nostalgic reasons.

Honestly, what was wrong with the original, who looked like a dessert personified? The new version is so unremarkable; there's nothing shortcakey about her. At least she's fully clothed and they didn't give her breast implants, I guess. Except her giant head that's about twice the width of her waist--those are normal proportions, right? The original SS had a big wide head too, but she was also all around ... fluffy, I guess. Look at those bloomers!

And then there's the slimming down of my precious Care Bears. WTF is with that? The innocent, playful, cuddly bears I loved as a child have been oddly slimmed down. Even bears can't be fat? And just as importantly, even girl bears have be all coy and flirty? They're all about attitude now, it seems, and gender stereotypes.

And then there were all the My Little Pony toys I had. I loved those things, with their sparkly eyes and their shiny hair, and that weird smell of their squishy plastic bodies. Anybody else remember that smell? Fond memories, right? I wonder if these giant-hooved, giant-headed monstrosities smell the same.

The latest of my childhood toys to have a ridiculous facelift is Rainbow Brite. I thought RB was the shit, man. I had a freaking RB record that I played endlessly until it mysteriously disappeared--I think to this day that my mom gave it away because she was sick of hearing it! I think I had a Strawberry Shortcake one, too. I don't remember what they sounded like, just a vague mental picture of the album sleeves, but I remember crying when they vanished.

Now, RB has been remade. She's taller, more naked, more hourglass shaped, and her friends have no personality anymore. And similar to the new Strawberry shortcake, her head is out of proportion to her body. Because girls are never too young to be told they need to be disproportionately thin, amirite?

Why couldn't they just leave them alone? If they were still my childhood toys, I'd probably buy them all (uh, when I had money). If I had kids, I'd buy the old ones for them. These new ones? I am not impressed.

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This day already sucks. It's 6:23 a.m.; I haven't been to bed yet. My sleep schedule is totally screwed up, like that's anything new; I don't work today; I don't have a test or anything today. No stress at all, today, actually. Oh, wait; I do have a French quiz, but that's nothing.

So how is it already a bad day? My Norwegian boys are splitting up. The album they just released will be the last. Their final concert will be on my 29th birthday. And I just had to sell my ticket to the November concert. Fuck my life. And the positive side, I have a year to save up travel money to go to said concert. Since I won't be able to go to school next semester and will have to get another job, that should be possible.

I'm just shocked, and sad. The idea of there being no more a-ha songs ... well, it's sad. I know a lot of people don't get that; a lot of people think of them as just the "Take On Me" guys. And yeah, they'll all do stuff solo; but it's not the same. There's a particular sound, a particular vibe, that isn't there in solo stuff.

Obviously I knew they wouldn't be around forever; but after releasing such a great album seems like such a strange time to call it quits.

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Asset
Sometimes it seems like every other commercial I see on television is for insurance of some sort--especially since Geico has so many different ones. There's really a bewildering array of insurers, and I know that with car insurance at least, it's rather daunting. I was looking in to getting insurance a few months ago, when all the auto drama was going on, and I wish I'd known about PremiumAutoInsurance.net. It would have made it much easier!

Basically, it's a search engine for insurance companies, so you can get Free Auto Insurance Quotes.You just start by putting in your zip code, and it pulls up a list of insurers with discounts for your area. One of them I didn't recognize, but the others were Geico, esurance, etc.--the same ones I see dozens of commercials for. Esurance's commercials irritate me, but I figured I'd give the system a try. Then I did Geico, since I used to have insurance through them a while ago. The two quotes turned out to be pretty similar to each other, and the rate if I were to pay for six months at a time is a bit lower than the current policy on my as-yet-unnamed-Trooper.

The quotes were easy to get, less than five minutes a piece, and with just the standard info you'd usually need. Since the insurance on this one is actually in my dad's name, since it's his car, I didn't go through the process with the other three suggested companies. It's definitely something to bookmark for later use though--there are so many companies out there, it's nice to have a tool to winnow it down to just the ones with the best rates for your area!

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I have multiple chapters of reading to do; I have tons of stuff to list on ebay (yeah, still!); my updates here have been scattered; I haven't baked anything in a month and a half (which my coworkers are starting gripe about!); and assorted other stuff.

Of course, the good news is that I am in no danger of failing any classes! French is going quite well, although I need to make some flashcards so I can get a little bit better with the masculine/feminine articles--I always struggled with that. At least there aren't neutral ones too, like in German! I'm actually planning on going to the French club's conversation group tomorrow again, because even though I've usually done alright with the writing part, I've always felt shy about the speaking part.

My two history classes are okay; world history isn't my favorite, mostly because these two classes are such a broad, general overview--I've always preferred going into detail on small points, rather than shallowly addressing lots of points. Still, c'est bon--strong C's in both, with assignments and exams to go.

The most vexing one is the creative writing class--largely because she has yet to assign point values to anything except one quiz! It's all very vague. I also have the bulk of a story still to write for next week; it's just not something I've done in a long time, and so I'm really struggling with it. When you combine being out of practice and yet having editing/revising habits from when it was a daily thing, you get very little in the way of results. There's also the fact that when I did write, it was in two forms: poems and very open-ended stories of whatever length seemed appropriate. It's quite a challenge for me to work within the framework of 12 pages--that's hardly enough time for anything to happen.

The workshops we did on Tuesday didn't help me much, either. We were a group of five: a grad student moderator, a very quiet girl who said very little, a girl who obviously is only taking the class to fulfill an English requirement, a guy who's ridiculously pretentious, and myself. The second girl said almost nothing; between the other three I got totally conflicting opinions. Essentially all of them said both that they liked dialogue because it was realistic, and then proceeded to tell me it was too realistic. What? Also, one of the girls' notes on the draft refers to a character's weight as her "sickness", too, which makes me want to just ignore anything else she said!

This class actually brings up a lot of weird confused feelings for me, too. For a long time, I thought writing was going to be it for me, my career. I actually have a 50k word novel/novella on my computer--it's horrible, really, like Harlequin romance novel quality, but it's finished. I used to write all the time. And then I sort of stopped. There were a lot of reasons for it, none of them particularly good; and now when I do try to write I feel ... stunted or something. It's strange that something that was so important to me for so long has faded away, especially since I do still like to write--which is why I have three blogs. I think a part of me is just convinced that it's pointless to creatively write.

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The look of horror on Stewie's face is just too much!

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I've been feeling like my head's going to explode for the last few days. I'm having a panic attack right now; my heart is racing, I'm trembling, I feel like puking, and I want to curl into a ball and cry. Why? Well, it doesn't help that I'm still trying to pay this month's rent, but that's not really it. About once a month, my Prozac suddenly doesn't work for a few days. My PMS just over-rides the serotonin re-uptake process or something, and I end up like this. At first it really worries me, and I feel like I'm going nuts. Then my pants start to feel ridiculously tight, I want to devour the world, I don't want to do anything but sleep, and I realize what's going on.

I'm writing about it now because it's easier to calm myself down if I don't give in to it, if I talk to myself about the fact that there's not actually anything to panic about. Hopefully I can get an appointment on Monday to get some lovely birth control pills to help put a lid on this crap next month.

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And not in a good way.

We're doing a workshop for my creative writing class, so I have to read three stories by my classmates. I've made it through one, and I'm trying to make it through another; but they're just terrible. I'm not saying I'm the greatest writer; I'm not saying my ideas are awesome. But these? They're so poorly written I can't even tell if the idea is any good, because it's nearly incomprehensible. We're talking random shifts in verb tense, overuse of adverbs, fragmented sentences, use of words in completely incorrect ways, etc.

Two of these stories are from people who are always arguing with the instructor about basic tenets of writing--"yes, I can switch narrators in the middle of my short story from first person to third! It's unique!"--and talking about how special and unique and complex their ideas are. And they can hardly form a coherent, grammatically correct sentence.

I'm trying not to be too harsh; this is a beginning creative writing class. But how did people with such poor writing skills even pass high school English? Oh wait, because our educational system kind of sucks.

ETA: It's worse than I thought. I'm sure this ten page long story the author warned us was "very graphic" wasn't intended to spark uncontrollable laughter, but that's sort of what happens when a story is so over-the-top, melodramatic, self-important, and poorly written. How the hell do I give any constructive criticism of this? These stories are some of the most cringe-worthy, ridiculous crap I've ever read--and I say that having written a huge amount of cringe-worthy, ridiculous crap when I was younger.

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I meant to take a two hour nap, max. I slept for seven hours. I'd probably still be asleep if my dogs hadn't wanted out and then to bed fed. I'm so tired of being tired all the time! I've been tired for years, ever since I had mono, no matter what I do. I'm not anemic, I'm not diabetic, my thyroid is normal; I don't have sleep apnea or anything other sleep disorder, I had sinus surgery last year and that really helped my breathing but I'm still tired all the time. I've been on anti-depressants for a couple of years, which stops the psychological urge to sleep, at least. I'm just sick of this. My parents tell me if I'd just get on a "normal" sleep schedule that would fix it; too bad I was more or less on a regular schedule for two years and it didn't help. Maybe I should just give up and cultivate a caffeine addiction.

This isn't really going anywhere; I'm just whining because I slept all evening and have a headache.

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One of my tables tonight had just finished their dinner; I picked up their plates and asked if they wanted dessert. The woman laughed, but the man very loudly said "OH HELL NO! We NEVER get dessert when we go out! Too much damn food!"

I gave them my standard response: "Well, we don't want to send you home hungry!"

"Well I don't want to be no 200 pounds either!"

I'm sure they noticed that my smile got rather rigid; I thought about telling him I weigh 260 pounds, but decided it wasn't worth it in the middle of the dinner rush.

Now, of course, I am fat. But I bet the guy wouldn't guy I weighed more than 200 pounds, because people have that fixed in their minds as Huger Than Huge. Ridiculous.

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I'll be honest, I never heard of Livestrong Day until I saw it on POD's Twitter feed. I've been trying to figure out something to write that won't sound trite or snobbish; but the fact is my family has been very fortunate so far, and I haven't known anybody with cancer. My experience with it has been limited to waiting on people in restaurants who have mentioned it, and losing a few pets to cancer.

Still, I wanted to do something for this day, to at least contribute and spread awareness a bit. I'd originally thought to make pineapple mimosa cupcakes to go along with the yellow theme ... but between school, work, and being oddly exhausted all week, I put it off too long and my pineapple molded. C'est triste. Instead, I have only this inadequate blog post.

For links to some moving stories about living with cancer, please read POD's Livestrong Day blog post.

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