Imogen Heap, Live

Marti had a link to this on her Web site and, as a fan of Frou Frou and Imogen Heap, I was really impressed with the performance.

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Work to Live

I feel silly. Everyone was so nice to respond to my last post and butter me up, but I really wasn’t fishing for compliments. I was flipping channels last night and came across a program that followed a woman around a cosmetic surgery center as she got various things done in preparation for her wedding. She was, at most, 30 years old, and she was having things like Botox injections and chemical peels. The most I did to prepare myself physically for my wedding was buy a new lipstick that’s supposed to last a long time. It didn’t.

Which brings me to my next thought . . .
I’m also glad to know that some people aren’t all gung-ho about the idea of our getting divorced, but I do agree with that if we were to go through with it, we would definitely get media coverage. Otherwise, what would be the point? At first I thought it would be enough to just hand over the paperwork to various representatives and go “See what you made me do?” But then I thought it would be important for more people be aware of what was going on. I realize it wouldn’t make that great a difference. A few uber-liberal married couples might consider it, but in the long run I doubt anyone else would go through with it to take a stand.
It’s still something we’re considering, if only because letter-writing, petitions, and protests don’t feel like “enough.”

In other news I am now taking all my courses online this semester and will not be taking any more through Ivy Tech after. I’m done with it. Even though it means I might not officially be a junior upon my transfer (back) to IUPUI, I don’t really care. If I take two or three classes in the fall so I can afford it, then that’s what I’ll do. They’ve raised tuition yet again, so I think we’re both going to take classes on campus just twice per week and try to be there at the same time so we can save on gas. I like the flexibility online courses afford me enough to see what I can get, but Charlie doesn’t think he’d do very well, so his will all be on campus.
In that case I also think I’ll either try to get as many hours at the coffeeshop over the summer as I can (which might be difficult if our other college student, Carly, comes back from college), or I’ll need to look for a second part time gig.

Cavan’s kinda-sorta put in his notice to move out. He told me the other night that he’s “done with Indianapolis” and wants to move back to Minneapolis. I understand how he feels and I think it would be good for him. I was under the impression that he wanted to move back in with his folks once he graduates in May, get a job, and save money to move. When I asked him about it, though, he said that wasn’t his plan. “What are you going to do to save money, then?” I asked. “Get a good-paying job, I guess,” he replied.

My first reaction was one of slight panic. How are we going to cover his portion of the rent with both of us being in school? How can we afford the car payment? Will we have to trade in the Santa Fe for something a lot cheaper? Are we going to have move again? Is the landlord going to give us any sort of deal if we sign a two-year lease? How are we going to find another place that allows all our pets (this landlord didn’t even charge us a pet deposit, which is unheard of). But Charlie and I talked it over on Sunday and I realize it’s not as bad as I’d thought.

Despite the fact that we don’t really need this much space (1,700 square feet, three bedrooms, two bathrooms, an office, a breakfast nook), and despite the fact that utilities are a bit high (10-foot ceilings and all-hardwood floors aren’t exactly energy-efficient), we both want to stay. I am not interested in moving again. I’ve moved almost every year for 14 years, not including when my dad was in the Navy, and I’d kind of like to stay in a safe, quiet neighborhood, in a home I love, with neighbors I like, having a job that’s a block away. It just doesn’t make sense to move.

Besides, I realized we’ll have more money in a few months. My credit consolidation plan will be paid off before Cavan moves out. I pay about $300 a month, which is his share of rent and utilities. So I’ve got that covered.
If we trade in the Santa Fe for a pickup truck that Charlie can use while doing woodworking, we could save another hundred or more per month. My biggest fear is just making up the difference between what Charlie makes at his full time job and what he’d be getting from the GI Bill. I think he only has one year left on it, but about two years left to complete his second Bachelor’s degree. Longer if he takes just a few courses each semester.

I think it’ll be fine. A bit tight, but worth it. To be completely honest, I’m ready not to have a housemate anymore. The money stuff worries me, but when doesn’t it? Making sure the dogs are taken care of worries me, but when doesn’t it? I know Charlie hates sitting behind a desk in an office every day, and the fact that he’s in sales – two things he said he’d never do in his life. I think he’s done a great job saving money and making sure we won’t struggle too much and I know he’ll be so much happier. And that’s what really matters.

Bad Everything Day

I was looking to update my MySpace page the other day with newer photos of myself when I discovered I have none. Hardly anyone ever takes photos of me as I’m somewhat camera shy and I feel like I don’t photograph very well. When I see images of myself I often cringe. I feel like my skin is in really bad shape; I have a lot of permanent blemishes and some acne scars that I hate. Not to mention some odd little hairs popping up here and there.

I didn’t start getting acne until I was in my twenties and I never appreciated my perfect skin when I was younger because I was too busy hating myself. Now I feel like most everything’s in order except for the stuff on my neck and face. Oh, and a few extra pounds which are shedding nicely, thanks to the daily yoga.
I know for a fact that some people think I have “hickies,” which is truly horrifying. Matt at work once asked me about it. At that point I’d been closing with him for months. I asked did he think I had the same hickies in the same place all this time?

I suppose you can blame the preceding paragraphs on PMS. I just feel fugly today.

So the whole SJR-7 thing . . . left a comment and told me that in Indiana you don’t have to be legally separated for six months (I thought I’d read that in some paperwork Charlie and I got during our rough patch a few years ago), you just have to pay court fees for a divorce. This was somewhat of a relief, but also somewhat scary. Charlie and I discussed it a little bit. Are we willing to go through with it? Is it a vain gesture? Will it make any difference or just make us feel better, meanwhile significantly lowering our tax return next year? Hey, I gotta ask these things.On a government Web site I found this page, nine steps to dissolving your marriage. I had no idea it was that involved. But it looks like you can waive the final hearing and some other things. It also seems you have to wait 60 days after petitioning for dissolution before filing the waiver.

The last thing I want to do is appear to others that I take my relationship lightly. Charlie and I have definitely had our ups and downs — being involved in a marriage is hard work if you want things to benefit both people. Divorce is not on my list of top priorities. We almost split up once about three years ago because we are so incredibly different, and I don’t want to mess up a good thing. I know I can’t imagine being with anyone else (who in the world would eat anything I cooked and put in front of him or her?) But I also know that I feel very strongly that I don’t want my (or anyone else’s) relationship to be dictated by religious figureheads and falsely pious politicians who, themselves, clearly do not take marriage that seriously. For all the thrice-divorced Congresspeople who are backing this issue I say shame on you. If marriage is so sacred, divorce should be illegal, not domestic rights and property issues. No one should be allowed to file lawsuits against companies that offer partnership benefits, but that’s what’s happening right now in several states, including our neighbor, Ohio.

So, if you’re a single person in a committed relationship, or a gay or lesbian (or otherwise) person, how do you feel? If SJR-7 affects you, personally, do you think dissolving our legal marriage would be a matter of taking a stand against legalized discrimination, or do you think we’re just being ostentatious?

Copied from Jay & Scott

Friends, I need your help. Soon, in the next few weeks, the Indiana House is going to debate and vote on SJR-7, which is the marriage discrimination amendment. If and when it passes the House, it will go before the entire electorate during the November elections of 2008. Don’t be fooled by the marriage language. The citizens pushing this legislation want you to think it’s just about marriage, but SJR-7 goes way beyond that.

Read the second sentence, as it’s the key to the damage SJR-7 will do:

(b) This Constitution or any other Indiana law may not be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents of marriage be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.

Read that again:

(b) This Constitution or any other Indiana law may not be construed to require that marital status or the legal incidents of marriage be conferred upon unmarried couples or groups.

Friends, this amendment isn’t about gay marriage. That’s a clever ruse used by the amendment’s author and supporters. Gay marriage is already illegal in the state of Indiana. This amendment is about blocking any unmarried couple from having any of the rights straight married couples retain. SJR-7 means that law-abiding, tax-paying citizens could potentially lose the right to leave their estate to the person they love. It means hospital visitation rights could be lost. It means state-supported universities and organizations will have to drop their domestic-partner benefits. It means single women will not be able to report domestic violence since they aren’t married to their boyfriends. It means elderly siblings living together could lose the right to be there for each other legally. Adoptions and parental rights will be challenged. In Ohio and Michigan all of these things are already happening. And sadly, that’s where the people supporting SJR-7 want to start. This is just the beginning for them.

I urge you, if you know anyone who is gay or unmarried, take the time to write your representative today before it’s too late. The GLBT community only makes up between 5 and 10 percent of the population in any given Indiana county. We can’t stop SJR-7 by ourselves. Stopping it means you have to do something. If you’re straight, and oppose the potential discrimination your friends and loved ones might soon face, it’s your responsibility to fight this and to stop it. It’s up to YOU.

Here’s how you can help:

http://www.stoptheamendment.org/

Missing Out

I'm kicking myself for not going to the rally that was downtown yesterday. At the point we should have been there, I was staring down the crack of the cable guy's ass as he was supposed to be fixing our ghetto digital cable box. He wasn't supposed to show up until sometime between 2 and 4 (and we assumed it would be even later than that), but magically appeared around 12:30 to say he'd be in the area sooner than expected. We had to rush home because Cavan was already late for a test in one of his classes.
The best part is, not only was it a complete waste of time and we missed being a part of something much bigger and more important than cable, but the f-ing thing still is not fixed. We cannot pause, rewind, or record television. So, what we're being charged over a hundred bucks a month for, I have yet to figure out.
Infuriating.

Charlie and I have talked about getting a divorce and presenting the paperwork to our so-called “representatives,” telling them that if they want to classify marriage as a “holy” union strictly between a man and a woman, we don't want any part of that.
Only problem is, in the state of Indiana you have to be separated (and show proof of living apart) for, like, six months before they'll grant the divorce. As much as I want to take a stand, I don't know if we can afford it. Dammit! If we hadn't done it in the first place and this amendment passed, we would be just as screwed as everyone else because it doesn't just affect gay and lesbian couples – it affects every couple in a committed relationship who aren't legally married.

Then there's the whole if-it-passes-should-I-move-out-of-the-state-or-should-I-stay-and-put-up- a-fight?

Even more so are all the obnoxious and ignorant comments on the IndyStar Web site regarding the rally. And, of course, all the articles and news pieces I've read got the numbers wrong. Some say 200 people, others say around 300. From what I understand, there were 400 seats, all of which were taken, plus another hundred or so folks standing around.

Strip Your Way to Fitness

By the way, today was gorgeous! The snow was finally starting to melt, it was forty-some-odd degrees, and we might get up to fifty degrees tomorrow. How nice is that?

Despite my previous post about all things materialistic, I do sometimes appreciate the simpler things in life. Which makes a bad seque into my next thought . . .

I got a copy of Carmen Electra's “Fit to Strip” DVD. Don't laugh; it's supposed to really help with cardio workouts. Plus, you know, you can strip better. Besides, some of us aren't content with idea of watching our pants sizes grow. [Insert incredibly catty remark about someone I know who cares very little about her weight and appearance and would rather eat her way to happiness/misery than do anything to help herself.] I haven't watched it yet. I'm just starting my third week of 30-45 minutes of yoga per day and want to ease into the more strenuous exercise. That and I don't want anyone to be home when I do it.

P.S. Other than the four smokes I had Saturday night I haven't had any for over two weeks. Woot.

Links to My Shopping

Charlie and I both took off Friday through today to celebrate our sixth anniversary. Originally we were going to get our passports, had talked about going snow-tubing (or whatever it's called, I don't know), and the art museum. We didn't do any of those things; the weather and roads weren't all that conducive to traveling much until yesterday. We did have the get-together for Audrey (Cavan asked her out and she said no, by the way), then went to Cavan's parent's house for dinner last night, which was a lot of fun. Then we went shopping this morning. And then did some more shopping this afternoon. Oh, and a little bit more this evening.

We got all new pots and pans, a really huge platter from Crate and Barrel, plus some wine glasses, and looked for a loveseat to complete our living room. I found the one I wanted but it cost almost as much as our gargantuan eight-foot-long sofa and I couldn't rationalize spending that much. I got some face wash from Sephora and he found a Johnny Cash album at the Sony Style store.

I almost invested in a relatively expensive set of flatware, not realizing that the price I was looking at was for one place setting, not the whole set. Whoopsie. I decided against that set. The stuff we got for the wedding is plenty good enough; we just need a few more forks for when we have guests over to eat.

And with all this new crap for the house, I honestly need to have people over.

By the way, thank god for Turbo Tax Deduction Maximizer: without it we would not have gotten any of this stuff. We went from thinking I would owe federal taxes to the both of us getting back what we spent on the software multiplied by about a hundred.

Leftover Cupcakes for Breakfast

Last night we had a very impromptu get-together for Audrey's 22nd birthday. On the one hand, I absolutely cannot believe I helped to throw a party for someone who's over 10 years younger than me. That made me feel pretty old. On the other hand, she's a really great girl whose original party and actual birthday had gone rather badly and several of us just wanted to show our love for her.
I stayed up later than I have in months (if not a year) and I did many things that I am regretting this morning – I had a few cigarettes, I had some alcohol, I ate Doritos and cupcakes. My stomach is upset today (and how!) and my throat and chest burn, but it's okay. It's not how many times you fall off the wagon, Charlie reminded me, it's how many times you get back up.

I don't feel like a smoker much anymore. At this point, it really is just the physical habit. I don't find myself pining for the nicotine, I just want to do it. And then, when I do, it either makes me feel like shit or doesn't taste nearly as good as I thought it would. And after two weeks of a pretty strict organic diet, everything else I put into my body makes my back or head hurt or generally makes me feel crappy.

It was odd having people from work over to the house last night and I felt bad that not everyone was invited. No one wasn't invited, I think it was more a matter of who could be gotten ahold of right then and there. The main thing behind it, I think, besides just letting Audrey know we care, was to see if we could make a little love connection between her and Cavan . . . finally. I think there was a spark and they were definitely flirting, but I know she's seeing some kid that lives in South Bend and she may feel obligated to continue her long-distance relationship.
I don't know what could be better than dumping someone who's three hours away for someone who's two blocks from you, but I really don't know what she's got going on with this other guy.

It was interesting to see everyone in my house. I don't hang out with people from work much, except Annie, and I was afraid I'd come off as a party pooper as I worried people were being too loud, that we might be bothering the neighbors, that I wanted to walk around behind everyone and mop the floors.

But it was all okay.

Schadenfreude

I have to admit that I have been guilty of experiencing a little pleasure at someone else's expense and I almost sort of feel bad. Suffice it to say that some things are not meant to happen and some people just can't see the writing on the wall.

I am concerned that a lot of people from my generation and younger have been going through their lives expecting a certain amount of things handed to them and, when faced with the idea of not being able to “just have” whatever that thing is they want, they shut down. There's no internal communication, no consideration, no rational thought process. It's just “But I want it.”

I have, by no means, struggled nearly as much as many people in life, and especially people in the world. I have rarely gone hungry, was provided the necessities as child, and have no sincere complaints about the way my life is right now. As much as I sometimes “want” something, I can usually either justify why I a.) don't need it b.) don't deserve it or c.) just can't have it.

If I can, somehow, and want it badly enough, I find a way to get it. I'm not sure that I've expected anything to be handed to me in all of my adult life.

Sometimes you get an idea about something and, after sitting down and reading about it or looking it up or talking with another person about it, you realize how complicated it really is and move on. Buying a car, for example. I avoided doing this for as long as I possibly could as a teenager. At 19 I had a job where it was required of me to have transportation and the car I was driving at the time died. I didn't have the thousands of dollars to get it fixed, but I did have good enough credit to get approved for a newer car. It took days to get all the paperwork squared away and I was at the dealership for hours and hours at a time.
Eventually, I walked out (or, drove, rather) with a new car that lasted me for six years. It had a flat tire once and I got the oil changed (when I thought of it). Since then I've signed off on paperwork to buy three other cars and each time it gets easier.

I can't imagine why I waited so long to buy a car. I was scared. Worried that I'd be taken advantage of. Now I walk in and say “This is what I want and this is how much I'm going to pay.” They still drag the process out as much as they can, but it doesn't seem to be nearly as bad as it did that first time.

Now, when I'm faced with a task that seems tedious or difficult, I ask how badly I want to complete that thing. Do I want a new car someday again? Then I'll have to be prepared with a down payment, a free afternoon, and a pen. I wouldn't walk into a car dealership, demand a new Toyota Prius and then start crying when they ask for information to run a credit check.

Snow Day

It was a snow day for everyone but me. I had to drag my ass out of bed at 6 this morning and would have trudged through ten inches of snow if Charlie hadn't gotten up and offered to take me to work. Despite the fact that I never wanted to buy a SUV, we do have four wheel drive, so I felt safe during the block-and-a-half drive. By the time he picked me up at eleven there were balls of ice falling down the back of my coat and into my shirt as I ran to the car.

The dogs love this sort of weather and we all took them out into the front yard where they attacked one another, ran through the snow, bounced around, and got generally soaked.

I dozed on the couch for a bit while the dogs were sacked out on the floor and then got up to snack and clean.

The cable company showed up at two this afternoon to hook up our digital cable, then Charlie had to be on the phone with them for about thirty minutes to find out why none of our high definition stations were coming in through the digital box. Despite the fact that someone could come out today in the middle of an ice storm/blizzard, no one can come back to flick a switch and let us see our HD channels until Monday.

Regardless, we had a nice, lazy day.