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Just a post to prove that I'm still alive (exhausted and overworked, but still alive, lol).

I live...

I don't have much to share. Work's been crazy and exhausting and RL has been utterly un-noteworthy (except for a few new jewelry-making supplies I managed to lay hands on that I'll be making use of soon). Sorry that I've been entirely silent and not keeping up on people's journals. I'll try to do better. Hope everyone's okay and having a sane holiday season. Feel free to reply here or drop me a PM if you want to chat. I'll try to be better about communicating but catching up could take some time.

and now *drumroll* the (pointless) update:

* Still gluten-free and missing it horribly (although the food I can eat now is not dreadful by any stretch and most of it's actually quite good), but it's amazing what a difference it's made in my life. My arthritis symptoms are nearly non-existent unless the weather's particularly nasty (or I have to spend more than four hours in the walk-in freezer -- we won't get into how often that happens, lol). I have, at a guess, 80% fewer migraines than I used to. And my ulcers don't bleed any more. I have more energy (which is as well since we're so short-handed at work that I need every ounce I can muster, lol), less depression, and am actually sleeping nights more than half the time.

* And I'm still losing weight. I need to dig up a "before" photo, I swear. In the past two years, I've lost over 70 pounds. Only 20 more to go!!!

* Picked up lots of beads and findings and have lots of ideas to go with them. I have a mini-vacation next week (three days off. IN A ROW!!!) so plan to create the shit out of some art ;p My favorite are these guys which I already have a million ideas for:

Just don't ask what they are. Shiny...

* The Hobbit, unsurprisingly, rocked. Martin Freedman apparently has over 500 distinct "wtf?!?!" faces and he used every last one of them as Bilbo. So perfect, lol. Wasn't entirely sure about the singing, but everything else was solid, amazing and/or epic (except possibly the lack of Benedict Cumberbatch threatening to eat Martin crooning death threats, but I can always just watch the trailer for the new Star Trek to see that). It's been over a year since I paid to see a movie in a theater and I plan on going again when Heather gets back from Hawai'i. IMO, better than LoTR. So true to the book that I got fangasms and Martin was an adorable Bilbo (or, to paraphrase TV Tropes, badass adorkable -- less badass, more adorkable). The graphics, the plot, the acting... just WOW!!! *fangirls a bit wildly*

* Erm... other stuff. Heather is visiting Helen and the girls (who live in Hawai'i these days) for a month (in the winter *jealous*) and I'm hoping to drop in on them for a week or two in the early spring before they move back to the Mainland. Ashley starts college soon (dear Gods where did the years GO?!?!) and Ellie looks just like I did at her age. It's actually a bit spooky. I'd post pics of the two of us, but Helen doesn't want the whole internet knowing what her kids look like, so... yeah. I am so proud of and in love with those girls, even if I hardly ever see them. They're amazing.

* I'm looking for other work, not out of any great discontent with my life at Walmart (which is at least never boring and includes health insurance and a 401K, along with employee stock options and profit sharing -- which makes me wonder why people bitch at Walmart for treating its employees like shit when I've been treated worse by almost every other store I've worked at AND not had benefits), but just because, at 33, it's time to make more than $9-something an hour and I have no desire to become a department manager. Customer Service Manager maybe if they were hiring them, but I don't want the stress and shit that being a department manager involves. I randomly catch myself hugging my department's manager just because there's so much to do and deal with (and that's with me doing a lot of the ordering, markdowns, price adjustments, and assorted paperwork for her) and I'm less a leader than a... Okay, how many of you know who Radar O'Reilly is? I'm one of those ;p

So, it's either being Carrie's support person forever more and making barely enough to live on, or finding a nice secretarial gig somewhere. (Fallback plan: move to Bentonville and get a job with Corporate so I can keep my stock options.)

Other than all of this, not much to say except for a story about working retail during the holidays that oddly WON'T make anyone wince. The less said about Black Friday the better so I won't even go there, lol, except to say that by having to work at 7 in the morning I managed to score a sweet deal (during my morning break, lol) on a new computer to replace my old, dead one -- another reason for my silence lately, lol.

Also, Windows 8 sucks (not in the good way) and Bill Gates is dead to me.

Okay, so, my day at work (minus the bit where I did 5 hours in the freezer bringing order to the chaos and spent a couple hours training a new guy):

Shop With a Cop (an event where local police officers take disadvantaged kids Christmas shopping) was today and it was the most adorable thing ever. I was actually a little disappointed not to be able to cashier this year despite the insanity of having 200-300 extra customers than you normally would in a span of a few hours. Our store alone donated $2,000 to the program this year (lots of donations from other companies and individuals, too, which is what this time of year SHOULD be about, not all this mindless "I want" BS people tend to have instead -- part of the reason I hate Black Friday so damned much), which meant that the program was able to give every kid an extra hundred dollars to spend this year. The kids were even more excited than last year and there were more of them.

Our parking lot was packed with patrol cars, DARE cars, SWAT vans, etc (everything from local city police up to state troopers and a marshal or two). I think it probably scared a few customers who didn't know what was going on (prolly one or two new employees, too, lol). We were PACKED, but in a weirdly orderly way. It was seriously like a sane, happy Black Friday. SO. MANY. PEOPLE!!! No shoving, no greed, no rudeness or greed, though, just kids swarming around enthusing about how their siblings and parents will just LOVE this or that present while their cop partners look on wearing grins as big and stupid as the one I had on my face.

It's amazing how you can take kids used to doing without, give them money to spend, and they want to buy things for their families instead of themselves. Also, the cops were uniformly adorable and clearly loving every second of giving the kids a day they wouldn't forget (they pick them up at school in their cop cars, drive them to the station for donuts -- cliche much, lol? -- bring them to the store, do the shopping, then back to the station for lunch and funtimes before bringing them back to school just in time for the closing bell).

Gave me a serious case of the warm fuzzies (during a time of year when I seriously need something to cheer me up). Also, several hundred really gorgeous men and women in uniform being sweet to the children of complete strangers... ohai, estrogen, where you been? Please stop trying to compel me to jump complete strangers now when there are kids watching.

Kat's ovaries: *asplode*


Kind of gives you faith in humanity seeing that much kindness and selflessness at work :) I've been down lately, missing Mom a lot (and talking about her way more than usual) but this just gave me a feeling of something that might almost be mistaken for peace. It was wonderful.

So, that's how I've been. How's everyone else? *hugs*
I no longer work on the front end. Everything there was so stressful and drama-filled (personality conflicts that I was afraid would end in fist-fights, money missing from tills, new policies that were frankly personally insulting in addition to being just plain stoopid) I got to a point where I started to dread going to work. So, when the new manager of our Deli department, who was one of my CSM’s until she became manager of the Deli, specifically requested that I transfer to her... oh, hell yeah! After all, when a former manager asks for you by name, it’s kind of a validating thing :)

Speaking of new departments, we will officially be a Supercenter on 3 October and I cannot wait. I am getting so sick of construction noises, random power cuts, complaining customers, and general chaos. And it’ll be brilliant to have a fully functional Supercenter less than two miles from home. Everything is so cheap (and, despite the general reputation of Walmart, the food’s quite good, kthxbai).

Also nice, I’ll be making 50 cents more an hour at the Deli. I’ll be earning every cent of it because it’s a LOT of hard work, but it won’t be boring if my first day of training was any indication. Because we don’t have a working Deli yet, they had to send me to another store to train and, because my manager adores the way it’s run, I’m going to Medina, about 25 miles from home. They started me off (unintentionally) with the Hot Case (prepared foods). My trainer was just going to show me the ropes, but we suddenly had a rush and, in ten minutes, I had learned how to serve food, all the meal deal options, how to print register tags, the difference between Wingdings and Wingzings, lol (wingzings have a spicy coating), how many mozzarella sticks there are to a pound, and that my glasses fog up every single time I open one of the cases.

Then I learned how to make rotisserie chickens, how to log out food that has to be discarded because it’s expired/damaged/returned, etc., spent some time in the coolers and freezer, washed some dishes, started to learn how to operate the fryers, and then spent some time on the front counter (meats and cheeses). And I just have one thing to say about the front counter.

The slicers are effing TERRIFYING...

As Eric put it, “this is designed to slice meat. Try to remember that your hands are made of meat.” ... zomg, it’s nuts. The blade spins so fast that you can’t SEE it spinning, you have to listen for the sound of it. Or, you know, watch it cut through a ham or block of hard cheese like it’s not even there. (Which brings me to my only mistake of the day. In a hurry, I forgot which slicer was which and used the cheese slicer to cut a log of pepperoni. Cue frantic scrubbing.) The slicer is hand-operated and you have to hold your off hand underneath the blade to catch the meat or cheese as it comes out. Omg, talk about a good way to lose a finger when you’re jumpy the way Kat is jumpy. More than once, I felt my finger connect with the blade mechanism (fortunately not the sharp bit, lol). I don’t see it happening, exactly, but it would not entirely surprise me if I one day lost part of my finger to the damned thing.

To back up just a little, my car started to give me problems on the drive to the nice store 25 miles away from my house. First it was just kind of a general “I don’t wanna go to school today!” sluggishness. Then it was more like “look at this neat trick! I can make blue smoke come outta my tailpipe!!!” ... I’m sure you can all see where this is going, lol. When I got out of work, there were some puddles under my car and... yeah.

My sister and brother-in-law, bless their hearts, came and picked me up and I told the Medina store managers that my car would probably be there until Tuesday (stupid holiday weekend). My brother-in-law (again, bless his heart) will be driving me to and from work for the next two days and, after looking at my car (he suspects a head gasket, whatever that is), probably helping me shop for a new one on Tuesday. He points out that a new one will be years without worrying or paying minor maintenance fees. Yay, I guess, and bye bye savings, lol.

Ah, well. What a way to start my training period ;p

I was in serious need of comfort food after work and had a surprisingly not!unsatisfying gluten-free grilled cheese sandwich. I wanted another one after despite being full, which marks the first time I’ve craved gluten-free food, lol.

Heather recently had her birthday and I made her a necklace/bracelet set with some of the beads I got at the TeacHaiti event I attended. Went with a nice, earthy theme for her:
Read more...Collapse )

Working on some other bits and bobs and will post pics when they’re done
And that’s about it from Kat’s corner of the universe now. Hope everyone’s doing well. Bye for now :) *hugs*

random feel-good feely-ness

I found this on youtube while looking for something else entirely and just had to share. Used to be one of Mom's favorites (she'd have us sing it in Sunday School as, one assumes, a lesson about tolerance -- I actually mentioned it to a pal at work the other day, more or less, while deprecating my own singing skills: "all god's critters got a place in the choir, but no one wants to hear my solo") and finding a professional cover of it just made my night. Off to bed now, but had to share first. Peace out, y'all *glomps and hugs everyone repeatedly*

Yes, odd things cheer me up, lol, but good memories are good, so... yeah *nods*

I do not know WHAT is wrong with my body, although I strongly suspect that sitting down and eating an entire loaf of bread would stop whatever it is. It doesn't like me right now. I feel a lot like BBC's Sherlock in the opening scenes of Hound of Baskerville (now where did they hide that secret stash of shredded wheat?). Anyone got a harpoon I can borrow?

my gluten-free life (and other updates)

Construction is almost done at Wally World, yay. October third is out Super-Center grand opening and I'm kind of thrilled that I'll have my quiet, organized store back soon. I'll probably be transferring off the front end once the new departments open (a few of them pay better) and I'm approaching my 2-year mark there. My transitional job is getting less and less transitional but at least I get my 401K and Walmart stock.

I took the plunge and dumped my cable (basic channels only for now, just so I can keep my DVR long enough to pull anything off of it that I need to). The rest of the shows I watch are things I can get online with varying degrees of legality and I'm looking at a Roku or similar device to stream internet programming to my telly. Once I see how that works, I may get rid of my local channels, too.

Ficcing and vidding whenever I can, but my muses are being ADD and I'm just too exhausted most days to put much into it. Also thinking of reviving one of my original fics, but that may have to wait.

I've sold a handful of simple (cheap) bracelets to coworkers and am going to open an Etsy store soon. A friend wants me to commission me to make her a charm bracelet and I'm excited for that since she's specified a Sherlock Holmes theme (keys, pipes, magnifiers, etc and page quotes). *bounces* Heather and I went to a jewelry party the other week which was loads of (expensive fun). All the pieces are made by students in Haiti, then sold to finance educational programs and send kids to college. It's a great organization (http://www.teachaiti.org/wp/programs/jewelry ) and the handmade beads are gorgeous:

Not such a fan of the filler beads, so will be restringing mine. But still adorable beads and an epic cause.

Therapy's been going well, although just lately I've been having nightmares again. I don't actually think that's from the PTSD. See below:

My sister's convinced me to go gluten-free since it seriously helped her with her migraines and stomach issues and I have almost all the same ones. Interesting fact: gluten binds to the opioid receptors in the brain, which makes abruptly discontinuing it feel a lot like withdrawal, complete with aches, pains, shakiness, anxiety, irritability, etc. Less than a week in and it sucks badly, lol. Withdrawal symptoms aside, it's just not easy. Shopping now involved carrying around a list of ingredients I need to avoid and cross-checking labels when in doubt (cheaper to read labels than buy stuff sold in the gluten-free aisle at the health food store, lol). I was watching a friend eating a hot pretzel the other day and kind of wanted to lunge across the table and suck the last piece out of her mouth. I even catch myself drooling at the mention of foods I don't like that much. But, to be honest, if gluten has really had this much of an impact on me without me knowing, it really makes me think maybe it DOES have the power to make me sick all the time. I plan on doing at least a month and seeing what happens.

I still have to catch up with all my friends and read their recent posts. I've been so remiss, but I figured an "I'm still alive" post is in order. I hope everyone is well.

full moon over the olympics

Just 'cause it's gorgeous. From: http://imgur.com/x2Dwl

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What the hell did I just play?

One of my f-listers already knows where this post is going since it was her idea that I find and download a dating sim (this isn't as weird as it sounds on its own. Harvest Moon has huge dating sim elements, too, and I gather that dating sims in general tend to be pretty dull and vanilla) called "Hatoful Boyfriend" which is definitely... unique?

Why do I describe it thusly, you ask? Meet your character's childhood bff:



Um... yeah, it's a dating sim about pigeons. Except you. You don't play as a pigeon, you play as a human girl who lives in a cave and attends the best pigeon-school in the world. And at this point I just want to promise that I am neither making this up nor on drugs. Why? Um... apparently a mutated strain of H1N1 wiped out most human life on the planet and allowed birds to become the dominant species? And now they can talk and have mental issues as a result? Or something. Anyway, the human girl lives in a cave near the school and lusts after her avian classmates. Or a teacher with narcolepsy depending on which path you go with in the game.

So, other than the childhood bff (you saved his life by returning him to his nest when he fell out -- and, on your first date with him you eat chicken which he doesn't seem remotely phased by) who's worried since he'll die of old age before you're even done with puberty, there's the ghost of the H1N1 outbreak's patient zero (a mourning dove who haunts the library), the narcoleptic teacher who seems to think he's too old for you (see above point on when the childhood bff would die), some stereotypical boring high school students, with issues, and a creepy school nurse:



I don't even know how to describe this game other than sick enough to be enjoyable (although the music is gawdawful and I don't read enough Japanese to know which menu option kills the sound). I named my character "Nikki Tesla" every time since... pigeons!!! and decided to go for as many endings as I could cram in before bedtime.

I successfully convinced the childhood bff to give me a try, got the ghost to vanish in a puff of angst, and convinced the teacher to wait for me (the fuck?). Then I was brutally murdered by the school nurse and decided to call it a night.

Those wacky Japanese have done it again...

random one-shot weirdness

I totally blame the group I play D&D with for this. Between Cthulu-themed Christmas Carols, general weirdness, and a night of random fun by Team WTF (our unofficial name for the party we play in D&D)... yeah. BBC Sherlock meets HP Lovecraft and the Cthulu mythos. In a world where the Holmes stories never existed, why would the Cthulu mythos?

The Lurking Boredom

"Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn," John read, probably completely butchering the pronunciation. Assuming the phrase was meant to be spoken aloud at all. "Is it code?"

"A language, I think," Sherlock answered, not looking up from the moldering book (made of what just might have been human skin) open before him. "It lacks the sort of internal consistency one expects from a code."

"It makes no sense so it must be a language?" John laughed, shaking his head and watching as Sherlock made more notes on the curious phrase that more and more prisoners and mental patients seemed to be repeating. "Welsh, do you think?"

Sherlock shook his head absently, ignoring John's next question and not speaking again for hours.

Finally, staring up at his flatmate with slightly fevered eyes, he whispered, "In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulu lies dreaming."

"What?" John asked, frowning.

"It's from that partial transcript Lestrade found of that satanic bible. The Necronomicon, I believe that cult called it."

"Um..." John blinked, searching back in his mind for that case, and going pale as he recalled the unusual and unsatisfying investigation and its lack of anything resembling closure. "All the cultists claimed that the information in this book had the power to drive men mad and split the fabric of reality asunder."

Ridiculous claims, but they'd been oddly compelling all the same. He still sometimes woke in a cold sweat from unsettling dreams of all they'd seen and experienced during the case. They'd both been having strange dreams since, them and roughly half the world's population, as far as anyone could tell. A new form of bio-terrorism, maybe.

"I think... this is that book, John," Sherlock breathed hoarsely. "Imagine what truths must be secreted here, if I could just--"

John could see him working up to one of his moods, so he held up both hands, clearing his throat. "Sherlock, let's not go trying to comprehend the ineffable or awaken horrific creatures from before the dawn of creation and from beyond time and space," he suggested, reaching for the ancient volume open before his friend, meaning to close it and tuck it safely out of sight (and therefore out of mind).

"I'm bored, Jawn!" he protested, drawling his friend's name petulantly. "Bored, and this is interesting!"

"Sherlock!" John protested in amused exasperation. "No digging up unspeakable horrors, all right?"

"Well, I'm bored! It's either translating this book, or we can play Cluedo."

John considered this, reflected on the mind-shattering nature of the arcane information supposedly contained in the ancient volume. Then he remembered the last time they'd played the board game in question.

"I'll help you translate," he announced, drawing up a chair.

Finis
or maybe just the beginning of the end ;p

my garden has a new resident

Mom's rock has become home to a cute lil snake at some point in the last week. From the looks of it, it survived an encounter with a bird at some point (healed scar on its back), so it's probably happy to have a nice safe place to hide. I'm going to start with a pic of Betty just so no one accidentally glances at a snake they'd rather not see...

all god's critters got a place in the choirCollapse )

Isn't she gorgeous?

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