Rock you like a hurricane.

So the hurricane missed us ... again. I can't say I'm upset, but I do feel bad for those hit. Hurricanes bite. This one I actually didn't know about until I was on the phone with a body shop in Jersey and they said ... okay, I'm borrowing from MooCow for a second and sock puppet theatre this one:

Body Man (not to be confused with Mountain Man, or James Taylor's Walking Man): Yer in Florida?
Me: Yesseree I am
BM: You gonna get hit by that hurricane?
Me: Hurricane? Oh, you mean that thing out in the Atlantic. Yeah, that's all the way on the other side of the state. What's it called? Katerina? Some figure skating name. Russian, maybe.

So then I came home and asked Christen:
Me: Is there a hurricane?
Him: Yeah, I don't know. I think so. When isn't there a hurricane?

All this was Friday. Now I'm looking at the pictures of New Orleans and Mississippi and I feel bad. Hope you're all alright!

Fine: $114.50

So there are these signs all over Safety Harbor: Do not block intersection; $114.50 Fine. How do you come up with that amount? I giggle every time I see one.

We've decided where we're going for vacation, so Washington D.C. here we come! I'm so excited; we've decided to camp in Northern Virginia or Southern Maryland and go in to the city for a couple days and then heading to Tennessee and Fall Creek Falls Park for the rest of the week, stopping for a night here and there between destinations. I promise to take as many pictures as my memory card will allow, and I'll buy another card if I need to :)


You'd think, you know?

You'd think I had something to talk about. I mean, crazy things have been happening. Like my job -- I might not have one anymore. They are "reorganizing" and moving my department to New Jersey. I might be able to find a place down here, but the ratio doesn't support it -- there are more than 70 of us looking to be absorbed into about 12 jobs. So in the meantime, I must look for a new job. I do have an interview (with my own company) for another position today, but almost everybody in my department applied -- so may the best person win. It'll at least get me used to interviewing again, which I may be doing a lot of in the next few months. A few friends are looking for places for me in their own companies (thanks so much, guys) and I'm out on Monster, but .... I'm starting not to sleep. It'll be fine, I know. But there's always that anxiety ...
I'm also going on vacation. A real, honest-to-god vacation. We're going camping again, in Tennessee, North Carolina and South Carolina. I'm so excited it's all I can do not to look at a map everytime I'm home. I'll be gone Sept 3-11. Hoorah!
So you'd think I had stuff to talk about. But with all this in my head it just wants to bounce around rather than come out here.


What's "wrong" with him.

So VG wanted to know what my brother's condition is, so I thought I would post just about that. My brother has Asberger's Syndrome, also called Asberger's Disorder. It's a form of autism where one is able to function but lacks all social skills necessary to interact. He focuses very well on single things (for 6 months it was spiders, now it's history) but doesn't react well to any sort of change or imbalance. The night before and the morning school starts he gets very bad anxiety attacks. When he can't process change he breaks down and will cry. Things that frustrate him start him screaming, but then if you try to calm him he'll cry. If he laughs so hard he gets the hiccups, he cries. He does all his work for school but refuses to turn it in. He gets all Ds and Fs in class for not turning in work but aces every test he takes. In middle school other kids would stick tape on his back with bad words and he never even noticed. In high school my mother had a conference with his teachers and they told my mom they thought he was like the Columbine kids because he doesn't interact with anyone. My mom was mortified that they don't know how to deal with someone like him. He's a loner because he doesn't understand social cues and how to behave "normally." Most of his friends have learning disorders or autism. One of his friends had an assignment where he had to get a friend to write things that he was good at and my brother wrote "He is good at making other people look good" and "He is good at losing at video games." He wasn't trying to be mean, he just didn't understand that that's not the way you act toward other people.

It's very frustrating, and I know I don't see a lot of it because I'm not around for all the problems. But a lot of what he goes through I went through too. I'm pretty sure I have some sort of problem like him, just not to the extent that he does. I love him so much; I'd do anything for him. But I don't want him to be normal -- is that bad?

From this site:

Asperger Syndrome (AS) or (Asperger’s Disorder) is a neurobiological disorder named for a Viennese physician, Hans Asperger. In 1944, he published a paper that described a pattern of behaviors in several young boys who had normal intelligence and language development, but who also exhibited autistic-like behaviors and marked deficiencies in social and communication skills.

Individuals with AS can exhibit a variety of characteristics and the disorder can range from mild to severe. Persons with AS show marked deficiencies in social skills, have difficulties with transitions or changes and prefer sameness. They often have obsessive routines and may be preoccupied with a particular subject of interest. They have a great deal of difficulty reading nonverbal cues (body language) and very often have difficulty determining proper body space. Often overly sensitive to sounds, tastes, smells and sights, the person with AS may prefer soft clothing, certain foods, and be bothered by sounds or lights no one else seems to hear or see.

It’s important to remember that the person with AS perceives the world very differently. Therefore, many behaviors that seem odd or unusual are due to those neurological differences and not the result of intentional rudeness or bad behavior, and most certainly not the result of “improper parenting.” By definition, those with AS have a normal IQ, and many individuals (although not all) exhibit exceptional skill or talent in a specific area. Because of their high degree of functionality and their naiveté, those with AS are often viewed as eccentric or odd and can easily become victims of teasing and bullying. Language development may seem normal, but individuals with AS often have deficits in pragmatics and prosody. Vocabularies may be extraordinarily rich and some children sound like “little professors.” However, persons with AS can be extremely literal and have difficulty using language in a social context.

There is a great deal of debate about how to categorize Asperger’s. It is presently described as an Autism Spectrum Disorder. Some professionals feel that AS is the same as High Functioning Autism, while others feel it is better described as a Nonverbal Learning Disability. Because Asperger Syndrome was virtually unknown until a few years ago, many individuals received an incorrect diagnosis or remained undiagnosed. For example, it is not at all uncommon for a child who was initially diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder/Hyperactivity to be re-diagnosed with AS.



So I was driving to the pet store to by a mouse for the Snakob and for some reason I was pondering the relationships I have with my brother and sister. I'm 10 years older than my brother and 12 years older than my sister, and for some reason I've always been much closer to the bro than the sis. And today I think I figured out why.
Well, when my brother came around I was always taking care of him, babysitting and toting him around town on the luggage rack of my bike. We went everywhere. I'd cart him to antique stores for old books and up to Shoney's (back when Shoney's was still in Fla) and to the library. Then my sister showed up. I can say she showed up because one day my mom called and said "I'm bringing home a baby that needs to stay with us for a few weeks" and then there was Jamie. So Jamie kinda disrupted the balance. I couldn't take them both on my bike, and the one (and only) time I put her on the rack she stuck her foot in the spokes of the back wheel and nearly ripped her leg off. So even though Ian was the middle child of the family, Jamie was kinda my middle child -- Ian was the first born, Jamie was the second, and my kids (whenever that happens) are the third birth.
Not that I don't love my sister. I do, fiercely. But she was always the opposite of my brother and I. We read, she was a cheerleader. We play video games, she text messages all the boys from school. And it's not just that. I've always identified with my brother. We have grown up conversations on the meaning of a comma. He gets my jokes. He doesn't need to be entertained. I didn't believe for a long time that there was anything "wrong" with him -- it didn't seem like there was anything different about him to me. He did terribly in school because he read though it all -- I did enough to get good grades but I was generally finishing my work in the first 5 minutes and then reading for the rest of the time. He missed 5 questions --5! on his FCAT last year. But he and I were always cut from the same mold. When we found out he had Asberger's a couple years ago everybody else was relieved to know what was "wrong" with him. I still didn't see anything wrong. So he doesn't like to talk to other people. So he will read Steinbeck and Vonagut and Hornby and Vowell and everything else he can pilfer from my library during classes instead of paying attention to the teacher -- his tests are always near perfect. He spends the night and we go book shopping and play pool and otherwise act like a couple of 60-year olds.
My sister keeps me young. I've been hanging out with her more often lately and I find that I like it. A lot. She's still a tomboy at heart; she's just a tomboy with boys and shoes and purses on the mind. I get to watch girlie movies like Chasing Liberty and Miss Congeniality with her (that no one else will watch with me). She comes geocaching with me and to events and is socal and cute and everyone loves her. I love her. She has to be entertained but she's easy -- take her to a shoestore or bowling and she's fine. Just keep reminding yourself not to spend too much money around her. She's good at spending money.


I'm a survivor, I'm gonna make it ...

But already I digress. I wanted to post yesterday but I didn't feel like answering those dern questions and I thought I should probably do that before I posted so I didn't feel like a lazy bum. So I have (go on, go see what kind of Jello I want to wrestle you in) and now I can post about my great weekend.
So unfortunately I don't have any fabulous pictures because the only pictures I have really blow (I took 5 pictures the whole time) so instead I'll have to regale you with tales (that won't be near as exciting to you as they are to me). Friday I picked my sister up from school and we drove down to Punta Gorda in time for dinner at Golden Corral with the rest of the geocaching groupies. Jamie had many plates of dessert and I talked to several people that I only seem to get to talk to at these events when I met a couple guys from my area that I seemed to have tons in common with. So when we went night caching with the whole group, or GeoCaravaning, as it was, Jamie and I rode with the boys and had a blast. Then Saturday we went to the main event, the Survivor's Event (on the anniversary of Hurricane Charley) where there were water games and a playground and kids for Jamie to play with and waterguns for all the children to turn on me with and caches to find and prizes to win! I won biodegradable toiletpaper and bug spray and a rain poncho. Woohoo for me!
But really the best part for me was the people. I didn't know I'd have such a good time. I can't wait for the next one!


My neighbor has this cat that has decided that his home is my front porch. He's tried for inside my house, but we chased him out. But all I have to do is look outside and there he is!

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While I'm gone

I played True Jersey Girl's game and now I'm required to participate in the game as well. I thought it would be a good thing to leave up while I'm gone this weekend. When I come back on Sunday I'll answer everyone! Happy weekend, everyone!

1) Put your name in my comments, and I'll respond with something random about you.

2) I'll tell you what song/or movie reminds me of you.

3) I'll pick a color/flavor of jello to wrestle with you in. (Maybe)

4) I'll say something that only makes sense to you and me.

5) I'll tell you my first memory of you.

6) I'll tell you what animal you remind me of.

7) I'll ask you something I've always wondered about you.

8) If I do this for you, you must post this on your blog. You MUST. It is written.


I know I promised but I'll get to it ...

I'm deciding to be lax in answer Mama M's questions and I wrote that I'd put JG's questions up too, but I'm feeling blue so I'm going to do that on Sunday, maybe, when I get back into town.
I think there's something wrong. With me. I'm starting to breakdown, just a little, which wouldn't really matter that much because I usually pull it together. But I started having my breathing problems again which I haven't had to deal with in any large amount since ... well, since my ex-fiance and I broke up. See, I have these anxiety attack things where my body refuses to breathe like a normal human being and I get all lightheaded and jumpy and cross. I think it has affected me a total of 2 weeks over the last 2 1/2 years, which is fantastic except that an entire week of that is the last week. I know I'll get over it but I'm tired of this. Prescriptions don't seem to help, and I don't really want to talk to my doctor about it because he'll just send me to a specialist. Because that's what he does.
Also, since Christen hasn't been around because of the new job I've been hating coming home. I'm genuinely upset to come home to an empty house every night. It makes me depressed, and I hate being depressed so that makes me more depressed. I've been trying to do other things to get my mind off of it -- not working. I really hate being by myself, period. I cried when I went to my mom's house tonight and no one was home. I told my sister that I was coming for her clothes (we're going out of town this weekend) and that maybe I'd bring dinner or something. When I got there there wasn't aybody there, so evidently Mom had come home and taken the kids to her friend's house and Jamie never told her that I was coming. I sat in the living room for an hour reading and hoping they'd come home. But then I came home. I don't need to be entertained, I just need a warm body near me. I'm seriously thinking about getting an animal.
Anyhow, enough about me. I'll be entertaining next time, I promise.


Hail, hail the gang's all here.

Last night was the last night the whole gang could get together before Autumn* and her boytoy move to New York. And I only cried at the very end. We had a really good night! So I brought pictures for show and tell:

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Oh, and I learned the most disturbing phrase today: Muffin Top.

And oh, how fitting it is. Oi and vey.

feeling faint

So the bloodmobile made its rounds today and I gave blood. I actually was quite fine, but probably because they actually followed my instructions: Right arm, blood pressure cuff. No exceptions. I know you feel the vein and are confident you will only have to stick me once, but let me tell you -- if you have to stick me more than once I feel obligated to return the favor.
But anyhow, my arm hurt a little but I'm fine now. I was just typing a little slower for the last hour and a half of work. And that's fine because who wants to work, truely?
ShellBell and Mr. Monkey and I are going to dinner tonight and then to see Autumn* one last time before she and her boyfriend leave for New York. I'm going to try not to think about it because I'll cry and there will be plenty of time for crying when I help them pack the truck on Thursday! I'm bringing my camera so maybe I'll bless you with some pictures :)


The sky is falling.

So I'm sitting in my living room enjoying the sound of the monsoon on the roof (it seems to reverberate in this place) beginning a new book when I start hearing this noise. It sounds mildly like what's going on outside, but is most definitely inside. Tap tap tap -- it's like wet clothes dripping on cement. And then I see it. A leak in my roof. Dripping on my reading chair. Evidently I should have something slightly more appropriate for the weather in my living room.


The Interview

My friend VegasGustan (I'm being lazy but his links are the ones over there on the right called "Home But Far From It" and "Song Repository") interviewed me, and here are my answers to his brilliant questions:
1. If you could rewrite the ending to one book how would you change it?
I would end Chuck Palahnuik's Invisible Monsters after the person who shot the model in the mouth confesses to the shooting. Because after that is just mindless backstory on why it was done, and who really cares? The reasoning takes away from the shock the reader would have felt. What I would have thought about the reasoning would have been far more complex and interesting than the "true reasons." Writers are so scared of leaving questions in the readers' minds, when a responsible reader would fill those answers in with his/her own answers rather than waiting for it to be spelled out for them. And I don't think that writers should leave things open that you can't make your own hypotheses without stretching too much, because that's not responsible either. A writer should lead you to the water and expect you to drink, not force you. Wow, and now we're all asses. :) And I'll step down from my soapbox. (For all the Palahnuik fans out there, I do really love his writing and his storylines. Invisible Monsters was the only one so far that I've read and been irritated by the ending.)
Oh, another one I'd change is anything by James Paterson. But then I'd change the end by burning a hole through it. But you already knew that, didn't you? :)
2. Do you hold any regrets so far that you would care to share with the class?
I really try not to regret things. I do things I should regret, but I've always been big on not regretting, because really what purpose does it serve? I think if there's something that does come to mind it's that I regret stealing from my mother when I was a teenager. I think it's something all teenagers did, but I've really tried to make up for it as an adult by helping her out with money whenever possible. She doesn't often take it, but I still try to force it on her. I didn't realize how little she really had back then.
3. If you could have taken anything to show-and-tell back in the day what would have it been?
I'd like to carry around the little boy I punched in kindergarten while the lights were out and we were getting ready to watch a movie. He was always teasing me and I could never get him back, so one day right before a movie I went up behind him and slugged him in the back. That way I could show-and-tell I really can stick up for myself!
4. You wake up in a future where you are now considered a complete savage and cavewoman-like, how do you try to fit in?
I go to work, because you're always required to be somewhat of a savage. If I'm completely a savage maybe I'll be even better. My problem with my job is that I think I have too much empathy. Maybe this kind of change would do me good.
5. (James Lipton Moment) What turns you off?
People who pretend they're more intellegent than they are, or feign intellect by enunciating every word so it sounds deliberate and therefore more stable and important than everyone else's speaking. And when people talk over you. And bad breath, that really turns me off.

The Rules
1. Leave me a comment saying 'interview me please'
2. I will respond by asking you five questions on your blog (not the same questions you see here)
3. Update your blog/site with the answers to the questions
4. Include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed, ask them five questions


spendin' moolah.

I finally made my reservations on Orbitz for Punta Gorda in a week and a half, and so of course there's a tropical depression south of here. They say it's going toward the Bahamas, so maybe we'll be safe. I don't want to waste my money. And I want to have fun, of course! It's the Survivor geocacher's event for the anniversary of Hurricane Charley. Let's go crazy!
Okay, I'm tired and am slightly nuts.
And I forgot today was Tuesday.
I go now.


Doing Minimal Black for a bit.

I haven't been posting because I've been so mad at the template for doing that damn scrolly thing. I know I said it wouldn't bother me. So I lied. I've tweaked everything I know how to tweak, and I wrote an email to the template maker but she'he hadn't gotten back to me yet and I was still annoyed by it. I tried reloading the same template but I came up with the same problems. So I switched back to the most bearable of the blogger templates, and I'm now on the hunt for a bigger better template. Something with books, please.
It's been a whole half a month since my last post! I've been keeping up with most of your posts, even though I couldn't bear to post myself, so I find myself fairly caught up.
It's been raining since I went to bed last night. I woke up having a terrible dream and went back to finish it -- it makes me groggier to wake up to a half-finished bad dream than to finish it out. In the dream I was at some minor celebrity's house and some other people were there too and for some reason I passed out and when I came to I realized that someone had set fire under my bed, which I put out with my hand -- ouch! Then I realized the people that had been at the celeb's house were raiding her warehouse, so I was trying to find out who of my friends were involved with this, and I got caught at the warehouse by someone who didn't know me, but she just told me to leave and then I was hiding at this woman's house and a car (of the people from the warehouse) came by and hit her little baby. And the baby died while I was trying to catch the people who did it.
So really I'd say that so much has happened, but really not much has happened since I took a sabbatical. Christen, Other April and I went to Islands of Adventure on Saturday, which was a lot of fun. I hadn't been there in many years, Christen had never been there, and OA is always up for a theme park!
We also ate at Jungle Jim's so C and I could have the Peanutbutter Bet hamburger (1/2 lb hamburger, peanut butter, mayo (which of course I leave off) cheese, bacon, lettuce tomato and pickle).
It's the best burger anywhere, I do declare. We go there everytime we go to Orlando, which lately isn't much, but for a span of 7 months or so we went every other weekend.
OA and I slept all the way home, and I went to bed at 9:30 and woke up at 9:30, and went to a bridal show with ShellBell again. This one didn't tire me out as much as the last one, and we went shopping afterward since it was the last day of the tax-free thing. To tell you the truth, we just went shopping to go shopping. It just so happened that it was still during the tax-free thing.
I'm now falling asleep again. Suz and I have decided to start carpooling (a logical idea, although we've been working there for going on 6 months and haven't really given it a thought until I needed a ride for two days last week. Now we're going to try. Let's hope I don't fall asleep in the car today (no, I'm not driving).
So sorry this post hasn't been particularly interesting or witty -- it's hard for me to get back into the swing of things once I've been gone for so long. It'll get better, I promise people!