Posts Tagged ‘-UtopiaH-’

I’m interrupting the ‘Deus Ex Machina’ series, which explains my current work situation, to bubble enthusiastically about a recent ‘mommy’ experience.  Tammy, another research assistant at ThatchTower, has two boys, Dean and Mikey, who are complete handfuls.  Mikey recently turned six and Tammy threw him a pool party at the local rec center.  She invited several kids from Mikey’s class at school and their parents, but didn’t get much reply, so she also invited the other Thatchtower moms.  I was going to decline.  As the newest research assistant, I don’t really know Tammy that well yet and Mikey hardly at all.  As the newest mom, I wasn’t all that keen on bringing Piper to the party either.  One of the few things I know about Mikey is that he loves babies.  When he’s in the nursery at Thatchtower, he wants to help and to hold Piper or Brooklyn (the other baby in the nursery, about nine months old, not as cute as my baby, however!).  Given that Mikey doesn’t seem to understand that babies are fragile and doesn’t listen well, however, his ‘help’ must always be very closely monitored.  Plus, Piper isn’t even six months old, and doesn’t walk or crawl yet.  She definitely doesn’t swim.  She wiggles and rolls well enough to get herself into trouble, she just doesn’t have enough mobility to give someone else time to get there and rescue her.  So I foresaw a pool party as spending an afternoon on high alert doing over-protective mom-watch of my baby, something neither relaxing nor fun.

Fun and relaxation: what pre-Piper pool parties were like… Jewelry: Graffiti Bangles (Grumble, Grumble); Black Choker (source unknown)

Fun and relaxation: what pre-Piper pool parties were like…
Jewelry: Graffiti Bangles (Grumble, Grumble); Black Choker (source unknown)

It was Tori, Brooklyn’s mom, who persuaded me to come.  Like me, she’s a single mom who doesn’t get out much.  She also has a warmer heart than I do, I think.  I figured Mikey doesn’t know Piper and I well enough for us to add much to his party, that inviting us was probably a polite gesture on Tammy’s part or less likely a “more guests = more presents” calculation.  Tori pointed out that people’s motivations are rarely one-dimensional, so either or both of those might go into the mix, but that Tammy’s biggest motivation was to make Mikey feel special and loved, to be a ‘winner’ at his party.  Ideally, more of his school friends would have been coming, but for Piper to be there was still an indication that other kids and small people wanted to be around Mikey to help celebrate his special day.  In many ways a bad party- one where Mikey didn’t have anyone with whom to play and share his new six-hood- would be more tragic and painful than no party, and Tori and I could help make sure Mikey had a better party by giving him the chance to share his birthday with Brooklyn and Piper.  Put that way, how could we not go?

The party was at the local rec center that Saturday.  Tammy had signed out a room from three to five so everyone had a place to eat cake and watch Mikey open presents.  The indoor pool would actually be open until eight, although Tammy said she and the boys would probably only stay until about six.  I worked a quiet lunch shift at Giovanni’s, getting out around two thirty, scrambled to get Piper and myself ready, and tried to slink quietly in about quarter ’til four.

Skin: something (somebody) Tattoo: Bad Girl (somebody) Swimsuit: Green Mini Bikini (Grumble, Grumble)

Skin: Britney (WoW Skins)
Tattoo: Bad Girl (UtopiaH)
Swimsuit: Green Mini Bikini (Grumble, Grumble)

‘Tried’ is the operative word.  Mikey had started opening his presents, so everyone was watching him.  Which meant every one saw Mikey yell, “Baby Piper came!  Look, Mommy, baby Piper came!” and put down the present he was in the middle of unwrapping, grab up a Nerf ball sitting next to him, and come rushing to where I was struggling through the door with Piper’s carrier and a gift bag, asking, “can I show baby Piper the ball Uncle Conner got me?”.  So much for a discreet entrance.

The high point of the party for me, however, was definitely taking Piper swimming for the first time.  Well, really, holding her while I waded into the pool.  I was hoping to see her love the pool, splashing and kicking while she jabbered her cheerful, happy noises.  I wasn’t going to be surprised if she instead hated the pool, going zero to tizzy and crying and fussing.  Although Piper is generally a happy baby, she isn’t at all slow to let you know when something does displease her.

Hair: Britney- chocolate (from Freebie Fever) Shoes: Aloha Pink Scarf Sandals (Grumble, Grumble) Shape: Gigi Teen (Kids5B)

Hair: Britney- chocolate (from Freebie Fever)
Shoes: Aloha Pink Scarf Sandals (Grumble, Grumble)
Shape: Gigi Teen (Kids5B)

Instead as I lowered her into the water, she got very quiet.  Her eyes got super wide, two huge circles in her little tiny face.  She looked at the pool, then looked up at my face.  She looked again at the pool, and then looked at me again.  As a mother, I constantly talk to Piper, and often put words in her mouth, making up what I think she would say.  Her facial expression clearly announced, “WTF?!?  This is the biggest kitchen sink I have ever seen…”

…Info about tagged vendors is in my closet

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I’m feeling rather hollow today, so it seems appropriate to mangle a famous T.S. Elliot quote: “This is the way the year ends, not with a bang but a Grumble.”

In my last post, one of the resolutions I made was, despite the havoc parenthood has wreaked on my schedule, to show more love to my erstwhile sponsor, Grumble, Grumble.  So I threw a quick outfit together, dropped Piper with a sitter, and came down to the main store to see what was going on that most needed some loving spread…

What's better than a cool dress?  The same dress, accessorized!

What’s better than a cool dress? The same dress, accessorized!

I’ve been feeling a bit down recently, I have some gift cards, I recently made a credit card payment so it’s temporarily not maxed… all these things together indicate it’s time for some retail therapy, Grumble style.  Outfit #1 is the Gypsy Flow Dress that premiered for the 100 block event.  I chose to pair it with some slashed leggings, my red Colorado boots, the mustache pearl necklace, a bracelet from the twisted hunt, and some bunny ears from Easter.

Once more, out of the dressing room and into the breech!

Once more, out of the dressing room and into the breech!

I built Outfit #2 around the Retro Blouse from Thrift Shop 3.  My purple capris from a cupcake outfit I bought, and the LOL face tattoo were both from the old Grumble Kids location.  The cupcake bow and some silver tiger-striped thigh high boots completed the look.

She's a bird!  No, she's a plane!  No, she's SUPER-SHOPPER!

She’s a bird! No, she’s a plane! No, she’s SUPER-SHOPPER!

The mesh leggings just looked like the sort of thing you could build a fun outfit around, and sure enough, I built outfit #3.  I recommend the red star leggings I used or the black drops or pink splatter.  I still had a couple of half tees from when I covered the Thrift Shop event, but I had to buy the ‘Go F Your #Selfie’ half tee instead.  (Yes, not just wanted, but had to.  One of the rules of proper retail therapy is that you can’t feel better until you blow your budget.  True statement.)  The little ankle boots I chose for this outfit are a little more ‘dainty’ than my usual boots.  I also wore puppy earrings and a matching necklace and carried a little black clutch, since one thing this outfit doesn’t really have is pocket space…

Pack all your troubles in a new kit bag….

Pack all your troubles in a new kit bag….

By now, I’m feeling much more chipper, (and I’m starting to feel some Piper withdrawal- it’s amazing how addictively relaxing the experience of holding your baby can be), so it’s time to call my therapy a success, but I do have an outfit #4 to show off first.  Before I opted for the clutch in the last outfit/picture, I bought this blue vintage bag.  Then while I was in the dressing room, I decided it was too large a purse for my tight and flying outfit, and would go better with a dress.  This cute flower dress is from one of the last events I covered, Cirque de Seraphim, but as you can see, still for sale if you missed it.  Although shame on you, because it was a very cool event!  To accessorize, I grab a teal spiked headband, some red stilettos, and a snake bracelet.

I made a few other purchases, but it is time to run, so I’ll show them off some other time.  I will make just a few other comments.  I used the same shape- Kids Girl (15-18) from Sour Pickles- in all four pictures in the gallery.  I’m back to just three pounds over my pre-pregnancy weight, back in fight and shopping trim.  The hair I’m using is Lilac from Tameless Hair.  It’s a scripted hair, capable of changing both the primary hair color and the color of the forelock streak, and I did so frequently to show it off to full advantage.  My ‘bad girl’ tattoo that I added for the third and fourth pictures is from -UtopiaH-.  Other than those items, everything I’m wearing in all four pictures is from Grumble, Grumble, and most, if not all, is still available for you to purchase.  (After all, I think I would be a great fashion role model for you to emulate.  Less of a life-lessons or morals role model; I know my strengths and my limitations…)

Secondly, in case you didn’t notice my literary cleverness, I didn’t just misquote T.S. Elliot.  Everybody knows the quote I misquoted at the beginning of the post, but not everyone knows that the poem that line is from is ‘The Hollow Men’, so I was also alluding to the poem when I talked about feeling hollow today.  Like many people who are both clever and insecure, I not only need to be clever, I need you to know (and hopefully appreciate) that cleverness.  Traits like that are why I stick to being a fashion role model rather than any of the other kinds.  Pbbt!

Matt the Firsty, back to hopefully finish my ‘State of the Blogger Address’.  Back in Part I, I was primarily talking about what’s going on in my life: still working two jobs, just became a home owner for the first time, about to become a father for the first time.  Time management was already the five-hundred-pound gorilla beating up on me; now I’m going to have up my game to deal with his eight-hundred-pound rabid older brother.  Lucky me.  (Brief Musical Interlude: My Luck is So Bad.)  In Part II, I want to talk about what’s going on in Emily’s life.

"Since Firsty's giving me a day off, I'm gonna shop 'til the baby drops!"

“Since Firsty’s giving me a day off, I’m gonna shop ’til the baby drops!”

I suppose first I should talk about the obligatory style card.  After all, Emily’s quirky style sense is one of her defining characteristics.  Today is a casual day:

  • Shape: Nina, month 8 from Baby Bumps;
  • Skin: Jada (april group gift) from WoW Skins;
  • Tattoos: Bad Girl from -UtopiaH-; Starship Lipstick (Blue Purple) from Pink Acid; Pregnancy Stretch Marks from Freaky Geeky;
  • Hair: Jenny, Jet-Black/Red-Tips (Designer unknown, but a freebie from Free Dove);
  • Outfit: Peace Patch Jeans from Alady Island; the shirt is actually the corset and under corset out of the ‘Miss Tick’ halloween costume from Petit Chat.
  • Boots: Red Leather Kicks from Prozak.  (The first thought was Fetish Doll ankle boots, but stiletto heels and swollen pregnancy ankles just don’t mix well…)
  • Accessories: Jackie-O Black Sunglasses, Razorwire Bangles both from Grumble, Grumble; Old Padlock Necklace from Bite & Claw; source unknown Silver Hoop Earrings;

Comfy, relaxed, and still sexy even with a due date that is less than a month away.  Plus she looks like she could still kick somebody’s ass if she needed to…

Second, I’m going to confess straight up that time management is going to continue to be Emily’s bugaboo as well as mine.  If the world ran according to my wishes- and believe me, it doesn’t- this blog would feature a post almost every day.  Instead, I suspect I’ll probably continue along at the current clip of one or two posts every week, suffer a certain amount of chronic guilt that Emily and I aren’t posting more frequently, and occasionally have a brief spasm of productivity when the stars align and I can make the daily posts I insist on thinking of as ‘normal productivity’.

" 'A nice long vacation'?  That sounds like a lovely idea…"

” ‘A nice long vacation’? That sounds like a lovely idea…

If I decide to be not just honest but brutally honest, there are actually good reasons why I should send Emily on a nice long vacation.  A.) The frantic hectic-ness (hecticity?) of my schedule means I have a to-do list that builds faster than I can check things off.  Even as I feel guilt that Emily & I aren’t posting as often as we should, I simultaneously feel guilt for all the things I should be doing instead of sitting down for fun-time.  I spent from 11:00 to 3:30 today raking leaves out of my new yard for two and half hours.  (Yes, it takes me four and half hours to rake leaves for two and a half hours.  Welcome to my ADD world; this is why time management is a gorilla beating up on me.)  I had a chore I needed to finish today- leaf pick up is early the day after tomorrow and tomorrow is a long day where I open one restaurant and close the other- and only completed three-quarters.  I have to confess blogging was the reason I didn’t finish: I was up too late last night finishing last post, so I didn’t get out to start raking as early as I wanted to, and some of that disappearing two hours was spent starting this post.  Even as I write this, I also have a list of other things I could and probably should be doing.

B.) Brutal logic also dictates that Emily isn’t just getting in the way of non-writing activities, but that she is also blocking me from more serious and/or lucrative writing projects.  I would love to break into the fiction market somewhere and try to leverage and bootstrap that break until I could cut back on one or both serving jobs and lean on writing as an income source.  It’s pretty much my fantasy-dream job, even with all I know about how unpredictable and undependable an income source writing is.  If all the busy-ness and guilt I mentioned in point A only allows me time to write 12,000 words a week (and twelve thousand is just an arbitrary number picked for the sake of example; the real number is probably less, not more) than all the words I write towards Emily and her unpaid, small-readership blog subtract from my allowance of words to use for chasing my life’s dream.  They probably subtract at more than a one to one ratio, for that matter, since I also have to invest time into picking Emily’s outfits, taking and editing her photos, and documenting the style cards which are generally tangent to my purposes even if not to Emily’s.

"Wait a minute, I thought a tangent was a man who got a lot of sun…"

“Wait a minute, I thought a tangent was a man who got a lot of sun…”

C.)  Possibly the most damning argument against Emily is that my wife doesn’t like her.  Some aspects of Emily, and of Second Life in general, just confuse my wife.  Others down right disturb her.  And sadly, open-mindedness is not one of my wife’s strong points.  If something confuses her or disturbs her, she doesn’t want to talk about it and find understanding, she just wants it to go away.  Nor does it help that I’m a little hazy myself about what Emily is to me.  Depending on my mood, what I’ve been doing, and my mental state for the day, I may variously describe Emily as a role I play, as an aspect of my personality, as a fictional alter ego, or in the third person.  Because it is simpler to humor her than to make a big deal, I try to be fairly furtive with my Second Life time, going online primarily when my wife is out of the house or asleep.  That plan has yielded mixed results, since I haven’t waved my Second Life in her face, but I think I’ve also allowed her to conclude Second Life is some sort of interactive virtual porn game.  And she has decided that Emily is some kind of trashy slut.  My wife came into the room while I was taking the pictures for Part I of this address, looked at Emily posing and said rather nastily, “She’s got a tattoo now?  What’s next, getting her pregnant?”  Awkward, since Emily has generally been as pregnant as she has for the last four months.  Also awkward because once upon a time my wife wanted a tattoo, and reminding her would not have ended well for me…

So why do I continue to post to Time Well Wasted?  The biggest reason is that this space has become part of my emotional processing.  Many people who only know me superficially dismiss me as cold or calloused.  I’m neither, but if you measure my personality type, with Meier Briggs or a similar instruments, my preference for analytical thought scores off the chart.  I very quickly process words and numbers, but in emotional matters, I’m counting on my fingers and moving my lips while I read.  In general, I push emotional stuff off to one side to deal with later when I have more time to think it out.  If the issue gets forced, or if too many emotional strands build up, my mind squirrels out and I can’t do anything but look for a way out.  I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve used this space to push and probe a troublesome thought until I had it pinned down with words and it no longer dragged at me, or used this space to rehash an event that bothered me so that I knew just how it got under my skin.

Plus, while this little ‘unpaid, small-readership blog’ may not help me reach my dream of being a for-real, money-making, genuine writer, it is a safe place.  I’m honing my skills.  I have visible progress, because I can see how many entries I’ve posted, how many words for each, etc. and each post is small enough that it is within my time constraints (albeit barely).  My dream of being a writer is still a fragile thing, too tender for me to invest a month into a short story or a longer time into a novel, and risk giving up because I get stuck, or get rejected, or get bored.  I’ve had other dreams that didn’t make it, so I’m afraid to really risk this dream by putting it to the test.

"Well, that's just un-BEAR-ably cute…"

“Well, that’s just un-BEAR-ably cute…”

Ironically, my wife’s blanket disapproval and incomprehension of how I feel about writing also helps protect Emily.  Her feelings are understandable- my wife and I have an ex-brother-in-law who dreamed of being a musician.  He earned the ‘ex’ in large part because he neglected his children and failed to be a financial provider so that he could daydream about being a musician.  He didn’t pursue gigs, practice his instruments, or make an earnest attempt to sell the songs he wrote, but he told people he was a musician, he made family gatherings awkward by bringing his guitar everywhere, and bought all the apps that he thought would help him.  Our sister saw more in him than we did, she would have made the sacrifices to help him put his dream to the test if he had followed through, but he didn’t.  I know my wife cringes at my artistic dream because she sees the specter of him, saying all the right words but hiding behind his dream instead of pursuing it.  The irony is that I’m always at my best when she believes in me, because its easier to be brave when she’s got my back.  Whether she intends it or not, the message I receive from her disinterest in my writing and her willingness to distract me from it is that she doesn’t believe in me for this particular area.  That is a confession that it really hurts to make, and I feel unfaithful complaining about someone who means so much to me in so many other ways, but this is probably the one place in my life where I need her most and she isn’t here.  If she was, there would be a lot less need to cling to a emotionally safe place in my writing.  The calculus of finite time holds true either way: I don’t have time for both other, emotionally-riskier writing and also for my small safe blog.

"Actually, Firsty, I have some ideas on how to help your dreams come true.  Talk to me before you get to part III…"

“Actually, Firsty, I have some ideas on how to help your dreams come true. Talk to me before you get to part III…”

Once again, a single aspect of what I wanted to say mushroomed into a longer passage than I intended… apparently Emily is going to get one more night off as I’m going to require a Part III…

P.S.: Spoiler Alert: Oh, and it turns out I have less time than I thought to figure out fitting my writing time around ‘Firsty, Jr’ (due to my privacy policies, that’s the nickname I’m sticking with.)  Earlier this week my wife went to the doctor for a routine “that due date is getting closer” check-up and instead got an unplanned emergency C-section.  Both mother and child are doing well, and I am ecstatically happy.  My luck is definitely not so bad, so here’s a different musical interlude

A quick prayer of thanks before I begin:

Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.  Thank you, O Lord, for the gift of free will.  I’ve always appreciated it because I am independent, probably overly so, and I have cherished the opportunity to learn who you are and to discover my place in your plans.  Even though it borders on the sin of Pride, I view our relationship as a partnership, and I am so thankful that you have entrusted me with some of the control in that partnership and hope I will always live my life and touch the lives around me in a way that makes me worthy of that trust.  This week, as a writer, I’ve seen a new value of free will.  The risk of free will is that sometimes it will be misused, that some people will make decisions that are selfish, evil, or just down right stupid.  Thank you, O Lord, for allowing stupid people to touch my life, for it guarantees I will always have something to write about…

Who can forget Haley Joel Osment in the Sixth Sense?  “I see dead people.”  Ever since I saw that movie, I occasionally hear the whisper in my mind of “I see dumb people.”  Most recent case in point occurred at work a few evenings ago.  There had been a car wreck with fatalities near by, and police had closed the intersection, so Giovanni’s had been dead.  We had already cut down to just the closer, and Cheri and I were back in the break room rolling the last of the silverware.  Mackenzie, one of the recent spate of newbies, had already finished her outs and clocked out, but since she planned on doing the bar circuit with Cheri she was hanging out and chit-chatting about some of her other friends.

I may be a devil, but my baby will be a precious angel...

I may be a devil, but my baby will be a precious angel…

I’ll begin by laying out some background which I gleaned from the beginning of the conversation.  Mackenzie has a boy toy, fuck-buddy, friend with benefits, call-him-what-you-will named Don.  From context, it appears Mackenzie and Don have been friends for a long time in a casual way, and that they’ve had benefits for at least a few years.  Mackenzie, at least, has no interest in stepping it up to an actual capital-R ‘Relationship’ because neither has a particularly good track record at dating and she doesn’t want to lose whatever-it-is they do have when the Relationship eventually ends badly.  She implied that Don feels the same way, but I figure it’s a coin flip whether Don really does feel the same way or is telling her what she wants to hear so he doesn’t lose out on his benefits package.  Particularly since Don is looking to have a capital-R Relationship with someone, although he also wants to keep his benefits on the side with Mackenzie.

The one that closed the intersection was apparently not the only car wreck in the area that night.  Particularly as Mackenzie metaphorically lined the next car up and severed its brake lines.  Don wants a relationship, but wants Mackenzie benefits as well.  So Don has been nosing around Mackenzie’s friends for his potential relationship, because they believe Mackenzie’s friends are less likely to question the time the two of them spend together.  Check me on the logic here.  If you plan to cheat on your new girlfriend, it’s going to be somehow better if you cheat on her with one of her friends than if you cheat on her with someone she doesn’t know?

Boldly not-charging because there are places where angels fear to tread...

Boldly not-charging because there are places where angels fear to tread…

Oh, and let’s line up one more car.  Mackenzie has a friend named Lindsay.  Lindsay is in her mid twenties, single, and has five different children by three different daddies.  According to Mackenzie, Lindsay is ‘like my best friend since way back’, but is also ‘lazy’, ‘skanky’, ‘definitely not all that to look at’, and ‘yeah, sure, I’ve got some stomach pooch but she has actual belly-hang’.  (If this is how she talks about her ‘best friend’, I’d hate to hear how she talks about people she doesn’t like…)  Nevertheless, Don has begun sniffing around Lindsay.  And Lindsay reciprocates and is sniffing around Don.  And since she knows Don and Mackenzie are friends, but doesn’t know about the benefits package, Lindsay is asking Mackenzie for relationship advice.  Oh, yeah, cue the sounds of blaring horns and smashing windshields; we have impact!

The specific relationship advice Lindsay needs?  Apparently Lindsay has herpes.  And she’s asking Mackenzie if she should tell Don about being raddled with S.T.D. before they have a chance to share them.  And she doesn’t know that Don and Mackenzie are fuck-buddies, which makes this even more priceless.  So Mackenzie was asking Cheri for advice on how to handle Lindsay asking Mackenzie for advice.  She wants to actively sabotage Don and Lindsay from hooking up, because she would rather not win her very own case of herpes.  (“Act now, and you may get a bonus case of Chlamydia!”)  On the other hand, she doesn’t want Lindsay to learn that she is the saboteur, because friendship is much more likely to survive betrayal if the friend doesn’t know about it.  The situation is sufficiently convoluted Mackenzie doesn’t see a clear moral imperative to tell her what to do.  (Allow me one moment of cattiness, however, so I can state I’m pretty sure Mackenzie doesn’t choose her actions by moral imperative.)  Rather she knows what she wants- to continue to have a benefits package- and is trying to rationalize a way she can get what she wants and tell herself that she is not doing anything wrong.  She told Cheri she had already tried hinting about the situation to Don, creating a hypothetical where one of Don’s guy-friends intimated to Don that he was interested in Mackenzie but had an STD.  Don’s answer, “I’d just tell my buddy to be sure he wore a condom,” didn’t provide Mackenzie with the justification she wanted.  She wanted him to say he would put informing her before maintaining another friend’s secret so she could feel right about airing Lindsay’s laundry.  On the other hand, my opinion that this is a fiasco in the making and that Lindsay, Don, and Mackenzie all deserve each other was underscored by Don’s ignorance of the limitations of a latex sleeve.

"…Go Team Stupid!  The life you wreck may be your own!"

“…Go Team Stupid! The life you wreck may be your own!”

I thought I had a fairly enlightened, even liberal, attitude towards sex.  I don’t believe my religious faith means that all sex is wrong, or even that all sex outside of a very narrow definition of acceptable sex is wrong.  I do believe God’s definition of ‘good’ sex is very narrow, that God not only commands us to avoid sex that could damage the relationships we form with those around us, but also to avoid sex that delivers less of God’s bounty than the good stuff.  I first saw the idea of applying Gresham’s Law, an economic theory that says bad money will drive good money out of circulation, to love and romance in the writings of Christopher Stasheff.  A quick google search found this excellent treatment of the same idea by Davis Aurini.  I think having sex too soon, too casually, both makes it harder to find the right relationship where your sex will be the ‘good stuff’ and also causes you build up a ‘sex tolerance’ where you cannot get the full benefit of the good stuff if you do find it.  And yet, sex feels good; it’s great exercise; it offers the illusion and image of the intimacy of a real Capital-R Relationship.  Metaphorically, Godly sex is a perfectly seasoned, perfectly cooked, prime ribeye steak.  Casual sex is hamburger, the dirty and sometimes unsafe remains of what has been tossed through the grinder.  Obviously I would prefer to have the ribeye; what person in their right mind wouldn’t?  But let’s get real.  When ribeye isn’t on the menu, very few things can make my mouth water and my eyes light up like a nice, juicy cheeseburger.  I’ve had casual sex, and if I’m being bluntly honest, I wish I had more.  I think God is more likely to pity me than punish me: I’m risking that I’ll never find that right relationship or that I’ll damage myself enough that the right relationship won’t be as right as it should be if I ever do find it.  The religious precepts I’ve broken weren’t threats of retribution but warnings of danger, and yet like a stupid (or horny) moth, I keep returning to singe myself on the same damn flame.  And since I know I’m such a mess, I cannot in good faith judge others for their sexual peccadillos, as long as those sins do no harm to the relationships involved.  As I said, a pretty liberal and relaxed attitude towards sexual morality.

And yet, and yet, and yet.  I cannot help but be appalled by the conversation that unfolded before me.  Fortunately Mackenzie was either too new or too oblivious to notice the disdain that must have leaked into my expression and Cheri, who did notice, allowed me to blow off her question with out actually answering.  I’ve never actually had ‘friends with benefits’ sex in my life, and that used to be one of my regrets.  One-night stand sex is about self gratification and chasing the mighty O; at my most cynical, it is making another person your masturbation aid.  Relationship sex is about non-verbal communication between you and your partner; it’s tender and passionate and incredible, but also kind of ponderous and heavy.  I always thought and hoped ‘friends with benefits’ sex would kind of split the difference, be something playful and fun, the chance to experiment with certain silly kinds of kink, like dress-up and role-play, that don’t easily come into the conversation of a more significant relationship.  Mackenzie’s metaphorical car wreck may or may not be the reason I changed my mind, but it was at minimum the catalyst that made me realize ‘friends with benefit’ sex is no longer in my bucket list.  The sex itself may be some perfectly acceptable cheeseburger, but those relationships are damaged and broken beyond anything I could imagine and they don’t even know it.  I feel like I’m a little bit dumber just for having heard the conversation, and yet I also want to know how the whole story is going to unfold, because the portion I heard is only act one or two.  I feel bad laying out what I heard and leaving you hanging as to how it resolves, but I’m just as left hanging.  The writer in me salivated over this disaster, and continues to poke and prod it within my mind.  On one hand, I feel like the characters need be to seriously reworked, because as is I have trouble with suspension of disbelief (I’m not making this up, and I still cannot believe anyone could be this much of a car wreck) and with choosing a sympathetic protagonist (because I don’t see any of the three as someone with whom a reader would want to identify).  On the other hand, if you could figure out a way to get plausibly get someone likable into this much of a mess, you would definitely have readers rooting for them to get their shit together…

Time to take a picture of my favorite person!

Time to take a picture of my favorite person!

And in a completely blatant change of topic, I do not have my shit together until I report a style card for todays post.  Halloween was still upcoming when I wrote most of the meat for this post, and I wanted a semi-halloween-ish look without putting my pregnancy aside, so I grabbed an off-color skin and some ears and wings and, well, you can see..

  • Shape: Teen Katie (wk 34) by Cukabebe
  • Skin: Pinkie Pie by Niekra’s Dreams
  • Tattoo: Bad Girl by -UtopiaH-
  • Hair: Knot- Dark Red (source unknown freebie)
  • Outfit: Tuxedo Dress by Envious.  This sexy black and white dress was a bit tight on my tummy, but very flattering.  The outfit included the heels, fishnet, black choker, and highly pierced elven ears (with color change HUD so the ears can match whatever skin you use)
  • Those last few touches: My nose ring and my black feathery wings were both source unknown freebies.

Recently I posted a post entitled, ‘The Final Word‘.  I was responding to a writing prompt about those unused conversation-stopping ‘zingers’, and I admitted that between being blessed with a quick mind and cursed with poor impulse control, I had no unused zingers.  ‘Damn the torpedoes!  Full speed ahead!’ is pretty much the way I live my life.  Two more cases to prove my point…

Nightclub #1: Ranger Station … In space, no one can see you dance...

Nightclub #1: Ranger Station … In space, no one can see you dance…

I’ve posted about my coworker ‘Natalie’ before, although damned if I can remember what name I used and I’m too lazy to go back and try to find it.  The snapshot bio is that she is a very good waitress- almost as good as yours truly- but a bitch to work with, because she covers an insecurity complex with dogmatic assertiveness.  Natalie and I clash a lot.  Natalie is a high-functioning OCD, determined to do everything ‘just so’ and to make sure everyone around her does it the same way.  My serving style is much more fluid (i.e. chaotic!) because I believe in reading the customer and tailoring my serving style to that read.  Not only do I not wait tables the same way Natalie does, I don’t even wait tables the same way I do from table to table.  Also, if I get bored, I push the buttons of people around me so I can watch them react.  Natalie has very easily pushed buttons.  Have I mentioned we clash a lot?  Jonas has given her a little authority, made her the head waitress at Giovanni’s.  (And yes, we’ve made all the obvious jokes that she became the head waitress by being the head waitress, although I’m 93% sure that rumor is actually unfounded…)  As head waitress, Natalie actually works a smaller station then the rest of us, but Giovanni’s compensates her for the reduced tips by giving her a higher hourly rate and by requiring the waitstaff to tip her out and pay her a percentage of our tips for the evening.  Natalie does help us all, but she doesn’t believe in keeping us in the loop on how she is helping us or in working with us in how she helps us.  So several times any shift we work together, I greet tables only to find ‘the other girl’ is getting their drink orders or come by to take up their payment only to find they already gave their credit card ‘to the other girl’.  Also, I’ve polished my shmoozing to ensure I sound friendly and get optimal tips.  Natalie is abrupt- not because she dislikes customers or wants to be rude, but because she is briskly multitasking and courtesy falls below efficiency on her list of priorities.  But Natalie is being abrupt with my tables and making me look dumb for not knowing what she’s done.  I feel like her assistance is causing me to get smaller tips, and then I’m required to reduce them further yet by tipping Natalie out a percentage of my tips to repay her for her ‘help’.  So yeah, we really clash a lot.

The other day, as I was making salads for two of my tables, Natalie was taking a carry out order on one of the phone lines in the kitchen.  Listening to her half of the conversation, I realized that Natalie’s phone style was a lot like mine.  We both have better diction and a slightly more formal vocabulary on the phone than we do face-to-face.  We both are more courteous on the phone than we are in person.  (Natalie is, as I said before, brisk and I am snarky and sarcastic.)  We both take pains to say please and thank you in our phone conversations, and rarely say either in face-to-face conversations.  In short, we’re both professionals and we put our individual natures aside to provide proper carryout service.  I could have complimented Natalie.  Probably, in hindsight, I should have.  But we were both working doubles, we’d been clashing all day (I did mention we do that a lot, right?), and those impulses I control poorly were all geared towards maximum snark.  What I actually said was, “Wow, Nat. You sound a lot friendlier on the phone.  Have you ever thought about a career in phone sex?”

Nightclub #2: The Castle … elegantly naughty.

Nightclub #2: The Castle … elegantly naughty.

Then there was yesterday morning.  I’ve said before, I’m a better person when I get good sleep.  My A.D.D. doesn’t act up as much.  I have more patience for dealing with the people around me.  (More patience for dealing with customers, which in turn means better tips, better income.  Also better patience with co-workers means less time wasted on activities like clashing with Natalie, less needless drama, etc.)  When I’m well rested, I make fewer inappropriate or counter-productive statements.  It’s partly that after a good night’s sleep, I have better (still not good, but better then otherwise!) impulse control and partly that I have nicer impulses when I’m well rested and patient.  Unfortunately, two things factor against me.  One, I have an awful lot on my plate.  Two, I know I need about eight hours of sleep from night to night, but I also know I can cheat and get by on less for one night with very little side effects.  So each night I tell myself, tomorrow I’ll get that good night of sleep, and I end stringing together night after night of only almost-enough sleep until I’ve wrung out my energy stores and I’m operating at about 50%, getting through my days on energy drinks and ego.  But there is no better feeling then the morning after I hit the wall.  Two nights ago, I barely made it out of Giovanni’s.  I feel sorry for Katie, who was closing with me and pretty much had to do her portion of the close and then a goodly chunk of mine.  I did make it home, but I never even ate, just wiped out on my couch, still in my dirty uniform.  I woke up with the television screen flashing a message about what did I want to do now the DVR recording was over, so apparently I fell asleep after I started the playback.  The crash, hitting the wall because I’ve worn my energy to a nub, that scratchy feeling on my eyeballs when I’m to exhausted to stay awake and don’t yet have the option to sleep- those parts aren’t fun.  But that first post-crash morning, when I wake up recharged and hungry.  When I have drive, and knock a few chores off my to-do list.  That’s wonderful.

Instead of barely making it into work on time, I cheerfully sauntered in with ten minutes to spare.  I had already done some overdue laundry, been to the library, cooked a real breakfast and cleaned up after myself rather then just shoving the dishes into the sink for later, handled a few bills on line, and cleared up my schedule for later this month so I can take a road trip to see my brother at Base Albany.  I was whistling some Green Day and Billy Talent as I came in to work.  Brenda, a gossipy older waitress who works mostly lunches, immediately drawled, ‘Well you’re extra chipper this morning, Emily.  What have you been doing this morning?”

I’ve known Brenda long enough to know she was looking for some juicy tidbits about whether I had finally developed a love life she could speculate about.  On a different morning I would probably told her it wasn’t any of her business or told her a salacious lie to see how long it took to spread through the restaurant.  I might have given my generic answer, a dead pan claim that I’m living the dream, usually followed by “and trying to wake up” or “or maybe I’m living the nightmare.  It’s a thin line sometimes.”  Instead, I just grinned, twirled once before I set my purse in the cubby, and told her, “I just spent the morning being awesome.  I’m a Marik; it’s what we do.”

Nightclub #3: Saints & Sinners Biker Bar… bet you only need one guess which I am...

Nightclub #3: Saints & Sinners Biker Bar… bet you only need one guess which I am…

Of course, there is something else this Marik does, namely fill out a style card for every blog post.  Today is not the day to end that trend…

  • Shape: Pregnancy5Milania from Alady Island.  (Between the corset and the mesh, you can’t tell how pregnant I am, but I’m just starting the third trimester of my sympathy pregnancy…)
  • Skin: India High Caramel M6 from Angel Rock.
  • Tattoo: Bad Girl by -UtopiaH-
  • Hair: Lucy in Sable from Truth
  • Outfit: Kairi Denim Jumper and matching Purple Corset from Sugar & Cyanide.
  • Accessories: SC-Lime piercings from K-Otic; Nerdy Glasses from Envious; Super Stilettos from Grumbe, Grumble.

My firsty has definitely been cramping my style this week.  It’s not necessarily his fault, there’s a lot of good stuff going on in his life, and if you force me to express an opinion, I’m actually really happy for him.  He and Mrs. Firsty are closing on a house next week.  There’s a little Firsty, Jr. on the way.  He’s experiencing success in his career field, and there is good movement on the dream of getting published.  This is all good, and I’m excited for him.  Given that he is the naturally melancholic personality and that I cheerfully embody our whimsical and exuberant side, I’m probably more excited for Firsty in my life than in his.  The only problem is I’m so busy trying to keep all the plates spinning while I play First Life, I’ve hardly got any time to live my life.

Tonight I managed to get a rare window of time to go out and look for trouble, I mean adventure.  I’m tired of playing at mortgages and paper work and responsibility; I want to do something fun and flirty and irresponsible.  If Mrs. Firsty would disapprove, I’m probably on the right page.  I don’t know what I’ll do, but I’m going to do something!

First things first, however: Every post needs a style card.

Need a quick, cute, complete outfit?  Hit up JStyle!

Need a quick, cute, complete outfit? Hit up JStyle!

Wanting to get on with the rest of my post quickly, I grabbed one of the complete avatar group gifts I’ve picked up from JStyle.  It’s old enough that it’s not a current gift (gifts remain gifts for a limited time and then become sale items, usually for 99 L$) but when I came down to the store to pose by their sign, I can vouch the current gifts are just as cute…  My pants, top, skin, shape, and jewelry are all from the same outfit.  I did tweak the set a few ways.  I didn’t care for the shoes with this particular outfit, because the shoes were too small and the heels were too high.  So instead I pulled on my favorite red leather kicks from Prozak.  I also wanted to be furrier so I grabbed a nice long hair, Harmony (cocoa color) from Tameless Hair and the Devilish Neko set, ears and tail, from Dahllywood.  To help compliment the red of my tail and ears, I put on some red ‘Love Makeup’ from -UtopiaH-.  And I also added a few freebie source unknown tattoos, one over my belly button piercing and one in the small of my back.  Bada-boom, bada-bing, and now to find some trouble…

I'll just lean back and think of something...

I’ll just lean back and think of something…

I snagged a couple nice selfies while I blinked through some landmarks, but I didn’t find what I really wanted: a setting to just cut loose for a few hours, to be wild and possibly wanton, before I submerge myself again in the mundane and meaningful.  It’s like the old country song, “I don’t have to be me (’til Monday)“.

Or maybe I'll just dance the night away...

Or maybe I’ll just dance the night away…

Actually, dancing seems like a great idea.  Let’s see if I can find a club that fits my mood…

There wasn't a dance event going on, but I had to take a picture of the Hellgate Nightclub's decor...

There wasn’t a dance event going on, but I just had to take a picture of the Hellgate Nightclub‘s decor…

The Black Cat… nice crowd here...

The Black Cat… nice crowd here…

Ooh.  The Black Cat was definitely the place to be.  The music was a nice 80’s rock mix.  Not quite as edgy or alternative as what I generally listen to, but good, basic, crowd-pleasing stuff with broad appeal.  The head count was a crowd of between two and three dozen, so enough people to do some mingling but not so many that I felt crowded out or suffocated.  The mix was about 60/40 women/men, so there were all kinds of interesting potential minglers.  Stratten is an adult sim and the Black Cat is advertised as a ‘hook-up’ sort of night club, so many of us arrived with one thing on our mind.  As my little crowd shot shows, it was the sweet spot of attractiveness: There was eye candy for me to enjoy- and my eye has a very varied appetite, so I’m talking both beefcake and cheesecake- but (in my own, admittedly biassed, opinion) I was the sweetest candy in the room.  It’s petty, I know, but as much as I like to look pretty, it’s an even bigger ego boost to look prettier than those around me.

As the crowd swirled around, several gentlemen and one lady came up to flirt with me.  I was flattered, teased, bantered with… it was just the fun I needed.  There were no trolls or noobs in the crowd, or at least none that revealed themselves to me.  Although there was one couple doggedly progressing from lip-locked to hip-locked on a couch in the corner.  I was tempted to hold up a small paper sign with a number just to be snarky.  (Probably a 7.5 or 8.  I’m sorry, but you should either have sex without an audience or you should pander to and perform for your audience.  I cannot judge a higher score for the happy couple when they were so routine about their routine.)  No body else in the club seemed to give them any notice, so I contented myself with occasional peeps at their progress.  I would have thought when I set out that I was looking for brief, meaningless encounter, an opportunity to put the lewd into an interlude.  None of the gents who hit on me had quite what it would take to close the deal, however.  Instead I enjoyed and reveled in the thrill of the pursuit, which was all the more fun when it didn’t have to get compared to a consummation.  So I didn’t actually do anything, but I had exactly the night I needed.  Chalk this one up as a victory, my friends.

So cute, I'm dangerous!

So cute, I’m dangerous!

WHAT I’M WEARING: My thoughts may be heavy and ponderous today- or it may be a touch of indigestion, with me you can never know- so I tried to quickly grab a cute style card to help offset that…

  • Shape: Teen Katie (week 23) by Cukabebe
  • Skin: ‘Timeless Doll’ by Ash’s Trash.
  • Tattoos: Bad Girl by -UtopiaH-
  • Hair: Kail by Plastik, actually mer-man hair, but I’ve worn it for a short cut in the past.  I like the dark green color.
  • Outfit: Audacious by Virtual Attire (this outfit includes the fedora, neko parts, collar, bangles, etc.)
  • Jewelry: Rimless Glasses freebie and Nose ring, both source unknown.  ‘I’m hot’ Necklace from Grumble, Grumble.
  • Pose: Mila 2 from Purple Poses
Wow!  Finding a mad scientist's castle is a great place to pose!

Wow! Finding a mad scientist’s castle is a great place to pose!

WHERE I’M AT:  I found some victorian/steam-punk/wintery type sim to explore in the Mountain Tops Enchanted Forest.  Again, I just wanted something easy and interesting because my mind is a little abstracted today.  I’m in a good mood, fear not on that account, but a couple things have got me trying to sort out some of the so-called big picture.  And really, my awareness of the big picture is sometimes best summed up as, “Yep, it’s pretty big.”

OK, Maybe a mad scientist's castle isn't such a great place to pose for pictures….

OK, Maybe a mad scientist’s castle isn’t such a great place to pose for pictures….

WHAT’S ON MY MIND: Everything and nothing.  A recent post by wonderfully gifted blogger Little Cao, aka Caoimhe Lionheart, aka Go read her blog NOW!, and some comment we exchanged back and forth has me thinking about what are my passions, what is it that I love, and how do what I love and what I do intersect.

I’ve had a rough week or so waitressing… the hours actually haven’t been as bad as usual, and the money has still been there, but my patience is gone.  Normally I love my work, enjoy my customers, and if I do get irritated, it is with coworkers and management and soon passes.  This past week, everyone- customers, coworkers, and bosses alike- has been on my last nerve.  When my patience is this strained, it is usually a sign that I’m sick or that I’m exhausted or some thing similar, and I need to take care of physical me so that mental/emotional me isn’t being pulled out of kilter.  I can’t figure out anything that would be at root for this bout of impatience.

I recently finished ‘The Storybook of Legends’ by Shannon Hale.  It was an awesome, awesome read.  Aimed at younger readers, so it was easy to breeze through, but all sorts of theme about free will and destiny and choice so it also suited my current inclination to ponder and mull heavy thoughts.

I’ve also been thinking about what I think of as the three modes of brain activity: Proactive, Reactive, and Inactive.   ‘Active’ in this case doesn’t refer to how much energy is being used or how much thought is occurring, but to the method and manner in which my thought life is engaged with living.  Between ADD and natural inclination, Reactive is definitely my default mode: living in the moment, reacting to events around me, leaving my goals somewhat undefined and zigging and zagging towards them.  Proactive is what I think of as the highest thought pattern- brain fully engaged, defining goals and strategizing how to obtain them, forward planning, and finding the shorter, straighter routes towards objectives.  My goal is to strengthen my brain, to spend more time in Proactive mode, but proactive mode is also exhausting.  Inactive is a little bit of a misnomer.  When the brain is inactive and resting, that is inactive mode.  But if I’m not engaged in my life, but I’m letting my mind go all squirrelly and jitter bug about some detail that doesn’t matter while tuning out awareness of the world around me, I still class that as ‘inactive mode’ even though it is an unhealthy version of inactive mode.  (If you apply a metaphor and compare thought life to a physical movement, Proactive Mode is like a marathon or a track and field event, pushing the physical body to get to your destination.  Reactive Mode is more like a nature hike, there is a destination being sought, but lots of little stops to see things and zigs and zags to momentary destinations.  Inactive mode is simply staying in place, which could be catching a breather, but could also be running full out on a treadmill, which neither rests you nor gets you anywhere.)  Ideally, I want to use each thought mode in its proper place: proactively making goals for myself and figuring out my life strategies, reactively dealing with the unexpected and with daily uncertainty in ways that are in line with what I have already proactively thought out, and finding time to go inactive and rest to recharge my mental batteries.  As an ADD kid, I have deal with the fact that Proactive mode is an act of mental exertion that requires a push to enter and sustain and the fact that once I enter Inactive Mode, healthy or unhealthy, I can forget to come back out.  Countering that, however, is the fact that I am damn good at Reactive mode.  ADD isn’t truly a disorder, per se.  However, my mind is hard wired to work in certain ways, some of which are sometimes helpful and some of which make life more difficult, and I’m still trying to figure out how to achieve goals that involve working against or around my own mind.

Ve must always look to the mutter ind to the mind…

Ve must always look to the mutter und to the mind…

WHAT’S ON MY RADIO:  Since I found a victorian, steam-punk sort of sim, how about some victorian, steam-punk sort of music?  Two songs I recently heard for the first time off internet radio were Mr. Steph(V)enson by the Men That Will Not Be Blamed for Nothing and Coin Operated Boy by the Dresden Dolls.  Both definitely eccentric but cute tunes.