Tuesday, September 28, 2010

My New Kindle: My New Love

I've officially gone one month without soda. It's pretty easy to drink water or tea or milk now instead of going off to get a carbonated, caffeinated, syrupy, sugary drink of deliciousness. I find that I actually don't have cravings, and though there are still two sixteen ounces bottles of unopened Dr. Pepper sitting in the refrigerator, it takes no effort at all to reach for a bottle of water or the milk instead of the soda. I might as well tell Boyfriend to go ahead and drink them since I'm fairly certain I won't be picking up my soda habit again. (I kept them around just in case I decided in a hurry to go back to soda so I told Boyfriend he couldn't have them.)

Anyway, I've decided that since I've had my lovely Kindle for a week, I'd give a review of it and share my thoughts with the world. Or...you know, the two people who follow this blog, and the occasional passerby that reads my little piece of freedom.

The Kindle Boyfriend purchased for me is the Third Generation Kindle. Mine has Wi-Fi, but does not have 3G. (I told Boyfriend that I didn't need the one with 3G just like I didn't need the iPod touch because it had 3G.) Connecting to a wireless server is easy and straightforward. The qwerty keyboard makes it easy to type in what you need. I have no complaints about the keyboard.

In fact, I didn't even need to do more than skim the owner's manual. The Kindle is so simple to use that a child could do it. Okay, considering how stupid most children today are, probably not. But a pre-teen could probably manage it without any difficulties.

The Kindle is small and light. It easily fits in my purse or laptop case to be toted around anywhere (I bring it to work everyday) without any problems. The screen reads just as well in sunlight as it does indoors, and while I do need a book light to read after dark, it's not an inconvenience. It's one of the pleasures of owning one of these things.

My research concludes that my Kindle can carry up to 3,500 books, and I can easily store books I've purchased in the Archives to not take up space, and then re-download them (at no charge) when I decide I need them again. I have already put my Kindle's user's guide in the Archives in case I do need it later, and Boyfriend accidentally sent Little Women there when he was exploring my new toy, and it was simple enough to retrieve it and put it back where it belonged.

The convenience of being able to carry 65 books (yes, I've already downloaded 65 books to my Kindle) around with me all of the time with absolutely no stress on my back or bag absolutely thrills me. My complete collection of Jane Austen novels alone weighs over ten pounds, but now I can carry them around with other books and have it weigh only 6 ounces.

I'd say the only thing that irritates me about my Kindle is the placement of the turn page buttons. There are next page buttons, one on either side of the Kindle, and two previous page buttons that are smaller and located right above the next page buttons. I'm not sure why, but my hands automatically click the left side button when I want to go back a page, and the right side when I want to go forward. This is irritating because I'm not always thinking that my left hand needs to be higher up to hit the correct button. It would make more sense to me if there was only one next page button on the right, and one previous page button on the left. Years of reading normal books has conditioned me to use my right hand to turn the pages forward, and my left hand to turn the pages back, and since most people probably have the same conditioning I'm probably not the only one who feels this way.

I am rather disappointed that I could not find Gone with the Wind on Amazon's list of Kindle books, however I'm sure I can dig up a PDF online for it. It's incredibly convenient that I can also put PDFs on my Kindle. I have D&D DMGs and Monster Manuals on PDF (don't judge my nerdy-ness!) and in hard copy that would be more convenient to carry on my Kindle when I'm traveling to other host homes for sessions. (Again, don't judge me!)

I've been reading my Kindle every single day for five hours or more since I got it, and it's still got a third of battery left. If I turned it completely off instead of putting it into sleep mode at night, the battery would last longer. I only need plug in my Kindle to charge, by the way. I don't need it plugged in to order/download a book. That is done through the Wi-Fi, and each book takes mere seconds to transfer as long as I'm connected to internet. And if I order something while my Kindle is offline, it is immediately and automatically downloaded as soon as I have a connection.

It's fabulous, and I love, love, love this thing.

Have I even mentioned the convenience of being able to sit it down and not have to worry about it flipping closed or bending pages? And I can eat comfortably while reading because I only need one hand to operate it. (New thought: this is probably why they have both buttons on two sides. Well, it makes more sense now, I guess.)

And I'm a big fan of accessories for anything and everything so it should come as no surprise that I've gone off and ordered a pink leather book binding and a pink sleeve case and screen protectors for my Kindle. They arrived today (only four days after I ordered them!) and while Boyfriend thinks it's a little ridiculous, I love it. Truth be told, I would have gotten blue accessories for my Kindle because blue is usually my favorite color, but after weighing the pros and cons of blue I opted for my second favorite color. The reason I chose not to get blue is because Boyfriend has made it very clear that he wants to use my Kindle, and if I've learned anything from Boyfriend borrowing my things, it's that if he likes it I don't ever get it back. (I'm still mourning the loss of my uber cool coffee mug from Starbucks that I got to use a week before Boyfriend started taking it while I was sleeping and now he leaves it in the car so I can't even reclaim it.) Boyfriend will have nothing to do with my Pink Lady (that's what I've named her) now, so I feel I made a good investment.

And so I will close with a portrait of my beautiful Pink Lady.

Unfortunately, the Silicone Case doesn't actually fit my Kindle since they sent me a generation two version instead of three, but I'll make do until the new one arrives. Yes, I've ordered another one. And I'd return this one if it wasn't going to cost more to ship the return than the thing cost me in the first place.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Boyfriend, Little Sister, and Rells all frustrate the hell out of me.

If there's one thing I can't tolerate in another human being, it's extreme selfishness. I know I myself can be selfish sometimes, as can any human being. I'm rather used to having my own way, and I'm prone to tears when I'm told no, even though I'm twenty two years old and I know better. It's a method I've used occasionally since I was little, and I only tear up when I feel that getting my own way is really important. Tears don't work if you use them too often, after all. But my selfishness has its limits and I know when to draw the line. I do not allow my selfish, spoiled tendencies to interfere negatively in other people's lives. (Forcing Boyfriend to get away from the console or computer games to take me to movies isn't selfish: he needs to get out, and I consider that a positive influence.)

Boyfriend and I both have extremely selfish, immature sisters who get into trouble time and again and expect everybody else to take care of them.

My older sister Rells is twenty three, and we've both been out on our own since 2007. When I moved out I was eighteen, and I only borrowed forty dollars from my grandparents to help pay a deposit for the electricity. Asking for that much grated on my nerves and it took me three days to warm up the courage to ask. I paid them back three days later, plus twenty for the inconvenience. When Rells moved out, she borrowed three hundred dollars for the moving truck and movers. And she never paid it back. Though she made more than me at her job and didn't pay rent because she lived int a dorm, she spent her money on pretty clothes at full retail, on alcohol, on drugs, and for some unfathomable reason, a diamond ring to wear on her right hand, the result being that she never had enough money to pay her car payment or her insurance or her cell phone bill.

On the first of every month, like clockwork, I got the call begging for money. "Chanel, I need three hundred dollars for the phone bill" or "Chanel, I need fifty dollars for gas" and "Oh, Chanel, I had to go to the doctor and I can't make my car payment. Please give me two hundred dollars?"

Stupidly, though it usually meant I ate a banana and yogurt for breakfast and lunch for two weeks, I gave her the money because she was my sister and I loved her. When she moved out of the dorm I got the call for more money because she couldn't make her rent and bills. When I finally asked her what she did with her money, she said, "God, Chanel, I don't know where it goes. It spends itself and it's gone before I know it!"

Finally there came a time when my cat was sick, and I had to choose between helping my sister, or taking Bellatrix to the vet. Bella was pregnant, getting thinner by the day, not eating, and lethargic. Though I loved my sister, I felt my responsibility was to the cat that I had taken as my own and promised to care for because she couldn't care for herself. I told my sister no, I couldn't give her money. She turned to my Dad, got more than enough, and alternated monthly after that between asking him or myself for money.

One year she was so behind on everything that I gave her my entire income taxes to help her pay off speeding tickets, over due power and water bills, past due rent, and late car payments. Boyfriend, to whom money meant very little as he had so much of it, actually had a rather bad reaction to that act of caring and told me in no uncertain terms that "giving her money would only make it harder for her to care for herself in the future" and after that nagged me every time I helped her.

Eventually, I understood what he meant and I told Rells I couldn't help her anymore. She was furious, but I told her I just couldn't go on supporting my cat and my dog and myself if I was paying for her to live. She actually told me I was being selfish, and couldn't I see that she needed money?

"Rells, can't you understand that I make less than you, have more responsibilities than you, and I'm somehow taking care of both of us? I can't keep doing it." I suggested she stop buying clothes that weren't on sale, suggested she party less. Her reaction? She pawned her clarinet and her class ring and her PS2 and everything she could (but not that pretty diamond ring she didn't need) to continue to hold up her lifestyle. And it was never enough, and she always called Dad to borrow money, and sometimes our mom and grandparents, who rarely had enough to spare.

Around the time that I cut off Rells from my money, Boyfriend's younger sister was eighteen and moved out on her own. And just like Rells, she called her brother every month to get money to pay her bills because she couldn't hold down a job. She also had an inheritance, but it was all kept under Boyfriend's name until she turned twenty one to keep her from spending it too fast. However, Boyfriend has always been indulgent with his little sister and gave her money whenever she asked for it, though she was spending ridiculously and not investing in anything.

The result was that she miraculously ran through her entire inheritance before she turned twenty this year. And rather than be responsible with the money she earned at her job, she just called Boyfriend every month and asked him to pay her rent and bills with his inheritance. Boyfriend never told her no.

Recently, both of our sisters were arrested and taken to jail. Mine for possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia, and his for being drunk and underage-age and also driving drunk. Dad bailed my sister out and paid for her court expenses, and Boyfriend bailed out his sister and paid for her court expenses. My sister had a rather easy time of it and only got a fine (which Dad paid) and probation.

Boyfriend's sister got a far worse punishment. Texas is extremely harsh on drunk drivers, especially underage ones, and Boyfriend's sister actually told the cop that pulled her over, "I'm too drunk to get out of my car. I can't get out, I'm drunk" when she'd only been pulled over because of her blinker. Her license was suspended, and the judge decided to send her to jail for thirty days, and to come back in mid-October for her official sentencing.

Little Sister didn't care that her license was suspended and drove where ever she felt like going every day, even though she could have gotten a ride from her mother or brother so that she wouldn't be breaking the law or her bond agreement. And what do you think happened? While going shopping for new clothes because she recently stopped eating and went on that awful cleanse diet and lost a lot of weight, she was in a car accident. Broke her arm, totally destroyed that pretty, high end, luxury car she paid in full for when she turned eighteen, and was caught red handed disobeying an order from a judge.

And Boyfriend paid for her to get out of trouble yet again.

Last night he actually had the nerve to say he felt sorry for her.

Sorry for her?

"Why are you sorry for her? She brought it on herself! She deserves to go to jail, she deserves to have to pay all of her fines herself, she deserved to lose her license and her car, and if she'd broken both arms and legs I'd say she deserved that, too. She selfish."

"She's young. She doesn't know any better."

I looked at him like he was stupid. "When I was her age, I paid my own bills and I didn't go around drinking illegally and driving. She knows better, she just doesn't care because she knows that whatever the consequences, somebody will always pay to fix it."

"She wasn't hurting anybody when she got pulled over that first time."

I wanted to slap him for being so stupid. Not hurting anybody? When I was eleven, my mother had a best friend. She was five months pregnant and had two daughters ages five and three. Their car broke down and while it was being put on the tow truck a drunk driver swerved off the highway, went around the truck and struck my mother's friend head on, killing her and her unborn baby five feet away from where her daughters were standing. The driver drove off and it took the police a week to hunt him down. When you drink and drive, you're trying to kill somebody. (I was summoned for Jury Duty a few months ago and immediately dismissed when I told this story because it was quite obvious I could not be objective about drinking and driving at all, let alone being drunk.)

I told him the story, and he said, "Well, that's sad, but my sister wouldn't do that."

"She took that chance when she decided to get drunk and drive. She wasn't just risking her life, she was risking the lives of everybody on that road."

Boyfriend still didn't see the harm.

"Well, what if that had been your mother standing with Little Brother on the side of the road, and she was killed in front of him. What would you say?"

Well, that was quite different and Boyfriend finally understood where I was coming from, and he agreed that his sister needed to learn some responsibility. But he wouldn't admit she was being selfish, but he had no problem telling me my sister was being selfish when she asked me for money. Little Sister was merely "learning to grow up" and "it's always harder for the middle child."

I am a middle child, and I have always paid my own bills, taken care of my problems, and stayed out of the law's way without any difficulty. Little Sister's problems are not the result of "being young" and being "the middle child" any more than my sister's problems are the result of being "the oldest" and "being young" or any other excuses my family can come up with to excuse her behavior.

The fact is that Little Sister and Rells are both completely and utterly selfish girls, and they will never make any effort to curb their behavior as long as they know that they will never have to pay for their actions themselves. Little Sister actually regards her coming jail time as something to look forward to, something along the lines of "it will be so nice not to have to work and pay rent for a while."

Just yesterday afternoon Boyfriend and I went to see her and reminded her that she'd added herself to our cell phone plan and she still hadn't paid her part of the bill, which is a hundred dollars because she "absolutely had to have an iPhone", and she said she couldn't.

Well, I informed her that it wasn't our responsibility it to pay it, and if she couldn't pay it we would have her contract canceled. Boyfriend didn't look like he liked the idea, but he wouldn't contradict me in front of his sister because he doesn't like to disagree publicly.

Her reply? "Well, I know it isn't fair to ask you guys to pay my bill, but it really isn't fair to get mad at me for it. None of this is my fault."

Ordinarily, I don't make a point of being confrontational with Boyfriend's family, but that remark shot straight through my self-control and I couldn't stop myself from saying, "Oh, I'm sorry, did someone hold a gun to your head and make you drink and drive? I was under the impression you did it on your own." And I said it in my most sarcastically sweet tone.

She raised her eyebrows in surprise, but she didn't contradict me. How could she? She knew I was right, and it would have been foolish to argue her case. She did add, however, that she wouldn't be able to pay her cell phone bill while she was in jail.

"Well that doesn't matter," I answered. "I already thought about that. You can't have your cell phone in jail anyway, so we're just going to pay ten dollars a month to have it suspended."

"You're just going to cut off my phone?"

"No, we're going to suspend it. The number will still be yours, but I don't see the point in us paying one hundred dollars a month for a phone that isn't ours that you can't use anyway, and when you get out of jail we can turn it right back on."

"But that's not fair!"

"No, what's not fair is that you're standing here expecting us to pay for a phone you won't be using because you went and broke two laws and didn't care about the consequences." I looked at her hard, and said, "I don't feel sorry for you, Little Sister, and I think you deserve a lot more than a couple of weeks in jail and a broken arm."

"You think I deserve this?" And she looked like she wanted to hit me with her cast.

Boyfriend stepped in. "Well, Little Sister, you have shown poor judgement recently. You have nobody to blame but yourself, and Chanel is right. We shouldn't have to pay for a phone that you won't be using."

"But how will I know who tried to call me while I'm away?"

"That's not our problem," I snapped. And then I was too fed up with her attitude to stay longer, so I told Boyfriend that I had a headache and we really had to go.

Little Sister sent Boyfriend a text message later asking if I was feeling sick or on my period because I was unusually moody towards her and she couldn't understand it. I have no idea what Boyfriend sent back in response, and I don't really care, because her message only proves beyond a shadow of a reasonable doubt that she doesn't think she did anything wrong and she believes she's being treated unfairly in this whole ordeal.

At least my sister has learned to pay her own bills recently. She hasn't borrowed any money for almost five months. His sister, I think, will always be stupid and selfish, and if that's the kind of person she is, I don't think I'll want to associate with her much. And I think Boyfriend is making a very stupid mistake by cleaning up after her. I say she's made her bed, now make her lie in it.

EDIT: As a side note, my older sister is also disgustingly shallow and (I hate to say it) stupid, as proven in her latest Facebook status: "what really drives me crazy is when good looking people date ugly people, or when a really ugly couple has a BEAUTIFUL baby!! Does anyone else notice this?"

There are no words that can express how disgusted I am by this observation.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Choo Choo (also known as Choo Choo Face, Choochie Face, Choo Choo Saurus, and Chugga Chugga Choo Choo)

This is Choo Choo, and she's my baby.

She's not the brightest dog in the world. In fact, Boyfriend insists that she is completely and totally mentally retarded. But I gave her some basic Doggy IQ tests to see if she was really as dumb as we thought. Turns out, she scored High Average, which makes her smarter than the average dog. That was one in Boyfriend's eye, and I was very proud of my dog.

It's easier to think of her as a puppy than as a grown dog, though she's over two years old. Her birthday is May 6, 2008, and she's...still clumsy. I used to think there was something wrong with her eyes, but it turns out she's especially uncoordinated. Not that she's dumb. Just not graceful.

Choo Choo is especially good at running into walls.

When we let her outside she likes to run figure eights and giant circles through the grass over and over again. I am not sure why she does this since the yard she gets to run around in is HUGE and square shaped, but she doesn't like to go near the fences when running. Unless the cows are grazing on the other parts of Boyfriend's land.

Then she wants to go play with the cows. I'm not sure why, but Choo Choo is very good at making friends with all animals. Except for stray cats, but she never stops trying. It hurts her feelings when the stray cats run away from her or I take her away from a cat outside before she can get close to it. Most cats, even indoor cats, are not used to dogs and feel threatened by my five pound puppy.

Choo Choo also loves children, and I really don't know where she gets this from because I do NOT like children and I avoid them. She feels like they all belong to her, though. As you can see in the following pictures, Choo Choo likes Little Brother, although sometimes he wants to play with her when she'd rather sit in my lap and she growls at him. It's a very clear warning. Sometimes he ignores those warnings and she snaps at him (she never bites, only snaps) and then he gets the message. Chihuahuas are not very patient dogs. They do not like to repeat themselves.

Sometimes Choo Choo likes to watch Little Brother play with his toys, but she doesn't like Little Brother touching her toys. If he picks up her stuffed piggy or her little rope dog or her stuffed chicken or her little pink mouse, she goes nuts and does whatever it takes to get it back, and then she walks away and hides it. Of course, she hides it in plain sight while we're watching her so it's not very hard to find them. Her favorite place to hide things is behind/under my pillow. It's especially annoying when she tries to hide it while I'm sleeping because she tries to burrow under my pillow while my head is on it, but it's also really cute.

I have to take Choo Choo to the vet tomorrow. She's been sneezing and coughing a lot, and her nose is dry and warm when it's supposed to be wet and cool. And I feel like maybe she has allergies or something. She's still got the same energy, so I don't think it's serious. Also, I think I need to make an appointment to get her spayed because I've been meaning to do it forever now, and it's very dangerous for Chihuahuas to give birth. I don't want to destroy my dog's chance of motherhood, but I'd rather she didn't die in childbirth. It would break my heart to lose her. I've already lost my cat, and Apollo was stolen from the yard last year. All we have left is my Choo Choo, so I'm trying to take extra special care of her.

This isn't a particularly interesting post, but I thought I'd share my pet with anyone who happens across this blog.

Monday, September 20, 2010

A story followed by a random pro-tattoo argument.

The first time I got my ears pierced I was six years old and excited. Until they pierced my first ear, and it hurt so badly that I immediately clamped my small hand over my other ear and refused to let them pierce the other one.

It took my mother twenty minutes to convince me to let them pierce my other ear, and even then, it was only after she bought me a pair of sunglasses that I let them move my hand away and stopped threatening to bite them if they touched me. I actually had bit my mother at one point, and I kicked a lot. I feel rather sorry for those women. And for the doctors who got the same treatment from me every time I had to get a shot.

I left the piercings in for three weeks before I ignored my mother and had Daddy take them out because they were just irritating the hell out of me. My hair kept getting wrapped around the studs and I hated it. Mom was pissed at Daddy for that. Something about wasting money.

When I was fourteen I decided to brave the pain and get them pierced again because I wanted to be able to wear real earrings, not just the clip on earrings they sold in the kids' section of jewelry. It hurt just as much as I remembered, but I was smarter and had them pierce both ears at the same time so that I couldn't freak out and change my mind. The women were a little put off my by my request, but they did it.

It's much more efficient to be in pain all at once rather than doling it out into two separate times.

When I was sixteen my older sister was eighteen, we were down in Jax (Jacksonville, Florida) visiting old friends and family with our mom when she decided to get her naval pierced. When we went to the tattoo shop to get it done, the guy said they were having a two for one special, so I could get my done for free.

He told me it would hurt less than getting my ears pierced, and since my mom gave her consent, it seemed like an good idea. Sherrell made me get mine done first so I wouldn't chicken out.

Yeah, the piercer lied.

Let me just explain something: having a fat metal bar jammed through the skin of your belly button and out through the top above it is NOT less painful than having a skinny needle put through your earlobe. Your ear lobe is just cartilage, and your stomach is actually skin and muscle and it's got lots of nerves. It hurt a million times more.

In fact, I screamed bloody murder. I screamed so loud I actually scared people out of the tattoo shop. Sherrell said that a girls face turned white when she heard me, and she said she didn't really want a tattoo anymore.

I felt like I'd done a public service. I saved her some awful pain.

And I know I saved that girl from some pain because I got a tattoo when I was nineteen (against my will, I'll have you know. I tried to jump off the table and run when he stabbed me the first time) and it was WAY worse than my ears and my naval being pierced. Of course it hurt. I was being stabbed repeatedly by a needle that was pushing ink into my skin to leave a permanent mark on me.

I still have my piercings and my tattoo, but I'm done with intentionally causing myself pain with needles. I'll not get a second set of holes in my ears, I won't pierce my lip or my eyebrow or my female areas. I will not get another tattoo. I'm so against the pain I'm not even going to have the tattoo removed unless they could do it in one session. Even then, I'd only do it if they could put me under a LOT of painkillers and could knock me out.

Which I doubt they'll do.

So I'll just leave it as is. It's scarred from my jeans rubbing it when it was healing. But I'm not even going to get it touched up. Absolutely not.

I won't even go with my sisters to get tattoos. Rells (the oldest) has seven, Brat (second youngest) has five, and Wheat (the baby) has one, but it's huge and it's on her ribs. I don't know how the hell she endured the needle that long, but more power to her, I guess. My mom has one tattoo. I'm pretty sure both of my uncles have tattoos as well. It actually makes me more inclined to get mine removed.

It's not that I don't like tattoos. I admire them. I admire the people that can deal with the pain to get back pieces and sleeves. I admire the artists that create them. And make no mistake, a tattoo is art. A tattoo is greater than art because you live your life in it, you take it with you everywhere, and the word sees it as a representation of you and what you've been through and who you are and what's important to you and where you're going with your life. A tattoo can say so many things, and they're all different, just like the people who wear them are all different.

Admittedly, there are some tattoos out there that are just bad. Portraits done by tattooists who can't draw or shade to save their lives, misspelled names and words, disco balls that look like golf balls. Some people just should not tattoo, and you should always check their portfolios, just like you would before you hired an interior decorator or you commissioned a portrait from a painter or a photographer.

I know there are a lot of people out there who see someone with a tattoo and automatically think "drug addict" or "alcoholic" or "tacky" or "dangerous", but there are a lot of soccer moms out there who go out and get tattoos because they've lost a child, or a husband, or a parent, and they just want a way to remember them, to honor them, to keep them on Earth in some tangible way that won't fade. And you shouldn't judge people for that, ever.

Because it's their body, and they can express their love and their pain and their sense of humor on their skin if they want to, and you should just appreciate the aesthetic beauty of the creation.

Or that's the way I see it. Don't judge my tattoo. It just shows that I love my sister, even if she is a giant dork who wouldn't buy me a real present if I didn't let her get me permanently marked as being related to her.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

I think they call this Body Dysmorphia or something.

I think I have severe mental issues when it comes to my body.

The first time I became concerned about my body I was fifteen years. I was five feet two inches tall and weighed eighty five pounds. Needless to say, I was a skinny, bony teenager, and my doctor was still pushing me to eat more meat to try to gain weight. At that point in my life, I didn't like the flavor of most meat and would pick at any that was put on my plate.

I wasn't big on vegetables unless they were in a salad, so I mostly ate soups and salads and breads, and very little of that because I didn't have much of an appetite. The doctor, Dr. Wasserman, was concerned that I wasn't going to ever reach a healthy weight. (Boy, was he wrong.)

That summer, right before I turned sixteen, my grandparents took us (my sisters and myself) to Florida to spend a week at their time share and go to Disney World. We used to live in Florida, but it had been six years since we'd been there, and just as long since we'd gone to Disney World, so we were all excited to go.

It was on the way back when we stopped at a restaurant in Louisiana called Frog City that my life changed forever. We were eating, and my older sister looked at me and said, "God, Chanel, your arms are getting fat. Don't eat so much."

Her comment didn't really bother me much, but it pissed me off enough to warrant a response. I said, "Shut up and leave me alone."

And that was my fatal mistake. My grandparents jumped on me quicker than a duck on a June Bug. "Don't you be rude to your sister, Chanel. She just told you the truth. If you don't want to be told you're getting fat, stop eating so much."

Until that moment, I'd been proud of my growing appetite and the fact that I'd managed to gain the five pounds over the year that the doctor wanted. And suddenly it felt like my gaining weight wasn't something to be proud of, and my body went from abnormally thin to grotesquely overweight in my mind. Something vital inside of me shifted, and from then on I was always worried about getting fat.

I know it seems like they were being harsh, and they were. But that was the way it always was, and it still is. If my sisters pick on me, no matter how mean they're being or what they say, it's completely acceptable. If I say something back, I'm either being too sensitive or a bitch or I'm in denial of the truth. No matter what I do or say, it's wrong. And that's why I don't go visit home much. My mom and my grandparents all favor my sisters. If I want to get the best treatment, I have to go see my dad, who I love and who always tells me I'm beautiful and I don't need to lose weight, but he lives in Virginia and it's too expensive to go up often. Maybe if I had grown up with him, I wouldn't be a basket case like I am now.

After that day in Louisiana, things were never the same for me. One morning I woke up and I got ready for school and when I looked in the mirror I swear I saw my mother standing where I should have been. I was so distraught I didn't go to school. I didn't want to be seen like that.

Of course, as I grew taller, my weight grew with my body, but at seventeen I was five foot five and 106 pounds, and I couldn't get any heavier. Dr. Wasserman was mildly pleased, but pressured me to put on another ten or so pounds. I never tried after that. I just couldn't bring myself to do it. I was convinced I was fat. I'd taken to wearing big t-shirts over my swim suit, if I could be convinced to put on a swim suit at all.

I started wearing long sleeved shirts to cover my skin, blue jeans to cover my legs. I'd wear baggy t-shirts sometimes or pajama shirts to school to hide what I thought was a huge gut and flabby arms. Sometimes I'd see pictures of myself, and I wouldn't recognize myself sometimes. because I thought I was fat and ugly and the girl in the picture was thin and pretty. The second I realized I was looking at me, even if I'd thought the picture was a good one, I'd immediately start seeing flaws.

I went off to college and I lived at the bottom of the biggest hill on campus. I'd have to trek up and down that monstrosity every single day. It was so irritating that sometimes I'd decide it wasn't worth the walk to go get something to eat. So I started eating once a day on the days I had class, and the days that I didn't have class, I ate a banana or I just forgot to eat altogether and studied all day. One day in early October I was walking with my roommate down a flight of stairs and I fainted and fell down thirteen stairs. The campus clinic admonished me for not eating enough and told me I could have really been hurt, and I was lucky, and that I needed to eat more so I wouldn't faint again.

I went home after my first semester weighing one hundred and two pounds. I checked my meal tickets. I'd started out with two hundred and fifty. I'd used a grand total of forty five. In the four months I'd been at school, I'd eaten forty five times.

That scared me. So I started eating again, three meals a day. And within a couple of months I'd reached one hundred and ten pounds, and while I didn't like the way I looked in a swim suit, the doctor told me not to lose anymore weight, so I just let it be.

I was eighteen then. Now I'm twenty two, and when I weighed myself this morning the scale said one hundred and nineteen. Almost one hundred and twenty pounds, the weight the doctor wanted me to be, and I feel gross.

It's the same problems as before. When I look in the mirror, I see fat thighs and a gut so big I don't even have the natural curved waist that marks me as female. I see fat arms with disproportionately bony wrists, and a fat face sitting above a flat chest that doesn't stick out as far as my gut, reaffirming my belief that I'm fat.

This morning a co-worker was playing with my camera and snapped a picture of me while I was demanding he give me my camera back. This is the picture in question. And I know that I'm not fat. It's easier for me to say I'm not fat when it's not my face attached to the picture. Notice that he cut my head off in this picture. But when I went back for a second look at the picture, it didn't look like the same picture. I saw, and still see, fat thighs, huge arms, and I have no waist. I'm so fat that the curve is gone. And I have no boobs to overpower the fat parts so it's like that much worse.

And I wonder how on earth Boyfriend can love me when I'm so gross looking. And how did he not notice that I gained five pounds? How could he not see it or feel it when he touched me? The new weight is so obvious I feel like it's sticking its ugly face right in front of mine screaming "BOO!" at me. It's mocking me, taunting me, trying to drive me insane.

I find myself wishing Boyfriend would be just a little more supportive. It was his turn to do dinner last night, and he went out and bought a pizza at Little Caesar's. When I said I would just make myself something healthier, he acted offended and like I was being completely ungrateful and unreasonable. Rather than argue about it, I just ate a piece of pizza. But when I started to put the leftovers up he nagged me about only eating one slice.

So I ate another to get him off of my case. And I felt completely fat afterward and I compulsively jumped on the exercise bike (I call it the Hamster Wheel) and started going at it. Boyfriend nagged me about being obsessive, so I stopped.

I think I probably need to start seeing a shrink again before I wind up so insane that I actually do manage to convince myself starving is the best way to lose weight. I fear obesity, but I fear an eating disorder more. And I suppose that's a good thing, in a way.

Friday, September 17, 2010

This is something like an exercise log and a rant.

In the last few days I've been managing my calorie intake, though I hate being that girl, and I've been exercising up a storm.

I feel like my legs are going to fall off, and at this point I wouldn't mind if they did because then they'd stop aching. Seriously, when I walk around it's like watching those people who have been horseback riding for the first time and their legs are all stiff from it. I think this is like a punishment for never having stiff legs after horseback riding as a child.

But, I know that the only way to get my muscles used to the exercise to exercise them even though they're stiff. The point is that eventually I'll adjust and then I can just Cardio away without worrying about the stiff legs.

In a cheerful note, my legs were less stiff after I did a five minute, twenty five calorie burn session on the bike before I took my shower this morning. If I hadn't overslept (yet again) I would have given myself a thirty minute work out on the bike and ten minutes of kettle bell weights. (Don't worry, they're small weights used for Cardio and not muscle building. I know muscle building would be counterproductive since the goal is to lose weight, and muscle weighs more than fat so I'd be gaining weight with the muscle.)

Boyfriend and I are really trying to stick to the exercise and healthier diets to get us back to where we were. Boyfriend may have only gained three pounds from our lack of exercise and splurge on fast food, but he feels the fatigue and lethargy from the lack of nutrition, plus the mood down swings because our sudden lack of endorphins. (Exercise gives you endorphins. Endorphins make you happy. Happy people don't shoot their husbands. They just don't.)

I'm not going to lie: I did consider doing that strict body cleanse that you do for ten days with no food, only the lemon, maple syrup, cayenne pepper drink every time you feel hungry. And I'm not sure, but I think you can drink water, but nothing else. But I did some research and apparently it's a temporary weight loss and it's dangerous anyway because what you're drinking has no calories so your body is basically starving.

And as desperately as I want to lose weight, I'm not so desperate that I want to starve myself. Also, I wouldn't be able to exercise without calories, because calories are a measurement of energy. If I have no calories, I have no energy, and that....would make anything besides laying around impossible. Also, I'd probably get killer migraines from it. And I'd be short tempered.

So I'm just sticking to diet and exercise. And if at the end of the month I'm not back down to my old weight or lower and back to my proper size (or smaller *crosses fingers) then I'll look into getting a personal trainer. Or diet pills.

But I hate the idea of diet pills. I feel like people judge you when you buy diet pills. And I know that as soon as you stop taking them you gain weight, so it would probably be useless.

So I'll probably stick to the idea of a personal trainer as a back up.

In other news: a friend of mine is getting married in November, and she invited me to her bachelorette party. The plan, Jelly said, was to go camping in a cabin (my idea of camping) and to go hiking and just have good girl times. It sounded fun, so I agreed.

Only to find out from one of the other girls who was planning it with her that it wasn't as innocent as a slumber party in a cabin with a hike through the woods.

Apparently, Jelly is planning on bringing as many different drugs as she can get her hands on so she and her guests can get high to experience the ultimate communication with nature...while hiking naked through the woods of a popular lake area. Where there are probably lots of bugs and poison ivy and strange red neck hunters just waiting to find a gaggle of naked chicks to kidnap and make into their sexual slaves.

Now, I've made it pretty clear to Jelly in the past that I want absolutely nothing to do with drugs. I wouldn't even sit in the room with her if she pulled out her weed to smoke a joint. I'd actually just leave because I find it highly insulting that she'd made a guest feel uncomfortable with the smell and the fact that it's illegal and I had no desire to be around it in the first place. So if she invited me and neglected to tell me the plan about the drugs, she either assumed I'd be cool with it since she's getting married, or she just didn't care.

Also, Jelly knows me pretty well. I have always had severe body issues, and I would not be comfortable standing naked among a bunch of girls I didn't know. Hell, I don't even let Boyfriend see me naked with the lights on, I certainly don't want people I'm not intimate with to see me naked. And I'm DEFINITELY not comfortable with seeing a bunch of women I don't know standing around naked and high. Or just high, or just naked. I don't care. It's not for me. I don't even like seeing my own body naked, I don't want to see their bodies that way.

Unfortunately, I already called in my RSVP, so I'm going to feel really rude when I call to inform her that I won't be able to make it. I'm not going to be selfish and demand that she change the plans for the party for me. It's her celebration. I just don't want to take part in her idea of celebrating.

And I think she should have told me this. Because if the other girl hadn't mentioned it, I would have gone and been stuck there, miserable and uncomfortable, for three days with no cell phone service and no way out.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Little Brother should take acting lessons.

Boyfriend's Little Brother showed up at our apartment at seven this morning, pretending to be sick. He told his mom he had a headache thinking she would stay with him since she was off today, but he didn't realize she was off so she could take his Sister to court. So he had to come to us. And Boyfriend and I are not gullible like Mommy. It was obvious from when he first walked in that he felt fine and dandy.

As soon as his mom was gone, he turned to us and said he wanted to play on the computer, not go back to sleep.

I told Boyfriend his brother was faking, and he agreed. Then Little Brother asked for a soda. Soda? For a sick kid? I don't think so. I've NEVER heard a sick kid ask for a soda. We gave him orange juice, and when I got up to get ready for work we sent him to the living room to play video games. He RAN into the living room, realized he left his drink, ran back to get it, and then ran into the living room again. Sick children don't run.

When it was time to go get breakfast before work (we do like to eat out for breakfast on Mondays and Tuesdays) we decided we couldn't take a "sick" kid to a restaurant. Little Brother RAN do the car. You know what Little Brother did when he heard us discussing breakfast options in the car?

"I want to go to McDonald's. I want pancakes!"

Pancakes! For a sick kid?

Alright, when I was sick as a kid, I didn't want to leave bed. I wanted to stay in it all day, and even if I wasn't nauseated, I didn't want pancakes or soda. I certainly didn't want to play games or run around.

So at that point it was confirmed that he was totally faking it.

"You know, Little Brother, you can tell us if you're faking it. We won't be mad."

"I'm not faking! I'm sick!"

Well, Boyfriend and I weren't buying it. So we proceeded in the following fashion.

"You know, Boyfriend, when I was a kid, I was totally better at faking it when I didn't want to go to school."

"Yeah, so was I. Little Brother is as bad as that actor in The Room."

"Yeah, I know. When I wanted to play sick I stayed in bed for a few hours, and then I got up and claimed I felt better. And I pinched my cheeks to make them rosy like they get when I have a fever, and I'd lick my hands and wipe it on my forehead to make me clammy. I'd also hold my eyes open to make them water so they looked glassy."

"Shoot, when I faked sick I took my mom's heating pad and put it on my forehead to make it feel like I had a fever. And I'd make throwing up noises in the bathroom and just pour a glass of water in the toilet to make it seem like vomit was actually coming out and then I'd flush it so she wouldn't know. I'd also stay in bed until noon, and then it was too late to send me to school. But I was WAY better than Little Brother."

"You know what? I think you should take him to the doctor and have them test him for flu. You know they stick the long cue tip up your nose really far to test for flu, right? John had it done the other day, and they also tested for strep. They use a long cue tip for that, too."

"Yeah, I think I'll have them draw some blood, too. He needs to be tested. It could be serious."

"Boyfriend, you know people bleed to death a lot of the time when they get their blood tested!"

"I know, but if he's really sick he might die anyway. It's worth the risk, I think."

Little Brother refused to go to the doctor, but he wouldn't admit he was faking. So I came to work and left the two of them at home. I think Boyfriend will eventually convince Little Brother to admit he's faking it and then they'll go to the park and kayak or something.

Me? I'd make him stay in bed all day in the dark and do nothing. But that's just my opinion.

Monday, September 13, 2010

I'm trying to galvanize myself into getting back to my healthier lifestyle.

Dear Chanel:

You're killing me slowly. You're not eating breakfast, you're not exercising, you're not getting enough sleep, and you're downing fast food instead of cooking because you're too tired to cook anything for yourself.

Look, the long hours are over, and the quickest way to get me back into shape is to start eating breakfast, start exercising again, sleeping properly, and giving up the fast food. How hard can it be? You gave up Dr. Pepper, right? And I haven't been sending your massive craving signals demanding you drink it, right? So what's the problem?

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It should be your biggest meal. So go ahead and drink that latte and eat the bacon and gouda sandwich. You're allowed to splurge because your body will metabolize it through the whole day. And if you don't eat within the first ninety minutes of waking up, I retain more fat because I think you're starving and so I need to build up fat now from what food I get to keep you from starving to death later when there won't be any food. I know YOU know you'll eat again, but I don't know that. I'm just the body.

And why did you stop exercising? You were tired, right? Well, the longer hours are over, and you've put on five pounds. Gross, right? So make Boyfriend teach you to ride a bike like he promised, accept the invitations to go hooping with your friends, take the dog our for longer walks and jog a little. Hell, take a walk around the block every once in a while. Some form of exercise is better than no form. And I know you work long hours even when you're not doing the Band Season Over Time, but you'll feel better if you exercise regularly. You used to be like a super fast runner! You enjoyed it! So come on, and try to keep me healthy. Otherwise I'll get fat and you'll hate yourself.

As for the sleep thing, I need rest to heal myself and refresh. It's like hitting the reset button every night. If you don't sleep, your digestion and metabolism and appetite suffers. And while appetite is best in small doses, if you don't eat in the morning because you're too tired to be hungry, you're just setting yourself to gain weight. And if you don't sleep I can't function properly and you'll get migraines and be fatigued all day, every day. And that's no fun. So if you feel exhausted, go to bed early. It's not going to kill you to start taking your pill at eight instead of ten and start carrying it with you. If you feel tired, go to bed. Don't try to make yourself stay up because then you can't sleep. And that's counter productive, especially since we're trying to lose the weight your laziness has gained us. Five pounds, damn you. Five.

Finally, we come to the fast food. I know that you were too tired to cook, and Boyfriend NEVER wants to help you out by cooking because he's lazy and doesn't know how to do anything besides boil pasta anyway, but that's no excuse now. You've got your normal hours back, so you can start cooking at home. Vegetables and healthy things that won't kill you with calories. If Boyfriend wants fast food, let him. Just go to the store and buy yourself some vegetables and saute them and eat them on top of pasta with no sauce. A single serving. I know you have a problem with walking away from good food. But learn to stop when you feel satisfied. You used to be really good at it, and stressful hours made you more inclined to binge, and it gained you five pounds. Yes. Five pounds, which makes you average weight. Which would be great if you did that with exercise and proper nutrition, because that would be a healthy lifestyle. But you haven't been, which means this isn't for you.

And I'd like to point out that the BC probably isn't helping. And if you gain anymore weight instead of losing it, get off the pill and just learn to deal with cramps every month. K?

Your Body that You Are Ruining

Friday, September 10, 2010

I did something bad, but I totally made up for it, and anyway it was totally Boyfriend's fault.

I cleverly discovered that Boyfriend bought me a Kindle for my birthday. And by cleverly discovered I mean that I hacked his password (too easy), checked his history, and found the page on Amazon. Also, I checked his e-mail (even easier) and found the purchase confirmation which told me that it would be arriving sometime in mid-September.

Now, before you go all "BAAAAAAAAAAD Girlfriend!!!!!" I'd like to say that I have absolutely no interest in anything else Boyfriend does on his computer. In fact, I've never bothered trying to hack his computer before that, and I have absolutely no intention of doing it again...unless my Christmas present is also late.

See, my birthday was August 26th, and I've been waiting all this time for the present and he wouldn't even tell me what it was, which is totally unfair. And my desperation drove me to try to discover the truth of the matter. I waited for two extra weeks (really LONG weeks in which Boyfriend constantly tortured me about my lack of knowledge of my present) before I finally snapped and couldn't hold back anymore.

And I totally blame him for it. I honestly wouldn't have cared to know very much if he hadn't constantly and mercilessly taunted me with the secret.

But...I felt really bad about being all sneaky about.

Not bad enough to confess to him or anything. Just bad enough to buy him a really big birthday present really early. His birthday is December 28, but I already knew what he wanted so I just hopped online and upgraded his phone (we share a cell plan) from the iPhone 3GS to the iPhone4 which he's been going on about since it first came out last month. Keeping him from looking at the cell phone account online for two days was easy since we just paid our bill.

And then: SURPRISE FOR BOYFRIEND!!!!! two days later. Except nobody was home to accept the package and I put instructions on it not to deliver it to the office if nobody was home, so it went to the warehouse to be picked up.

And then I casually told boyfriend I had been doing some online shopping and my package couldn't be delivered to the apartment because nobody had been home to sign for it, and could we pretty please go pick it up on our way home because it wasn't far from the apartment?

He agreed, and then I also added that, "I put it in your name because I knew I wouldn't be home and I wanted you to be able to sign for it, so you'll have to sign for it when we get there." And he laughed at me and told me, "Anybody in the residence can sign for it, silly. You could have put your name on it." Which I already knew, but I had to keep him unsuspecting.

So we picked up the package, and when we got home I asked if he wanted me to model my new purchase. He didn't seem to be very into the idea (I buy a lot of clothes online and make him sit through my fashion show as I model each new item) but he agreed. So I went into the bathroom with the package and then I came out a few minutes later wearing the same clothes, but holding the iPhone4 packaging, which looks totally cool by the way. Then I handed it to him and said, "HAPPY EARLY BIRTHDAY!"

And he totally freaked out. Or he totally geeked out.

But...the moment was short-lived because the screen on the phone was defective and it didn't work.

So today Boyfriend has to go to the Apple Store (he made an appointment) and they will either fix the screen or give him a new phone.

So he's got his birthday present...and I'm still waiting for mine. But it's all good, right?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I should feel bad about some of the things that I wrote, but I can't feel bad for telling the truth.

I'm not so big into trends. I mean, come on. Have you seen some of the things people are doing and wearing and accepting these days? Lots of things!

Skinny Jeans! Oh, god, how I HATE seeing boys and young men (men MY AGE!) wearing them.


Skinny Jeans do not look good on men.


Is that clear?


And they don't look great on all women, either. Fat girls look even fatter in skinny jeans. I guess that's why they're called skinny jeans. As in skinny people can wear them, and fat people can't. Or they CAN, they just shouldn't.

And being fat itself is a trend!

Seriously, this "overweight, obesity is okay" trend has got to go. It's unhealthy to be obese. Any doctor will tell you that. And Boyfriend tells me I need sensitivity training because of my complete lack of sympathy for people who are super morbidly obese.

Yes. That's an ACTUAL MEDICAL TERM used for people who are so fucking fat "morbidly" doesn't cover it. These are the huge people you see in wheelchairs who are so fat their legs can't support them and it's physically painful for them to stand.

THAT is so not okay.

It's called diet and exercise. And no, sitting on your ass all day controlling your electric wheelchair with a joystick does not actually exercise anything. Standing up all day and doing nothing is more healthy than sitting in that wheelchair getting steadily fatter. Seriously, obesity disgusts me. And they make TV shows and reality shows and movies about really obese people, telling them it's okay to be fat. And it's not. It's just as unhealthy to be fat as it is to smoke cigarettes.

And if it's acceptable to tell people that smoking is unhealthy, then it should be socially acceptable to tell fat people that being fat is unhealthy. If I owned a restaurant I'd make every fat person that came in eat a single, healthy sized meal of vegetables and healthy things they've probably never contemplated eating before.

And no, my eating habits aren't the best. I like to eat fast food as much as the next person, but it's called moderation. It's just straight up fucking stupid to eat fast food three times a day because it's easier than taking a box of pasta and dumping into a pot of boiling water. You don't even need the damn pot for that anymore! You can make spaghetti in the microwave in minutes, and it's way better than eating a double bacon cheeseburger with no lettuce and tomato, extra pickles and mayo and cheese.

Seriously. Just eat a fucking salad with salad seasoning, no dressing, or just olive oil and vinegar. That's better than your nasty, greasy, heart attack in your hands burger with the side of fries and extra large diet coke. Who the hell are you fooling? Diet coke is JUST AS UNHEALTHY as regular coke. Drink a fucking water.

Whoa. How did I get so far off topic? This blog went nowhere near the point I was aiming for, which I'll totally get to now that I've gotten my anti-obesity spiel off. (If that was mean...well, Boyfriend tells me all of the time that I need sensitivity training because I can't empathize or sympathize with other people. Whatever. I think I'm fine just the way I am.)

Anyway, my point was that although I'm not big on trends, I've recently jumped on board with a trend that I'll probably hang onto long past its coolness factor.

The Feux Denim Legging.

Ah. So beautiful.

It's a legging that is knitted in a color and pattern to look just like denim. They've even got buttons, belt loops, and pockets, just like a pair of skinny jeans. The advantage? The fit of skinny jeans with the comfort of leggings. They're cotton, so they breath and stretch and aren't stiff and itchy the first time. And removal? They slip right off.

When I tell people my "cute jeans!" are actually knitted leggings, they all say, "No way!" and have to feel for themselves. Then, "Oh my gawd! Where did you get these? They're so awesome! I want some! Are they comfortable?"

And I always respond, "Hell yeah, they're comfortable! It makes me dread the days I have to wear my regular jeans!"

So my plan is to order fifty pairs of these not-so-denim leggings and hoard them so they'll last me until they come back into style in another ten years or so.

Friday, September 3, 2010

If there had been a camera present, this would have been the most Epic video on YouTube.

You haven't laughed a real laugh until you've seen two grown women (albeit, young grown women) running and screaming in fear. Especially when you see that they're being pursued by something less than three inches long.

My first roommate was also my best friend of eight years, and when we were eighteen we decided to move away from our families (or rather, since I was coming back from college I was moving away from the dorm) and into our own place where there were no rules.

Jenn and I were (and still are) very different people. But one thing we have in common (aside from the ridiculous rate at which we read books) is our fear of the nasty, creepy crawly. And when I say fear I mean outright ridiculous we can't deal with it, must run away in fear of our lives, phobia. There is no rationality. Logically, we totally know that most bugs can't harm us. (Uh...except the wasp, but there's a fun story about that coming up, too.) I mean, when is the last time a caterpillar bit someone? Or a butterfly? Yes. We freak out when butterflies fly too close. We can totally watch them at a distance and admire the beauty. We just, you know, like to keep them outside of the bubble that we call our personal space. As in, dude, you're in my bubble. Back up.

Yeah, that applies to butterflies. Honestly, if it's got more than four legs and it isn't cute and fuzzy and at least the size of the palm of my hand, we're probably completely weirded out by or terrified of it.

Which brings me to the first story I was going to tell you: the story of the giant mother-fucking cockroach that tried to kill us.

And by us I mean Jenn and I. Our two beautiful and yet very useless cats sat by and watched, as did our two guy friends who were visiting that night. Actually, the damn thing came in with them.

To the point: Jenn, Colton, Erik, and I all had awesome plans to go to Mesa Rosa for an awesome tex-mex dinner followed by a trip downtown for some major decompressing at Kasbah's, a totally relaxing, hippy hookah lounge where Turkish music and decor is the key, and where it's not unusual for random patrons to get up and perform belly dances for free. (No, they do not serve alcohol. So, presumably, these lady patrons are sober. Unless they got drunk before they came to decompress. But that seems counterproductive.)

However, when Colton and Erik entered our apartment at the beginning of the evening (they had driven up from Belton where they both lived in On Campus Housing for UMHB, which meant that no girls were allowed in the dorms EVER, and not even in the lounge after nine, and EVERYBODY had a curfew. In college. Ug.) a friend came running in behind him. It was the Biggest, Ugliest, Most Diabolical Cockroach Water Roach In Existence. For real, this thing was longer than my index finger. Can we say RADIOACTIVE MUTANT much?

Erik and Colton watched it in fascination (I always thought they saw it outside and decided to let it in on purpose out of some misguided thought that all creatures deserve life or something) as it trotted right into our living. Jenn and I reacted instantly. By screaming and turning and trying to get away from this thing.

Now, let me give you a visual. Jenn is six feet and three quarters of an inch tall. She is built to take hits. She likes to fight with the boys. She's always been kind of a tom boy. She looks very much like the Native American blood she's got in her. Except for her very German nose. And she was running, jumping up on the couch a split second ahead of me.

And I was right up there with her. But the damn thing was still coming at us, and though we were high up and safe on the couch, there just wasn't enough distance between us. So I did the only thing my brain could think of: I tried to climb up the back of the couch to get further away. Except that our "couch" was actually a futon (that had seen many a wild party before it was passed on to us by a mutual friend) that I had covered in a black silk sheet in an effort to hide what we thought (or hoped) was from a nosebleed years prior to our owning it. And of course, I slipped and fell off of the couch.

And landed on my stomach lying on the carpet. And when I lifted my head and looked instinctively in the direction of the Evil Invader, it was a foot away from my face and still coming at me.

There is no way to describe the wordless noise that came out of my mouth. It was very high pitched, very loud, and more than a shriek. There are no vowels that can convey the way it might have sounded. I have never been able to reproduce the noise. But it drowned out Jenn's shrieks and everybody covered their ears, except the cats, who actually high tailed it to Jenn's bedroom on the other side of the kitchen.

Only a second had passed since I fell, and I didn't even pause. My foot was still caught in the silk sheet, and I tried to get to my feet to save myself. I tripped and fell back down. And rather than try to right myself again, I crawled on my belly, still making that awful noise, and into my bedroom. Once inside, I immediately started stuffing clothes and shoes and blankets under the crack in the door, keeping the Nasty Death Bringer from coming in after me.

I finally managed to get some semblance of self control back and I started shrieking in a tolerable pitch for Erik and Colton to, "just kill the fucking monstrosity! Now! Before we all die!" and Jenn eagerly seconded my motion to wipe the thing off the face of the planet.

Erik and Colton had watched this entire scene unfold in less than a minute, and when we started begging for help, they finally acted. By, you know, just dropping into fits of helpless laughter that called to us even in the far reaches of our mind where fear ruled, and it brought up something more powerful: anger.

Indignant, I ripped out the protective wall from in front of my door and came out, jumping immediately on the couch to protect myself from the Demon Thing that was watching us, perfectly still, from right in front of the couch. Jenn and I began screaming things like it's not funny, you assholes, and laugh it up, just kill the fucking thing!, and my personal favorite, for the love of all that's holy, you morons, if you don't kill it we can't go eat!

Ah, nothing speaks to the male mind like the threat of starvation. Or, you know, missing one meal, which in the male mind is directly equal to starvation. Galvanized to action by the thought of hunger, they stepped into action and busted out the Insect Killer and Windex from under our kitchen sink. And they stepped up and doused the little beast with oodles of these high powered chemicals, and guess what? It just started running. It wouldn't die. So Colton put his big foot over it.

And he was all like, "Wow. This thing is really strong. I can feel it moving my foot when it's trying to get out." Which just freaked Jenn and me out even more because that just convinced us that it was a Radioactive Demon Freak Mutant Bug that had no business being alive.

Finally Colton and Erik put it in a jar, took it outside, doused it with lighter fluid and lit the poor thing on fire. I know that seems cruel, but it was a Mutant Bug and it totally needed to die. There was really absolutely no way that that unearthly thing could live side by side with humans and not try to do anything diabolical, like, you know, trying to eat us or trying to crawl into our ears and get into our brains while we're sleeping.

Colton and Erik refer to that as our Finest Female Moment.

Honestly, it wasn't our fault though. I mean, that thing was huge, and it wanted to kill us.

Why I spell my name two different ways...

My co-workers realized recently that I don't always spell my name the same way. And I'm not so stupid that I'm accidentally misspelling my own name, and it's not a typo either. There is a simple and logical explanation for the two different spellings.

The doctor who delivered me was an asshole.

I told you it was simple. That wasn't enough information? Oh, great balls of fire. I'll have to tell you the whole story. Keep in mind that I was born in 1988 in a small town in Texas. Small Southern towns are generally...well, full of small minded, arrogant, judgmental pricks who believe in being Uber Fucking Christian. (I was raised Southern Baptist, BTW. And they don't approve of dancing. If that gives you a good idea.)

So, when my Mother and Father told the doctor that they wanted to name me "Channelle", and that we had a family spelling for the name, she spelled it out for him. On the birth certificate, he went right along and spelled it the way he wanted, which was "Chanel", as in the world famous designer brand.

Of course the doctor didn't stop there. Though my parents had both decided to give me my father's surname despite not being married, the Doctor just thought that wouldn't do. He explained in detail that I had to take my Mother's maiden name because I was a bastard and blah blah blah.

So my name is all sorts of fucked up.

Now, because my name on my birth certificate is "Chanel", that's what is on my ID and my bank account and my paychecks. But on my school records, on my facebook, on anything else, my name is spelled Channelle because that's they way my parents taught me to spell it. I honestly didn't even know that my name was spelled wrong on my birth certificate until I was eight, and then my parents told me the story.

My parents got married two months after I was born. I fell asleep during the ceremony.

Anyway, so sometimes I write Chanel and other times Channelle, and it really just depends on my mood. If I feel like being proper and rigid, I'll write out Chanel. If I feel like being stubborn and like I've always been, I'll write Channelle.

I think I have a very pretty name. And it's an old name that's been in our family since before that particular fraction came over from France, which was way before the dominant Irish came over. And also before the German faction. But I didn't always like my name.

For years I went by my middle name because this boy in fourth grade named Colton Asher started calling me Chambel Soup, which was really dumb. I mean, Cambell soup, Chambel Soup? There's no connection there to Channelle. There's not even an "m" in my name! But my mother thought it was SOOOOOOO cute so she started calling me Chambel Soup, and then my sisters started calling me Cha-Nae-Nae, which was even worse than Chambel Soup, and then Daddy picked it up and started calling me Nae-Nae, and my best friend who just shortened it to Nae.

And nothing I did could break it. So I used my middle name.

Which failed when everybody refused to use it, and so I was just stuck with slapping my sisters for using Cha-Nae-Nae, and just dealing with Mom calling me Chambel Soup and Daddy and Jenn calling me Nae-Nae and Nae.

Because, you know. You can't hit your parents. Or your best friend. Actually, when Jenn and I first me we didn't like each other and one day in choir we had a disagreement about a book we had both read and she slapped me across the face and then I slapped her and then we were inseparable after that. Like...the slaps made us friends, so hitting her again would have probably ruined the friendship.

And I've just realized that the little Lego Spock figurine that hangs out on my desk next to the guitar playing frogs has been moved to a lewd position with the Family Guy Meg figurine. Which means somebody has been messing with my desk.

Grr. Time to hunt down the joker.

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