Monday, July 31, 2006

My Reason via IM

My husband is out of town right now for business. I would normally go with him on this trip, but we have contractors here at our house so I'm stuck here. He found me on iChat this afternoon while he was in between presentations and while I was goofing around online. We chatted about everything and nothing for a good portion of his break and then I read on my screen, "Today's reason is I love you because... you are bad for my productivity. :)" I told him that I was happy to oblige.

Friday, July 28, 2006

The Fear of Being Me

Yesterday I had an unexpected little scare. Like many other people, I have a page. I just fired it up the other week at the suggestion of some friends. As in this blog, I did not disclose my name or give any specific information about myself that could help anyone to determine that the page was mine. In addition, I initially chose to keep my page "private" so that only people who I designated as "friends" had access to it. A few days ago, I made my page on available to the public, thinking that I had taken enough precautions with my identity that it shouldn't cause a problem. I figured it was bad enough that I couldn't just freely throw out personal information like thousands of other people on that site. But then, I had my little scare. One of my friends used my real first name in a comment on my page. I really never thought about the prospect of that happening (DOH!). It actually scared me to see my name on that page and to think that someone would attach that name to that page. You're thinking I'm nuts, I'm sure. I've had a stalker, though. Once that happens to you, you don't really ever look at your privacy and personal safety in the same way anymore.

Ever since I had my stalker experience, I've tried to keep my personal information out of the reach of prying eyes. When it initially happened, I moved and nixed any idea of a phone book listing - ever. I try to stay off of mailing lists. When I got married I was way too enthusiatic about changing my last name (sorry Dad). But try as I might, there are forces at work that want all of your cherished information available to the public. Any subscriber to the Lexis/Nexis Database service can find me easily (using either my maiden or married name). Anyone willing to pay $19.95 to some internet data company can get all sorts of information on me and any other poor sap in whom they are interested. If you want credit of any sort, your contact information is going to be out there for anyone to access if they try. I've come to terms with that -- by installing a ridiculously awesome security system in my home. In addition, my whereabouts are always either known by a close friend or family member or are documented clearly on my calendar at home. A good firearm in the house would probably make me feel even better, but the jury's still out on that one.

I don't know how celebrities do it. I would hate to be famous. There are so many wackos who will think that they have some sort of relationship with you - some claim on you. In addition, there's the multitude of scam artists and other folks that just want to suck you dry. Famous people watch their personal lives play out on the pages of magazines. That has to suck. I don't bother famous people when I see them out on the town -- I think they're entitled to some privacy. What are you going to do with a dumb autograph anyway? Tell your friends you saw someone famous? Woo.

Me - I'm nobody - and yet I guard my personal information to the best of my ability. I had to get that restraining order a decade ago and it's terms expired a few years after that. The offender in my case is still alive and well (good guys can use that available personal information too!) and you never know if he'll snap again and try to find me. After all, I "ruined his life" because I wouldn't marry him. Next time something goes wrong, he may decide it was my fault. Who knows? Either way, it happened a long time ago and I am pretty sick of feeling like I have to hide. I'm keeping my profile on myspace public -- though it's starting to make that firearm look a little more appealing.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

They're a Size 7

My reason for the day is that he loves my "little feet" and he loves to look at my little feet in my "cute little shoes."

He looks sincere as he tells me this and is admiring my feet all the while. No, he doesn't have a weird thing for feet. The poor guy gives me reasons so frequently, that sometimes, his reasons don't initially sound very romantic. Would I rather that he didn't love my feet or that he was indifferent to them and thought them to be just ok? No way. He loves my feet! :)

Monday, July 24, 2006

Resurrect My Master Weaponsmith?

Today, I came across an article at Gamer Andy entitled Star Wars: Galaxies; The Community Strikes Back that made me realize, yet again, what a geek I am. Basically, a group of independent developers has reverse engineered a version of the MMORPG Star Wars Galaxies ("SWG") and plans to release it for free. For the non-gamer, this isn't news at all -- and you probably are wondering what a MMORPG is in the first place ("Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game" -- they're lots of fun). For anyone that has played this game, this is definitely very good news.

I loved this game. I had a Master Weaponsmith named Andorra who had a thriving business run out of her store on the outskirts of Anchorhead on Tattooine on one of the servers. Andorra had a great time and amassed a small fortune from her weapon crafting while running around the Galaxy on assorted missions for the Alliance. She had all kinds of cool stuff. She had two fully furnished homes, a storage house, droids, a mount, speeders and a killer wardrobe (seriously, once you had a certain amount of money in that game and an income stream, you almost couldn't spend it all). Even better, as a Master Weaponsmith, she had the best weapons available and a never-ending supply of power-ups.

Back when SWG first came out, it really wasn't clear to anyone how one eventually became a Jedi. Wasn't that part of the allure of the game? "You too can be a Jedi!" Andorra just kept showing up to gain Alliance faction and make more weapons. One day a little cube showed up in her bag that basically informed her that in her quest to becoming a Jedi, it would behoove her to become a Master Officer (I think back then she was told to become a "Squad Leader.") In order for that to happen, she would have to give up being a Master Weaponsmith. Then, in the forums, it became clear that in order to become a Jedi, one would have to become a "Master" at several professions sequentially. Ugh! How lame was that? I liked being a Weaponsmith. Andorra stayed on a while longer, but I had no intention of having her become a Squad Leader or of pursuing the course to Jedi. I was hoping that Sony would see how stupid that path was and change it.

But then Sony kept changing more and more things and then SWG stopped being fun for me. I think when Sony made the resource shifts frequent and unpredictable, I had had enough. I didn't even hang in there long enough for the expansion to come out. My husband was a Wookie Creature Handler -- and had some really nice/rare specimens that he had collected. Sony messed with that profession and it stopped being fun for him too. (There aren't even any Creature Handlers in the game anymore -- they got rid of the profession entirely.) We didn't even hang in there long enough to get upset about the Combat Upgrade that screwed everything up yet again. I took most of the money that I had and my inventory and gave it all to a friend of mine that was intent on staying to try to become a Jedi. I kept some of the money on Andorra in the hopes of hearing of some worthy changes that could lure me back in. (The gaming companies don't just delete your characters when you quit -- they keep your characters on the servers so that they can try to get you to come back to the game at a later date.) Sadly, that has never happened. If anything, the news from the SWG front seems to get more dismal as the days go by.

Today's news is good news because the game concept was really great and I think the game died from "overdevelopment." It was a lot of fun, and in the hands of the community, it may have a good chance of being fun again. Best of luck to the team that is working on this project.

I'm playing World of Warcraft these days though -- Andorra is a Night Elf Hunter now and she doesn't have many complaints. Am I going to resurrect SWG Andorra on a community server? I haven't ruled it out. I am such a geek.

Surprisingly Bad Advice

I'm going to share a story of an exchange that I had with one of my older relatives that should never have taken place. File this under "Thanks for the vote of confidence."

After the really unhealthy relationship that I had during college, I started dating an attorney. He was a generally nice guy and I dated him for over a year. He treated me pretty well, but during that year, I found myself bored with him and annoyed with parts of his personality. He wasn't as secure of a person as I was hoping to find. He was rude to my guy friends, mostly because he felt threatened by them. He would show up uninvited to my apartment -- sometimes I got the feeling that he just wanted to make sure nobody else was there. Even worse, I had suspected during that whole time that he was putting on a front for me. He was on his best behavior most of the time, but I would walk into rooms while he was talking to a buddy and he would be saying horrible things about people. He was kind of like an insecure school girl. The boredom was the worst of it though.

I was explaining all of this to my relation one day as I was planning my exit from the relationship. You'd expect your older relatives to be supportive and to tell you that you deserve only the best, right? Especially the ones that supposedly think the world of you. The exchange went more like the following:

"Bored? You think he's boring?"

"Yes. I don't love him. I think he's a nice guy but I'm bored with him."

"Sweetheart, it's ok for him to be boring."

<Shock> "Huh?"

"He's a nice guy and he treats you nicely. Sometimes boring is good. He doesn't cause trouble. He loves you."

"I don't really care if he loves me. I am bored with him and I don't want to spend the rest of my life in a boring relationship."

"Look at MY husband, he's boring. We've been married a long time. Boring's fine."

At that point, I had to cut it off. I didn't want to get into it about her relationship. But boring is not fine and that was some of the all time worst advice that anyone has ever given me. That exchange happened a long time ago and yet I remember it very clearly still because it was so shocking. Here's a person who supposedly cares about me telling me that I should settle for a nice person that treats me well even though I am bored out of my mind by him. Luckily by then I thought better of myself and knew that she was definitely wrong. That day I learned that you definitely have to take the opinions of others with a grain of salt when it comes to matters of the heart. Only you know how someone makes you feel and if it isn't great, it isn't great. Obviously, what's great for some is definitely not for others. Boring would have killed me.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

That's My Reason?

He smiled and said, "You touch me in all the right places - and that's your reason for the day."

I got that one at 6:45 a.m. while I was hugging him before leaving the house for breakfast. Though I love it when he just volunteers the day's reason, I gave him a look that expressed mild dissatisfaction.

"I'm just expressing emotions -- I don't have to be witty with my little quips. You want the truth or something clever?"

"The truth - but cleverly."

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Reason for the Day

Last night, he said, "I make him happy" but then said that he wasn't explaining it properly. Then he went on to explain that he loved me because I understood what he was going through this week and without him saying a thing, I was able to plan for a weekend that was exactly what he needed. More importantly, I got it, cared enough to want to make the weekend good for him and then acted upon it. I got it, cared and acted -- and that's my reason for the day.

...And I thought all I did was pick up Taco Bell and South Park DVDs.

The Best Gift I Ever Gave Mom

My how times have changed! Somehow, I don't see this happening too much these days.

I went to the Oakbrook Mall with my aunt one day when I was about 12 to find a birthday present for my mom. I wasn't looking for anything big - just a small present to let her know that I didn't forget her on her birthday. We walked into a card shop and they had a wall of coffee mugs. There was a row of mugs that were each a different color and each had a different animal motif. It looked to me like the artist picked an animal for each of the mugs and tried to see how many of them he could squeeze onto each one. I thought my mom would like the dusty rose colored one best. It had a bunch of rhinos drawn all over it and I thought it looked pretty funny.

I presented it to her on her birthday and she was very pleased. She took it with her to her office and was going to use it immediately. I thought my present was quite the success.

It was a success -- until one day later in the week when she came home with it. She said she'd been so proud of her new coffee mug and that she was telling people about how her daughter gave her the new coffee mug. Then, that day, one of her staff-people pointed out to her what the rhinos were actually doing on that mug. They weren't drawn so closely for no reason -- they were in a rhino orgy! The rhinos were all in different sex positions with one another and upon close inspection, they were obviously having a really good time. So my mom was totally embarrassed and came home with the mug in disgrace. Mrs. Prim and Proper had been walking around the office with a rhino orgy mug for a week. Ugh. That's a kick in her gut. She got over it. She knew I didn't do it to her on purpose.

We still laugh about it today. I can't remember anything else I ever gave her for her birthday when I was a kid -- so that has to be the best gift I ever gave her. I think she still has the darn thing hidden away somewhere. I should look for it.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Can't Find a Better Man??

Folks that know me well know that I haven't always been very happy in romantic relationships. In fact, I've been completely miserable to the point of filing restraining orders. I think that everyone has their own luck in life and people are lucky in some ways and unlucky in others. I sound really happy now, but that definitely wasn't always the case. I was unlucky in that I was in a long relationship with a highly unstable individual who wouldn't let me break up with him. But yet I am lucky that I did finally get rid of him and never got bullied into marrying him during that time. I'm unlucky in the time that I spent in bad relationships -- but lucky that I never settled for a relationship that was just "fine" or "comfortable."

I've been thrown out of moving vehicles, cheated on, lied to and have been subjected to repeated verbal and emotional abuse. I've had windows and walls punched out at my apartment and have been lectured by a raving drunk maniac at close range. And that isn't half of it. I didn't leave because for some of that time, in my estimation, I couldn't leave safely. For some of that time though, I had Florence Nightingale syndrome. He was obviously sick in the head and needed help. The only one who was sick in the head at that time was me -- I was young and dumb. Did I not think that I deserved better? Did I not think that my time was being wasted on someone who was so obviously broken? Did I seriously think that I could fix him?

Hindsight is a marvelous thing. If I could go back and change things, I obviously wouldn't because there's no guarantee that I'd end up exactly where I am right now in my life -- and I love it here. But yet I wish someone would tell people who start dating that you just cannot expect to change anybody. Someone should tell them to expect to be treated well and break it off quickly if they are not. If there's something in a person's personality that you really want to change, just walk away. Take it or leave it. It's a package deal and people are all marked "AS IS." If you think you might deserve better, then you most certainly do. Settling or staying with someone you're trying to help is like giving up on yourself and your own life. If you're lucky, you can have a life of many years -- do you really want to spend it in a relationship that is just OK or one that is draining you? Who doesn't deserve better than that?

Can't find a better man (or woman)? Think again.

What's a Hooeyspewer?

A Hooeyspewer is a person that spews Hooey, silly! Mind you, I don't regularly spew hooey. However, I guess I was joking around quite a bit on the day that my husband called me a Hooeyspewer for the first time. He doesn't actually call me by that name, in case you were wondering -- it does sound a tad offensive. When I'm making trouble, he may jokingly say, "There you go spewing hooey again." In this house, I am the Hooeyspewer.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Reasons Why My Husband Loves Me

A few years back, my husband and I started a strange ritual which, though he seems to enjoy, I'm sure he regrets. After exchanging "I love you"s, for whatever reason, I asked him, "Why?" Why I asked this, I'm not sure. We were probably in the usual playful mood, and I probably just wanted to start up some trouble. I was acting like a little kid - petulant and spoiled - but it was kinda funny. I guess you had to be there.
Anyway, he is usually ridiculously well spoken, and, of course, he gave me a gem of a reason: He loves me because "Home" is wherever I am.
Well that wrecked it for him right there. I thought that was the sweetest thing. I don't know what I was expecting to come out of his mouth, but I know that wasn't it. He played along with my silliness and floored me. The grin from that reason lasted a good long while. I think he was pretty proud of himself for eliciting the desired effect from me so easily.
So what did I do? I pushed it, of course.
A couple of nights later, after exchanging "I love you"s, I leaned over to him with an evil grin and asked "Why?" again. At first, I got the all-knowing look -- he was on to me! But he uttered another zinger and the poor guy has been giving me reasons regularly for years now. I don't get them every day, though I did for a long time. I probably average 1-2 per week now. It's been a fun little game, and he's been too good of a sport.
My only regret is that I didn't keep track of all of the reasons that he has given me. I definitely remember a good number of them, but I'm afraid the majority of them are lost in my brain somewhere. I'm going to post my reasons here so that I can keep track of them and so that his thoughtfulness isn't wasted on just me.