Sunday, December 9, 2012

Retail Therapy and Cliffhangers

It has been way too long since I've written here, and it's been because things have been legitimately cray around our household.  Luke has been working more hours than any human should be forced to work in a week, and I've been holding down the fort while trying not to go wacko from a lack of human interaction.  There are plenty of advantages to working from home, but one major disadvantage is that you miss that casual communication that you have with other people.  Don't get me wrong, the idea of having to actually go into a physical office to work still gives me that familiar feeling of anxiety in my gut.  But some days I've felt stir-crazy to the point of feeling on the verge of explosion.  I'm trying to pretend everything is happy-go-lucky since technically everything in my life is running just fine, but I feel this sense of standing on the edge of a cliff.  I'm either going to have to jump soon, or someone is going to push me.  Or I'm just going to stand here and constantly feel like I could stumble at any moment.

I'm going to try to recap everything that's going on.  I'm going to forget things, but this will still be long.  I'll try to use pretty pictures to break up the walls of text.  You're welcome.

 As soon as it became December, Luke and I put up the Christmas tree.  I absolutely love having a tree, and it's something silly and kind of superficial, but I love it.  I like to put on Christmas music, dance around with a goofy grin on my face the whole time, and watch Luke roll his eyes at the fifth rendition of "Let It Snow" in a row.  I can't help but think it's kind of humorous that I'll sing along with "Silent Night" and love every minute of it despite the fact that I'm as secular as it gets every other month of the year.   There is just something homey about having a tree and lighting it up for the first time and feeling that Christmas spirit even if it's completely unreligious and solely for the presents.  Though, it's still hard to get used to Christmases without any snow -- it still seems so wrong.

I got my haircut and I decided to go black for the first time in my life.  I think I love it a lot.  It's really a nice contrast against the bright purple in the front of my hair and I've gotten quite a few compliments about it.  I'm happy with the decision, though I might regret it if I want to change it back in the future...
I also rode my horse Rosie in a horse show yesterday for the first time.  It was a ton of fun, and she was a pretty good girl.  It was the first time she has ever left our ranch (she's only 3 years old) and she was brave.  I was actually really proud of myself too -- I stepped up and entered the class without encouragement and finished with a decent score.  I didn't get a ribbon this time, but I know there is always next time.  :)
In other horse news, I decorated Rosie's stall and it's really cute.  Her stall is right up near the front of the ranch and we're having a Christmas party on Sunday -- I wanted her corral to greet everyone with the holiday spirit when they pull in :)
In other news, I've been a bit of a shopaholic lately with buying things.  We were fortunate that we get a month off of paying any sort of mortgage or rent, so we have some expendable income to use on furniture and other fun stuff for our house.  We kind of have a mixture of contemporary and midcentury furniture going on right now, but slowly we'll have more and more midcentury items when we can find a good bargain.  Here's some of the things we've gotten our paws on lately:
Awesome Danish teak sideboard, from The Nest in Hillcrest. $400 + tax (now with an aquarium on it.  Pics of that later!
Custom sofa in "Ryan" style from Metro Decor - $750
(Not the actual chair we bought, but it's this chair.  Ekornes Stressless Recliner, original from 1970's. From Atomic Bazaar in Hillcrest, San Diego - $595
Rug, from Plummers in San Diego - $350.  It's more green than yellow, but the camera made it look yellow.
There's more, but I'm exhausted right now and can't think to type anything else.  I also just bought a coffee table from Urban Outfitters, which should come in 2-3 days.  We're also waiting for our headboard, which we bought a few weeks ago but takes up to 8 weeks for delivery.  At some point we have to stop spending money and just start living with what we have. 

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A List of Things My Dogs Have Destroyed

So, um, why do I have dogs again?

Here is the list of things that the dogs have destroyed in the past two years:

  1. An electric blanket ($100+)
  2. A LazyBoy Couch ($2000+)
  3. An Ikea Karlstad Couch (~$600)
  4. Two Skyrim guides ($40)
  5. A laptop desk ($20)
  6. A Game of Thrones Blu-Ray DVD set ($75)
  7. At least 3 of Bella's dog beds, 1 of their auntie Karroll's and 4 of their own ($250+)
  8. An Xbox Controller ($25?)
  9. A Logitech Universal Remote ($120)
  10. My W-2s (headache)
  11. A computer gaming headset ($50)
  12. Their own registration papers
  13. Luke's stock options
  14. Our mattress when Echo peed on it ($1000+)
  15. An entire wall and door when Krogan tried to eat his way out of a room
  16. Many loaves of bread, which Bella steals
  17. A Feist book or two
  18. Screen doors, when the dogs ran right through them ($100+) 
  19. 2 rugs that were peed upon ($100+)

Friday, November 2, 2012

I swear, I'm not a 'crazy person'

My anxiety disorder isn't something that I'm particularly comfortable talking about, but with the recent suicide of a young video game journalist sparking a run of other people in games talking about their own struggles with depression and anxiety, I thought I'd lend my voice to the choir.

In early 2010, I was riding my horse one day on a beautiful spring day, enjoying the sunshine and the time I share with her on the weekends.  I finished up the ride and was walking to tie her up and remove her saddle, when all of a sudden I felt sicker than I've ever felt.  My head was spinning, my ears were howling with a horrific sound, I felt like I was going to pass out, vomit, and die.  I tied my horse to the nearest fence and stumbled to some ladies who were sitting at a picnic table nearby and just sat next to them.  I couldn't talk, I couldn't lie down, I couldn't cover my face or shut my eyes.  They brought me water, assuming that I was dehydrated, but it didn't help.  Foolishly, I tried to drive home but made it three blocks before going to the nearest gas station, running to the bathroom, vomiting and collapsing against a wall.  I was sure I was going to die.  I called my boyfriend (who is now my fiance) and he rushed to pick me up.

The next couple of weeks were awful.  I was a constant mess.  I spent much more time feeling like I was on the verge of throwing up than I did actually vomiting.  I couldn't breathe unless I concentrated on breathing.  I was dizzy to the point where I couldn't even take our little dog out for walks.  I could feel my heart beating in my chest, would have strange tastes in my mouth, my legs would go weak and numb.  I went to the doctor several times and they thought I had either a serious ear infection or something pushing against my inner ear causing me to be dizzy and nauseous.  I couldn't work.  I would dread going to sleep because it was the worst while I was trying to fall asleep.  Luke was helpless and did what he could to make me feel better, but I was pretty certain I would either feel this way the rest of my life or collapse from exhaustion.  I remember one particularly awful day where I stood in the bathroom crying and asking him, "What if I feel this way forever?".  He was always confident that I'd get better, that this would pass.

When I couldn't handle it any more, and I couldn't miss another day of work, we went to the emergency room and I ended up having an emergency MRI.  I thought it was a brain tumor by this point.  After waiting for awhile, the doctor came to me and said that everything looked fine.  He brought me a few Xanax pills and asked me to take one and tell him whether or not it fixed my symptoms.  I was skeptical, but it did.  I was perfectly fine 5 minutes after I took the fast acting pill.  He told me that he believes I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and that taking a daily pill to stabilize the chemicals in my brain could make it all better.  I was prescribed a low dose of Lexapro, along with prescriptions for Xanax and Klonopin when things are feeling particularly bad.

I was dumbfounded.  People like me don't have anxiety issues.  I'm not a "crazy person".  I'm not stressed out, I had nothing in my life that I was concerned about.  I had a wonderful stable relationship that I'd been in for 3 years, we had a great apartment, my job was going well, money was plentiful, I had a new horse that I loved.  I had no real worries or concerns.  And now this?  I have an anxiety disorder?  How could that be, when I'm happy and cheerful and optimistic and everything in my life is the best it had ever been?

My anxiety disorder is mostly in check.  I still take that same low dose of Lexapro, and I have Xanax pills in case the occasional panic attack sneaks through.  I haven't had to take any Xanax aside from maybe 1 every six months.  Recently, I tried to wean myself off the Lexapro and started having panic attacks again.  I've succumbed to the fact that I might need to be on medication for this for the rest of my life.  Could it get worse?  I have no idea, and I hope not.  But I went from not understanding people at all who say they have panic attacks to intimately fearing them and empathizing greatly with anyone who has anxiety.

It's those stigmas that are the most scary about mental disorders.  I admittedly was one of those people who thought it was only for "crazy people", not normal, fully-functioning, successful people.  After being out of work for two+ weeks I didn't want to tell my employers that it was "all in my head".  I wanted what I considered a valid excuse, that I had something physically wrong with me that is now cured.  Not that I was put on 'crazy pills' and that there is something jacked in my brain.  That was admitting a sign of weakness.  So I mostly made something up.  I told a couple of people I was closer to what was really going on, and they felt it was totally out of character for me. Unbelievable, even. I called my mom and told her, and she admitted to me that she's been on meds for anxiety for 30+ years now.  Would have been nice to know, but she was also affected by that stigma.  She didn't want to admit to her daughter that she wasn't perfectly fine all the time.

But it's important to talk about this stuff.  I want people to know that you can have an anxiety disorder and still ride and show horses.  You can still be a Studio Director at a successful video game company.  You can still have a great relationship with your significant other.  It affects me because I get nervous before interviews, before meetings where I have to present, before social gatherings where I'm expected to be at my best.  But I'm afraid to talk about it, because I don't want potential employers to force those stigmas on me.  I don't want them to think I'm not capable or competent because of it.  I don't want people to shy away from wanting to be my friend.  But I also don't want people to be afraid to talk about their mental issues and therefore end up committing suicide or hurting themselves like Matt Hughes did.

We have to talk and we have to be here for each other.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

An academic failure I am

Because I'm not a TOTAL absolute loser with no friends or social life, I went out this evening with a good friend of mine to celebrate one of his friends' recent engagement.  I got to talking with some new people I'd never met before, three young women who were all in the final months of their PhD programs in Neuroscience and Biology.  They were all my age, 27-28 years old.  I got to thinking about how different our lives are.

They are just graduating and are just now starting their journey into the professional field of working and doing the 'grind'.  At age 28.  Meanwhile, I've been working almost nonstop since graduating high school at 18 with a few temporary part-time jobs along the way, have been working in my industry of choice for 5 years now, and I'm basically at the peak of where I hoped I would end up someday.  While I'm thinking of things like job flexibility, maternity leave, buying a house, and the idea of having kids in the not-so-distant future, these women were just starting their lives.

Don't get me wrong, I don't think it's a bad thing.  I'm actually quite envious that they got to spend so much of their lives learning something that they're passionate about.  I'm jealous when I hear people talk about the groups they belonged to in college, or what they're planning to write their thesis about.  It all sounds so scholarly and fun compared to working full time and paying the bills.  I remember, looking back, how I was on a path to go to a four-year college and get my Bachelor's but it just didn't work out for me.  I started out trying to get a degree in Equine Industries Management and left that school after the first semester.  I moved on to Criminal Justice and couldn't even handle one class because of how sensitive I was.  I then did Nursing and ending up being kicked out of school for failing two dosage calculation classes in a row.  I moved to San Diego, got a job in the game industry, and found success.

I think I'm envious because for all the successes I've had in my career, I've had even more failings as a student.  I couldn't manage to get good grades in high school because my head was in the clouds and my priorities were all over the place.  Even after moving out here and paying my own way into a community college, I didn't finish my first semester of 3 classes.  Am I just not an academic person?   I don't know what's wrong with me.  Failing is not really something I've ever been satisfied with, and the only thing I have consistently failed in has been all efforts involving school.  Even if I were the CEO of a successful company, I'd still have this hole in my heart where all my academic failures taunt me.

If I could go back 15 years in my life, this is what I would do:

  • Apply myself in school, get great grades, take all the requisite classes to get into a good school.
  • Go to a great school for something like Computer Science or Veterinary Medicine.
  • Eaten more wholesome food, cared for what I was putting in my body.
  • Spend less time worrying about boys and more time studying.
  • Learn the concepts of feminism earlier so they can guide my life from an earlier age
Don't get me wrong, I'm happy with myself and where I am.  I'm also proud of those girls I met tonight for sticking to their program for so long and coming out alive on the other end.  Life is short, and we only have so much time to spend doing the things we want.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012


Not a whole lot to update the blog on and haven't felt a huge need to post here lately, but I might as well check in just as a status update for the 0 people who read this blog.

Things are still progressing well on our new place on 36th Street in Normal Heights. It looks like our closing date is going to be November 15th, which gives us time over the Thanksgiving holiday to move, paint, clean, do little odds and ends.  I'm not freaking out yet, but I probably should.  We still have to get home insurance all lined up, pay the rest of our down payment, get the loan final, find new tenants for our current place...the list goes on.  Expect a stressed out version of me for the next couple of months.

We're also starting the early planning for our wedding.  So far we're trying to decide between a Vegas wedding at Mandalay Bay or a San Diego wedding.  Since it will be a destination wedding for our family and some of our friends anyway, San Diego kind of makes sense.  If we do it in Vegas, everyone will have to travel.  San Diego would mean more than half of the people won't have to travel at all.  It will all come down to costs essentially.  With the biggest purchase of our lives looming, I just don't want to drop $10,000 of our money on this.  I would like to have a simple and beautiful ceremony that people enjoy coming to.  Not sure if we want to do a beach wedding, or maybe a vineyard type setting in Temecula, or something in Balboa Park?  I can't decide.

I have been busy and haven't been able to ride my horse much lately, but when I do I love her more and more.  Her trainers are doing a great job with her.  She's quiet, responsive, and an absolute blast to ride.

All is mostly well over here.  I'm weaned off my Lexapro and I'm hoping that my anxiety issues don't return.  If they were planning to, now will be the time with all the incoming stress.  I'm looking forward to a couple weeks off work in December and a nice relaxing holiday in our new house.  Luke is on mandatory OT for the next couple of months and it's definitely stressing him out and me as a result, despite him doing all the hard work.

Things that are making me happy lately:

+ Discovery of polymer clay/Sculpey
+ Halloween decorations in my house
+ Halloween candy, yum!
+ xoJane and its awesome articles lately
+ Wine, particularly red wine of the malbec variety
+ League of Legends, Dishonored, and World of Warcraft's new expansion
+ Board game nights with friends

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Moving forward on Normal Heights

So, kind of a major life update here: We had our home inspection on the house in Normal Heights and it went well!  So we're now charging forward with purchasing this amazing place and there is even a chance we'll be in our new home by Halloween!  Well, close on it by then anyway -- we have a couple weeks worth of work we want to do before we move in our things (smaller stuff like painting mostly).  I am so incredibly excited.

I am so fortunate lately.  I keep wondering when bad things are going to start happening for Luke and I, because it seems like everything is going exactly as planned.  This house is something we never thought we'd end up purchasing.  Not only is it charming, older yet-upgraded-in-the-right-places, and walkable to everything on the awesome Adams Avenue in Normal Heights, it also has a good sized yard in a neighborhood that doesn't normally have yards, a detached studio with full kitchen and bath, off street parking for both of our cars, and curb appeal.  It's perfect.  It's a place that I could see us growing with over the next 5+ years, as it has room for us to have a baby.

We're still unsure what we're doing with the studio space. I'd love for my friend Caitlin to move into it and rent it from us, but that might not end up happening.  I've been researching Airbnb and it looks like we could rent it out for probably $80-100 night and that's an option I'm really attracted to.  We could keep it all nicely staged and clean, rent it out to people that we approve via the site, and block it off on Airbnb if we have family or friends who want to stay with us.  We could end up paying for a good chunk of our mortgage this way.

I've been reading a book lately called The $100 Startup, and it's very inspirational.  It makes me want to start my own business with minimal upfront cost and see what can come out of it.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Browser Auto-Complete Game

I saw that Scalzi did this and it seemed intriguing so I decided to try it myself.  I am going to type each letter of the alphabet into my browser's address bar and see what website it tries to auto-complete to.

A:  Arcane Wordsmith, one of my favorite WoW blogs.

B: The Border House, for damn good reason. Because I'm the Lead Editor and Co-founder and it's basically the best website on the internet. ;)

C: Craigslist.  I scour Craigslist pretty regularly for Farm/Garden stuff and also for checking out furniture, art, and free stuff.

D: Apple Developer Site.  The URL is, and it's where I go when I'm doing work and need to do some admin stuff for our devs.

E: Ebay.  I don't actually shop on Ebay often, but over the last few months I was looking to purchase a saddle and was checking ebay multiple times a day.

F: Facebook.  This is a no-brainer.

G: Google, naturally.

H: Huffington Post.  I do check the news there quite a bit, especially since it's liberal slanted.

I: iTunes Connect.  Another work related administrative site.

J: Jezebel.  Happy to see that me and Scalzi have this one in common ;)

K: Kotaku.  I read it frequently because I have friends who write there and I think it's made a turn for the better this year.

L: LinkedIn.  I check my messages there all the time to see if someone is trying to hire me.  They usually are, but not for anything remotely interesting or local.

M: Company Email.  It starts with, so that's naturally where it resolves.

N: Noxxic.  A quick 'cheat sheet' website for WoW strategies.  My nerd is showing.

O: Openraid.  It's a WoW website where people can connect and raid together, pretty neat concept.

P: Pivotal Tracker.  It's our project management software at work and it's highly recommended.

Q: Nothing except

R: Reddit, duh.

S:  I shop too much for games on Steam (and don't play many of them, whoops!)

T:  I've been tweeting nonstop since 2007.

U: San Diego Union Tribune.  Local news, though they've recently been purchased and they suck now.

V: Virgin America, my airline of choice.

W: Wells Fargo, my bank.

X: Nothing.

Y: Yelp. I thought it would be YouTube, but I guess not.

Z: Zillow, because we've been house searching.

Kind of a fun little experiment. :)