the gathering storm

I knew this week was going to be mentally taxing. It was going to be my first real severe weather event. I had been through the winter weather stuff a few months ago, and the occasional severe storm.

However, this was my first, know-about-it-a-week-in-advance storm system that was almost certain to spawn tornadoes. I’ve had a lifelong fear of them since one dropped behind my grandmother and I while driving home in the Texas Panhandle one balmy afternoon in the late ’80s.

…and since one dropped a portion of a large tree on our trailer house a year or so later.

In the years since, every so often I’ve had nightmares that incorporate tornadoes, which dream-analyzing sites suggest is a subconscious warning about some sort of inner turmoil within my life. Whether it is or it isn’t – it’s a freakin’ tornado.

And, to crown it all off, I happen to now live in an area that was one of the many hard-hit in the April 2011 tornado outbreak.

So in the lead-up to Monday’s storms, I had plenty of time to obsess over my fears and get nervous about the fact that I would have to be single-handedly responsible for keeping the web and social media constantly updated during a time of impending emergency.

It’s also times like these that I forget I am on a team, and as such, I am not single-handedly responsible for the whole thing. Just social media in this case.

So anyway, I had an hour or two from the time I got into work to kind of mentally prepare for it. I also learned I would have a second person by my side to handle phone calls, viewer picture submissions, et cetera. That immediately helped my nerves.

They came rushing back when the first tornado warning actually came in. This was it – go time. It was more nervousness that I wouldn’t know what to do, but that quickly went away as well.

Ultimately, I was at the station for 13 hours with my standard 30-minute breather broken apart across the night. I mostly spent the night blowing up local Twitter accounts, taking screen grabs from our live feed and tweeting them out.

Facebook rather goes to the wayside. We have a system that auto-posts the weather warnings to Facebook, and I intermittently posted advisories that our Twitter was the best way to keep abreast of minute-by-minute changes.

At the end of the night (morning), I went home proud of the work that I had done, satisfied that I had done the best that I could. However the tension associated with the situation stayed packed in my muscles throughout the week.

Here I am at the end of my weekend and I feel no better rested than I had on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday morning. I’m going to try my darndest to rest up well tonight and ensure that my next work week starts on the right foot.

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Ten months’ removed

So my last post was in June of last year. Yikes, I am horrible at macro-blogging. Facebook and Twitter? I’m excellent in that. It’s part of my job.

Oh, right. The last time I wrote here, I had just accepted a job at the web desk of the station I work for.

I’m happy to report that quickly blossomed into a full-time position. Benefits, insurance, vacations, the whole ball of wax. I’m very happy there, for many reasons. For one thing, there is no such thing as a routine day in journalism, or web journalism for that matter. The workload varies based on the news of the day. Sure, it can get aggravating from time to time, but at the end of the day, I’m always proud of the output. And that’s exactly what you want in your job.

On the subject of vacations, Tyler and I went to the GaymerX convention in San Francisco last August. Though I had difficulty keeping my social anxiety in check (hundreds if not thousands more people than expected in an incredibly small hotel), sharing a city for the first time with my partner is something I wouldn’t trade for anything. We also got free tattoos courtesy of the convention staff in exchange for them being con- or gamer- related and to be interviewed by the documentary crew that was there.

Tyler's tat is the Mass Effect N7 logo (Think Nov. 7); mine is a Big Brother logo and the GaymerX logo. Nov. 7 '09; our anniversary date!
Tyler’s tat is the Mass Effect N7 logo (Think Nov. 7); mine is a Big Brother logo and the GaymerX logo. Nov. 7 ’09; our anniversary date!

I’m a bit worried now because Tyler has the tattoo bug, so to speak – he wants more. He’s expressed interest in a full-sleeve. I don’t know about that. As for myself, I’m still interested in something celtic around a pectoral or on the other arm. Only time will tell, of course.

I self-published my third book last fall, and I have since begun the fourth in the series. Writer’s block has been a serious problem lately. It’s probably due to the work I love so much – it has really consumed my time to the point where I have little time to think about my story and how I want it to progress. It’s not a complaint so much as it is just a statement of where things stand. I’m sure I will get beyond the hurdle. Past experience has taught me that when inspiration hits me – and it will – I can just go with it.

That usually means me waking up at some ungodly hour and writing for an hour or so, cranking out an entire chapter. But that’s how I roll.

It’s also the thought of overcoming this latest bout of writer’s block that led me to look up my blogs and realize how badly I’ve neglected them, so here we are with the result of that.

Let’s talk about gadgetry for a bit. Tyler has a PS3 now thanks to the ever-topped-up supply of Fingerhut catalogs we keep getting. I won some Ninja kitchen products thanks to a YouTube video of me making chili with their miniature chopper set. The new blender, while incredibly noisy, makes soups, smoothies and other things that have contributed to me losing… get this… 70 pounds in my quest to shed all my depression-weight. We also now have the Ninja cooker, replacing our old crock-pot.

The weight loss has been the biggest blessing in the last year or so. I was literally carrying the weight of my world around with me, and with job, love, and finance starting to come into place, I’ve been able to start shedding that weight. Being in the right mindset has been the biggest thing I can point to with my success. Lots of water intake comes in second; and food intake third, because with the increase in fluids comes a decrease in appetite.

I have lost two pant sizes as of late, and am about to require another, smaller belt, or else get rid of a substantial portion of my wardrobe.

I think that pretty much sums up the last ten months since I last wrote. Here’s to hoping I don’t go another ten months between posts!

 

up with people!

I’m about to head into another one of those whirlwind fortnights with a lot of activity and a lot of life adjustment.

Next weekend is my mom’s memorial service, six months removed from her passing. It’s going to involve being at the airport at an hour I haven’t willingly seen in ages, a few hours in the car, and (hopefully) a comfortable room to myself in a hotel suite. Following all that, I’ll have a brief amount of time visiting friends back in Dallas before heading back home.

The week before that (and likely after) will be BUSY. All caps. I am happy to report that I’ve gotten what amounts to a promotion at the station! I’ll help run the website and social media accounts. I think it’ll be 4 days a week with longer hours, but it’s all going to be rewarding because I’ll be doing what I’m doing right now (blogging) and tapping back into my journalism background updating the main site.

It requires having to pull a few double shifts initially, as we still have to bring someone in to replace me on the studio floor. But this comes at a time when I could really use the hours and by extension the money. 

Because of course, that makes the world go round. 🙂

bachelor’s eligible

It’s been a little over two years, but the day has finally come. Earlier tonight I submitted my last group assignment in my final class. The grade will be calculated by later in the week, but it’s clear enough: I have earned my Bachelor’s of Science in Communications. Once I get over the hurdle of having to pay off an unexpected out-of-pocket expense thanks to my financial aid limit being lowered (thank you sequestration wut?), then I will have the physical copy of my diploma ready to frame and display proudly wherever I can find an appropriate wall space.

felis domesticus

I’ve always been a cat person. When you grow up in your grandmother’s care along with no less than three cats around at any time, that tends to happen.

Having a cat during my depressive phase would probably have kept me from overeating because I would have had something to focus attention on and tend to. That didn’t happen though, and I ballooned.

I’m fifty pounds lighter now and I have the love of Tyler to keep me going, but as it turns out, I still want to look after and tend to a cat. Tyler understood and agreed, and this past month we’ve been searching for a cat.

We would have been doing this sooner, but our landlord requires a whopping $300 pet deposit (half a month’s rent essentially). We thought this was going to be too prohibitive, along with all the startup costs for the cat, but he surprisingly offered to let us spread the deposit across the next three months’ rent.

With that hurdle cleared, we found the perfect little guy to adopt. He was described on the adoption page as a ‘fawn colored tabby.’ I can’t get over how symmetrical he is; he has an ‘M’ marking on his forehead and every streak and patch is located in the same place on each side.

What the lady who runs the adoption center couldn’t believe is how quickly he adapted to me when we came to visit. Known to be very skittish around new people, he let me hold him within the first five to ten minutes of our visit. She said she’s never seen any cat bond with someone that quickly, so she has no doubt this is the cat for us.

His name is Nate, and he is one of 26 cats whose vet bills and microchipping costs were paid for outright by a woman doing a ’26 acts of kindness’ thing inspired by the Sandy Hook shooting. We will be picking him up from the shelter one week from today and I couldn’t be more excited. We already have all the supplies purchased; in fact, there’s going to be five packages arriving between FedEx and UPS today (Amazon Prime is reeeeeeally worth it, by the by).

=^^= ~