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I gotta vent a little bit. Blow off a little steam. My sisters keep commenting on LJ without knowing the situation or work culture so here I am on LJ because DAMN. (And yeah, I know I could block them from seeing, but I think I have more to say than a Facebook status' worth.) Pandora is playing. I have lychee tea. Two puppies jumped on me a bunch. Fully prepared to vent.


Work has not been okay for a long time now. As far as people in the kitchen, people in the deli- people more or less my equals, things are fine. I love those folks. They're hard working, capable people and they all deserve way more credit than they have been getting, especially lately.

Unfortunately, VERY unfortunately considering I work at a Co-op, management has not been... well, cooperative. It started with the hiring of an outside person for a major management position. Someone younger than *me*, and with no experience in a role like the one she has now. I'm not saying those are necessarily intrinsically bad, but there have been way too many times when I've asked questions and gotten gobsmacked looks because what I've said hasn't even occurred to them once, and they certainly don't have an answer for me. I usually never get a response.

Since store #2 opened, it's taken a long while for numbers to bounce back. The first fiscal year was screwed up because there were a lot of screwy numbers in the plans, sometimes the new store needed things in an emergency and we didn't get credited for giving/selling it to them. They got the profit for selling the product, we were out the cost of it.

The quarterly bonuses (which used to be more or less a sure thing) dried up. They changed the metric, moving from pure margin measurement to sales per labor hour. And then the labor cuts began. Our kitchen hasn't been fully staffed in months, yet we have more tasks daily to complete. I'm all for making more things from scratch and producing a better product, but the time has to come from somewhere. Then people leave and transfer departments (and are suddenly much happier). They don't get replaced, or we get partial replacements. People get half-and-half shifts, working both in the kitchen and deli, working as a dishwasher and a cook, etc. People get burnt out after weeks of clopens, are late too many times, get fired. These are good people! Management shrugs their shoulders and repeats the same stuff about store policy.

It got to the point where a meeting was organized with the GM and the store manager. About a dozen employees show up, all saying the same thing. You're stretching people too far. There's not enough people to do the work. Any time someone calls in sick it becomes an emergency because there's no one to cover because everyone is already working maximum shifts and we're being scolded about even a few hours of overtime. We can't provide the customer service that is supposedly the store's biggest asset.

We're told that they're sorry that everyone feels this way (???) and that it's important that we don't feel this way. They say they've gone too far with labor cuts and want to build labor back up. The kitchen is told it's getting two new (part time) cooks and a new steward/dishwasher.

I did a little head figuring and guessed that that was about the minimum number of shifts the kitchen needed to make ends meet. Not be comfortable, but to not be worse off than we were when we were just "understaffed" not "spread dangerously thin". I breathe a little easier because even though I'm being scheduled for the exact opposite of my availability, and almost exclusively for a shift I am only supposed to work twice a week (many people refuse to work it at all)- I have been told that relief is on the way. That the part timers will be able to pick up shifts here and there.

Yeah. No. They're hiring one part time cook- but he works a second job, has a kid, and goes to school. His flexibility is non-existent. The second hire is not a part time cook, but a full time employee who will be a cook and dishwasher. There will be no third employee.

And that's it. I don't know why this is the final straw, after all the other straws, but that's it. I'm done coming home to my husband and laying another day of woes on him every single day. I'm done having ideas on how to improve things and having them just disappear into the ether. The shift leads are being ignored. The deli supervisor was being ignored, and decided she couldn't deal with it anymore. We were told she left her position because "she couldn't handle it" but that's so far from the truth it's blood boiling.

Maybe it's because this is a flat out, blatant lie, said not only to my face, but to several people. But I'm done busting my ass for people who don't care. Today, I was so happy to leave work (for only a single day, I have to pick up a shift on Thursday doing the same stupid ass shift I shouldn't be doing more than twice a week, making it a total of four times this week, again) that I almost cried when Andrew came to pick me up.

I'm not quitting just yet, (although Andrew said it was fine if I wanted to quit tomorrow) but Japan is now becoming more of a "fact finding" tour, and I'm going to start taking more of SCORE's business classes because if I'm going to be busting my ass, it might as well be for myself and going towards something I care about. I used to care about my job, I really did- but it's been crushed out of me. I still care very much about my coworkers, which is the only reason I'm not just walking out. When I mentioned how I felt to a coworker (who is also leaving) they said, "You always have such a good attitude. For you to feel this way speaks volumes." (And I am a little ray of sunshine, I really am.)

Maybe I'll stay on as a sub for a while, but if shit isn't fixed when I get back from Japan my days are going to be numbered, and whether that's a double or triple digit remains to be seen.
I'm using this icon because for some reason it tickled Tiffany to no end that I had it/got art for it.

I've reached that point in my fandom obsession (which seems to come up like clockwork after a certain amount of time) where I've started to wonder where various characters would fall on a Meyers-Briggs like assessment. Now, I know that for real life people that test isn't the end-all of personalities. It would be a kind of crummy person who didn't waver at least a little bit on those sort of metrics. I mean, all the questions are based on how you feel at the time you take the test. What if you're feeling a bit more defensive that day and answer questions in a way that makes you seem a lot more stand-offish (and therefore introverted)? It's extremely common for people to get different results when taking the test as little as three days apart. (And let's not even bring up ten-question internet quizzes, they're all but worthless for any real kind of assessment.)

*But* for the sake of say, understanding a character as they appear in a work of fiction, I think personality profiles can be helpful. Characters do change over the course of a work; they learn lessons, they have experiences that change their perceptions, they feel differently about the other characters around them over time. However, I think it is generally considered a sign of good writing for the characters to remain consistent, to behave in a way that makes logical sense for them. After all, why else would we bother with the phrase "in character" to describe good writing?

For a character who appears in a single book or movie (and maybe has one specific journey to take) this is a bit more simple to assess than for one who appears in a saga or series. Batman has been many things over the years, so it's generally necessary to define what era's (or in some cases, which author's) Bats you're talking about if you want to put a definite characterization to the man.

Blahblahblah. Metal Gear.

Where do these characters fall? Lots of tough guys! But- and here's the delightful part of the series, I think one could easily flesh out the whole chart of MB personalities using characters from the series. Obviously it's easier for me to start with the ones I'm more familiar with. Right?

And here, I find myself at an interesting dilemma. Otacon's first letter. I or E?

I is the obvious, gut-driven choice. Shy and awkward research type who shuts himself away to focus on his work. Easy. But...no. Wow it seems almost obvious that he's not an introvert so much as he is an extrovert who has shut himself away to avoid hurting himself, but mostly others. He started running at an early age, and it's not til he's confronted by others with considerable, superhuman strength and abilities that he considers peeking out from the shell he's crafted around himself. He saw no chance of ever causing Wolf any harm, partially because of her strength, but perhaps also because she was unaffected by him at all. He wholeheartedly dived into Philanthropy, and we have every reason to believe that he and Snake became roomies for nearly a decade. (And it's pretty much accepted that Snake would be the one to have trouble adjusting.) And while people die left and right in the series, it's Otacon that actually mourns their passing, generally from the (somewhat juvenile and selfish) pain of having been left alone again. I think it's easy to see that he craves interaction, he really desperately wants attention and affection from others, but he's sort of resigned himself to a life where that's not really something he's going to get. (I think this holds perfectly true in the brief codec call Sunny and Raiden share in Rising, as well.)

Okay, brb. Going to go fill out a chart, cry a little bit, and then continue filling out said chart.
I have like three... short one-shots in my head right now.

One regarding Emma being very young and her first impressions of her brand new big brother, coupled with some of her feelings as she prepares to send the tip regarding the tanker.

Another that sort of came to me late at night as I was falling asleep that is from Hal's perspective over time comparing Snake to each of the four elements.

And another that would mostly be me flexing my descriptive muscles about hands. Because hands are the best part.

Oh right, and finishing that other one. But I think writing these short ones first might help me shake the dust off and feel a little more relaxed about tackling the overdue one.

Just sorting out thoughts here rather than on facebook because I'm sure everyone is tired of that.

Also- I tried tumblr out, I really gave it an honest go. Nah, not for me. I need something that is at least vaguely useful as an archive. Also, while it's nice to see a big wall of fanart, it is wholly unsatisfying to see people post two sentence "Imagine this... those two characters you like eating a sandwich." fanfic...teasers? I don't even know what to call them. It's like, someone had a cute idea, but didn't feel like actually writing it out, I guess- which I guess I understand, because tumblr doesn't seem like a great place to post fanfiction. At the same time, they're not really prompts- which I would understand. Prompts are a great way to see ideas you have (but can't flesh out for one reason or another) come to fruition, and they distinctly give another person the right to use your idea without any icky feelings. But meh- these "Consider X and Y doing this cute thing" just seems like an attempt to garner attention and praise from the internet, while doing the minimum amount of work possible, while still claiming ownership of the notion.


Poor facebook...

I feel sort of bad that my poor little facebook feed has been overrun with every little Metal Gear thought that pops in to my head. It's just that for the most part, they're mildly amusing (to me) and fleeting, so it hasn't felt right to sit down and write a proper livejournal entry or anything. Like livejournal is only for fancy and formal things. Yeah.


Geez, I can't even remember what it was that had me thinking about the series again. Not that I'd ever stopped liking it, I just tend to experience an ebb and flow with my various fandoms, which is probably normal. New X-Men movie comes out? Time for Nightcrawler love to run high. Been to an animu convention lately? Time to fawn over all the old school things I was surprised to find merch for/talk about how Sailor Stars was the best season evarrrr!!11one (I don't know if I actually believe that, but it holds a special place in my heart...)

But yeah, for some reason, MGS made a little "boop" on my radar, and the next thing I knew I was watching the movie versions of the games on youtube, starting with Peacewalker, moving on to the hiimdaisy dubs, and eventually Sons of the Patriots and most of Metal Gear Solid. (I've already seen MGS 4 perhaps... two or three times.) I also found out that there was a well written (??!!???) novelization of 4, that was translated into English and Otacon was the narrator. At first I thought the fandom gods were just smiling down on me, but after I got into it, I realized it was actually the most logical choice, since he is both the character the average player can identify with- as well as a constant observer of the events of the game. On a side note, this is one of the few books I read the foreward and afterward for, and the story of how Kojima chose Project Itoh to write the novel is in itself a touching story.

Also, it's probably worth mentioning that after watching MGS 2, I feel a lot more sympathetic towards Raiden. If anything, I feel that he was a little *too* chill about some things, like picking up with Rosemary right after the game's events. Then again, this may explain why he became so distant during the events of MGS 4, and was so quick to believe that Rose had left him so easily. He's not the worst after all! I also felt a bit more sympathetic towards Emma, even though I'd seen all her scenes before. She wasn't quite as whiny as I remembered her being, if perhaps grossly misguided in her attempts to get onichan to notice her.

As I usually do, I visited the TVTropes page of the games I went through, because I like knowing what other people have noticed- and whether it confirms my own thoughts or surprises me. One thing I came across was that somewhere in the game, as you're going through Emma's files or computer or something, one of her passwords is "Venus in Cancer". This sounds super deep. Is this an astrology reference? Mythology? Is she referring to gods as she creates programs that control the destiny of mankind? Uh... actually, it's a mistranslation. The actually password is supposed to be "Venusian Crab", which is a monster from a B-movie called "It Conquered the World". So it looks like Emma has her own brand of geeky streak. I don't know why, but knowing that kind of stupid trivia about the game makes me happy in a weird way. Like I really know something almost secret about a (fake, video game) person. Actually, doing a little research, it looks like the movie only found distribution on VHS tape in the US and the UK which TOTALLY FITS. I'm sorting out thoughts right now for a short fic about Emma, and this little detail is probably going to make it in there. This is sort of half the reason for me writing this post anyway, to sort out my thoughts from the last week or two.

Anyways, here we are. I finally have a day off with no large obligations, a music playlist that will encourage me to actually write something, and I've managed to stave off the tears I felt welling up from (re?!)reading a particularly good fan-fiction. Perhaps I'll also overcome the pointless worry that I won't be able to write something as good as the best of what I've read. Haha...

Right. Now to work!

Wardrobe Post Test!

Hi there, and thanks for checking out my extremely well researched and obsessively cultivated wardrobe collection. And by "cultivated" I clearly mean that each piece was selected after undergoing a rigorous selection of being cute at a time when I had money to spend on it. Uh. Yeah.

Let"s get this party started!Collapse )

About Sayaka

So, pretty much everyone I know has seen Puella Magi Madoka Magica, but just in case you haven't, I guess I'll go ahead and put this under a cut.
Hey, no really. It"s only 13 episodes and it"s a great series. Go watch it.Collapse )

It's Mother's Day

So this is probably as good at time as any to talk about my mother.

I received a call just over a week ago from my sister at 8:30 am. She urged me to make my way home to Dallas because our mother, who had been in the hospital for several days had taken a critical turn for the worse. Within a few hours I had made arrangements with work and was on a plane to Dallas. At the airport I'd called me mother to let her know I was on my way. "It's gotten cold up here," she told me. "Make sure you bring a warm enough coat."

When I arrived at the hospital my mother was talking and chatting with her visitors, mainly people from our church congregation. It was difficult to believe that there was anything seriously wrong with her. However, Jennifer told me in private that the doctors feared the damage to her organs was too severe and her heart was not strong enough to survive an operation that might potentially repair some of the damage. In all likelihood she would die on the table.

I talked to my mother, held her hand, told her how Andrew and I were doing in Austin. She kept telling me things like "I'll be okay, I'm fine," and "the Lord can make it stop, one way or another". I found myself fighting not to cry, a battle that I lost several times over the next few days. I spent nearly 24 hours at the hospital, going back and forth between my mother's room in the ICU and the waiting room which seemed to be overflowing with visitors from our church. Those hours were full of complicated emotions. On the one hand, my mother was very ill and unlikely to recover. On the other, she herself was in good spirits, and the company of our church family provided us with support and much needed levity.

There was only one point during that night that I felt lost- when there were few visitors and my sisters had stepped away to run some errands or pick up family from the airport. My mother, having likely overexerted herself passed out with very low blood pressure. She began to have difficulty breathing and was unresponsive. After receiving some medication and a small flow of oxygen, she was awake and aware again. The nurse who was attending to her was calm and caring, but during those few minutes I felt panicked. I didn't want to be there without my sisters. I didn't want to imagine that I was going to have to make some critical decision. But most of all it hurt so much to see my mother in that state.

She recovered and the next day my sisters and uncle spent the day with her. I was able to go home for a few hours when I was informed of her decision to stop her blood pressure medication, which was the only thing keeping her conscious. That afternoon, my siblings and I were all there, joined by Erikson and the two Andrews. We gathered around her bed and Debbie managed to say a few words from all of us. By the early evening, she was asleep and most of us went home for the night, leaving Debbie behind. Late that night, just before midnight, I got a phone call saying that it was over.

I didn't cry at the time. It was strange to be in a place of acceptance so quickly. They teach you that there are so many steps to grieving, and it felt like cheating to skip to the end. In the following days I met with many family members and friends, and I imagine several of them were surprised to see that I wasn't red-eyed and weepy. I told those who I thought would understand the same thing. My mother was a woman of faith. She hadn't shed a single tear in the hospital, and I didn't want to cry in front of her. In many ways- she didn't see what was happening as a sad thing. She believed that she was going to heaven to be with my father and there was nothing sad about that. I told them that this peace of mind was "something that faith affords you". I'm not big on ramming messages down people's throats (especially when I know that it will drive them further away) but I hoped that in some small way my words could serve as a testimony.

To me, far more sad that my mother's death were those days in the hospital and perhaps the two years since my father's death. I never brought it up with her, but I could tell that his death took a toll on her. I don't mean to say that she gave up after his passing, but it was obvious that something very precious was now missing from her life. I called her about once a week to "check up on her" as I called it, and she frequently told me how much she missed my father and what a special man he had been. I don't think it would be a mistake to say that she drew her (quite considerable) strength from him, and with him gone it was like she slowly ran out of steam. In some ways, it seemed almost like the woman I visited in the hospital was not quite my mother. My mother was a strong, sometimes imposing woman of great conviction and character. The sick woman in bed was so tired and in so much pain. It hurt my heart to see her in that way.

My mother opted for a closed casket during her services. My sisters asked me if I thought that was alright and I agreed without any hesitation. I'd rather remember her as she is in my memories, and I was all right without seeing her body, riddled by infirmity and age. When I was growing up, my mom impressed upon me several times that when we die, the body was of no consequence, and that everything that we are goes to another place. Throughout the following week I heard over and over again that people were sorry for us, my family and I, but that they knew my mother was somewhere better now. Even now, I find it much easier to relive and write down the memories after my mother's death than her last days.

It was strange, in some ways. When my father died everything happened so quickly. I got a phone call early in the morning telling me what had happened and I was soon on my way home to take part in the services. However with my mother we had time. We were able to talk with her, share with her, ask her questions about how she wanted things handled. She dealt with everything with great composure and even a sense of humor. However, I found myself feeling so strange so much of the time. I didn't know how to feel. I didn't know what to say. I felt like I was being presented with this great opportunity that so many people don't get, and I was worried about wasting it. What can you say to the woman who raised you, disciplined you, argued with you but loved you no matter what?

In the end, I could only whisper a few words to her. I felt perhaps like I'd failed in some way, but my uncle Jorge said something later that made me feel better (in the way that only he can). He wasn't speaking just to me, but to a group of us, about how awkward things could get. He told us that people in these sorts of situations often expect a movie-worthy ending with grand sweeping music and inspiring words. But that's just not the way it really works, he told us. Death is rarely graceful and sometimes it's just... awkward. I that's how I felt. I was overcome with feelings, too the point I couldn't possibly sort them out.

Some time after that Andrew and I made our way home. I had some time to myself, but some of my close friends came over for some social therapy. In many ways returning to a sense of normalcy made me feel better about everything. It's good to be reminded that the earth is still spinning and your life will continue and your friends will be there to make you smile. Sometimes with puppies. I also had time to start thinking about what I might like to say about my mother. I imagined we'd have some time to share, and even though I'd had difficulty putting my feelings in to words at the hospital, I could be prepared for the days to come.

So I started thinking about my mother. I started to think about the way she'd impacted my life. I like to think that my father provided a grounded anchor in my family, or perhaps he was the compass that directed us. If that's the case, my mother provided the fire that got us where we were going.

Many people that spoke of my mother over the weekend spoke of her service within the church, and her years as a teacher. I myself referenced this in the short speech I gave at her memorial service. I have very fond memories of helping her in the summers with her pre-k class, and I can't deny that my remarkable (and I mean this in the literal sense in that people have remarked on it) skills with children were born from those experiences. I think a lot about how she handled her classes. She really got to know and love each of her students, and she challenged them even at that early age. My mother never once thought that a student of hers was "too young" to be taught anything. I remember one day when I was in grade school, I asked if I couldn't teach the 4 year olds about multiplication. She told me to go ahead, and they definitely grasped the basic idea. She also thought it was paramount that children leave her classroom with a love of reading. She took her class to the public library as often as she could, and they were always filled with excitement on the bus ride there. Her own classroom had an entire storage closet dedicated to books, and every week she chose an assortment to display on the main shelf, generally related to whatever subject the class would be exploring that week.

A lot of people spoke jokingly about how strict my mother had been. More than one fully grown person came to one of my sisters and confessed how much "Hermana Ramos" had scared them when they were young. This was somewhat true at home as well. I grew to fear a toungue lashing from my mother more than a spanking from when I was very young. As I grew older I often thought I was being punished unfairly or that she was being unreasonable. I often had to fight to get my point across and labored to explain my feelings on an issue. Standing more than a decade beyond my high school years, however I see things from a different perspective. I see how many of my friends have struggled over the years. I haven't traveled the easiest or most direct path to where I am now, but at the very least I have the peace of mind that if I made a choice to get where I am now, it is because I thought it to be the right one. I can thank my mother for making sure that I would be the sort of person who strives to make the right choice, even if it's a difficult one.

There were some unexpected words that came up during the services. My sister, Jennifer read a letter sent to her by the current pastor at First Baptist Church of Carrollton. In it, he expressed his condolences, but the part that stuck out to me was when he described my parents' work as "legendary". It took a moment for that to sink in. It was a bit of a surprise, but I felt myself feeling proud as I realized it was entirely apt. When my father died, the church was filled with people from across the state, some out of state- people whose lives had been touched by his work in the church. My mother's passing was much the same. So many people, many whom I had never met had come to celebrate their lives and a job well done.

When I rose to speak at my mother's memorial service, I felt a sudden and unexpected anxiety. Only moments before I had been calm and collected, ready to share a few words. It seemed that as I walked to the microphone I was suddenly overcome with emotion and again I could feel my eyes beginning to water. My nephew rose to join me, and as I spoke I was able to look out into the audience of people and as I spoke I could see some of them nodding along with me, as though silently agreeing with what I had to say. The words came more easily, and at that moment I felt as though everyone in the room was speaking with me, joining me in the words I had to share then, so similar to the words I'd whispered to my mother at her bedside. Quite simply, they were the only words I could think of to say- the only ones that seemed appropriate to a woman who had worked so hard, sacrificed so much, and given so willingly to her children, her church, and her community.

Thank you.

Once Upon a Timeimeime

Augh, so yeah. I've got a new show. The boy and I have been watching 'Once Upon a Time' and now we're current and I have no idea how people wait every week for a new episode of their show to come out. Seriously. How do you people do it? This is a show I had been meaning to watch for a while, I remember hearing about it when it was first coming out, probably because I was deeply invested in 'Fables' at the time, and a lot of fans of that series were up in arms, because they saw 'Once Upon a Time' as a sort of 'Fables' wannabe. This claim was strengthened by the fact that ABC had been working on adapting 'Fables' into a series, but nothing ever really came of it. That's okay. Really, as a big fan of 'Fables' and as much as I'd love a live action version of Fly to geek out over, I just don't know if the story would lend itself to television well. Maybe I'm wrong. OUAT has done pretty darn well as a weekend family show- but I just don't know if it would have worked for 'Fables'.

Anyways- it's been a while since I've been really "in to" a new show. Like enough to seek out online forums/chatter or listen to a podcast (actually, I don't think I've ever listened to a fandom podcast besides the one Chris and I did for a while) and seek out other people's opinions. I guess I mean to say it's been a while since I've really participated in a fandom. It's strange, somehow- but I guess it's like riding a bicycle. In that it's awkward and you have to maintain balance. XD

I poked my head into the appropriate subreddit at first and I was frankly overjoyed to find some people who were prepared to write well thought out responses to my questions. Sure there were a few people that I disagreed with, and a few people who I thought were flat out wrong about some plot points, but still - it's been a lot of fun just talking about that sort of thing.

And inevitably, I poked at the shippy areas of the fandom. And I was reminded of hardcore shippers, wishful thinking shippers, AGAINST ALL ODDS I WILL GO DOWN WITH THIS CRACKSHIP shippers. Wow. Yeah. There is a pretty active fandom, and thankfully, while there are of course plenty of young fans, there are several older fans. The talent base seems to be pretty diverse from my brief foray into the fanfic and fanart offerings. And then I found myself thinking "Hey, I write/draw better than this" once in a while and then I just sort of stopped and went, "huh."

It was a strange thought and a strange sensation. I sort of feel like I *want* to write or draw something fandom related, but of course I have no idea what. I am honestly the worst person when it comes to plot ideas. I wrote a smattering of fanfic for MGS I guess, but generally with a prompt or to fill a meme etc. I wrote a few pieces on my own, but they were- if not special cases, then at least inspired by some real life event or similar. I definitely need starting points. Perhaps I'll go seek out some kind of gift meme, or just open myself up to plot bunnies that other people have.

And then there's the fanart. I have no idea what it is or why I should feel this way, but for some reason drawing art for a fandom seems so much more... open. So much more vulnerable than writing. I can't imagine why that is. I guess it's just so much easier to take in a picture and have a quick judgement. I think in general most of my fanart has been humorous. Very rarely have I done a serious piece. There's just something... I don't know, maybe vulnerable is the best word for it. It seems very exposed in a way.

I have no idea why I suddenly think about things this way, and maybe the fact that I do is a sign I should just start making stuff and stop caring.

Actually, I have some really cute ideas for some jewelry but that's totally different.


Sometimes, I think I pose a bit of a paradox, in regards to personality.

I know... I tend to be the opposite of my surroundings (noisy in a room that is quiet, more withdrawn and chatting quietly in the corner at a big party) and that in general people would probably describe me as being practically "bouncy" and "high energy"- but for someone with that amount of pep, I sure don't change very often. This is reflected in so many things, my unchanged screen name, my reluctance to change my computer wallpaper, even the way I collect things hearkens to a sense of loyalty to something I loved at some point in the past.

I mean, obviously, slowly, over time I've changed for sure. I definitely look back at my past writings or actions and simultaneously thank heaven that I've grown past that stage and feel incredibly embarrassed that I was ever there. But I think I'm not as... flighty as one might assume.

Maybe this ties into some of my long standing assessments of myself. I'm not super fast to make friends. I'm not the best at small talk. I'm not very good with acquaintances. It takes a very long time for me to really consider a person a *friend*, but once you earn that title, it's damn hard to lose it. I have friends from college who are states away. Some of them haven't spoken to me in years. But they are still my friends, and I will always look forward to picking up with them whenever our busy lives allow. I realize, that some people function under the notion that "If we haven't spoken in X amount of time, we must not really be friends," but I don't think it works that way. Or at least, I don't work that way.

But back to the original topic. In many ways, I don't feel like I have changed since... well... as long as I can remember thinking about what sort of person I was. Not changed nearly so much as... "refined". I don't mean that now I am a "refined and elegant lady", because goodness knows I'm not, but more like, in my early years I was this sort of blurry concept, and over time that's been edited and the nonsense bits have fallen away and I'm left with a more concentrated version of that character. I can't say that I've had a moment in my life where I realized, "No, that's really not working for you, Cat, is it? You need to be different." Although many times I have realized that my words or actions in a particular situation were not accurate portrayals of how I was feeling, or who I wanted to be in that scenario. Again, revise, edit, retry, all the time still sort of adhering to some sort of core sensibility.

This makes me sound a little boring, perhaps. It's not exciting to be steadfast. But, I think it makes me reliable. I like to think that my friends know I can be counted on should they ever need me, whether it is for a sofa to crash on, or just someone to listen for a while. I did find myself surprised when some acquaintances approached me seeking counsel for various issues they were having (in one case, one of them expressed surprise herself that she was coming to me) but I don't know, maybe I project that sort of energy?

Back in the early days of Gaia, when signature pets were en vouge, I got in on a tarot themed project. My assigned card was "temperance" and at the time I thought "how boring", because I just imagined that being stuck in the middle was far less glamorous than the other cards. But even though that was years ago, and nothing really came of the tarot project, I've started to think that maybe, ironically, that wasn't a bad fit for me. Temperance is about balance, which isn't really about being boring or unmoving. Actually, in order to balance the ever changing world around you, you have to move quite a lot! You have to be ready to change, to shift, to react to what is happening, and to be able to make sense of it. This ties back into my idea of an "adjustable lancer", always ready to back up whoever is in charge, and supply whatever it is that that party needs.

The unfortunate thing about being somewhat unchanging, however, is that it is probably easier to be outgrown.