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Happy New Year!

I keep meaning to post more, and life keeps getting in the way. I figured what better time to try and get back into the habit than the beginning of the new year?

2015 was rough. Among many things, I turned 30. My roommate lost her job, leading to increased financial pressure at home. My mood has been far from stable. I fractured my foot. My car was backed into. Record flooding in my area closed out the year.

Flooding in Valley Park, MO

As the flood waters receded, the sun came out for the first time in what felt like forever today. I’m thankful that I live at a high enough altitude that the flooding didn’t impact me personally. On December 30th, I went down to check out the waters of the Meramec River about 12 hours before they crested in nearby Valley Park, MO, where Interstate 44 at highway 141 was submerged. It was a surreal scene, to see an intersection I go through regularly completely shut down due to water.

I went back today and took more photos, which I will post later on. For now, you can see my album from the 30th here.

2015 wasn’t entirely bad, though. I started to fit in more at my new job. I expanded my doll family. A lot. I also expanded my cat family. I’ve become a slightly better photographer.

I still feel, though, like in the grand scheme of things, 2015 is a year that I’d not like to repeat. As I rang in the new year, with my best friend Lisa, my parents, and my Uncle Larry, I resolved that somehow, this year would be different. Somehow, I would make things better. Even if just a little at a time.

Then I promptly knocked over – and broke – a jar containing decorative sea shells.

Quite the unfortunate beginning, for sure.

After much needed rest, things weren’t exactly better. Moods around me were sour, which is a bad thing for an empathetic person like me, and after taking photos of the flood waters, I wound up with a hell of a migraine. I had to rest in a dark room for about two hours, even then waking up woozy, but at least I awoke with my darling calico, Rio, snuggled beside my legs. Usually, she sleeps with my room mate, so it was a welcome surprise.

Though 2016 might not have kicked off in the best way, I’m still hoping that things will slowly get better.

Happy new year, everyone!

PS – I’m going to be participating in the Dogwood Photography 52 Week Photo Challenge. Once I get going, I plan to post my photos here weekly. If you have a Flickr, feel free to follow me there. If not, check back here!

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Snowstorm

As promised, here are photos from Sunday’s snowstorm! Luckily for us, we didn’t have to work that day, and we planned ahead to stay in, so it was mostly a day of watching the snow fall with warm cats on my lap. My parents did come over to watch the new Sherlock with us, but that was the extent of excitement for that day.

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I went to work alone yesterday, as Lisa was sick, and that was an adventure in itself. Brushing the snow off of my car didn’t take too long, since the wind had done most of the work for me, but it took me about 10 tries of backing in and out before I was fully out of my parking spot. Even then, I was facing uphill, rather than facing downhill (towards the main road). I couldn’t get going up the hill, so I backed down to the main street. Fortunately, it was early enough and snowy enough that there wasn’t a lot of traffic around. Whew!

All of the roads were dicey, though. It was so cold (-11F at that point) that the salt trucks had no effect, and so a packed layer of slick snow and ice coated 98% of the roads, making getting around tough. My workplace was one of the few open, so I had to brave it, despite the fact that half of our employees ended up stuck at home anyway. I was the first person in the office, which was only 58F when I arrived, so naturally I was in a grumpy mood most of the day! But, I survived and made it home safely, so that’s what really matters. I did get stuck twice in the evening when I went out for dinner, but the first time our awesome neighbors shoveled me out of my spot, and the second time my dad pushed me back out into the street, so all was well.

This morning, the roads weren’t much better, but by this afternoon, temperatures had warmed up enough for the salt to start to work, so I saw a lot more pavement on the route home than I’d seen in days! Hopefully, by tomorrow, the roads will be mostly clear. I’ve had enough of this white stuff!

Too bad it’s only the beginning of January….

New Toys

(Backdating so I don’t skip a day, but I do plan to update again for today!)

My first day back at work for this year didn’t turn out quite as I expected. On a break from my usual tasks, I went ahead and checked out MacBook Pro prices on the Apple site, since I needed a new laptop for school and my loathing of Windows 8 chased me away from any of those machines. I’ve used Windows all my life (with the occasional immersion in Linux), and to me Macs were always the shiny fancy toys that I could never hope to afford.

To my surprise, the prices of the MacBooks weren’t drastically different from the Windows 8 machines I saw in MicroCenter on new year’s day. I even discovered that, being a student, I could get a discount. I was planning on waiting until I got my school loans to figure out what I could afford, but to my surprise, Apple approved my financing, and I ended up purchasing a 13-inch MacBook Pro with Retina display. I went for the middle model – 8gb of RAM, 256GB flash-based drive, etc. The closest Apple store to me was out of stock, but luckily it’s not the only one in my area, so I was able to find a location to request in-store pickup. One of my pet peeves about shopping on the internet is waiting on shipping, so any time I can pick up in a store, I do it.

The rest of the day was torture, waiting for the clock to run down, but somehow I survived and went to pick up my new toy. After getting some dinner, I went home to watch the Blues game and get my MacBook all set up.

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So far, I really like it, but I have a lot to learn. My only experience with Macs was back in grade school, and that’s been over 10 years now, so while I know a few things, there’s a lot I need to figure out. I’m sure that it’ll be second nature after a few months, though, and I know this will be a good computer for school!

On another note, I’m a bit miffed that the Home & Student version of Office for Mac doesn’t have outlook. My university uses it, why should I have to pay even MORE for it? Microsoft, I’m really starting to hate you.

On a good note, the Blues absolutely crushed the Kings last night, 5-0. Now, the Blues are only 3 points out of first place, and they have three games in hand. Let’s Go Blues!!

In closing, have an Omi:

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Happy New Year!

Welcome to 2014, everyone!

I ended up ringing in the new year in a rather uneventful way, but then anyone that I’d prefer to party with lives far away from me, so that suits me just fine. I watched the SciFi cult classic Dark Star with my parents, and then we indulged in the Twilight Zone marathon on SciFi while eating cheese, sausage and crackers until midnight. The only alcohol I had was a small glass of sangria at midnight (mostly because I wasn’t in the drinking mood).

Today, I installed Lisa‘s new graphics card, and then we went to Red Robin for lunch. Normally, I order a teriyaki chicken or a turkey burger, but Lisa read that it’s bad luck in some cultures to eat poultry on New Year’s Day, so I opted for a plain old burger instead. It was pretty delicious! Once we finished there, we made our way to the computer parts store so that I could get a new graphics card of my own. I don’t game often, but I do hook my computer up to my HDTV to watch videos and such, and my old card was just so old that it tended to lag at the higher HD resolutions. I opted for this lower range card (which is the same that Lisa bought):

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It was less than $100, and actually my mom and Lisa ended up buying it for me♥ When I got home, I installed it (after blowing a whole small kitten’s worth of cat hair and dust out of my PC box) and here I am! And for the curious, my PC is a custom built rig. I learned how to put PCs together when I was only about 7 years old, so it’s only natural that I assembled this one myself!

And after that pretty uneventful day, I’m downloading the new episode of BBC’s Sherlock and will watch it before falling into bed. Tonight we’re supposed to get somewhere between 2-5″ of snow, and tomorrow is the first workday of the year, so there’s a lot going on!

One of my resolutions is to make at least a photo post here every day, so be on the lookout!

Again, happy 2014!

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Testing

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I left work early to head to the college for my COMPASS placement test. Seeing as it’s been over 10 years since I graduated high school and my math review didn’t go as well as I’d hoped, I had my expectations set low. After a long wait, I finally got started.

Of course, math was first. I was able to pick a level to start with, so I chose the middle, which was algebra. I must have been doing alright, because at some point it switched to college algebra on me. I was totally clueless on a few questions, but did my best.

After the test, I was surprised to find out I had scored well enough on the math section to place right in the class I need, Analytic Geometry & Calculus I! My reading and writing scores were perfect as well, receiving a recommendation to look into honors courses, so I headed over to talk to an advisor and see what my next step would be.

The advisor told me I should start with the aforementioned math class (she was surprised I tested into it, saying it’s extremely rare!) as well as College Composition II (I took I in the one semester of college I have under my belt so far). After turning in forms and talking to financial aid, I went to register for my classes, only to discover that my math class only had three sections, and they were all full.

After another talk with advisors, it was recommended that I contact the math department chair to see if there was any way I could take the class this semester. My major is very math intensive, so it’s important I start the math as soon as possible. I’m crossing my fingers and hoping they’ll be able to do something from me, but I got an out of office reply from the math chair, so I’m a bit disappointed.

No matter the outcome, I was pleasantly surprised by myself today, and I came home to much deserved cake and a few presents from my roomie~

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Busy weekend!

I had intended to update daily, but this past weekend was busier than I had thought it would be. On Saturday, my work had a (very disorganized) bowling holiday party, which I left early to go see this!

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I was glad I did, because I really enjoyed the movie. When it was over, we went to Red Robin with my parents (since my dad wanted to be somewhere he could watch hockey!)

On Sunday, I had to work six hours, ate, then went home to do some chores and start studying for my upcoming COMPASS test. After killing my brain, I decided that I would NOT be ready to take it on Monday, unfortunately.

Last night, after working late, I tried to look for a Christmas gift (without success) and then went home to study some more as I watched the Blues game. They ended up losing in OT, and I ended up with a headache after looking at algebra problems all night! By the end of the night I determined that my level was good enough, and so today after work I’m going to take the test. I’m nervous about the math section, but I think I’ll do fine, and will probably only have to take some sort of trigonometry class before diving in to the college level math.

I also hope to know what my class schedule will look like by the end of the day. After the test is over I’ll make my way to talk to some advisers who will hopefully point me in the right direction. This is all a bit scary but I know I can do it!

Hockey

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So last night I ended up going to the hockey game with my dad and brother. The night’s match up was the St. Louis Blues vs the Toronto Maple Leafs, and we scored some lower bowl tickets for about $20 each. Sometimes I really love Stub Hub! After running a bit late getting off work, we ended up making it on time, and I even had enough time to hit up the team store. I bought ornaments.

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Not as pretty as some of the ones in the online shop, but they’ll do!

After the first period and three Blues goals, it was clear who was dominant, and they remained that way to win the game 6-3. There were some bizarre bounces and strange goals, but the home team came out triumphant. It was a good game!

And tonight was the public debut of my new Steen jersey, and wouldn’t you know he scored a goal for me 🙂 Yay!

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It was a fun diversion from reality!

When I got home, I had an acceptance email from the community college, so today’s task is figuring out what to do next. I’m both nervous and excited!