Yay!

I have so many drafts going it’s ridiculous.  And even more ridiculous is that *this* is the topic of my first blog post in a million years.

I just went shopping!  In January I bought a new aquarium and tonight I finally ordered the first supplies to get the water cycled.  I know it’s dorky but this is the first thing I’ve been excited about in forever.  I’ve had so many failures in the past (so, so, so many) but I’ve resolved to do it right.  My current tank has been active for over a year and the fish have been doing well.

My current little set up.

She is cute, no?  Currently I have 1 kuhli loach [Loach the Loach], 2 swordtail [Zangetsu and Benihime], 5 neon tetra [Spaghetti and Meatballs], 2 oto catfish [Otto and Auto]  I started with 7 neons: one died before we got home and the other one [Meatball #4] died a few months ago from neon tetra disease.  Amazingly, none of the other fish got sick so I don’t consider that too bad.  Loach the Loach is all alone and he hides all day.  Probably because he’s alone.  I didn’t know until recently that they should be in a school of 5+ and then I read that if he hides all day it’s because he thinks all the other loaches have been eaten.

–Loach the Loach, probably.

Also, I found out that my swordtail need a 1:3 ratio of male to female because the male will pester the female too much.  This is 100% true.  That poor girl can’t get a minute to herself.  The oto catfish started as a trio but one of them died within a few days of being home so that one is not my fault.  Sadly, it worked out because I couldn’t think of a trio of oto homonyms.

Magnus is approximately 2.5 gallons.

My current tank is 10 gallons but I just bought a 40 gallon breeder tank and I’m bouncing off the walls ready to set it up.  I’ve painted the back of it black and will paint the 10 and 5 gallon tanks when they’re empty (or at least empty of fish).  Ichigo the betta died and it was totally my fault for being neglectful and I feel awful.  That didn’t last long at all.  I don’t know that I should ever get another betta even though I’d love to have one.  Maybe in another year when I’m more responsible.  I seriously feel awful about it.  *sigh*  Anyway, the 10 gallon tank will remain as a quarantine tank for new fish and the 5 gallon tank might get something like shrimp or snails if I actually think I can keep them alive.

Schematics to scale.

I’ve been going over and over and over what I want to do with the new tank.  I’m compiling a notebook with drawings, notes, lists and floorplans.  I’m a mess.  I just want to do it right.  I want to do a good job and hang up my fish-murdering hat.

Right in front of the dishwasher, the most convenient place of all.

Here is what I bought today: ammonia for cycling, master test kit (I have only been using the strips like a commoner), 2 bags of black sand Flourite and the AquaClear 110 because more filtration is better than enough filtration.  I’m sticking with Flourite even though it’s a bit more expensive.  It’s what I already have and I’m not confident enough to try something new.

Loach the Loach in a rare moment of visibility.  The algae is for the otos, thankyouverymuch.

As soon as my goodies come in I’ll start cycling the tank.  I am still trying to decide what “centerpiece” fish I want but that won’t be for a couple more months at least.  I need to cycle, plant, move the old fish over, set up old tank for quarantine and THEN I will get the new fish to complete the schools I already (should) have.  I am also considering switching the neons out for cardinal tetras instead.  I also know that this last paragraph is pretty boring for anyone who isn’t into fish keeping.

I know what you think of me.

Anywho, I’m just glad I’m excited about something and I’m hoping I do it right for once.  In other news everything is more or less the same so not bad.  Chinese New Year is right around the corner, not that I do anything for it but that’s an entirely different matter.

(For those who are curious, I’m interested in a Striped Raphael Catfish or a Gold Gourami or both.)

Finally! An Update!

Oy.  I am the worst of the worst.  Not because I haven’t blogged, but because I am stuck in a really shitty malaise.  As I age (badly and ungracefully) I find that my body is much more sensitive to medicines and their affects.  Some drugs stay in my system forever and others leave me too quickly.  A drug that once had lingering effects 24 to 48 hours after ingesting now is on a tighter timeline.  Other drugs that I could double up on and barely feel relief from are now flooring me with what should be its prescribed dosage.

What a pain.

It’s never this fun. I’m a bit too anti-social for cocaine. Or tea parties.

So what this means is that there is less leeway in the drugs I take for my depression, my Ambien sometimes makes me want to die (and if I take half a dose it does nothing), and I’m constantly anxious about whether or not I’m getting worse or if I’m just not scheduled enough or if I didn’t get enough sleep or if the moon is in the seventh house.  Fun.

I’m torn between ‘talk to a new doctor/your old doctor’ and ‘stop being a stupid baby, you stupid baby’.  ‘See if you need to adjust your medicines’ to ‘stop being a lazy asshole’.  As if suddenly becoming a caffeine free, gluten free vegan on a cruelty free patchouli oil only diet would solve all my problems.  I don’t know, maybe it would, but so many murders would take place between now and then.

This is a poor rendering. The murder is really not visible. It’s actually underneath the skin of the entire rest of the body.

I have been making some positive changes, like quitting Weight Watchers.  That was my fat tax every month for 8 months or so.  I used it maybe 3 times.  I’ve used it with success in the past, but my mindset has been garbage now for so long so it’s pretty worthless.  Sadly, as I’m typing this out, I realize how shitty my mindset *has* been and for how long.  Ugh.  For Christmas I bought myself a $10 5-cup coffee pot for my bedroom to make hot tea.  I’m drinking some (decaffeinated) hot tea before bed as a bedtime ritual.  It might help, but at the very least, it doesn’t hurt.  I’m trying to listen to my body as it screams at me to sleep and rest.  These don’t even seem like drops in the bucket though.  More like a…dampness.  A dew?  I need to make some real changes and I know this.  But I’m a CHILD and I DON’T WANT TO.  THINGS ARE HARD TO DO.

I found white hair in my hairbrush.  Not just a stray hair like I’ve been finding since I was a teenager (when you have black hair, you notice these things right away) but hair in my hairbrush.  I used to pull out my white and skunk hair (half black, half white) because that’s what the women in my family always did.  I’d sit on the back of the sofa and pull my aunts’ white hairs for 10 cents each.  They were only in their 20s and early 30s at that point, so as a kid, I knew they were too young to have gray hair.  So when I started noticing my own, the immediate action was to remove it.  Yes, I know that it just comes back and sticks out even more because it’s shorter than the rest.  Yes, I know that pulling one gray hair doesn’t mean that two will grow back in its place.  Yes, I know that dyeing my hair is an option.  It is and it isn’t.  I’ve seen what black hair dye looks like on old Asian women and it’s BLACK.  Like, BLACK-BLACK.  Like coal dust or something.  It has never looked natural to me, so I am probably going to go gray naturally.

Perception: ?? Reality.

Weird fact:  I’ve always wanted to dye my hair white.  Okay, maybe *not* so weird.  I keep thinking now is the time to do it, but my hair is super long right now and home dyeing will damage it like crazy.  Not to mention it probably wouldn’t work, even if I bleached my hair first.

So while there is no Chuberlist this year (as there hasn’t been a real one in quite some time), I do have the standard goals that most people have: eat better, exercise more.  Journal old school style with paper and pen, blog more.  Face more demons.  More school.  Learn something.  I plan on reading more and I have some bigger projects in my head that I would like to complete.  I need to buy a new sewing machine (mine broke!) and a new fish tank (upgrade!) and new glasses (I’m blind!) and a new car (yeah right!).  Or at least, service my car to keep it running for another 11 years.

So in the mean time, I’m going to try to grow up some and be a moderately responsible adult.  I’m officially going to be in my LATE 30’s this year, so better late than never. I’m not going to hold my breath or anything, but I am at least making an attempt.  I hope the New Year is good for you and I hope it will be good for me, too.

Motivate yourself.

Ghost Story

Halloween is one of my favorite times of the year: the weather finally has a chill in the air, football is in full swing, Hallow’s End, and of course, all of the spooky stories and TV shows. In this modern age, we can really watch ghost stories on TV anytime, but I remember as a kid how exciting Halloween TV was–the ghost special of Unsolved Mysteries? YES! Tree House of Horror? YES, PLEASE! Halloween I and Halloween II back to back on TV? YESYESYES!

We routinely check out something like 20+ books a week between school and personal books. I set up a reading list every year during the summer so that I can start requesting books and DVDs starting at the end of September. Right now, we have windows open, costumes on the sewing machine, skulls in the living room. It sets the mood and we always have a good time. With all the ghost stories going around, I thought I would throw my hat in with a story that happened to me in the house I grew up in.

In my teens, I had the upstairs bedroom which had been renovated from attic space. There were two rooms, one each for my brother and sister who were both significantly older than I was. Over time, I lived in one room or the other; this particular story takes place in the green bedroom, formerly my brother’s room. I think I moved into that room around 14 or 15 years old. There were no windows in the room, just an obscured skylight that let in light, but wasn’t clear enough to see through. The skylight was on the slanted part of the ceiling and for some time I had my bed beneath it but at some point, being the angsty teen I was I ended up covering the skylight so that no light entered the room at all.

I lived a Spartan existence void of color and proper angles.

As you can see in my insanely accurate and realistic rendering above, I actually positioned my bed in the closet. The closet was just deep enough for clothes but stretched the width of the room so there were a lot of storage boxes and junk in both corners. There were old clothes in the closet as well, so it wasn’t functional for me. The twin sized bed fit in to the closet perfectly with the accordion doors open (I didn’t know how to take them off at the time) so the closet acted like almost a canopy. Unrelated: I used to glue pictures of cute guys to the wall in the closet. So if you were a good looking musician or actor in the 90s, HELLO THERE.

I want to believe.  Like, super believe.

In retrospect, the trigger was Ouija boards and other spirit boards. There was a particular Ouija board that we used multiple times at my house. It belonged to a friend and supposedly had one dominant spirit that spoke through it . We used that board in my house during slumber parties, sleep overs, etc multiple times since junior high school. In fact, I wrote a story about a Ouija board for the junior high’s annual literary book that got a lot of attention because of how scary it was. EDIT:  It was a terrible story written by a 12 year old.  I do not recommend it.  I had played with Ouija boards at other people’s houses and it was always a spooky but fun experience. No one ever thought anything of it and neither did I.

Tawny Kitaen sounds like a fake name and it is. Whitesnake forever.

Things started to change when I slept in that room. I don’t remember what came first: weird feelings in the room or making my own Ouija board. First I’d just use large sheets of scrapbook paper with the Ouija board words and letters written on it. A planchette could be anything, really, so from just other paper or clear plastic make up lids. We’d play and then when we were done, we’d throw the paper away. This happened a few times until I had the great idea to use a permanent marker and draw out a Ouija board on a small table I had. It looked like wood, but was actually plastic, about the height of a coffee table, but not as long. It was heavy but had wheels that were exceptionally squeaky. This table was made in desperation because so many things had been freaking me out and I wanted to find out what was happening.  Little things like light tapping, creepy out feelings for no reason, and cold temperatures. There is an air conditioning vent in the room but at that time, it didn’t make the room cool in the least. Unless you were right next to the air vent you wouldn’t feel anything. There was one air conditioning unit for the house which was enough…until the attic was renovated. It wasn’t until much later that additional air vents were added which made it more comfortable so usually it was annoyingly hot nights and days spent downstairs or out of the house completely.

One night I was laying in bed, head at the foot of my bed, not in the closet, and watching TV.  I had my back to the chair in the corner.  At first, I didn’t notice anything but I kept hearing a tapping noise from behind me but explained it away as the noise from the television.  When it kept happening, I turned the TV off to listen and for a minute it stopped.  I was relieved and as I was about to turn the TV back on the tapping was back and I felt completely terrified.  I never once turned around but I could feel something there, in the chair, looking at me.  You know when you stare at someone and think to yourself “look at me! look at me!”?  That’s what it felt like.  I never turned around.  I got up, grabbed my clothes off of the floor (it was HOT, okay?) and walked to the door.  I was trying not to panic but I wanted to scream my head off and run downstairs and cry.  I am not sure why, but I felt like I absolutely had to retain my composure, so I said out loud, “I’m leaving now.”  I had gotten about two steps away from the threshold when the door slammed behind me.

THE DOOR FUCKING SLAMMED ON ITS OWN BEHIND ME.

The stairs were steep and wooden, like the stairs on an outdoor deck.  I ran/jumped/fell down the stairs as fast as I could.  I don’t remember much after that except I knew I wasn’t going back up there.  I ran the experience over and over in my head, trying to find an explanation.  The most common theory from people I told was that I was just scared and I must have accidentally pulled it with my clothes or it got blown shut.  These are perfectly reasonable ideas except that I wasn’t wearing any clothes (I generally left that out in retelling) and there isn’t any way that the door could have just swung shut.  The carpet was a regular, plush carpet and the door always scraped across the surface.  You could shut the door fine but you had to use force; slamming the door was difficult, though not impossible because if you remember, I was a teenager.

I started sleeping in my Dad’s office/hide out.  There was a bed next to the desk, and on the desk was an old stereo, probably from the 70’s or 80’s.  It was a tiny room, with just my Dad’s desk, a twin bed and storage shelves. I didn’t like the silence and of course, the general terror I was feeling so I turned on the radio.  It had the dial for tuning, but there were only a handful of stations that were close enough to come in clearly.  When the station was tuned in fully, there would be a green light next to the red power light.

Like this, but not. Bigger, no faux wood. Bigger knobs. Close enough.

I was listening to WCIL at a normal volume and it slowly began to fade out.  I was annoyed, not scared.  So I tuned in to the next station, an oldies station. This was actually my favorite station at the time because CIL was so hit and miss regarding good music.  Anyway, I listened for a song or two and again it got quieter and quieter.  I started to feel the panic welling up inside of me, but I really didn’t want to believe this was happening.  It had been a few days and I honestly thought that if I just stayed out of my room I’d be okay.  I thought I was done.

I hated country music, but on to the country music station it was.  Same result.   I was crying and panicking but doing it quietly.  Again, I don’t know why, and I still don’t know why to this day.  I didn’t want to act scared.  The rational answer for the stereo thing would be the simple fact that it was old, except that it had never happened before or after as long as I was with someone or if it was daytime.  It happened one more time at night while I was alone but I left before it could do it repeatedly.  I ended up sleeping on the couch in the living room, all the lights and TV on.  This lasted for a couple of weeks until I got in trouble for sleeping on the couch–my parents thought I was just staying up late to watch TV.

I have no idea why they thought that.

I didn’t go up to my room unless I was with a friend and it was during the day.  One time, a friend left her purse upstairs so she ran up to get it.  This was in the middle of the afternoon, after school.  She flew down the stairs. white as a ghost, so to speak.  She was screaming at me, wanting to know what the hell was wrong with my room. She knew of course, but “what the hell is wrong with your room!?” seemed to be the only thing that she could say. When she calmed down, she explained that she hadn’t seen a thing, but was just terrified when she went in to my room because she felt like someone was in there with her.

At least I didn’t feel all that crazy anymore.  Or maybe I was just happy that someone else was crazy, too.

I really wish there was some kind of amazing ending to this story.  Priests, maybe.  Voices or blood running down the walls.  But there really isn’t.  As an expert clueless group of teenaged girls, we decided that the best thing to do was to cover the Ouija board I made so as the genius idiot I am, I painted over the top of the table to obscure everything I had written on it.  This didn’t really do anything other than further ruin the table so sneaked the table to the curb one trash day and that was that.  I got in trouble a few weeks later when it was discovered that a piece of furniture had just disappeared from the house.  I said that I broke it, which is actually not entirely a lie in my opinion.  Nothing particularly terrifying happened in that room again to my knowledge, but it was never comfortable again.  It was never ‘my’ room after that.  I moved into a different room eventually and went on to have terrifying experiences in there that seem completely unrelated to the terrifying events in this story.  Those were more bizarre, but actually more explainable.  Or at least more easily rationalized.

So do I think I was being haunted?  I guess it depends on what your definition of haunted is, but yes, I think my playing around, trying to talk to spirits did something.  I feel like a lot of my experience in that room was unexplainable even though I really did want a rational reason.  It was in that room when I started having seriously bad dreams and night terrors.  They weren’t regular or often–that didn’t happen for a couple more years and they came about on and off for more than a decade.  I had other strange (terrifying) experiences in the house, living on my own, living in my own house now.  I don’t think about this often, but when I do, I wonder if that experience was some sort of catalyst for other strange occurrences.

Or, maybe it’s all nothing?

Shamanistic Soul Retreival: How to save a life

Source: Shamanistic Soul Retreival: How to save a life

I follow this great blog and you should, too.  Honestly, I do my best *not* to read it too often.  I can’t always handle it.  This particular blog caught my eye and I got sucked in to reading it.

So many. So much.

I wish I had this kind of experience when I was in the hospital.  The whole thing felt like a formality, really.  “Let’s stay here for a few days so that we can bill her an exorbitant amount of money.  Yay!” I think I had one nurse two times, but never the same nurse two days in a row.  Then again, I was already in the psych ward, not in the medical ward.  I wonder if that’s on purpose?  No psychiatric referral and right back into the same situation that got me there in the first place.  No counseling referral.  Then again, if they concerned themselves with helping and healing, they would be out of so much money.

Life and everything in it are worlds better than back then.  I still get these very panicky days where I feel like maybe nothing has changed.  Medicine isn’t working.  Nothing is different.  I am not different.  But the difference is that I can have these feelings and they don’t last.  They don’t swallow me.  I don’t drown in them.  I’m conscious that these things *can* happen and I try to be aware of it.  I’m by no means perfect nor is anyone or anything around me.

So read this blog so we can divide up all of these feels, because I am absolutely not going to read another one for a while.

I was going to think of a title…

If you work at PetCo corporate, you get to bring your pets to work EVERY DAY.

Yes, that was random, but I’m distracted. I’m watching Tanked and it’s probably my favorite show right now. It’s no secret that I love my fish, but the upkeep can be cost prohibitive. So, until I have a place that can support thousands of pounds of aquarium, I’ll have to settle for watching TV shows about things I can’t afford. I didn’t mention it (or did I?), but we got a new mascot for the classroom!

Meet Ichigo!

I made the picture sepia toned because I can’t get a good shot of that fish to save my life. He’s bright (strawberry, geddit?) red and he’s super active but the only pictures I seem to be able to get are completely blurry or off color:

He’s not pink. He’s really not. My phone lies. Tank not provided by ATM.

The next thing that’s been occupying my time has been catching up on abandoned manga. I stopped reading certain manga because they reminded me too much of people that are no longer in my life. You know how it is–just too much connection, you know? Thankfully I’m over that and I’m so glad. I am finally caught up all the way on Bleach and Ouran High School Host Club! I think I stopped reading Bleach somewhere around the Fullbring arc and OHSHC somewhere around the end of the first year.

After my own heart.

I actually feel okay about how OHSHC ended. It was adorable and absolutely pulled my heart strings. I found out only today that there is a live action movie–it looks absolutely ridiculous. I think it works much better as an anime and manga; it’s just so cartoon-y and fun.

Bleach is still ongoing and I’m so glad I’ve finally caught myself up. When you were a kid, did you ever hear adults talking and had no idea what they were talking about? You simply didn’t understand because you were too young? I feel like I finally figured out some great secret.

OHMYGODBESTINFORMATIONEVER

I actually read this small section to Josh without revealing all of the other information (he is only now starting the Vaizard arc). I couldn’t help it. I needed someone to scream and jump around with! I didn’t tell him everything of course. I left it somewhere around here:

SQUEEEEEEEE!!

Lastly and leastly, I’ve been fairly obsessed with adult coloring books. Adult as in ‘for grown ups’ not adult as in x-rated. There is only so much coloring you can do on x-rated pictures anyway. The worst part about the coloring is that I think it’s somewhat counter productive. I’m not getting any serious stress relief and it’s actually hurting my hand because I am gripping the markers so tightly.

Absolutely worth it.

I am having a lot of fun, so at the very least, it’s not stressful in the bad way. I’m staying up too late some nights and I get easily distracted during the daytime when I should be preparing lessons or whatnot. But oh well.


The book is called Secret Garden and I like it enough. My biggest complaint is that it’s SO DIFFICULT to color the bound edges; some images go all the way into the binding crease. The markers bleed through so I have to choose which picture I’m going to color. I figured as much and frankly choosing isn’t very difficult for this book. A lot of the pages are ‘draw the rest of the page’ and I came here to showcase my poor coloring skills, not my poor drawing skills thankyouverymuch. I also wish the pages were perforated (which would also address the issue of coloring on the bound edges). The next book I get I’ll color with colored pencil if there are actually pictures on both sides of one page that I’m interested in. I picked this one up on a whim at Target but I’m sure I’ll be more selective with my next purchase. I’m not trying to sound critical, it just comes naturally I guess.

Basically, that’s what I’ve been doing instead of focusing on normal household duties. I also fell down the basement stairs because the HAND RAIL BROKE OFF and I hurt my shoulder. Then just as I was feeling not dead, I had the pukes (allergy related) and got laid up for one more day. In short, I’ve been a mess and a half. My hope is that this week will be  better and more productive barring any debilitating accidents, illness, or major manga story line developments.

Bye! Off to be an adult now!