Karen


  • an awesome find.

    My friend K and I were poking through a vintage market this Saturday when she pointed out a cabinet with some film cameras. In there was this Olympus Mju Zoom 400.

    Not only did it come with a case and the original manual, it was TWENTY FIVE DOLLARS. Cleaned it up a bit, popped a fresh battery and roll of film in it, and it works! I’m excited to see how the pics come out.


  • running from things.

    I’m exhausted. Bone-deep, utterly exhausted.

    The past few weeks have been really good. I’ve seen friends, gotten chores done, met up with people, etc. But I cannot shake this complete and total wiped feeling I have when the end of the day comes. I can barely drag myself out of my chair after I clock out from work, much less bring myself to read and focus on school stuff.

    I’m tried of doing chores. Incessant, forever, non-ending chores. Washing clothes, vacuuming dog hair, putting things away, cooking dinner and cleaning up from dinner, making lunches, making breakfast, organizing and shifting and picking things up. I’m so goddamn tired but I can’t live in a dirty house.

    I love my friends. And to be honest, I haven’t seen most of them since I met up with people from DivaCon. My best friend is coming over tomorrow to sit around and read/study and we’re gonna eat crawfish and as much as I’m looking forward to seeing her, I’m SO TIRED. Oh, and husbando wants me to help him with installing a split-unit AC in the garage tomorrow. Why can’t he call his brother, or his cousin, or a friend? I don’t know. So there’s that, too.

    I just feel like the weight of everything is piling up on me lately, and it’s driving me bananas. And when that happens, I want to do one of two things:

    • Dig in my heels and bury myself away from everyone
    • Run. Leave and go somewhere. As far as I can. Disappear for a week or two. Travel, get on a plane, and don’t look back.

    I’m beginning to get those feelings now, and I need to do something about it. I don’t know what. I guess the first thing is to talk to the husbando and tell him that I need him to step up and start helping out more, start getting groceries and washing clothes and running the vacuum and cooking dinner and picking up after himself.

    Ugh, the more I think about it, the more frustrated I get, and the farther I want to run.


  • cleaning green beans.

    I slept poorly last night.

    I did all the things that should dictate that I would have a good night’s sleep. I wore my C-PAP machine. I went to bed early, around 9:00 PM. I sleep in a dark room. I have two fans, providing a copious amount of white noise. The dogs were curled up next to me, like little weighted blankets or stuffed animals. I didn’t take melatonin or Ambien or any other meds, I simply drifted off. I slept almost solidly, with very brief wake-ups, until my alarm went off at 4:45 AM. No getting up, no tossing and turning.

    I’m sitting here, could practically fall asleep on my desk this morning. I don’t feel bad, but I am tired.

    I dreamed of my grandmother – Maw-Maw – this morning.

    It wasn’t a bad dream. I was at my grandparents’ house, sitting with her on the swing outside, watching as she cleaned green beans picked from the garden. She was smoking, as always, and humming a little song, as always. She didn’t say anything, she just sat, and cleaned, and smoked, and hummed. But she knew I was there. I was the age I am now, and we were just sitting. I watched her. She was built like me, round and thick, wide arms, short hair, round belly. She had her glasses on. She was always so much more tan than me, but that came from being outside all the time – feeding chickens, cleaning the above ground pool in the backyard, picking things from the garden and the blackberries in the woods out back, feeding the cats and the dogs and the kids, swimming in the pool outside. She would slather me in sunscreen when we went outside, preaching about how I didn’t want to get a sunburn, but she was always so tan.

    I said something to her in the dream – I don’t remember what it was now. She laughed, and the fact that I got her to laugh made me laugh too. She still didn’t look at me, she was focused on those beans, but she smiled, and she laughed, and the little wrinkles on the sides of her eyes moved, and I was happy to see her happy. I wondered what she thought of me now, what she would say if she could see me in my late 40s, with my tattoos and piercings and purple hair, back in school, working a good job, married to a good person. I wondered what she would think of my brother, getting ready to have his first child. But I didn’t ask, I just watched her clean the beans.

    The big tree that she had in that yard – an oak, maybe? – swayed above us in a light wind, providing shade to us on that swing. Her big blue car that she never drove anywhere sat in the driveway. The propane tank, gray and streaked with rust, sat across the yard surrounded by overgrowth – Paw-Paw was gonna have to trim it back soon, but he wasn’t home yet. The above-ground pool was bright blue in the afternoon sunlight. It was summer, because the school bus that she drove wasn’t there in the yard.

    She just sat there, smoking, humming, cleaning green beans.

    My alarm buzzed and woke me up, pulling me out of her yard, out of the dappled sunlight on the ground, out of the creak of the swing as we moved back and forth, out of the rustle of leaves around us.

    I’m tired because I just spent an entire afternoon with my Maw-Maw, who passed away in 2007, right after I returned from a 2-week trip to the UK. I’m tired because I woke up and the contentment I felt in that dream was gone. I’m tired because I miss her, deeply, even after all these years. I’m tired because I want to cry for the loss, but the dream was so calm and serene that I can’t bring myself to.

    I love you, Maw-Maw. I miss you.


  • hashtag gamer girl.

    My friend K grabbed this shot of me playing Area 51 at the #DressCult arcade gathering last night. Area 51 was my GAME back in my college days.

    I had 45% accuracy last night. Not bad for my first time playing in probably 15-20 years.

    Two women bathed in blue light at a arcade, holding red and blue guns and playing a shooting game.

  • dress cult = best cult.

    I’ve been off work this week and it is GLORIOUS. I’ve run errands, had appointments, took care of some chores, and starting tomorrow friends begin coming in town and I get to spend the weekend with my Dress Cult friends coming in town and go ALL OUT with the girly foo-foo stuff.

    Tomorrow night is hangouts at the arcade. Friday is high tea at the Windsor Court, followed by a shopping trip to Magazine and then possibly dinner afterwards. Saturday is possibly a trip to the Quarter (weather permitting) and assorted brunches and drinks. Sunday is beignets at City Park and a trip to the New Orleans Museum of Art.

    It’s awesome how the internet brought together a bunch of cool women who all loved the same kinds of styles and a dress brand, and how some of us forged friendships that span countries – and in some cases, continents. A group of women who are there for each other, who share heartbreaks and joys and everything in between. Funny, amazing, bad-ass, incredible people – each and every one.

    Dress Cult is Best Cult. Always and forever.


  • some instax photos.

    A couple of Instax instant photos I snapped while going to breakfast on Sunday with K.

    Two Instax instant photos, one of a dark haired girl with glasses sitting in front of her breakfast, and another of pink flowers in the sun.

  • deleted.

    Today is officially Twitter Deletion Day. I’m currently downloading an archive of all my stuff off of there (why, I don’t know, I guess just because?) and I’ve made my final post letting people know where they can find me in other places, including this site.

    I’ve had this account since June 2007. I originally created it as a planned micro-blog for our UK trip in October 2007, I was planning on texting updates to it from our little Nokia spare phone so people could follow along on our trip. That ended up not happening, but I found a pretty cool group of New Orleans-based users on there and sticking around.

    Jeez, 2007. I’ve had that account for almost 20 years. The only account I had for longer was my old LiveJournal account, which I had until I got the “Happy Anniversary from LiveJournal” reminder this year and was like “oh yeah I should delete that account too”. I don’t remember how long, but at least 21 years, because I told someone that my LiveJournal was old enough to legally drink. Why did I hold on to LJ even though I hadn’t used that account in at least 15 years? I have no idea, honestly.

    As for Twitter…well. It’s always been kind of an off-on thing for a while now, and even though I picked it back up to meet more people in the K-Pop fandom circles early last year, I just can’t deal with the toxicity and negativity that is always all over that platform. Plus, with all the changes that the Muskrat Manchild was making – it was just no longer a good place to be for me. And after a few months of me being on “hiatus” and not posting or going to the site, I wondered, “Why even keep this account at all?”

    Can I just say – that feeling is INCREDIBLY freeing. Getting back to blogging on my own site is INCREDIBLY freeing. Realizing that I can just…go. I can keep in touch with the few people I’m friends with on there, and just – delete the account. Like a bad breakup, just disappearing and cutting all ties from the nastiness and things I don’t like.

    So, with that, it was a good run, Twitter. We had a good go and made some memories.


  • getting schooled.

    I passed my Composition course!

    I’m starting my Fundamentals of Information Security course today, and is it silly to say that I’m really excited? Like this is the first official class for my specific major and I’m really looking forward to learning more about the field I want to be in.

    I never thought I’d be this hyped up to be back in school, ever. I never thought I’d be ABLE to go back to school. But I’m realizing now that maybe I just wasn’t meant to be in school at the time I was there. I wasn’t ready. And I wonder, looking at these kids who roll right to college a few months out of high school, if those kids are really even ready.

    So, a little background. I originally went to college for an English/Journalism degree back in the 90s. I graduated high school, I had the summer off, and I went to college. Most of my college was paid for by student loans, of course. I had a few other grants and things that I didn’t have to pay back, but it barely covered anything. My grades were – okay. Passable, but not spectacular, so I didn’t have scholarships. My mom refused to get a PLUS loan, since that had to be paid back by the parents, and we couldn’t afford to pay for school. Essentially, if I didn’t take out Stafford loans, I wasn’t going to be able to go. And I wanted to go to college. It was the only way I could get a “real job”, according to my mom and my grandparents and every adult in my life.

    (Funny thing, though – my mom was an executive assistant and didn’t go to college. So was she saying that SHE didn’t have a “real job”? Looking back on that now, that makes no sense.)

    So, off to school I went. I lived in the dorms, even though I was only 30 minutes from home. I didn’t have a car, I didn’t even know how to drive. (My mom refused to let me take drivers ed in high school because she didn’t want to put me on her insurance.) It was the first time I was sort of “on my own”, and I was SO excited. I could do what I wanted! So I did.

    And as a result, after almost two years, I had to leave college because I failed out. I partied, I hung out with friends, I didn’t attend class. It was entirely my mistake, I didn’t have the willpower to focus at the time. I was all about living for myself, for the first time in my life. Well – what I THOUGHT was living for myself. Looking back on it, I don’t know what I was doing. I was hanging on the best way I knew how.

    And after that, I worked. Retail for SO MANY YEARS. Then office jobs, etc. And all those student loans got pushed back, forbearance after forbearance. I finally paid them off in 2015. And I didn’t even finish school.

    The whole time, I regretted failing out. I was foolish, I was stupid, I fucked up. That’s what I told myself for DECADES. Finally, after a lot of therapy and a lot of talking, I realized that yeah, I made a mistake. But I wasn’t stupid. It just…wasn’t my time. It wasn’t for me, at that point in my life.

    I should have taken one of those “gap years”, and worked, and saved, and saw the world. I should have probably taken five gap years. Not traveling and playing around, like most people think when they think of a gap year. Just worked, saw how the world worked, figured out what I really wanted. I was better equipped to make a decision about what I wanted to do with my life at 21 or 22 than I was at 17, even mroe so at 25. The Universe knew that.

    Now, in my late 40s, I know myself better than I did at 17, and I feel more confident and focused. Now is the time I was meant to go to school. Not at 17. Do I regret flunking out? Sure. Do I hate myself for it anymore? Absolutely not.


  • Today’s plans: brunch with family for a birthday celebration, then back home to do schoolwork. I really want to knock out that last task for my Composition class today and get it submitted. Hopefully I can start my Fundamentals of Info Security course next week and knock that out before my friend C comes in town, or at least get most of it completed so I can take the week off of school while she is here.


  • I am so damn tired.

    Spent yesterday at another office doing a training all day, had to drive over an hour both there and back. So I was tired and brain-dead last night. Fell asleep around 9:00 or so to YouTube vids (my standard evening nightcap), and thought I was going to sleep HARD all night.

    Nope.

    Woke up at 1:50 and didn’t doze off again until 4, and my alarm went off at 4:45. UGH.