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For the time being, as my account seems to be getting quite a bit of activity from spammers, anonymous comments have been disabled. You're welcome to read here, and post comments on Facebook if you have are friended to me on Facebook but do not have a LiveJournal account.

Promise will have a substantial update soon :)

Yeesh....

Get caught up in wedding planning for awhile and the spammers decide to play merry havoc with my LJ posts. OUT DAMN SPAMMERS, OUT I SAY!

They have been successefully purged. Speaking of spammers, expect to be spammed by none other than me in the coming days. Because, SQUEE - November 17th is nigh!

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Death Day - A Few Days Late

Okay. So, this post is a few days overdue, but it is my annual post none-the-less. Normally, I try to do it on Death Day itself, but there were things going on that day that made it unlikely that I was going to post. I had grand plans of getting out of the house that day, but one thing lead to another and well – needless to say, we just went to lunch that was pretty much it. It was not the day I had planned, and I was mostly miserable (as expected) that day.

In any case….

This year, the anniversary of my mother’s death, has been perhaps one of the worst for me. It’s been 16 years, the official anniversary was on Saturday, July 21st, and so you would think things would be easier with time, and normally they are. But not this year. I’m certain it’s because I’m getting married this year, and I’m feeling the sting of not having her around to help me plan anything. I’ve caught myself several times going from completely fine to being in absolute tears because she’s not there to share things with me. The moment could strike me at any time. I’ll be driving down the road, be-bopping to music and it hits. Or, I’ll be cooking dinner. Or, reading email. Or, any other number of things.

She and I used to go shopping together. I know, I hate shopping, but it was different with her. She helped me with every single formal dress I’ve ever purchased, and she had a very good sense of all the things I liked. If I couldn’t go with her, usually she’d bring something home for me if she got something for herself. She’d walk around the store and help me pick out dresses or clothes, and offer her opinion on what looked good and what didn’t. She made shopping fun. If there was something I didn’t like, she’d put it back on the rack and look for other things that she thought would look nice on me – rinse, repeat, until we had something we could take home. I imagine that if she were still here, I’d be having that experience with her while shopping for wedding dresses.

But, it’s not just that. It’s everything else too. She meticulously kept up with all of the addresses and phone numbers of the family, and kept in contact with them from time to time to make certain she had the most up to date information. Now, that information is piecemeal. I might get a number from a sister, or find an aunt or uncle on Facebook, but there is no central person that keeps that information together.

My mother was the glue that kept our family, immediate and extended, together. She’d often invite them to our summer gatherings, at least my Aunt Irene and Uncle Harry, where she’d take some time to catch up with them, joke and have fun. The last really big function she attended was our family reunion the year that she was diagnosed with cancer; the last family function she got to enjoy before she became too sick. I think she would have enjoyed being with together with her family again at the wedding. She loved dancing, when she had a chance, and even took a dancing class or two.

She also loved baking and decorating cakes. I couldn’t help but think that she’d want to help with that part of the wedding. She made beautiful cakes, and had taken cake decorating classes. Though, I think, she would have equally enjoyed doing the cake testing with me as well. I ended up going alone, and bringing the sample cakes back with me so that Eric and I could try them together.

There are just so many things this year that are catching me off guard, though I try my best not to let them get me down. I know that she’ll be there, in her own way, in heart if not in spirit. This year, it’s just a little bit harder than others.

Worst Week Ever...

I haven't been updating LiveJournal much lately because I've been pretty busy with some other things; playing some WoW, working on balancing Firan with other projects, and planning a wedding.

However, I felt that stuff going on this week deserves a bit of LJ time. I have officially benchmarked this week as my Worst Week EVER - of 2012. For now. I'm sure something else could happen to trump it.

During Memorial Day weekend, the windshield in my car got a ding in it from a thrown stone on the highway. I'd been in the process of figuring out how to get it repaired, and finally had an appointment scheduled for Monday afternoon. From the time that I made the appointment Monday morning, until I was waiting for the repair guy to show up on Monday afternoon, the ding went into a full fledged crack across the windshield. Needless to say, I was more than a tad upset about the matter. To top it off, the repair guy that showed up quoted the repair at $1,000.00, which means I would have had to shell out $500 for the deductible. I needed the work done, so I rescheduled for Wednesday.

I talked to Eric about the quote and what not when I got home, and we mutally agreed to call around to other places. Wednesday morning, Eric found someone local to home who was able to do the repair for just over $300. Which was good, because the thought of losing extra wedding money was stressing me out. $300 was part of my emergency fund and something I could more easily manage. We rescheduled the appointment for Thursday afternoon, but because the repair was being done locally, I was out of a car for the day. I cancelled the appointment through the insurance company's glass program, and reported the false quote of $1,000 to replace the windshield at the executive level.

Enter Mr. Henry, Eric's boss, who graciously allowed me to borrow his Infinity SUV for Thursday's work. All day I was worried about something happening to the car. I nervously joked about it all day, and it seems like I was just borrowing trouble for doing so. For what happened on the way home? I got rear ended not but a few miles away from work.

Traffic was bad and we were all moving slow. I was slowing down behind a car, and the pickup truck behind me was pretty much on my rear end the whole time. However, I saw him slowing down behind me too. When I glanced away, everything was okay, but then a few moments later there was that dreaded BUMP and my head hit the back of the headrest; thankfully it was a very soft headrest. I pulled over to the side of the road, and immediately called Eric, who was very reassuring, which was good - because emotionally I was a wreck. Even though the accident was not my fault and I was completely okay physically, you cannot imagine how horrible I felt about it. It was pretty much my worst fear of the day come to fruition.

I spent most of last night trying to not to think about it, and canceled the RP scene that I had wanted to do on Firan. I played some WoW, but not much, and then turned to watching some TV - but even that was not zen enough for me. So, eventually I just called it a night.

Today, I don't feel any better about the situation, and can only hope that today's traffic doesn't appear as brutal as yesterday's.

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Parties & Wedding Planning

The last few weekends have been filled with various things to do.

On the weekend of the 7th, Eric and I attended the company holiday party at Venegas Prime Filet. It was a nice establishment set in Columbia, MD. I booked a room for us for the night so we would not have to worry about traveling across the bay bridge again for the evening, and to allow us both time to rest. Eric hunted that morning and wasn’t feeling well, so I ended up driving us to the hotel and arranging the taxi from the hotel to the restaurant and back for the party.

The restaurant was lovely, the food was fantastic, and the party was wonderful. It was a nice, relaxed atmosphere, and I think everyone had a good time. The raffled off three prizes, an iPad, a 42” TV and a trip to the Bahamas. Alas, I won neither of the prizes, but I have absolute certainty that those who did will greatly enjoy them.

Prior to the weekend, Eric had sent my engagement ring off to be sized. I got the ring back on Tuesday, and couldn’t be happier to have it back. It is a beautiful diamond, just the right size, with a nice simple band. I don’t like anything big, or too flashy, so he picked well. It’s a little snug on my finger, but not so much that it’s uncomfortable. We’ll see how it continues to fit as we move into the summer months (Have they come yet? How about now? No, really, now? I’m done with this cold stuff.)

This past weekend I attended the Bridal Extravaganza event that was hosted at the Tidewater Inn, in Easton, MD. There was one the weekend of the company party in Timonium, but I was nowhere near prepared to attend that one. It also would have been on a much larger scale. I went to this event with my sister, Susan. We met at a centralized location, and took a single care over because we figured parking would be limited. It was.

Once there, I was accosted (not literally) by the various vendors to sign up for various things, many of them boasting prizes and raffles in a cleverly disguised way to get my information so they can contact me later. I obliged with most of them. We also had the fortune of tasting various cakes and other snacks that the various venues provide with their services. There was much numminess.

We had the opportunity to go to a fashion show later in the day, as we missed the first one, but after attending so many booths and picking up information at nearly all of them, after a few hours I was already spent – and had much food for thought. So, we headed off, and I went to attend some other errands before returning home for the rest of day.

All in all it was a good trip, as it gave me more of an overall view of what things to expect for planning a wedding. It’s certainly a daunting task, but I’m certain in the end I’ll come up with something I know I’ll like and enjoy.

Christmas Engagement

For anyone who knows me well, they would know that the holidays are a time that I love and enjoy, no matter the holiday. It’s a time that I get together with my family, and catch up with them. There may be a few that I dedicate to other tasks, like FiranCON on Memorial Day or New Years with friends, but otherwise they’re spent with my family. This Christmas was no different, with the small exception that this Christmas was a bit better and brighter than most. For, you see, Eric proposed, and I said yes. But, there’s more to the story than that. So, this post is a retelling, of sorts, of what’s come to pass not just on Christmas, but through part of the year.

Eric and I have been talking about the possibility of marriage off and on, and what our preferences might be. He was married once, and not eager to jump back into that situation, which I can understand – so it wasn’t something I was going to pressure him into. In May, he asked if we’d been dating long enough to get married. Having never been married before, I think my reply was – I’m not sure what the protocols are for how long a person should be dating to get married – but I’d be open to the idea, certainly, but he would have to ask me. He responded with he wasn’t sure about protocols either, but he’d been considering it. We left the conversation there.

In the beginning of June, my sister Loretta graduated from college (again). He and I attended, along with my dad, my sister Susan and her husband. Afterwards, we went out to dinner, and Susan kept pointing at her ring finger and Eric, and then looking at me pointedly. I did not have a ring, and she was asking when I was going to get one. She mentioned something about not waiting 11 years this time, as my college boyfriend and I had been together that long without him popping the question, and I replied that I wouldn’t be. We had a giggle over it, but Eric was pretty clueless about the conversation. I wouldn’t tell him at dinner, but I mentioned it in the car.

At the end of June, Eric and I traveled to his brother’s house in Virginia to have a cookout with his family. His nieces pulled me aside to have a very serious private discussion with me. They wanted to know if Eric and I were getting married. I told them no, because I hadn’t been asked, and then asked them why – and they both said they wanted us to get married. I also told them I’d be open to the idea, but that Eric would have to ask me. We went on to talk about other things, and later on, on the way home, I let Eric know about the conversation.

In July, the subject was broached once more. Eric informed me that he’s decided he definitely wanted to marry me. It was a declaration, but he hadn’t asked me. Not yet. I responded with my typical ‘Okay’, acknowledging his comment, and proceeded to ask him a few questions. Again, I didn’t want to push the subject. Especially, by that point, there were other people pushing on my behalf; my sister Susan, and her daughter namely.

Fast forward to a few days before Christmas:

E: Lisa, honey, we can’t get married. It’s too expensive!

L: Oh? Why do you say that?

And, Eric went on to explain that all the rings he’d been looking at were well out of his price range. Meanwhile, as you can imagine, my heart was going a flutter. I suggested the one store where he usually got my stuff, and he considered checking it out. But, in the meantime – he proposed that we consider getting engaged, instead, on my birthday which gave him more time to find a ring. This was fine by me, and though he didn’t ask yet, I knew he was planning on it.

Christmas Day.

The morning started with Eric rolling out of bed well before me. I slept in. Eventually, the morning light flickered just enough that I could no longer sleep in, so I grudgingly rolled out of bed and into the kitchen. We discussed our plans for the day, and I waited while he showered to get breakfast ready – since he proposed making it together. We had bacon and blueberry waffles. He made the bacon, I made the waffles. I also made him open the one gift that was in the fridge. Eric likes cheeses of all kinds, so I had bought him an assortment, along with a summer sausage and some mustard.

Once breakfast was over we were going to open gifts. Eric is a hard person to buy for, since he won’t give you a list. So, I was pretty excited to have him open the gifts I bought him this year. I tend to listen to things he wants all year, and then store that information away for his birthday and Christmas. So, I plucked his gifts up from under the tree, and placed them before him.

E: So, who should we do first, me or you?

L: You. I’ve been waiting for you to get to open them.

E: No, I think we’ll do you first.

He told me he had been planning to do it after dinner with the family, but because I had insisted on opening gifts in the morning, that he couldn’t resist. And, so, he presented me with a ring and proposed. I, of course, said yes – and we kissed (of course there was kissing!)

Eric was so excited that he went and called his brother and his mother right away, and texted his cousin Joe. His father lives nearby, so we finished getting ready and went to exchange gifts with them, and tell them. Afterwards, we went to my dad’s house for dinner.

It was my job to tell my family, since he told his. My plan was to wait until dinner to tell everyone, since that’s when we’d all be in the same room together. However, apparently before that time, Eric had already spilled the beans to my sister, Susan. Because, throughout the afternoon, she hinted about it. I’d like to think I did a pretty good job of not giving things away to her, but I’m pretty sure I also had a quirky smile on my face every time I said, ‘Huh? What? I don’t know what you’re talking about. Oh, can you – Oh! Look over there, see what – etc…’ Diverting the conversation away from the topic.

Eventually, everyone did sit down for dinner, and I broke the news. My sister Sandy was pretty funny. Her response was, ‘What? I thought you guys were already engaged!’. But overall, I’m pretty sure they were all happy for me.

And, that’s the story of how I got engaged on Christmas Day.

General Updatedness

It occurs to me that I’ve not really posted a State of Me in quite some time. I’ve been lurking, in the background, mostly – and I’ve been making use of Facebook, but to me Facebook really isn’t the place where I dish well.

October marked the one year anniversary of when I moved in with Eric. It’s been an adjustment for me because my work is still on the Western Shore, and we live on the Eastern Shore. I would not consider leaving my job because the job market is so hard to break into right now, and the place where I’m working – except for a few flaws and foibles – is a great place to work. I enjoy the people, and they take good care of me for the most part. The drive is long and I wish I had more time during the day, but I can’t foresee finding anything as good as I have for the pay that I have over on the Eastern Shore.

Even though a year has passed, I’m still trying to find the right balance to things, between gaming, spending time with Eric and other things that we enjoy. October also marked when we got pets. I have two mischievous and adorable cats, Maggie and Fussy – torties – who claimed me right away when I was trying to decide what cats to get. We also got a puppy, a lovely chocolate lab, bred by my sister, who we named Duke. He’s been keeping us on our toes, but has quickly become a joy in both of our lives (even if he wakes us up at 4:30 in the morning because he wants to play sometimes.)

I didn’t realize how much I missed the peace and quiet of the Eastern Shore, until I moved back. Of course, having that peace and quiet comes with some pitfalls. I’m once more away from civilization, which means to get any significant shopping done for – say – Christmas, most of it has to be done online, or I have to travel an hour somewhere to get there. But, at the same time, the Eastern Shore has a beauty and grandeur that living in civilization doesn’t have. I can look out the picture window in my bedroom or living room and see any number of critters passing us by; deer, fox, wild turkeys, squirrels, etc. They live in our habitat just as much as we live in theirs, and we – more or less – live in harmony. You don’t really get that living on the Western Shore. Not unless you’re in the farthest northern reaches. And, much like the locals (which I guess I am one again now that I’m back there), I get quite annoyed with the big development companies that want to come in and take that all away.

For now, I’m content to enjoy the things I have, for as long as I have it – for you never know what tomorrow will bring you.

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2011 Reading List (Updated)

1. MASQUES by Patricia Briggs
2. WOLFSBANE by Patricia Briggs
3. LILY OF THE NILE by Stephanie Dray
4. PERCY JACKSON: THE TITAN'S CURSE (BOOK 3) by Rick Riordan
5. BLACKVEIL - Book #4 of The Green Rider series by Kristen Britain
6. HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX by J.K. Rowling
7. HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE by J.K. Rowling
8. HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS by J.K. Rowling
9. SHIP OF MAGIC by Robin Hobb (The Liveship Trader Series)
10. RECKLESS by Cornelia Funke
11. RIVER MARKED by Patricia Briggs (The Mercy Thompson Series)
12. VAMPIRE DIARIES: THE RETURN: MIDNIGHT by L.J. Smith (The Vampire Diaries: The Return Series)
13. MAD SHIP by Robin Hobb (The Liveship Trader Series)
14. DRAGON KEEPER by Robin Hobb (The Rain Wilds Series)
15. DRAGON HAVEN by Robin Hobb (The Rain Wilds Series)
16. PERCY JACKSON: THE BATTLE OF THE LABYWRINTH (BOOK 4) by Rick Riordan
17. PERCY JACKSON: THE LAST OLYMPIAN (BOOK 5) by Rick Riordan
18. WITCH AND WIZARD by James Patterson
19. THE GIFT by James Patterson
20. THE LOST HERO by Rick Riordan
21. THE RED PYRAMID by Rick Riordan
22. THRONE OF FIRE by Rick Riordan
23. I'M JUST SAYIN': THREE DEATHS, SEVEN HUSBANDS, AND A CLONE! MY LIFE AS A DAY TIME DIVA by Kim Zimmer w/ Laura Morton
24. MIDNIGHT NEVER COME by Marie Brennan
25. A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES by Deborah Harkness
26. PERCHANCE TO DREAM by Lisa Mantchev
27. THE FOOL'S GIRL by Celia Rees
28. TO WISH OR NOT TO WISH by Mindy Klasky
29. SONG OF THE NILE by Stephanie Dray
30. DON'T KISS THEM GOOD-BYE by Allison Dubois
31. MERCY THOMPSON: HOMECOMING by Patricia Briggs
32. MASTIFF by Tamora Pierce
33. DARK SINS & DESERT SANDS by Stephanie Draven

Testing....

This is a test of the LiveJournal - Facebook posting feature. I may decide to add Twitter &/Or Google to this as well. We'll see!

2011 Reading List (Updated)

1. MASQUES by Patricia Briggs
2. WOLFSBANE by Patricia Briggs
3. LILY OF THE NILE by Stephanie Dray
4. PERCY JACKSON: THE TITAN'S CURSE (BOOK 3) by Rick Riordan
5. BLACKVEIL - Book #4 of The Green Rider series by Kristen Britain
6. HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX by J.K. Rowling
7. HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF-BLOOD PRINCE by J.K. Rowling
8. HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS by J.K. Rowling
9. SHIP OF MAGIC by Robin Hobb (The Liveship Trader Series)
10. RECKLESS by Cornelia Funke
11. RIVER MARKED by Patricia Briggs (The Mercy Thompson Series)
12. VAMPIRE DIARIES: THE RETURN: MIDNIGHT by L.J. Smith (The Vampire Diaries: The Return Series)
13. MAD SHIP by Robin Hobb (The Liveship Trader Series)
14. DRAGON KEEPER by Robin Hobb (The Rain Wilds Series)
15. DRAGON HAVEN by Robin Hobb (The Rain Wilds Series)
16. PERCY JACKSON: THE BATTLE OF THE LABYWRINTH (BOOK 4) by Rick Riordan
17. PERCY JACKSON: THE LAST OLYMPIAN (BOOK 5) by Rick Riordan
18. WITCH AND WIZARD by James Patterson
19. THE GIFT by James Patterson
20. THE LOST HERO by Rick Riordan
21. THE RED PYRAMID by Rick Riordan
22. THRONE OF FIRE by Rick Riordan
23. I'M JUST SAYIN': THREE DEATHS, SEVEN HUSBANDS, AND A CLONE! MY LIFE AS A DAY TIME DIVA by Kim Zimmer w/ Laura Morton
24. MIDNIGHT NEVER COME by Marie Brennan
25. A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES by Deborah Harkness
26. PERCHANCE TO DREAM by Lisa Mantchev
27. THE FOOL'S GIRL by Celia Rees
28. TO WISH OR NOT TO WISH by Mindy Klasky
29. SONG OF THE NILE by Stephanie Dray

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