Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Cyclical Nature of Trucking (Problems)

One of the weirdest parts about living on a truck is how often the same problem pops up on different trucks. The truck we are currently inhabiting, we've been living on for 2 weeks (and a night). In that 2 weeks, we've had problems pop up that have needed to be fixed (which is sad, in that 2 weeks isn't a long time, but this truck had nearly half a million miles on it when we moved in).

Today we delivered (Ace did, and I slept apparently soundly.). Then we came by a truck stop to get an oil change done. And have them check out the a/c (it wasn't blowing cold in the front half). And find out what the check engine light on the truck meant. We have a truck with fresh oil, temporarily working a/c for the front, and a trip to a different shop for tomorrow to try to get the rest fixed (including a part that might be messing with the alignment). The check engine light had to do with the exhaust system, which is not something to be ignored.

If this had been the first issues, I'd be less wondering if the owner of the truck finds us annoying. However, we could not have done any of this damage in 2 weeks. I know he knows that, but...

Anyway. Every truck I've lived in has had some problem pop up with the exhaust system. Truck manufacturers have worked hard to make it so that trucks actually not only don't greatly pollute the air, but in fact, will clean it. This has to do with California and it's smog problem. But, I don't think all the bugs are worked out of their systems for cleaning the exhaust.

So, tomorrow will be spent at a Freightliner (a first on type of truck), hoping that we can get back on the road soon with a fixed truck.

I am not holding my breath on it being a quick fix (it hasn't been in the past, but maybe Freightliner is better at this stuff).

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Hunger Games

I've watched the first Hunger Games movie, and I started reading the book while visiting a friend a few years ago, but I didn't get to finish reading the book then. I know, generally, what's going to happen.

But it's occurred to me that Suzanne Collins has done a wonderful job of presenting a limited point of view by telling us the story just from Katniss' view point. Katniss does not know what to make of Peeta Mellark. She isn't sure what all he's doing to gain an advantage in the games. She's convinced that he's only being nice/hanging out with her before the games start because he's following orders and trying to get sponsors to like him. She doesn't know what to make of his interview where he says he loves her. She doesn't trust him, understandably, or anything he says or does. Not that I truly think Peeta is lying for most of this, but that she doesn't feel like she can trust anyone, so she doesn't.

And it's so refreshing to not know the whole story. Because in real life, we only know our motives unless someone else actually tells us why they are doing what they are doing. Motives stay fuzzy, and we can't always be sure of why someone is doing something.

Of course, the true story is about a government that forces kids to kill each other for entertainment/punishment. It's about a girl who is willing to sacrifice her life (again) for her family. It's not a warm and fuzzy kind of story. Katniss is sympathetic, but only because the story is told from her point of view. It's oddly easier to feel bad for Rue, who didn't have an older sister volunteer as tribute for her, especially since she reminds Katniss of Prim. Rue, who is 12 and knows she's not likely to survive. Rue, who makes an alliance with Katniss in the arena. Rue, who's death helped start a revolution (Although, why it took until her death to anger enough people to even start to revolt, I will never understand. 73 years of teenagers dying was okay, but that 74th year was too much?).

I can understand why this book was made into a movie. The vivid scenes almost beg to be turned into a visual medium, and not just reliant upon people's imagination. Katniss shooting an arrow into the apple in a hog's mouth, Katniss' descriptions of the capital, the entrances of all the tributes in carriages to introduce them, again, to the audience within the book, the pageantry of the interviews and the clothing that goes with them, these are all scenes that are vividly painted, but seem to be asking to be made into artwork or a movie.

I am in awe of Suzanne Collins' writing. She does an amazing job. And she makes it easy to understand the horror of being pulled into these games, of competing, and of losing a loved one to the games. She takes a horrifying idea, and makes it an entertaining read. That is impressive. And a bit haunting.

Thursday, October 6, 2016


I have taken the MBTI test more than once in my life. It usually has been varied on what letters it gives me based on how I'm thinking/feeling that day. Except the I for introverted. I have always been an I, which does not surprise me in the least. I've joked about becoming a hermit, because I am generally good with staying home most of the time. I don't really get cabin fever unless I can't actually go anywhere. The ability to leave keeps me content with not leaving, oddly enough.

This spring (I think), Ace and I took the test. He got ISTJ, but it was fairly inconclusive for the S verses N (It was within a standard deviation of being truly neutral on that.). I got INFJ, which made more and more sense I started researching what was said about INFJ.

INFJ is apparently a very low percentage of the population (2% total, 1% of males, and 2% of females) and is the type most often mistyped because we are somewhat chameleon like in how we test/are perceived. I think it's more because we likely to answer slightly differently based on mood.

And if I stick to more of an explanation based on psychology, I am totally an INFJ. If I start moving toward people's ideas of what an INFJ is, I start feeling like I've been mistyped. But the overall explanations seem more accurate than not, so I'm proclaiming it. I am an INFJ.

All of that is an explanation of the way I blog. INFJ understands feelings from outside themselves, so they understand how they feel when they talk them out (or write them out). This is why my posts probably seem to be a bit of a word salad, thought experience thing. They kind of are. It's my way of organizing my thoughts and feelings and understanding them without bothering Ace about them all. I don't know how he feels about me doing this, but I imagine he appreciates it.

I will admit to having spent some time obsessing over INFJ information. And feeling more and more like I understand some things about myself more than ever. I've felt less broken in general and realized why I feel like I don't really connect with people easily. I've started to understand why so many things seem so personal and risky to share to others, even when I know the risk is small and who cares what someone else thinks?

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Mr. Darcy and Ms. Bennet

I watched through The Lizzie Bennet Diaries this week. I blew through them videos for the main story in two days, and today (day 3) I watched all of the supporting videos. If you haven't seen them and liked Pride and Prejudice, I suggest you go watch them on YouTube. There are 100 episodes of the Diaries, with 10 Q&A videos, 2 epilogue videos, and 33 videos from Lydia Bennet's point of view. They change a few things from the books (Mr. Collins proposes a business partnership instead of marriage, Mary is the Bennet sister's cousin and Kitty is Lydia's cat, Mr. Bingley becomes Bing Lee and loses a sister), but the changes don't detract from the story. (The biggest change is what happens between Lydia and Wickham. Well, that and Caroline Lee being the one to give Darcy hope instead of his Aunt Catherine.)

And it got me thinking about Mr. Darcy (both the one in the book and the one in the show). He comes across, to Elizabeth, as very proud and stuck-up. Lizzie calls him a robot at one point. And he does have a very old fashioned way of speaking (in the videos, period appropriate for the book). But, as he eventually shows in the videos (once he starts actually being in them), he's more shy and awkward and not quite comfortable with being in the public eye (which is weird, because he's a CEO of a company, someone who would be in the public eye). He does seem to relax around Lizzie and start showing his softer side, even before he thinks he might have a shot with Lizzie after all.

And I realized that most introverts and shy people seem to wear suits of armor to people. Mostly because they don't know what is going on in our heads. We seem distant and unapproving and judgemental, when we are really just listening and thinking and caring. Because talking can often be hard, words can be hard sometimes. And people seem to think quiet people are judging, even when we are mentally checked out.

The problem with trying to pin much of any characteristics to Mr. Darcy, I will admit, comes from the fact that we learn things mostly from Elizabeth Bennet's point of view. And her view is limited, partly by her own pride and partly from her not being present for so much of the backstory of the Darcy family and their dealings with George Wickham. Which is not to say that the book Elizabeth is an unreliable narrator (nor the video Lizzie), but that we only learn things as she learns them. We don't know what Bingley (or Bing Lee, in general) thinks of Darcy. We don't know how much of his initial insults of Miss Bennet stem from being shy or introverted and being forced into conversations and dealings with all manner of people when he's not ready for it. He does seem, in the books, more comfortable in Bingley's house (even with Jane and Elizabeth there). Anyone who might have slowly warmed up to him the first time they read the book might warm up to him faster the second time around when seeing his attempts at showing Elizabeth his warming interest.

I will admit that The Lizzie Bennet Diaries does end without anyone married or engaged, but Bing Lee and Jane are dating and seem to be moving towards that and Darcy and Lizzie are dating with potential for future marriage. Lydia is single and trying to figure out what to do with herself, after her disastrous relationship with George Wickham (and her videos show, even before the relationship, how much the Lydia in the videos is trying to hide her loneliness and fear of losing her sisters behind a party girl attitude, which was her armor).

I don't know what Jane Austen would think of her characters being portrayed like they are in the videos. I would hope that she would enjoy it, even with some interesting changes. I know that I did.

Monday, September 12, 2016


I have been watching some Ted Talks lately. Brené Brown has a couple of them, talking about vulnerability. And Glennon Doyle Melton talked about her past, sharing her vulnerability.

And it amazes me how much people try to numb themselves. Not that I don't understand the desire. I've felt those scary lows. Deeply. Intimately. And I know how bad they hurt and how much you start wondering if this is your new normal. That is, when depression isn't numbing me to nearly everything.

But you can't just numb the lows. You would numb all the highs, and I wouldn't give those up for anything. As bad as depression is, as bad as some of my life experiences have been (and I'm not ready to talk about them yet), I know that numbing the pain won't work.

That doesn't mean I've not done something to help in those bad times. Chocolate is helpful in keeping depression from fully taking over or pulling me away from the edge sometimes. My husband is even better at helping.

But I don't want to dim my life because I'm afraid of the lows. I don't want to miss the highs. I'd rather be vulnerable.

I'm pretty sure that I would probably find it easy to get addicted, if I let myself. (Sometimes it's a good thing to be a bit of a control freak.) But the lack of control, the lack of being able to think clearly, would spiral me further into panic.

So, I don't numb myself. I remain vulnerable. I keep my heart tender. And I suffer from people being stupid. But I get to feel joy at the idea of my sister's wedding (later this month). I get to rejoice at how precious my niece is (My sister had a baby nearly a year ago!). I get to be present and smile and laugh and cry and hurt. And I don't have to fight to figure out how to get past all those long ignored emotions to be here.

I don't proclaim myself better than anyone else. I'm just doing my best. I'm trying to figure out my next right thing. I have hardly any of the answers.

But I do know that numb is not the way to go through life.

(At some point, I will post about something positive. I just don't know when that will be. I seem to be working through some things.)

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Let's Be Honest Here

Note: I haven't posted in forever, I know. I don't even know what I last wrote about, and I know at one point I promised funny stories about trucking. This is not that post. I don't know if that post will ever exist, because sometimes that is how my life goes. I have these good intentions, and then other things become urgent and important (not the same thing, by the way) and they take over everything. (End random semi-explanation, start actual post)

I'm getting more honest with myself. We were watching a documentary on Netflix about Tony Robbins (called Tony Robbins: I Am Not Your Guru). I realized that if I had been there, the biggest thing I want to change in my life does not have to do with our finances (even though I want them to change) or the fact that we are still not parents yet (I realized how much of a blessing that has been the last few years, even though I've been wanting to be a mom through them all). The biggest thing I want to change in my life is to stop hating myself.

I don't always hate myself. In fact, I'm often fond of me. I know I have my issues, but I am working on them. I am not just settling and declaring myself done with growing.

But then there are those days. The ones that I spend the whole day wanting to go lay back down because being upright is just so pointless. The ones where I feel like I can do nothing right and all the mistakes I've made in the past two or three years come back to haunt me. And the memories won't shut up. Depression tries to come back.

And on those days, I hate myself. For feeling week enough to believe the lies that depression makes. For believing the harmful things that my mother said so many years ago are things that are still true. For not loving myself enough.

I don't want to hurt myself, even on those bad days. But depression isn't about physical pain, although there is usually some of that with the emotional pain. I just want to lay down and not move, because it feels like there is no point.

I am thankful for my husband, who doesn't let me dwell in the pain and spiraling lies. He brings me food and does whatever he can to make me laugh. He hugs me and gives me the love I can't seem to give myself. He won't leave me alone in my pain, which is the best thing for me, despite depression telling me that I don't deserve these things.

I want to stop hating myself. I want to love me, even on bad days. If I do, maybe they won't be so bad. I want to know, without a doubt, that I am better than all those bad thoughts tell me I am. And most days, I do feel that way. And I am so thankful for that.

I am stronger than I think.

And so are you.

Friday, February 6, 2015

A Modest Post

Today, I'm going to talk about modesty. Which almost makes me want to roll my eyes because why is this something to have to write about?

(I will post weird stories from the road sometime... I'm just not sure when.)

Recently (meaning in the last two weeks), I've read two different blog posts and an article on modesty. The article was about one of the blog posts. They were all fairly reasonable statements about modesty and all of them coming from a Christan basis. Apparently, there was a big uproar about them online. Which strikes me as stupid, because most of the people complaining were probably not the intended audience.

One of the blog posts was about the author's decision to stop wearing leggings as pants outside her house unless her shirt covered her behind. To help Christian men to not have as big a problem with lust. She wasn't necessarily trying to tell everyone else what to do or that they should wear clothes that are a size too big and cover from neck to knee at minimum. Just that maybe wearing leggings as pants is not the best thing for a modest woman to do. She put it on her blog to encourage accountability, most likely. To help her keep to her new decision. It was something she had been thinking about and struggling with for a bit and finally decided and shared her decision. It was a nice post that reminded me as a Christian that I am accountable for my intentions behind my clothes and caused me to think about my wardrobe for about 5 minutes before remembering that I'm actually a fairly modest dresser naturally and that, other than one t-shirt, most of my shirts come to at least below the waist (that one comes down to the waistband of my pants) and that I plan on replacing it later this year, before I'm likely to wear it.

The article I mentioned was based off that blog post. About how people need to calm down and carefully read that this woman was talking about changing her own behavior. And to not give her grief about following her own morals about modest dressing.

The other blog post was written by the mom of teen boys. She was writing to teen girls about appropriate pictures to take and post on FaceBook. She and her husband monitor what their boys can see and will weed out female friends of their sons if they are wearing immodest clothing. Her main point was that posting pictures in pajamas from their room was not becoming and that it will get them dropped and don't they want their future husbands to think of them as being modest. I struggled more with this blog post, because I see both sides better. This was not someone talking about their own behavior only, but about what they feel other's should do. But I understand, from a Christian standpoint, what they meant. The pictures may have been less modest than should be shared on FaceBook or anywhere online.

I found that post based off a link that briefly mentioned that she should be teaching her sons that they are responsible for their own thoughts. And there is some truth to that, but I understand wanting to help them by removing a source of potential temptation to sin. It's not a bad thing to remind people that their actions have consequences, even if the consequences are as simple as being unfriended for posting less modest pictures.

The thing is, I'm not anyone else's voice of morality at this point. I just have me, and only slightly Ace when he is really tired, to concern myself with. I don't have to tell a daughter that her clothes are immodest or tell a son that he needs to not think lustfully after someone just because of what they are wearing. I can understand both sides of the conflict that is in people's heads. I don't have the right to tell you what to do. But I also need to take my actions and intentions to heart when I make decisions based on what I wear.

As I said, I'm a fairly modest dresser. Right now, I'm wearing jeans and a long sleeve shirt, with a pair of exercise pants under the jeans and a hoodie over the shirt (It's cold outside, so I layer to stay warm). Tomorrow, I'll go without the exercise pants. The hoodies are a most of the year thing, dropped completely only in summer, and still with one not too far away because I get cold long before my husband. My hoodies are not really all that form fitted, even if the shirts under are somewhat. Until I finally get around to having breast reduction surgery (because I doubt that I can just lose enough weight to drop my bra size down to a reasonable size), there will be no questions about my gender from the front. 38H is just too large to hide. And I'm currently just grabbing appropriately sized shirts from Walmart to replace my old ones, so the shirts will mostly be snugger than the older ones (I may grab some of the more fun ones from the men's department next time, because I want fun shirts).

I don't generally flaunt my body to anyone but my husband. But I don't try to hide it all away either. I'm much more likely to go for comfort over tight fit. Because I don't want to feel uncomfortable all day. I've always gone for comfort first. That's why I wear sneakers or flats if I have to dress up. Because I'll whine if I'm uncomfortable. Thankfully, comfortable clothes are generally fairly modest. I do have a couple of shirts that show cleavage, but unless you are looking over my shoulder, you shouldn't see that much. And if you are, why are you looking over my shoulder? (Not you, Ace. I know why you are looking over my shoulder.)

What you decide to do when it comes to clothes is not really my business. But, if you are Christian, please keep in mind that the Bible tells us not to be a stumbling block to other Christians. If that means you stop wearing leggings as pants without long shirts, then that's not generally that big of a thing to give up. If that means you wear shirts that are less cleavage bearing, go you. I'll support you in that. But if you aren't Christian, you've got to figure out your own moral compass. I would suggest that leggings as pants are probably not the best plan, but that's up to you.

These thoughts are by no means my only ones, but they are the only ones I feel comfortable sharing.

P.S.: Sorry for the title. Unless it made you smile.