Friday, December 4, 2009

4 Years Ago

4 Years Ago...

1.When You look at yourself in the mirror, what's the first thing you think? I don't look in the mirror very often, but I guess I think the same thing I thought 4 years ago - "Looks just like me!"

2. How much cash do you have on you? No idea...maybe $2 and some change?

3. What's a word that rhymes with TEST? REST

4. Favorite planet? Earth is nice...

5. Who is the 4th person on [your] missed call list? Mr. John Mitchell

6. What is your main ring tone on your phone? "I'll Follow the Sun"

7. What shirt are you wearing? This one!



8. Do you "label" yourself? Um....4 years ago, I said "cute." I guess I'll stick with that.

9. Name the brand of your shoes you're currently wearing right now: I'm wearing socks from Little MissMatched

10. Bright or Dark Room? Definitely bright! I need more lamps in my house.

11. What do you think about the person who took this survey before you? What do I think about 24-year-old me? Hummmm....She did her best.

13. What were you doing at midnight last night? Watching the Steven Segal reality cop show with John...

14. What did your last text message you received on your cell say? "I liked doing it ;)"

15. What's a saying that you say a lot? Crud!

16. Who told you they loved you last? :)

18. Last furry thing you touched? Fun fur yarn

19. How Many Drugs Have You Done In The Past three Days? Maybe 5? All prescription or generic painkiller.

20. How many rolls of film do you need to get developed? Nobody uses FILM anymore...

21. Favorite age you have been so far? 4 years ago, I said 19...I'll stick with that. Definitely NOT 28.

22. Your worst enemy? My old team leader...

23. What is your current desktop picture? A picture of Kaikoura in New Zealand.



24. What was the last thing you said to someone? I don't know...I haven't talked to anybody today.

25. If you had to choose between a million bucks or to be able to change a major regret: I think I'd change a major regret...I miss my old life. A lot... :(

26. Do you like someone? I do...

27. The last song you listened to? The Golden Girls theme song!

Yarrrrr



Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New profile picture!

I changed the picture of me on here (look to your right). It's one Scottish Stu took when I was in New Zealand. We were at Lake Tekapo (take-a-poo! Ha! That never stops being funny to me...) on our way back up from Queenstown.

It's one of my favorite pictures. I look small and insignificant compared to the big, wide world around me...but I also kinda look invincible or something. I don't know. Any opinions?

It's been a while....

Hello world,

I haven't posted in a while so it's an excellent excuse to procrastinate!

Life's about the same as usual. I get by.

I was sick last week. I worried that I'd get REALLY sick and end up with medical debt the rest of my life. Fortunately, I felt better in a few days - my nice friend John took care of me (which meant putting up with Law and Order marathons and the Golden Girls - and also Diff'rent Strokes! My Comcast digital cable has random TV shows "on demand" for free!)

Halloween was uneventful. I did a wee bit of decorating - including a Halloween tree - and wore my cat ears. The Halloween tree was the Tree of Life from Advantus. I had fun making random decorations for it. I think it's going to be my Christmas tree too...and maybe I'll have Valentine, St Patrick's Day, and Easter trees....

My little cousin Violyt was here for a sleepover the previous weekend. She's 4 and WAY too adorable for her own good! (And also for mine...I'm thinking her parents should start looking into all-girl schools ASAP!) It was her first time having a sleepover with just me so that was pretty exciting for her.

We watched Cinderella, some Scooby Doo movie where the gang was vacationing in Australia and then decide they should go to a vampire music festival, Milo and Otis, Pippi Longstocking (my favorite!), and finally a few painful episodes of Dora the Explorer ("Swiper no swiping! Swiper no swiping!!!" Ugh.)

It's easy to see how kids end up being baby-sat by TV. I was exhausted and letting her watch TV and movies kept her happy and entertained...We DID do other stuff, though, so I don't feel TOO guilty.

Violyt was obsessed with the wallpaper picture on my iMac. It's a picture of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn from The Tudors (still in love with that show - gotta get season 3!). She kept asking who the "pretty girl" was. I'm no good at talking down or lying to kids so I told her all about how he married the king and then he chopped her head off because she didn't have a baby boy. She was fascinated...She begged me to let her watch that part of the show, but even though I'm not the most perfect baby-sitter, I DO have common sense!

It was pretty cute...seemed to like saying "Anne Boleyn" - she'd ask, "what's that girl's name again?" and I'd tell her and then she'd say it. After about the 200th time, I told her she already knew and prompted her with "Anne...." and she'd say, "Anne Boleyn!" in her adorable little girl way. I wish I had recorded her saying it - what's more adorable than the cutest 4-year-old ever proudly saying, "That's Anne Boleyn - she had her head chopped off!!!"

My little cousins make me happy. :)

Friday, October 9, 2009

It hurts.

A lot.

A really whole lot.

I miss you, Daddy.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

On and On...

Listen to this...You can watch it too, if you want. The listening is the important part, though.

Wilco - "On and On and On..."


It starts at about 30 seconds in...

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Happy Birthday, Pat Gustafson!

My dad should've been 54 today.

I miss him.

So much.

Every.

Single.

Day.

Dad - I wish you well...I hope it didn't - and doesn't - hurt too much. I'm sure you're being brave regardless. Please try to understand that I'm doing my very best. I love you - forever and ever.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

I'll always be there when you wake...

Hello World.

The nights are the hardest.

I remember nights spent at the hospital just 6 short months ago.

The hospital gets dark and quiet at night, but it never stops breathing.

A new nurse would take over for the last. She was never the same. Some were memorable, mostly for being particularly kind and caring. It was always a "she."

While my dad was turned and cleaned and adjusted for the night, I'd drift around the sleeping hospital in my pajamas and socks. I never felt under-dressed at the hospital. I would eat popsicles from the freezer at the nurses' station and pace the quiet hallways, always respecting my dad's privacy.

I knew that's what he'd want. He said so until he could no longer say anything, but I still respected him.

By the time the nurse was done, I would be outside his room waiting. I'd hope they didn't hurt him, that he was comfortable, that he'd sleep peacefully.

He was always uncomfortable afterward, though, I think.

The sounds he made...

He was always a loud sleeper, especially prone to snoring.

His snoring comforted me. His snoring was a sound I grew up with. A sound that meant "home."

The sounds he made in the hospital were different. They were sounds nobody should ever have to hear.

They were sounds that still haunt me.

It was not quite moaning, not quite gasping...

It was a sound that could drive a person to madness.

I'd sit beside my dad's bed and find something on TV to watch - HGTV or Law and Order or a news channel. I'd talk to him randomly about whatever it was.

They said he probably heard me, probably knew I was there, probably felt comforted by that.

I'd lie my head next to him and place his large, warm arm around my small, tired neck.

I didn't cry. Not out loud.

I'd set the sleep timer on the TV then arrange the little bed I slept in - a vinyl-c0vered chair that fully reclined. I had itchy hospital blankets and a pillow made of plastic that would get a large air bubble if I lied my head on it without thinking.

I would eventually fall into a deep sleep. A deep sleep filled with vivid dreams that I don't remember.

I'd usually wake with the hospital, feeling clammy and exhausted.

One morning I woke to my dad's voice frantically calling for me. His oxygen tube had come out of his nose and he gasped for air, for the less labored breathing that the tube that rested on his mustache provided him. I helped him and he asked for one of his best friends, Barry. I told him it was 6 AM, Barry wasn't there yet, that I would get him. I teased him for thinking that the rest of the world woke as early as he always had. I called Barry. I told him my dad was calling for him and I asked him to come - he was on his way.

I asked him if he had dreams. He said he kind of did. He couldn't explain what he meant. I didn't ask.

The nights got worse.

My dad would take a gasp of a breath then...pause...I'd count. 1...2...3...4...5...6...7...8...9...10...11...finally - another gasp for air....then more counting.

As I lied with my head resting beside my dad, I'd say, "Don't forget to breathe, Dad."

During his last night, one of the best nurses asked me why I said that. I told her I didn't know...I told her I didn't know what else to say. She gently reminded me that he was suffering, that he would die.

I told her I didn't know what else to say.

I didn't tell her that I didn't want him to die, that I was scared, that I wanted to SCREAM it at him, that I needed my daddy to remember to breathe because I NEEDED him to live.

She told me to tell him I loved him, to tell him happy memories.

I told him I loved him over and over again. I practically begged him to tell me that he loved me too. I think he did. I'm not sure.

I hate that I'm not sure, that I can't hear it the way I can hear the awful, painful sounds he made.

I didn't cry. Not out loud.

I talked and talked. I told him that the Obama family had gotten a dog, that there were Somali pirates, that Tiger Woods didn't win, that MN still couldn't settle on a senator. When I ran out of things to say, I listed all the places he'd been. Japan, Australia, Battle Creek, Thailand, Hong Kong, Memphis, Disney World, France, Colombia, New Zealand, Idaho...on and on.

They were our nights. Me and my daddy. Just us.

I liked that.

When he died, it did not feel like he simply fell asleep. He was too quiet. For 15 minutes, I held his dead hand. My hand, so small in his. I felt it go cold. I told him I loved him forever and ever.

I didn't cry. Not out loud.

4:15 PM on 4/15/09. He was 53.

I hope he knew I was there. I hope it comforted him.

I hope he knows how much I love him.

I wish he could help me sleep now. I wish I could feel the weight of his arm around my tired neck. I wish I could re-live each and every one of those painful nights. I wish I could know he's not suffering anymore. I wish I could rest in peace.

I hope that he'll forgive me for crying. Out loud.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

"On and On and On" by Jeff Tweedy

I usually hate when people just post random lyrics as a blog entry, but sometimes Jeff Tweedy says it much better than me...

On and on and on we’ll stay together yeah
On and on and on we’ll be together yeah
You and I will try to stay together yeah
On and on and on we’ll be together yeah


Please don’t cry we’re designed to die
Don’t deny what’s inside
On and on and on we’ll stay together yeah
On and on and on

One day we’ll disappear together in a dream
However short or long our lives are going to be
I will live in you or you will live in me
Until we disappear together in a dream

Please don’t cry we’re designed to die
You can’t deny even the gentlest tide
On and on and on we’ll be together yeah
On and on and on
On and on and on
We’re going to try

Please don’t cry
This world of words and meanings makes you feel
outside
Something that you feel already
deep inside
You’ve denied
Go ahead and cry

On and on and on we’ll stay together yeah
On and on and on
On and on and on

You and I will stay together yeah
You and I will try to make it better yeah

From Wilco's Sky Blue Sky album, words by Jeff Tweedy

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Life on Planet Amy

Hello world,

It's over a week into September.

How is that possible?

I don't like it...

It's going to be Halloween before I know it and then I'll be old (29) and hating the holidays and by the time I realize it, it'll be 2010!

Maybe that's not such a BAD thing, though...

Time heals all wounds, right?

Right???

Right.

Life's ok these days.

No, I do NOT have a job yet - thanks for asking, though. I know you mean well. I'm getting by so no need to worry.

I guess that's about all...I'm drinking wine (Fish Eye's Cabernet Sauvignon - quite classy!) and listening to the Juno soundtrack. My mom's here - she is sewing - and Bailey is sleeping (with an occasional bark at the crazy chihuahua 2 houses down.)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

What I was Loving a Year Ago


My awesome dinosaur painting -

The mighty,
the ferocious,
the robust,
the thunderous....

the Thesaurus Rex!

3 Things: 3 Things I'm Currently Loving

1. The Mazda Trois

2. The Tudors on DVD


3. My yellow sweat pants from Old Navy - I got them a long time ago so no picture, but I'm wearing them right now and they are very soft and comfortable - and they have a drawstring so they don't fall off. Gotta love that.

So sweet...

Aren't they just the sweetest little things?

I was watching them while we had a garage sale at my cousin's house earlier this summer.

I left them on the front porch for, like, 5 minutes (maybe it was closer to 30...or 45....whatever) and came out to find them in costume and about to battle it out over some stupid plate. I doubt either of them had ever noticed it before, but they both HAD to have it...

Once I started taking pictures, the plate was forgotten - probably forever.

I love them. :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Personality Analysis via Facebook

I took the "What's Your Myers-Briggs Personality Type?" quiz on Facebook so I have no question that it is entirely scientific and accurate (that's me being sarcastic), but anyway, here's my result:

Introversion, iNtuition, Feeling, Perception

You are idealistic, loyal to your values
and to people who are important to you.

You want an external lif
e that
is congruent with your values.

You are curious, quick to see possibilities,
and can be a catalyst for implementing ideas.

You seek to understand people and
to help them fulfill their potential.

You are adaptable, flexible, and accepting -
unless a value is threatened.

Famous people with your same INFP personality include:
Mary the Blessed Virgin, Hellen Keller,
William Shakespeare, John F. Kennedy Jr.,
Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Julia Roberts.


What do you think? Does that sound like me?

By the way, I was surprised to discover that the Blessed Virgin Mary took this quiz...

My blog's been a wee bit depressing lately....


....but there is a lot to love about my life.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

3 Months

The text is kinda small...It says:

Dear Dad,

Well, it's been 3 months. I'm getting by - it's hard, but I'm happy, overall. I know that's what you'd want - I guess that makes it easier.

Yesterday I wrote the speech I'll give at your burial. I don't know how I feel about fumbling through another speech in front of the gazillion people who love you, but I'll do my best.

My little cousin Lydia asks about you a lot. You never met her and I don't know why she's so curious about you, but it is really sweet. She loves looking at old pictures of you - she says you were "very handsome!" - and she's decided her favorite band is the Beatles. She and I often dance to "I'll Follow the Sun" and "Ob-la-di, Ob-la-da."

I talked to Barry yesterday. He misses you too. Everybody does, of course...I think I do the most, though.

Love you, miss you,
Amy

Life goes on.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Too tired to sleep

I'm exhausted. Very, very exhausted. The kind of exhausted that keeps me from being able to fall asleep.

No good.

I went up north to the cabin Saturday morning and got home around 8 tonight - a short, but fun mini-vacation. The weather was perfect and I watched fireworks for the first time in....a long time. Lots of running around with my little cousins, swimming, fetch with Bailey (who is happy to get in the water and show off his doggy paddle this year!), grilling, tubing (none for me - I just went along for the ride), a bit of bocce ball, and sparklers!

It was a good time, but all that time running around in the sun really exhausted me (I can be redundant because I am tired.) There were LOTS more people around than I am used to up there - I think that wore me out too. I get overwhelmed when things are chaotic and I don't really get the chance to recharge.

Life is weird...I've been going to the cabin pretty much my whole life. It feels exactly the same, but totally different at the same time. It's changed a lot - the cabin, the neighbors, the lake, the town...there's MORE of everything.

My little cousins are growing up so fast. People always say that about kids, but I have only recently realized just how true it is. I remember being up there when my cousin was pregnant with the oldest kid - he's 8 1/2 now. A few years ago, he fell off the dock - it was near shore and he didn't get hurt or anything, but he was scared and cried and cried...Now I can throw him in the lake and he laughs - then runs back on the dock and pushes me in.

My life is totally opposite of my cousin's. She's living "The American Dream" and I'm...just me. I'm not at all surprised that we turned out so differently, but it still feels kind of weird sometimes. As often as I feel like a part of the family, I feel like a total outsider. Always welcome, but odd...

I can't find the right words to describe it.

It's not bad. Just odd. Sometimes.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Thursday Review: Picnik

If you use Flickr, then you've probably heard of Picnik (that little button above your photo that says "EDIT PHOTO" will take you there). I used the free version via Flickr for a wee bit, liked the interface, and noticed that there were several features that sounded really cool, but weren't available without the $24.95 premium subscription (1 year). After getting VERY frustrated with Photoshop so many times, I decided that was a reasonable cost! I haven't used it a TON yet, but I decided it was worth a review!


Who: Piknik

What: Online photo-editing software

Price: Free for standard features, $24.95 for a year of the premium version

Where: Flickr or www.picnik.com

Why: Definitely worth checking out for all the fun features - and it is so much easier to use than Photoshop!

Pros:
  • Cool artsy effects and touch-up features like teeth whiten and blemish remover (listed on the "Create" page)
  • Nothing to download
  • It is very CUTE!
  • Far less complicated than Photoshop - and I prefer the interface to PhotoshopExpress
  • Integrated with Flickr
  • Easy to use with Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Picasa, Webs, Webshots, Photobucket, and more
  • Fullscreen capability (although this mode disables keyboard shortcuts)
  • All the changes you make are saved
Cons:
  • A downloadable version would be nice - lots of uploading your photos for editing, downloading to print, uploading to printing website like Shutterfly
  • The Flash interface can be a wee bit annoying
  • It can take a relatively long time for photos to load
  • $24.95 is a reasonable price, but assuming I want to continue using it, next year at this time, it'll have costed me $50...a one-time fee would be preferable.
  • As I edited photos, I expected the changes to save within Picnik, but they are only saved to the version you actually save to your computer or whatever
  • You have to save each photo before editing the next
More things worth mentioning:
  • Firefox add-on available here
  • You can send your Picnik-editied images to QOOP for prints - I'm not familiar with QOOP, but it looks pretty cool and the prices and products available are comparable to other sites (although I'd rather be able to pick up my photos from Target than pay for shipping and wait for them to be mailed to me)...I'd be more likely to try QOOP if they had some deal for signing up - like 25 free prints!
  • You can also easily print from home from the site
  • The "stickers" and "text" features seem perfect for simple digital scrapbooking
My rating:
  • ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ - I really like how fun and easy picnik is to use, but I have to give it 3 stars because I'd really like to be able to send my images directly to a site for printing that has in-store pick up. I also think that I'd rather be able to download the software and use it off-line. Try the free features and if y0u like it, I definitely recommend the $24.95 subscription.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

To my dad.


In case the text is too small to read, it says:

Dad,

never thought I could handle missing somebody as much as I miss you...every single day. I like to think you are watching over me, even though I know you’d tell me that is silly.

I hope you miss me too...I also hope you are proud of me and forgive me for all the times I was stubborn or didn’t answer your calls or call you back.

I hope you know that I was with you till the very end and that I would not have wanted it any other way.

Rest in peace, Dad. I promise that I am doing my best. I love you forever and ever.

Love,
Amy


Happy Father's Day.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Zoinks

Hi from Buffalo...and my cousin's really annoying computersauraus with its whopping 448 MB of RAM and its blazing fast DSL connection.

I've been hanging out here since yesterday, helping her out with a garage sale. I agreed to contribute some junk and help watch the kids and whatever, assuming that a garage sale in the middle of no where would be pretty quiet...

Not so much.

There were people lined up to buy our junk at 7 AM today! People just kept coming...It quieted down for a wee bit around lunch time, but then it was non-stop people again till after 5. I have no idea how much money we made, but I'm guessing the toal is well over $500. I didn't bring much stuff - mostly just some clothes, books, and a few old board games - but even I made over $50. Not bad...

It's been pretty annoying, though. I really wanted to get my resume submitted and work on my Linked In profile that I set up a while ago, but never really did anything with; however, this computer goes sooooo slow and my cousin kept needing me to run outside so I kept getting logged out and/or forgetting what I was doing and having to start over. Not a very productive day...

Most of the family is off watching Payton play baseball - it's just me and the girls here now. We made art projects and then they started watching an old Scooby Doo movie (starring the Harlem Globetrotters!) so I came up here to try and work on my resume, but wrote this instead. The movie must have ended because I can hear them arguing downstairs - guess I better go find something else for them to do....

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Music to Grieve by....

Choosing the music for my dad's funeral was a very big deal to me. My dad loved music and hated funerals; thus, it had to be perfect.

And I think it was.

"The road is long,
With many a winding turn

That leads us to who knows where,
Who knows when

But I'm strong"

The funeral opened with "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother" by the Hollies. Not a song I was familiar with, but one that meant a lot to my uncle (my dad's little brother) and also my mom. I guess it was one of my dad's favorites back in the 70's. I have come to like it a lot.

"And now the time has come,
so my love I must go"

The next song was the end of my eulogy - "I'll Follow the Sun" by the Beatles. It's one of my favorite songs ever. It is sad but it is so full of hope and love.

"Fare you well, fare you well,
I love you more than words can tell,

Listen to the river sing sweet songs,
to rock my soul"

The song I picked for the "quiet reflection" was "Brokedown Palace" by the Grateful Dead (don't tell my Gramma...I think I have her convinced it is one of the "later hymns"...)

Pastor Jack was a Dead-Head! When I met with him before the funeral, I was telling him the music I picked and got to this song and started to think maybe a Priest wouldn't really approve of the Grateful Dead for whatever reason...So, I was, like, "Um....it's a nice song...very pretty...about 5 minutes long...it's..about a river...it's...um...called...um...'Brokedown Palace'..." He responded by SINGING it to me then telling me that he's see the Dead 30 times or something! Awesome...

Anyway.

"Though I know I'll never lose affection,
For people and things that went before
,
I know I'll often stop and think about them,
In my life I love you more..."

The funeral ended with "There Are Places I Remember" by the Beatles. I picked it mostly for the way it FEELS rather than the lyrics (although I love the lyrics too). It makes me think of love and friendship and happy memories...it's sort of wistful, but again, it has that element of hope that makes me feel better...

I just checked my thesaurus for a better word than "hope." Faith jumped out at me...

Interesting.

Gone Fishing

This is the verse we chose for the cards at my dad's funeral. We thought we ordered too many cards, but they were ALL gone within the first 5 minutes of the visitation. I read the verse during my eulogy and also included it in the many many many thank you cards we've sent...I'm thinking a lot about my dad this week so I thought I'd post it here:

Gone Fishing

Don’t grieve for me, I’ve gone fishing
Be not burdened with times of sorrow
I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow
My life’s been very full
Now I’m free to enjoy it all
If my parting has left a void
Then fill it with remembered joy
A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss
Ah, yes, these things I too will miss
Perhaps my time seemed all too brief
Don’t lengthen it now with undue grief
But remember me with a twinkle in my eye
I’m not far away
I’ve gone fishing.

Love you, Dad....forever and ever.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

I might as well live...

“Razors pain you; rivers are damp; acids stain you; and drugs cause cramp. Guns aren't lawful; nooses give; gas smells awful; you might as well live.”

Friday, May 8, 2009

The Breakfast Club


Just in case you didn't think I have enough lame t-shirts...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Pictures


Lots of new-old pictures on Flickr tonight...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The newest addition to my awesome wardrobe...


I've always been more of a cole slaw girl...

...but this makes me want potato salad!

http://thefunnypage.com/potato-sisters/

It's the little things that make life just a wee bit easier...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Woot!









I'm in love with shirt.woot!. The images above are all t-shirts I've gotten from them. Pretty awesome, huh?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Book thing....

I was "tagged" on Facebook to do this Q&A thing and I'm ready to blog about something that doesn't make me cry so here goes -

1) What author do you own the most books by?
Kurt Vonnegut

2) What book do you own the most copies of?
I can't think of any that I have more than one of.

3) Did it bother you that both those questions ended with prepositions?
Nope.

4) What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
Mark Renton from Trainspotting.

5) What book have you read the most times in your life?
I will guess The Monster at the End of This Book, starring Grover.

6) What was your favorite book when you were ten years old?
Pippi in the South Seas

7) What is the worst book you've read in the past year?
I have not been reading much in the past year...probably something about project management or software development.

8) What is the best book you've read in the past year?
Art Journals and Creative Healing: Restoring the Spirit Through Self-Expression
or The 4 Hour Work Week

9)If you could force everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?
I don't plan on "tagging" anybody, but I think everybody should read 1984.

10) Who deserves to win the next Nobel Prize for literature?
I have no idea who has won it in the past or what the criteria are, but I love David Sedaris so I'll say him.

11) What book would you most like to see made into a movie?
Eh...Maybe Porno, if it had the same cast as Trainspotting.

12) What book would you least like to see made into a movie?
I don't really care - I hardly ever watch movies.

13) Describe your weirdest dream involving a writer, book, or literary character.
I don't think I've ever had a dream of that sort.

14) What is the most lowbrow book you've read as an adult?
I don't read grocery store trash. (I still have the pretentious English major in me!)

15) What is the most difficult book you've ever read?
The first that comes to mind is Tender Buttons by Gertrude Stein.

16) What is the most obscure Shakespeare play you've seen?
Pericles, Prince of Tyre - just try and get more obscure than THAT.

17) Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
I liked Anna Karenina more than Madame Bovary...

18) Roth or Updike?
No opinion - haven't read either.

19) David Sedaris or Dave Eggers?
David Sedaris - Eggers can come up with a good title and write a decent introduction, but then...zzzzzzzzz...

20) Shakespeare, Milton, or Chaucer?
This is a dumb question - they are totally different with no grounds for comparison.

21) Austen or Eliot?
T.S. Eliot or George Eliot? It doesn't really matter - I'm not particularly fond of any of them.

22) What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
I haven't read a novel in over a year. I listen to audio books and read non-fiction...I don't know if I'll go back to reading tons of fiction or not and either way, I'm not embarrassed about my reading habits.

23) What is your favorite novel?
Gone With The Wind

24) Play?
King Lear or All My Sons, if you're in the mood to kill yourself

25) Poem?
Ummm...I guess "America" by Ginnsberg

26) Essay?
I'm not really sure what counts as an "essay" and the definition in my dictionary of literary terms looked long and boring so I'll just say "6 to 8 Black Men" by David Sedaris.

27) Short story?
"The Story of the Old Ram" by Mark Twain

28) Work of non-fiction?
Me Talk Pretty One Day, assuming that counts?

29) Who is your favorite writer?
Irvine Welsh, Kurt Vonnegut, Margaret Atwood, Ernie Hemingway, David Sedaris, Tim O'Brien, Shannon Olson

30) Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
Augusten Burroughs...he's ok, but people seem to really like him and I just don't get it.

31) What is your desert island book?
The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific by J. Maarten Troost - it's quite funny and seems applicable.

32) And ... what are you reading right now?
Alphabetica: An A-Z Creativity Guide for Collage and Book Artists

I wish...

I wish...

...it didn't hurt so much.

I'm tired of being strong.

I'm TIRED.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Comfort a'la Winnie the Pooh

If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together.. there is something you must always remember. you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. but the most important thing is, even if we're apart.. i'll always be with you.

So. This is life.

Well. Here I am.

It's funny how everything just goes on as though I never had a dad, as though he never died, as though I never hurt so freaking much.

I'm ok, though.

I really am.

I don't quite understand how...

I think I should be a mess, but I'm not.

It's not because I don't miss him.

I miss him so much. Every. Single. Day.

I miss him.

I'm strong.

I don't know how, but I am strong.

Some days are harder than others. Nights tend to be harder than the days. I get through them both, though.

Sometimes I want to kick and scream and yell and cry till my daddy comes back and makes it all better.

But I am strong.

Sometimes at night, I hold the stuffed bunny he held in one hand while he held mine in the other as he died and wish I could feel something.

Something spiritual.

Something deep.

Something meaningful.

I just feel empty and alone and sad and scared.

But I'm ok.

Somehow, I am ok.

There's nothing that can make this easier; nobody who can help. It is what it is.

Yet, I'm so grateful that I'm not alone.

It doesn't matter if anybody understands. I don't want them to. In fact, I wouldn't wish this on anybody.

It only matters that I'm not alone.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I miss my daddy....

Pictures of my dad and family and stuff...

People looked funny in the 70's.

It hurts so much...

:(

Friday, April 17, 2009

My Dad's Funeral

After a long, painful battle with cancer, my father passed away peacefully at 4:15 PM on Wednesday, April 15, 2009.

There will be an obituary in the Sunday edition of the Star Tribune (also online), but the funeral is on Monday so I wanted to send details in case anybody would like to send flowers or make a donation.

Memorial service for Patrick Gustafson
Cremation Society of Minnesota
7835 Brooklyn Blvd
Brooklyn Park, MN
Monday, April 20, 2009 at 12 PM (visitation beginning at 11)

Reception to follow at Minneapolis Elks Lodge #44
Xerxes and Brookdale Drive
Brooklyn Park, MN

Per my father's wishes, absolutely NO formal attire allowed!

Flowers can be delivered to the Cremation Society of Minnesota on Monday by 11 AM; donations can be sent to my address - contact me for details.

Please do not feel any obligation to attend the funeral or send anything. Mostly, my family and I appreciate your prayers, happy thoughts, and well-wishes. Please feel free to forward this message.

Love,

Amy Jane

Friday, April 3, 2009

>:(

Blogger is lying to me. I make changes to my layout, it tells me the changes have been saved....but have they???

NO.

I am very annoyed.

This is ALL I want to do right now -



Originally uploaded by f letter

Thursday, April 2, 2009

A blessing in disguise?


From PostSecret.

Hummm...

I can't decide if I agree or not. I like it, though.

It was definitely a relief, in a way.

Monday, March 30, 2009

A wee bit miserable.

Hello Blog-o-Sphere...

Life's not so great these days...

You may think it is, but it's SNOT!!

...I guess it's funnier when you actually hear it...

I don't know...not much to report. My dad is very sick and in a lot of pain. I sleep a lot to try and forget that. My cat keeps puking and I only half-heartedly try to stop the dog from eating it before I can clean it up...

But life is not ALL bad.

Not even close.

I just don't feel like elaborating on anything at the moment...

Blah.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Look what I made!!!




Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Benefit for my dad - * Saturday, March 21 from 4 to 9 PM *

I sent out this email today, but I think a lot of email programs rejected it because it looked like spam...Kinda funny that Spam is my dad's favorite food. Anyway, thought I'd post it here as well:

Hello,

First, sorry if you get multiple copies of this email - I have several email addresses for a lot of people and I don't know what is still valid and what you primarily check.

Anyway, if you haven't heard, my dad got sick last summer and it ended up being cancer. He underwent chemotherapy, but unfortunately it was not successful and the cancer has spread. His doctors don't think anything else can be done at this point...

He has not been able to work since last fall and does not have health insurance so, needless to say, his debt is substantial. So, his cousin and my aunt are having a benefit for him.

I know many of you have not met my dad and I hate asking for help or charity, but this is a very difficult time for me. So, I would appreciate your emotional support - and would also love to see you!

Here are the details:

Benefit for Patrick Gustafson
Saturday, March 21, 2009
4:00 - 9:00 PM

Elk's Lodge 44
2875 Brookdale Dr
Brooklyn Park, MN 55444

Cost: $10 (payable at the door)
Children are welcome!

Despite the circumstances, I think it will be fun. I have not been involved with the planning, but the Lodge has pool, darts, and a bar and there will be prizes and food. Feel free to bring your family or friends and forward this message to anybody else who may be interested.

Please do not feel bad if you are unable to attend - I know this is very short notice for many of you!

If you would cannot attend, but would still like to make a donation (and PLEASE do not feel obligated), you can send it to my house (I'm not sure how much longer my dad will be at his current address and because he has been in the hospital a lot this past month, he has not been receiving his mail regularly). Please contact me for my address!

Again, PLEASE do NOT feel at ALL compelled to attend or make a contribution - if you simply take a few moments to send some happy thoughts our way, it would mean a lot to me!

Cheers,

Amy Jane

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

At least there's that...

I can make cute stuff even when I feel sad and scared. That cheers me up. :)

Stupid Cancer

My dad had tests last Friday to determine whether or not his chemotherapy worked.

The doctors are not positive, but it's not looking good...

It could just be an inflammation.

My dad's in a lot of pain.

I hate cancer.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Trans-Continent Photography Project

Nic J and I both got fancy new cameras so we decided to start a project that I decided to name the Trans-Continent Photography Project. The idea is simple - he takes a picture of something in Florida, I take a picture of the same thing in Minnesota - or some creative variation of it. We've already completed Round #1 - Our Front Doors:


As Nic nicely put it,
This is my front door.. I figure it symbolized the beginning... An opening.
Anyway, it should be a fun way to start experimenting with my beloved new Rebel. It'll be a Rebel with a cause. Hee hee.

We started a Flickr group for our endeavor. You can see it here - and even join in, if you feel so inclined (but I should warn you that Nic and I are not the most organized, reliable, steadfast people - we get bored and distracted easily and tend to avoid doing anything that's not fun).

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Love at First Sight!



Monday, February 23, 2009

Maybe I will move to the Philippines...

I had to contact Comcast today to have STARZ removed (one of those 6-months-for-free-then-surprise!-$17-a-month-deals.)

I HATE dealing with this kind of stuff (customer service in general) - ESPECIALLY on the phone! I'm glad that many sites are adding on-line chat functionality - I think it is way more efficient and doesn't annoy me NEARLY as much. In fact, I actually kinda enjoyed my chat today:

Aerole.38809 > Hello Amy_, Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat Support.
My name is Aerole.38809. Please give me one moment to review your information.

Amy_ > Hello. I want to remove STARZ.
I think I had it free for 6 months - I've never watched it

Aerole.38809 > Hi Amy. How are you doing today?

Amy_ > I'm doing well. How are you?

Aerole.38809 > I am doing fine. Thank you for asking.

Amy_ > Where are you located? (I'm just curious)

Aerole.38809 > I will be more than happy to assist you with your concern for today.

Amy_ > Thanks

Aerole.38809 > We are located in the Philippines.

Amy_ > Oh - I bet the weather is much nicer there than here. Very cold - lots of snow.

Aerole.38809 > It is really hot nowadays as summer is getting close.
Aerole.38809 > Let me just go ahead and pull up your account.

Amy_ > No summer here for at least 3 months! You are about 7804 miles (12559 km) from where I am.
I like the Internet!

Aerole.38809 > Thank you for being patient. I was able to pull up account now. So Starz is the channel that you want to remove right?

Amy_ > Yes - I think it's a package of channels - $16.99 per month

Aerole.38809 > That is correct.
Aerole.38809 > Alright Amy. I already removed Starz from your account.

Amy_ > thank you!

Aerole.38809 > You are welcome.
Aerole.38809 > It is important for me to know if you are still online. Did you receive my last message?

Amy_ > yes, I did - I'm here!

Aerole.38809 > Great.

Amy_ > Great - thank you for your help today. Enjoy your warm weather!

Aerole.38809 > Is there anything else that I can assist you with today?


Amy_ > No - that's all

Aerole.38809 > I will appreciate your feedback about the service you experienced with me today.
It is our priority to provide you the best customer service. Kindly answer the survey at the end of this chat so we will know how we can improve our service.
I hope that I have been helpful in resolving your concern today.

Amy_ > Ok. You were very helpful - I appreciate your help.

For whatever reason, my little chat with Aerole made me happy - especially b/c I'm not going to be billed for channels I don't watch.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Mandalas

I love drawing mandalas lately. They quiet my mind, make me feel relaxed, and allow me to experiment with different pens, pencils, tools, and colors. You can see some of my recent drawings on Flickr.

Here are some cool mandala links to check out:
  • http://www.raywhiting.com/mandala/mandmake.html
  • http://www.nvcc.edu/home/lshulman/Rel231/syllabus/mandala.htm
  • http://www.creativity-portal.com/howto/a/mandala/
  • http://www.flickr.com/groups/mandalacentral/
  • http://www.flickr.com/groups/52481568@N00/
  • http://www.buddhamind.info/leftside/actives/mandala.htm

Hummmm....

Hummmmm....

That's about all I can think to say...

...and a random picture that oddly [and maybe metaphorically?] exemplifies how I feel at the moment....

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Red Velvet Art

Forgot to mention in my earlier post that I'm also having fun being inspired by Red Velvet Art and their oh-so-cute tutorials!

I'm currently working on this cute little book -

I'm filling it with pictures of people I love and decorating it with little bits of whatever happens to catch my eye. Most of the pictures are ones that used to hang in my cube...Kinda sad because they remind me of the job I no longer have and really do miss, but I'm glad they're not on the bottom of one of the boxes of my "personal effects" my former admin shipped to me.

I miss being a tourist...

This amused me and made me want to go to some touristy place and take goofy pictures - Tourists reenacting the cover of Abbey Road -- timelapse video.

The Creative Life

I've been feeling especially creative lately - the kind of creative that makes me forget what day it is and leaves me with paint and fabric and colored pencils and sketch books and photos and all sorts of other colorful, fun, messy stuff spread from one end of the house to the other!

I'm happy :)

It's been a while since I've taken pictures of my creative endeavors but I finally did today and even updated my Flickr page tonight with some paintings I've been working on. I've mostly been experimenting with acrylic paint + mediums and textures so lots of backgrounds and only a couple pieces that I consider complete. Photographing and posting them has me totally inspired to get back to them...

I feel like I'm living in an alternate version of reality - and I guess I am...but I know it won't last - and maybe I'll never have it again - so rather than feel depressed and anxious, I may as well embrace it. Part of me feels guilty for thinking that - like I should be job-hunting non-stop, re-building my house myself, writing budgets and collecting scrap metal or something...I've decided to ignore that annoying little voice, though, and focus on creating and being happy.

Monday, February 16, 2009

You know you tasted your Play-Doh at least once as a kid....

Thanks to technology, future generations won't regret it - check out "Yummy Dough."

February

Hello World,

Guess I haven't updated in a while...

I don't have much to report. Still living in my flood-damaged house, still unemployed, still just chillin' and keepin' it real (and still not really talking like that except when I want you all to think I am cool.)

I've been anti-social. Some people have gotten mad at me about this; others don't seem to have noticed; the rest probably miss me, but are busy with their own lives and know they'll see me again sooner or later. I've apologized to the angry ones and will make an effort with the rest soon...

It's not that I WANT to be anti-social. I would call people if I had something new to say, but, "Nope, still no job, still no carpet" certainly wouldn't brighten my day. I assume if other people have exciting/dramatic/interesting/whatever news, they'll contact me.

I guess I'm also just feeling lazy and apathetic. It's the middle of February in Minnesota - everything has that gray feeling to it. The snow is black, cars are white with dried up salt, there are puddles during the day and ice at night. Nothing is going on, nothing out of the ordinary happens...

That being said, this past weekend was fun. I was at Andy's till Saturday evening, being lazy, eating fish, and celebrating Valentine's Day. Saturday night I hung out with Jason - we went to Rocky Rococo's for pizza then went back to his house and watched Flight of the Conchords and the Wilco documentary (I Am Trying to Break Your Heart).

Last night I felt pukey-sick, but felt fine when I woke up today. I worked on some projects and then went to dinner at Jim's. He made pot roast for the first time - and he did a mighty fine job of it! Carrots, potatoes, dinner rolls, and milk - a real American meal! We ate it while watching an Ultimate Fighting highlights show of the "Greatest Knock-Outs" and Australian soccer.

I stopped at Dick Blick's on the way home (had to use my 40% off coupon) and then Joanne Etc because they were having their Presidents' Day Sale and I needed to get some fabric.

Now I'm home...feeling kinda pooped. Jim's meal was very nap-inducing. I think I'll get stuff cleaned up around here (I left my projects a mess when I left today) and then go to bed.

By the way, my gramma is 85 today and my cousin Payton turned 8 yesterday! I love them both very very very much!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

25 Things

I keep getting tagged on Facebook by people just dying to know 25 things about me so here goes:

1. I have a dog named Bailey - he's a Toy-Australian-Rat-Poo (aka Scruffy Little Mutt)

2. I like leg warmers and arm warmers (check out Sock Dreams!)

3. My socks rarely match.

4. I graduated from the U of MN in 2002 - I have a B.A. in English.

5. I'm an introverted, underachieving perfectionist who fears failure.

6. I wish I could be 6 years old forever!

7. I like to eat cookie dough.

8. I've lived in the Twin Cities my whole life.

9. I love my gramma very very very much - and you would too.

10. I have a "Writer's Block Buddha" on my desk, next to my monitor. I got him in San Francisco.

11. I got a set of Copic markers for X-mas, but they're so nice and fancy that I'm scared to use them!

12. I went to the library last week - I hadn't been to a public library in a VERY long time and it was *quite* exciting!

13. The last movie I saw was Slumdog Millionaire - I liked it a lot (especially the very end).

14. I never know if my ending punctuation is supposed to be inside or outside my closing parenthesis. (And I have no idea if that sentence makes sense.)

15. I looooooove Flickr!

16. I am a good writer (ignore #14, please).

17. I like to think I am an artist.

18. My dream car is a Mini Cooper.

19. I wish I could afford to buy a Canon Digital Rebel SLR.

20. I like getting the mail.

21. I just remembered that I have something to send to Albert.

22. I'm drinking a Bacardi-Diet.

23. Today is my mom's birthday. She's 54.

24. I just called my dad and got his voice mail. He has Sprint - I have T-Mobile.

25. I think I should dye my hair - I have lots of gray hairs! (Combination of wisdom and stress, I think.)

Friday, January 23, 2009

2008

I did this last year - may as well make it a tradition.

1. Who was your first kiss of 2008?
  • Jordan Wesley Anderson
2. Who do you think will be your last kiss of 2008?
  • No freaking clue
3. What was your best vacation/trip in 2008?
  • New Zealand
4. Who was your best friend through out the whole 2008?
  • Hummmm...I really think, overall, it was Joanne from work. And I love that.
5. How many times did you move this year?
  • Zero - woo!
6. Did you make any new friends in the year 2008?
  • Not really....some work people and a few new mates in NZ
7. How many different people did you kiss in the year 2008?
  • I think 8
8. Were you single or taken most of 2008?
  • Single.
9. Did you lose any friends in the year 2008?
  • I think so...
10. Favorite tv show of 2008?
  • Lost, Law and Order: SVU, anything on HGTV...
11. Any new additions to the family in 2008?
  • Nope
12. Any new tattoos in 2008?
  • Nope
13. Do anything you regret in 2008?
  • I think so....but more internal, personal-type things
14. Favorite new item in 2008?
  • I can't think of anything huge....My "I *heart* NZ" t-shirt and my "Sweet As" hoodie.
15. How old did you turn in 2008?
  • The big 2-8
16. Did you go to prom in 2008?
  • Obviously I did not
17. Favorite memory of 2008?
  • Eating plums with Scottish Stu in NZ
18. Did anyone close to you die in 2008?
  • Nope
19. Do you think 2009 will be better than 2008?
  • It HAS to be...but I'm not holding my breath.
20. What did you do on new years eve?
  • This year I stayed home and cleaned up flood-mess.
21. What is the status of you and the last person you texted?
  • Jim and I are buddies. (Kinda funny that I didn't have to change that one at all.)
22. What is wrong with you right now?
  • I'm unemployed - that kinda sucks because it also means I'm poor.
23. Do you miss your first love?
  • Nah, I see him all the time. Other Amy makes him very happy. :) (Another answer that didn't require any changes!)
24. When did you last cry?
  • A couple days ago?
25. Who do you hate?
  • My old TL
26. What do you want in your life right now?
  • Love, security, happiness, health, money - the usual things.
27. Are you happy?
  • More or less, all things considered
28. What do you smell like?
  • Maybe green apple scented de-tangler my little cousin left here?
29. Drinking?
  • I had some wine tonight
30. What’s your favorite thing to have on your bed?
  • A warm and cozy blanket and a boy to cuddle with
31. What do you wear to bed?
  • Tonight it's yellow flannel pants with little white stars and a navy blue Reel Big Fish t-shirt - it varies, but is generally something like that.
32. Do you tend to make relationships complicated?
  • Probably - I think too much.
33. Whose house did you go to last night?
  • Mine
34. What about the night before that?
  • Mine
35. Do you like anyone right now?
  • I'm not sure
36. What is the last movie you watched?
  • Benjamin Button
37. What are you excited about?
  • Starting over
38. Who was last to touch your ass?
  • He knows who he is.
39. When you sleep do you dream about heroin addicts?
  • No....but I wouldn't mind dreaming about Ewan McGregor in Trainspotting
40. Whats on your mind right now?
  • "Why did I start this silly thing? Sleep!"
41. Who was the last person to make you cry?
  • My mother, I think
42. Name someone whose name starts with the letter "R."
  • Rodia
43. Do you care what others think about you?
  • Yes
44. Do you trust people easily?
  • Maybe....sometimes I don't, but I fake it.
45. Do you think you'll be married in 10 years?
  • Hope so.
46. Will you kiss the last person you kissed again?
  • I honestly don't know.
47. Whats your first text in your inbox say?
  • FL Bill's mailing address from a long time ago
48. Who was the last person you called?
  • My mother
49. Who was the last missed call?
  • Gramma
50. What's your ring tone?
  • Something annoying and generic
51. Do you plan on moving out in the next year?
  • I don't want to, but we'll see what happens w/ all the flood damage
52. What were you doing at 8pm last Friday night?
  • Nothing very interesting
53. What happened at 10:00 am today?
  • I think that's about the time I was getting home from running some errands

I can't sleep.

"If you can't sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there worrying. It's the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep."
- Dale Carnegie

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Best Granddaughter Ever!

Last week I was feeling like the worst granddaughter ever so I sent my gramma an Edible Arrangement.

Really, I couldn't afford it....

And I know my gramma would never this I was a bad granddaughter...

And there are other things I could've done...

But I felt crappy and doing something nice made ME feel a gazillion times better - especially when she called me as soon as it was delivered. She was so surprised and happy!

She took it around her apartment building to show all her friends and the people who work in the office. Then, she took pictures of the "bouquet" before eating any of it.

Once she did start eating it, she called me right away to say how delicious it was. She didn't want to eat the pineapple daisy, though - it was too cute. :)

It was even a more thoughtful gift than I realized. I know she loves fruit and would appreciate it so easy thoughtfulness points there, but it was also a super-cold-even-people-in-Florida-hear-about-how-super -cold-it-is-her-week so she didn't want to go out. Thanks to me and my thoughtfulness, she didn't have to.

I rule.

Old friends

I've been re-connecting with some friends from the past lately and that makes me very happy. There's a nice feeling that comes with returning to things that were so comfortable and falling right back into that comfortable place.

It's like going to the proverbial home again.

I like it.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Scared

I feel scared.

So. Very. Scared.

"Why?!"

"What are you SCARED of?!"

How am I supposed to answer that?

I'm scared.

Yet, I'm a happy girl. I'm fortunate, grateful, optimistic.

I really am.

I'm also weird, quirky, artsy, smart, talented, good at hula hooping, nice, amusing - little kids and old ladies love me.

I'm just scared right now.

Give me a break.

Here I stand.

Poised and ready to take on the world.

Again.