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Journal :: September 2004
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01.09.2004 (wed)
We were getting ready to leave this morning when we noticed the sky was all cloudy and it looked like rain. We almost gave up on the trip but finally decided, what the hell, let's go anyway.

Fortunately when we got there the sky had cleared up and we spent a nice afternoon by the pool. The water was a bit chilly but I still managed to get in. It just took a while. I'm the kind of person that goes in one inch at a time so I take forever.

We took the sick cat with us and she seemed to enjoy herself. She walked around sniffing everything, had a nap in the shade of a bush and got covered with these horrible weeds with thorns all over the place that I had to brush out of her fur. But she still refused to eat.
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02.09.2004 (thu)
When I woke up it was raining. I went out and got the beach towels that I left outside to dry overnight. They were completely soaked.
I checked on the cat and went back to bed, hoping it would be better in a couple of hours. Unfortunately the weather did not improve.

We had breakfast, cut some grass to pass the time, but the clouds refused to go away.
Then I found some kittens, some really cute ones - about 5 or 6, all white with grey ears - and put out some food and water for them.

At about 2 PM we gave up, packed our thing and drove back home. There was no point in losing precious vacation days waiting for the weather to change. At home at least we have more outing options.
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06.09.2004 (mon)
We went shopping again today. We finally ordered the bookworm bookshelf for the bedroom and bought a lamp for the bedroom ceiling and a few cute plastic animals to stick onto the bathroom tiles.

The flat is starting to look really cool. But there's still some of the expensive furniture to be replaced. And the living room table I want costs more than I'm willing to pay for it :P
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07.09.2004 (tue)
My cat died today. She didn't die a natural death. I took her to the vet and got it over with because she was a wreck. Or, more accurately, a rag. She couldn't walk, eat or even speak anymore and I couldn't bear to watch it any longer.
I think I made the right choice but I'm still really sad about it. Although I don't have the guilt I thought I would. The only thing I may regret is that I didn't stay to watch it. It was selfish. I didn't want to start crying in front of all those people. It had taken all my nerve just to go.

So I came home and managed not to break down until I was safe indoors. I called my mother to tell her and then we went to the beach, which was really weird.
The idea is to go out and do something so I don't sit in the dark all day thinking about it. It's the 'get over it' technique. And I was fine for a while and then I'd lie down and start thinking about it and there was nowhere to go.
We left after about 2 hours. I couldn't take it anymore.

Then I had to decide whether or not to have a birthday dinner tomorrow.
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08.09.2004 (wed)
Today is my 31st birthday. I don't feel like celebrating but I always feel like I owe it to people to put on my happy face and just go along with it. It's surprisingly easy if I don't think about it too much.

Hubby took me to see a movie and then we bought cake and pizza on the way home.
After lunch we put up the bedroom lamp and then I went to pick up Carla at the boat peer. We had tea at the coffee shop downstairs and then talked for a while until it was time for me to leave to dinner. The whole day went by incredibly fast.

We had dinner with my parents, my inlaws, my brother and his girlfriend and then came over for cake.
Everyone left around midnight and we stayed up a bit longer to watch 24.
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09.09.2004 (thu)
I had weird dreams again. I woke up after dreaming that I had gone back to the vet and the cat was still there, alive, and I couldn't get the attention of any of the vets because it wouldn't open before 4 PM and in the meantime they were busy with something and kept ignoring me. I'm having a hard time getting a feeling of closure, I guess.

I felt pretty exhausted the whole morning but knew I had to go out because the cleaning lady was coming and I didn't feel like having the vacuum cleaner as the soundtrack to my day. Hubby's new computer arrived (except for the long-awaited graphics board which I'm starting to doubt if it will ever be delivered) and he wanted to assemble it, so I went to the mall to waste as long as I wanted in clothes stores without feeling guilty about having a bored husband waiting outside.
I bought a couple of things but without spending too much money. If I actually have the time to look at everything and try stuff out I end up buying a lot less clothes than if I go in a hurry and grab stuff by impulse.

The only problem was that as soon as I got to the mall my phone started to ring and it was a client. So I had to call hubby and ask him to go check my email and I had to work when I got home. I got all stressed and felt like giving up on the whole thing because they kept calling.

When I checked my mail I had about 50 messages. I knew it was going to be a problem but it sucks now that I know for sure I can't simply take a couple of weeks off.
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10.09.2004 (fri)
I woke up really stressed out at 8 in the morning. I'm starting to feel that I wish it was monday already so I could just get it over with. It's being a really stressful vacation and I hate it. I should be able to just forget about it but I can't. Especially with people calling me all the time and sending dozens of emails.

I got up and came over to put up a picture online that my father asked for. It was just one more thing on the list of things I mustn't forget and I just wanted to able to stop worrying about it.

Then I saw a movie to try and clear my head, took a shower and here I am, stressed out again. And the sky is all cloudy so I can't even go to the beach or anything just to get away. I should just get to work and be done with it.
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11.09.2004 (sat)
I got up at 10, ran a bath and soaked for about an hour, reading.
I've been reading Cat's Eye, by Margaret Atwood and although some of it bores me to tears, other bits are really interesting and I've found a lot of stuff in the character's memories that I can relate to. From memories of camping to my brother's chemistry set, I find myself thinking about stuff I didn't even know I remembered, which is what the book is all about anyway.
Plus the character is a painter and there are some interesting things that I also witnessed and thought while in art school. The concept that she and the other students think of themselves as painters and not 'artists' because people who call themselves artists are just pretentious pricks. There was a similar vibe in the school I studied in and I've always shied away from labeling anything I do as 'art'. You're either a painter or a sculptor or a designer or whatever and your job is to paint or sculpt, etc. If it's art or not shouldn't really be up to you because it's a social label. From the point of view of the person doing it, it should be about expressing something - a thought, a feeling - and not about making art.

It's also made me think about the choices I've made and why. I went to art school but ended up following a path that would allow me to get paid for my work instead of pursuing something simply because of the need for a creative outlet. The truth is that I never took it seriously. If I was to chose without restrictions I would have studied music or drama. But that was not a 'realistic' choice. College was a way to get a better job afterwards and not a place to find yourself and experiment, as it should have been. It's a typical middle class attitude.

I always thought that these choices were made, at an early age, because I was very realistic and sensible. But that's not really true. It's the way I was educated. I've always been a dreamed but I armed myself with a protective layer of practical and sensible behaviour which I can only guess must have been in order to get my parents approval.

I know my parents think they were very encouraging and allowed me to chose what I wanted but that's not really true. They were highly critical and to this day I don't draw because of all the pressure my father made on me and how he'd spend all the time criticizing what I did. I started hiding drawing from him at a point just because I'd be too afraid of what he'd say. It became easier to just not do it.

Music has been my one truly free form of expression. I can say things in songs I wouldn't dare any other way and I don't care what anyone else thinks as long as I like it. Why can't I be like that about other things? I think it's because it's something I developed later and did by myself, without intrusion. And so I was able to experiment free of criticism.

It's a common belief that criticism is a good thing but I think it has to be used with judgment because it can be used as a tool to help someone improve but it can also damage someone's self esteem, especially at a young age. It should always be done alongside encouragement and the good points should also be pointed out. This, I'm afraid, my father never learned and I've only learned it later in life after doing some damage myself, sadly and unknowingly, through the same pattern of behaviour.

So I guess a book can't be bad if it gets me thinking about all this and even making me consider doing creative things again. I've been too wrapped up in my work lately and since I have to please clients who insist they know best and end up ruining my layouts, I have to find creative outlets where I have the final say, otherwise I go mad.

I worked a bit more on one of the songs before lunch.
After lunch I had to trim down one of the ferns that seems to be dying for some reason. It didn't like being moved into the living room.
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12.09.2004 (sun)
I woke up thinking about work again so I got up and went to the livingroom to have some breakfast and watch tv. Hubby joined me at lunchtime and we watched some stupid VH1 show until I got fed up and got up to clean the cat litter instead. Anything is better than tv sometimes.

At 5 we went to the beach but it was really windy. I don't care how exfoliating a sand bath may be, after a while it gets a bit annoying and it's one of the reasons I stopped going to the beach. We left about 45 minutes later and decided to go out for dinner. The last day of vacation must be enjoyed to the last minute.

We stopped at home to shower first and then walked to the same restaurant we went to on my birthday. I wanted to try something different. The food isn't bad but I couldn't say it's my favourite. Still, the setting is nice, although it was a bit chilly sitting outside.
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13.09.2004 (mon)
Back to work. I woke up suddenly at 7.50h I heard hubby leave a little while later. I got up some time after, but didn't feel like it much.

Because I had so much work to do I picked up my yogurt and sat down in front of the computer right away. I tried calling a client but he's away so I had to do everything my email. Email works great with some clients but not with others. Some people have a real difficulty in explaining themselves through writing and I have to keep calling to make sure I got it right. It's a pain but less stressful than doing something based on what you think only to find out that was not what the client was thinking.

I had to work on 3 different projects today but it went fairly smoothly. I should start html of this new site tomorrow. It would have been faster but it wasn't planned in advance and I've been finding out that there are new submenus and stuff like that almost everyday. It makes my job a lot harder.

Now it's half past six and I'm going to enjoy the last daylight and try to finish my book.
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14.09.2004 (tue)
I started the html and managed to finish 3 pages today.

Somewhere in the middle of the afternoon I took a little break to do some urgent shopping and, as is my nature, ended up doing about 5 other things on the way.
Pedro knows what I mean - I get up to go make dinner and end up cleaning the cat litter, putting dishes in the dishwasher and hanging clothes up to dry before I get around to the dinner part. It's one of those personality traits I don't really get and can't control. I just find myself doing it, half an hour later when I start asking myself why I'm so hungry. Is it a female thing, I wonder?

Towards the end of the day a friend dropped by to give me a birthday present and chat for a bit. It was a nice break but I soon had to go back to work which lasted until around 8 PM.

I have lots of stuff to watch but I've started watching Buffy again. It calms me down when I'm having a stressful day.
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15.09.2004 (wed)
Work has been stressful but going fairly well. I finished the first stage, although I still need to set up the hosting account and so on before I can consider it finished.
Now I'm getting ready for stage 2 which is going to get a bit more complex.

At night me and hubby had to go do some shopping and then had dinned and watched episode 11 of the season 2 of '24'.
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16.09.2004 (thu)
I had a busy morning but a slightly more relaxed afternoon. Work involved finding solutions to things rather than do html and so on. It's the kind of work that has to be done but I don't actually get paid for.
The work I've been doing is progressing well but it's been difficult communicating with the client because he's away on business so I only get replies to a few emails and partial replies at that. I have to hold on till next monday and try to get him on the phone to clarify a couple of things.

So I was able to update screengazing, finally, which I hadn't done in a while. But I still have a lot more to put up there and not much time or patience.
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17.09.2004 (fri)
I had a really stressful day today. One of my clients is away on business so I can only email him but only get very short replies and some of which are really hard to understand. So I'm working on hunches rather than certainties which really stress me out.
At the end of the day I was asked 'so, when is the site going to be online?' which I thought was a bit weird considering I had just received an email asking me to change the layout on the menus yet again. And since I can't pick up the phone and ask what's going on I'm just going to freak for the whole weekend until I can settle this on monday.

When I feel like this there's only one thought in my head the whole day - I hate my life.

At night Pedro and I went out to dinner but it didn't go exactly according to plan because the first restaurant was full and we ended up driving back. The chinese restaurant was empty, though, so we went there instead.
I spent a lot of time bitching about work which wasn't very nice of me but was necessary for my mental sanity, after being alone all day. Hubby was very nice and actually helped me out with a few options I hadn't considered regarding the technical stuff.
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18.09.2004 (sat)
I woke up early because I was still stressed. I did some house work cause it always calms me down, watched Buffy and tried not to think too much.

At seven I got ready and went to meet my parents at their place. We left at about 8.00 PM to go see Madame Butterfly. The traffic was terrible but we arrived on time. Carla, her sister and her mother got there shortly after.

I'm not a bit fan of opera but I like a couple of Arias from this one, and the costumes and sets are always fun, so I went. I still find it a bit boring at times, but it didn't feel as long as it actually was. The first part seemed long but the rest went by quite smoothly.
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20.09.2004 (mon)
Monday at last. I got up really stressed out, as I knew I would be, and tried to call the client I've been needing to talk to for a week. He was in a meeting. I tried twice more before I could finally get him and straighten out a lot of stuff that I need to continue working. One of those things is that my layout has taken yet another beating. It resembles less and less what I had originally presented, which makes me a bit sad.

After the phone call I got to work and was finally able to calm down a bit. What I hate is not being able to do things properly because they're not fully decided. Once that's over with I feel more relaxed, even if there's tons of work to do.

At night Pedro helped me out with the domain register and setting up the account, so it won't be long now before the first stage of the site is put online.
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21.09.2004 (tue)
I can't believe it's only tuesday...
I had another work filled day which only ended now, at 7.30 PM. I still can't believe what I was able to cram into the last 3 hours though :P
I still have tons of stuff to do but it can wait until tomorrow, hopefully. I'm working for 3 clients at once, trying not to let anything fall behind, so it's a bit stressful. But since I'm home, with no distractions, it actually flows quite well.

And these are the days I wonder what is the point of keeping a journal. All I do is work and the days start to look all the same to me, so do I really want to remember this later on?
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23.09.2004 (thu)
Work, work, work. The same old thing. No point in going on about it.

I called Carla in the morning and we arranged to meet tomorrow.
I also talked to Paulo and we may be going to see the Village on sunday with him and his wife. I can't wait to see that movie!

And the best thing today was that The Sims 2 has finally arrived! Yay!
I installed it at night but didn't have much time to play around with it. Can't wait for the weekend :)
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24.09.2004 (fri)
I didn't have a lot of work today (the truckload is waiting for next week) so I played Sims 2 for most of the afternoon. I couldn't wait any longer :)
At 5 PM I went over to Carla's flat because it's her birthday today. We had tea and chocolate cake and talked for a while. Her friend Teresa joined us after a bit.

At 7.30 we left and I met hubby and we came home together.
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25.09.2004 (sat)
Saturday at last!
I did nothing all day but play Sims 2. Well, actually, I didn't start playing yet. I'm just building the characters and the houses, which to me is always more fun than the actual game :)

When I decided to look at the clock, to see if it was lunchtime yet, it was past 5 PM...
But I can't say I regretted it.
I am a bit frustrated with the way you make the characters faces though. It has all these controls but the face never really looks like I want it too. There would have to be even more controls. At least on the previous version I could use photographs and end up with characters that looked like actual pictures. In this one they end up looking very much the same.

But the level of detail is great. Unfortunately my computer is a bit slow for the game so it keeps stalling. But if I change it I'll have to reinstall everything and I'm not sure I'm up to it at the moment. That always means a couple of weeks of finding stuff I can't do because it's not installed yet.
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26.09.2004 (sun)
I went to see The Village at lunchtime with Paulo and Elsa. I absolutely loved it and would watch it again right away if I could. There's something about M. Night Shyamalan's movies that really works for me.

After the movie the four of us had lunch and then went shopping. Pedro bought a couple of bags and discovered a store he couldn't believe he hadn't gone into yet and I bought some really cool shoes that I fell in love with when I went shopping a couple of weeks ago.

Then we came home for a bit since there was a game on tv hubby wanted to watch. I played Sims 2, obviously :)

At nine we went out to dinner with my brother and his girlfriend Ana. We stayed out talking until midnight, at which time we were reminded of the dreadful fact that the weekend was over.
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27.09.2004 (mon)
Neither me or Pedro slept very well last night. Unfortunately for him, he still had to go to work this morning, after only 4 hours of sleep. These are the days when I realize just how lucky I am to be able to stay home because I was able to get up an hour later than usual and that was enough.

Work was fairly stressful but went well. I had an email asking for a template to be done today. It was done at 3 PM but then it wasn't exactly what the client had in mind. Basically he decides things but forgets to tell me about them. But after a phone call it was straightened out and hopefully the second version will be ok.

At lunchtime I took a shower, went to the post office to mail something and then had some lunch while reading the Da Vinci code. Everyone I know is reading or has read the damn book! I get it, though. It is fun and it makes me long for the next Indiana Jones movie :)

Now I'm just waiting for my brother to send me an estimate and then I can go play Sims 2 for a bit.

My mother went to Paris for the weekend and so she called me this morning to tell me how the trip went. Apparently, because she went alone, she ended up getting stuck with this other woman that didn't like anything, didn't want to go anywhere and ended up ruining her chances to do any shopping. That really sucks - you try to be nice and people ruin your life.
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