Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The WAR ON CHRISTMAS [insert air raid noises here]

So, last year I wrote a piece on how public schools handle...or don't handle... the holidays in schools. I just reread it here and I sound quite smart (I watched Love Actually last night, and I think my inner monologue is coming off a little British today as a result. My apologies.) Anyway, I'm wondering how much of that intelligence was helped out by my editor and how much was me, I honestly can't remember, but look how many good points I made in that story nonetheless!

I was SO fair and TOTALLY not judgmental and I showed different viewpoints, because I definitely didn't agree with everything people told me.

One of my favorite things to do when I worked for my old media company was to have all the TV stations we owned send out, what we called, a Facebook callout. That's where they all ask the same question on their Facebook page. I wasn't interested in just any callouts though, I really liked the ones that were probably going to piss off a few people or get them fired up. In my defense, and in defense of my former employer, the questions themselves were harmless, people just get really flustered and impassioned about certain topics, one involves religion and since we are in the holiday season currently, let's talk about that one. These callouts helped me locate some sources for my stories including the holiday one, so there's the tie in.

Back to the WAR ON CHRISTMAS. I capitalized that because doesn't it sound like there should be intense music playing and possibly explosion noises happening in the background? Like in Young Frankenstein whenever they say Frau Blucher and a horse neighs:
Like this but with more bomb and gun sounds.

In that article I wrote a year ago, I mention Rick Perry. Remember him? Texas guy, ran for Republican presidential candidate but was like the first one out of the running even before Michele "Crazy Eyes" Bachmann. That's how dated my story is now ONE year later, but the whole purpose of writing it remains the same. 

I heard on the radio this morning the DJ saying in a few years we won't even be celebrating any type of holiday, we'll just be celebrating Winter in general, the solstice and such. He was very upset about this. Granted, I listen to a country station so the WAR ON CHRISTMAS is alive and well for that gentleman. 

I don't think it's a WAR ON CHRISTMAS. It's a war on "whatever I don't believe in." And sometimes it's a war on people just thinking others are trying to stifle their beliefs when really, they aren't. 

Listen y'all, I love Christmas and I'm Catholic, currently I'm having a hard time getting in the festive mood because it's like 80 degrees out here in sunny southern Florida, but damn it I have my tree out and my tacky reindeer lights under my bar. I even have a mistletoe hanging out (see what I did there?) over the entrance to my lanai (a lanai is a screened in porch or balcony thing in case you don't live in the octogenarian state or haven't watched as much Golden Girls as I have.)  

I also made latkes (potato pancakes traditionally eaten during Hanukkah festivities) the other day. This is my new tradition during December/Hanukkah. Last year, I made brie-filled latkes from complete scratch. I'm saying I peeled the potatoes and grated them and it was a major pain in the ass. This year, I bought a box of mix, and guess what, they were still delicious and somehow this time I didn't set anything on fire frying them. Confession: I've always wanted an excuse to own a really nice pretty Menorah. 

Watch out Internet, I'm about to step up on a Christmas package (the yule version of a soapbox.) I am more interested in other religions than the average person (probs) and I completely respect them. I'm sure this stems from a time in elementary school where I was obsessed with Roman and Greek mythology. OBSESSED, I tell you. I did an EXTRA CREDIT (sorry for the caps, but what self-respecting elementary schooler does an extra credit project for no reason? I didn't need the points or anything) project about a few gods and goddesses with a friend. I prescribe to the way of thinking that many religions have similar origins, stories that share qualities and teachings. They all have their place and whichever one you call your own is rad* as long as you don't try to push your beliefs on other people. Groovy*? Groovy. 

I also prescribe to the way of thinking that encourages everyone to learn about other cultures, this includes religion. Did I mention I was an anthropology minor? This should all start making sense now. Let me tell you a little story (No, no get on with your point of view you're saying, probably.) A friend of mine wanted to go to Ghana to help people and work for a nonprofit. I bet everyone just said "awwww" collectively. I love this girl, she is very sweet and only had the best intentions in her raging Liberal mind. I respect that she went overseas to physically lend a hand and see the country first-hand. She came back, after an unideal (that's a word) experience, with a different view of helping people. It isn't that we shouldn't want to reach out, if we have the means we definitely should try to help others. It's HOW we choose to go about helping that's the trick. We have to know the other culture, some don't want the kinds of help we may want to offer, we can't just go in and fix something we know nothing about. 

Enter religion. The more knowledge of why others do what they do, feel the way they do, celebrate what and why they do, the better. It doesn't mean anyone else has to have the same beliefs but just having the ability to understand where someone else is coming from isn't harmful. I'm saying teaching from an educational standpoint not brainwashing. Here's the rub, I'm a journalist (Wise shall be the bearers of light and all that) and I want everyone to have as much info as possible to make their own decisions. I'm not a teacher, so I don't know what would be best for children and I'm not going to say I do. It gets really tricky when some religions won't even have their kids learning about other religions because that goes against theirs. See? It's so hard and then you have to respect that and blah blah blah no one is ever going to agree. 

I just came off crunchy and granola-y and now let's all sing Kumbaya together or This Little Light of Mine or something. I am just advocating for the information to be distributed if possible. I think Christmas trees are awesome and I don't want to see them taken down everywhere or anything (funny story, Christmas trees aren't even really a Christian thing, it was a pagan tradition originally.) And if a huge Menorah went up somewhere in a public place I totally wouldn't care, it'd probably be really pretty. Actually, the hospital down the street from my house in Kansas does have a gigantic Menorah in front of it and it's called Menorah Medical Center and I have never given that a second thought. 

It's just sad and not in the spirit of anyone's religious celebrations to be angry and to attack other people. Sorry we don't always agree, opinions are like assholes as my dad likes to tell me. It's "all the ways that we show love that feel like Christmas" or Hanukkah or Kwanza, or whatever you may be celebrating this December. That line is from A Muppet Christmas Carol....yes really. 
Watch and be happy.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Let's talk about me

Let’s talk about me for a second. I bet you’re thinking, isn’t that what you do on this blog you narcissistic boob. In my head a black and white cartoon character was saying that then promptly took off his white glove to slap me across the face with it. To that I would say, “Of course you know, this means war.” But to the non-animated folks I would counter with, “No, no it is not what I write about all the time.”

But as Toby Keith put it, “I want to talk about me, I want to talk about I, want to talk about No. 1,” just for right now.

 So, the other night I tweeted this:

Being a closet emo high school kid is a hard habit to break even into adulthood apparently. Oh, and I used to do theater, I’m pretty positive drama just courses through your veins after that for the rest of your life.

And I know people are probably thinking, why is she complaining? She has a lot going for her; she has a good job, lives in a beautiful place, so on and so forth. Or you’re going, that’s not funny, there are people that really struggle with hating themselves. And to all of you I say, yes I totally understand all of that and am well aware. You have no idea how aware I am of all of those things. I’m aware times infinity.

This does not, however, dismiss the fact that the other night I was really angry with myself. Don’t tell me you are happy and content all the time with the choices and decisions you make. Actually, if you are a person that has somehow managed to not feel remorse or regret things, you should probably tell me how you accomplished that feat. Unless you are like a cold-blooded killer (There’s Dexter again. My bad.)

But I am still riding the struggle bus when it comes to making good or not so good decisions. I’m pretty sure this comes from the fact that I have no idea what I want out of life. Not that I think everything needs to be planned, but having some sort of direction isn’t a bad thing I would assume.  

This whole thing came to a head partly because I feel as though many of my other friends have their lives together with long-term relationships; engaged, married, one even had a child on purpose. ON PURPOSE I tell you. I want a cat right now, but I’m a little nervous about how that would go, and one of my friends has another human being depending on her.

See, this is why people think Disney movies are bad influences on children. Pocahontas didn’t know where her path led but she had a magic talking willow tree to help her out. Where’s my enchanted vegetation? I’d settle for a smarmy palm tree (being in Florida I feel like that’s more likely than Grandmother Willow.)

Part of my frustration lies, not only in the fact that I am pretty jealous of my friends with their shit together, but because I do feel like, little by little, I’m actually gaining some control over my life. It just isn't quite there yet. While I’m making so much progress it’s difficult to realize I continuously make the same mistakes over and over again while improving other aspects of my life. And even though I think I know what I need to do, it’s like impossible to do it. Not impossible just very, very hard.

I suppose I sound pretty weak then, huh? I wrote that I hate myself because it’s just so difficult to know what you probably should do and to mindfully make a questionable choice. Then you judgers may say, “Why didn’t you just do what you know is right?”

Because, my apparently moral friends, it’s effing hard. OK? There are all of those what-ifs and the thought that things could be different for me and not suck if I make the slightly more reckless decision.  But I am most likely the rule and not the exception to the rule. Alas. 

Here's to struggling with, you know, life. Cheers to everyone out there being equally as stupid as me. Next time we're out we can take a shot to celebrate our frustration, or to take out our frustration, whatever works. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

So about that novel you want to write...

My mother wants me to write a novel. Doesn't everyone kind of want to be able to say that they wrote a book or a novel or a collection of poems or something that was published? I feel like even people that hate writing with a fiery passion still wish they could magically have written a book with their mind. November just ended, but it was National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo.) I bet you didn't know that unless you happened to be in my writing club in high school. Seriously, one of my extracurriculars involved hanging out in a classroom for a few hours after school every couple weeks writing prose or poetry about whatever we decided would be the theme for that meeting. It was awesome.

Anyway, I am someone who does want to be able to say I wrote a novel one day. I keep thinking if I blog long enough and enough people read this I could get a book a la Carrie from Sex and the City without the whole writing a column thing... and with less writing about sex. That is silly, but I don't judge your half-baked ideas. 

But, my mom has this idea that I should write a book about my family, more specifically my aunts and grandma. I think the working title of this nonexistent novel is Mi Tias, or some such thing about aunts. It would seriously be a great story if I could get said aunts to open up about their lives. I'm not optimistic about that part because who really feels comfortable being that candid about their lives? That's like telling the whole world, "Hey there, come look at all the messed up stuff about my family. Look at how dysfunctional we can be." I assume people would find this embarrassing. I happen to say really awkward and embarrassing things on this blog so I wouldn't be nearly as clammy about it. That's clammy in the sense of "clam-like." I should have just used the tight lipped or something that makes sense as opposed to a word that means moist and rubbery. Whoops. 

Also, moist and rubbery are two descriptors that should never be used in the same sentence. I vow to never write those two adjectives in the same sentence on this blog ever again, you're welcome. 

These tangents are why I probably will never succeed in writing a cohesive novel. BUT, if I were to write one about my family members I believe the theme would be men suck, life is hard, people make mistakes and forgiveness is the answer. Let me get one thing straight. I LOVE all of my family and none of them have ever spoken to me about the stories I would possibly be telling, but because we are a large family and I'm an adult now, I know lots of things about all of their stories. None of the stories are that different from other family's. I'm sure. There's some disfunction, cheating, unhappiness, good times, rough times - it was the best of times it was the worst of times - whatever, you get it.

I know there are a lot of reasons why people read: to escape, to learn, etc. But one of the reasons I do it is to learn about other people and to see if I can relate to someone. When we have problems sometimes it feels like we are the only ones that are crazy when, in reality, everyone is crazy. The things we struggle with are things that a lot of people have issues with. Even serial killers can relate to other serial killers. At least that's what I've gathered from watching Dexter.  I freaked you out for a second though, didn't I?

In defense of dragging skeletons out of closets for other people, I think it's necessary in some cases. The names can be changed to protect their identities, we don't have to have pictures, it could be like the print version of putting a source in a dark room with no light and then distorting their voice. This book could  teach other people how to handle situations and that they can move on with their lives and get through bad stuff. It could show them they aren't the only ones with terrible, terrible luck.

I am writing this as a forewarning that I may start writing my family's stories in this blog (with different names.) In case anyone from my family reads this, I wanted to warn them, it's in no way to rib anything anyone has gone through. It's merely telling their story, our story and the stories of many that aren't able to tell their own. Maybe it'll help someone out there.

Then, who knows, a publisher might read it and want to publish my blog posts into a book. That'll never happen but somehow Carly Rae Jepsen is famous so crazier things are possible.

This is Nick from the New Girl explaining his novel idea to Jess's dad. I mean, if Twilight can be a huge hit, it could happen.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The perfect date or mate

You know, in beauty pageants when they say, "Describe your perfect date?" Usually, if we aren't talking about the answer from Miss Congeniality, the person describes the activities they would do on their perfect date. 

Here's that clip from Miss Congeniality for your amusement. 

I feel like part of the perfect date depends on the person you're with too though. You know, if the guy doesn't like the beach, you probably aren't going to have a good time walking barefoot on the beach discussing books and movies because he'll be complaining about shells or how scared he is of sharks or something. 

Every girl has talked about her idea of the perfect guy. This usually occurs at sleep overs, or in your sorority in college or over your lunch break from work, or any time ever, basically. I have no idea when men might talk about these things or if they do at all. Perhaps it's one of those topics that comes up when guys get too drunk to care about showing emotions right before they start to punch through walls. You don't know guys that do that? Well, your loss. 

I inadvertently gathered information on many of my friends' perfect guys/girls. I didn't mean to obtain all of this knowledge it's just one of those things that happened and then I was so interested I just started asking more friends. 

I came to the conclusion that everyone is insane. 

Exhibit A:
Let's start with one of my dude friends. He has A LOT of strict things his lady must have. His words, not mine. It's actually hilarious when you think about it when people say their ideal mate has specific physical aspects, such as big boobs or curly hair, because....what? Sure, certain physical aspects are more attractive to us than others but what are the odds, really? So, I'm overlooking those. But apparently his dream girl can't be much smarter than him, can't cook much better than him, must like whisky, must like/enjoy his music and must like football/all sports. 

So, there's that. The cooking part cracks me up because I don't know many guys that can cook or many that wouldn't want a girl to cook better than them. But I also don't know a girl that would be upset if her man was a good cook. 

In his defense, he is in no hurry to find someone, which I admire. We're all rushing around trying to find people so we don't end up alone, which is just a silly way to go through life. I say that now when I worry all the time about ending up alone. 

Exhibit B: 
One of my girl friends said seeking the "perfect" mate is just a recipe for disaster (agreed.) But overall she wants someone who understands her, that makes her think and challenges her to grow as a person. The growing as a person thing was a common theme among the friends I asked.

I suppose that's one of those responsible things you realize you need after a few failed relationships. 

Exhibit C:
Another guy said: honest, accepts him for who he is, caring, funny....attractive. I know I said you shouldn't pick out what the person looks like, but if you are in no way attracted to someone it is NEVER going to work. NEVER. So, if someone says they are looking for someone that's attractive, that's OK and duh. To finish off he said kind of nerdy and likes to do physical activities. 

Exhibit D: 
I guess mostly just my guy friends answered me because this is another guy. Most of my girl friends are  engaged, married or in relationships and I didn't want to ask them because like, hello, they're with someone and that could get awkward. So this dude says he wants a mate he can grow with. Him and a partner may not see eye to eye but they'd respect their differences and bring the best out of each other.

Exhibit E: 
Lastly, another bud of mine says he just wants someone to laugh with.
But when you asked me the question of "describe my perfect woman" honestly I could only see one thing. Someone who I can roll around laughing with who has a smile that melts my heart and though I can't stop looking at it, I also can't stop myself from kissing those beautiful lips.
Again, his words not mine. But, awwwww, how adorable is that!? Ladies, if you're looking for someone, apparently I know a lot of single guys, and that's the cutest description ever. Not that I'm trying to pimp them out or anything, just, you know, trying to be helpful.

Exhibit F: 
[Caution: Not suitable for anyone under the age of 13... or 16 or something] Another guy sent me this picture when I asked him what his perfect woman would be like. I mean, he was joking, probably. I think. I just know guys are going to look at that picture and think "YES, why have I not seen that before!?"

One friend wants a jacked guy that's really normal, one girl wants someone really smart to intellectually challenge her, at times I want a cowboy that can treat me as well as country songs say the guys treat their belles. Once, my friend told me she likes normal, buff guys and I like skinny, weird guys.

I guess this was my own version of a psychological survey. All I've ever heard is that when you look for someone, you'll never find them, it kind of just happens. 

I do vividly remember a friend in Alabama kind of casting off a bunch of fellas before giving them a chance for a myriad of reasons, too young, too old, their job sucked, they liked country music blah blah blah. See that is something that's not cool. 

I HATED country music before I dated one of my exes. I thought it was a bunch of people singing about losing their truck, dog, wife and mobile home. Now, I love it. It just grew on me. It's just giving people a chance. Just to cover my bases, I'm not saying give every lad or lassie a chance. They totally could be CraigsList killers. 

Really, I just wanted to show that everyone has their ideas and preferences, some are better directed than others. But, coming from a girl that has been told a few times she's never going to get married, I feel a camaraderie in this brotherhood of men (and women) that are kind of floating through life trying to figure out what's going on. 

Did I tell you a guy I went to interview for work said something along the lines of this: "...so they're coming down here and trying to find a boyfriend and all those others things they've got to do to function as a human being and find fulfillment in life."

I'm not sure how he meant it, but it sure felt like he was telling me I need a man to function in society. So, thank you all for making me feel like I don't NEED that, it's just nice to know we're a benevolent brotherhood in the same slightly leaky boat. 

Honestly, someone please just send me the guy who plays Q in Skyfall... who is a skinny, possibly weird, guy. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

She's so heavy...

You know that Beatles song I Want You (She's So Heavy)? If you don't know what I'm talking about, here you go.

I do realize that this version is from the movie Across the Universe, but the actual 
recording wouldn't embed, so here you go. Enjoy.

Let's skip over all of the wanting someone so bad part. This is not an unrequited love/Taylor Swift song type post. It's the "she's so heavy" part I want you to direct your attention to. When Lennon wrote this song I'm sure he wasn't thinking EXACTLY about heavy like emotionally but I'm sure that is in there somewhere. 

A friend of mine described me as heavy once, as in everything just means so much to me and is such a big deal. She clarified this by saying that wasn't a bad thing. I wasn't even mad, I kind of know what she means. And everyone can be "heavy" about certain aspects of life. I suppose workaholics are heavy about their professional lives, people in gangs are heavy about their reps....that was a weird example because I don't know anything about being in a gang...

Or do I?

No I really don't, but hopefully that comparison makes sense. 

I am heavy about my social life. I kind of thought this came about after the relationship I had in college which kind of tore me up. I was SO wrong. Just, completely and entirely incorrect. Way off the mark...you could probably add more cliches about being wrong in there too, just for good measure, that's how wrong I was. 

Sure, major events that impact your life can cause you to change your emotional or mental state or something, but I've been like this since forever apparently. Over this Thanksgiving week I watched some home movies with my parents on VHS (they actually brought the extra VCR from Kansas City and left it with me here in Florida. So, who wants to watch some vintage VHSes?). There was one family reunion tape where I was a cute baby, unable to make a fool of myself or appear like a brat, which is the downfall of having home movies. Then there was this one where I think I was in middle school.

It is a well documented fact that middle school is by far the most awkward point in basically everyone's lives. Also, we start to act like little assholes which lasts through high school. In this home movie I am playing croquet (seriously) and I am totally sucking at it and I am just like the most lanky, awkward girl in the whole world. This was before I got my braces (my front teeth looked huge) before I embraced my glasses (in my defense that didn't happen until after I had graduated from college) and nothing I wore seemed to fit as well as it probably should have if I hadn't been so ungainly (CONFESSION: I just looked up another word for awkward in the thesaurus because I was using it too much. You're welcome.)   

Other than how gawky (thank you thesaurus) I was, I also was super sarcastic with my mom. I actually wanted to slap little me, I was so annoyed with myself. Apparently, the sarcasm didn't just develop after  four years of college, oops. 

Back to the heavy thing. My friend recently located her DeviantArt account. I also had one but I totally forgot about it until I was looking through her's and located it (the username is just so nerd-a-rific it's unreal.) I guess I had posted some of the poems I wrote when I was in high school and dear Lord, they are so emo and dark and HEAVY. So, so heavy. I'll post one, if you want to read the other ones you have to ask very nicely and maybe give me some beer or something. Be kind.  
The element of love--
Yes, it is an element all it's own.
Correction: It is all the elements on it's own.
The air you cannot breath when you see her,
The ice-water that forms whirlpools in you stomach when you see him,
The fire that glares whenever you're near him,
The earth that remains lodged beneath your finger nails after that game
Of football you played to impress her.

My name means “worthy of love.”
I was born two days before Valentine's Day.
I chose Latin, from which all romance languages stem from.
I have never been in love.
It's a curse triggered by the many love allusions that are hidden in my life,
A curse placed upon me by Aphrodite herself, forcing me to wear a halo--
More of a barrier, against romantic advances.
I wish
Then I would have an excuse.
I don't
I don't have the ability to fall gracefully after being hit by Cupid's arrow,
Instead I am wounded by it,
It aches forever and I am unable to ease the dull, nagging pang.
I continue to pick at the scab it leaves,
Ripping the sore apart.
I do not have dirt beneath my nails,
I have the remains of my dried blood under them.
When it heals I know I've lost, I am left with a scar,
I just couldn't let myself
Fall, trip, dive into love--
Now it's gone.
Holy hell, right?!  I wrote this in high school! At least now I try not to take everything as seriously. It's kind of funny because I read this now and I see this theme of me being afraid I'm going to end up alone and never get married. Welp, old habits (read: neurotic worries) die hard. 

There's this part in Bridesmaids where Annie and Helen are discussing how people change, it goes like this:  
[referring to Lillian not joining them to play tennis]
Annie: Well, you know, she's not really that into sports. Even when we were little she didn't like anything that was too competitive.
Helen: Oh, she certainly enjoys playing tennis now. It's funny how people change, isn't it?
Annie: Yeah. I mean, I don't know. Do people really change?
Helen: Mmm. I think they do.
Annie: Yeah. But I mean like, still stay who they are, pretty much.
Helen: I think we change all the time.
Annie: I think we stay the same, but grow I guess, a little bit.
Helen: I think if you're growing, then you're changing.
Annie: But I mean we're changing from who we are, which we always stay as.
Helen: Not really. I don't think so.
Annie: I think so.
Helen: I don't.

I DO believe people can change, thank God, or everyone would suck. I also believe there are parts of us that apparently don't despite our best intentions. 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thankful, grateful, nifty

It’s thankful time again. All week my Facebook timeline has been flooded with optimistic, gratified statuses from friends and Facebook people I knew at one point in my life.

They are mostly all the same, you know the shtick, “I’m thankful for my family, they’re the best. I love them so much.” Or “I’m thankful for a great weekend with the best friends anyone could ever ask for.” Or, “[insert a line about the sun coming out tomorrow Annie-style yada yada]”

I guess it was this Facebook phenomenon that I had never heard of where every day of November you post something you are thankful for.

I think that's a really great idea, honestly, I know it sounds like I'm making fun of it, but it's a good idea in theory. Many of us truly have a TON to be grateful for and proud of. But it’s one of those things that you’re going to post, people are going to “like” it, you’ll feel all warm from the attention and proud of how humble you’re being, then you’ll probably forget about it in 24 hours.

Example (I’m making this up, but I bet you all are going to know what I’m saying here):

Facebook post = “I am thankful for my job. There are so many people out there that aren’t fortunate enough to be working or they’re having a difficult time getting hired. I'm blessed to be in a good place professionally.


Conversation with a coworker = “I am so pissed, I can’t believe no one appreciates my work. Also, come on, who works on the Friday after Thanksgiving? …mumble mumble, slave drivers.”

Don’t get me wrong; I am just as guilty as the next person of this stuff. Who doesn’t come home after a pretty nifty* day at work and immediately become this grumpy bear-animal as if everything bad in the world happened to you. 

I think I actually did that yesterday. 

I'm not sure how to remedy this ridiculousness, but I suppose it could start by legitimately being grateful for the things we have. You know, not just for the day you say it, but for all the time and all the days of all the year. 

It's like how we're supposed to keep the Christmas spirit (charitable, family-fuzzies, goodwill toward men and so on and so forth) all year long. We all know that doesn't happen. We are total Scrooges the majority of the time. So, with Thanksgiving a day away, let's try for TWO days, as opposed to one, to be thankful for, at least, the fact that we're here and able to do and experience stuff.

Thankful to what you might ask? Well, that's up to you. Maybe it's accident, evolution, happenstance, God's will, nature, science, serendipity, chance, destiny or the flying spaghetti monster. Whatevs. You're here and even if we're all just little creatures in a giant being's ant farm, that's something.

Don't I sound optimistic right now? I should join the Optimist club or something (I bet you thought I was making up the Optimist Club. Oh no, my friend, that's real.) Everything is a little "Kumbaya" at the moment and I'm not sure where it came from but I'm rolling with it. 

*For those of you youngins, “nifty” means pretty darn good, in case you were confused. 

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My warrior name is...

Remember those quizzes on Facebook that would determine silly things, like your spirit animal (mine's a wolf), what house in Hogwarts would you be sorted into and which Sex and the City girl you are (I'm Carrie)? Well, those used to be an obsession of mine. I loved answering generic questions and being given someone or something to identify with.

OK, let’s be real here, when you meet someone and somehow being a big Harry Potter fan comes up, have you ever asked what house they’d be in? See, I have. It’s like asking your zodiac sign for the nerdy set.

Anyway, this week on The Mindy Project, something reminded me of those quizzes.

In the show, Mindy is given some advice on how to handle people kicking your ass emotionally …or physically I guess. One of her coworkers tells her that there’s a warrior inside and that whenever someone messes with you, they’re really messing with the warrior. You just let your warrior take over, or something. I think you get the point I’m trying to make here, hopefully.

Like, remember when Beyonce is Sasha Fierce on stage? Like that. So, anyway [Spoiler Alert] Mindy’s warrior name is Beyonce Pad Thai. After watching this episode my friend texted me and asked me what my warrior name would be.

It is so hard to decide something like that. It’s a big decision, you know. Like when someone asks you what song represents you, you have to think of something cool but plausible. If you say something like “Ohio is for Lovers” everyone will think you hate the world or are just really angry, or if you say “Diva” by Beyonce you are totally overestimating how cool you are. Maybe I just over think these things.

I already went through this whole picking out a name thing when that same friend texted me from a burlesque show and asked what my burlesque name would be. I did, however, come up with a name I would TOTALLY want if I ever did burlesque, are you ready?

Lotte L’Amour

Isn’t that awesome!? Can you just imagine a sexy chick lounging on a fainting couch with a cigarette on a long stick? Maybe it smells like Voltaire #5 and some sexy French music is playing in the background really softly. Whatever, don’t judge.

Or it's like when people have names for their drunken personas. I bet almost every one of you has a friend named Ashley that transforms into Smashley when she’s passed the tipsy point of the evening. I like to think of my drunk persona as a cowgirl. She flirts, she dances, she knows no personal boundaries, she is entirely too trusting, makes questionable desicions and really likes batting her eyes. Also, sometimes this weird little twang comes out when I’m feeling pretty loose after drinking a bit. I don’t know exactly what that is about.

I did an interview for work the other day with a derby girl, as in roller derby, and her derby name was Climaxxx. It's wicked. She was talking about how your derby image can be totally different from who you are on a daily basis. Where she took on a dominatrix-type character for derby, in normal everyday life you would never dream she would be carrying a whip into a roller rink.  

I still don’t know what my warrior’s name would be, I’ll keep thinking and get back to you on that. But the whole point is, all of us love to have these little escapes. They are like excuses about why we act a certain way, or once you are that persona it isn’t really you anymore. The funny thing is, all of our personas are a part of us. It’s just different facets. I guess the thing to do is embrace all of them.  Right?

It’s a Jekyll and Hyde thing. Jekyll is always in Hyde and vice versa. Let’s use a more modern example. It’s a Hulk thing.

If we know those characters are inside of us we can control them, or use them for the better. That’s a warning, FYI. I’m totally naming my warrior so don’t mess with me, she might come out and I don’t think you’ll want to be on the receiving end.

PS. I’m a Slytherin, and you?

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Time to hibernate

It's about that time of year, weather getting colder the hot chocolate cravings start up, that's not really the case where I am, but for other people it is. Every once in a while it gets down in the 60s here, if that counts. It's time to pick up a Starbucks drink, if only because it has a cute winter scene on it, it's like an accessory + caffeine.

That also means it gets dark really quckly. So, whenever I get home from work, the sun is basically down. That means all I want to do is sit on the couch and veg. Game over. I still have Halloween candy hanging around that I continuously munch on (gummy body parts, in case you were wondering) all I want to do is make really thick, buttery, starchy food and I don't want to work out. That basically means it's time to hibernate for the winter. It's getting cold anyway, so a layer of fat would do me good <--- said no one ever (except maybe Eskimos.)

So, every other day I attempt to drag my sorry self to the gym at my apartment complex, because running in the dark is terrifying. When I first started running in Florida I was jumping at every rustle of branches and leaf noises because I thought alligators were going to jump out and snap me up. "Jump" really isn't the correct word. I know that alligators can't jump, per se. But I did think they were going to run up to me and bite my leg off, or that I'd end up wrestling around on the ground with one Crocodile  Hunter style.
I had to, I love/miss Steve Irwin.

And that was during the day. At night there are creatures and fiends and rapists and muggers and ghosts or Blaire Witches or something. I run with pepper spray during the day, at night I'd need to run with a cross bow. 

Sometimes when I'm feeling especially lazy and I don't want to make the (maybe) 4 minute walk to the workout room, I just do those squat, lunge, jumping jack, wall sit things that you find on Pinterest. The problem is then I'm scared the people downstairs will come knock on my door and complain about the noise from me jumping. You just can't win during the winter. 

Might as well just accept our fate, right? We can always start working out in the spring to lose weight for swim suit season....which is all the time down here. Whatever. 

Here's a really delish recipe that would be groovy for a football related gathering or just because you like buffalo chicken flavored stuff. Bonus: It's slightly spicy depending on what kind of sauce you use (yay! because it's cold out probably), and you can bulk up for the frigid temperatures because it has a ton of ranch, potatoes and cheese in it. You know that sounds good and you want to make it now. Don't pretend. 

The recipe comes from the blog Holy Cannoli Recipes.

Buffalo Chicken and Potato Casserole

  • 1 1/2 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch strips
  • 1/3 c. Franks hot sauce
  • 5c. red potatoes, grated w/ box grater 
  • 1 c. light ranch dressing/ blue cheese
  • 1/2 c. cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 (10 oz) can condensed cream of chicken soup
  • 1/2 c. panko
  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Spray 13x9-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
  2. Grate potatoes and lay out and pat with a paper towel to try to get some of the moisture out.
  3. In medium bowl, stir together chicken strips and buffalo sauce. Spoon into baking dish in a single layer.
  4. In the same bowl, stir together potatoes, dressing, cheese and soup. Spread over chicken. Sprinkle panko evenly over the top.
  5. Cover with foil. Bake 30 minutes; uncover and bake 20 to 25 minutes longer or until potatoes are tender and juice of chicken is no longer pink when centers of thickest pieces are cut.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The best advice I’ve been given recently

People give advice all the time. In our minds, it’s just us trying to be helpful. We’re making sure that person doesn’t make the same mistake we’ve made. We just don’t want them to get hurt, we’re trying to make them feel better, blah blah blah the list goes on. Either way, we really want to tell people what they should do. 

If you’re like me, you really don’t want to ever make decisions (they could be wrong!) so I am constantly asking people whether I should go to events, what I should order, if I should workout etc. It’s very annoying. I just want people to take the choices away from me. That’s the stupidest thing you’ve ever read, right? That might be the stupidest thing I’ve ever typed, but I didn’t realize how silly wanting to give up my free will was until right this second. 

Still, I am still going to share the best advice I’ve been given recently, because maybe it will benefit you like it did me. Maybe. Maybe not. Whatever, at least I’m putting it out there, just in case. 

An old friend came in town recently to see our mighty alma mater play football in my current home-state (we lost if you were wondering.) We’ve known each other since middle school and somehow managed to go to the same college. We ended up having some of the same circle of friends, and I hadn’t seen him in a a year and a half, I think. He’s one of those people that isn’t afraid to tell me straight up if I’m an idiot and to get my shit together. 

So, after I tell him how I’ve been struggling since moving to Florida, mostly socially, he tells me what I’m about to tell you. 

Don’t let one issue in your life motivate all the rest of your decisions and actions. I was totally focused on one thing that was wrong and everything I did revolved around that. All of my actions were wondering how I could fix my “problem” or what I could do to correct it. I wasn’t even sure if there was a problem. 

See, it’s all very confusing. But the point is, the only thing that should motivate our decisions and actions is to find happiness and to better ourselves. Does that sound selfish? It isn’t, we help others because that brings us happiness and it improves our outlook on life. 

Once in college I had to be in a couple psych studies (it was for a class, OK?) One of them was one where they make you take this multiple choice test. Then after you’re done this guy comes over to take it from you. My guy knocked over this container of writing utensils when he was giving me my parting instructions, so I helped him pick them up, and he told me when I got back to my room, I was supposed to log onto this website he gave me and there would be more multiple choice questions, and then the study would be over. I walk home, get on the computer, fill out the questions and after I submit them the next page that comes up explains the whole experiment. Apparently, the study was to see the affect of helping others on your mood. The whole clumsiness thing was a ploy so I’d help the guy. In the other test group people were given something, then they were told to fill out the rest of the survey at home. The people that helped others were more upbeat than the ones that were given something for no reason. 

That was a really long explanation of why helping others makes you feel better, but at least it was a scientific explanation...kind of. What I’m saying is, what makes you happy is often what makes others happy, so it’s kind of a win-win for everyone. 

End of advice. 

PS. I try not to give advice because I had this dream once that my friend shot me because I gave him bad advice. So when I do give advice, I usually REALLY believe in it. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

This is Veteran's Day

I don't know if this is normal for other elementary schools, but my kiddie alma mater made Veteran's Day a very large deal. Each class had to learn a different patriotic song. Some of them were about America, different states, what the states were known for and classic Americana songs. One year my grade learned the U.S. Air Force song.

Off we go into the wild blue yonder,
Climbing high into the sun;
Here they come zooming to meet our thunder,
At 'em boys, Give 'er the gun! (Give 'er the gun now!)
Down we dive, spouting our flame from under,
Off with one helluva roar!
We live in fame or go down in flame. Hey!
Nothing'll stop the U.S. Air Force!

Off we go into the wild sky yonder,
Keep the wings level and true;
If you'd live to be a grey-haired wonder
Keep the nose out of the blue! (Out of the blue, boy!)
Flying men, guarding the nation's border,
We'll be there, followed by more!
In echelon we carry on. Hey!
Nothing'll stop the U.S. Air Force!

There are more lyrics, but we only learned two verses. At the time, honestly, I don't even know if I knew what the Air Force did really. I guess I probably would have said, "Fly planes." 

I also remember singing Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy and playing the chords to go with it on the guitar. You know how in elementary school sometimes kids learn to play the recorder (which isn't a real instrument FYI?) Well, my year they decided to not play recorders and to teach us to play chords on the guitar. I remember none of these, but this is the song anyway.
In other news, who wants to dress up like the Andrews Sisters for Halloween with me someday?

Back to Veteran's Day. I respect the military so entirely I can't put it into words correctly. My ex-boyfriend used to get upset before he saw action, because people would thank him for his service when he was in uniform. I used to try to explain, he was a symbol of those other service men and women that can't be thanked. I'm proud of all of my friends and relatives that are serving or have served. I'm proud of anyone that has served honorably, for their sacrifice and their family's, for everything they've given up so that we can be safe. 

I know this has nothing to do with my elementary school. But when I think back, I'm just so glad we had that big assembly.  I remember we could invite our parents and anyone we knew of that had served. I'm pretty sure that assembly is the reason I know the song "Fifty Nifty United States" which is subsequently why I can say all the states in alphabetical order. We may not have picked up on why our patriotic display was important, but we were acknowledging this country. They were teaching us about our nation, whether we knew it or not. 

In middle school, my choir teacher was a complete nut job but, we sang God Bless the USA before every musical and play we performed. It was like our warm-up tradition. The whole cast would stand in a big circle and put their arms around each other, some of us even knew how to harmonize to parts of it. And you know what, it felt really good to be that close to others singing about the United States. And we were so young we didn't even know about party lines, 9/11 had just happened and we were all just holding onto each other. Granted, we lived in Kansas, we were incredibly removed from most of it, but we learned what had happened, we knew it was scary and that we had been attacked. 

Today, I posted about our veterans on Facebook and Twitter (as most of us did) I donated some money this weekend to the disabled veterans group in the area and gave blood (DISCLAIMER: I am not trying to humble brag) I'm trying to say there's so much more we could be doing. I supposed we could start by becoming a more unified nation. There are states that have petitions to secede from the U.S. right now. People want to boycott American businesses (see my last post) and we're defriending people because of their vehement political views. Just, put it away. There are more important things. The division is only making things worse... I'll get off the soap box now. 

This clip is my favorite America medley ever. It's from the movie With a Song in My Heart, and it's wonderful. 

PS. It's all of this election fallout that's making me so rant-y. I promise I'll stop.