Monday, June 28, 2010

Learning to Let it Go

Lately I've been surprised to find myself much more relaxed about things I used to find unbearably irritating, frustrating, or even downright upsetting. I have no idea whom or what I should thank for this new found even-keel mindset, but I'm hoping it'll stick around. Maybe a large part of getting older is realizing that you can't do much of anything to avoid unpleasantness, but you can choose how you'll react when it occurs. In the past couple of months, I feel like I have been the world champion of "letting it go." Life is way too short to be angry about money, envious of my friends, or bitter about the decisions of others. I'm finally coming to terms with the fact that there are certain things I can't change about myself, and that sometimes doors close for us and we can't reopen them. I don't get to go back and do the last 10 years over again, as much as I sometimes desperately want to, and that's OK. I haven't done anything great yet, and that's also OK. I'll just continue to float along and let the bad stuff bounce off of me. I think that's enough of a master plan for now.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

I Actually Posted

So yesterday I took a sick day from work, which I absolutely hate doing, but I couldn't talk for more than about 5 minutes without either losing my voice or sounding like a gravelly old man, so spending hours answering questions just wasn't going to happen. I get super stressed when I miss work on days that I haven't planned to do so, especially if I have programs coming up, which means that I'll probably be running around like crazy trying to catch up when I go back today. I've missed the gym for the past 3 days too, which also makes me cranky, but I don't want to go if I'm hacking up a lung in front of other people, because I'd be really angry/grossed out if someone else was doing that and I was healthy. I'd like to say that I at least sat home and read, but I didn't. I watched "American Experience" on PBS and did some embroidery on a table runner. Woot.

In other news, I've been battling some MAJOR depression lately, which has almost become a tradition during this time of the year. I've known for years that I get what psychologists call "seasonal affective disorder" or "SAD," which I think is just a giant joke on their part. I suppose if I had to sit around listening to people's problems all day, I would have to either find a way to joke about it or go a little crazy. I'm personally not sure it actually counts as an official "disorder" though. Anyway, the gym helps a little bit, since my mood tends to be better if I've had some exercise, but I'm super emotional all the time. Two out of the last three books I've read have left me in tears, and they weren't really even super sad books. The one that didn't make me cry was a manga about a girl who's so dumb that the only school she gets accepted into is one for magical animals that are learning to become human, and yes, it was very strange. I guess maybe I just need to read more stuff that requires no thought or reflection whatsoever on my part.

The new apartment is finally starting to look decent, though I haven't hung much on the walls and there are still some things in boxes I don't know what to do with. For the most part though, it's acceptable:

The impractically long kitchen. Note the table with no chairs. Someday I WILL have chairs.

The bathroom. The only room that looks finished.

Bedroom/storage for stuff I haven't found a spot for yet.

Unfortunately, the couch is the only seating in the living room, so it's hard to have more than one person over at a time. Hopefully we'll acquire at least a chair at some point. I also detest the pattern on the couch, but free is free and I shouldn't complain. I'll have to start looking for a decent cover for it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

An Early Christmas Present

So Court and I are finally moving into our own place, which is both a huge relief and an enormous pain in the ass. I mean, I don't know anyone who actually enjoys the process of moving, but moving twice in one year with the second time being in the middle of winter? Yuck. Even though I'm not looking forward to the actual moving process, I'm relieved that we finally found a place. (Gee, and it only took me--what? 6 months?) Anyway, I really like the location and can't wait until we're all the way moved in. Actually, I really just want to decorate, put up a tree, and bake some cookies!

Friday, November 20, 2009

I'm Still Here!

Ok, I know. I haven’t updated this thing in two months. It’s not that I haven’t tried; in fact, I have several entries started and saved, but to tell you the truth, they’re all extremely whiny and dramatic. They really aren’t worth reading.

Instead, I’ll try to focus on something good. Most notably, my sister got married at the end of October. I’ll admit, I was wrestling with the Green-Eyed Monster pretty seriously before we left, which is honestly embarrassing. I was completely bent out of shape about the fact that my younger sister was getting married before me, even though she and her husband have been together for at least 5 years now, even though they’re 100 different kinds of perfect for each other, and even though I absolutely adore him and couldn’t ask for a better guy for my sister, I was a complete train wreck for about a month. The hardest part was that I felt like I couldn’t talk to Court about it. I tell him everything, but I was afraid if I explained that the reason I was acting like a bi-polar crocodile was because I was jealous about my sister’s wedding, he’d think I was trying to guilt him into doing something I’d never in a thousand years want to guilt him into doing. So instead of talking to anyone about it, I just let my selfishness fester, cried a lot, and snapped at everyone. The thing is, Court’s not an idiot and he knew what was going on, so he confronted me about it, and understood how I felt, why I was upset and was a great, supportive boyfriend etc… etc… Then I felt really dumb because had I explained to him what was going on in the first place, I probably could have saved everyone a lot of unnecessary drama. So the night before we flew out there I finally got over myself and thus ended my extended PMS session. As it turned out, I was also coming down with the flu, so by the time I got on the plane I was too messed up to really care about anything other than how long it was taking the pilot to turn off the seat belt sign so I could beat all the old people to the bathroom.

Apart from feeling under the weather for the first couple of days, the trip was really great, and I think I needed to get away from Ohio more than I’d realized. The mountains were beautiful and we got to visit a couple of places I really wanted to see—most notably Manzanar, which was a Japanese internment camp during WWII, and Bodie, which is the best-preserved mining ghost town in the state. The trip to Bodie was really cool, even if there were enough tourists there to kind of take away from that “desolate ghost town” feeling. Many of the buildings still contained belongings that people had left behind, and there was lots of cool, rusty, decaying history to look at (which is my most favorite thing ever.)


The wedding itself was very relaxed and casual, and my sister looked gorgeous. I “did the photography” (by which I mean that since I had a digital SLR, I was the designated picture-taker) and actually had a really good time. I didn’t feel jealous or crappy at all, just happy for Allie and Braden. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that Allie and Court and I spent all morning playing 500 Rummy and I totally kicked both of their butts. I think my ego needed that.

The trip also provided me with the opportunity to spend some time with Braden’s older sister who is my age and whom I hadn’t talked to since we had a loud, public, and super embarrassing fight during health class when we were 15. She is pretty, skinnier than Barbie, blond, and successful, and the very idea of her seriously scared the shit out of me. (Ok, I was also afraid she’d still be mad about the nasty things I said to her 11 years ago, because really, I was a pretty mean teenager.) After the reception ended she and Court and I hung out for awhile, and after finishing off 3 bottles of cab and a pound of chocolate by ourselves, we were all BEST FRIENDS. I think we were really onto something with the wine and chocolate solution, and plan on using it again in the future.

On a sour note, I’ve had a really hard time adjusting to being back. I usually have issues with seasonal depression starting in November anyway, but I didn’t cope well at all with coming home. The problem is that I’ve been back for 3 weeks and I still feel like crap. None of the things that normally cheer me up have been working very well. I don’t feel like reading or playing video games, and I haven’t felt creative enough to draw, write, or paint anything. I don’t even really want to go out of the house most of the time. I’d better figure out a way to crawl out of this little hole fast or it’s going to turn into a great, big, deep hole. I know how these things work.

Friday, August 28, 2009

I Made a Cake

When I was a kid, I loved the beginning of September. My mom's birthday is on the 3rd, mine is on the 5th, and when I was little, we'd usually have a "friends" party the following weekend. This meant that there were often THREE cakes sitting around the house at the beginning of the month, which was pretty much just badass. My mom usually made a chocolate cake for her birthday. (It never occurred to me as a kid that maybe mom shouldn't be stuck making her own birthday cake, but she seemed to like it better that way. At least if you make your own cake, you're always going to get something you like, right?) My cake for our family party was different every year, but I often opted for yellow cake with chocolate icing. The "friends party" cake was usually store-bought, and I never failed to choose something hideously airbrushed and covered in Kroger's infamously bad red icing, which always more like colored dye than something actually edible.

Like all super cool things you get to indulge in as a child, the excessive amount of cake tradition eventually subsided, and my mom and I decided that maybe sharing a birthday dinner and cake was more practical. A couple of weeks ago, I found this tasty-looking recipe for Bailey's Irish Cream bundt cake, and since my mom loves Bailey's, I told her I'd do it for our birthday. Since we'll be having company, it seemed important that the cake actually be done "right," so I decided to make a practice cake first. Since there's almost half a bottle of Irish cream in the batter, the recipe called for a 60 minute cooking time, but I think I'll cut that down a bit when I make it again. I baked it for 45 minutes and it was almost perfect that way. I just want it to be a little bit more moist when I do it again next week, so I think maybe I'll try for 35 to 40 minutes. The glaze also apparently needs to be poured on the cake IMMEDIATELY or it won't spread. I originally let the glaze sit for about 5 minutes before applying it, and it was already too cool, so I made a second saucepan of glaze and poured that on as well. Yes, that's two sticks of butter, two cups of sugar, and almost the rest of the bottle of Bailey's on top of the cake. According to the recipe, one twelfth of this monster is 600 calories. WHATEVER. It tasted amazing, and even though Court cut a gigantic piece out of it the minute he walked in the door, there was still enough left to take to my friend's party. I can't friggin wait to have a reason to make this thing agian.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Attack of the Toys on Ecstasy!

So yesterday I went to my friend's 5 year-old daughter's birthday party, which was pretty sweet. I hung out with people I haven't seen in a long time, watched a bunch of preschoolers attempt their first water balloon fight, and enjoyed some excellent snackage. (I also got hit on by another friend's baby daddy, but that's a story for a different day.) Anyway, my friend said her daughter wanted anything pony or Littlest Pet Shop as a gift, so I earlier in the day I had gone over to target to pick up a My Little Pony or two.

Now, before I start in on this rant, you must understand that My Little Ponies were my BFFs growing up. I had over 90 of them. They were all I wanted for birthdays and Christmases until I was about...oh, 10 years old, (embarrassingly enough) when they stopped making them. I was also in possession of the pony castle, pony mansion, beauty parlor, carrying case, stable, nursery, and dance school, and I insisted upon keeping ALL of this crap plus the 90ish ponies in my room until I was 15. (And to think I wondered why I had no friends in 8th grade!) Anyway, a few years ago, when Hasbro started making MLPs again that actually looked similar to the originals, I was secretly pretty psyched. I won't lie; I've bought myself a few of these new ponies when I've found them on sale. I don't really know what to do with them, but the drive to collect them just doesn't want to die. This is from when Court and I were in NYC last year and visiting the giant Toys-R-Us in Times Square:

That is me holding the 25th anniversary re-release of 3 of the original 6 ponies. They are now packed away in a box somewhere.

So anyway, I was very satisfied with Hasbro for bringing back their colorful equine creations and keeping them similar enough to the originals that anyone from my generation would immediately know what one was by looking at it. Here is an example of one:

It looks like a My Little Pony. It's just a tad bit skinnier than the old ones, and the legs flare out more at the bottom, but you all know what it is, right? Then, when I was shopping yesterday, I saw this thing:

Excuse me, but what the f*** is that? This is supposed to be the SAME pony as the one in the previous picture. What happened to its eyes? What happened to its nose? Why does it have a GINORMOUS forehead? It's terrifying! That is not a My Little Pony, that is an abomination. It's what I would imagine the child of Dennis Rodman and Miley Cyrus would look like. I hate it, I hate it, I hate it with every fiber of my being.

Why is it that suddenly all "girl" toys have to conform to the new "giant head and ecstasy eyes" standards? When did normal-sized eyes and noses become unappealing? Seriously, there has to be something to this, because toy manufacturers wouldn't change the look of their time-tested products if slapping eyes the size of dinner plates on them didn't somehow boost sales. In case you need more convincing, here's another example from Hasbro's other female-directed cash cow, "Littlest Pet Shop:"

Yes, that is (probably?) a calf with flower-shaped reflections in its huge, orange eyeballs. Also, would someone please explain to me where its body went? I can CLEARLY see the head, and I see some legs, but come on people! Cows have 4 stomachs! Is there one stomach in each leg or something?

So where did this insanity start? Personally, I think the answer is two-fold: the rise in popularity of Anime, and those hideously disgusting "Bratz" dolls.

Now, if you've ever watched anime, read manga, or if you work at a library where you shelve the stuff all day long, you know what I'm talking about already. The anime and manga art style is characterized by people with tiny bodies, huge heads, enormous eyes, and no noses. Making the eyes larger in proportion to the rest of the facial features makes the characters look "cuter," and making the head enormous is supposed to make them seem more child-like. (Personally, I think this would be fine if anime was directed at children, but since most of it seems to involve monsters, rape, incest, or incestual monster rape, I think making the characters look "adorable" is highly inappropriate.) I also think it promotes an unhealthy body image, since NO ONE looks like an anime chick, and if they did, it would be so terrible you'd have nightmares about it for weeks:

No, you can't un-see it.

So anime was one half of the equation, but I really have to blame those awful Bratz for bringing this look to the general toy market. Bratz not only have enormous heads, eyes, and lips, they also sport a complete lack of nose. That's right, Bratz have no all.

I think the one on the far right kind of looks like "Octo-Mom," but hey, maybe this is the picture she took with her to the plastic surgeon's office!

So anyway, I spent a good 45 minutes in Target trying to decide whether or not I actually wanted to buy that monstrosity of a pony before sucking it up and paying the $6.95 or whatever it cost. In order to make myself feel better, I went next door to Barnes and Noble and bought her a couple of cheap My Little Pony books (with normal-looking ponies) and some plastic sparkly princess jewelry from Claire's. In hindsight, however, I really wish I hadn't gotten the pony, because while the birthday girl seemed happy about it, she was WAY more excited about the $1.99 plastic princess wand and tiara.

Also, on a side note, Court used to work overnight stock at Toys-R-Us and has informed me that while Bratz are horrible, there were these dolls called "Flavas" that were even worse. I looked them up, and here is what Wikipedia has to say about them:

"Some aspects of the Flavas dolls were considered offensive and it has been suggested that, rather than embracing hip hop culture, the dolls were actually making fun of it. It has also been suggested that the dolls were racially offensive in that Mattel portrayed negative stereotypes of African-Americans, such as Kiyoni Brown, who wore a very short mini skirt and halter top, giving her the appearance of the standard "video hoochie". Even more criticism came along when the song the Flavas commercial played (Whats your flavor, tell me whats your flavor) seemed to suggest oral sex."

Really though. Does this young, caucasian, blue-eyed male "Flava" look like he's portraying a stereotype?


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Somehow it's August

I've always hated August. Next to February, it's my least favorite month of the year. When I was younger, it was because I had to start school again at the end of August, but now it's just because August is the month before my birthday. I really dislike having birthdays, and I feel like I shouldn't be saying that in my mid-20s. Wait, I'll be 26 this year. Can I still count that as part of my mid-20s, or is it officially "late 20s" after you're over the age of 25? I guess part of the reason I hate getting older is because I feel like I haven't done anything of significance yet. I keep thinking to myself, "Hey, I have plenty of time to figure out what I want to do with my life, because this year I'll only be 22...I mean 24... I mean 26?" Now, I know that normally 26 isn't an age of any significance, but a few years back when I was completely miserable and spent most of my time planning out the rest of my life, I honestly thought that I'd have accomplished a variety of things by this point in my life. Here is a list of just a few:

1) I thought I'd have a career that paid at least $50,000 a year

Holy cow I was stupid. I apparently had no idea how the world functioned when I was in undergrad. I don't think there is a history major on the planet who has ever made that kind of bank without additional schooling, at which I so thoughtlessly turned up my nose. I had a magical degree! Why on Earth would I need to dump more money down the drain and waste more of my precious time on extra schooling? What did I think I was going to do with a major in history and no plans to get my PhD, go to law school, or teach? I mean, I love working at the library, but I discovered that career path by a lucky accident. I guess I just figured I'd get some office job and work my way up the corporate ladder. I'd have been such an appealing candidate for employment too, given that I never even applied for any kind of internship, (why would I need one of those, right?) had no actual experience working in an office environment, and didn't even know what MS Excel was used for. Maybe the Peace Corps would have taken me out of pity.

2) I thought I'd own a house

Look! I made another hilarious joke. Man, I am just on fire today! Where did I think that money was going to come from? From my 50k a year job, I suppose. Did I really think I would rent for 4 years and then just magically be able to afford a down payment on a house? I must not have factored in rent...or food...or gas, electricity, water, car maintenance, student loan payments, or any of the money I might want to *gasp* spend on myself or others. I will never own a house, and I guess I don't even really want to anymore.

3) I thought I'd be married to a guy I'm not even with anymore

So I dated this guy for like 4 years, and then during the summer after I graduated, I decided I didn't actually like him after all. Oops! My bad. I was miserable and lonely while I was in school, so I clung desperately to him, thereby preventing any sort of personal growth or maturity in either of us. Then, after I graduated, I started to realize that my feelings for him had cooled tremendously in our last couple of years, and began to distance myself. Oh! But not before I insisted that we get an apartment together along with a friend of ours. Also, I had no job at the time, so he was paying for my share of the rent and utilities while I sat at home like the gold-digging bum I apparently was. Anyway, so that situation lasted for a period of about a month, during which I spent a disturbingly large amount of time either buying alcohol, drinking, being drunk, or crying. One night, my friends from college came into town, and we were all going to go out to the bar together. Unfortunately, I was so deliriously intoxicated that I was incapable of even making it out to the car, so they left me passed out at home and went without me. On this excursion, one of my friends asked my then-boyfriend when the hell he planned on "letting the other shoe drop" and proposing to me already, since we'd been together for well over 4 years. He pretty much said, "Never," which she promptly reported to me the next day. The crazy thing was, I didn't care, and I realized the idea of marrying him kind of grossed me out a little bit. At the end of the summer, we accompanied my parents on a vacation up to some cabins in Northern Wisconsin, where we'd spend the week with friends of the family. Since I have such impeccable timing, I decided about 90 minutes into the car ride up there that I wanted to break up with him--permanently--and then spent the entire week in a funk. I had no idea how to act around him, so I avoided him for the most part, and finally told my parents that I was breaking up with him as soon as we got home, and they agreed to leave early. We got home, I dumped him, and I left him with an apartment he didn't really want. Hey man, if you're reading this, I am truly sorry I was such a psychotic, miserable bitch. Also, I'm really glad we didn't get married, or come in any way close.

4) I thought that this would be the year I'd have my first child

When I was younger, I figured that everyone who is deemed "successful" and "fulfilled" has to have had at least one child, so I decided that age 26 would be a good time to start on that front. Now that I am 26, I'm thinking that maybe age 36 might be a good time to cross this milestone off the list, if ever. It's not that I don't love kids, and it's not that I don't ever catch myself daydreaming about what MY kid would look like, or act like, or be into. It's just that I'm a pretty selfish girl, (which you should have figured out by now if you read the previous paragraph) and I'm just not ready to live for someone else yet, no matter how wonderful that someone would probably be. I also can't afford a child. I can hardly afford to support myself! I'm not sure why I ever thought that people needed to have kids to feel fulfillment. I mean, I'm sure it is incredibly fulfilling, but there have to be other enriching activities I can engage in, right? I still have time to change my mind if I want to.

So I have done none of these things. Instead, on my 26th birthday, I will be dirt poor, unmarried, childless, and living in my boyfriend's mom's basement. (Major "yikes" for that last one.) On the plus side, I somehow managed to score a super fun and rewarding job, and I am still skinny, (which is pure LUCK) though gaining weight rapidly since I quit smoking. I guess I'll just keep on keepin' on for the little stuff! Maybe I'll start actually working on writing a book, instead of writing a few paragraphs and then deleting everything like I normally do.

College Meredith was kind of stupid, but at least her hair looked nice and healthy!