Monday, December 31, 2012

Time Keeps on Slippin', Slippin', Slippin' Into the Future

I had grand illusions of all the things I was going to write about before the end of the year. I don't know why that seemed to be such a hard and fast deadline; maybe because a lot of the holiday-related things were, you know, time-sensitive and it would probably be weird to write about holiday baking adventures in February. Though at the rate I'm going these days, that seems like an optimistic prospect. There's all the year-end posts that are flying at me from all angles, the best of this, the worst of that, Top Arbitrary Number of Specific Topics, and so on, and so forth. If I had more time, maybe I'd pull together my best moments of 2012, or maybe I'd even look at the worst and figure out what I learned from them. Maybe I'd just post a bunch of pictures as a year-end summary.

The problem is, these things take time, and there's just... there's never enough of that.

But there's ALWAYS time for a Saved By the Bell reference.

So, I don't know. (That seems to be one of my favorite transition sentences. "So, I don't know." Perhaps... MOST FREQUENTLY USED TRANSITION SENTENCE OF 2012?! Maybe I should make a list of those. Second place probably goes to "Anyway...").

My friend/blog muse/nationally renowned kicker-of-ass Nicole recently released a shiny new e-book, available FREE of charge called "Why Wait?" (which means you should probably go download it) about setting aside bullshit excuses and making space for the things you want to accomplish in 2013. I was super psyched to sit down with it and finally get my shit together and... and I haven't done it yet, because I haven't had the energy to do it. I was going to say "haven't had the time" but if I were to think too much about that, that's probably a lie. I had time. I just had no motivation or energy left to use that time properly.

Truth be told, I get really insecure and overwhelmed by stuff like this. I hate examining my life because I always feel like I need to have the best answers (even if the "best" answer is actually "prove how effed up you are"- apparently it's a competition with a blank piece of paper to vomit out as many words as possible about how awful everything is and how much of a waste of a space I am). I always feel like there is a right answer and I always have to fish for it, because somewhere along the way, I've been taught that "I don't know" is an unacceptable response. It's not okay to not know. It's not okay to not have the answers. Which sucks, because frequently all I have is a handful of I-don't-knows and the overwhelming feeling of failing because I'm supposed to know. I'm supposed to know what the problem is, and I'm supposed to know what the answer is, and at that point, it's simply a matter of being too lazy to have been doing anything about it.

But I don't, guys. I don't know. I haven't the slightest clue. My biggest goal these days seems to be just getting by and the thought of adding anything on top of that is terrifying. I feel like I'm going to buckle under the weight of all the expectations that really probably only exist because I put them there. I can't answer questions about what's wrong or identifying the problem because, well, I DON'T KNOW. I don't know how to answer any of the questions, and I'm tired of pretending like I know, because I don't. I don't know, I don't know, I don't know. I don't know how many times I have to say it before it feels like it's an okay thing to admit.

Between Pinterest and the other blogs I read, there's clearly a movement out there to "live with intention" and "be authentic" and tell everyone who's getting in the way of your intentional, authentic life to piss off, and to me it sounds like a grand, romantic idea that's about as impossible to achieve as waking up tomorrow and running a marathon. They're just words. I try to internalize them and they seem like a wonderful idea, but I feel kind of stuck in the life I'm in right now. I can't afford the luxury of throwing off the shackles of The Man and giving into my wanderlust or creative impulses. Those don't pay the bills. I'm forced to be pragmatic and timid because first things first, I need to survive, before I can live. I'm out of sync with my "tribe" so to speak and I feel like I'm left behind.

Perhaps it was all an illusion, anyway. Maybe I'd have been better off if there was no such thing as the Internet or globalization. I would have followed the prescribed life plan for a small-town Midwest girl and never have known the difference. I wouldn't feel like I'm fighting for some invisible goal to do more, be more. I want "more" but I don't know what "more" is. Maybe I should want less. Hell, it doesn't matter. I don't know what I want. More and less are relative terms that don't mean anything unless I can define what I have and where I am, and as previously stated, all I have is a giant question mark and a sudden urge to crawl under my desk and tuck myself into the fetal position.

But coming back to what I'm going to pretend my original point was, I've hit the wall at the end of 2012, and since the world decided to not end last week (as it seems to have a habit of not doing), we're going to end up in 2013 in less than twelve hours and apparently this is some sort of magical blank slate and I feel like I need to tie up this year in a nice little package with twine bows and perfectly folded paper wrapping and then, I don't know, shove it in the back of the closet with years 1984 through 2011. This divide between December 31 and January 1 is so bizarre, because it's just another today turning into another tomorrow, but suddenly it's a big deal, and suddenly all the things I didn't do for the past twelve months are gnawing at me and for some reason it seems like nothing is allowed to carry over beyond today. Well, tough shit, universe. Next week I'm going to post about my Christmas cookies and then maybe three months from now I'll post about something that happened in August that I forgot to think about because I was too busy treading water while trying not to get yanked under by a sudden riptide. Or something. I don't go in the ocean much. We don't have any coasts here.

I think New Year's Resolutions are as flimsy and useless as the next person does, but I always make a couple anyway. Though it's not like on January 1, I'm magically going to become a better person. I'm not magically going to lose the forty pounds I've been trying to get rid of for the last two years. I'm not suddenly going to be a stylish dresser or have a sparkly clean apartment or learn to wear heels and stop being the asshole who's late for everything and suddenly be a fully-functioning adult (whatever that means, though from what I can tell, being an adult means doing all the stuff you don't actually want to do and that sounds incredibly suffocating, and every fiber of my being is resisting against things like "financial planning" and "getting up before 7:30 in the morning" and "stop wearing hoodies.") It's going to take some time to do any of these things. I'm not going to be able to run a 5K overnight, I'm not suddenly going to be able to dissolve all the sentimental feelings I have for the majority of the junk in my apartment, I'm not going to be the perfect version of myself that I keep picturing. But what I guess I can do is slowly start trying to get better and we'll start right away (which conveniently happens to be a new year) and maybe by this time next year I'll be writing a post about how I kicked ass instead of how I'm overwhelmed by my life and the fact that I'm pretty certain I'm wasting it by not knowing what to do with it.

And by God, I intend to welcome this blank slate while wearing something sparkly and holding a glass of champagne. Because if there's anything I do know about life, it's that everything is better when there is some sparkle.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I Don't Have the Answers, But I Know This Isn't It.

I know, I know. You all thought you were off the hook once the ballot returns were in, didn't you? HAHA that's adorable. But there's too much to say right now to sit this one out, so please don't groan at me, because this is a conversation we need to have. I know everyone would rather focus on the holidays and all of the happy-festive stuff, but... this first.

I'm not going to rehash what happened last Friday. It was awful in the very worst of ways, it was tragic and disgusting and we'll never have an answer as to how or why someone could or would do such a thing. What we need to do now is remember, then move forward together with some way of keeping this from happening again.

How? Well, for starters, we need to look at the underlying problems facing society. We need to get at the heart of what's making these people snap, and fix that. We can't slap a bandage over it by passing legislation that nobody will heed, by lamenting the "what-ifs" and the "should-haves" instead of actually taking steps to 
There are three parts to this, all of which are easy to say and difficult to implement. But coming at this from an objective a standpoint as I can muster, I present to you my Three Point Plan For Fixing The World (working title).
1. I don't think we should sensationalize violence in the media. America has a weird, sick fascination with it. It's everywhere. We glorify it. In the news, in our movies, in our video games, in our music. It's really not surprising that someone with an imbalanced mentality would want to feel like a bad-ass action hero (or villain) by unleashing mayhem on innocent people. It's a quick ticket to notoriety and infamy. Everyone will remember your name.
Which is why I don't think we should give them that satisfaction. I don't think we should release their name. I don't think we should do profiles and interview everyone they know or talk about what college they almost went to or what their favorite movies were. I think we should refer to them only as "the shooter" and focus on the victims. Give the victims a proper memorial, keep their families in our thoughts. If we stop giving the killers the glory they are after, perhaps then it will be less appealing for aspiring copycats to nab their own piece of the pie.
"You want to know why. This may sound cynical, but here's why.
It's because of the way the media reports it. Flip on the news and watch how we treat the Batman theater shooter and the Oregon mall shooter like celebrities. Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris are household names, but do you know the name of a single *victim* of Columbine? Disturbed people who would otherwise just off themselves in their basements see the news and want to top it by doing something worse, and going out in a memorable way. Why a grade school? Why children? Because he'll be remembered as a horrible monster, instead of a sad nobody.
CNN's article says that if the body count "holds up", this will rank as the second deadliest shooting behind Virginia Tech, as if statistics somehow make one shooting worse than another. Then they post a video interview of third-graders for all the details of what they saw and heard while the shootings were happening. Fox News has plastered the killer's face on all their reports for hours. Any articles or news stories yet that focus on the victims and ignore the killer's identity? None that I've seen yet. Because they don't sell. So congratulations, sensationalist media, you've just lit the fire for someone to top this and knock off a day care center or a maternity ward next.
You can help by forgetting you ever read this man's name, and remembering the name of at least one victim. You can help by donating to mental health research instead of pointing to gun control as the problem. You can help by turning off the news."

2. We have GOT to do something about the mental health care system in this country. This is non-negotiable. I don't even know where we start, but I feel like it's starting to sink in to the public. Nearly every single one of these killers exhibited some sort of mental/social/personality disorder. Their friends and families had to know they were disturbed. But there's a stigma around getting help. How many of these crimes could have been prevented if someone had intervened? If there had been a facility for them to seek help, seek treatment, without feeling judged or persecuted. We need to treat these people, not make them feel threatened to the point of opening fire on a crowd of people. We need to get to the heart of what's causing people to do this. That's truly going to be the only way to prevent something like this from happening again.
And, saving the most controversial for last...

3. I don't think we should ban guns (but I also don't think we should arm everyone). To hear my conservative friends tell it, I'm in the minority for being a liberal and a Democrat who isn't screaming about gun control getting rid of guns. While I don't know if that's true, I do know what I have a pretty neutral stance on the issue, and as such, I'd like to share my opinions/observations (observinions?) with you. 

I don't inherently have a problem with guns. A friend took me to a shooting range one time and I had a delightful afternoon. I shattered the hell out of some neon orange clay pigeons. (I don't know why they are called pigeons. They're round discs. Someone explain this to me if you have the answer.)

Here's the thing: outlawing something doesn't make it go away. In fact, it usually makes things worse. WE KNOW THIS. Taking something away has never been a productive option in this country. The drug "industry" is thriving. Our experiment with outlawing alcohol during Prohibition did nothing more than to bring organized crime into America. 
There's an image circulating facebook (there's always an image circulating facebook) that poses the question: "Why do conservatives seem to believe that outlawing guns won't prevent gun violence, but outlawing abortion will prevent abortion?" My initial response was: OH SNAP. Because I've said repeatedly that you can outlaw abortion but it's still going to happen, it will always still happen, so might as well keep it legal and safe and regulated. You know, kind of like keeping guns legal and (relatively) safe and regulated. HEY WAIT A MINUTE. WE ARE ALL RAGING HYPOCRITES. Because the same argument can be made in reverse. It struck me as being ironic that both ideologies have something that they're trying to outlaw that the other side wants to keep, each knowing full well that if THEIR pet cause were to be outlawed, it would still happen. In both cases, keeping [whatever it is] legal keeps some regulations in place to keep things, in theory, safer. If someone is going to do something, they're going to find a way to do it. The end.
It's naive to think that banning guns will end gun violence in this country. To quote my friend Molly: "Unfortunately, evil happens, and if someone is deranged enough to want to carry out mass murder, they'll find a way to do it... You can't out-legislate evil, you can be vigilant and hope you catch it the majority of the time."
Guns, inherently, are not the problem. Guns are a scapegoat. One of the most-mocked quotes is the NRA's position of "guns don't kill people, people kill people." Guys, they're right. The majority of gun owners are responsible people. Some people take better care of their weapons than they do their house, their car, hell, even their kids or pets. 
You can't ban something on the basis of what it COULD do. I mean, let's just ban everything. Ovens and appliances can start fires, those have got to go. People can drown in water, get rid of bathtubs and sinks... people who operate public swimming pools are MONSTERS. Next, of course, we'll have to get rid of drive-thru windows because people sometimes eat while they're driving and that's unsafe. And of course we'll have to ditch the cell phones, because texting and driving is dangerous. Hell, why stop there? LET'S BAN CARS. Cars cause lots of injury and death. 
Do you see how this line of argumentation is ridiculous? 
Honestly, the common denominator in ALL of these things is people, and judgment, and human error. LET'S BAN STUPIDITY! Until we figure that one out, though, it's probably safe to assume that it's impractical to encase everyone in a bubble and take away all the pointy objects because we can't be trusted with ourselves. 
(One caveat to all of this: I love the smoking ban that we've got in my state. Cigarettes aren't illegal; people who want to smoke, can. They just have to go outside to do it. I love being able to breathe inside of restaurants and bars. I love coming home and not having to smell stale smoke in my hair for days, no matter how much I wash it. Does the smoking ban infringe upon some rights? Maybe. But it's not outlawing the actual practice, and meanwhile, it's giving the rest of us the right to actually be able to breathe. I hate cigarettes with a firey passion (pun intended), but do I think they should be illegal? Nope.)
Despite the fact that we know this, and that we've been going around in circles on it for years and years, any time there is a bout of gun violence, everyone is up in arms (no pun intended) about "gun control." What does that even mean? Does that mean making guns illegal? Does that even seem remotely feasible to you? First of all, we do have that 2nd Amendment, and while the need for a militia seems pretty antiquated right now, you never know when we'll need it. Secondly, hunting. I'm not a hunter. But I live in an area where lots of people are... and I can always tell who isn't, because they think deer are beautiful, harmless creatures who should be saved and protected. I'll tell you something, though. Deer are bastards. Hitting a deer with your car is incredibly dangerous, not to mention incredibly expensive. PEOPLE DIE BY HITTING THEM WITH CARS. More often than you think. It's scary. Hunting them is the only way to thin down the population, and even then, I wouldn't mind seeing them allow hunters to bag more than one per season. I don't think it's cruel and maybe that makes me a heartless bitch, but I suspect a bullet is a much less painful way to go than to be hit with a car or a semi. WHO'S CRUEL NOW?
Say we make guns illegal, though. Imagine this for a second. It's a well-known fact that criminals are, by definition, not law-abiding citizens. If they want to commit whatever atrocity they've got their bleak little heart set on, they will. You can bet your ass they'll find a way to procure a gun. Leaving everyone else unarmed and defenseless probably isn't going to help. Do I think everyone should run out and get a gun? NO WAY. That's a terrible idea. Most people shouldn't be trusted within 100 feet of a firearm, but for those who can be responsible, and are well-trained on how to properly use and store their weapons, yes, they should be able to keep them. They're not for everyone. But for those who have proven themselves competent and capable, they have a right to own them. (Though I do kind of like the idea of giving teachers tasers or stun guns... it's enough of a defense that you could take down a madman, but it's not so dangerous that if it fell into the wrong hands, it could create the level of tragedy that a gun could. I know tasers have their own set of dangers and risks, but in terms of fatality, they're obviously safer.) Gun owners are licensed and have to go through a screening process. Not everyone gets to have one. Which, frankly, might not be a bad idea for motorists. The process for obtaining a driver's license is pretty damn lax. You're more likely to get into a car crash than a gunfight, yet pretty much anyone who wants a driver's license can get one. That's a different discussion, though. Mostly. I think.
"Okay," you're saying. "Obviously handguns and shotguns are okay, for sport and for hunting, but I'm talking about military-grade assault weapons. Citizens shouldn't have those." I was running along this train of thought too, except... I'm not that gun savvy, and it turns out, there really isn't such a thing as an "assault rifle." I KNOW, RIGHT? Turns out it's a generic term that is often erroneously applied to a gun based on what it looks like. I'm not a gun expert. This article was very helpful in explaining the difference (or lack thereof) of the various firearms. (It's a great article right up into the end where the author starts offering his opinions about militias, because... you can't have a "licensed" militia, because that implies that a government agency is licensing said militia, and the point of a militia is kind of to have protection against the government should it become necessary. See also: The American Revolution.) Aside from that rambling, it was incredibly informative and I will admit that I was guilty of Not Knowing and Making Assumptions Based On Inaccurate Facts. See? I'll admit it when I'm wrong. 
As the writer of that article states, why is it important to know the difference, to know the definition? "Because proper, actual, legally-defined terms are important in a discussion where rights and the law is being discussed, and emotional hyperbole and misunderstandings make bad law." WORD. This article is worth a read if you've been at all part of the gun discussion lately.
One last thought, because this post is already way too long and I'm sure most of you have stopped reading already:
"The Second Amendment states that people are allowed access to firearms... provided they do not fall into certain categories of "prohibited" owners (felons, the mentally unbalanced). The problem is, mental health records and in some cases prison records aren't shared through the instant national background check. They should be." 

HEY LOOK AT THAT WE'RE BACK TO MENTAL HEALTH CARE REFORM. HOW ABOUT THAT, WEIRD.

To quote another of my friends: "gun violence is a symptom of a larger problem (mental health issues and the lack of support/treatment.)" 

Think about that. Just like in medicine, treating a symptom will only get you so far. It won't cure you of your ailment. You have to dig deeper and get to the root of the issue, which circles back to Point #2. We know what the problem is. It's not guns, it's not the media. It's the inability for the mentally un-right to get the help they need. That's the issue we should all be screaming about right now. That's the reform we should be fighting for. That's the thing that just might fix this broken world we're in.

ED. NOTE: I was thinking about this last night some more and it occurred to me that  I've kind of been using "gun control" and "banning guns" interchangeable which is, to say the least, ALL SORTS OF INCORRECT. I don't think we should ban guns. BUT: I strongly, strongly believe that they need to be harder to get - more intensive background checks, including comprehensive mental health records. Hell, maybe you need to pass a test before you can get one. There should be much more exhaustive training on how to properly use and store a firearm. I don't think everyone should be able to walk into Guns-R-Us and take home a shiny new toy. But for those people who are responsible and competent, absolutely, they should get to keep their guns. It's not a matter of taking things away, it's a matter of making sure that we're not just handing them over to someone who's too unstable to be trusted with one. How we achieve that, I don't know. But that's what I meant, and didn't say very well. I'm still not sure I'm saying it well.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

More Than a Case of the Mondays

I don't know what time it is. Without looking at the clock I could tell you that it's sometime after 1 am. Probably closer to 1:30. For the second night in a row, I'm wide awake. I'm exhausted, but sleep is being an elusive bastard these days. I've spent the last two evenings frosting and decorating my signature sugar cookies. I'd post pictures but I can't find my camera cable. They're the best-looking ones I've ever done in all my years. Admittedly, the tip I found on Pinterest about using a condiment-type bottle was incredibly useful. I don't have my final cookie count yet but I've done upward of 60 cookies so far, easy. I've done four or five different colors of icing. It's incredibly time consuming but it's the only thing that's soothing right now, because my stress levels are off the charts in a way that they haven't been for quite a while. Night-time is the worst, too. It's when all the insecurities and demons like to come out to play.

It's not the holidays. I mean, it's kind of the holidays. I feel like I'm not "done" with anything and so I'm scrambling to fill in whatever festivity gap there might be. There are additional demands on my time, sure. And the people, lordy, there are people everywhere. I made the mistake of going to Target to pick up some routine items on Saturday. I almost vowed to not come out of my apartment again until December 26. Actually, no. Too many people trying to return unwanted gifts. Maybe by mid-January.

It might be work. I've lost count of how many Big Projects are in motion right now, and most of them have overlapping deadlines. None of them can be pushed. So I'm working feverishly to make sure all ends are tied and everything is moving forward, but I'm up against a wall because there's no room to push back against anything. Which equates to there being no room to breathe. I can't quite describe the way it's causing my nerves to frazzle and I can't even find a good metaphor. I'm running a marathon at a sprint pace while juggling flaming batons. It's kind of like that.

I was hoping to get a lot of stuff around my apartment done while the BF is away and while I theoretically have all this time to myself. None of it has gotten done. Not only has it not gotten done, but I've been slipping with my regular routine. I haven't been able to work out as regularly and I've been eating like shit and I can feel myself getting fat and I cringe whenever I catch a glimpse of myself in my mini-Skype box. Especially my hands. I have chubby hands.

It seems far too early for S.A.D. to be kicking in, and I've been doing really well the last couple winters. Maybe it was because we've had such mild winters. I don't know. Maybe it's that. Or maybe I'm just overdue for a meltdown.

This all feels incredibly self-centered given everything that's going on in the rest of the world but I can't really handle yet another night of wanting to break down and cry for no other reason than that things are hard right now. And I can't figure out why they're hard, because they shouldn't be. Nothing is different, I'm just handling it poorly. And I feel like I'm failing at having my shit together which makes me feel like I'm failing as an adult, and if I can't manage to do that, then what's the point?

I don't know. I'm tired. That's what I know.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Life is a record, playing on repeat

I started writing a post then I don't know what happened to it but the moral of the story is this: I am slightly tipsy and I am obsessed with this song and I want to dance around while listening to it on repeat but instead I'm going to go to bed because it's late (early?) and some of us have to work in the morning despite any sort of holiday celebrationy things that may have occurred today.

I'm not even gonna be discreet, it's an affiliate link, but whatever, it's a 99 cent song. I don't even care. The rest of the album is good too. I picked up their self titled album (like, an actual disc from Target) a while back and was completely enamored with it, and was quite giddy when this one went on sale for $3.99 on Black Friday because I'm a cheapskate, but that's neither here nor there, because the point is: I am in love with this song.

[The title of this post is a line from this song, I'm not sure where else to disclaim that, so here seems like as good a place as any]



[Apparently the little Amazon box doesn't show up in some people's readers - it's The Lion The Beast The Beat by Grace Potter & The Nocturnals. In case you were wondering. Because I never actually SAY it anywhere in here.]

I always hesitate about sharing my musical tastes because music is one of those things that is soooo subjective and people tend to judge people based on what kind of music they like, and while I'm personally a big fan of my taste in music, I probably don't have any street cred as far as being hip and edgy. Though I did find a new album the other night that I totally was going to blog about today but didn't because I didn't have time and now I'm blogging about this song instead because this song is better than the entire other album, but, well, these things happen. I'll get to it one of these days.

Though in general terms of this blog, "one of these days" is equal to "a few months from now," which is a horrible precedent to have set, but, well, let's keep our expectations low, mmmkay? Then we can all be pleasantly surprised.

What's your favorite song right now?

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Carded.

As I mentioned in my last post, my Christmas/Holiday cards have arrived. They're very much Christmas themed though they don't technically say Christmas on them so I hope they don't offend my Jewish friends who will be receiving them, though to be fair, I don't think they are super offendable people. Honestly Christmas has become such a secular holiday ANYWAY that I think it's hard to offend anyone with it. Though maybe I just have cool friends who don't take offense that easily. Though I probably have some super religious friends who are now offended by my saying that Christmas has become a secular holiday which not only proves that I CANNOT WIN but is also not a false statement, see also: Black Friday shopping starting in the middle of Thanksgiving Day. (Ok, not QUITE that early, but give it a year or two.) Plus, TECHNICALLY, the Christmas holiday celebrations and customs were all ripped off from ancient pagan festivals, so... do with that information what you will.

This is also proving the not-shocking statement that I have a horrible inability to stay on subject.

ANYWAY. Cards.

When I was little(r) we always sent out Christmas cards. We didn't do the brag-letter but we sent cards. For some reason I had it in my mind that that was just something grownups DID - send out Christmas cards. I have done it every year that I've been on my own, and I sort of feel like an old lady doing it, or maybe I'm a bit of a traditionalist, but whatever, I don't care. I LIKE sending Christmas cards. I like receiving them too, but that is by no means an expectation. I think they're fun and even though they're frequently canned and "impersonal" (like mine are) it's fun to see everyone's family pictures. Especially if you hold on to them for several years and then unearth the old ones and wave it around and then you can remind your uncle of how much hair he used to have. I've never done this, but another tradition in my family is to take a picture of each family every year when we're gathered at my grandma's. I should really try to round those up, that would be so fun to compile and take with me some year.

AGAIN, OFF TOPIC.

SO I GOT MY CHRISTMAS CARDS. OMG KELLY STAY ON TOPIC WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU.

Since Shutterfly didn't do their blogger giveaway promotion thing this year (to my extreme disappointment - I even had my post all written and ready to go! What a waste...) I decided to DESIGN MY OWN. From scratch. I was so irrationally excited about this, you guys, and I second-guessed myself no less than half a dozen times because for some reason these cards had to be PERFECT because I had to prove to myself and anyone that I "still had it" - IT, of course, being my design skills, for which I went to college to learn. After two photoshoots and several revisions, I finally got to the place where I decided I was comfortable sending them to everyone on my holiday card list. At the last minute I, um, made myself a little logo to put on the back. Because nothing is a better idea than at the very last minute throwing some sort of brand together to establish a potential freelance "business." I tried to keep it somewhat visually tied to what I've been tinkering with on this blog, and my goal for 2013 is to eventually get all of my branding inline with itself and sort out what my intentions are for my web presence and maybe even get myself a real website and smash on a portfolio or something. I don't know. It's all very lofty. I also want to complete my first draft of a project I don't even want to talk about for fear I will jinx myself. (Henceforth to be known as: A Project I Don't Even Want to Talk About For Fear I Will Jinx Myself.) Lots of things to do next year. I'd say "this year" because WHY WAIT but this month is crazy busy so I'm not going to set forth any unrealistic expectations.

But, I digress. I had ordered my address labels about a month ago from Overnight Prints (the same place I had ordered them from last year, which I think I found because of seeing them on someone else's blog) because there are only so many ways you can lay out your address, but I was being a cheapskate so I selected the most economical shipping and processing, so they arrived approximately a day (maybe two) before the cards did. The cards themselves I ordered just a couple weeks ago and I sprung for the extra $2 to get the corners rounded because, I don't know, I like rounded corners, whatever, shut up.

Then I went home over lunch on Friday and there was a little box on my front step and I may have audibly squeaked and then I raced upstairs and shoved all the cards into the green envelopes that I had purchased long ago (this was a multi-phase process) and had pre-addressed and stamped (I got bored waiting for the other stuff to come in) and promptly took Wave 1 to the post office. Some of them may be being delivered AS WE SPEAK. This is monumentally exciting. (It's the little things, guys.)

I was very impressed with the quality of the cards. They're a nice thick stock and the printing was excellent. I should know, I work for a company that does commercial printing (among many other things). (At which point I will admit I feel like an asshole for using a cheap Internet printing service for printing my cards, but it was a fraction of the cost and as previously established I AM A CHEAPSKATE). The printing is so clear that I was disheartened to discover that there had been an errant cat hair or two on my scanner bed that I never even noticed had shown up in my image until I got the cards in hand. Oops. Mostly it just looks like a scratch or printing defect, but I know what it REALLY is.

All that to say... I'm not going to post an image of them just yet. Because I don't want to prematurely give away the look of them to anyone who is receiving an Actual Card. Because these are my favorite cards yet and I am eagerly awaiting to hear people's reactions. I'll post them eventually, don't you worry.

Do you send Christmas/holiday cards? Why or why not?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Randomosity.

I can go days without having anything to say and then all of a sudden I have dozens of little half-thoughts and can't seem to capture them all. So I'm taking all of my half-baked post ideas and clomping them together into one post which if I was truly clever I'd come up with a Name for so it could be a Regular Feature but... whatever. Not today.

Also, bullets. Because I like bullets.

But more than bullets, I guess, I like numbered lists.

1. My Christmas cards came on Thursday. I love them so much I basically wrote enough here to fill an entire post, so I have cut all of that out and decided to MAKE it its own post. VOILA.

2. The BF is currently in China. He suspected a few months ago that his company would probably send him there this month and was worried it was going to be OVER the holidays, but fortunately he'll be back on the 20th. That means I don't get to see him for two weeks though. And it's going to be hard to talk or Skype because of the massive time difference. It's a different DAY over there. Something like fourteen hours, I think? At any rate, he is going to bed right as I am getting up in the morning, and when I get off work, he is getting up and going to work. On the brightside, though, it should give me time to get all my holiday stuff done before he gets back. And it will eliminate any, erhm, distractions, so maybe I can square away some of my half-started projects.

3. I had a near meltdown at Target last weekend over a stupid dress and its not-fitting-ness. I think this should probably get its own post too. It was surprisingly traumatic.

4. I might have to do jury duty again tomorrow. It's this post all over again, with somewhat less anxiety than before because I've already been through it once, sorta.


5. The first same-sex couple to get married in Washington is CLEARLY the type that will destroy the sanctity of marriage:

[via]

Jane is 77 and Pete-e is 85... they have been together for 35 years. Do we want to do some math to see how many hetero couples have been together that long? Didn't think so.


I'm hearing a buzz that the Supreme Court is going be taking on an official case regarding Proposition 8  - Hollingsworth v. Perry.  I think some serious history is about to go down, guys. Remember the name of this case. It's going to be the Roe v. Wade of our generation.

That concludes today's roundup. As soon as I hit that publish button I'll think of something else, I'm sure, but I guess that just gives me something to add for next time.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Pardon Me, My Hipster Is Showing

I pulled this straight from the pages of facebook (get it? pages? because faceBOOK? yeah, I know, but I tried real hard), a conversation started by one of my business-owning friends (who incidentally also works a full-time job), and one that I thought I would pass along because secretly I'm a hippie:

TIP ON BUYING LOCAL: try to pay with cash if you can. Yeah, I know, it's a pain in the ass, but having worked retail and knowing people that own their own businesses, here’s a secret: businesses have to pay 4-5% to credit card companies to process the transactions. Debit cards are better, but not much. According to one of my business-owner friend, a small store has to sell over $80K in product to take home $25K/ year. Yuck.

Even the big stores don’t love it: when I worked at Target, we could only use our employee discount if you paid with cash, check or the Target credit card (which is why so many stores push their cards – they save on fees). You weren’t allowed to use any other cards because Target then had to pay processing fees on it.

A popular misconception is that many stores build those fees into their product price, but that’s not necessarily true. I’ve never known a store to do that… I’m not saying they don’t, but it’s a practice I’ve never heard of. It’s a cost they deal with and generally just have to absorb simply to stay in business.

From another store-owning friend:
"I would rather pay the fee than lose the sale. But I absolutely do not factor card fees into my prices. It's just a convenience I offer my customers and I'm willing to cover the fee to earn/keep their business. I keep my profit margin as low as possible because it's already nearly impossible to compete with big business on my prices - if I raised my prices even by 2-3% to cover the fee, I probably wouldn't compete at all."
If you go to a gas station and buy a pack of gum and nothing else, and use your card, they have lost money on that sale. The reason they can do this is that it usually evens out due to the sell-through of higher-dollar items.

So even though stores are willing to eat this cost to provide you with the convenience of being able to use a card, it helps them so much more if they don’t have to pay it. They’ll take the cards to get the sale (I never carry cash, and I frequently have to avoid some places simply because I  don’t have cash on me… one of our local delis started taking cards and it was awesome, but I feel like an asshole every time I use one) but they’d love you even more if you paid a different way.

Just a PSA from some of my friends to all of you. Any facts listed above are from them, I do not claim to have done any fact-checking, but from my own past life in retail and working my 9-5 as a wholesale vendor and interacting with buyers and stores... it sounds about right. What I'm saying is, don't argue with me if the numbers are wrong, IT'S NOT MY FAULT and SO HELP ME I WILL BRING THOS FRIENDS OVER HERE TO ARGUE BACK WITH YOU.

Zen. I must have it.

In hindsight, I think I'm more of a hippie than a hipster, which is an odd revelation to have. I'm learning new things about myself every day.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Infamy Apparently Isn't What It Used To Be

I know what today is. Every year, I am one of the increasingly few people who acknowledge that it's a Day That Requires Remembering. A lot of you are probably blinking at your screen, thinking shit, what did I miss, but if you are, don't feel bad. Through the passage of time, things get forgotten, especially these days, when "important" means something different than it used to. 

Today is Pearl Harbor Day. It's the anniversary of when the Japanese pulled a sneak-attack on our naval fleet, which was stationed at Hawaii, hoping to take out our forces before we could hop into the fray. Instead, it just kind of pissed us off, and we got up off our isolationist asses and rolled up our sleeves and did what we do best: fight. President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared December 7th to be a date that would live on in infamy, which wasn't really hyperbolization on his part, as that day was incredibly pivotal in setting the course for the 20th century. The world would be a very different place if the United States hadn't gotten involved in WWII.

The last time you probably really heard mention of Pearl Harbor was in 2001, when people compared the terrorist attacks of 9/11 to the surprise attack of 12/7. The USA doesn't take kindly to being bombed on our own turf, and, as reactionary as ever, we hopped up and started looking around to finish that fight, too.

It's ironic, because that's a segue into the rest of my post... because my grandpa was a fighter. Like, he got in brawls all the time. He and his twin brother were notorious for being a pair of dudes you didn't want to mess with. And God help you if you picked on their other brothers. (My grandma, bless her, didn't know this about him until after she'd agreed to marry him... needless to say, she was none too pleased about it.) But he was scrappy and mischevious and if he was anything back then like I knew him to be later, he always had a wry grin on his face. Everyone liked him. It was hard not to. And he'd be damned if he didn't defend what he cared about.

Basically, my grandpa was like Captain America without the superpowers.

So today is Pearl Harbor Day and sadly most people have no idea what that means. There isn't even a Google doodle today. Which, to be honest, makes me really sad. They'll commemorate damn near anything, but not this?

Now, I'm not a wildly obsessive history buff, my interest here is largely sentimental. You see, my grandfather was AT Pearl Harbor when it was bombed.

Everyone who grew up with me knew this, because I always found it to be one of the coolest things about our family. I worked it into conversation whenever it was applicable. I did countless reports on it. My favorite was the one I did in college, I wrote a paper for one of my design classes about the symbolism and meaning of one of the Pearl Harbor propaganda posters, which I wish more than anything I could find. It's probably one a crappy floppy disk somewhere that no computer will ever be able to read - if I'm lucky. It's probably lost for all time. I even emailed the professor to see if she still had them but she only holds on those for a couple years then pitches them. Huge bummer.

History is always so fascinating to me and I was talking about this one time (my fascination with WWII-era America, specifically) and the BF made me watch Midnight in Paris which is a lovely movie because not only does it explore the concept of how we tend to romanticize earlier time periods, even though they were no better (or no worse) than our own, but also because most of the characters are writers. Like, famous writers. 

My grandpa didn't talk about it much, but I'm sure he would have if I'd asked. There were (and still are) books and memorabilia everywhere around my grandparents' house - so it's not that he was trying to avoid it. On the contrary. He embraced it. It was part of who he was. But I think by the time I came along, it was just common knowledge among the family and so it just wasn't really discussed much anymore. He died when I was 13. I wasn't quite old enough or smart enough to ask the questions of the things I'd like to know now.

I know the basics of his version of the story - he was peeling potatoes on his ship (the USS Helena) when the alarms sounded. His most vivid memory from that day was the image of the oil-slicked water that had caught on fire - it looked like the water itself was burning. His twin brother was there that day too, though I don't remember which ship he was on. They both went on to survive through the war from their respective stations (all I really know was that my grandpa was stationed in the Pacific and was in Australia for a bit and was actually engaged to a woman there, until he was home on leave and met my grandmother. He swept her off her feet and she broke it off with the fellow she'd been engaged to, and they got married and had seven kids, of which my dad was the youngest.) My grandmother still attended the Iowa survivors' chapter reunions every year right up until last year, which was their last one - 2011 was the 70th anniversary of the attack, and since so many of the veterans have passed away, they decided it was time to officially disband.

I'm dying to know more - about what life was like back then, in general, but mostly how it affected my grandparents and what there experiences were, and I'm sure my grandma would tell me, I just don't know what questions to ask. That's the problem, for all of us. We are losing that generation at such a rapid rate now, our window of time to collect their stories is shrinking. Soon it will be nothing more than what is written in books and captured on film.

My other grandpa was also in the navy, but he was stationed in San Diego for the duration of the war, working as a dentist. His claim to fame was that he once cleaned Gene Kelly's teeth. He almost went on to be a "real" dentist after that, but ended up being an accountant instead. I think it had something to do with his height or weight and not quite being eligible to re-enlist and thus have dentistry school paid for. I swear he just told us this story a couple months ago but I was too preoccupied by the album of old pictures that my grandma had dug up that I wasn't paying as close of attention as I could have. Overstimulation. Gets me every time. (Have I mentioned that I love old pictures? Because I do. I have most of what I could get my hands on scanned, and when my sister sees this post, she is going to issue another impatient reminder that I am supposed to get her a copy and SEE MINDY I AM REMEMBERING THIS ALL ON MY OWN AND I PROMISE I WILL GET THEM TO YOU SOON).

Both grandpas returned to Iowa, and if I know my family history well enough, I think they even grew up in the same town. Charles City, also home of famed suffragette Carrie Chapman Catt (though in those days she was just Carrie Lane). Neither stayed IN Charles City, but after all was said and done, they both ended up nearby.

Ahem. Where was I? Anyway. Pearl Harbor. Family history. These are things that are interesting to me though probably not you, so I'll shut up now.

I might be redundant because I post something more years than not, but by doing that, I am forcing you all to remember or reflect - even for a few seconds - on what previous generations have done for us, the sacrifices they made. The world was a different place then, not better, not worse, but it's all led us here, and it's up to us to keep that legacy going. Let's not eff it up, eh?

Thursday, December 6, 2012

ALERT ALERT

I would like to issue an addendum to my previous post about the Pantone Color of the Year... because the Internet gave me BAD INFORMATION (shocking). Actually, I was kind of skeptical about any sort of officiality until Pantone listed it on their site, but... turns out Monaco Blue is NOT the Color of the Year, despite what the various buzz on the Internet was.

 WRONG.

They were so tricky, throwing around Leatrice Eiseman's name, saying that they had officially announced it. (Okay, so I guess they said it was the "top color" and not the "color of the year" but that's still very misleading. Especially since I had done a specific search FOR the color of the year.)

Because, actually, it's not a blue at all... it's Emerald. (Which is a glorified shade of Kelly Green, which should be pretty easy to find.) Officially and truly.






Which, conveniently for me, isn't that far off from my signature shade of aqua-turquoise-teal (affectionately dubbed "Kelly Blue" by, well, all my friends).

I liked the Monaco Blue (the glorified navy) but I think the Emerald is prettier and going to be a hell of a lot easier to work with. And my closet already matches it without me having to do anything. As evidenced by said previous post, and also anyone that has seen my closet. If it's not pink, it's probably some shade of blue-green.

I'm not even exaggerating. I'm wearing a dark teal shirt RIGHT NOW AS I TYPE THIS.

My only issue with this is that it is VERY similar to the 2010 CoTY, which was Turquoise.


And 2005, which was "Blue Turquoise" (apparently there's a difference) which is not super different from 2003's Aqua. Though, to be fair, last year's Tangerine Tango was very close to 2004's Tiger Lily, and 2011's Honeysuckle was very close to 2001's Fuchsia Rose. And 2007 is very close to 2002, being in the red family. The only anomalies seem to be 2009, 2008, and 2008, which deviate from this general color scheme. Huh. Maybe they should have gone with Monaco Blue after all and really shaken things up.


But hey, they're Pantone. They know what they're doing, right?

Your thoughts? Do you like Emerald better than Monaco Blue? Or would you have picked a different color altogether?

Friday, November 30, 2012

*VICTORY LAP*

OMG I DID IT. NABLOPOMO IS DONE. THREE YEARS IN A ROW, I HAVE TRIUMPHED OVER THIS CHALLENGE.


It is very tempting to write this entire post in all caps but for the sake of all our retinas, I'll stop. HUGE SIGH OF RELIEF, though. The first part of the month went by pretty quickly because I hadn't blogged in so long that I had a lot of things to catch up on, but once I hit the middle, well. I was reaching a little bit. It was nice to be posting regularly again, but EVERY DAY is excessive. I don't like blogging on the weekends. Well, no. I like writing on the weekends, but I prefer to post during the week. In an ideal world, I'd get a bunch of posts lined up and then I could kick back during the week and interact with people and catch up with other blogs and OMG I NEED TO INSTALL A BETTER COMMENTING PLATFORM but I've been negligent and it weighs on me. Every day when I have a comment I can't directly respond to, I get a little bit sadder. NEW YEAR'S RESOLUTION, CALLING IT NOW. Screw weight loss or getting in shape. I resolve to install a blog commenting service. DREAM BIG, EVERYONE. [EDIT: MISSION ACCOMPLISHED. Say hello to Disqus, everyone!]

Clearly I have All-Caps Tourettes of the Fingers.

Anyway. For those of you also participating in NaBlo, I have read NONE of your blogs but now that I'm not scrambling to write my own, I shall have a chance to check some of those out and get caught up. For anyone who wandered over from a NaBlo blogroll, HI and WELCOME and PLEASE STAY because I like blogfriends. For those of you who did NaNoWriMo instead, I salute you and you have my envy. Maybe I'll do NaNo in, like, March or something. Maybe I shouldn't set such lofty aspirations. Maybe I should focus on one thing at a time.

Anyway. It's been... well, it's been pretty much the same as the last two years, though without the vigor and zeal of Year 1. It's less of a challenge and more of an obligation, now, almost? I mean, I know I can do it, I've proved to myself twice over that I can do it. So now it's become more of a kick in the pants and something that I am required to do. Which I am glad for, because otherwise, I would probably still be wandering aimlessly with a backlog of unfinished drafts and a large amount of frustration and crankiness.

So, there's that.

Anyway. LALALALA WE'RE DONE YAY.

*FLOPS OVER*

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Soon.

I really feel like I'm on the verge of some sort of breakthrough. I can't put my finger on it quite yet, but it just feels like one of these days I'm going to experience an explosion of sudden forward momentum. It's like when the clouds start to gather before a storm... all my thoughts and ideas and potentials are swirling together, about ready to strike.

I'm trying to get my mundane life priorities situated - bills paid, apartment cleaned, tires rotated, laundry put away, groceries bought, etc - because I feel like one of these days I'm going to sit down at my computer and all of the words I've been trying to write for the last six months - the last twenty years, even - are about to break free.

I sound like a complete crazy person or drama queen and I don't even care. I've been sitting on this writer's block for what feels like ages, and I welcome a flood. Fiction, nonfiction, good writing, bad writing, I don't even care what comes, as long as it makes its way out. I feel like it's going to click soon, the wheels are moving, shaking off their rust, getting ready for something.

Or maybe it's just a sign that I'm tired and need a nap.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

To Those About To Shave, We Salute You

In honor of Movember, I shall post this picture in solidarity of all our male brethren fighting the good fight. Godspeed, gentlemen. May your facial hairs continue be plentiful and your mustaches luxurious.



Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Almost Juror

I wrote this post just in case I got picked but as it turns out I called in to the super secret potential juror hotline and it turns out our session was cancelled for tomorrow so I'm off the hook, and I even remembered to catch this post before it went live. Buuuuut I hate to delete a perfectly good blog post, so I'm going to post it anyway. 

***

If you're seeing this post, it means I got selected for jury duty and am thusly unable to blog today. Either that or they ended up not needing me after all and I forgot that I had pre-scheduled this post and neglected to take it down.

I... kind of hope I don't. I have nothing against jury duty itself. I mean, it's my civic duty, blah blah blah, and for as much as I was all WOO POLITICS earlier this month and last, I guess I should put my money where my mouth is and actually serve without complaining. It's all part of the justice system which is part of our overall system which, well, y'know. 'MERICA. EFF YEAH. And all that.

But I've never done jury duty before, and for some reason, I am oddly nervous.

My biggest fear is that I'm going to get roped into a Super Big Case and be sequestered for weeks on end and not only will that create issues in terms of my job (one day, I can probably swing being gone, before I turn into a frantic stressball) but, I mean, what if I get swept away and can't call (you're not allowed to have phones!) and then my cat starves to death while I'm gone and my rent doesn't get paid (maybe I should pay it early?) and of course NaBlo is effed which should be the lowest of priorities but you know how it is. These are the things I worry about.

The reality is more along the lines of this: I live in a pretty low-crime county. IF I even end up having to do anything, it would probably be over traffic violations or something.

I'm also afraid I'll do something wrong or somehow misread the instructions and then get arrested for contempt of court over something stupid. Or that there will be some case where it's actually a BIG DEAL and I'll feel guilt over having say in a pivotal moment in someone's life. I don't feel right about making judgment calls like that. I mean, hi, 12 Angry Men? I'd probably be Henry Fonda but with my luck I'd probably be wrong.

What I'm actually NOT concerned about is being late, because I know I'll be just fidgety and restless enough that I'll be there stupidly early because on the instances where I'm not running behind, I'm always ridiculously early (one extreme to the other), and usually there are nerves involved. (I sat in my car for at least ten minutes before me and the BF's first date, and even when I did decide to go in, I was still five minutes early.) But I've never been to the county courthouse for anything other than to register my new car or get new license plates, and the office for that is RIGHT INSIDE THE DOOR, so I don't know where to go and I'm afraid I'll get lost and THEN be late and then get arrested for contempt of court again.

Like I said: I've never been called for jury duty before and quite frankly all the unknown variables are stressing me out. My mind likes to run away with all of the worst-case scenarios (wasn't there a movie where, like, the jurors were all targeted and killed?) and therefore create all sorts of unnecessary contingency plans. It's exhausting being this paranoid.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Kids These Days, With Their Rock Music and Their Non-Metal Braces...


The thing I get complimented on the most, after my eyes (apparently I have nice eyes), is my smile. I kind of feel like a fraud, because the niceness of my teeth came from three long years of unpleasant orthodontia.




It's a rite of passage, I suppose.  And even though it sucked, I am eternally grateful for my parents for forcing me through it. HOORAY FOR PRETTY TEETH!

It wasn't all bad - you got to pick out what color of brackets you got each time, and you got to leave school for an afternoon (or morning) for adjustments.

Unfortunately, whenever they tightened up the wires, you were left with a hellishly sore mouth and achy teeth for the next few days. This was amplified when you hit the Rubber Band stage… I don't remember what those were supposed to do, but they prevented you from being able to open your mouth all the way, which was annoying. And you had to remove them whenever you ate, so you always had gross, saliva-covered bands sitting on your cafeteria tray at lunch. Sexy.


Speaking of sexy...


Kids these days, though. They have it so much easier. They have OPTIONS. Instead of having to suffer through years (YEARS!) of a mouth full of metal and increased self-esteem issues, they get... Invisalign.

Invisalign, to me, seems too good to be true, but I guess it's not because they've fixed the teeth of over two million people (TWO! MILLION! PEOPLE!).




These are not the braces of my youth. First of all, you can't even tell that someone is in the middle of correcting their teeth. Hellooooo jealousy. Also, you can TAKE THEM OUT (!) and you can eat whatever you want. I couldn’t chew gum for many years, or eat things like chewy caramels or taffy (did you ever break one of your brackets? It felt like you broke your actual TOOTH. Awful.) And I wasn't supposed to eat corn on the cob, which, being an Iowa girl, was torture in the summertime.

Cost-wise, well, I don't know. I don't know how much my braces cost or whether they were covered by my parents' dental insurance and so I can't tell you if it's cheaper or more expensive to use Invisalign (though then we'd have to adjust for inflation given that it's been over ten years since I had my braces) (pretend I didn't tell you that), but they have a cost calculator on their site, if you want to play with numbers. 

(Thinking about trying it out? Clicky the linky to take the Invisalign Smile Assessment.)

Wouldn't be nice to have pretty teeth without enduring years of crappy stupid metal braces? Yes, yes it would. If you never got the benefit of orthodontia as a teen, this is a great way to do it discreetly. Or if you have kids and they’re self-conscious. Everyone wins.

Except me, because I had to do it the old-fashioned way.




For more information, please visit Invisalign. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective, and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Quotes to Ponder: Connecting the Dots

“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.”

Steve Jobs, Stanford commencement speech, June 2005

Saturday, November 24, 2012

In Which I'm Struggling To Put Together A Post Just Because I'm Supposed To Post Today.

I was going to write some sort of introspective post about spending time with my family for Thanksgiving and how the dynamic has changed since I've gotten older and how interesting it is to be "home" again even though it's not really home anymore at all, it's just the place I grew up. I have history back up there, but it finally feels like a chapter that has closed to make way for the present and the future. I can always go back, but it's never the same.

But I'm in the middle of a marathon laundry spree and my toes are cold because it's something like 27 degrees outside and BRR and anyway it's Saturday and I don't generally feel like blogging on Saturdays but it's NaBloPoMo so I have to.

So instead I shall tell you how I decided to be a complete hermit last night and I ordered a pizza and curled up on my couch in my sweatpants with my cat which is something I used to do all the time but haven't done in ages and, frankly, it was kind of nice. I ended up finally watching Brave because Target had the Blu-Ray on sale for $15 on Wednesday and I'd been wanting to see it because I have the softest of all soft spots for Pixar and I think the last few Pixar movies I've just gone ahead and bought without seeing and then I loved them. This was no different, and as a bonus, it didn't make me cry. (Up? Toy Story 3? I'M LOOKING AT YOU.)

So anyway I watched it and then I watched all the behind-the-scenes special features and then I felt the need to watch it again and it was still delightful and also now I want to learn how to shoot a bow and arrow. Because it seems like it would be a bad-ass thing to be good at. Which of course I wouldn't be. I think we tried doing archery once in gym class in middle school and I was awful at it, but, to be fair, nobody really showed us how to do it properly. But I don't even know how one would go about learning it and it would be completely impractical unless you were a hunter (which I'm not) or, like, good enough to compete in the Olympics or something (which of course I wouldn't be. I would have had to start like twenty years ago.)



Also I got done watching it the second time and it made me want to write. I always know I've seen a good movie or read a good book when it accidentally inspires me to create something of my own. I've been having waves of this lately, where I've been overcome with motivation and inspiration and I'm so close to actually harnessing it. Soon. A few weeks ago I went on a feverish writing spree and I thought I'd actually kickstarted A Project but I haven't touched it since then. Which... let's not focus on, because it makes me feel like a fail.

I'm itching to create something. To create something that I can finish. It's becoming harder and harder to ignore and more and more frustrating to come to terms with the fact that I've been trying to ignore it.

BLARGH.

This is the thing I hate about NaBlo. I word-vomit up posts like this that are completely incoherent and useless simply for the sake of posting something. If this was any other month, I would have just taken the day off. I guess that's what happens when you're shooting for quantity over quality.

Only another week to go...

Friday, November 23, 2012

All The Tiny Pumpkins, All The Tiny Pumpkins

[The the title is to the tune of "Single Ladies" in the event that that wasn't clear to you because you're not in my head which is a strange and unpredictable place to be.]

I got an angry email from my sister after Monday's post that after all my hype about how tiny the Tiniest Pumpkin was, there were no pictures of it to back this up.

This was, of course, unacceptable to me, but it was too late to go back, so I decided to remedy the situation. Plus, it will keep me from a cranky rant about Black Friday and how it's turning into Black Thursday and how everyone is greedy and blah blah blah, TINY PUMPKINS.

First, Exhibit A: Me with Tiniest Pumpkin.



Exhibit B: Tiniest Pumpkin fits into the the palm of my hand.



Lastly, Exhibit C: Tiniest Pumpkin next to Tiny Pumpkin and next to a quarter, because everyone always uses quarters to show the size of something. It's the rule. I didn't make it.


Also, if I were to make a word cloud of my blog right now, I suspect that the word "pumpkin" would be size 72 point font and as bold as they can make it. Oy.

(Special thanks to Mich for counting 28 instances of the word "pumpkin" in the other post. ONE FOR EVERY YEAR THAT I DIDN'T GET TO GO TO A PUMPKIN PATCH. Sigh.)

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful

[Photo by Sarah Rhoads, via Pinterest]

It's so easy to get caught up in the day to day and whine and complain about all the things that maybe aren't going right (which frequently fall into the category of "first world problems") that it's hard to focus on the things that are going right. It would be an exhaustive list to mention everything that is right in my life, everything that I am thankful for, all the reasons I feel lucky. If I had to narrow it down, I'd choose the following:

1. I'm thankful for my health and my (relative) youth. I am not cynical and jaded yet, though some days it feels like I'm getting there. I'm still healthy enough to work hard and chase my dreams, in whatever form they manifest themselves in on any given day.

2. I'm thankful for the people in my life. For the people I love and even the people I hate. Each person that has touched my life has in some way shaped me into who I am. I'm most thankful for those people closest to me, who provide me with a shoulder to lean on and arms for hugs and the knowledge that no matter what happens, I am never ever alone.

3. I'm thankful for being able to have a voice. I'm thankful that I live in a place that, while flawed and frequently broken, is still my home, still allows me to speak what I feel, where I'm safe and protected. Regardless of how things shape up now that the election is over, regardless of who won, we all need to be thankful that we live in a place where we can help choose, and we are still free. It will take more than one person to take that away, and I'm thankful that there are enough people out there who still care enough to protect that freedom.

4. I'm thankful for the things I have - an education, a job, a home. Even when I feel broke and unhappy, I still have so much more than so many other people. I'm thankful that I have enough that it can be taken for granted, and I need to learn to stop taking things for granted. I want to be thankful and grateful every day, not just today.

5. I'm thankful for life. Even on the darkest days, when things seem bleak, I'm thankful that there is always enough light at the end of the tunnel to lead me back out. I'm thankful for every breath I take and for every day that I am given.

What are you thankful for?