Friday, November 30, 2012



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.



Thursday, November 29, 2012


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.


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


[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?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Let The Games Begin... Again

One year from today, barring any major production snafus (which you KNOW the studio won't allow), Catching Fire will be brought to us in movie form. On one hand, a year seems like a long way away. On the other, I'm afraid that a year isn't enough time for them to do it properly. There are a lot of important bits and pieces in Catching Fire and, um, have they even started shooting yet?

But to commemorate the day, I thought I'd review the casting thus far. Some of these are being weighed on my knowledge of the actors and their past roles, but for the most part, by their look - I'm basically scrutinizing them based on if thy fit who I pictured the character to be.

All cast pictures are courtesy of The Hunger Games movie facebook page. The rest I yanked from a Google images search, for which I am a bad person.

SPOILER ALERT, I guess. Even though the aforementioned facebook page pretty much spoils it already. To get you on board, if for some reason you haven't read the book (to which I ask you, WHY?!), in Catching Fire, the tributes are reaped from the pool of living victors. Every 25 years, they have a "Quarter Quell" which is an amped up version of the Games, in which they change up the rules of the reaping a bit. In the first one, the Districts had to choose their own tributes. In the second one, they took four tributes from each District to compete. Now, at the 75th Annual Hunger Games and the third Quarter Quell, President Snow decides to try and take care of his Katniss problem by throwing her back in the arena. During the "Victory Tour" of the other Districts, Katniss sort of accidentally re-ignites the spark of rebellion that she started with her defiant act at the end of The Hunger Games. As the only living female victor from District 12, this decree automatically places her back in the arena. The explanation from the Capitol is basically, "we're going to show you that NO ONE is safe, not even your heroes. WE WILL QUASH ANY SEMBLANCE OF HOPE YOU MIGHT HAVE EVER HAD." I'm paraphrasing of course, but you get the idea.

Seriously, why haven't you read the book? Get on it.

In what is essentially an "all star" edition of the Hunger Games, we have a slew of tributes that are NOT between the ages of 12 and 18, but rather, ranging anywhere from 17 (Katniss and Peeta, the most recent victors) to 80-something (Mags). Varying ages and stories in between. What was most interesting about this in the book was the way Suzanne Collins handled the psyches of all of these people, the way all the victors have handled coping with their turn as a tribute and the aftermath. It's also sort of a way to drive home the impact of these games - they have been going for 75 years and have touched almost all of the living generations. All of the adults in Panem have faced the reaping, have known people that were reaped, killed, or maybe even won. It's really too bad she couldn't have spent more time on the other tributes and their character development. That would have been awesome. (I'm sure there's some fanfic out there, if you're truly interested.)

This installment also ramps up the strategy and nitty-gritty of a potential rebellion/revolution and starts to really show how much Katniss is being used as a pawn (which is likely why she spends most of Mockingjay in hospitals or hiding in closets. PTSD, anyone?) The poor girl is only 17. Yeesh. Anywho. There's also quite a bit more about alliances and the role those play, which will be interesting to present in the movie, because they didn't really explain the significance of forming alliances in the first movie - and how Katniss came to form her own alliance with Rue, and why she's determined to forge her own alliances this time around. It plays a MUCH bigger role in CF. Blah blah, I'll get to the good part now.


District 12.


Moving on.

District 11.

I think they did a great job here. Chaff looks like a weary war veteran, having spent years as a mentor and dealing with the same issues as Haymitch, coming from a District that's usually set to lose, and watching his tributes die year after year. Except Chaff didn't turn into a raging alcoholic like Haymitch did. Hey, everyone's got their coping mechanisms.

The role of Seeder seems to be appropriately cast, though I can't really remember much about her. I want to say that she was a kind soul who Katniss befriended during the training sessions. I suck at this. I need a re-read, stat.

District 10

Who? I don't really remember these people. I mean, it's been a while since I've read it, but these must be a throwaway pair. I assume they are offed in the Cornucopia Scramble of Death. I mean, hell. They don't even get NAMES.

Also, given the circumstance here, it would make sense to say "Male Tribute" and "Female Tribute" because, well, "Boy" and "Girl" are really not applicable when your tribute is 40ish years old. (See: District 5.)

District 9

I guess these people will do. I'd have to re-read the book to see how they match the descriptions for the tributes that were drawn, but... eh. Ultimately, they're not really that important to the story. Obviously. They don't get names.

District 8

Ok. Woof and Cecelia. They have names so they must have somewhat of a significance. I'm going to be honest, I'm drawing a blank. I think Cecelia is the one who has kids and was trying to be reassuring to them when her name got drawn even tough she knew she probably wasn't coming back. She was kind of the epitome of "hahaha you thought you were safe... nope. LET US DESTROY YOUR LIFE ALL OVER AGAIN."

I... don't remember much else. Given that... I guess these casting choices are okay.

This guy looks like a Woof, right?

District 7

One of the most anticipated casting choices, Jena Malone snagged the role of sassy bitch Johanna Mason. I haven't seen her in anything for a while (I guess the most recent role of note was in Sucker Punch, which I still haven't seen) but she's always been very good in anything she's been in. Not who I had pictured as Johanna, but I think she'll nail it.

I'm not sure Blight got anything more than a passing mention in the book, so I really have no opinion. This dude will work. I have no idea who he is. But Blight got minimal page time, so I'm sure this guy will get minimal screen time. (Then again, that's what everyone though about Seneca Crane. Except nobody thought that because Seneca Crane wasn't even really mentioned until Book 2. Hmm.)

District 6

Now, I know these two are also nameless, and referred to as "morphlings" - basically, drug addicts. My understanding was that morphling was on par with morphine, or something, based on how it's referenced here and there. These two have been strung out on painkillers for years as a way of coping with their trauma. Oh, but don't write them off. They do play an important role. Even though the girl has kind of a creepy death scene after her heroic moment. (What? You knew she was going to die. SHE DOESN'T HAVE A NAME.) 

That said, I don't know these actors, but... um... does it make me an asshole if I say they look like they'd do a good job of playing the tortured drug addicts? It does, doesn't it. Whatever. I... um... LOOK OVER THERE, IT'S FINNICK. *hides*

District 5

More nameless tributes. I'm not sure District 5 people ever get names. They'll do, I guess. The female tribute kind of reminds me of someone I've seen in something before, but I can't identify what or where. I could IMDB it, but I'm lazy.

(Edit: I did IMDB it and apparently this is the only thing she's been in. OMG WHO DOES SHE REMIND ME OF, THEN?! WILL NOT SLEEP! UNTIL I KNOW!) (JK. I'm an ace sleeper.)

District 4  

THE most anticipated role was that of cheeky Finnick Odair, the flirty Capitol playboy and Panem sex symbol. Of all the rumors floating around (and, oh, there were several), Garrett Hedlund was my pick. He looked like what I pictured Finnick to look like.


The role went to Sam Claflin, and I was initially all, WHO?! But then his bio listed Snow White and the Huntsman, and I was like, oh yeah. I guess he'll do. He obviously wasn't my first choice, but I think he'll do okay.

On the Mags front, someone somewhere was all BETTY WHITE FOR MAGS and while I thought that would have been interesting, I'm kind of glad they didn't go that route. There were some rumors for Melissa Leo, who, no. She is way too young.

In the end, Lynn Cohen got the role, and I think she fits. 

District 3

I am SO DISAPPOINTED about this one. Don't get me wrong. Jeffrey Wright is a great actor. I'm sure he'll do great. But I heard a casting rumor for Tony Shalhoub for Beetee and I almost peed my pants. (Ok, not quite.) He would have been PERFECT PERFECT PERFECT.

Tony Shalhoub is AMAZING at eccentric characters, and as soon as I heard his name attached to the role, I crossed every finger that was available to be crossed. (In a similar story, someone suggested Tilda Swinton for Coin in Mockingjay and OMG YES. I will not be satisfied if it is anyone but her.)

TELL ME this isn't the face of an oddball inventor. TELL ME.

Jeffrey Wright will do. But I will always be disappointed that it's not Tony Shalhoub.

Sorry, Jeff. Nothing personal.

In other news... Amanda Plummer as Wiress gets the thumbs up from me. 

District 2

YES. They NAILED it on this District. I have no idea who either of them are, but this guy looks just like Brutus should look - a former Career tribute who is practically drooling to get back into the arena. Hell, his real name is Bruno. He was destined to play this role.

Enobaria is, by all definitions, fierce - another favorite celebrity victor in the Capitol. Meta Golding is beautiful but there's something I can't quite pinpoint that looks like it's simmering just under the surface. She's going to rock it.

District 1

Yep, a gorgeous pair of blondes to fill in for the brother-sister Career tributes from District 1. Cashmere and Gloss, back to back winners from not that long ago. They look appropriate for the parts. I think it's harder to cast the female tributes - especially from the wealthier districts. They have to be pretty but equally fierce and deadly. I think Stephanie Leigh Schilling (whoever she is) definitely has the right look for the not-so-dainty Cashmere. 

Head Gamemaker

Philip Seymour Hoffman as Plutarch Heavensbee? Not what I pictured, but I am psyched about it. PSH is pretty brilliant. I don't know if I'm surprised he took a role in a movie like this or not. I mean, he DID do MI:3, so it's not like he's opposed to blockbusters. You know what? It doesn't matter.

I think that about covers it for the "major" roles, at least the ones that they had spaces for on the facebook page. I know there was a lot of murmuring about the big horizontal box, but... turns out it was just a placeholder for Katniss's mother... which... I don't know why they didn't post that one sooner, unless they couldn't get her to sign a contract before now, or something. She's back, Willow Shields is back as Prim, Liam Hemsworth is back as Gale (who actually has some screen time - let's see how he does now that he actually has to do something), Stanley Tucci is back (YAY!) as well as Toby Jones as Claudius Templesmith. Elizabeth Banks (Effie Trinket) is back, as are Woody Harrelson (Haymitch) and Lenny Kravitz (Cinna), who both have to prove themselves to me, because I wasn't sold on them before, and neither of them did much to win me over. I mean, their performances were adequate. God, I wanted Robert Downey Jr for Haymitch. Do you KNOW how EPIC that would have been? Alas. 

My last question is: who is Annie?! Did they cast Annie?! I was hoping the mystery box was for her, but... alas. THE MYSTERY REMAINS. She's not listed on the IMDB page. So help me, if they cut her out the way they cut out Madge Undersee... SUPERFANGIRL RAGE.

Anyway. That's what I got. Full disclosure: I wrote this back in October, so who even knows what will happen between now and then on the updates front. I felt that it would be appropriate to save it until the T-Minus-365 Days mark. I'm crafty like that.

Your thoughts? Anyone you thought would have been better? LET'S START A PETITION TO GET TONY SHALHOUB CAST AS BEETEE. YES?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thankskitten.

I actually wrote a legit heartfelt whatever post for Thursday which was lame because now I have to post this early. Whatever, you're welcome.

Monday, November 19, 2012

P is for Pumpkin

For the first full 28 years of my life, I had never been to a pumpkin patch. If your reaction to this is anything like that of my BF, you will be staring at me like I had sprouted a third eye in the middle of my forehead. How is this possible, you ask? Well... I don't really know. We always got our pumpkins at the grocery store. My sister and I would pick out which ones we wanted, we'd bring them home, we'd draw the faces on them, and then make my dad scoop out all the gooey bits from the inside. (It's all... stringy. Ew! Though if I were to do it today, I would probably sit there and gleefully scoop out pumpkin innards with my bare hands and giggle like an idiot. Because: have you met me?)

The other part of the strange look was based on the fact that I'm a bit of a pumpkin fanatic. *cough*

As it so happened, on the last Saturday of September, as we were taking the back way home from the wedding of one of my very best friends and enjoying the beautiful fall afternoon (it was a brunch wedding - we did not skip out early, how dare you think such a thing), when I happened to look out my window and saw a field full of pumpkins. I casually mentioned that I'd never actually been to a pumpkin patch, got the aforementioned look of disbelief, and BF promptly pulled the car over to the makeshift parking lot of the pumpkin farm. I was irrationally excited about this.

First stop was to look at all of the gourds and tiny pumpkins that they had already harvested... I found an adorable Tiny Pumpkin and decided that it would be mine. They had giant pumpkins and normal sized pumpkins and they were all wonderful, BUT: the mission was to find our own pumpkins out in the patch.

I think if the late afternoon hadn't been so unexpectedly hot, we would have stayed longer and gone all the way to the end of the patch, where it was less picked over, but we found some pretty good pumpkins all the same. We each picked out a pumpkin to carve, and then we found a medium sized one that we decided to take home, too. And then I found the Tiniest Pumpkin of all the Tiny Pumpkins (it was in the gourd bin, which, okay, fine, I think pumpkins might TECHNICALLY be gourds, but you know what I mean. Decorative gourds.) (Tiniest Pumpkin is not to be confused with the Decorative Not-Really-Pumpkin Pumpkins that everyone uses to decorate with. It doesn't have all the pronounced ridges of Gourd Pumpkins... it's basically like Tiny Pumpkin, but smaller.) (This whole paragraph has deteriorated rapidly in terms of coherency.) Anyway, we went home with five pumpkins of various sizes.

Not pictured: Tiniest Pumpkin

Aaaand we never got around to actually carving them. We decided to wait until after we got back from Portland (another thing I have yet to really blog about in depth) so they didn't rot away while we were gone, then we got back and the poor BF was sick, and then it was Halloween and then it wasn't, and he pointed out that if we just left them, they would totally double as Thanksgiving decorations.

I'm totally determined to carve them after Thanksgiving, though. Maybe I'll make a Christmas pumpkin. A Sant-o-Lantern. Ha.

Me and Tiny Pumpkin.
Tiniest Pumpkin is even smaller than this one.

If anyone wants to count how many times I used the word "Pumpkin" in this post, there's a giant Internet hug waiting for you. I'm curious, but lazy.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

That Pretty Much Sums It Up.

[via The Oatmeal. Full comic from which this is a small excerpt, here.]

Friday, November 16, 2012

Babyphobia, Redux.

I cut all of this from my previous "I'm Going To Be An Aunt YAY" post because it really got away from my intention of that post, which was to congratulate my sister and spew exclamation points into Teh Interwebs.

In addition to the news of impending Aunthood, I recently had the interesting experience of wandering around the baby section of Target, clutching the trusty blue sheets of a baby shower registry, getting increasingly confused and overwhelmed and terrified of all the products and how do you even know what they are and it was incredibly scary... and I HAD A FREAKING LIST TO PICK FROM. Can you imagine how much whelm there would be to be underneath when you were the one trying to make the list? How are you supposed to know what to get? Despite the urge to go "off list" and buy something cute, I decided to buy something practical and that the mom-to-be actually wanted/needed, because suddenly, I was acutely aware of  how much it actually took - money-wise, STUFF-wise -  to procreate. That's to say nothing of the actual raising and instilling-knowledge-and-values part that is also scary. I had never realized before how daunting the whole endeavor was. To my credit, I didn't run screaming out of the store, so there's that, but... I was a bit surprised by how unsettling the experience was.

But this sudden prevalence of Babies really kind of threw me into a weird introspective spiral. Because here I am, faced with what is probably the biggest catalyst for (normal?) women to want kids, and... nothing. Nada. My ovaries kind of did an inquisitive head tilt and went back to drinking margaritas. Or whatever it is ovaries do.

I'm now being surrounded by baby stuff and I have no emotional connection to any of it, in terms of wanting any for myself. My biological clock is downright broke.

I've never experienced anything remotely close to "baby fever." Usually it leans towards OMG OMG GET IT AWAY because, well, BABIES ARE TERRIFYING, but I can appreciate that they are cute. They would be fun to dress up and they're entertaining as hell, but... they're kind of icky. They leak fluids from all of their orifices and they scream and you have to pretend to like things like kids' television programming and I don't even know what Yo Gabba Gabba is but it makes me want to run far away.

I've got more of an "auntal" instinct, I think. When I'm coaching softball, I get protective of my girls, especially when it comes to flickers of bad sportsmanship or mean comments from other teams and/or coaches... but it feels like more of a big sister protectiveness rather than a motherly sort. If that makes sense. I'm maternal in that I like to make sure my people are taken care of - coachees, friends, the BF, my cat - but it's not like my uterus is dancing a conga and screaming PICK ME PICK ME. Because I just can't get enthusiastic about decor with crayon-scrawled words and primary colors. I kind of hate the word "mommy" and I definitely hate the word "potty" and babies tend to create the same general sense of unease in my disposition that dogs do (they freak me out, OKAY?). Spending more than five minutes in a day care center would probably make me break out into hives. (Or, break out into SOMETHING - let's not forget that kids are harbingers of germs.) At least I've matured to the point where I'm not afraid to hold one anymore (my coworker/friend - cofriend - even has a picture of me holding her rather new newborn. It was a significant moment.) And, let's face it, I love me some tiny things. Baby shoes, baby outfits, baby Halloween costumes (OMG BABY HALLOWEEN COSTUMES), yes. Diapers and sleepless nights and popsicle crafts and "jam hands" and unidentifiable smeared substances... no thank you.

Even if kids were a thing I wanted, now would be a terrible time anyway. Financially, psychologically, emotionally. I have no desire to produce a human that is reliant upon me... I can barely get myself out of bed and to work on time. I like to dictate how I spend my time. I get resentful when it's decided for me. I'm not saying I do a great job at it on my own, but that's the point, right? To figure it out? And maybe it's selfish. I don't deny that a large part of not wanting kids stems from the fact that I don't want to give up my current lifestyle and habits. I like traveling and sleeping in and spending hours writing or reading and suddenly realize that I should have gone to bed forty-five minutes ago. I even like working late. These maybe aren't good reasons to not have kids, but they're still reasons, and they're valid enough reasons for me, and in the end, that's what matters. I get to say, not society. (Besides, I think the whole lack of financial resources and concerns over the toll on my already-troublesome mental health are "legitimate" reasons, yes? Not that I need to legitimize myself to anyone, but, y'know.) TALKING IN CIRCLES, anyway, my point is, I think it would be more selfish to have a kid that I couldn't take care of, simply because it was the prescribed thing to do or because I want to put it in hilarious costumes and take pictures.

[EDIT: OH MY GOD I basically wrote this exact same post like a year ago, and I just found it while trying to Google "jam hands" so I can link it, although now I'm confused because I thought it was a quote from Elliott on Scrubs but now Gilmore Girls keeps popping up in my results and I have NO IDEA and also, it's really weird when my own blog comes up when I'm searching for something. I may have just added "Jam Hands Elliott Scrubs" to my traffic hits. Heh.]

It would be a disaster and I really don't think I could afford the therapy bills that the kid would inevitably need. Nope. My uterus is closed for business. But I really look forward to the day when I walk in the front door of my sister's house and a crazy-haired mini-human comes running at me for auntie hugs. I'm more than capable of doling out affection and love for other people's kids, but it's not for me. I can appreciate it, but I don't want it. Not right now. Maybe not ever. It's not going to be on the table for several years, and who knows what I'll want then? Maybe I will change my mind. I won't rule it out. But right now, I'm firmly in a place of "I like other people's kids. In the sense that they belong to other people and I can do the fun stuff and then give them back."

Which is why Aunthood is perfect for me.

I read on a blog once about how there was something to be said for the aunts of the world. (In searching for that post, which I found, I got lost in a rabbit hole of posts about kids vs. not, and, um, I suspect we'll be revisiting this subject many times again.) It was from a wedding blog that I probably found via Pinterest, on the "other side" of the blog that talks about, y'know, the after - being married. I kind of love this blog. It's basically centered around the belief that every women should do what is best for them and their life and screw everyone else because it's not their life, it's yours. Which... I am really trying to get to a point in my own life where I want to do what I want to do because it's what is best for me, and screw everyone else. Which is another post for another day, but I just thought it was timely for me to find it again tonight.


In her post on Reclaiming Wife, the author, Meg, quotes a passage from Elizabeth Gilbert's book Committed, which I am going to requote here, which makes this post a giant clusterpile of attributions to other people, but... I think it's significant.
All too often, those of us who choose to remain childless are accused of being somehow unwomanly or unnatural or selfish, but history teaches us that there have always been women who went through life without having babies. ... The number of women throughout history who never became mothers is so high (so consistently high) that I now suspect that a certain degree of female childlessness is an evolutionary adaptation of the human race. ... Childless women have always run orphanages and schools and hospitals. They are midwives and nuns and providers of chartiy. They heal the sick and teach the arts and often they become indispensable on the battlefield of life. Literally, in some cases. (Florence Nightingale comes to mind.) ...
Such childless women - let's call them the "Auntie Brigade" - have never been very well honored by history, I'm afraid. They are called selfish, frigid, and pathetic. Here's one particularly nasty bit of conventional wisdom circulating out there about childless women that I need to dispel here, and that is this: that women who have no children may live liberated and happy and wealthy lives when they are young, but they will ultimately regret that choice when they reach old age, for they shall die alone and depressed and full of bitterness. Perhaps you've heard this old chestnut? Just to set the record straight: There is zero sociological evidence to back this up. ...
Even within my own community, I can see where I have been vital sometimes as a member of the Auntie Brigade. My job is not merely to spoil and indulge my nice and nephew (though I do take that assignment to heart) but also to be a roving auntie to the world - an ambassador auntie - who is on hand wherever help is needed, in anybody's family whatsoever. There are people I've been able to help, sometimes fully supporting them for years, because I am not obliged, as a mother would be obliged, to put all my energies and resources into the full-time rearing of a child. There are a whole bunch of Little League uniforms and orthodontist's bills and college educations that I will never have to pay for, thereby freeing up resources to spread more widely across the community. In this way, I, too, foster life. There are many, many ways to foster life. And believe me, every single one of them is essential.   
-Elizabeth Gilbert

So... the original post ended up somewhere else than it started, which I suppose is what happens when you leave it to wander the Internet for a few hours, but... my point is the same: the women who are "just" aunts are valid and important and OMG I GET TO BE ONE.