Wednesday, May 30, 2012

What's with the Pressure?

Why do mothers push their daughters to do things they are not ready for?

My mother wants grandkids. Like, right now. "I don't want to be old and decrepit when you have kids," she says. "I want to be able to still have fun with them."

Okay, that's valid. However, Mom, it's not your body or your life. It's mine. And I'm just not ready for any of that. My choice to have kids when I want to will not depend on your age or vitality.

I don't even know if I want children yet. Okay, pick your jaws off the floor and give your hearts a minute to start again. I know, I know. A young female of child-bearing age may not even want to have them? What is this blasphemy? Women are the emotional ones who yearn to create life, to pass on their DNA and flesh and blood and form their own little mini selves.

But me? I feel I have no maternal instincts. Everything about motherhood terrifies me. Another human being's life is literally in my hands. One wrong move and I could easily accidentally harm my own child. I could say or do the wrong thing and screw him or her up for life. And then there's the whole pregnancy fiasco. Because all of that magic sounds like a glowing basket of jellybeans on Easter.

My mother had her first child, my older brother, at age 24. This apparently means that I should have had my first already, since I just turned 25. Does she not realize that times have changed, and just because she had kids young that doesn't meant that I should, have to, or am going to also?

I can't even afford to take care of myself right now. I'm paying off my last semester of my undergrad -- because I couldn't get a loan on my own, and my mom was apparently maxed out from her cosigning both my brother's and my loans -- I can't even pay my own car insurance, and I am drowning in student loan debt which I will be paying off for the rest of my life. How could I possibly even begin to think about starting a family if I can't even keep myself afloat?

Besides, there is no ring on this finger. Danny is even younger than me. He's the one who wants kids in our future, and he's less ready for that kind of commitment than I am. We have plenty of time, Mom, okay? Okay?!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Father's Day Wish

This topic comes from Mama Kat's weekly writing prompts. Out of five options, I chose number three. The others were non-applicable or irrelevant to me.

List 10 things you would love to give your husband or dad for Father's Day.

Well, no husband.

Ten things I would love to give my father...

Be prepared, folks. This is not going to be your average lovey-dovey warm and fuzzy post about giving back to the wonderful parenting job my father did.

Instead, here's my list:

1) Work ethic
2) A moral center
3) Parenting classes
4) Therapy
5) Mandatory Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and/or rehab
6) Truth serum
7) Diligence to stick to anything
8) A personal trainer
9) Taste buds
10) A swift kick in the ass

That about does it. ;-)

Mama’s Losin’ It

Cats Suck

I was in 5th grade. I had just moved to the district the previous year, and besides my best friend Jill who lived across the street, I didn't make many friends. Finally, in Mr. Ellenwood's class, I met a second best friend, Jacquie.

We always sat next to each other, and secretly passed notes back and forth. When we had spelling quizzes, the way we would grade them in class would be to switch papers with the person sitting next to us, and our partner would check it for us and vice versa. Jacquie and I always switched with each other, since we sat adjacent to one another. If one of us misspelled a word -- and it was usually off by only a letter or two -- we would secretly correct it for the other one by using our pen to continuously write over the mistake so we would get higher grades. Though, hardly any of mine were ever spelled incorrectly. ^_^

Jacquie lived close by, only a few blocks away, and we would hang out together all the time. And since we were in the same class together, we also spent recess together. I don't remember how this came about, but our imaginations created this fantasy land, a planet in another galaxy called K.A.T. Original, right?

Have you ever read the book series, The Animorphs? It was about these kids who had special powers to turn into any animal they touched. But, if they stayed in the animal form too long, they would be stuck like that forever. Our K.A.T. planet had somewhat the same premise, without being stuck in one form or another. We pretended that we were originally from this planet full of cats. Much more intelligent cats than we have on Earth, of course, with language capabilities and complex enough brains and thoughts to run our own planet. Our real bodies were cats, of course, and we were living on Earth as humans.

Ironic, now, considering my relationship with cats at the moment. My uncle Mike and his wife went to California last week for vacation. In their absence, I took care of his house and his pets. One dog, Heidi, one cat, Kitty, and a new, fostered cat named Milly.

Kitty absolutely loathes Milly. He wants nothing to do with her, and the second he sees her, he starts hissing and flipping out. Therefore, the two must be separated at all times.

Kitty is allowed outside, but only with a harness attached to a leash so he doesn't get away and get lost. He's been used to this harness for years, and simply just waits and allows it to be put on him. One morning, in the middle of the week, he wanted to go outside like any other day. Except on this particular day, he had some kind of stick up his ass.

He walked to the back door and stood by it looking up at me, meowing. I grabbed his harness from the counter, and joined him by the door. He became excited and inched closer, waiting to be let out. I kneeled down, ready to slip on his harness like every other day. The second I moved my hands to his head, he completely freaked out, and decided he wanted to inflict some unnecessary pain.

He grabbed my arm with his front paws, claws outstretched, and sunk his teeth into my skin.

This picture in no way does justice to what actually transpired on my flesh after his bite. I couldn't believe the bruise he gave me from that. It was actually much darker and bigger than what the picture can show. I swear I think he's bipolar.

Two days later, on Friday, I finished work and drove back to my uncle's. I fed them all, changed my clothes, and let Kitty outside on the leash. About an hour later, I hear scratching at the back door. I know what that means.

I walked to the back door, and I see this:

I iz Spiderman.

Just chillin'. He does this every so often. I have no idea why. I then must go outside and pry him off the door.

Before I can do that, I look down and see Milly, on her hind legs, with her front paws on the door, staring up at Kitty. Great. I can't get him off the screen with her there, or he'll panic.

I leaned down to pick up Milly. I put my hands on her, and she turned psychotic. She unleashed an unknown vicious side of her. Her normal calm demeanor was gone. Her loving, playful personality vanished, and out came a vicious, maniacal beast. She attached herself to my arm, claws sunken into my skin, slicing me with her hind legs while simultaneously biting me with razor sharp fangs. This was the end result:

Again, the picture does no justice to the actual damage. I filled two entire paper towels with blood from this attack, and my right hand and left index finger were swollen for days. The only silver lining was that it happened Friday evening, and I didn't have to teach or sign over the weekend, because I wouldn't have been able to. Everything hurt to the touch. I couldn't pick up my bag. Showering took twice as long. What a pain in the ass cats are.

Appropriately, this showed up on my Facebook wall yesterday:

So true. Five minutes later, Milly was acting like my best friend and wanted to cuddle up to me. Temperamental jerks. What the hell is wrong with cats?

Conclusion: This is why dogs are a trillion times better and always will be. 

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Happy Mother's Day: Life Lessons

Moms are great. They take care of you as a baby; feeding, changing, clothing, entertaining, curing, hydrating. This continues throughout your childhood and adolescent years, while adding more complicated things as your progression as a human continues, such as conversation and negotiating.

Mothers become more than just our 24-hour babysitters. They become nurses, coaches, bank tellers, counselors, chauffeurs, teachers, maids, chefs, seamstresses, and in my case, dads too. And for others, much more.

Moms teach us many life lessons. For some people, there is one lesson, one instance of a childhood or adolescent memory that stands out in particular. Something you learned that you will never forget.

I don't have a memory like that.

I've had a ton of great times with my mom. Feeding ducks at the pond, bowling, ice skating, card and board games, baking cookies, playing Double Dare and hitting each other in the face with whipped cream pies (oh yeah, we did it).

But I never had that one specific moment that stuck out like a sore thumb, that life lesson I will remember forever. Maybe my memory isn't that great. Maybe we never had those moments together. Or, maybe it's because moms never stop teaching us.

Moms are wise individuals. They've lived and learned, they've experienced life on many levels. They've had ups and downs, just like the rest of us. And all they want is for their kids to grow up to be happy, decent, successful people. For that to come to fruition, it takes much more than one life lesson. Rather, those lessons are infinite. Until the grim day that we part ways on this Earth, moms never cease to give us their knowledge.

My mom taught me many things. And, not always just with words, but by her behavior and actions as well. Here is just a snippet of the numerous life and other lessons I have received (in no particular order):

  1. Treat others how you want to be treated. You wouldn't want someone to bully you, be mean to you, or put you down, so don't be that person to someone else.
  2. Know when to stand up for yourself. Just because you are a nice person, doesn't mean you have to be a doormat. People may mistake kindness for weakness, but don't let them.
  3. Work hard, and go for what you want in life. Complacency will lead you nowhere, except exactly where you are. If you want to achieve something, or change something in your life, you won't get it by staying where you are. Do something about it.
  4. If I have to lie to Mom about it, it's probably not a good idea.
  5. Know when to walk away. It is infinitely better to be single than to be with someone who is not good for you. Stand up for yourself. Know that you are better and more than a relationship.
  6. Animals have souls, too. If there are no dogs in Heaven, we are boycotting. Assuming we make it.
  7. If you have to, set two alarms. Or three, or four...
  8. Act appropriately for your audience/situation. This does not mean change you are depending on who you are with. However, you cannot always exhibit the same behavior with friends as you can with professionals at work.
  9. Sometimes, life sucks, and you have to deal with it.
  10. And sometimes, you just need to live it up and have fun. It's okay to act like a kid again every once in a while.
That's just a taste. I think I'll keep the rest to myself.

Thank you Mom, for everything you've done and continue to do. I love you. Happy Mother's Day.

Mama’s Losin’ It

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I Am So Lucky

I recently just returned from a trip with my boyfriend to Myrtle Beach. If you may recall, we also went last year and had a great time. We decided to go again this year when my aunt Lisa offered out some of her vacation time (through some kind of timeshare points? I don't really know how it works). We got a great discount and stayed a very nice resort. Though the rooms were small, it was filled wall to wall with amenities.

It's picture time!

Our resort, the Seaglass Tower

Our view from the room

View to the little boardwalk below leading to the beach

We decided to save money by cooking breakfast and lunch, and only eating out at dinner. Good thing we did, because we both ran out of money by the end of the trip!

Our kitchenette 
Our very cool bathroom with giant tub and jacuzzi jets!

Another view picture

A very cool painting above the bed

The bed lamps had BOOKLIGHTS! Do you have any idea how excited I was about this??

Pirates Voyage, a VERY cool dinner show. Highly recommended if you ever go to Myrtle Beach!

A jellyfish in the water during the dolphin watch. There were millions of these around.

 We had a great view of the dolphins on the tour. We used the same tour as last year, and it was a good choice. A smaller boat, so everyone can see, with very nice people running the tour. We didn't need to go very far out to find them. Two pods eventually came together and started playing with each other. They came very close to the boat and we got amazing views! We even saw them one morning in the ocean from our hotel window!

A turtle was crossing the road in a parking lot. Though he hid away in his shell when I came over, I made sure no cars came to squish him while he made his journey.


Well, hello there.



Time to cool off.

A very cool waterfall that changed colors.

These weird little beetle things were EVERYWHERE.
 Since there was a mini golf course on practically every corner, we had to try one. We chose Mount Atlanticus since it had very cool views, and Danny liked the architecture of the place. After the 18th hole, we thought we were finished, but signs posted told us to follow the stairs down to the 19th hole at the main lobby. This is what we found:

 A hole in one on the 19th. On this shot:

 We failed miserably. BUT the entire wall was filled with photos of people who made it, of all ages!

View from Pier 14 restaurant, right behind our resort.

Out on the pier.

The ferris wheel on the left is called the Skywheel, the largest ferris wheel in America.

Out on the pier.

 And... my absolute favorite part of this trip...

 We got to hold and pet a baby white tiger!

 And feed him! Coolest thing ever.

And hold a baby monkey! Danny liked this guy, and thought it was adorable that he was wearing a diaper. Which it was!

Despite the drive there and back, overall, it was a fantastic trip. We ate great food, saw a fantastic pirates dinner show, hung out on the beach, took a walk on the pier and boardwalk, went on a dolphin watch tour, drank amazing lemonade and other drinks, saw dolphins in the ocean from our hotel window, and pet, hold, feed, and take a picture with a baby white tiger and a monkey. Unbelievably amazing.

I feel so lucky to have Danny in my life. Not only to do fun things like this with him, but because it wouldn't be the same with someone else. I feel like in a way going on little vacations like this brings us even closer, more connected. I am in love now more than ever, and I only see it continuing to grow and blossom into something not only better than what we already have, but better than I can imagine. Things like this only reaffirm my love and adoration toward him, and I can't wait to see what the future holds. I am so thankful to have someone so incredible to call mine.

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Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Rainbow After the Rain

Every year on my birthday, for as long as I can remember, it has rained. Without fail. I never had to check the weather report, because I knew exactly what Mother Nature had in mind every May 2nd. It was like I was psychic for a day each year.

Despite my annual soothsayer abilities, my mother refused to believe me. Yet, like yearly clockwork, there the rain would appear. She apparently has the memory of a goldfish, and now that she's hit age 50, that's her excuse for finally admitting it. My brother couldn't care less. My friends gave me a sympathetic, "Really?" with raised eyebrows.

Sure, rain. Big deal, right? Probably not for some, or even most. It's spring. Rain comes and goes. But, the weather should be becoming pretty nice around now here in New York. Rain ruins your plans a little if you open a box of brand new rollerblades and can't try them out because water is falling from the sky. Or, if your best friend who lives across the street comes over and wants to play with you outside after school. Or, if you want to take a bike ride to your friend's house three blocks away, or walk up the street to the nearby school and play on the swings. Or, if you just want a nice, warm, sunny day for once.

So, every year, I planned for rain. Jackets, hats, umbrellas, indoor parties. I'd have a good time with my family and friends inside the skating rink or at home with cake, longing for, just once, a sunny day.

Well, my friends, this story finally has a happy ending. Today is May 2, 2012, and it isn't raining. But, not for the first time. This trend actually began two years ago in 2010. Right after I met Danny. Yep, ever since then, even before we started dating, my birthday has had clear, sunny skies. Not a drop of precipitation.

Coincidence? Yeah, probably. But, I'm not complaining. And while today there is constant cloud cover and a 30% chance of rain this afternoon, if the clouds decide they are too bloated with water weight, maybe this time, it won't be so horrendous.

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