Mommy Judgement

•October 18, 2013 • Leave a Comment

It starts early.

It can happen anywhere.

It could come from anyone.

Unsolicited parental advice and “mommy judgement” are just a few of the annoying pregnancy symptoms you’ll have to deal with, and unfortunately, probably some you weren’t expecting or were ever warned about.

So I’m here to fill you in on a little secret: your baby bump will be like a bat signal shining on the smoggy skyline of Gotham to every parent–and curiously, some people who are not yet parents–who think they’ve got it all figured out. These people are way worse than the belly rubbers. Belly rubbers seem to be nice people who pretty must just relish the thought of babies, so I don’t want to murder them quite as much. (Except when they touch my belly-button, that’s a no-fly zone.)

But you can bet that anytime a stranger casts a sideways glance at your swollen abdomen, you’re about to get questioned. Some will be polite, others…more to the point.

Take this experience, for example. I ran into a friend of mine at a restaurant a few weeks ago. He was smiling, rubbing the belly, going through the niceties. I noticed in the background that a male acquaintance of mine that I’d run into occasionally at a previous job was watching. He must have seen my “condition” and called out over our conversation, “You married yet?!” I pretended not to hear him, as I didn’t feel the need to address this question to him, nor anyone else within earshot so I continued talking to my actual friend. Not to be deterred, the acquaintance repeated his question, loudly. My friend and I exchanged an awkward laugh, at which point I told him that no, I hadn’t tied the knot yet. Cue the tight-lipped nod and eyebrow raise. This uncomfortable interaction continued whilst I waited for my food, but I took relief in the fact that he had changed the subject to his many ex’s and how they had all failed in one way or another since moving on from him. However, as I paid for my lackluster pork, he decided to ask what church I frequent. As most people who know me have already figured out at this point, I do not attend church, and therefore told him so. With a shake of his head, and a finger pointed at my chest, he explained that, “You NEED to go to church.” Oh, right. Because of the whole child-out-of-wedlock thing! Guess I better go ahead and sneak in there now since the deed is already done and try to save some face, right? I explained to him that I was more of a “science person,” and that probably wasn’t going to happen.

For another example, I give you today’s interaction. Most things I do now revolve around food, so this took place in another restaurant near my office. I had come to obtain my bacon and eggs, when a gentleman turned to me and asked if I knew if I was expecting a boy or girl yet. I explained we were expecting our little girl, and he naturally asks when, is it my first, do we have any names, etc. Everything was going well, and I found him to be rather pleasant. So when he turned to me very seriously, and pointed (What’s with the authoritative Christian pointing?!) to say, “Keep her in the Church!” I was caught a little off-guard. It’s not as if this is an offensive request in itself, I understand the meaning behind it. He’s ultimately saying, “Raise her with some values and she won’t turn out like Miley Cyrus,” but it’s the attitude behind it that I find striking. The way it is said in command, rather than request. The assumption that this is the way all people should be raising their children, and those who don’t are not doing right by them. I let out a nervous laugh because I couldn’t bring myself to lie and say, “Okay! Haha Boy, do we WANT TO DO THAT!!” I just said, “And school, of course!” I think he could tell that I was disengaged at that point, and he left it alone.

To many people raised in our little corner of the world, these types of statements seem neither offensive nor out of the ordinary. But, if you take it at more than face value, you can see the issue. When things like this are said to me, I feel like it’s glaringly obvious to them that I don’t have a ring on my finger. I feel like I look young, inexperienced, lost and in need of direction. Truthfully, it makes me feel shame. I feel pressured into renewing a relationship with God and starting one for my daughter so that we can find salvation for my “mistake.” Maybe I’m reading too much into it, maybe I should take it at face value. But as someone who is happy and secure in my relationship with my partner, and looking very much forward to raising a child with him, I find it troubling when it is suggested I do things differently than what I’m comfortable with.

Interestingly, it is almost always men that ask about my relationship status and my church attendance. I’m not sure what the correlation is there. Maybe it’s just because boys around here are often taught that if you get a girl pregnant, you do the “right thing” and make her “an honest woman.” So those issues might be more relevant to men. Women, on the other hand, are perfectly content judging you on practically anything else! Hah.

In a country as child-obsessed as our own, none of your parenting ideals are sacred and above review. You want to breastfeed? It is likely you’ll hear another woman in a haughty tone say, “Well, I never did, and my children turned out just fine!” Listen ladies who didn’t breastfeed–that is not a swipe at you! Just a personal choice that I’m interested in. On the other hand, and perhaps more commonly, saying you don’t want to breastfeed in front of a woman who’s very passionate about it can mean getting verbally chastised and more statistics thrown at you than you can even comprehend. You want to try cloth diapers? Clearly, that’s unnecessary and I can just about guarantee you’ll get a response like, “Chyeah. Let me know how THAT works out for you!” Then, some things can get down-right personal. “You went to which doctor?! Oh no! Let me schedule you an appointment with Dr. So&So. She’s a GENIUS!” “I thought you weren’t supposed to have caffeine while you’re pregnant?” “You should really be walking more.” “Are you watching your sodium intake?” “Don’t you think that outfit is a little ridiculous for a newborn?” “CAN YOU PLEASE JUSTIFY ALL THE MISTAKES I MADE AS A PARENT BY LETTING ME PASS JUDGEMENT ON YOU?!”

It’s enough to make ya crazy, folks. If you decided to breed, let it be known that every decision you make may come under scrutiny, and be prepared to either walk away with a new-found stick of contempt up your ass, or defend your personal choices.

So, if I may, allow me to chip in my unsolicited parental advice:

1) Pick your battles. Some things aren’t worth defending to people you don’t know. On the other hand, sometimes we need to adjust others’ perspectives of us. With a fist is optional, of course.

2) Don’t stress over it. Your child will love you if you love it. Your child will forgive you the “mistakes” you think you’ve made if you nurture it. They will not call you in high school and complain they got a low grade on the ACT because you bought processed baby food instead of steam-mashing your own peas in a sterilized jar.

3) Let it out. Vent your frustrations to people close to you. They will help you see the ridiculousness in all the demands that are being made of you. They’ll let you talk about how men stare at your jiggling stomach now instead of your cleavage and how weird that is. They’ll let you cry, when it gets too much. And you know what else? They’ll annoy you, too. But they’re the ones you’ll need the most.

4) Admit you’re not perfect. You’re not gonna get it all right. You’re going to slip up and ingest something you probably shouldn’t have. You’re going to gain a pound or two more than you’d hoped. You’ll probably leave something out of your hospital bag. There’s going to be something you forgot to buy until you realized you really needed it. There will be something you do that makes you feel guilty as a mother. But you need to anticipate these things, and learn to roll with it. If you’re already worried about it, you’re already a great mom. Just don’t obsess, and give yourself a break.

And that’s all I have for you, ladies and gentleman. I woke up this morning with these thoughts on my mind and considered blogging about it. My breakfast experience earlier solidified my idea to do so. I did this for other girls, to be a bit satirical, and also for myself. I need to remember that I can’t control everything and have it perfect before Kairi gets here, and that people are always going to take issue with one thing or another. But Caleb and I have the power to make our own decisions about our family, and I will stick by them with pride. In the meantime, I’ll continue dodging eye-roll-worth questions while I get bigger and bigger in anticipation of her arrival!

B Part II

•May 9, 2013 • Leave a Comment

B stared intently, brows furrowed, into the fire. Swallowing the last of her beef and rice concoction, she sat the tray and spoon on the ground, and wiped her hands on her dirty cargo pants. They didn’t fit her as well as the woman she’d taken them off of, and had begun to go threadbare at the knees.

Terry shifted her weight on the log in silence, somewhat awkwardly.  ‘She’s much too polite,’ B surmised. ‘Clearly, not a soldier. Maybe a doctor? Oh, please, not a therapist!’

B cleared her throat roughly, making Terry jump almost imperceptibly. “So, you didn’t think you’d find anyone here? There aren’t many others out here that I know of, but I’m sure those that are have already noticed the fire and the campsite.” She looked around to the wood line, maybe an eighth of a mile from the camp she and Terry sat on the outskirts of. The flat, leveling of the clearing certainly didn’t make it seem that far off, however. Terry had to fight off a shiver at B’s ominous tone, and even B herself was uncomfortable at the idea of being surveyed. She especially disliked the way the bright fire light kept her eyes from distinguishing the shadows amongst the trees.

“I don’t mean to make you nervous,” she continued, “but it’s not the best idea to put yourselves and all your belongings on display in front of desperate people, especially at night. You don’t leave a steak on the table in front of the dogs and turn your back.”

Terry considered this before seeming to steel herself with the slightest of grins. “You don’t seem all that worried about it,” she said. She wondered if B was toying with her.

“I’m never worried. But I do like to exercise a little caution and discretion. If something were to happen, it’s not as if I couldn’t get myself out of it, but I don’t like to gamble,” B stared back into the fire, reflexively moving her right hand to the cracked leather sheath that held her bowie knife at her thigh.

“What do you think the chances of ‘something happening’ tonight are?” Terry asked, doing well to hide the intent behind the question, seeming to only mildly entertain the idea.

“I dunno,” B said. “Depends on how hungry they are, I would think. At least it’s not winter. Freezing, starving people in winter don’t have much rationale dictating their actions. It’s just, survive! Survive! The word doesn’t even exist in that world, it’s just a constant drive. It’s past human emotion, empathy, pity. That kind of desperation is what turns people to thieves, murderers…cannibals.” B trailed off, not entirely unaware that she might be getting some sort of a twinge of pleasure at disturbing her company. After all, she rarely gets to experience any semblance of superiority in her life anymore.

‘Giving me a spoon and napkin is a

•May 8, 2013 • Leave a Comment

‘Giving me a spoon and napkin is a nice gesture,” B thought.

‘Makes me seem more human, more like one of them, I guess. Good to know I haven’t forgot how to use one.’ She actually found some satisfaction in that reflection. Truthfully, she wanted to return to the habit of using her fingers to hastily shovel food into her mouth. She scraped at the crusted bits in the corner of her warmed-over meal tray. It was the first truly filling meal that she had gotten her hands on in a while, but she was finding it hard to stomach. Too much salt, too rich; she grimaced at the thought of needing to relieve herself several times that night. Unseasoned, small game does not make the body accustomed to rich gravy and preservatives.

She looked up from the log towards the direction of the campsite as she heard someone approaching. It was a female, B assumed, from the slight steps and silhouette. When she entered the light from the fire, B noticed her pristine uniform, how it hugged her healthy body. Perhaps she did like the gravy?

“I was hoping you could tell me more about yourself, “ the woman said politely, taking a seat on the log beside B. “It’s just that we weren’t expecting to find anyone at the clearing site,” she finished meekly. B wondered what her position with the Counsel actually was.

“What is it that you want to know? There’s not much of a story. I just ended up here. I never stay in one place for too long, “ B answered cautiously, making a conscious effort not to spit food on the nice lady.

The woman looked back in the direction of the campsite nervously.

“Look, my name is Terry. They didn’t send me out here to interrogate you. I came to talk to you myself. Being from the colonies, I’ve never met anyone who lived here. I’m sure you know…” she had to choose her words carefully. “You’re a rarity.”

 

TBC

In space, no one can hear you scream.

•June 17, 2011 • 1 Comment

Remembering my dreams has never been a problem for me. Almost as soon as Caleb wakes up, he’s already forgotten his dreams. I, on the other hand, usually remember at least one or two. The other night, I dreamed that Caleb, Abbey, and I were going on vacation. Our first stop was going to be Vegas. We weren’t gambling, though. Oh no–we were going to Vegas to catch a space ship up to the International Space Station. That sounds pretty lame, but in my dream they had restaurants, a shopping mall, entertainment, and a pool. It was basically like a cruise, but only in space. I was packing mine and Caleb’s stuff over at Abbey’s, and I was feeling pretty excited about the whole thing. I was imagining us having an excellent vacation, and then that’s when I suddenly remembered that space fucking terrifies me. My excitement took a nose-dive and turned straight into blinding panic, but I felt that I had invested too much time and effort into this and my friends would be pissed. So I had to go along with it and pretend that I was as pumped as my friends were. I was so relieved when I woke up with no immediate plans to leave the atmosphere.

Now you might be thinking, ‘But Haley, space is the final frontier. I would kill for a chance to see it for myself.’ And then that would lead me to think that you are naive and have not thought out the many horrible, agonizing ways your feeble little human body could be annihilated in such harsh conditions.

So that brings me to the meat and potatoes of this post. I think it is my responsibility to let all you trekkies, Star Wars fans, and various other space-lovin’ fools some real talk–as the kids say.

3 (Strong )Reasons We Should Stay the Hell Out of Space!!

1. In case you missed out on this somehow, there’s no air up there.
-It’s not like how, say, when you’re underwater there’s no air. When you’re swimming, you can just hold your breath and be fine. This does not apply in space. Space is a vacuum. You can’t just hold your breath and politely wait for Hal to open the bay doors. The first think you can expect to happen is the expansion of gasses inside your lungs and digestive tract. If too much air is inside your lungs, eventually they rupture and spew air bubbles into your blood stream which kills you. If you’re lucky enough to make it through that part, the next thing you have to look forward to is the effect that open space has on water. The vacuum causes water to convert into vapor so you can expect the water in your mouth, eyes, and muscles to begin boiling away. Your muscles will then swell to about roughly twice their normal size. While all this is going on, the nitrogen in your blood begins to form painful, gaseous bubbles. A minute or so later, you’ll begin to lose consciousness because the lack of air pressure screws up the gas exchange of the lungs and deprives you of oxygen. If your dumbass doesn’t get rescued within about the next 90 seconds, your blood begins to boil. Obviously, this last part is what does you in. I’ve tried to think of a more horrific, unnatural way to go and I just can’t do it.

2. Tons of Other Lethal Shit
-So in addition to being asphyxiated and having your blood boil inside of your veins, space is filled with all sorts of other ways to generally fuck you up. All of these pretty much relate to the fact that there’s no air up there. For one, temperatures go from one extreme to another in the emptiness of space. One moment you could be exposed to freezing temperatures, and the next suffer severe burns from being in direct contact with sunlight. Let’s also not forget the other types of radiation you could be exposed to in the forms of gamma and cosmic rays which I guess also suck, but that’s kind of over my head. Another huge hazard when you’re out there floating around in the middle of a black abyss comes in the form of space debris. See, not only have we left a bunch of old, metal crap up there from previous excursions, but the naturally occurring asteroids, meteorite, and even tiny particles become a problem. Apparently, a particle of dirt the size of a paint chip is enough to disable your entire space ship should they collide. Movies make it appear as though space junk just floats around aimlessly, but in reality, they fly around at nearly 17, 500mph! That could be disastrous if you’re traveling at the same speed and hit each other head-on. You also have to take into consideration that if you have some sort of malfunction and lose the ability to steer or control the movement of the ship, you’re going to be careening through space at that speed with nothing to stop you but running into something else. Space ships need surprisingly little fuel when you actually think about it. The lack of friction in space means that once you get the ship up to its full speed, you can cut the acceleration and it will fly on its own. So if something breaks, or you run out of fuel needed to bring the ship to a stop, you’re screwed. In addition to having no friction, space also contains no humidity or moisture. That means that little shocks of static electricity that are irritating on earth become deadly in space. Scientists believe they can get strong enough to short-circuit life-saving equipment. Seriously, I could go on and on here, but let’s discuss another subject that I think perhaps sums this all up best.

3. I Don’t Want Other Things Knowing We’re Here
-So. Aliens. Maybe it sounds absurd to you to even consider the possibility, but I think it’s a good one. Statistically speaking, when the vastness of the supposedly ever-expanding universe is examined, it’s hard for me to believe that there couldn’t be some form of other life out there. Richard Dawkins actually makes an astonishing point on this in his book, The God Delusion.

“It has been estimated that there are between 1 billion and 30 billion planets in our galaxy, and about 100 billion galaxies in the universe. Knocking a few noughts off for reasons of ordinary prudence, a billion billion is a conservative estimate of the number of available planets in the universe. Now, suppose the origin of life, the spontaneous arising of something equivalent to DNA, really was a quite staggeringly improbable event. Suppose it was so improbable as to occur on only one in a billion planets….And yet…even with such absurdly long odds, life will still have arisen on a billion planets–of which Earth, of course, is one.” (Dawkins 165).

Do you know what this tells me? It tells me that somewhere, something is living out there amongst us. They could be the friendliest lifeforms in the galaxy–I don’t care! ‘Cause there’s also a chance that they could be just.like.us. (God help us.) Yeah, it’s cliche, but I think the possibility of aliens wanting to jack our shit is pretty realistic. Think about it, if we were dying off because we lost one of our natural resources, but we found a crappy little planet with some primitive life-form…do you really think we wouldn’t go traditional White-American style on their asses and take over the land?! I know we would, and I bet they would too. Just by existing we have proven that earth is an environment that promotes life and that makes us a target. But, hey, maybe they don’t need our resources because their superior planet is doing so well. In that case, they’ll probably just take us and experiment on our bodies to see what the hell we are and where we came from. That’s pretty much what we’ve done with every single species on our planet. I just…I know how excited and stupid we would be about finding other life-forms out there, so I can only imagine that if a more intelligent race were to ever stumble upon us, they would feel the same. I don’t wanna be probed, you guys.

That’s really all I have to say on the subject. If you need more convincing, perhaps you should look more into it. Or perhaps there is just no hope for you. Either way, I plan to remain on terra firma unless I just have no other choice. And even then I’m taking some cyanide pills along just in case.

Sources://

http://members.tripod.com/spacetravel_mdp/new_page_2.htm

http://www.cracked.com/article_19158_the-6-weirdest-dangers-space-travel_p2.html

http://curedone.com/lumber/aliens.htm

http://www.damninteresting.com/outer-space-exposure/

Reflection.

•June 16, 2011 • Leave a Comment

This post has no real purpose. I’m in one of those far-off moods where the monotony in the present doesn’t seem to matter much. This post is for me to take a step back and straighten my thoughts out. Feel free to do this yourself. It could be very enlightening.

How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you are?
-I would be 21. There’s no real reason for a lady to age beyond that.

Which is worse, failing or never trying?
-I know that I’m supposed to say never trying, but I know I fear failure more.

If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?
-That’s a tough one. For one thing, we have to do things we don’t like to survive. For another, we’ve had it beaten into our heads that school and work are the only ways to get by, but most people hate it. That I blame on Capitalism. Yep.

When it’s all said and done, will you have said more than you’ve done?
-I certainly hope so. But I do have a LOT to say.

What is the one thing you’d most like to change about the world?
-I wish we put more value on love and knowledge and less on money.

If happiness was the national currency, what kind of work would make you rich?
-Writing or working on a wildlife conservation.

Are you doing what you believe in, or are you settling for what you are doing?
-I’m doing what I can to pay my bills.

If the average human life span was 40 years, how would you live your life differently?
-Honestly? I’d probably be a damn criminal so I could do whatever I wanted for as long as possible.

To what degree have you actually controlled the course your life has taken?
-Well. Not a lot, actually. Up until this point, I’ve pretty much just followed instructions.

Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?
-Can they not be one and the same?

You’re having lunch with three people you respect and admire.  They all start criticizing a close friend of yours, not knowing she is your friend.  The criticism is distasteful and unjustified.  What do you do?
-“Hey, now! She’s actually a good friend of mine. I know she can come across as ______, but she’s actually really _______. If you knew her like I do, you’d feel otherwise.”

If you could offer a newborn child only one piece of advice, what would it be?
-Always keep an open mind. Oh, and read as much as you can.

Would you break the law to save a loved one?
-I would hide the body.

Have you ever seen insanity where you later saw creativity?
-I find that the two often parallel each other.

What’s something you know you do differently than most people?
-I eat my food weird. I purposely save things for last or eat all of the gross stuff first, or I chew all the meat and cheese hanging out of the burger to make it perfectly circular, and I break my pop-tarts into four corners. (After I eat all the crust off.)

How come the things that make you happy don’t make everyone happy?
-Because not everyone is as awesome as me.

What one thing have you not done that you really want to do?  What’s holding you back?
See the world. Money ):

Are you holding onto something you need to let go of?
-A grudge. Or four.

If you had to move to a state or country besides the one you currently live in, where would you move and why?
-Definitely Australia.

Do you push the elevator button more than once?  Do you really believe it makes the elevator faster?
-Nope and nope.

Would you rather be a worried genius or a joyful simpleton?
-I’d rather be joyful, but I think I’m more of the intellectual crazy.

Why are you, you?
-I was never given a choice to be anything else.

Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?
-Not always, but I try to do what’s best.

Which is worse, when a good friend moves away, or losing touch with a good friend who lives right near you?
-Definitely the latter. It actually hurts.

What are you most grateful for?
-The people I know are always gonna be there.

Would you rather lose all of your old memories, or never be able to make new ones?
-That’s a tough one. I guess…I would have to say lose all my old ones. Because I could be told about what had happened later. And I’d have a chance to start over and learn about myself. But if you can’t make new memories, you’re like Drew Barrymore in 50 First Dates, and the people around you can’t live.

Is is possible to know the truth without challenging it first?
-Under the right conditions, yes. But you should always question the things you can’t know to be true in your heart.

Has your greatest fear ever come true?
-No, and let’s hope it stays that way.

Do you remember that time 5 years ago when you were extremely upset?  Does it really matter now?
-Maybe not five…but I remember 3 years ago. And it mattered in a way that it definitely shaped who I’ve become…but at the same time, it didn’t matter because neither did the person who caused it.

What is your happiest childhood memory?  What makes it so special?
-I actually had an excellent childhood, and I have so many great memories so I can’t really pick just one. I was a really happy kid, and my family was always around me. I think holidays were the best, though. Even before the presents I just loved the decorating, the music, the food, and all my favorite people being together.

At what time in your recent past have you felt most passionate and alive?
-Hmm. I really hate to sound so…yeah…but when Caleb and I began falling in love, and I realize that this could really be it. And then he proposed to me. And we’re going to have a future together. And it makes me feel secure. And this might seem like run of the mill stuff for some people, but people who know me or have been through what I had to go through…people who have every reason to believe that love is a figment of your imagination…well, for us that’s one of the biggest things you can experience. <–Lovedrunk Ramblings

If not now, then when?
-When I have the resources.

If you haven’t achieved it yet, what do you have to lose?
-It's not about the loss. It's about having the means to do it.

Have you ever been with someone, said nothing, and walked away feeling like you just had the best conversation ever?
Sort of. There used to be a man that would come into Sears, but he was mute. I didn't know how to help him at first because I couldn't understand his requests. I finally got a piece of paper and I wrote, "Can we communicate like this?" And he nodded enthusiastically, and we wrote back and forth on the paper until I had helped him. He would always smile and wave really big after that whenever he would walk by. It touched my heart, kinda.

Why do religions that support love cause so many wars?
-Because religion is one of the most personal things a person can have. And many people are willing to die for it. And, in the case of radical Islam, it can sometimes be a tool to control other people with. It's all fucked up, if you ask me.

Is it possible to know, without a doubt, what is good and what is evil?
-Not always. Everything should be put into context.

If you just won a million dollars, would you quit your job?
-Not immediately. I would have to see how I could move that money to keep making more off of it. I would def take an extended leave, though. Haha

Would you rather have less work to do, or more work you actually enjoy doing?
-If I loved what I was doing, I'd say the same or more. Right now, I'd say less.🙂

Do you feel like you’ve lived this day a hundred times before?
-I have lived this day 100 times before. There 'bouts, anyway.

When was the last time you marched into the dark with only the soft glow of an idea you strongly believed in?
-When I decided that I had to be with Caleb, even though I was terrified of getting into another relationship at the time. I was coming apart at the seams for a minute there.

If you knew that everyone you know was going to die tomorrow, who would you visit today?
-Oh my God. I think I would just have to go to Ninny's house and take my mom and Caleb and Abbey and my cousins and aunts and just never let them go!!

Would you be willing to reduce your life expectancy by 10 years to become extremely attractive or famous?
-Nahhh. I don't know how much life expectancy I have anyway, and I'm not tryin to mess that up. Haha

What is the difference between being alive and truly living?
-Living implies a certain vigor and accomplishment. It's the difference between being miserable and living on your own terms.

When is it time to stop calculating risk and rewards, and just go ahead and do what you know is right?
-When others are dependent upon your decision.

If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?
-Some lessons nobody ever wants to learn.

What would you do differently if you knew nobody would judge you?
-I would embrace the earthier, more hippy-ish side of me. Haha She's in there somewhere.

When was the last time you noticed the sound of your own breathing?
-Today when Derek was mentioning that you usually only breath out of one nostril.

What do you love?  Have any of your recent actions openly expressed this love?
-I mean…I'm a romantic. I love lots of things.

In 5 years from now, will you remember what you did yesterday?  What about the day before that?  Or the day before that?
-Well. Probably not those days in particular. But it is my goal to make this summer amazing for myself.

Decisions are being made right now.  The question is:  Are you making them for yourself, or are you letting others make them for you?
-I can finally say I'm making them!

The Early Bird Gets the Worm (That was lame enough to get up early)

•June 14, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I have never been a morning person. As if I didn’t already know this myself, friends and family love to point it out to me. For me, waking up to an alarm clock is the equivalent of being beaten with one of those pool noodles–not particularly damaging, but infuriating nonetheless. People often ask me what my problem is, and why I can’t just wake up happy to have lived to see another day? I don’t really have a good explanation for them other than that’s just the way I am, but I have decided to put together a list of reasons as to why it is that I am such an intolerable bitch in the morning.

1. Alarm clocks are seriously the most annoying things ever.

Really. I understand that they have to use those kinds of noises because some people could sleep through a nuclear blast, but some of us are light sleepers. The average alarm clock tone sends me jolting upwards wondering how our submarine got hit by a torpedo in Uncle Jerry’s lake only to realize it’s just that stupid device going off in an effort to ruin my every morning. I hate alarm clocks so much that when I hear them go off on TV or in movies, I break out in a cold sweat. Instead of using one, I should probably just get Caleb to gently nudge me awake while whispering sweetly to me, and then promptly hand me an egg McMuffin.

2. Time goes by faster in the mornings.

I can’t possibly be the only one who notices this phenomenon. Throughout the work-day, time crawls by at an agonizingly slow pace. In the morning, however, it somehow takes me 13 minutes to tie my shoe-laces. I really don’t get it. I guess I’m just dragging ass because I’m in full-blown “FUUUUUUUUU” mode, but five minutes seems to go by in a nano-second and then I’m too late to stop and get my parfait. It also doesn’t matter what time I wake up. I can get up as early as I want, but you’re not getting me out of the house before–at best–7:36.

3. Morning. Traffic.

Perhaps the only time I’m even more unpleasant than in the morning is during a severe case of road rage. It just so happens that sometimes both of these things coincide. You see, I find that most people are below average drivers. This thought causes me to believe that anyone who is driving recklessly is putting everyone in danger. So, when the old man in front of me with the Buick and handicapped sticker suddenly slams on breaks because, “OMFG THERES A CURVE–HOLY SHIT–WE’RE NOT GONNA MAKE IT EVEN THOUGH I’M BARELY DOING 27 AS IT IS!” I tend to get a little annoyed. Rich ladies also tend to piss me off when they get up in my ass with their BMW/Lexus/Mercedes. I am a female, but I also understand that many of them are not…uh…confident drivers–especially when it comes to high-powered luxury vehicles. All I can think about when people behave like this in traffic is that they’re not respecting my property that I pay a lot of money for. And then I think about ways I can re-invest that money to install weapons behind the headlights.

4. Basically every time I have to wake up early for something, it sucks.

Nothing fun happens before 9 in the morning. That’s my theory, anyway. Even the sun is like, “Eeehh…I’m just now getting up. It’s too early to be bright and hot as shit.” And yet, we think that school and work should start before then. The worst doctors and dentists appointments are always early as hell, and it really just sets the tone for the rest of the day when you wake up doing stuff you don’t like.  When my alarm goes off, I don’t get to laze around and have a lovely breakfast. I have to hop up and start getting ready to go sit at the office. Before then, I spent fifteen years waking up and rushing around to get to school and be around bitchy teachers and not learn things. (I would like to add that I factored my two years at MCC in with my fifteen years of schoolin’–not that it took me fifteen years to graduate.) So, no, I don’t usually HAVE a reason to be Mrs. CheerPants in the morning.

Honestly, I’m not really that bad in the morning. I just don’t want to talk much, and I need caffeine. After about thirty minutes of being awake, I’m just fine. In fact, the last person that made me blow my shit in the morning was some ghetto bitch in the MCC parking lot who was getting in my face. But that’s a post for another time.

Maybe I’ll grow out of this someday, but until then I’m just going to embrace it and try to get at least a good 7 hours of sleep a night. Yeah…right… /-:

I see London, I see France, I see Sweden Kicking Ass

•June 10, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I’m a patriot. I love America and what she stands for. I love the constitution. I think John Adams, Ben Franklin, and George Washington are BAMFs. That being said, I’m horrified at what our country is becoming. Every second, the gap between the rich and poor widens. If you have money, you can get out of anything. If you’re poor, you cannot stand up for yourself. If you’re in the middle class, your back probably hurts from having to bend over and take it all the time. Our education system is falling apart, and the costs for higher education are completely ridiculous. My mom can’t afford to fix her torn rotator cuff or go to the doctor about her broken thumb because she is self-employed and can’t afford health insurance. Our Democracy is in a dead-lock because the only people who have the power to get elected are the people who are already born into money and know how to use it to get what they want. I CAN’T EVEN BUY A GODDAMN HAPPY MEAL IN SAN FRANCISCO!! (Yeah, I’m still angry about that.) I hate to sound like a broken record echoing everybody else, but it all boils down to good ol’ American greed. Your CEO’s and politicians are not concerned about what’s going to happen to you or the future of our country. As long as the money keeps coming in, nothing is ever going to change for us. Meanwhile, we’re all still worried about staying ahead and culturally relevant by buying the latest devices and junk we think we have to have. (I’m completely guilty of this, too.)

 

So, what I’m getting at is that I do love living in America, but I’m not sure if I approve of capitalism. I’ve always said, it’s excellent on paper, but shaky in practice. It seems like a wonderful thing to be able to get in what you put out, right? If I just work hard enough, I can make it to the top of the ladder. But it’s too late, guys. It’s not so much about hard work anymore as much as it is having good connections or getting lucky. Meanwhile, all the money that we do seem to scrape up is immediately thrown back into the system. Utilities, gas, education, healthcare, mortgages, and childcare—just to name a few—are basically essentials to our lifestyle, but yet we still have to pay a “hefty fuckin’ fee” to utilize them. That brings me to socialism. In current American culture, socialism almost seems like a dirty word, doesn’t it? Conservatives scream that the Obama Administration is trying to force their socialist agenda on the masses. Liberals adamantly deny this claim, making it seem as if no one wants to be associated with such a term. However…is it really THAT bad? I mean, ok, I understand that “spreading the wealth” seems like a pretty shit deal. If I go out there and make a bazillion dollars, why should I have to send half of it to the government and let them decide how to use it? Now, in the US, this is a ludicrous idea. After all, the government can’t seem to figure out what to do with the measly tax dollars they already get from us. But…what if we had a government that really DID have our best interest at heart? What if they used that money to provide for us rather than blow it on a bridge to nowhere or a failing welfare system?

And that brings me to Sweden. Oooohh, the Swedes. They’re a different bunch, those folks. Honestly, I really didn’t know that much about their way of life until I happened to stumble upon (literally on Stumbleupon.com) an infographic about their system. Rather than going into a lot of detail on the subject, I’ll list a few of the main points of their economic and social structure. It’s pretty awesome–I’m not gonna lie.

As a precursor, I would like to point out that Sweden is not TECHNICALLY governed by the socialist model, but that of the Scandinavian Model, but the two are very closely aligned. The main difference, that I gathered in my research, being that many companies are privately owned.  Anyway, on to the info!!

  • So the average Swede pays about 48% of their income in taxes. Outrageous, you say? No, says I! You see, the money they pay into the government comes back to them in the form of heavily subsidized public resources.
  • Actually, Sweden spends more of its GDP (gross domestic product) on public services than any other country.
  • Everyone is guaranteed access to medical care, most of which is either free or very inexpensive.
  • Working in Sweden comes with many benefits such as five weeks of paid vacation, more than a year of parental leave, the employer pays pension contributions, and unemployment insurance is available. Also, all residents are entitled to pension from the age of 65.
  • Apparently, the Swedish workplace is also very casual and it’s not uncommon for people to wear jeans and become personal with your co-workers and boss.
  • Childcare is either free or very cheap.
  • It’s free for children to go to school, and even pre-schools and higher education are somewhat funded by the government if not altogether.

I could go on, but these benefits seems amazing to me to by themselves. Can you imagine free school? Or not having to shell out thousands of dollars for college? Five weeks paid vacation?! Granted, you have the burden of paying a large amount of taxes, but you get all these services in return and don’t have to worry about forking over huge amounts of money all at once. Not to mention, the greater population of Sweden seem more than happy to do this, and they frequently are included in the top ten of countries with the highest quality of life. I’m not saying that there aren’t downsides to this, but it is amazing to me how much these people trust their government and how much it takes care of them.

The only problem I see with this is a lack of control over your personal life. I have come across some articles stating the Swedish government tends to overstep its bounds and be somewhat of a “nanny.” However, we are already headed that way in America, I fear. (Did I mention you can’t buy a Happy Meal in San Francisco??) But even then we don’t have the perks that the Swedes experience. So, if we are headed in a socialist direction, then ya know what? I’m not afraid. I’m ready to embrace it.

Plus, Sweden has really strange pop music and that’s kinda awesome.

 

Sources::

http://www.sweden.se/eng/Home/Work/The-Swedish-system/Residence-based-benefits/

http://www.swedishhealthcare.se/swedenshealthcaresystem.html

 

 
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