I think I need to take a chill pill today, because I'm all riled up again.
One of my co-workers just got back from taking a customer home, because his car will not be finished by the time we close today. As my co-worker walked in the door, he says to me,
"That guy was just as gay as can be."
"I just can't stand that. I can't stand those people."
He shivered in disgust, as if he was trying to make sure none of the gayness got on him. Since I don't want to get fired, I let it go with a "Well, it doesn't bother me any. Not our place to judge, right?"
I got a dirty look, and then he left. I guess he expected me to laugh, and then we'd make jokes at the customer's expense.
The other day, a different co-worker was telling me that he didn't understand why his 3-year-old daughter liked the show Little Bill, because it was the one with the "little black boy." He thought it was weird that she enjoyed it, even though the characters were black.
This is 2009, right? Are people seriously still that ignorant?
At my work, we are provided with a free lunch on Saturdays and Sundays. While I might not always like the food that is brought in for us, I don't complain. It's free food, after all.
However, some of my co-workers are not as gracious. They are always going on about something or another. For example, today we are having pizza. Pizza! Who doesn't like pizza? But apparently, we have pizza too often and some of them are tired of it, and are complaining. I think that is so ungrateful. If you don't like your free lunch, don't eat it and shut your mouth.
People who say that Halloween is a holiday for children don't know what they're missing! There is no reason that once you reach the age where trick-or-treating is no longer acceptable (13 according to my mother) that you can't have fun.
Halloween is one of my favorite holidays of the year. Towards the end of September every year, I start to plan... my costume, Halloween party, and pre-holiday events. For the past three years, going to Howl-O-Scream has become one of our traditions. Held at Busch Gardens, in Tampa, it has something for everybody. There are haunted houses, wild roller coasters in the dark, "scare zones" and beer (if you're willing to pay nearly $8 for a plastic cup, and almost $13 for a "yard of beer").
This year we went with nearly all strangers. Out of the 8 people in our group, I had only known two for more than a month. Regardless, we had an excellent time, and a couple of new friends. I laughed my way through the haunted houses and screamed on roller coasters. I can't imagine missing something so fun just because I've decided that I'm a "grown up."
Yesterday a co-worker and I were looking at his son and future daughter-in-law's wedding website. He enjoyed pointing out different members of the family in the photo album section, and we looked together at the resort where they are to be wed. While looking at photos of the day they got engaged, I came across a picture of the bride-to-be's ring. It was gorgeous, with a huge diamond. My co-worker told me that his son had informed him, in all seriousness, that the ring had cost more than his father's house. We both thought that was a little over the top. With shows like Platinum Weddings, and Bridezillas, I think that people get the idea that weddings have to be extravagant, and expensive, to be good.
Last night, a friend of mine showed me her engagement ring. She's been engaged for a while, but just got the ring this last weekend. It is small, has a pretty little pearl on it, and cost less than $4. She knows that it isn't the ring that matters, but the sentiment behind it.
When Marc and I first got engaged, we originally talked about having a wedding of around 100 people, and having a budget of "around $10,000." I laugh now, because I have no idea where that money would have come from. My ring is nowhere near the cost of a house, or a small car, but I love it. It is exactly the style that I want, and the size is perfect. I wouldn't want it to be different, just so I can say that it cost more money or had a bigger karat count.
Our budget for the wedding is now somewhere around $2750, but we're hoping to do it for much less than that. My parents have very graciously decided to let us have the wedding at their house. We're thinking of inviting around 30 of only our closest friends and family. A friend of ours had agreed to actually marry us. I may buy my dress at a department store.
We don't want to go into debt to get married. We don't believe that is a good way to start our lives together. We are going to do our best to save money while we're engaged, and use nothing more than we have to get married. We know that it is the act of getting married, of committing ourselves together, that matters. We want to share our special day with our friends and family. We want it to be about love.
In one of my journalism classes the other day, we had a guest speaker. He talked about a story called "The Girl In The Window," published in July of 2008 by the St. Petersburg Times. He told us that it was one of the most read articles on their website for that year, even though people generally don't read long, drawn out articles on news websites.
He peaked my interest, and I decided to look up the article. It was accompanied by a Special Report by TampaBay.com.
I read the article at work, on the verge of tears the entire time. What I found was a story of bravery, sacrifice, compassion and love. The little girl, Dani, has been through hardships in her short life that I can not even imagine. And yet, she manages to perserve, accomplishing things many never thought possible.
The article is a little long, but if you have the time, I definitely recommend it. It is a nice dose of perspective for those of us who complain about the little things that go wrong in our lives.
Whenever I tell anybody that my sister I used to fight all the time, they never believe me. "But you two seem so close!" is always the response. I think that a lot of the time, siblings who are close enough in age (Lyndsey and I are four years apart) are destined to fight when they're younger. My sister and I fought up until the time I left for college, a two days drive away from where my family lived. After that, there didn't really seem to be any reason to fight anymore. And I'm glad.
My younger sister, Lyndsey, and I
It wasn't always bad, though. I was just telling my fiance last night about when Lyndsey and I shared a bedroom in Key West. We had matching pink, flowered comforters, and our twin beds were in an "L" shape, with the foot of her bed connecting to the head of my bed. This was before Lyndsey had her tonsils and adnoids removed, and she snored extremely loudly. I remember making a stockpile of beanie babies on the foot of her bed every night so that I could chuck them at her when she got going really bad. It was the most convenient way to shut her up, since I didn't have to get out of bed.
Lyndsey, Jared and I in Hawaii
And when we were even younger, and we lived in Hawaii, some of our favorite games were "photo studio" and "school." I was the teacher or the photographer, and Lyndsey (and sometimes our brother, Jared, who was just a baby at the time) would be my eager students or subjects.
Lyndsey and I at a pumpkin patch in California
As we started to get older, we had the same taste in music and books. We found more things to talk about and do together. When either one of us would have sleepovers with friends, we would all hang out together. I took her to her first concert (where she almost died, just ask her). This was also the time when there was the most fighting. Hormones, I think. Too must estrogen for one basement.
My sister and I right before she left for Italy
My sister is in Italy now, working as an au pair. I'm going to college in Florida, working on my degree in Journalism. Although we get to talk all the time, it's not the same as being able to see her whenever I'd like, or even be able to pick up the phone and call her. I think the hardest time will be at Christmas, the first time any of us kids will ever be missing. She's my best friend now, and she'll be my maid of honor. I miss our silly childhood games, trying to supress giggles so Mom wouldn't come down and scream at us for still being up, dancing along with our favorite music videos. I don't regret the fighting. It makes the relationship we have now that much more special.
When Marc and I set our wedding date for November 6, 2010, there were a lot of factors that helped us determine which day would be best.
Fall is my favorite season. I love the colors, the weather, and the general feeling of togetherness that people feel around this time of the year.
Marc proposed on November 6, 2008, so that date was significant to us as a couple.
My sister would be out of the country, living in Italy from the summer 0f 2009 to summer 2010. We certaintly couldnt have the wedding without my maid of honor, so it would have to be after that.
November 6, 2010 seemed like the perfect date.
What I didn't consider was my diet. I usually try and eat pretty healthy, and stay away from sweets, especially now that I know I'm going to start shopping for wedding dresses early next year. However, it just seems to get so much harder during this time of the year.
When picking the date, I must have forgotten about Halloween candy, and Halloween party food, and how tempting pumpkin loaf smells while baking in my oven. I forgot about pumpkin pie and edible haunted houses and hearty cold weather favorites like chili and potato soup. I forgot about peppermint mochas and pumpkin spice lattes and hot chai.
How in the world am I going to maintain the figure I'm going to work on for the next year when the month prior to my wedding is full of delicious, fattening goodies?
I guess I'll just have to start building up some will power.
It's not really a big deal... except it kind of is to me.
I got my very first press pass today. It even has my name on it. Granted, it is just a little laminated piece of paper. It doesn't have my picture on it, and it clearly states that I'm just a student. It expires at the end of the semester.
But, it makes me feel good. I feel powerful, important, like people are more apt to listen to me and take me seriously. I feel like when I go to do interviews for my classes, I will go with more confidence. I feel more like a real journalist.
It's funny how little things in life can mean so much to people. Whether it's a job title, a trophy, or a little laminated press pass, sometimes knowing that what you're actually getting somewhere is all you need to keep going.
My freshman year of college, I went to the University of South Florida's Tampa campus. I didn't have a car, and had to wait around on campus for rides a lot of the time. I would spend most of my free time in the library, studying or reading. There was a Starbucks on the first floor of the library, tempting me every day. In 2005, I wrote this poem:
Ode To Starbucks
Oh, how I'd love to have Starbucks Sadly, I can't; I have no bucks.
How wonderful the coffee looks. Too bad I spent all my money on books.
In the library looms that coffee smell. It makes studying a living hell.
It would be great to have just one drink. But I can't afford it, I sadly think.
This is the reason I came to college, Not for good coffee, but to gain knowledge.
Perhaps if I save every nickle, dime and dollar, Once a week, I'll give Starbucks a holler.
Today I feel the best I have in months. I walked outside and breathed in the crisp air on my way to work this morning. I'm in an excellent mood. There is no doubt in my mind that there is a connection between my exhiliration and the cooler temperatures. Too bad the 10 day forecast shows that we'll be back up near 90 later this week. I'll just have to wait patiently for the next cold front to come through. Until then...
Five Reasons Cold Weather Is Better Than Hot Weather:
5. Sleep is better Something about cooler air in the house makes me sleep so much better. When I get too hot, I toss and turn, shoving the covers off me. When the weather drops below seventy, we open up the windows and patio door and let the temperature in the house drop. Once it gets below 70, I am in heaven. I wake up feeling refreshed and ready to start my day. Not to mention the fact that cuddling is so much better when you're chilly.
4. Lower electric bills We keep our thermostat set at 73 at the highest. When temperatures in Florida get to over 95 degrees in the summertime, our air conditioner runs all the time. Once the weather gets cooler, we turn off the a/c and open the windows. Much cheaper. Cheaper = good.
3. It's easier to get warm than it is to cool off Let's face it. When you're hot, you can only take off so many articles of clothing before you get arrested. When you're cold, however, you can just keep piling it on until you're nice and toasty. Not to mention, I HATE TO SWEAT. Cold weather = no sweating. 'Nuff said.
2. Pumpkin Spice lattes I love Pumpkin Spice lattes from Starbucks. They are so delicious. Most of the time, though, I have to settle for a Pumpkin Spice Frapuccino. I just can't handle a hot drink when it's near 90 degrees outside. It makes me sweat. I had my first Pumpkin Spice latte of the season this morning. It was amazing. I wrapped my fingers around the cup and warmed them up.
1. Cute clothes I LOVE cold weather clothes. Long sleeved t-shirts and sweaters and scarves and fuzzy hats. Tall boots and hoodies and mittens and skirts with tights. I can't wait to pull out my cozy winter clothes. They make me feel so cute.
Who gets to determine whether or not your life has been successful? Is there some cosmic grading sheet that you are compared to?
Education? Check. Marriage? Check. Great job? Check. Family? Check.
But what if you decide to come up with your own checklist? One that adds a million other accomplishments that most other people even imagine doing. One that is missing some of the more conventional quantifiers.
Maybe you'll spend your whole life traveling the world. You'll never get a 'real' job, and you'll never have a lot of money. You meet thousands of interesting, fantastic people and live your whole life searching for adventure. You are ridiculously happy. Isn't that successful?
Or maybe you'll decide to that you want to be an artist. You drop out of school, and devote your life to your art. You never get anything published. You never become famous. You make just enough money to get by and support your family. Your life is full of passion. Isn't that successful?
Perhaps, when you're still young, you'll get a taste of the world, and decide that you need to see the whole thing. During your travels, you find the perfect partner for you, and you fall in love. You decide, independently and together, that you'll never want children. You decide to make sure this never happens. You spend your life loving and learning, even without children of your own. Isn't that successful?
Recently I made a new friend. Her name is Kerry. She's 24, British, and just as adorable as can be. In the few short weeks I have know her, I feel like I've learned a lot about Kerry. She and Joe (who is pretty fantastic, too) are going to get married at the end of this year. She has traveled to many places, is a couch surfer, and she's loves my pumpkin loaf.
She has also decided that she never wants to have children. Ever. So, before her wedding, she's going to make sure that it never happens. She's going to be sterilized.
Kerry wrote about the trials and tribulations of deciding to have an operation to make her infertile for the UK's Daily Mail's online edition.
The article has caused a lot of people to speak out about Kerry's decision. As of right now, it has over 600 comments. Many people are supportive of her decision, calling her a strong woman who is brave for her choice. Others claim that she is selfish, or worry that she'll change her mind after it's too late.
Kerry and Joe.
Although I can't imagine not wanting children someday, I applaud Kerry for being so open, honest and for making what must have been a very difficult decision. I think that it is responsible of her to make sure that she never has to worry about whether to have an abortion, or to give up a baby for adoption, should conventional birth control fail.
Do I feel like Kerry and Joe's lives will be less full, less meaningful, because they aren't going to have children? No. I think that they will write their own definition for the word success, and will fulfill their goals for a happy life together, full of adventure and love.
Dictionary.com defines 'wanderlust' as "a strong, innate desire to rove or travel about." Aside from the literal meaning, I feel as though my brain has a serious case of wanderlust.
I used to write just for the joy of it. Since I have started taking my journalism courses, I feel as though I'm always writing for somebody else. While I am enjoying learning about the craft that I have chosen, I miss writing for fun. I miss writing because I knew what I said would spike somebody's interest or make them laugh. I want to write for fun, and bring the passion back.
So, I plan on using this blog to rant and complain, to share things that I have learned, to introduce others to something new, to share things that have made me laugh. We'll see how it goes.
I'm the product of a military family. I want to see the world and meet its inhabitants. I get antsy. I hate to stay in one place for too long. I went to four different high schools, in three different states. I love to meet people from places I haven't been, and to learn about their cultures. I want to write, and to get paid for it. I'm going to school, and appreciate the experience, but I can't wait to be through with it. I want to be heard.