Saturday, November 27, 2010

PostSecret Therapy.

If you don't know about PostSecret you need to learn. 

Some are funny. 
Some are sad. 
Some are just f**ked up. 
Some just leave you speechless. 

And then there are the few you either connect with - or once did in a "past' life.....

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Where you come from.

The holidays are on top of us.

Thanksgiving is only five days away, the Christmas sales have already begun and before we know it - in a blink of an eye - 2010 will be over and the New Year will start.

During this time of year, between the hussle and bussle of shopping and cookie, I try to pause and remember the family and friends who I won't be sharing it with.

Whether my grandparents who have crossed over.
Or my friends who are just scattered from one side of the world to the next.

I try to keep them in mind and forever close to my heart.

This blog may be a way for me to figure out who I am now - as a 20-something quickly reaching her 30s.

But who I am now is a reflection of where I came from. My family and our history. The love we share.

So this blog - I'm going to share a tiny piece of them with you.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

30 Days of Thankfulness

"Thanksgiving" is a twisted and misrepresented holiday but the intentions are good.

If we ignore the exploitation and disruption the Pilgrims and other European settlers caused to this country and its native people....if we look past the habits of Americans to use this one day as an excuse to gorge and over-indulge in food for the next five weeks...if we pretend that Thanksgiving isn't equivalent to waking up early the next day just to stand in line for a $3 television or kitchen knife set for a quarter....

If we just look at the heart and soul behind the holiday it really isn't so bad.

Being with friends and family.
Celebrating the things in life we've been blessed with.

These things shouldn't happen one day a year.

*     *     *

I'm not sure if this is a new phenomenon that is happening this year or if this is just the first year it's been in my direct line of sight. But on November 1st a FB friend of mine started posting her 30 Days of Thankfulness and I loved the idea so I'd been updating my FB account with my 30 Days of Thankfulness. Then today another friend mentioned how much she loved the idea too and asked if I was going to put them on my blog...why hadn't I thought of that?!

So for the month of November I'm participating in 30 Days of Thankfulness (and will update this blog regularly)

Day 1: Thankful that I have a large wonderful family that even when life gets rough, emotions get high or feelings get hurt - is always there for one another.  

Day 2: I'm thankful for having such amazing friends. Friends that are often times more like family. It doesn't matter how far apart we are or how long it's been since we've talked. They're always there for me when I need them.  

Day 3: I'm thankful to have a good job. One that allows me to have a roof over my head, food in my stomach and the security to take a mental health day when needed. 

Day 4: I'm thankful for a job that let's me geek out on Google Docs, Survey Monkey and facebook.

Day 5: Thankful I work around a bunch of Doctors so when a student cuts off part of her pinky we have folks who'll sew her right up!

Day 6: I am thankful that Mom pays attention to details so she noticed that Walmart put her tires on wrong and we were able to have it fixed before we left.

Day 7: I am thankful for that extra hour of sleep that came with the end of Daylight Savings - even if my cats don't understand the time change and still woke me up at 6:30AM to feed them.

Day 8: Again thankful for the end of Daylight Savings - if only for the reason that now I don't stand in a pawnshop parking lot in the DARK waiting for the bus.

Day 9: Today I'm thankful for modern medicine and technology to be there for friends/family/loved ones.

Day 10: Today I'm thankful for the Marine Corps. Happy 235th Birthday!!

Day 11: Today I extend my thanks to the men and women (past, present and future) who serve in our Military. I am proud to have had so many of you in my family - Jeff, David, Jack, Brian, Joe, Tim, Ron.  

Day 12: I'm thankful for a supportive staff and supervisor. Work has it's ups and downs but in the end having support makes it less bumpy.  

Day 13: I'm thankful for the chance to go have a girls day with my mom and sister today. Breakfast and Holiday shopping here we come! :)  

Day 14: Today I'm thankful for graham crackers, butter, milk, cinnamon, sugar and sweet potatoes...all of which I am going to buy today for my Southern Sweet Potato Pie.  

Day 15: Today I am UNBELIEVABLY thankful that my uber-stressful meeting that I thought was this morning isn't until Friday! Hot Damn!  

Day 16: Today I give thanks for having a supportive and positive relationship with my mother. I know I am very lucky. Love you Mom!

Day 17: I'm thankful for this NY Times slide-show. Talk about some yummy pies. I have a few ideas for new Thanksgiving pies.

Day 18: Today I'm thankful for a family that indulges me and will go see Harry Potter with me. :) 

Day 19: With a major meeting happening in 17 minutes it was a nice little mood-booster to be told I looked "just adorable" today. :)  

Day 20: Thankful for my down blanket that kept me in bed until 10am. 

Day 21: Thankful that Multnomah County Library hosted Tears of Joy Theatre today at the Holgate branch. Cute puppet rendition of "Raven Steals the Sun" 

Day 22: Today I give thanks for the warm roof over my head and warm clothes on my back. Remember as we complain about the cold/rain/snow that there are people in our very towns who don't have the luxuries we do to come in out of that cold. 

Day 23: I wish I could say I was thankful for my "No-Slip" pads on the bottom of my boots, but since they failed me and I fell anyway I'll give thanks for my striped black & white Jack Skellington socks which are keeping my toes warm.

Day 24: Today I'm thankful for my staff. Different personalities, different walks of life, and yet we spend our mornings together, drinking hot chocolate, complaining about our children/partners and are able to do it jokingly and not make anyone uncomfortable.

Day 25: Today I'm thankful for my cousin Katrynna being such an amazing person and being in our lives. Happy Birthday sweetheart!

Day 26: Today I'm thankful I'm not going out to any Black Friday sales but am going to get to see Chelsea and Scott this afternoon.


Day 27: I'm thankful for FINALLY getting to go see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows this morning!!! 

Day 28: Thankful for the real-live winter gauge-o-meter squirrels. Their fatness must be a sign of a cold harsh winter. Thanks for the heads up guys!

Day 29: I'm thankful to have had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with my family.

Day 30 of 30 Days of Thankfulness. So much pressure. What to end this on? I want to make it good, and not corny like "I'm thankful I don't have to think of what I'm thankful anymore"....okay. Let me think about this.......................................

Day 30: Today I give thanks for all of you - family and friends (new and old). You are there to support me in life's ups and downs. Please know I draw strength from your love.



Monday, November 15, 2010

Danger: Expectations

So I thought I'd go a bit more light-hearted this time around.

A few months ago I was tagged in an online game of sorts where you read through these "25 ways to tell you've grown up", mark or count how many apply to you and then pass it along. Normally I just delete and never think of these modern chain-letters but once and a while I go ahead and play along. 

This was one. 

1. Your houseplants are alive (and you can't smoke any of them). True.

2. Having sex in a twin bed is out of the question. Sex in a twin is never out of the question it's just the curling up side-by-side that doesn't work anymore.

3. You keep more food than beer in your fridge. True. And I'm not in the least sorry about it.

4. 6:00AM is when you get up, NOT go to bed. I can't remember the last time I went to bed at 6:00AM...heck I can't remember the last time I went to bed after midnight. 

5. You hear your favorite song in an elevator. I haven't had this happen yet. However, I have been experiencing friends' band being played everywhere from in a movie theater JC Penny commercial, Ross store and on the radio. Oh Hockey, I'm so happy for you guys!

6. You watch the weather channel. Um. NO. Aside from the fact I don't have cable and can't watch the weather channel anyway but even if I could I wouldn't.

7. Your friends marry and divorce not "hook up" and "break up" There's still the occasional "hook up" and "break up" but there's a large chunk that are getting married and (unfortunately) divorced

8. You go from 130 days of vacation to 14. Now I don't think this one is fair. Yes it's true I have gone from having summers off to counting and treasuring every single last vacation day I'm given...but what about teachers? They still get summers off - does that mean they aren't "grown up"...unfair point.

9. Jeans and a sweater no longer qualify as "dressed up" I'm torn on this one. Here in Portland jeans and a sweater are often times considered "dressed up" clothes but for me they're casual. It depends on the environment, situation and who you're with. But I guess over all I'd have to say this one is true.

10. You're the one calling the police because those #%!$ kids next door won't turn down the stereo. Not true. I'm more concerned about the little buggers stealing things off my back porch! hahaha

11. Older relatives feel comfortable telling sex jokes around you. Regrettably true...but then my family has always been very open about sex and this has been true for a while now.

12. You don't know what time Taco Bell closes anymore. One of my best friends pointed out that we NEVER knew what time Taco Bell closed so really this is moot.

13. Your car insurance goes down and your car payments go up. N/A - I use public transit.

14. You feed your dog Science Diet instead of McDonald's leftovers. I never fed my animals people food. But yes, I do now feed them more expensive allergy friendly food.

15. Sleeping on the couch hurts your back. Yes. But I still do it.

16. You take naps. I'm totally not ashamed of this one! Heck yea I nap!

17. Dinner and a movie is the whole date not just the start of it. Sometimes. But it doesn't have to be. Depends on what time the movie and dinner is at. A matinee showing - better just be the beginning of the date. A midnight showing - better believe you're taking me home afterwords....remember 6AM wake up.

18. Eating a basket of chicken wings at 3AM would severely upset, not settle, your stomach. Who eats a basket of chicken wings to settle their stomach? Oh my gosh my stomach is hurting just thinking about it.

19. You go to the drug store of ibuprofen and antacid, not condoms and pregnancy tests. Okay while I haven't needed to buy condoms and/or pregnancy tests in a while doesn't mean that it won't or can't still happen. So I'm giving this a "not true"

20. A $4.00 bottle of wine is no longer "good shit" Maybe I'm a snob but I've never thought of 2 buck chuck as 'good'. Yes we drank jugs of wine in college but that was because we were poor college students not because we thought of it as good. 
21. You actually eat breakfast food at breakfast time. Not true - completely. Actually I tend to eat breakfast more at night for dinner than I do actually at breakfast time. But living in such a foodie town (and one that loves their breakfast/brunch restaurants) I've been eating breakfast at breakfast time more than normal. As I talk about in my other blog serving breakfast (eggs, toast, bacon) can make or break a place for me.

22. "I just can't drink the way I used to" replaces "I'm never going to drink that much again." True. But not regrettable. My poor body. When I think of the way it used to be abused. I'm surprised we're still on speaking terms.

23. 90% of the time you spend in front of the computer is used for REAL work. 90% seems high but definitely the majority of the time.

24. You drink at home to save money before going to a bar. Nope. But I do make sure to find super cheap happy hours! :)

25. When you find out your friend is pregnant you congratulate them not ask "What the hell happened?" Depends on the person.

So of the 25 "signs" I had 11 that I would say are "true"...7 I would say are "not true" and 6 that were somewhere in between. So I guess I'm not fully "grown up" just yet but am on my way...?

In today's world people are just so obsessed with life markers and goals one is to accomplish before a certain date, a certain time, a certain age. 

Why should I compare my life "successes" based off of other people's lives? Other people's goals and expectations. Maybe I want to finish a bucket of chicken wings with a bottle of $4 wine after I remember that Taco Bell is closed and then go to bed at 6AM on the's my choice and my life.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Throwing the Baby Out with the Bathwater

I'm sure everyone at some point in their lives has been "the baby" - meaning the youngest....

...the youngest of their generation...
...the youngest in their circle of friends...
...the youngest kid at the family table...
 ...and as often in my case - the youngest in my office (job/career/field/etc). 

We all have to start somewhere though right? We all have to be young and "junior level" for a while. Slowly, the age gap closes. People retire and the next group of Junior-Leaguers graduate and join the work field.

These are things I recognize... 

However, somehow with each new position, with each new job and school....I forever remain the youngest.

I admit this is partially my own doing. The moving around....the changing jobs.

Although this doesn't explain/excuse the responses/attitudes I have faced. I'll give you two examples of at-work situations where my age played a factor.

*     *     *

The first happened when I was working my first "real job" after college. My staff was sitting around discussing the challenges we were going to face with the incoming class of millennial students and their helicopter parents. The way conversations often do, the topic changed from our Generation Y students to the favorite music, TV shows and movies of my coworkers youth. It's been years and I can't remember what the pop-culture reference was, but when I was honest about my lack-of-reference the next (perhaps obvious question to everyone but myself) was: 

Coworker: "How old are you?"
Myself: "22"
Dean of Students: "Aw. You're such a baby."

Now, I understand this was not meant as an insult or to say I was somehow inferior...but when adjusting to a new environment, a new staff, a new life outside of college...the last thing you want to be told is "You're such a baby." At this point in my career I had already been involved with alcohol poisonings, attempted suicide, a psychological break down and a sexual assault of my students.

*     *     *
A more recent occurrence happened in my current job. Again I had only been in the position a few weeks, and was attending one of those "because it's good politics" type office parties (someone I had never met was getting married and his department was throwing a "congrats" party). Everyone was sitting around eating and having a good time. Many folks teasing the groom-to-be and giving advice on marriage. A woman, whose name I didn't even know or what department she worked in, turned to me and asked:

Woman "Are you married?
I simply responded "Nope." with a smile.
She then followed up with "How old are you?"
Me: "27"
Woman: "Uh! So young!"

Now normally, if I were going through one of my oh-my-gosh-I-feel-old moments I may have found this flattering. However, as a first impression and in front of a large group of new peers this was far from a compliment.

*     *     *

My mother always says "It's not the age - it's the mileage" and I have to agree. At 27 years old I feel far from a baby. Yes, there are many "life experiences" I haven't experienced but don't assume I haven't just because of my age.

So I didn't know a pop-culture reference from the early 80s! I'm lucky I know pop-culture references from the here-and-now!

And I know plenty of people who are married (and/or divorced) by 27 years old.

So next time you make an assumption based on someone's age just remember...
It's only a number.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

One Night Stands and $3 Pitchers

A friend, and fellow blogger, recently asked for friends to email their blogs to him so he could develop and build his own blog following. That got me to start just scanning through other blogs/websites. I found some of beautiful photography, creating and changing the art world, and even discovering that a friend's blog (that I have obviously neglected for some time) has changed url addresses. 

There were also some unfortunate missteps....

Including a well disguised one called "25 things to do before you turn 25". 

Now at first when I saw the title I thought, "well I'm over 25 so let's see how well I did"

I started to read... 

"Your college experience flies by so fast that you’re often stuck standing in line for graduation wondering where the past four years went...." 

Very true; and now five-six years after I graduated college I still wonder where the years flew away to...then sentence two and three came along.... 

"You vaguely remember meeting your best friend when she held your hair back after your first frat party and you kinda remember that all-nighter you pulled to get 3 term papers done in one night. But the rest is a blur of theme parties, walks of shame, and begging your older sister for her fake ID."

Now there's nothing wrong if you met your best friend over a toilet, asked your sister/brother for their fake ID and who of us didn't have a night or two of cramming as many papers and studying in as we could. 

But I worried. 

Was this website going to do nothing but encourage the image that the purpose of "going to college" is to be as obnoxious, self-indulgent and vapid as you can before "growing up" and becoming a real adult...

"Before you know it, you’re out in the real world, working a real job alongside real people, wondering what happened to no-class Friday and $3 pitchers. And trust me, it ain’t fun.... I’ve put together the ultimate list of everything we, as fun-loving and fearless women, need to accomplish before we turn 25."

I consider myself a fairly "fun-loving and fearless" woman, and while there were a few on this list (which by the way was written by a STAFF of people) that I thought made sense (#5 Confront a fear, #16 Go 24 hours media free...) they weren't all necessarily as enlightened or something I feel 20-Something women should inspire to do.

#1 "Have a really good one night stand"...not just in general but "with a gorgeous guy". They proceed to inform you don't need to worry about any kind of connection other than physical, that you can just take the morning after pill, you won't ever need to contact him again, etc. OMG!! In a world still battling HIV/AIDS (not to mention other STDs and STIs) how can a website promote anonymous, unsafe sex?

#7 "Splurge on an awesome pair of jeans" How is this something to make sure you accomplish before turning 25 years old? I'm sorry you will never see me buying a $100plus pair of jeans. I don't care if they are magical and fit all different sized bffs.

#13 "Try an exotic food you can't pronounce" Now some folks may say I'm just starting to nit-pick now. After all the website is encouraging people to try new food/things right? Well how about learning how to pronounce the food? Or while you're out living in another country (#3) you..oh I don't know...learn the language so you can pronounce that "exotic" food. 

#17 "Skinny dip"...that's it, no explanation or reason, just "skinny dip".... Now my objection to the term SKINNY dip aside (I prefer nude swimming) couldn't they have said 'Go skinny dipping because it will help feel more comfortable with your body. Allow yourself to be happy with who you are.' No. Because after all that would be helpful.

Some just didn't make sense as to why they should be done BEFORE turning 25.... "Take your parents out to a nice dinner: because they deserve it", "Donate blood", "Learn to drive a manual", "Road trip with your friends", "See a Broadway Show", "Get a job working with food or clothes", "Be bold and have sex with the lights on"...

I don't object to all of these things. 

What I object to is applauding a superficial life of irresponsibility. 

With a media-world full of news articles like "What Is It About 20-Somethings?" spouting off that we don't want to accept responsibility and are on a perpetual Peter-Pan syndrome ride of living in Mom's basement and not wanting to grow up; and with tv shows like Jersey Shore, Real Housewives and Keeping Up with the Kardashians encouraging and promoting materialistic non-consequential lives....we 20-something need to realize that real-life is not a reality show and these 25 things to do in life aren't all there is out there. 

How about adding life goals like learning a language not because you have to but because you love the way the words sound...create weekly/monthly dinner parties to share in life's joys with friends/family...start a new hobby...find a job that you look forward to going to every day...rescue a dog/cat from a shelter...fall in love...fall in love again...

These are the things I want to accomplish in my life.