Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Great Debate


As I approach the childbearing age – well, to put it truthfully, as I approach the age in which I am willing to bear children – I’ve started thinking more about how kids are raised, and how I want to approach parenting my own (future) children. Most recently, I’ve been thinking about cell phones.

This is apparently a hot topic. I Googled “kids and cell phones debate” and was returned with 5.5 million hits. Really? It’s that controversial. But I suppose it’s enough of a hot topic that I’m thinking about it, too, and I don’t even have a kid to protect. Or not. It’s all in how you look at it.

To be honest, I hate cell phones just a little bit. I frequently forget to charge mine and curse the fact that I have it, because it so often becomes just a dead little brick in my purse. As a college student, of course, I loved it. I could call people all over the country for no extra cost to me, and I could text people in the middle of class when the lecture got boring and repetitive. After I found my love and got a full-time job, though, my cell phone became a little less useful. (Pair this with the fact that I really want an iPhone, and you begin to understand the conundrum that is me.)

But kids with cell phones… This is a whole different story. And thus the debate begins:

Pros:
1. You will know that your child always has some way to call you if they’re in trouble.
2. Cell phones can be located via GPS (if you get some fancy equipment), so if your child is lost, you can track them through the device you’ve installed in their phone.
3. If there’s a last-minute change in their plans, they want to ask you an important question, or they just miss you, they can call from wherever they are.

Cons:
1. The cell phone will undoubtedly become their way to call all their friends and run up the minutes to an ungodly amount that wreaks financial havoc on your family and eventually results in a fight between you and your spouse so ugly that you consider divorce.
2. Cell phones can be thrown out a window, dropped in a toilet, used as ammo for a slingshot, stepped on, spilled on, thrown in anger, and generally destroyed in all the typical ways children’s toys become that sharp, broken thing you step on in the middle of the night.
3. If there’s a last-minute change in their plans (we’re going to the Marble Slab instead of the ColdStone, okay?), they want to ask you an important question (Mom, what’s 2 times 7?), or they just miss you (Mom, whatcha doin? Who ya doin it with? Why ya doin it? Am I bothering you???), they can call from wherever they are.
4. Cell phones can be traced, but they’re also the first thing a kidnapper would think to take away from a kid.

To me, the cons outweigh the pros. I remember being a kid without a cell phone – I didn’t get my first one until senior year of high school – and only on the pretense that it would be how I would contact my parents from college. But as a young child, I remember the drill – Don’t stay out after dark, always keep a quarter in your pocket to make a call from a payphone, never talk to strangers, don’t cross major streets, and check in with Mom every now and then to let her know you’re still kickin. It was a pretty easy life, and we lived in a fairly safe neighborhood. That’s not to say that kids didn’t get abducted, killed, and hurt in various ways in our town. It didn’t happen often, but when it did, my mom was a little more cautious for a while. We played in the backyard instead of the front. Soon, however, we would migrate back out into the world and life would go back to normal. No amount of cell phones clattering down from the trees I climbed would have made me any safer than I already was.

Kids have to be kids for a while. Giving them cell phones is like handing over a three-piece suit and telling them to wear it to school. Yeah, it might seem nice, but ultimately, they’re just going to be that douche kid in a three-piece suit. Okay – so cell phones have more allure than that three-piece suite, but I think ultimately it’s the same idea. I don’t want to have a 7-year old who can pick up his cell phone and call his 8-year old buddy down the street on his cell phone to see if he can play. I want my little boy to be running down the street, flailing arms, with his mother behind him yelling that, for the love of God, he HAS to start putting on shoes before he goes outside!

Picture via cellphoneforums.net

Thursday, July 24, 2008

My First Love

When you have a problem, you have to be the first one to admit it. And here I go: I adore food. I literally think about food like most people think about sex. Textures, tastes, smells… food to me can be sensual, spunky, interesting, alluring, sinful, even. I can just imagine myself as one of those crazy-eyed babies who suddenly claps and cheer each time my mother got out a little baggy full of cheerios. Food is love. Food is joy. Food is excitement.

What I love most about food is eating it. In the morning, I’m one of those people whose stomach is growling the moment I wake up. It takes all the energy I have to brush my teeth and get dressed before I attack the kitchen and make myself some cereal with as many fruits as I can find. Before I’ve even finished, I’m already thinking of lunch that day, analyzing my pantry and deciding what I will throw together when I come home later.

A result of this love for food has been that, as I start to become more adult, my body is less able to metabolize everything I want to eat like it did when I was a kid. (Picture me at 14, with a Big-Gulp size glass of milk and an entire package of Oreos. Never. Gained. A. Pound.) Luckily, I’m still fairly active, and I enjoy doing things which tend to burn calories and keep me from ballooning, but I’m still pretty conscious about what I eat. It kills me some days that I can’t simply eat baked peaches over vanilla custard every day, or – better yet – cover everything I eat with mushroom gravy.

I’m no gourmet connoisseur. In fact, I prefer comfort food to any other variety; give me some deep-fried breaded okra, a bowl of mashed potatoes, maybe some homemade mac and cheese, something covered in gravy, maybe some grilled vegetables with butter, possibly some nice dinner rolls made from scratch, a few pies… I just ate lunch and already I’m hungry again.

All this to say – I hate the idea of dieting, but I think I’m going to have to give into the devil. My wedding dress – the gorgeous, ideal gown I’ve always dreamed of, well… it just doesn’t fit quite right. With the wedding less than 3 months away, there’s no time to get alterations and be absolutely sure the dress will be ready for the bridal portraits that are only 1 month away. (ACK! Just realized that) So, for me, food in general is going to have to become a luxury. I think I’m still going to refuse to do the South Beach Diet (give up fruit? Not possible), but it’s time for some give and take. Basically, give up sugary goods, and take away extra breads. I’ve put this picture on my desktop, in hopes that it will encourage me to indulge in good, healthy, natural things.
Rather than the things I really want:


After all of this, it will come as no surprise to you that my favorite holiday of the year is Thanksgiving. Could it get better? A holiday centered around the eating of a meal? No, it really truly doesn’t. Unless you throw in about 50 of my Arkansas relatives and their varying amounts of teeth. You better believe Thanksgiving 2008 will be a true feat of gluttony.


Pictures found at Shmutzie's site.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Giving into the Addiction

In the last couple of months, I’ve played with an idea in my head. In fact, I’ve entertained it for a good four years or so, but just have never decided if I want to pursue it. With things in my professional life coming to critical mass, however, I’ve decided I have to do something.

So it’s decided. I’m going to go to library school.

Before you start picturing me in horn-rimmed glasses with an ugly sweater and a beaded chain to make sure my glasses don’t go flying off into oblivion when I’m in a flurry of shelving activity, let me explain.

I grew up in libraries. My mother discovered this was the best way to be around during our daily lives without being a burden in them. Every school I’ve ever attended (with perhaps one exception) has had my mother as their volunteer librarian. Kids around the school often referred to her as the “nice” librarian. For me, it was always kind of nice to know that on certain days I could walk into the library and there my mom would be, shelving books, repairing the broken ones and stamping in the new ones. After school, I would go in to get her, and hang out, getting to know the librarians who – miraculously and contrary to popular belief – were pretty interesting people.

Ultimately, I’ve always known that I want to have something to do with books, writing and reading. This has led me down the road of English professor at a university (too much pressure), high school English teacher (so scary), middle school English teacher (doable), and librarian. When I think of being a librarian, I kind of get excited. And when I think of doing this in a school, it makes me a little more excited. I could be the “nice” librarian. The one the kids love coming to when they have a question. I could instill the same adoration in books that I’ve had all my life into whatever children I could sink my little claws into.

What’s more – I could do all this while having a summer, Christmas, fall, and spring vacation that coincided with those of our future children, ensuring that no matter where Greg was in his career, someone will always be available to look after our kids.

Needless to say, I’ve become more than a little attached to this idea. My statement of purpose is written, I’ve begun asking for letters of recommendation, the application is printed out and on my counter at home, and I’m speaking to someone in the college later today to get more specific answers about becoming a School Media Specialist (aka school librarian).

I better go buy some more broomstick skirts; I want to be a professional bookworm!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

My Monica


I work with a girl who has issues. Okay, yes – I have issues, too. I fully accept my issues, but we are not talking about my issues, we are talking about her issues.

She needs a good name… Let’s call her Monica Gellar. (Really the resemblance between her and the Friends character is uncanny – both in looks and in personality. She’s tiny, petite, controlling and uptight.)

So, Monica Gellar is like her alter ego in one big way: she obsesses about very small things, and lets these things get in the way of everything else. Obsessive compulsive? Try Obsessive Crazy. (Remember the episode when Monica turns the game of tossing a ball into a competition and calls into work in order to keep it going? No one? Am I the only person who has seen every episode of Friends ever? Well, it’s like that one, anyway.)

Monica Gellar has more than once been found going through 4 pages of meeting minutes with a red pen for three hours in order to catch every mistake. She nearly had a conniption fit one day because the underlining was printing all wacky on her minutes. “I just don’t want people to think I can’t underline things properly!!” she looked at me with horror. After I suggested she try printing it on another printer, she discovered it was just our wacky printer, and not her wacky computer.

So, every day, I work my tooshie off getting things done left and right. To the effect that nearly every day (with few exceptions) I run out of things to do. Hence the posting in the middle of the day thing. On the other end of the spectrum, Monica Gellar rarely works hard – she just works stupid. Literally, the things she does in an hour, I could get done in five minutes or less. It’s just that she obsesses about the tiniest thing. For instance, I once overheard a phone call that went something like this:

“Hi Mr. Doe, this is Monica Gellar. I was just looking over the stuff for the meeting this afternoon, and I noticed that I had written down that the meeting was at 3:00, but the meeting request you sent out was for 2:45, and the agenda also noted 2:45, and I was told by So-and-So that the meeting is at 2:45. I just wanted to check that it was actually at 2:45, and not at 3:00 like I had written down.”

Any normal person? Would assume that meeting was at 2:45 and move on with life as such. Monica Gellar, however, could NOT have written something down incorrectly. Never. Not in a million. So she takes the time to track down the person and find out that, yes, he had originally wanted it at 3:00, but had changed it to 2:45 for scheduling reasons. So she was right. And that gives her immense pleasure.

I’m pretty sure when she’s not obsessing about things like this, she is working on her school papers, surfing the internet and basically not accomplishing much. Her existence here is negligible 4 out of 5 days of the week. Yet she’s still here. Don’t get me wrong – she can be a lovely person. But the day I heard her scholarship application essay – detailing how the proudest moment in her life involved a cheerleading championship – I decided she was just not my cup of tea.

I mean, come on. Nothing amazing has happened in the 6 years since you were a senior in high school on top of the pyramid? Really? Sad.

The Ick

I'll be the first to admit it - I'm puny. You know those people who come to work with a raging fever, just because they can't stand being home, even when they're sick? That's not me. At even the slightest hint of illness, I am inclined to stay home. Not because I enjoy laying around on the couch watching old movies and sleeping (okay, so maybe that's part of it). It's because I know my body to know well enough when I can curb off illness by just being still.

Once, I woke up and felt tired and stayed home. Not just any tired - I felt exhausted after sleeping for a full 8 hours the night before. I then proceeded to have trouble keeping my eyes open for the next five hours, slept most of the day and slept through the next night as well. The day after, I felt perfectly okay, though still a little tired. I know my body was going to rebel if I didn't give it that extra sleep it was forcing me into. I would have waged a war with my immune system, and it wouldn't have been pretty. I think I got off pretty lightly by just sleeping it off.

The last two days, I've been home. Well- day and a half. I've had no fever, no chills, no vomiting. What I have had are an insanely pounding headache and the feeling of a constant faucet of mucus falling down the back of my throat. Lovely, right? Theoretically, I could have gone to work. I would have had a hard time concentrating, and I would have taken twice as long to do any given task, but I could have gone. Instead, I stayed home to lie on the couch and watch Firefly while eating ibuprofen like they were candy.

This morning I feel - okay, I guess. The headache has been downgraded to a nuisance, and everything I smell reeks of whatever is lining my nose and throat. If I were to truly give into my puniness, I'd stay home today, too. I just can't justify a third day out just because I feel a little...eh. Maybe if I had a fever, but not just because I'm a little out of it.

You may ridicule me, and tell me what I wuss I am. Go for it. After 25 years with my body, though, I have managed to spend the last 3 or 4 without a major illness -- only these little snafus of health, to which I've responded swiftly and expertly. I only have a few years left of this luxury before I'll be a mom and can no longer stay in bed all day when I feel a little under the weather. I'm going to milk it for all it's worth right now.

Friday, July 11, 2008

A-Ha


For some reason, I have what Oprah would call “a-ha” moments in the shower. (I would much prefer to have “a-ha” moments like the band, where I step into a weird, line-drawn world with some cutie from the 80s asking me to “take him on,”but whatever…)

This morning, I happened to think of my ex-boyfriend. Not in a fond sense, either. Out of nowhere, I suddenly remembered what life was like when I was with him – I was at his beck and call, visiting him at work, hanging out in his bedroom, going to all his cello concerts and at his side at any time he needed me. It wasn’t a two-way street with him, though, and there were many of my events that he found a way out of, he didn’t visit me at work unless there was a very specific reason to do so, and he didn’t really like hanging out at my house. On top of all this, he was, well… girly. Now, it’s not as if I want some mountain man who burps and scratches all the time, but I need someone who can be a guy’s guy. If a guy primps and preens more than I do, it’s a bad sign.

After this unpleasant memory faded, it was replaced with thoughts of my fiancée and future husband. Whenever I ask him to do something with me or for me, he’s there. He may not like it, and he may whine, but if I say I’d really like him there, he makes every effort to be at my side and be as well-behaved as possible. When we were still living in separate places, he was just as willing to spend time at my place as I was to spend time at his. And on top of this, he also spent his summers working as a camp counselor – getting dirty, tan, and strong through all the activities that make boys into men. He can canoe for hours, he can run miles, he teaches archery and knows how to turn a lonely piece of ground into a comfortable campsite. He can build a shelf, paint a mural, sculpt the human figure, write a song on the piano, and create a website from a blank page. He’s talented, but still discernable as a guy, even though his hair is longer than mine.

As I rinsed the shampoo out of my hair, I had this sudden realization of how unhappy I would have been if I had somehow managed to end up marrying my ex, and how incredibly lucky I am that I instead had a rebound relationship with his roommate that somehow transformed into a more perfect love than you find in storybooks and fairytales. If I had wanted to wake him up, I would have rushed out of the shower right then and kissed him, still dripping all over the carpet. Instead, I smelled his shampoo. A little creepy -yes, but less creepy that your naked, soapy fiancée crawling back into bed with you at 6:15 a.m.


(Before my hair was cut, and his hair grew out. We were on even keel at this point.)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Jane Austen Lust

If I could go back in time and be someone else, I think I'd choose Jane Austen. Without a doubt.
I would have a little writing nook like this:


And wear beautiful, handmade dresses.




Nevermind that I would also die childless, alone, and relatively unhappy. At least I would be a published author and have all the rights in the world to live my life as a tortured artist.
I may develop a bit of an obsession with this blog, but we'll just have to wait and see.
Oh and if you were wondering? I am, indeed, a bit of a HUGE nerd.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Welcome to Adulthood

I just turned 25.

25.

When I say this, I tend to get little more than rolled eyes and small groans from all those around me. Still, to me, this is a bit of a mountain I just climbed. My car insurance went down. I will finally be recognized as a customer to Hertz and Avis. (Why is it that 25 is a year of car-related milestones?) I am a quarter of a century.

With the advent of my 25th birthday, I decided that it is time for a change. I am not exactly new to the blog circuit. I have spent a good part of the last five years sending my daily thoughts out to the webternet to be read by any and all. My last journal, though, was somewhat… hopeless. I used to post daily, and the entries went something like this:

“Oh, woe is me! My boyfriend doesn’t love me! I can’t understand why he doesn’t spend all day pining for me like I do him! Life is so hard for me! I’m a college student and I’m witty and I’m cynical and I want to start living my life instead of going to class! Waaaaah!”

Now, life is a bit different. I like to think that I’m a bit different. I am getting married. I am figuring out my life. I’m doing more observing and more reading and finding joy in the little things like planting a garden and repainting a bathroom. Not to say that I no longer have woe is me days. They’re just far fewer and more intense, as they now involve my poor fiancée (who knows what he wants to do with his life, and is well on his way to doing it).
Regardless of what I have to say here in the following weeks, months, and years, this is what you should know about me:

I love books. I read as often as I can muster – lunch hours, bedtime, after work, during work (only on desperately boring days).

I make killer mac and cheese, but beyond that, my culinary skills are only mediocre. I can follow a recipe, but I hate to clean up after my kitchen adventures.

I don’t watch TV. At least in the “normal” way. We don’t have cable. Or an antenna. We have the internet and Netflix, and if a show isn’t on ABC.com’s full-length episodes, it’s almost positive I haven’t seen it. Nor do I want to.

My job is filled with wonderful, kind people who treat me very well, but I do not like what I do. I am on the search for something new, but I can’t invest in anything until I know what I am brave enough to pursue.

I write. I write like most people breathe. I feel a certain suffocation when I haven’t written in a while. I have ideas and inspirations that lead me nowhere, and ultimately I end up back here, writing about how hard it is to write. But still, I write.

At the end of a terrible day, my Goyo will crawl into bed with me and let me cry. This is why I love him. He kisses tears away, and reminds me that we have a beautiful life to come, filled with love and laughter and fairytales that spirit away all the bad days.

I am logical, rational and typically very safe in my choices in life. Someday soon I’m going to have to take that leap into the unknown and do something risky in order to have the life I want. I’m not sure I’m ready, but I’m looking forward to it.


On this page, I've linked some of the people whose lives I would like to try out now and then. They're glamorous without all the pomp and circumstance of knowing they're glamorous. Read and enjoy, and you'll understand why I have serious blog envy for them.