Tuesday, February 24, 2009

More lessons

As much as I'd like to think I've learned everything I need to in this life, I know that isn't the case. Because I keep getting schooled. Here's what I've learned the past few days:

1) Lock your doors! Even if you live in Provo and you think it's the safest place on Earth, people are still going to come steal your GPS right out of your car. I had to learn this the hard way when I went out to my car Sunday morning and found my glove compartment emptied onto my front seat. Please don't think I'm so irresponsible. My keychain remote control lock has been on the fritz lately, so I've been just hitting it a bunch of times, and usually that'll do the trick. Not so much. Luckily the thief didn't feel like he needed to bash in my window or hotwire my car or steal my CDs (what, they didn't want all my random compilations?), but he/she did get away with my Christmas gift. Ever since then, I have been extra vigilant to get my doors locked all the time.

2) Hold off on drinking a lot of Diet Coke before you go watch a movie at the theater. Especially one that starts kind of slowly and doesn't make any sense until half-way through.

3) Not owning a vacuum is not a good idea. And the color of your vacuum doesn't matter either. I'm just saying, if you can count how long it's been since you've vacuumed in MONTHS, don't be picky. And don't be surprised when you suck up a whole bunch of dirt as the vacuum makes its debut. Blech. (I'd just like to note that I did not learn this lesson personally.)

4) Hulu is a great resource to watch the show that was cut for the press conference about Larry H. Miller's death. Come on, that couldn't wait another hour?!

5) Texts are not always what they seem.

6) When carrying a heavy television set, make sure the way is clear before you try to squeeze through the narrowest of places. I'm doing some furniture moving in my house right now. There is a bunch of stuff lining the hall, just waiting for a place to call home. I don't know why I thought it would be a bright idea to try to heave the sixty-pound television through this obstacle course, but try I did. I made it to my bedroom door and couldn't make it, so I yelled out to Rachel, and she saved the day by helping me balance and turn the monster through the semi-blocked doorway.

7) Sunglasses with one arm are better than no sunglasses. But sunglasses with TWO arms are the best of all. (Bonus lesson: never pay more than $10 for your sunglasses. That way, you can't be too sad when they end up lost or broken.)

8) Don't eat 12 biscuits just because you didn't have to make them and they're sitting in front of you. Your stomach probably isn't made for such feats of strength, and the scale will not thank you later. I'm serious. Don't do it. Not even if they're cheesy biscuits.

9) Always make sure the screen that says, "Your DVD has been returned successfully" pops up on the RedBox before you turn around to leave. They really will charge you $25+tax, even if you email them to complain. They'll also tell you they'll "send out a technician," but really that means, "We just don't give a crap."

10) Before you book your whirlwind East coast adventure, check your favorite bands' websites. One of them might be playing in Salt Lake City when you plan on being in New York. And then they'll come to Washington, DC two days after you've been there. Oh Keane. :( I will sure miss you. Just put a Vegas show on your tour, and I'll try to be there!

11) If you ever decide to paint with your feet, be prepared for a work-out. It's tough to hop around, trying to make sure you don't drip. Oh, and pink sparkly paint takes a few days to come off your skin, so if you decide to use it, don't put your hands or other extremities in it. Unless you're into that kind of thing...

12) Laughter really is the best medicine. Surround yourself with people who either get your jokes or can one up you in the humor department. It's a great workout for your abs, too! (I keep re-learning this lesson...but it's a great one!)

13) Life changes are scary. But they can be fun, too. And what's the worst that can happen? Nothing changes? That's what I thought...

Monday, February 16, 2009

A blessing and a curse

The other day, I left my house in a hurry to get to work. I had my iPod (check), my lunch (check), my keys (check check). When I got to work, I realized I had forgotten one thing: MY PHONE. "Come on, Annie...it's not that big of a deal. Eight hours without your phone? Sheesh...you're ridiculous." I can hear you thinking that. And stop thinking that! I feel naked without my phone, even if it is on silent in my purse while I'm at work. It is a unique portal to the outside world that I need to have by my side. What I didn't realize is how much I use this little device. I would go to reach into my purse to check if anyone had texted me, and every time, it was a new feeling of desperation and anxiety about my poor phone, sitting on my pillow at home, no one to check to see if there were texts or missed calls.

When I had finally reunited with my long-lost (so it seemed!) lov--I mean, cell phone--I got to thinking about how much I depend on my little LG Chocolate. I hear horror stories about people who drop their phones in toilets and lose all of their info or people who go to the cell phone store to have a little part tweaked and their entire directory of contacts is down the drain because of some stupid technician. And so, here are some of my thoughts about cell phones.

Like I said before, without my cell phone, I feel naked. What if something happens? I mean, what if I need to call Rachel from the store to see if we have milk or if I need to buy some?!?! That's pretty important information, and should I ever need to know that, I would need to know it right then to save myself from the disaster of having too much milk in the fridge. Ok, that's exaggerating, but I really like to know that I have those options. I have a friend that makes fun of my connected-at-the-hip-ness with my phone. It's probably psychological, but it's kind of comforting to know that I could probably find a way out of whatever situation I find myself in with a few pushes of some buttons on my phone. (No, I am not a super hero who often finds herself in these clinches...but I'd like to be...wouldn't that be awesome?!)

When I was traveling internationally last year, I went 9 days without my phone. At first, I would jump at any vibration, hopeful that it was someone sending me a text or giving me a ring. After a day or so, though, it was kind of nice to be out of touch. I still had the Internet, so I could keep contact with people through email and Facebook. The phone vacation was definitely nice, but I was ever so happy to turn it back on when I landed at JFK. Give me a little credit: my first phone calls were to my family to find out about my new niece that had been born while I was gone. It really is nice to have a way to stay in touch!

I love texting. I don't know what it is about it, but it just works for me. There are a few reasons. One is that I think I sound like an idiot on the phone...either that or really fake. Yes, I have a 'fake phone voice' that the callers to work get to hear. And it's so saccharine it's embarrassing. So let's face it, if I can take my time and think out what I want to say in 160 characters or less, I'm taking that route. I've always been way more confident in my writing than my speaking. Another reason I think texting has such an allure is the fact that it doesn't inconvenience anyone. I'm not afraid I'm going to catch someone in the shower or in the middle of a meeting. When they get a minute to check their phone, they'll check it. And sometimes, you see something funny, and you don't necessarily need a response out of someone, so you text them about it. They are at liberty to respond if they'd like, but it's not as though you're stuck in an awkward conversation for the next three minutes. Also, if you're inviting a bunch of people to something, mass text. Love it. Gets your point out across quickly and conveniently, and heaven knows I'm all about that. Maybe I'm the only one with these feelings about texting...even still, I find them quite valid (but I'm a bit biased). I do love getting texts as well. It's like a little jolt of anticipation whenever I hear my phone buzz. And I really do wonder if it's a 'hot guy for me.' At least that's what Rachel and I yell to each other when we hear the other's phone go off with an alert.

Just the other night at a friend's birthday dinner, we got discussing how texting has become such a huge part of society. I took a quick survey, and at least five out of the eight of us were in the middle of a text conversation with someone who wasn't with us. And yet we were basically all there, participating and enjoying our time together. Not to say that you should be texting while you're out with people--especially (heaven forbid!) while you're on a date--but I find it convenient to be able to multi-task.

And speaking of multi-tasking... Now, I haven't tried this yet, but I understand there's some sort of app on Facebook that you can use to update your status or comment on people's pictures...or do basically anything you could do on Facebook. Whoa. I know I'm a Facebook junkie, so any sort of connection to my phone would make my obsession with both pieces of technology (i.e., my cell and Facebook) even worse...I'm talking, lost in a vortex of comments and updates. I hear it's amazing, though.

Ok, not everything about cell phones is peachy wonderful. As much as I'd like to say that I don't, I do talk on my phone in the car. And on the rare occasion, I will text. It's a habit I'm trying to get out of, and I've been doing pretty well lately. I got to thinking about it...whomever has texted me can wait until I get to my destination to hear from me. Or I'll call them real quick with an answer and then tell them I'm driving and get off the phone. I've heard all sorts of crazy stories about people who have been killed in car wrecks and come to find out, one of the drivers was being an idiot and texting (yep, just called myself an idiot) while they try to maneuver around on the freeway. And I know everyone says they are the exception to the bad-driving-while-on-the-phone rule, but you aren't. I'm not. I'm going to try to be better about that and keep my driving while on the phone to a minimum. It is my blog pledge to you and to myself and to all the drivers who encounter me on the road.

Another place cell phones should be banned: the bathroom. Ugh...I was at a play the other day, and I went to use the bathroom. I could hear a lady a couple stalls down, talking quite loudly...and I figured maybe she was talking to a friend in the next stall. After a little more listening and not hearing two sides of this conversation, I could only assume that she was chatting it up on her phone--in the bathroom! WHILE SHE WAS USING IT!! I was kind of embarrassed for myself because I was also using the facilities, but then I thought, "Wait! I'm not the one who should feel shame here!" I just felt sorry for the person at the other end of that line. Yes, honey, that was a toilet flushing. GROSS.

One thing that constantly smashes my pride when it comes to cell phones is how reliant I've become on my cell phone for storing people's phone numbers. I used to be able to memorize numbers like a slightly slower version of Rain Man, but recently I can't even remember my dad's cell phone number. Why should I, you know? It's in my phone, speed dial #6. Which is why I pray daily that my phone never decides to randomly go on the fritz and leave me without my connection to those I love (and some I don't...). Plus, when you get a new phone, there's the pesky learning curve. Getting used to a new phone is difficult for the first little while!

I use my phone for a lot of things that aren't related to connecting to others. It's my alarm in the morning. It's how I calculate a tip when I'm feeling too lazy to do simple math. It's where I jot down something I want to remember, like a book I'd like to look up at the library or a movie star I need to go Google to find a picture. I think my phone even has an option to hook in headphones and listen to music...if I had a memory card with music files on it. I must say, I love my phone for taking pictures. It's lovely to whip out at those times when you say to yourself, "Awh, man...it would have been nice to have some documentation of this historic/hilarious/embarrassing/awe-inspiring moment!" Click. Done. My current phone actually takes pretty high quality pictures, too. Not quite as good as an iPhone, but that's a topic for another paragraph...

...this one! I know a few people who have iPhones and love them. I can't justify it to myself. I would spend so much on silly applications and then never use them! Not that I don't enjoy the fact that you can quell boredom by getting into the Tangrams app or that you can create the illusion that you're drinking beer with a phone... It just doesn't fit into my busy (cough cough!), hectic (I hear your snickering!), already packed life. Or I'm just cheap. And I do so love Verizon (and they don't support the iPhone), considering the majority of my friends and family are on that network and we can talk and text for free! So yes...it's that I'm cheap.

I enjoy the predictability of my cell phone bill being only pennies different from month to month. I never use all my minutes (or even come close...thanks all you Verizon users!), and I have an awesome text plan. I can expect a consistent bill to come up each 19th day of the month. A few years ago, we got my boss a new Palm Treo 600. It was cutting-edge technology that provided access to the Internet with just the push of a button on a tiny screen. "Ooooooh, shiny!" Oh yes, it was fabulous...until we got the first month's bill. I gulped and my stomach sank to the floor when I saw the total: over $1700. Wait just a minute!?!? Hadn't we gotten a data package? Apparently it didn't cover the 24/7 that my boss' phone was online. No one told us that you had to actually go disconnect the phone from the Internet instead of just turning the phone off. I called and talked to the phone provider. We weren't the only ones who were not so used to the fancy schmancy new Internet phones (and who designed them like that in the first place? ...that's my question!), so they were crediting back the charges and trying to solve the glitch in the phones. Phew!

At one point in my life, it made sense for me to have two cell phones. Ok, it didn't make that much sense, but I did it anyway. One was what I like to call the "Joey phone." Joey was my fiance, and we lived long distance, so we got a phone plan that we could use to talk to each other as much as we wanted and didn't have to wait until after 9pm his time (10pm mine). I didn't want to cancel my remaining year or so on my original plan, though, and I also did not want to change my phone number with everyone else just yet. So in the interim between when I could transfer over my original number and cancel my contract, I carried two phones. Ridiculous. Luckily, that only lasted about three weeks until I sent back a box with all of his crap to him, including the phone. Also fortunate was that I hadn't signed my name to any sort of contract. Good riddance.

So, what did people do before cell phones? I guess we missed a lot more calls we didn't know about, without the "1 missed call" to tell us so. We probably led less obsessed lives, too, when we weren't wondering what calls we'd missed or who wasn't texting us back in a timely fashion. When it all boils down, though, I'd like to keep mine. That vulnerable feeling really isn't my favorite.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Are YOU triskaidekaphobic?

So today is Friday the 13th? I'm still happy. Any day with the word "Friday" in it is a welcome one in my book. Remember how not much scares me? This apathy towards things of the "freaky" nature spills over into superstitions as well.

The only thing bad I remember happening on a Friday the 13th was that my sister wrecked the car...and this was fifteen years ago. If you think about it, when you're looking for a lame reason that something has gone wrong, you can find it. And I doubt it's actually linked to the superstitions of a day like a Friday that happens to be the 13th of the month. I mean, I got in a car wreck on August 7th a few years ago, but that doesn't stop me from going out on a Tuesday the 7th of a month.

In case my half-baked attempt at convincing you that superstitions are silly hasn't persuaded you, here are some interesting facts about Friday the 13th, the number 13, and other superstitions:

13 Facts About Friday the 13th

LiveScience.com – Thu Feb 12, 10:30 pm ET

If you fear Friday the 13th, then batten down the hatches. This week's unlucky day is the first of three this year.

The next
Friday the 13th comes in March, followed by Nov. 13. Such a triple whammy comes around only every 11 years, said Thomas Fernsler, a math specialist at the University of Delaware who has studied the number 13 for more than 20 years.

By the numbers

Here are 13 more facts about the infamous day, courtesy of Fernsler and some of our own research:

1. The British Navy built a ship named Friday the 13th. On its maiden voyage, the vessel left dock on a Friday the 13th, and was never heard from again.

2. The
ill-fated Apollo 13 launched at 13:13 CST on Apr. 11, 1970. The sum of the date's digits (4-11-70) is 13 (as in 4+1+1+7+0 = 13). And the explosion that crippled the spacecraft occurred on April 13 (not a Friday). The crew did make it back to Earth safely, however.

3. Many hospitals have no room 13, while some tall buildings skip the 13th floor.

4. Fear of Friday the 13th - one of the
most popular myths in science - is called paraskavedekatriaphobia as well as friggatriskaidekaphobia. Triskaidekaphobia is fear of the number 13.

5. Quarterback Dan Marino wore No. 13 throughout his career with the Miami Dolphins. Despite being a superb quarterback (some call him one of the best ever), he got to the Super Bowl just once, in 1985, and was trounced 38-16 by the San Francisco 49ers and Joe Montana (who wore No. 16 and won all four Super Bowls he played in).

6. Butch Cassidy, notorious American train and bank robber, was born on Friday, April 13, 1866.

7. Fidel Castro was born on Friday, Aug. 13, 1926.

8. President
Franklin D. Roosevelt would not travel on the 13th day of any month and would never host 13 guests at a meal. Napoleon and Herbert Hoover were also triskaidekaphobic, with an abnormal fear of the number 13.

9. Superstitious diners in Paris can hire a quatorzieme, or professional 14th guest.

10. Mark Twain once was the 13th guest at a dinner party. A friend warned him not to go. "It was bad luck," Twain later told the friend. "They only had food for 12."

11. Woodrow Wilson considered 13 his lucky number, though his experience didn't support such faith. He arrived in Normandy, France on Friday, Dec. 13, 1918, for peace talks, only to return with a treaty he couldn't get Congress to sign. (The ship's crew wanted to dock the next day due to superstitions, Fernsler said.) He toured the United States to rally support for the treaty, and while traveling, suffered a near-fatal stroke.

12. The number 13 suffers from its position after 12, according to
numerologists who consider the latter to be a complete number - 12 months in a year, 12 signs of the zodiac, 12 gods of Olympus, 12 labors of Hercules, 12 tribes of Israel, 12 apostles of Jesus, 12 days of Christmas and 12 eggs in a dozen.

13. The seals on the back of a dollar bill include 13 steps on the pyramid, 13 stars above the eagle's head, 13 war arrows in the eagle's claw and 13 leaves on the olive branch. So far there's been no evidence tying these long-ago design decisions to the present economic situation.

Origins of Friday the 13th

Where's all this
superstition come from? Nobody knows for sure. But it may date back to Biblical times (the 13th guest at the Last Supper betrayed Jesus). By the Middle Ages, both Friday and 13 were considered bearers of bad fortune.

Meanwhile the belief that numbers are connected to life and physical things - called numerology - has a long history.

"You can trace it all the way from the followers of Pythagoras, whose maxim to describe the universe was 'all is number,'" says Mario Livio, an astrophysicist and author of "The Equation That Couldn't Be Solved" (Simon & Schuster, 2005). Thinkers who studied under the famous Greek mathematician combined numbers in different ways to explain everything around them, Livio said.

In modern times, numerology has become a type of para-science, much like the
meaningless predictions of astrology, scientists say.

"People are subconsciously drawn towards specific numbers because they know that they need the experiences, attributes or lessons, associated with them, that are contained within their potential," says professional numerologist Sonia Ducie. "Numerology can 'make sense' of an individual's life (health, career, relationships, situations and issues) by recognizing which number cycle they are in, and by giving them clarity."

Mathematicians dismiss numerology as having no scientific merit, however.

"I don't endorse this at all," Livio said, when asked to comment on the popularity of commercial numerology for a story prior to the date 06/06/06. Seemingly coincidental connections between numbers will always appear if you look hard enough, he said.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Great googly moogly!

John Mayer knew what he was talking about when he said in his song Belief, "Is there anyone who ever remembers changing their mind from the paint on a sign?"

I just saw this on failblog. And you know...sometimes I have bad days, but I can put my heart at ease when I realize that my bad days usually don't result in this:

And that reminded me of a funny commercial (from years ago!) that I was thinking about last week...

Moral of the story? Always be aware of your lettering, especially when your medium is paint. (But if you do screw up, always have a funny expletive at the ready, like "Great googly moogly!")

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Things that must go: Dental edition

X-96 has a segment on their morning show called "Things The Must Go." As I was sitting there in the dentist chair yesterday (getting my occlusions--that's a fancy word for 'pre-cavities'--filled), I was thinking, "Man, this really sucks. It's got to go." Upon further pondering, I came up with my own list of things that must go, dental-style:

1) Having four hands in your mouth at once. I can't even fit one of my hands in there, but somehow, both the dentist and the assistant had their gloved hands and instruments prodding around in my mouth. I was lucky that for most of it, I couldn't feel much.

2) The high-pitched screeching the drill makes. And how about how you can feel it boring into your skull? Not feel it, but it certainly rattled in my entire brain and drowned out my iPod. Just thinking about hearing it makes me tense up and shudder a little.

3) Smelling your burnt nerve ends after they drill holes in your teeth. It's like when your hair or eyebrows get singed...that gross, burning flesh smell that you know can't mean anything good.

4) Shaking as you're laying there in chair, not knowing how to stop shaking. It's not that I'm scared of the dentist. I knew it wouldn't be a scream-inducing, fingers-clawing-into-the-chair-arms type of experience. But I didn't expect to be shaking. I kept telling myself to relax and be calm, but I felt my legs shake for a good two minutes before I could get control and settle down. Maybe I'm not as even-keeled as I had hoped.

5) Gagging on your own saliva because your ability to swallow is out the window. The assistant was usually pretty good at utilizing her little sucker device. And the dentist was equal to the task of getting out of the way every so often so she could perform her duties. But one time, she sprayed water straight down my throat, and it went down my windpipe. I was coughing so hard, but I couldn't sit up or anything. She said she was sorry, and I tried to say, "It's ok," but there was no way I could get words out in my numb state. Also, there was one time the dentist was wielding the sucker tool and pushed it back too far, resulting in my natural gag reflex getting tested.

6) Having that nagging feeling that you look like a chipmunk. I love it when you get out of the chair and they ask you how you feel...the only word I could come up with was "numb." I didn't get the laughing gas because I had to drive myself home, so naturally, I'm probably not feeling the best. And I feel like I look so puffy. The assistant assured me that you couldn't tell, so I went to the desk to pay (I have to pay for them to make me feel like this?!), and I was just hoping there wasn't drool running down my face.

...and then once you're out of the office and up and at 'em again:

7) Talking like a drunk with a lisp for hours afterward. Ask Rachel--she'll tell you how hilarious it was to hear me talk. I couldn't say 's' because my tongue was numb. And 'r' was difficult. 'P' was basically impossible since I wasn't able to feel when my top lip touched my bottom lip. Rachel was laughing so hard because I wouldn't just shut up and wait for the anesthesia to wear off. No, we decided to go grocery shopping. I made her talk to the cashier and ask questions on where to find a couple things. I felt so dumb, but I was glad that she was willing to listen to my ridiculous talking and help me out.

8) The PAIN when the anesthesia wears off. I tried to take some ibuprofen awhile before it went away because the dentist said that with as much work as he did, it was going to be sore for awhile. It's a good thing I did, because when the weird numb feeling was finally gone, it was replaced by a dull ache that turned into a sharp ache before I was able to get more drugs down. Waking up this morning was a treat.

9) When your teeth don't fit like they used to. I was laying there, trying to go to sleep last night, and I found it nearly impossible. I couldn't get my mouth to feel comfortable because my bite isn't the same. My teeth don't clamp shut the way they used to because of the filling gunk they put in there. I guess it's just like when you get a new chair at work and it's weird for the first little bit, but after awhile you get used to it and don't even remember what it was like to have the old one. I'll give it some time.

10) Not getting to eat normal foods for awhile. I was starving last night. I had half a muffin at Family Home Evening (that's where the numbness finally came to a merciful end), but when I got home, I was craving real food. We had some Mexican rice, so I heated that up and shoveled it in, the best I could. My mouth still ached too bad to open really wide--and actually still does right now. I am eating grapes (they're soft!) right now...and I can only imagine how funny it would be to someone watching me. I can only open my mouth about as wide as a grape it big, and I slide one between my teeth. Let's just say that chips and salsa aren't on the agenda anytime soon.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Opposite day--er, life...

Lately I've been doing some more self-introspection. I've decided that I'm this dichotomous person who's suffering from a few different complexes. In short, I'm not exactly the person people expected me to become. But hey, that's ok. I'm thinking about my past and figuring out the girl I used to be vs. the one I am now...and I've gotta tell you, it's quite different. There are definitely some good changes but also some changes of which I'm kind of ashamed.

I used to....
...love waking up early. I'd get up on Saturday mornings at 5am because Sonic the Hedgehog was on. Mostly I just think that I wanted free reign of the television for a little while before my other siblings got up and started putting their two cents in as to what we'd watch.

Now I...
...find any possible way to sleep as late as I can. Sometimes my body won't let me, but I love laying in bed, taking hours to finally get up, hoping that I'll doze off again on a lovely Sunday morning.

I used to...
...dress like a dork. In high school, I wore men's jeans, baggy t-shirts, athletic sneakers, and my hair was somewhat awful. It was lo-o-o-o-ng, but it was bad--remember Bro. Keaton? "Annabelle, your bangs are PERFECT!" How embarrassing.

Now I...
...care about my appearance. Ok, I guess that's a little unfair to my former self to say that I didn't care before, but now I can afford to buy the clothes I really like and take time to get my hair the way I want it. When I buy make-up or hair products, I don't necessarily go for the cheapest anymore (ah, the joys of not being a poor college student!). I think I can contribute a small shred of my self-confidence to feeling pride in my appearance. I mean, haven't you ever had one of those days where you feel hot, you know people think you're hot, so you just exude hotness and mettle? I try more often than not to get that vibe going for me, even if the only place I go that day is to work.

I used to...
...think 'holy cow' was a bad thing to say. Hello uptight!

Now I...
...have relaxed and mellowed a little. I remember when I shuddered at the word 'sucks.' Now it's part of my every day vocabulary. And not to worry...I throw a few 'holy cow's into my vocab every now and again.

I used to...
...have goals. Get good grades. Find a good job. Finish my Young Women in Excellence. Become independent.

Now I...
...have accomplished all those goals. I'm finding it hard to set different ones for my life. I mean, what else is there to achieve, really? I guess a husband and family...but I can't exactly say, "Ok, I will be married in the next two years and then in five years, I will have my first child." Life just doesn't work that way. And speaking of that...

I used to...
...think I'd be married at the age of 19. Yes, folks...this was my life plan. I'd get married, drop out of school, and have six kids.

Now I...
...can't imagine the person I would have become had I done any of that. And not to say that doesn't work for some people! I know a lot of people who have discovered themselves young and are now leading wonderfully happy lives. I just know now that it wouldn't have worked for me. I would have ended up resenting the person I had become, all the while feeling helpless and unable to break out of that shell I would have erected around myself because I would have felt the crushing weight of responsibility calling my name every day, 24/7. There are so many lessons I've learned from not following that path, and I'm proud of my accomplishments. I've got a degree, and awesome job, and some of the people I've met in my single years are the coolest around. All of this made possible by NOT following my silly, naive life plan. Plus, I've discovered that patience is not one of my strong suits (no, really?!), so six children probably would have been the end of my sanity. And like I said before, please don't be offended if this was your path and it worked for you. Everyone has their strengths, and I'm pretty sure this wouldn't have been mine at the age of 19. This has taken up a lot of space in my thoughts over the past 5-7 years...and hindsight is always 20/20.

I used to...
...be afraid to do things by myself.

Now I...
...relish in alone time and discovering things on my own. This isn't to say that I wouldn't rather be doing things with other people. What I'm saying is an entirely different approach to 'alone.' For instance, on any given weekend, I love doing things with friends (but it's not to say I wallow in misery if i don't have plans...trust me, I find things to fill the time). No, what I'm saying here is that I used to be afraid to find things on my own, to make decisions. I would seize up with fear at the thought of having to approach new situations without someone there to be a buffer. I remember my first year of college just being so unsure and not knowing anyone and trying to figure my way. How awkward I must have seemed...how unsocial and weird I was! A lot of times people tell me that their first impression of me is that I'm stuck up. While there might be a small kernel of truth in that, generally it was just that I was afraid or scared of a new situation. Lately, I've been much better. I've had a few experiences that have forced me out of my comfort zone and gotten me into a much better position to take on the world with confidence. I am not filled with anxiety when I have to do things like figure out the New York subway system on my own. I can now handle doing things like calling the insurance company without grappling with cowardice (but with a small dose of annoyance, of course). I've found that this approach to life helps me be more spontaneous and enjoy things instead of worrying how I'll screw up or stupidly wondering how people are judging me.

I used to...
...stick to my tried and true diet and hesitate at anything unfamiliar that was presented to my palate.

Now I...
...embrace food from all different ethnic backgrounds. I remember when I first tried sushi a few years ago. I was skeptical and timid. But once I dug in and started, I actually enjoyed it! In any given week, you'll probably find me pushing my comfort zone a little. I still don't handle spicy things very well, but I've figured out that most foods can be tempered to my liking. The other day I was eating Thai food and tried eggplant for the first time (weird that I've never had it, I know). And it was good--even though it was described to me as a 'squash,' and anyone who's eaten with me more than once probably knows I despise squash. But now I've blown apart that comfort zone and found that I love trying new cuisine. Some of my favorites include Indian food and Greek food.

I'm sure there a myriad of other things that have changed about me as I'm slowly morphing into an actual adult who can be both fun and independent. Really, I have a long way to go on my way to being who I actually want to be, but the way I see it, we all have issues we work on, problems we battle, idiosyncracies we deal with, and life paths that take us to places we never thought.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Are we talking punctuation disability?

Last night at family dinner, my sister pulled out a note that was left by some friendly (yes, that's sarcastic) stranger. Some of my family members were angry at the audacity of the person who left said note, but most of us just laughed. I immediately knew I had to send it in to passiveaggressivenotes.com.

A little background, if you will...my sister has two children with medical problems requiring constant monitoring. They haul two monitors per child wherever they go to make sure the kids are breathing and palpitating. Know one of the perks of having children with mysterious medical conditions such as these? Disability license plates.

And so my sister and brother-in-law found themselves at a store, parked in a disability stall, and were on their merry way. I guess the person who wrote the below note didn't check to make sure that these kids really were disabled, and the license plate doesn't lie.

SO...MANY...THINGS...I...WANT...TO...MOCK! First off, the triple underline. Wow. Way to get a point across. Next, the lack of correct punctuation. All sorts of sentences just crammed onto this little slip of paper he/she obviously ripped off something else, and the only one that actually uses a punctuation mark at the end is incorrect. "DO YOU FEEL GOOD ABOUT THIS." I feel good about your use of a period where a question mark (lovingly referred to as a "what mark" by my six-year-old nephew...haha!) should go. Yeah... And the use of quotations! You know, it's like teaching your kid to "choose the right" except obviously she wanted to teach her kids how to "choose the wrong." Oh, come on!

I can just imagine some crotchety old man writing this note--as he's watching my bro-in-law trying to haul their 10-month-old daughter plus monitors into the store--muttering under his breath, "Oh, kids these days!! Those whippersnappers are so disrespectful! When I was young, we respected our elders..."

As it turns out, when they got back in their car and found this note, my sister and her husband busted up laughing and brushed it off. Then my sister looked up and saw a man parked in the disability stall directly across from theirs, glaring at them. Oh my...

When my six-year-old nephew read what the note said, he said to his mom, "You don't teach me wrong! I do have a disability!"