I’m moving!

For the past seven and a half years, I’ve always lived about 45 minutes away from my job. There were a few moves here and there, but nothing that ever took me closer to where I worked. At first, I didn’t mind it. The long drive gave me time to unwind and listen to music. For awhile, I carpooled to work, which helped save on gas. But now, after seven and a half years and 188,465 miles on the road to and from work, not to mention the hours I’ve spent driving after 7.5 years (246,538 hours, if you were curious), it’s well past time for me to move closer to work.

So I neurotically started searching for a new place to live in early January. I woke up in a panic one morning, worrying about where I was going to live, and I started looking that day. Of course, it was too early. No one wanted to rent a place to someone who wanted a late February move-in. I knew I wanted to live in either Shaker Heights or Cleveland Heights, and Cleveland Heights proved to have lower rents. I knew I didn’t want to live in a generic apartment building. If I was moving to this area, I wanted a place with class. I also wanted a place that didn’t require me to use a community laundry room, so basically any apartment building was out of the question. So I scoured Craigslist for multi-family home listings. If my grandma knew I found my new place on Craigslist, she’d have a stroke and a heart attack. She believes that the internet is evil and that everyone I meet on the internet is planning to kill me. But I found the perfect place on Craigslist: hardwood floors, my own washer and dryer, lots of space, AND in a neighborhood I like.

Honestly, I won’t know what to do with my extra time. My new place is only about five minutes from my library. Currently, I get home an hour after I get off work, throw some quick-cooking food together and call it dinner, watch Netflix on my couch while I eat, call my boyfriend, and fall asleep. In the morning, I stay in bed for as long as humanly possible before dragging myself out from under the covers, shower, half-assedly do my hair, throw on clothes, toss leftovers in my lunch bag, and make a breakfast I can eat in my car. Lather, rinse, repeat for the past seven and a half years.

My living space is in a constant state of clutter. Right now, when I get home, I just throw my shit on the floor because I’m hungry and tired. I never eat at my table, mostly because I can’t. It’s frequently littered with mail, clean tupperware, and other random things I never get around to dealing with. I always tell myself that I’ll clean things up on the weekend, but I’m either too tired on the weekends, too busy doing laundry, or spending time with my friends.

There are a lot of things I’m looking forward to doing post-move.

  • I’ll be able to cook and eat a leisurely breakfast before work instead of figuring out car-friendly breakfast ideas that aren’t granola bars (seriously, after seven years of granola bars, you get a little tired of them). Maybe I’ll even master the art of omelette-making, though I won’t hold my breath on that one. Even if I just eat a bowl of cereal in front of my TV in the morning, I’ll still consider it a breakfast success.
  • I’ll be able to actually cook a real dinner, instead of reheating some sort of convenience food. Yes, I get most of my convenience food items from Trader Joe’s, so at least they’re good for me, but I miss the act of cooking. I’m a big fan of trying new recipes and I’ve already checked a few cookbooks out from the library!
  • There’s a community recreational center just down the street from where I’ll be living. I’d been planning to re-join a gym, but wasn’t sure how to fit time to go into my life. If I wake up at the same time I’ve been waking up, I’ll have an extra hour to do whatever I want.  Not that going to the gym ranks high on that list, but I am pitifully weak and I’d like to change that.
  • I am a five minute walk away from Coventry Village. I look forward to walking there over the summer and eating and drinking on every patio in the neighborhood. Plus, as an added bonus, I can stumble home later with little effort on my part.
  • I’ll be able to keep a clean place. I have no more excuses now. I’ve never been a fan of cleaning, but if I keep up with the clutter, there won’t be as much to clean at the end of the week. I plan to wash my dishes every night and not leave things where they don’t belong. I plan to channel my inner Winelibrarian every night and keep my place clean.
  • I’ll be a million times closer to Winey! While we won’t be neighbors, it will no longer take me almost 45 minutes to get to her place.
  • My new place has lots of built-in shelving and cabinets. I’m really excited to finally be able to display the dishes my grandma gave me two years ago. They’re not fine China, but I would only eat off of them if I had a dinner party. My grandma would break out these dishes when she used to host a family Christmas dinner. She had a serving for 16 and split the two sets between my cousin and I.
  • I’ll also have a window seat! I already purchased new pillow covers for the pillows I plan to buy for the seat from The Pillow People on etsy (she’s apparently taking a break right now, but check out their sales to see what her work looks like). I had a hard time choosing what designs I wanted, so I got two different ones, then ordered new pillow covers for my couch, too. WHY NOT? In the summer, I plan to sit on the window seat and read.
  • I’ll have a big front porch. Once spring hits, I want to get some outdoor furniture so I can drink a beer on my porch and read or do whatever the fuck I want.

I think this move will be good for me. I’ll more time and energy to do the things I want to do. Finally. I’m tired of being so tired all the time.

Also? I’ll be posting photos of my place after I get all moved in. I love seeing how people decorate their houses, so I figure everyone is nosy like me.

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No Spend January

I tend to go a little…overboard during the holidays when it comes to spending. In fact, I opted to pay half of my credit card bill in the middle of the month so that I wouldn’t have a coronary when the whole bill was due at the end of the month (I’m one of those people who refuses to carry a balance on a card). I’ll probably still have a coronary, but at least it will just be a mild one. I hope.

So Winey and I were talking (as we often do) and she thought that it would be nice to start the new year without excess spending after the holidays. And with that, #NoSpendJanuary was born. I know that sounds daunting. But it’s not like we’re going to stop buying groceries, though I do plan to use up a lot of stuff in my cabinets before things expire. Does pasta expire? If so, I’m going to need to eat A LOT of pasta. But the point is, I don’t need any more pasta when I go grocery shopping.

#NoSpendJanuary is more about seeing what you can do without. Do you really NEED all that shit from Target or do you just need the shampoo you actually came in for? Do you really NEED that latte from Starbucks, or can you brew your own coffee at home and pour it into a travel mug? Do you NEED that pair of black heels when you already have 10 other pairs? Do you NEED another pair of underwear or a bra when your lingerie drawer is already overflowing?

So what are we committing to this #NoSpendJanuary?

Winey:

  • No shoes
  • No clothes
  • Only necessities from Target
  • No Starbucks
  • No lingerie
  • Bring lunch to work

Bitchy:

  • No shoes
  • No clothes
  • Only necessities from Target
  • No lingerie (EVEN THOUGH IT IS THE VS SEMI-ANNUAL SALE)
  • Eat mostly food I have already purchased (frozen foods, dry foods)
  • No fast food/convenience foods
  • Bring lunch to work

We also plan to track our spending and create budgets on the Mint.com app. I just loaded my bank account into it and I already hate myself. I spent over $800 on shopping in December alone. So I plan to create a budget and actually stick to it. $800 on clothes and shoes and lingerie? That’s appalling. I mean, not all of it was for me, obviously, as I was buying gifts for Christmas, but I also did a lot of buying for myself over the past few months. It’s already created a budget for me, perhaps based on previous spending, but I plan to sit down and actually use the Mint.com app to create a budget that I can live with. I only spent $56 in groceries for December, yet I spent over $200 eating out at restaurants and grabbing food from fast food places. THERE IS SOMETHING VERY WRONG WITH THAT.

When we tweeted about this, some people responded that this was going to be hard. WAH WAH WAH. Well, obviously it’s going to be hard. Spending money is the easy part. Saving money is difficult, especially when it’s so easy to just swipe a card. And like Winey said, “Sometimes hard things are good for you.” AND GET YOUR DAMN MINDS OUT OF THE GUTTER. The point is, you learn from the difficult things in your life. If everything was easy, what would be the point? If you put your bank account/credit cards into the Mint.com app and aren’t concerned by your spending, you either already have amazing self-discipline or you’re crazy.

Honestly, I see a lot of this continuing on past January. I don’t need any more shoes. Really. I don’t. I have all the shoes I could ever want and more. I shouldn’t stop and pick up dinner as much as I do. If I planned ahead, I’d be able to do more cooking at home when I got home from work, no matter what time that is. And do I really need YET ANOTHER cardigan from Target? Damn you, Target.

So who’s with us? Who else is going to commit to #NoSpendJanuary? And what are you not going to spend money on? And download the Mint.com app! It will make you sick to your stomach, I can assure you.

Oh, and stay tuned for another #tendaypurge! We plan to bring that back for the new year, too!

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On Taking Risks

So, I had a sort of emotional morning this morning. I mean, I am totally fine but someone I will always care about is totally not and so, anyway, the wheels in my brain have been turning and I was thinking about a conversation I had about someone about the movie Love Actually. And, actually, if you do not love this film or cannot find something in this film that touches you deeply, we can totally not be friends. It is beautifully intertwined stories of love. It is silly. It is pretty. There are pretty people in it. All of the things that you need to make a really good “girl” film, though I hate calling it that. And, it’s centered around the holidays, so you know. I’ve watched it a few times recently.

And I sob big, heaving, cathartic sobs every time.

Let me get to my point. You see, my favorite characters are not the ones who end up happily ever after. They aren’t Hugh Grant and that adorable girl (WHO DOES NOT HAVE BIG THIGHS, HARUMPH.) though they are really like a close second because Hugh Grant’s character dances around in his underwear. But, also, Colin Firth learning Portuguese to talk to a woman? I suppose that would be like a man learning shoe to talk to me. While this is fantastic, still not my favorite.

No, my favorite characters are Mark and Juliet. There are LOTS of reasons why Mark being hopelessly in love with his best friend’s wife are ALL WRONG, but he took the biggest risk. He brings the boom box, plays a song, and uses the cue cards. I am going to leave off the ending here because I’ve been bitched at on the Twitter for spoilers, but HERE you go.

DIES.

You can’t help who you fall in love with, but you can take the risks in life. Wasn’t it Mark Twain who said you never regret the things you do, just the things you don’t? Or something. And taking a risk certainly doesn’t mean just in LOVE stuff. Really, most of mine have not been. Haha.

So, I never, ever make resolutions. I make promises to myself. I made three to myself last year.

1. Take a big risk and change my life (done).

2. Buy a pair of Louboutins (OK, I got the Kate Spade shoes instead).

3. Just rest assured that this one is done and it involved kissing.

I am working on next year’s promises to myself list and I have two so far. One is that I am going to go back to grad school to get my Ph.D. That’s right, you all can call me Dr. WL. (I feel like this is obviously a huge risk but it’s something I have always wanted to do.)

Where was I going with this? I am going to challenge you, our dear readers (and stalkers) to take at least one risk in your life next year. Just one. Do something you have always wanted to do but have been afraid for some reason. Try something different. Learn to be alone. Learn to be happy with yourself. Wear heels. Tell your boss you deserve a raise. Tell your mother to mind her own business.

What do you have to lose? What is the worst thing that will happen? Your boss says no. Your feet hurt. You feel lonely for a time. You walk away knowing that you tried.

If the opposite happens, and you end up with your happy learned Portuguese and learned English together ending, then all the better. But you have to start with a risk.

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Taking Back My Christmas Spirit

So, in the spirit of Christmas, I thought I’d share my feelings and hopes for the holidays. Really, since I also made fun of Bitchy for loving Christmas movies, I should admit up front that I am all for mushy, romantic, love filled Christmas gestures. SUE ME. I will never be (ever again) one of those women who doesn’t admit that she hopes for nothing more than sweet words, romantic gestures, and even maybe cue cards and boom boxes. There, I said it.

Now, on with the story.

Nearly my whole entire life, my Christmases have sucked. Big time. I have few really good Christmas memories from my childhood. I have tons of bad ones. One benefit of getting older is that my memories of those bad times do fade into the recesses of my mind, but yeah, Christmas was not cookies and presents and trips to visit Santa when I was a kid. Christmas for me was violence and screaming and drunken, violent adults and, more often than not, police sirens. You know those holiday parties everyone goes to? You have a couple of drinks with friends, talk about good times, share gifts, do weird things like ugly sweater exchanges? Well, my mom and my step-father’s parties were always ones that you knew would end in someone getting hit, possibly the cops being called, and raging, raging screaming all night.

I hated Christmas. New Year’s Eve was worse because add hillbillies with fireworks and shotguns.

I will never forget the Christmas Eve when my mom had me run to a neighbors in the snow to call the police because he had beaten her again. My neighbors were my step-grandparents. They wouldn’t let me call, but tried to give me my presents early to appease me. I went to the next neighbors. When the cops got there, they told my mom that she’d be the one who would have to leave because he was the man of the house. Have to love the early eighties and women’s rights right there.

My suspicions about Santa were confirmed when I was eight years old. I was a normal kid who poked around everywhere looking for signs of wrapped presents because how could a dude make it around the world in ONE night? The same usual scene had happened on Christmas Eve and I woke up in the middle of the night and there were no presents under the tree. My little sister, who was two, was still sleeping. My mom was passed out in a chair with puke all over her, stepdad was gone. This image I will never forget. I looked around in her closet, under the beds. But I realized I had to find the presents and wrap them for my sister. I went downstairs to the creepy old basement and there they were, most unwrapped. So, I brought them upstairs and wrapped them. And no one said a word about it in the morning.

Up until I was about 14 when my grandmother adopted me and moved me to Florida, Christmas was always like this and sometimes worse. I especially hated Christmas vacation from school because school was my safe place.

It took me a long time to really enjoy and love Christmas and, mostly, these days, I can avoid the temporary depression that grabs a hold of a lot of people during the holidays. Fast forward to the last few years…I don’t spend Christmas with much of my family because, well, see above and/or the awkwardness of being around people for the holidays that you can’t stand. Personally now I try to make Christmas about the people I really care about in my life and I try to make Christmas really special for the most important people.

I do Christmas cards, I make cookies, and I buy entirely too many presents. I buy Christmas presents for months and months beforehand. I buy little things that remind me of people and I often forget things I’ve purchased and pull them out after Christmas when cleaning out a closet. It’s not that I am materialistic (OK, I have a shoe problem), but even little tiny things that make me think of someone I want to GIVE to people. I love ALL of the Christmas specials, Christmas music, cocoa and fuzzy slippers, etc etc. This year I only took out about 25% of my Christmas decorations because I don’t have as much space and I still have Christmas night lights and hand towels in both bathrooms. CHEESE BALL CITY.

The other things I always do: donate to a local food pantry, donate to toys for tots, choose children from a Salvation Army tree and purchase their presents, and give cookies to my neighbors. I probably am also prone to attacks of emo mush towards the people I love. It’s a good thing that they already like me. I mean, if you can’t find it in your heart to share your emotions at Christmastime, then boo on you.

What I don’t do? I don’t wallow in the past and feel sorry for myself.

I hope that all of you, my dear readers, have a wonderful, happy, love-filled holiday season. And here’s to a fabulous 2013.

(And even you guys who read this blog to continue to stalk and harass, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.)

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On My Love of Christmas Romance

I’m going to confess something, dear readers. This is something I’ve only recently confessed to Winey, so you know it’s big. It’s not that I’m afraid that anyone will judge me (okay, maybe just a little bit), but it’s just something that seems so silly. But here goes:

Christmas turns me into a huge romantic sap.

It’s true. No  other time of the year makes me mushy like Christmas. It’s not that I’m a cynical person by nature any other time of the year, but there’s something about Christmas that just gets me. Maybe it’s the scent of pine trees. Or the ribbons; I really do like ribbons. Or maybe it’s just because I love buying things for people and this is the one time of year that no one can complain about presents. Or maybe it’s the snow. There’s a certain amount of romance in the first snowfall of the year; you know, before it gets all brown and sludgey and you’re totally sick of it.

I’ve read all the Christmas-themed romance novels my library owns. but not the Debbie Macomber or Thomas Kinkade ones; I do have standards, you know. I spent all day Saturday watching cheesy Christmas romance movies on Netflix. And not even the good ones like Love Actually or well, are there any other *good* Christmas romance movies? The ones I watched were ABC Family specials starring Melissa Joan Hart, Mario Lopez, and Mark Paul Gossler.

My favorite Christmas romance scenario is when a girl drags a complete stranger along with her to Christmas with her family, under the guise that he’s her boyfriend. Then, over the course of just a few days and a several glasses of egg nog, they fall completely in love with each other. Yes, I know. I’m weird. I realize that that would never happen in real life. It’s completely unrealistic that two completely strangers would declare their love for each other after only days of knowing each other, just because it’s Christmas. But that’s kind of the point. Christmas magic and all that shit. I mean, it’s what brought Frosty the Snowman to life, so why can’t it make two people fall in love?

It’s not as though I want to recreate these stories in my own life. I’m happy with the way my life is going. I’ve always thought that kisses under the mistletoe would be awkward. It’s awkward enough bringing a significant other home for the holidays, let alone a complete stranger. I’m not very good at winter sports, so spontaneous kisses while ice skating? Totally out. I fall enough on my own without the added distraction of kisses. And don’t get me started on Christmas carols. There’s no way you’ll ever see me going out and singing “Jingle Bells” with a group of people, not even if I’m really drunk.

I think what it comes down to is that I want to believe in happy endings because not believing in them is scary. Will I get my own happy ending if I don’t believe they can happen in books and movies? If someone can fall in love with a flawed character, then that means that someone can fall in love with me, too, no matter how silly that sounds. Despite being divorced, I’m still hoping for my own happy ending. I know it’s on the naive side, but these books and movies make happy endings seem a little more possible, even for me. I’m not expecting some grand, unrealistic gesture, like a boom box and declarations of love written on cue cards. Let’s get real. I mean, do boom boxes even exist any longer? But seriously, just a small gesture that makes me feel special appreciated is all I’ve ever really wanted.

Though, if I’m being completely honest, I’ve always wanted to make a snowman with someone I care about. Or start a snowball fight that ends in kissing in a snowbank and is followed by hot chocolate. But that’s it. Really. I promise.

Happy Holidays, and may all your wildest dreams come true. :)

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#25ActsofXmas

I’ve always been the gift-giving type. The more I like you, the more I’ll randomly buy you something, just because it made me think of you. I give gifts to show that I care about someone. I think I do that because that’s a way my family has always shown love. My grandma regularly takes me on shopping sprees, but she’s never once told me to my face that she thinks I’m doing things right in my life. So I just have to assume that when she wants to buy me a new coat and boots that’s her way of saying that she loves me.

When my friend @MattKirschner started talking about the #25ActsofXmas he planned to do, I decided to jump on the Train of Good Cheer (oh god, I’m lame on a Saturday morning). I have pledged to do 25 random acts of kindness between now and December 25. Being in a service-oriented industry, I tend to always do things with kindness, but the point of this project is to go above and beyond. Or at least do something you wouldn’t normally do.

For my first random act of kindness, I mailed a care package off to Camilla Kuhns, a young woman who is in inpatient treatment for an eating disorder she’s been battling since she was quite young (WARNING: her blog may be triggering). I first learned of Camilla through a friend on Facebook and I’ve been following her blog since. Currently, she’s documenting her treatment through blog entries her father posts for her at the end of every week. Her treatment is very expensive  and I plan on donating to her treatment fund as well. Camilla is an extremely brave and beautiful person and I think she deserves this chance to get healthy.

I haven’t really thought too much about what I’m going to do for the rest of my #25ActsofXmas. I guess that’s the whole point. They’re supposed to be random acts of kindness. I have a few ideas of what I’d like to do during the month of December, however. I’m definitely going to need to come up with more ideas, though. Does anyone have any suggestions?

#25ActsofXmas Ideas

  • Buy something at Dunkin Donuts or Starbucks and pay for the car behind me.
  • Give someone who has no money 10 cents to print their document out at the library.
  • Donate to a food pantry.
  • Buy a friend a meal, hopefully one that involves bacon.
  • Send a Christmas card to a random person I find in the phone book.
  • Buy a gift for Toys for Tots.
  • Smile at random people I pass on the street.
  • Not honk at any drivers or be all road ragey.
  • Bring donuts to work.
  • Mail a gift I’ve been meaning to send for ages.

Clearly, those ideas won’t last me long, but I’m confident that I can do some random act of kindness every day, without planning it out in advance. You never know what will happen during the course of a day. The whole point of this project is to spread cheer and make someone’s day better. There are few things I like more than making someone smile. I like knowing that I’m the reason for a smile on someone’s face. So I encourage everyone to either join in on the #25ActsofXmas or at least spread a little cheer this holiday season. The holidays can be hard for people, so going the extra mile may inspire them to do something similar.

I’ve always loved the holiday season, but this year I feel even more excited about it. My Christmas last year was pretty low-key and my New Year’s Eve celebration turned out to be a complete disaster, so I’m looking forward to making better memories to replace last year’s. I’m spending Christmas with my parents this year and I plan to see some old friends. And this New Year’s Eve? I’ll be getting a kiss at midnight. :)

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In Which I am Thankful

One of my favorite Thanksgiving memories happened when I was in fourth grade. When I was in fourth grade, my friend H and I spent a class period helping in the classroom designed for the mentally and physically disabled students; I think the rest of our class was being read to by our teacher (H and I were in an advanced reading class), though I really can’t remember. Reading to fourth graders seems really juvenile now that I think about it.

ANYWAY. H and I would visit with each student, play computer games with them, do crafts, and help with homework. It was an extremely humbling experience for the both of us and taught us a lot about compassion and embracing differences. Around Thanksgiving that year, we were invited to share a meal with the class, so instead of eating lunch in the cafeteria at our usual table, we ate in their classroom and made Thanksgiving crafts. I’ve never forgotten the students in that classroom and what they taught me about being thankful for the things in your life.

I have a lot to be thankful for this year. I am happier, healthier, and a better personal overall. I feel like I can mark 2012 off as a good year, and for that alone, I am thankful.

In no particular order, I present to you my list of things I am thankful for:

  • Finding my happy. 2011 was a tumultuous year for me, but 2012 was the year I found myself and my happy. I am thankful for the courage I found within myself to make drastic changes in my life.
  • Assholes. Yup, I am thankful for assholes. Had they not shown their true selves to me, they would still be in my life. I am thankful for removing toxic people from my life.
  • Winey. She is my very bestest friend and isn’t afraid to give me some tough love when I need it. We’ve driven across the country, had tons of adventures, and we always push each other to be the best people we can be. She moved to Ohio for an amazing job, yes, but I like to pretend that she mostly moved here just for me. ;) She’s proved to be the best friend I’ve ever had and I am so thankful she’s no longer a million miles away. I LOVE YOUUUUUU.
  • Cuddles. I may not get them as often as I’d like, but I am thankful for the cuddles I get and for the person cuddling me. He may be far away, but knowing that he cares is definitely something to be thankful for.
  • Spotify. The Spotify app on my phone has reintroduced me to music I used to love as well as new favorites. And it’s saved me from countless radio commercials. Best $9.99 I spend every month.
  • Facebook pokes. I know it’s silly, but when a certain person pokes me on Facebook, it never fails to make me smile, no matter what is happening in my day.
  • My friends, both near and far. I have a great group of friends who have been extremely supportive over the last year. They’ve never made me feel bad for the changes I’ve decided to make in my life and they’re always up for dinner and hanging out when I need it most. The virtual support I’ve gotten from certain people (you know who you are) has been needed and welcomed.
  • Boyscout. He’s been an amazing friend throughout everything I’ve gone through. He’s one of my greatest cheerleaders and has helped me a lot during my journey to finding my happy, even if he has a hard time with volume controls on occasion.
  • Stopping my migraine medicine. One of my greatest accomplishments this year was weaning myself off Topamax. I rarely get migraines now, and when I do, they are easily treated.
  • Twitter. While the Twitter has been annoying me a lot as of late, it’s still brought me some of the most awesome people in my life. So I guess it’s a trade-off. Plus, you guys can be pretty supportive sometimes.
  • My family. My parents may drive me batty sometimes, but I know they love and support me, no matter what.
  • My former boss. She was the first boss I’ve ever had who truly saw my potential and allowed me to run with all sorts of ideas and responsibilities. Unfortunately, she’s no longer my boss.
  • The pretty things in life, like shoes, lingerie, and dresses. A good pair of shoes will always put me in a better mood. I’ve never owned so many dresses in my entire life. I can be pretty girly when I want to be.
  • Smiling. I feel like I’ve done more smiling this year than ever before. And that’s a good thing.
  • Chapstick. Oh, chapstick, my life would be miserable without you. I know I have an addiction and because I use it so much, my lips no longer produce their own moisture. BUT I CAN’T QUIT YOU, CHAPSTICK.
  • My passion. If I’m passionate about something, I go all in. My passion is what makes me a great librarian and allows me to live a fun and fulfilled life, as cheesy as that sounds.
  • G and J. I am thankful for the hugs you give me. I am thankful for the times you want me to tuck you in at night and read you stories and play smash cars. I am thankful for your love, even though I just randomly appeared in your lives one day. I am proud to be your honorary Aunt Bitchy.

I know that it’s a lot easier to cling to the negative things in your life instead of looking toward the positive, but try to take some time this season to focus on the good things in your life. Chances are, you have a lot to be thankful for.

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On Being Thankful

So, Thanksgiving is two days away and I have seen a lot of people on social media doing these sort of “be thankful for something every day in November” thingys, but of course I would do mine differently. Besides, there are thirty days in November and that’s a lot of thankfulness to make up, I mean have. Here instead I will word vomit on you, our readers, about the things I am thankful for. They are not in any particular order. Honest. Some of these are mushy; some are completely shallow. But all of them are true.

May I present to you, WL’s things she is thankful for, then:

  • My hair. I am thankful that I mostly have pretty fantastic hair. It makes me happy. This is the longest I’ve had my hair since I was in college. File this one under shallow, whatever.
  • Shoes. All of them. The ones I buy and the ones I don’t because they all make me smile. Some shoes are just so beautiful they are like little works of art.
  • The Great Purge of 2012. Getting rid of the bullshit in your life is so fucking fantastic.
  • My assistant. She has made the transition to this job so much easier than it might have been. And she does not care that I have a potty mouth.
  • Bitchylibrarian. You knew she’d be on this list, right? Bitchy is the bestest friend ever because she’s the kind of friend who will totally be honest with you, drive across the country with you, taste your bourbon, endure the torture of ALA, day drink, take care of the stuff you can’t do, listen to your break downs, ride the train, and learn to even watch college football with your screaming face. B, I love youuuuuuuuuuuuuu.
  • My gram. Even though she drives me nuts.
  • The people who love me. There are a few people, believe it or not, who love me no matter what, I think. Feeling accepted and loved is important to every person, but I have serious abandonment issues (feel free to read other posts for evidence) and so having had some stability from people in my life has been really great this year…even if they are far away.
  • J. Thank you for always making me see the good in myself. <3
  • Florida Football. I love, love, love college football and even when my Gators suck, have no offense, have more penalties than should be legally allowed, lose to fucking Georgia, and whatever else, I love them. I love Saturdays in the fall.
  • My fur babies. Some nights there is nothing better than a motor next to my head. My oldest cat has been the most loyal man in my life for thirteen years.
  • Laughing. There are few better feelings than a seriously good laugh with good friends and people you care about and I have had A LOT of those this year.
  • Scruff. :) It has been so good having a best friend across the pond. I am so proud of you. May the next year include bubbles and wine.
  • My drive. I am thankful that I have the confidence in myself to know that I can be awesome at my career and go for the things I want without being completely full of shit and incapable (like so many people I’ve seen) of leading. I am a good bosslady. There, I said it.
  • Wine. I think this needs no other explanation.
  • PB (who has a zillion nicknames but deserves this one the mostest). The adorableness is off the charts. Thank you, thank you, thank you for always listening, encouraging, helping and all of the other things you do for me. I don’t think I could have interviewed, negotiated, or accepted this job without you. You mean so much.
  • Twitter. Because it gave me so many people that I care about. Even on the days I hate it, I still have those people.
  • Private things. I am thankful most of all for the things that I choose to keep private. :)
  • New beginnings. New place, new job, new year, new life, new people. So much love for all of it.

So that’s not everything I am thankful for, but it’s enough. Now, go and tell someone you are thankful for them. And mean it.

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Dear Attention Whores

Dear Attention Whores,

Stop it. You’re embarrassing yourselves and making me feel uncomfortable. Pointing out that you have boobs is not going to make people like you. Sure, someone who appreciates your boobs may take you home for the night, but that’s about all you’re going to get out of it. Maybe you think that’s what you want, but the more it happens, the more attention you crave.

And stop trying to compete with other females for what you perceive to be a “good guy.” If you put two or more women who crave attention in the same room, it gets even worse. They play off each other’s insecurities and try to out-do the other. Honestly, I feel like I’m watching a National Geographic documentary when I see two females competing with each other over the same man or men. If only Morgan Freeman was there to narrate your desperate bids for attention. That would make everything that much better.

I know this may seem pretty hypocritical coming from me, someone who was likely considered quite the attention whore until just about a year ago, but the more I see women fall all over themselves to out-boob each other and compete for men, the more annoyed I become. I think part of my annoyance stems from the fact that I fear that’s how I used to portray myself and it disgusts me. Was I the girl basically yelling “BOOBS. LOOK AT MY BOOBS. I HAVE BOOBS. BOOBS!” at every moment I could? I sincerely hope not, but I know my behavior was pretty annoying anyway.

I’m just so over that kind of behavior. It isn’t funny. It isn’t cute. It makes it hard to like you. All it does is make you look desperate and like you have no personality. I may be more sensitive to attention whoring because I’ve been there and now watching people act a certain way makes me really uncomfortable. I just have no patience for people who act like this, though I know I should be more understanding since I’ve been there before.

I realize that this post could be perceived that I’m jealous of the attention other girls get. Believe me, if I wanted that kind of attention, I could (and have) easily command it. The attention I got when I was regularly showing off my body was empty and short-lived, which is why I had to keep posting more and more pictures of myself. The more attention you get, the faster it wears off and you need more, more, more. Attention from someone who actually cares about you? Yeah, that’s something completely different.

So now, I present to you, Bitchy’s Tips for Not Being an Attention Whore:

Just be yourself. I want people to like me because I am intelligent, kind, and I have a sense of humor. The fact that I have boobs shouldn’t even be a factor, though they are a nice touch. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t like attention, but I no longer crave attention from EVERYONE in the world.

Like yourself. If you’re unhappy with any aspect of yourself or your life, the attention you get is a way of masking your unhappiness. Flaunting yourself is a crutch for the things you believe you are lacking. As soon as I made changes in my life for the better, my need for attention just disappeared.

Don’t get caught up in a competition. Don’t let others influence how you behave. Just because someone you’re out with is whoring herself out for attention, it doesn’t mean you have to do the same in order to compete for the attention she’s getting. Do you really want that kind of attention anyway? If a person can’t like you for who you are, no amount of boob flashing is going to change that.

Not every outing is an opportunity to meet someone to date. You know that old saying, “Love finds you when you’re not looking for it”? Keep that in mind. Actively seeking out a connection with every person you encounter is no way to actually meet someone. And the people you do meet while flashing your boobs everywhere aren’t going to be the type of people who will stick around.

Some people just aren’t interested. If someone isn’t acknowledging your existence, no amount of putting food in your boobs or dancing on a chair is going to change that. Sure, they might appreciate your assets, but that’s as far as it goes.

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A Letter to my Mother

Four years ago, I lost my mother to cancer: lung that metastasized to her brain and then throughout her body. She didn’t have health insurance and thankfully the hospice workers found a grant for treatment, though really it was always hopeless. It was horrible, but fast. To this day, I still donate money to the local hospice that cared for her and made her last months what she would want them to be. Anyway, I’ve waffled back and forth on whether or not to post this because it feels so raw really, but this is my blog where I can let these sort of things out. I’m a very private person, but I do need to release emotion sometimes, otherwise I might just explode (or worse, implode).

A few days ago was the anniversary of her death and it *almost* slipped by me, had I not found an old calendar in some paper things this weekend.

This was always meant to be the year that I found my happiness, but sometimes happiness comes in letting some things go. In forgiveness. In moving on and remembering the more beautiful parts of something. So I thought I’d write my mom a letter. We used to do that when I was in college because she didn’t have a phone. I share this with you in the hopes that you can find good things, forgiveness, and acceptance in someone in your life, too.

_______

Dear Mom,

I owe you somewhat of an apology. I’ve spent much of my life focusing on the negative things about our relationship and my childhood and not focusing enough really on what a truly good soul you had and what a beautiful woman you were before life wore you down. I guess I see now how hard things were for you, every day.

You were always the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen. Somewhere I have pictures of you and you looked liked an angel. You were a gifted artist. Grandma still has your paintings hanging on her walls. You were a fantastic gardener and could grow anything. Sadly, I am neither an artist or a gardener and my looks pale in comparison to yours. But every now and then, I see you in myself in the mirror.

I have a few really good memories I want to thank you for. Thank you for taking me to the candy store on the corner when we lived by ourselves when I was three. These are my earliest memories of you. You would hand me a bunch of change and I’d get a handful of candies. My favorites were those red penny candies. And smarties. I loved smarties. Thank you for the collection of Disney records. To this day, I love the songs from Robin Hood so, so much. Thank you for letting me stay up to watch the Incredible Hulk while I hid behind the couch. I know that you knew I was there, but you let me watch and then sneak to bed. Thank you for not yelling at me when I came home with a bloody nose in seventh grade after my first girl fight over a boy. Thank you (not really) for calling everyone in the family and telling them when I got my first period. I died. Thank you for letting me get the Goober mixed peanut butter and jelly that one time when we had absolutely no money because I really, really wanted it. Thank you for staying in a horrible, abusive relationship so that I could be in the best school and have a place to sleep. Thank you (sort of) for letting me always get a puppy even though we ended up having to give them away. The temporary love was always welcome. Thank you for picking raspberries with me in the backyard and not making me eat that stuff you called zucchini pie.

Thank you for telling me “It hurts to be beautiful.” It totally does.

Thank you for making me as smart as I am. You should get at least half of the credit.

Thank you for never, ever letting my stepfather hit me with that belt.

Thank you for giving me to grandma on the weekends and letting me having a temporary stable environment. Thank goodness there were weekends and I had somewhere to go. Thank you for giving me to her, permanently, when I was fourteen.

And now, forgiveness. I forgive you, mom, for not showing me how much you loved me. I forgive you for not being a good mother. I mean, you were seventeen when you had me. I forgive you for the ugly things you spewed at me which were probably said in frustration. I forgive you for choosing the string of shitty men you did (and for giving me a better example of what NOT to do.)  I forgive you for the drugs and the drinking and everything that was such a mess. I forgive all of the violence and the hate. I forgive you for giving me the chip on my shoulder that creeps up on me sometimes and scares me that I, too, will be terrible at life and things and mothering or relationships. I forgive you for the way I found out about Santa. I forgive you for neglecting your kids while you were busy trying to forget your life. I somehow get this better now.

I need to apologize too for my ego. I was always planning on leaving you and my sisters, that place, going to college, doing better, and turning down my nose at everything. I’m sorry I didn’t invite you to any of the big things in my life for fear of the drama that would ensue. I could have tried a little more. I’m sorry that we never really had a good relationship. I’m sorry you’ll never know the people in my life or see the big job I have now.

The last thing I said to you was that I loved you and I promised I would watch out for gram. I am still keeping that one. Honest.

I love you, mom, and miss you. Mostly, I miss what I think we could have become as mother and daughter. And what I could have shared with you. But, I’m happy that as I get older and wiser, I can remember the good things now and the bad things get fuzzy. Funny that.

Love,

Me

 

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