Wednesday, January 14, 2015

The Perils of Walmart Shopping

I ran to walmart last night to grab a few essentials. That was my first mistake.
My daughter and I went to the cash register and, since I was at Wal-Mart, only two registers were open. There were 3 employees at the empty Customer Service desk, of course. But two cashiers in the whole goddamn place.
So we went past the regular checkout and it was packed with people whose carts were similarly packed. I had about 15 items, so I went to the 20 Items or Fewer register (well, that's what it should be titled, but "proper grammer" and "Wal-Mart" don't often go together). This happened to be the only register where one can buy tobacco and baby formula. For that reason, this is the lane that many people have to go to, but idiots like me who just have fewer than 20 items get in it too.
Our cashier had disheveled hair, red eyes, and spoke in a mumbly voice that nobody was able to understand the first time. My first thought was, "Holy crap, this dude is drunk as fuck."
The lady at the front of our line was a tall blonde who looked far too clean and affluent to be at a Wal-Mart. We'll call her Buffy. Behind her was a miniature hispanic lady. I assume she was hispanic because she responded once to a comment with what sound like something my friends learned in high school Spanish class. Day Nada? Right. Okay, so we'll call her Maria. Then there was me, and a few minutes later someone appeared in line behind me but I didn't turn around to see who it was.

Buffy was buying one thing, with a $10 off coupon. That's a damn good coupon, you get it girl! And put the money you saved right into your IRA. Cashier Dude couldn't figure it out, so he had to call over a manager. Somehow he ran the coupon incorrectly. Manager came over and fixed it, with some trouble. The woman checking out apologized to us twice while waiting. The hispanic lady in front of me just smiled and made a noncommittal noise, seemingly perplexed as to what the fuck was happening, while I reassured Buffy that she was just fine, no worries. Because I didn't know that her delay was the first in a long line of delays that would make me want to stab my own brain through the ear with a clearance fork. 
Meanwhile, Maria only had diapers and wipes on the belt. Since the belt was mostly empty, I emptied my cart onto the back. This would prove to be my second mistake: now I was stuck in this aisle, unless I took everything off the belt and put it back in my cart.
Right as Drunk Cashier was about to start ringing up the lady in front of me, I became aware of a commotion behind us. A beautiful, tall black woman in her 30s at most asked if she could hop in front of me, because "Otherwise he's going to wreck the store." I turned to see that she was referring to a a white man in his thirties who appeared to have a cognitive issue, and who was drinking a can of pepsi from an opened carton in the cart. Based on their ethnic differences and what happened next, I assume she was his nurse or caregiver in some capacity. We'll call her Hellooo, Nurse. "Please, go right ahead," I said. Hellooo Nurse looked so disheveled that I wanted to help her or hug her or buy her a whole jug of wine with a straw.
She squeezed ahead of me and threw a few items on the register, informing the man that since he opened the soda, she would be paying for it with his money instead of hers. She got out his money bag and had him pay Drunk Cashier for the stuff he'd opened, gesturing to it in her cart behind me. Drunk Cashier rung him up, and then she threw her other few items on the belt to be paid for on her own card. Meanwhile the gentleman with her was yelling loudly, asking her questions, and causing a commotion. She patiently answered his repeated questions, which seemed to be in some kind of code that only she and he understood. "Whatime?" he would yell, and she would say "Wednesday." This would repeat a dozen times before he switched to "Wedsday?" and she'd reply "That's today."

Both myself and Maria smiled encouragingly at Hellooo Nurse, who clearly had her hands full but was rocking it. When she apologized to us, I told her she was doing a great job. She thanked me as she blew her hair out of her eyes and dropped her wallet, dropping change everywhere. My daughter helped her pick it up while I moved my cart behind hers so she could access her stuff and get out of there easier.
As Hellooo Nurse was gathering her bags back into her cart, Maria stepped up to have her items rung up. They were still on the belt. Drunk Cashier said, "Oh no, I already rang those up on your card." What? Whaa- how had he rung up those items if he hadn't scanned them? Apparently he'd seen her gesturing to her cart and instead thought she had also been intending to pay for Maria's 3 items, which he'd somehow rung up. There was a whole mess of confusion, resulting in another manager coming over and having to negate payments and re-ring various items. The people in the customer service department just nonchalantly looked over at us, chatting away to each other with their zero customers, while I did my best to wish diarrhea on all of them for being so goddamn useless. Hellooo Nurse again apologized. The non-English-speaking woman just looked terrified. My daughter sighed. 
Finally it was our turn to go. Drunk Cashier rang us up, and two of the items rang up differently than they had been marked in the aisle, so i had him remove them from my receipt. He apologized profusely... for the one thing all night that hadn't been his fault. I got the impression by his manner of speech that perhaps he wasn't drunk or on drugs (though I've never really been around drugs to know how they make you behave), perhaps he was struggling with the same type of mental competency issues like Hellooo Nurse's charge. I'm still perplexed as to why a national superstore would place this man at the busiest register in the store, without keeping a manager nearby. He was clearly struggling and causing more problems than he was solving. It seemed to be the equivalent of me giving my 9 year old daughter the job of driving my car so that I could sit in the passenger seat and control the radio instead. Sure, it'd make her feel good, but it'll be basically suicide for all of us. 
We got out of there, and on our way out, the Bath Fitter dude stopped us. If you've never heard of Bath Fitter, they come out to your moldy-ass nasty bath tub and put a new bath tub shell over it, so you can appear to have cleaned your tub once in awhile while ignoring the inevitable stench wafting up from between the layers.  But fine, Bath Fitter guy. I'll call him Raspy due to his obvious habit of smoking since he was a fetus. Raspy was in his 40s or 50s and wearing a leather jacket with a button-up shirt underneath, which was unbuttoned down to his navel. He called out to us and, exhausted, I politely declined - "It looks nice, but we can't make changes because we're renting." All true. All my attempt to get the fuck out of there without talking to this obviously pushy guy. 
But Raspy took my rental explanation as cause to run out and stop us. He placed himself in front of my cart and said that he'd give me a 10% off coupon for when we buy a house. Sure, dude. I'm going to buy a house with a bathroom so unsightly and unkempt that I have to refinish it with your bullshit solution. I understand that this is Walmart, but you're aiming too high here, bro. Either way, I wanted to leave. So I decided the quickest way to get out of there was to take the free 10% Off coupon. But to get that goddamn coupon, he said I had to sign up on a contact card. Fucking fine.

I wrote down my previous address which no longer forwards my mail, and my "cell phone number" which was a conglomeration of my parents' landline and some other random numbers thrown in. Raspy read my name from the card and jumped into full Salesman mode. And he was doing the hard sell. "Becky, if you see here, this does this" and "Becky, if you get your landlord to meet with my lady that'll call you, this and this and this will happen." Becky, did you know that Bath Fitter does kitchen cabinets too? Look at this --" Then he started quizzing me about how close my landlord was to us, what my landlord's gender was, and asking for my landlord's phone number.

I didn't have the heart to tell him that my landlord was a serious control-freak of a bitch who had paid extra to have my house's kitchen done by a custom cabinet dude from Amish country, and who had nearly had a bowel-exploding stroke one time when a magnet fell off from one of the cupboard doors. He continued on for well over ten minutes, not pausing long enough for me to interrupt. He finally asked a question, probably something like "Do you hate yourself enough to refinish your entire bathroom with a veneer bathtub?" and I saw my chance to speak.

"I need to get my daughter home to bed," I said, yanking my child's head sideways against my hip in faux maternal affection, while mentally channeling the phrase "Pretend to be tired, you little fucker, I want to leave!" He said he understood and went through another 3 minute speil detailing exactly how they'd get in touch with us (they'll call me, I GOT IT DUDE), how great my daughter was behaving (You should see what I'm holding back from doing to you, Raspy), and asking her if she did well in school (Better than you, bro.). I backed away and said goodnight, and he kept talking as we walked away. "Have a good night!" I shouted, shuddering from the pushiness and frustration of everything.
My daughter quizzed me later in the car. "What on earth was that about?" I explained her how I was just being polite, and how stupid it was to be indirect, and how indirectness can get you caught up into sitiations like that. What better life lesson on how dangerous indirectness is than being street-harassed by some dude who works on commission. 
So. I'd like to conclude this story by saying that Pennsylvania needs to update their shittyass liquor laws, because I definitely needed a drink after that, and that entire thing would've been so much better if I'd been able to pop open a bag of wine with a twisty straw and slurp my way to oblivion. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Do we really need to "KEEP CHRIST in CHRISTMAS" ?

Christmas is, of course, a holiday that is considered to be a "Christian" holiday. Naturally since we Americans live in a nation that has had many Christians in its history, Christmas has become a national holiday where banks, businesses, and schools are closed.

It's also become a source of contention between groups that seem to be at war.

First, you have many Christians who claim it as their holiday, and who are hurt, offended, or angered by the implications that anything other than a Christian viewpoint on Christmas is a travesty. Then you have the rest of the nation - people who don't see themselves as Christian either because they have a different religion or don't identify with a religion altogether, or they are ambivalent about the Christian roots of our current Christmas celebration.

Facebook is awash with usually-sincere, sometimes obnoxious, often overly-capitalized memes being shared by those in the former group. Keep CHRIST in CHRISTmas!, they say. It's merry CHRISTmas! JESUS is the REASON for the SEASON! Personally, I'm not big on public displays of ANY religion, so they just make me eyeroll in the same way that I roll my eyes over verses, inspirational quotes, and "#blessed" hashtags. Pipe down, Sparky. Nobody cares what you believe if you're annoying or preachy about it.

But I think the topic is worth discussing. To clear things up, I was raised in a very strict Christian home, went to Christian college, and am engaged to a Christian man. I've taught Sunday School almost every year since I was in high school. But I'm nothing like your "classic Christian." I got kicked out of that Christian college. I got pregnant to an atheist weeks later, and didn't attend church for years afterward. My daughter is now 9. I had her the day before I turned 21.

But, I drink and swear and am living with the aforementioned fiance. After attending a whitewashed Christian college that sorely disappointed me, I found myself looking at Christians and Christianity through a new lens: not the Christian lens (which seems rose-colored and ill-fitting to me) or the non-Christian lens (which seems hopelessly gray and loose to me at times), but through a different lens: the realist's lens, which is forged of necessity from an eye that's tried on both lenses. I have friends who range anywhere from "self-proclaimed Jesus Freak" to "Staunch Atheist." (The agnostics are my favorites because they're the most open-minded.) After years of pretending to be someone I wasn't, I threw off the chains of Public Opinion and decided that I would only believe what I personally believe because I've researched the facts and feelings and have decided that it works for me personally, and me alone. If I had to title my "religion," I'd say that I'm a Jesus-loving, Bible-believing, non-denominational libertarian with an affinity for etymology, facts, and honesty and a regular penchant for hedonism slipping through. That's the truth where it stands. I'm not going to pretend to be a great example of Christianity just so you'll respect me or identify with me more or less, or so that you can share this on facebook and say "Yes! THIS GIRL GETS IT!". If I did that, it would be a lie, and lies are for teenagers and criminals. If you'd like to discuss whether I'm a hypocrite, I'm absolutely open to the discussion because I'm constantly wondering the same thing myself. Seems I only see my hypocrisy in retrospect.

So. Because of my unique perspective of being a super-religious Christian throughout adolescence, getting rejected by churches and Christians in early adulthood, going through a rebellious/finding myself phase, and slowly coming around to just core beliefs...I feel like I can speak frankly and honestly toward various crowds: the religious Christians, the "Christianity is a relationship, not a religion" crowd, the atheists, the agnostics, the people who don't really think about religion...

I saw this link from Honest Mom come up on my facebook feed. I clicked it with the hope that some other blogger had captured my words so that I, lazy and busy at the same time, wouldn't have to write something up just to get these words out of my brain, which happens often for me.

The article made some excellent points: Christmas is not only "ours" as Christians. It's a secular holiday now, celebrated by people of all religions in various countries. Christmas has roots in Christianity, but many of our traditions are pagan as well.  Christmas is only about commercialization if you make it that way. All excellent points, and all worth discussing in a respectful setting. I personally was displeased with the article because it also focused on not offending people, which is a silly concept. Yes, we should be respectful. But as soon as you bring the word "offended" into the mix, this isn't about respect, it's about pandering to popular opinion.  If you look around, you'll see groups of people just waiting with baited breath to be offended. You'll see politicized groups watching the news with the hope that someone on "the other side" will say something that can be attacked and dissected and used in out-of-context memes forevermore. While the Bible calls Christians to LOVE, it does not call them to people-please. I don't mean to be dismissive of the article - it's a good article and the author is obviously a genuine and thoughtful person. I was just hoping for something a little more... in-depth, I guess?

So, to the keyboard I go, and here we are.

To my Christian friends sharing these memes and hurting because this holiday that you feel strongly about has become something that feels dismissive of your beliefs:

I'm glad that you care so strongly about your faith. It's nice to see genuine, passionate people in a world full of ambivalence.

But please understand these four things:
  1. Many employees cannot say "Merry Christmas" without penalization because many business do not allow this. Businesses often do not want to take a stance on issues that are politicized, such as religion. Understand that they might do this for various reasons: they don't want to lose profits, they don't want to be in the middle of a political firestorm, they don't want to alienate their employees. Those are all respectable viewpoints. A business is allowed to make a profit. A business is allowed to be politically correct. Businesses are usually started to sell a product, not a viewpoint.
  2. Fellow Christians understand the meaning behind Christmas as a religious holiday. But unlike various other religious holidays, this one is celebrated nationally by non-religious entities like the banks and public schools that close on Christmas. Therefore, Christmas as its current definition stands is not so much about Christ, as it is about 'a holiday.' And the joy with holidays is that you can make them out to be whatever you want them to be. Your Spring Break in college might have included community service; mine included sleeping a lot on my parents' couch and probably fighting with my sister. Your family Thanksgiving might include lavish decorations; mine is all about board games after we eat. This is okay. It's okay to define a tradition for yourself. It's okay if someone's definition doesn't match yours.
  3. When you try to "take back" this holiday, you're alienating other people. No, you shouldn't say "Praise Allah" just because your neighbor comes from that other religion. You shouldn't change who you are or what you believe just to appease The Masses.  The Masses can shut their pie holes. But you should step back and realize that when you talk about "taking back" Christmas and how this country is going down the drain, please understand that you're dangerously close to 'that dude's a bigot!' territory, which really doesn't jive with the whole "Jesus loves you and died for you" goal of the Bible. Yes, Christmas is a Christian holiday in tradition and original definition. But it's not yours. It's not ours. It's not 'theirs.' It is what it is: a holiday that's got various traditions attached by various groups. Shouldn't we be more focused on the giving spirit and the loving nature of Christ, than in telling people that their commercialization/politically correct/pagan-ish/not-Jesusy-enough/etc celebration offends us? Stop it. And go read that verse about how we should clothe and feed people physically before we try to feed them spiritually. Feed the world. When that's done, you can try to change their beliefs. (Hint: that will never be done.)
  4.  If we truly believe in the Bible, and if we truly believe that God gave us free will, then we as Christians absolutely should not want Christmas' official definition (for government use, let's say) to be about a religion. While various arguments exist about whether this nation is truly a "Christian nation" (the founding fathers had many religions; this nation was founded on freedom of religion but not on religion itself, etc - google that and come back in 7 hours when your head is spinning), should we actually want this country to be a "Christian nation?" Prayer was taken out of schools.  Is this a good thing or a bad thing?

    Think about it. Do you really want a state-run public school to be teaching religion or leading our children in prayers? I don't even want my neighbor having discussions about morals and ethics with my impressionable daughter - not because I want to brainwash her, but because I want to do the opposite. I have a way of presenting viewpoints that allows for discussion, in the privacy of our home where peer pressure does not exist and parental pressure is intentionally nonexistent. Why would I want a school teacher that my daughter naturally adores to stand in front of a classroom and tell a room full of little children about someone's opinions? We live in a country where freedom is the most important thing for many of us. It is not freedom to have a state religion; it's exactly the opposite, in fact. God gave us free will. This means that you have the freedom to make choices for yourself, whether they be helpful or harmful to you or others.
If you truly believe what you believe, no government or public opinion or political pandering should be able to change that. You can still write lawmakers and get involved in politics if you feel that laws are being passed that are unconstitutional or unfair, or immoral. But it is not "caving in to secularism" to appreciate the fact that other people come from other backgrounds and hold different worldviews.If you want to be "in this world, not of it", then you should behave like someone who is not offended by everything. Leave the butthurt to the people who are actively seeking it (Hi, Mayor Bloomberg), and go out and do some good for the world instead.

To my non-Christian friends: 
  1. Sorry about this whole "attack mode" that a lot of Christians go into if you dare to suggest that your personal Christmas isn't about Christianity. Please understand that when someone strongly believes in something, they have a tendency to may make misguided statements or take misguided actions in their passion. It's really hard as a Christian to believe that the people you care about might not be going to heaven. Hell sucks. Seriously, it sucks; I don't want you to go there if it's real. So sometimes Christians get overzealous and try to go on missions to save the world. We love you. Just like an older brother who slaps you around out of love, sometimes we Christians get slappy with our faith. I'm sorry. We're sorry.
  2. Christians are often defensive because they are attacked, constantly. I know, I know: other groups are attacked, too. Atheists and homosexuals in particular face a lot of disadvantages in the workplace even in today's day and age. But it seems that Christianity is the only group that is universally mockable with no repercussions. Just watch any comedy show, stand-up special, late night talk show, or even sitcom. You'll see it. Christians are portrayed as small-minded rednecks who cling to their religion and are also usually racist. That stereotype would never fly with any other group. Seriously, replace "Christians" in that sentence with Muslims, atheists, women, gay men, or any minority group and you'll feel indignation boil up inside you because it's unfair and stereotyping and untrue. But put "Christians" in there and you'll squint and slowly nod. "Sounds about right."  That's because we're all seemingly okay with mocking this one religion harder than any other religion. I've met Christians who fit that stereotype, but I've met atheists who do as well but who cling to their non-religion just as heartily. I've also met Christians and atheists who are the exact opposite of that. Stereotypes are for ninnies. In addition to this, Christian viewpoints are constantly being attacked and minimized through politics and social norms. So many Christians feel minimized and marginalized. This whole Christ in Christmas thing is just a symptom of the existing problem. 
  3. Thank YOU for being open-minded in your beliefs. As an American, your likelihood of being Christian is much higher than in other nations. (And in other nations, different religions are more common.) You went against the grain in your belief system and that's so respectable, even if it scares some Christians. Since science cannot and will not ever be able to prove or disprove the existence of God, many Christians have a hard time with the disparity that comes with fully believing something, having a logical mind, and having rational human doubts. Christianity is a lesson in faith, and faith is not something that comes easily to anyone - especially faith in the unseen. Please understand that Christian faith is terrifying and unsure but also it's uplifting and comforting, and that's okay. We do appreciate that you have different viewpoints, but we're not always open to discussions because it seems like an attack (seriously, watch TV for one day and see how many times Christians are mocked). 
All Christians aren't jerkfaces. I promise. Cut them some slack in their passion, and they'll (hopefully) cut you some slack in yours.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Hipster Kids

I can't handle being friends with hipsters.

First of all, the facial hair. Who decided it would be considered 'hip' (or whatever the hipster word for 'hip' is) to have sprouts of pubes growing out of your faces?

Then, there are the clothes. The men dress like skinny girls, even if they're neither skinny nor girl, and the women shop in the teenage girls' department. Listen, hipsters: if I wanted to look like I hang out with men whose balls haven't dropped and prepubescent high school girls, I'd become a pedophile, okay? I'm all about having personal style, but when your personal style matches color-for-color, garment-for-garment the colors and garments of the scads of other twentysomethings who are lined up outside the same concert venue as you carrying the same chai latte as all your friends, that's not style. That's idiocy. A 30 year old's fashion accessories shouldn't be the same as my second-grade daughter's.

Seriously, kids: you look like a Tim Burton film trying to casually dust off and stroll away after a violent collision with a Lisa Frank Trapper-Keeper.

But worst of all is the up and down of the trends with these kids. They obsess over something for a year - mustaches, PBR, some random band who's not from the USA, an indy TV show that nobody else likes because it's awful but they like it because the jokes are funny in an unfunny way - and then suddenly they're over it, they're no longer interested, and you're uncool if you happen to still like it. Seriously? Did all these people suddenly become an aloof version of the insecure pretty girl in sixth grade who needs to be in on 'the next big thing' in order to like herself?

Ugh. I just have no time for it. I wish someone would do a study on the income, spending habits, and work habits of anyone who's labelled as a hipster. I guarantee they all have Iphones, don't work 40 hours a week, and don't even pay rent to their parents.

What a generation...

Monday, January 13, 2014

How to find the right neighborhood

Are you trying to find a new place to live, and you need to know if an area is white trash poor, middle-income normal, or full of people so rich they could afford to purchase black-market organs without batting an eye (or going on a kidney donor list)?

Are you scared of moving into a lovely area, only to discover that the local residents petition the Neighborhood Watch to stand guard outside your house simply because you drive a car that's more than 2 years old?

Conversely, are you frightened that the neighborhood will turn into rape alley at nightfall and that you'll have to learn to fall asleep to the sounds of women and children screaming in terror outside your Quaint Suburban Ranch House with Wrap-Around Terrace?

Search no more! I've created this handy little list of indicators so that you can visit an area just once to know whether this is a town in your desired income range.
1. Pet Paradise

Check for a presence of doggie day spas. No no, not for humans. Not boarding kennels. Day. Spas. For. Pets. Where you can send your pets to be pampered with massages, treats, and 'premium services' (puppy happy endings?) for a day or a weekend. If there are many of such spas in the area, approximately 95% of the local women are trophy wives. If there few to zero of these places, then it's likely that the local women have these crazy things called "jobs" and "mortgages" and maybe even "children." And if you have no idea what a pet spa is, congratulations, you're not ridiculous.

2. Weed-free

In the summer, do you see dandelions in yards? After moving from Pennsylvania’s Clearfield County, which is 6 spots away from the poorest in Pennsylvania, to the county that holds the top seat in terms of affluence and douchebaggery, my sister and I noticed that nobody around here has dandelions in their yards in the summer. It's like, not a thing. There is however a plethora of Mexicans mowing lawns and doing yard work at various businesses and residences. Although who knows; maybe Mexicans just hate dandelions and they pluck them out of their neighbors yards for aesthetics...after arriving by the dozen in one mid-size Ford truck...

Okay, there’s nothing wrong with taking care of one’s lawn or hiring someone to do it (at fair wages). But I can promise you that families who are struggling to keep their electricity on have better things to do with their time (like work, sleep, and um, eat) and money (like keep their children clothed and um fed) than to meticulously and regularly groom their yards for perfection.
3. High-End Cast-Offs

Check the local Goodwill. If you see name brands like D&C, Prada, and Kate Moss, there’s a wealthy pocket of housewives nearby who have too much of their husbands’ money and not enough time on their hands.  Capitalize on this – one woman’s trash is another’s treasure. My local Goodwill sells Target overstock – meaning you walk in and see 3 dozen of the same dress in EVERY SIZE, and 55 pairs of the same weird purple Target heels on the shoe racks, unworn. Yeah baby.

4. Artistic Flavor

Is “art” a thing? A good indicator of an area’s prosperity is whether there is private funding for community art programs like community theater and art studios. Usually areas with these factors also have a nice variety of nightlife/concert venues available as well. It’s a sad thing, but in many small towns, there simply isn’t enough money to pay for anything that isn’t a necessity.

5. Electronic Security

And then there's the old stand-by - if there are bars on the windows, keep house-hunting... unless you like the late-night thrill of waking up to a guy trying to murder you because he ran out of his latest injectable and your face looked tasty. A "monitored by ADT" sign might be tacky, but it's not as tacky as having a neighbor who, you know, gets murdered for the $10 in his wallet.
Happy house hunting!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bucket List

Like most moms, I don't really spend enough time on myself. As I noticed that I was depressed and bored with the minutiae of my life, I began to seek ways to break up the tedium.

A few years ago, my friend Christa bought me this book called "You can do it! The merit badge handbook for grown-up girls." It's a really fun book with about 60 chapters, each chapter detailing a potential goal to accomplish - hobbies to try, dreams to pursue - and gives you a detailed way to try to accomplish this goal. Each chapter includes a "advice on how to get started" interview from someone experienced in that field, realistic checklists on how to get started, list on potential steps you might want to achieve (how to just try it out, how to get good at it, how to do it as a career), and a list of resources (websites, books, magazines, organizations) to check out for more information.

I've been tackling this book for the past month or two, chapter by chapter as they interest me. (I skipped right over "Starting a rock band" and "quilting" because they're of no interest to me, for example.) It's a really cute book, and it's definitely come a long way toward giving me a clearer picture of the goals I want to accomplish in my lifetime.

So, in the name of trying something new, this is the list I've made both from the book directly and inspired by my hobbies. These are things I want to do someday:

  1. Write a novel. Complete it.
  2. Get published online - opinion pieces, satire pieces, short stories
  3. Knit a damn scarf and actually finish it and wear it
  4. Tour America by car. Visit the Grand Canyons, the Pacific Ocean, and the Great Lakes for the first time. Revisit Yellowstone, Devil's Tower, the Black Hills, New England, and the deep south again. Mingle with the locals. Pick up an accent temporarily.
  5. Write my life story. Let people read it. - WORKING ON THIS SLOWLY AND IN PIECES
  6. Try out for a play - community theater
  7. Act in a play
  8. Take an improv class - DOING THIS NOW!
  9. Take singing lessons
  10. Take a bellydance class
  11. Sing karaoke, in public. This terrifies me.
  12. Learn a new language - I'm thinking German
  13. Join the NRA. Buy a gun and practice target shooting. Become proficient with its use. GOT MY SMITH & WESSON M&P COMPACT 9MM IN 2013. RECEIVED MY CONCEALED CARRY PERMIT IN 2013.
  14. Learn to play pool 
  15. Play guitar again
  16. Play volleyball again
  17. Sell some of the jewelry I've made - somewhere, anywhere
  18. Attend wine tastings. Discover which wines I love
  19. Throw a truly great party - wedding?
  20. Learn to play chess
  21. Try yoga - I'm gonna fart, I know it
  22. Go fishing with Dan's Granddad ( :'( this one never happened, Granddad passed away in 2013.)
  23. Be comfortable with jogging in public
  24. Learn to change my car's oil and do other routine maintenance
  25. Go camping. Sleep in a tent, build our own fire, fish and relax for days. Don't die.
  26. Discover my family tree on both sides; trace my lineage back as far as possible
  27. Learn to salsa dance - might as well put these hips and this Mexican heritage to good use
  28. Learn to swing dance. Again, hips.
  29. Visit Europe, don't die in a bathtub full of ice without my internal organs
  30. Go to a concert festival
  31. Go hunting with my dad
  32. Read through the classics that I haven't read before
  33. Give a public speech with a large audience, just to feel the rush
  34. Study a topic that interests me. Write reports on that topic. I miss college.
  35. Buy a brand new car, be the first person to drive it
  36. Go scuba diving; don't get eaten by a shark or other marine creatures
  37. Buy a house with my man. Make it our own.
  38. Re-pierce my nose or dye my hair a crazy color
  39. Spend a day at the spa and truly relax.
  40. Learn painting techniques. Attempt to paint something half-decent
  41. Learn to play poker
  42. Go on a cruise  - this is what we plan to do for our honeymoon
  43. Spend a weekend away at a nice hotel. Drink, sleep in, have loud sex, wear comfy robes, steal the toilet paper.
  44. Go to a major league baseball game and a Steelers game
  45. Pay off my student loans - almost there!
  46. Set up an investment portfolio. Profit at least $5 when it's all said and done.
  47. Get front row seats to a band I truly love (done this with a few bands such as The Airborne Toxic Event - thanks Luke! I'm still sad that you were sick for this - but I want to do it with more!). Met Hanson in 2013 and Taylor dedicated MMMBop to my daughter - best day of my damn life.
  48. Sponsor a child and actually make the payments. Sorry, Abusa from Ethiopia! I hope you're still alive.
  49. Drive a boat. Steer a boat? Whatever it's called. I'M ON A BOAT.
  50. Go to a good play.
So, who's doing what with me? And what's on your bucket list?

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

A Church Sign Double-Whammy!

My favorite church has a double-sided sign, and yesterday I actually pulled over to take a picture because the irony was just too great. I'm sure I'm using the term "irony" incorrectly but I don't even care. This is too good.

On one side, the sign says, "To belittle is to be little." Basically, they're saying that if you insult and belittle people, you are weak. A fair point. 

But then on the other side, they actually belittle you as you drive by:

"If you are unkind, you are the wrong kind." I get it - they're trying to make a play on words and give a little inspirational message about kindness. But using your church's billboard to call passersby "wrong" is probably not the best way to get them to step inside your doors. It probably IS the best way to get them to roll their eyes and join a cult. Probably. I dunno.

I've proposed some alternate church signs that they'll probably use in the future, if they finally decide to stop beating around the bush.

Romans 8:31, Victory Baptist Style.

Verily, verily, I sayeth unto thee, thou shalt speaketh in terminology that confuseth the average man so that he might see the errors of his ways and come unto you, humbled, and shall be washed in the blood of the lamb. Macbeth.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Cohabiting: Is it okay?

As an unmarried mother, I've endured plenty of judgmental comments from people, both Christian and non-Christians alike, because I'm not married to my child's father. I've also gotten comments because I "claim to be a Christian," yet I live with the man I love despite the fact that we aren't married. My best friend was recently insulted at her bank, where the bank employee essentially told her that having a joint bank account with someone you're not married to is a major risk - strongly implying that any issues with her joint bank account that she has with her boyfriend are a result of them being unmarried. This same best friend was also insulted by a former close friend that she used to nanny for, who made her feel like a bad Christian for living with her boyfriend before marriage. I myself have been lectured, insulted, and have received various 'loving hints' from Christians about how I'm clearly not trusting in God  because I'm living with my fiance before marriage.

It turns out, those Christians who insulted me were right. These are the things I've learned from searching the internet for websites debunking Cohabiting as being non-Biblical:

  1. Every time a couple lives together before marriage, they have sex. The term "cohabiting" (living together) is absolutely synonymous with "sex before marriage," 100% of the time. According to this website, at least.  If you live with your boyfriend or girlfriend, you're gonna bang, even if you've decided not to. I think there's like, an evil demon-elf that sneaks in to cohabiting couples' houses and makes them 'do it' when they're asleep. I hear it doesn't feel as nice as when you're awake but at least the little guy cleans up for you both afterward.
  2. People who live together before marriage are bad with money.  Obviously you moved in together because it was more affordable, but "the majority of cohabitants do eventually break up and economics are obviously not an overwhelming impediment then, so why allow it to become a controlling factor from the start[?]"  Basically, you moved in together to save money, but you WILL split up, and money doesn't keep you together then, so you're stupid and bad with money.
  3. Conversely, when you get married, you automatically become good with money. You never overdraw your checking account, and you always pay all of your bills on time. You always consult one another and various websites and experts before making any financial decisions, and you never regret purchases. Marriage is awesome for your wallet! And financial problems are definitely not the number one reason for divorce. Nope.
  4. Living together is an insult to the institution of marriage. And interesting note about that institution: you and I were probably unaware of this, but even when Jesus was walking the earth, people were actually still required to get a certificate of marriage in the United States of America. Their marriages were only valid with that certificate from the U.S. government. All marriages that took place without a United States Certificate of Marriage were invalid. Pretty cool, eh? Go 'merica!
  5. Living together before marriage is stupid. Trying anything out before you 'buy' it is obviously a bad idea. Anyone who has purchased a car sight-unseen from Craigslist can attest that if something appears to be great upon first sight, it's going to be great; no questions.

    Obviously, if you both love God, then you're 100% perfect for each other. Personality differences, personal beliefs, financial differences, sexual mis-matches, bad habits, and other incompatibilities don't exist. All it takes to make a marriage work is for it to be "right in God's eyes" which means that you have a United States Certificate of Marriage BEFORE you get naked together. Even if he's verbally abusive or an alcoholic, or if she's a withholding jerk or if she has emotional issues that cause her to be unstable, it doesn't matter. Because you are married in God's eyes! Make it work!

    Trust me, every single thing that you need to know about the person you're dating can be ascertained without having to commit the atrocity of living together. You actually don't ever need to set foot inside of the same building as your partner. Simply ask your partner's mother if they were neat and tidy, and quiz your partner's exes and you'll know everything you need to know about how easy this person is to live with. You don't need to be a heathen to find out if you're compatible!
  6. The issues that plague non-married couples don't even affect married couples. There have been 0 documented cases of abusive husbands in the history of mankind; there are only abusive boyfriends. Never in history has a man treated his wife badly. Not once has a wife cried herself to sleep due to abject loneliness. That kind of thing only happens to the Unmarrieds (especially The Gays).
  7. If you marry someone, you automatically become sexually compatible. I know I have never met a married couple where the man wanted sex more than his wife was willing to give it to him, and who either felt lonely or gypped or cheated because of this. That simply doesn't happen. Apparently when both parties put on their matching wedding rings, a special hormone is released in each person's Dirty-Before-Marriage Parts that causes instant, whole, complete sexual attraction and compatibility, forever and ever, til death do they part.
  8. If you were such a heathen that you had kids before marriage, your bastard child will automatically become a menace to society with no moral basis and no ability to contribute to society. Keep your legs closed until after marriage or you'll give birth to the next Hitler or Housewife of New Jersey.
  9. Until you have a marriage ceremony, you're not committed to one another. You're only kinda-sorta-barely-into-each-other. Only people who have paid for a $20,000 party complete with flowers and catered meals are committed to each other. Everyone else is a jackass who's faking it.
  10. Remember that kid in your Biology class who threw off the curve for everyone else, because he studied or was a friggin' genius and somehow managed to get like a 99% when everyone else got like a 72%? You hated that asshole because, if he hadn't scored so high, everyone would've gotten a better bump in their scores. But because that jerk was so smart, everyone else was screwed.

    People who live together before marriage are just like that jerk who scored so high. You see, they don't have to do all the stuff that the "good" students of marriage did. They didn't stay pure until marriage (because as we noted above, every couple living together before marriage always screws like bunnies, like 30 times a day), they didn't go bankrupt to hold a wedding, they didn't wait to kiss until their wedding day. They cheated, and they still get all the benefits of a relationship! That's NOT FAIR! HOW DARE THEY still claim to be happy, despite the fact that they aren't legally married? How DARE they pretend that they're emotionally fulfilled with their partners? It's disgusting.
So basically, if you even THINK of living together before marriage, you:

  1. Are slutty
  2. Are definitely bad with money
  3. Are a bad Christian
  4. Are a bad American
  5. Have no faith in God to pay your bills for you
  6. Are too concerned with sex to be a good spouse anyway
  7. Are destined to have a child out of wedlock
  8. Are a bad parent
  9. Are uncommitted to one another
  10. Are cheating at life.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

My disenchantment with Christians

One of the many experiences I've had that made me lose my faith in Christians as the 'good people' I always thought they were.

I was in college. I was driving home from the store when I saw an ambulance in a yard. It had been raining that week, and the ambulance was stuck in the mud. There was no immediate emergency - they had responded to a distress call and had taken care of the person they had been called to check out. They didn't need to get her to the hospital; they needed to resume their shift. But the ambulance was stuck in her muddy front yard.

I pulled over and asked if I could help. The guy responded "Do you happen to know where you can find about 5 strong guys?" In fact, I did. I was attending Christian college about two blocks away. I told them I knew a bunch of Christian guys who would be glad to help. And I thought I was right.

I drove up the road and went to the dorm right next to my dorm, our 'brother dorm.' In the lobby, I asked the dozen or so guys if any could come help push an ambulance out of a yard a few blocks away. Nobody came. I stayed there for about 20 minutes, asking around, to see if I could get just a few guys to come push the ambulance out. It would only take about 10 minutes if a few guys came!

Out of the 30 I asked, one came. The rest were "too busy." One guy even said "I just don't feel like it, they'll be fine." His name was Joe V. He recently married a friend of my sister's, one of the sweetest girls I'd ever met. Lucky girl.

I went back with that guy and he, and I, and the two EMTs, pushed the ambulance out of the mud. No thanks to my Christian college classmates.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Christianese: Church sign

The latest church sign on my commute:

"If God is your co-pilot, switch seats!"

What they mean to say is:
"Let God take control!"

What they're actually telling the world:
"You should be a helpless body, just giving all your decisions over to a higher power. Do nothing yourself. Just let God handle it. Lay down and shut up. God doesn't help those who help themselves...God only helps those who let him do everything all the time."

Monday, September 24, 2012

My Character Flaws

One of the biggest lessons I'm trying to instill in my daughter is the danger of keeping secrets. Hiding the things I've felt and done over the years was one of the biggest reasons for my isolation and for bigger mistakes.

If I had been in an environment where I felt comfortable sharing my faults, my fears, my problems, my mistakes, and my questions with my parents and my friends...without judgment...well, I don't think that my life choices would have come out the same as they did. I think I would've been a much better person much sooner.

But hey, you live and you learn, and my life lessons have been instrumental in bringing me to where I am today. I hold no regrets at this point in my life.

However, where I am today is still very imperfect. After years of struggling to keep up a "perfect" face, I'm finally ready to break out and be openly imperfect. It's been years in the making. My biggest fear with transparency and honesty was this: "If I tell the truth about the 'bad' things that I feel and do, then I'll have to commit to changing. And if I commit to changing, and I fail, then I'm not only a failure, I'm a public failure."

This mentality - this fear of being mocked, judged, or shamed  - has been one of my very worst character flaws. It's my de-motivator when it comes to exercise. It's my reason for attacking people I love. It's my reason for self-doubt and hatred that I harbored for years.

Enough of that crap. If I can't be honest with myself and with the people who care about me, I shouldn't bother to call myself a genuine person. I hate fake. I've been fake. Hell, I've probably been fake for more of my life than I've been real.

So in the interest of abolishing facades, I'm going to share a diary entry that I wrote during a very emotionally-introspective period this past weekend. I curled up against a tree and just thought, and wrote, about all the things that I don't like about myself, the things that are ruining my life, the things that need to change about me. I thought about the relationships I've sabotaged and the horrible ways I've treated myself over the years. I figure the first step toward change is awareness of the problem. So here's the list I came up with, in no particular order except that this is how they came into my head.

My Character Flaws:

  1. I assume I already know what people think of me, whether they've indicated so or not.
  2. I hold conversations and feelings in my head and I hold them against people even if they've never happened
  3. I push everyone away to see if they'll care enough to try to get back in
  4. I automatically assume people don't care about me
  5. I only feel guilty when I get caught
  6. I want people to like me, so I'm too nice to them, at my own expense
  7. I put everyone else's feelings before mine. In Sunday school, they taught us to practice JOY in our lives: "JESUS-OTHERS-YOU = JOY!" meaning put Jesus first, others next, and put yourself last. Great in theory, but I took it quite literally - taking it to the point that I never spent a moment worrying about myself.
  8. I never forgive myself for any mistake
  9. I'm lonely when I'm alone. I don't know how to enjoy my own company except when I'm enthralled in a project such as crafting or writing.
  10. I'm different around different people
  11. I do things I know are wrong, still do them, and then am disgusted by myself later for having done them. Yet I don't stop doing them.
  12. I am obsessed with punishing everyone for doing anything wrong. This is why I get so angry driving in traffic, or why I get annoyed when other people do thing in a way that I find to be wrong, such as parenting 
  13. I please everyone but me - even people I dislike or owe nothing to
  14. I assume i'm on the outside of everything and I don't try to get involved because of that. I rationalize my lack of involvement by saying "I'm not a ____ girl" or "I'm not a real ____ fan" so I can't join the group.
  15. I hide my feelings from people who care about me because I assume they don't actually care. I will lie to your face and tell you that I'm fine. If you don't believe me, I will continue to lie. Only a few people have ever seen through the lie.
  16. I avoid being friendly to people (neighbors, church members, etc) for fear of becoming obligated to be around regularly/join a group/put on a fake personality/have people rely on me
  17. I assume that trying to behave better is the equivalent to being a fake, so I don't try to behave better
  18. I assume random behaviors and actions are fake in others
  19. I love attention. I live for it.
  20. I judge myself way too harshly
  21. I draw arbitrary lines in the sand, constantly, about everything.
  22. I HATE being wrong
  23. I avoid introspection because it causes change. Then I still think about what I need to change (There I go with the introspection! damnit!), but I don't change, then I feel guilty about not changing
  24. I don't do things if I'm told do them. I don't do things BECAUSE I'm told to do them. My feeling is, I don't do things to prove myself, so stop telling me to do them. I'll do them on my own. Basically, I'm a teenager.
  25. I thrive on a constantly-full to-do list. It's boring if there isn't a pile of stuff to do. I think I like to feel overwhelmed because it gives me purpose.
  26. I eat too much and get angry with myself for doing so
  27. If I don't have unlimited portions of food available, I feel like I'm going to starve so I gorge myself
  28. I like people at least a little bit less if I disagree with them politically
  29. I like to see people angry because that's the only time they're honest with me
  30. I share nothing with people, then get angry when they don't know me well
  31. I share too much with people, then get angry when they're offended or bored
  32. I want deep friendships, but I sabotage them
  33. I hold people to impossible standards in my head
  34. I hate complete strangers over stupid things like their looks or their public actions
  35. I get very angry over very little things
  36. I lose control of my emotions regularly and without regard to how it affects the people around me
  37. I abuse the life out of the people I love
  38. I pre-sabotage my own happiness by talking myself out of trying things
  39. I care too much about what people think, especially people I like
  40. I don't like myself sometimes. Other times I adore myself. Why?
  41. I intentionally espouse opinions that are the opposite of people I dislike, out of spite. They don't care.
  42. I don't discuss my feelings until I blow up
  43. I don't spoil myself ever, because I think it's selfish. But I think it's healthy when others spoil themselves.
  44. I only do things I want to do, when I want to do them
  45. I bite my tongue to avoid conflict when sometimes conflict is necessary
  46. I am disgusted by myself, and I don't know why
  47. I am not nice to myself. I speak to myself in a very mean voice, saying very mean things. I don't forgive myself.
  48. I don't know if I'll ever feel like an adult, no matter where I am in life. I resent myself for this.
  49. Responsibility terrifies me because I'm scared I'll fail
  50. I lie to myself in order to live with myself
Some of these are redundant. Some aren't character flaws. And some contradict and are still true. Some are only true sometimes. Some are so true, they're painful.

But, this is me. What now?

Monday, September 10, 2012

Christianese: The latest church sign

As I mentioned on a previous blog entry, there's a church on my commute that always puts up church signs that they think are effective in reaching the secular community, but are actually super-douchey.

This week's sign:

The message they were intending to send:
"In case God really is real and the Bible is true, and you don't believe in him, that means you will not go to heaven. Hell is a horrible place. We don't want you to go there. Consider checking into Christianity so you can save yourself from hell. We care about you."

The message they're actually sending:

Friday, September 7, 2012

Keep Out

I don't understand why people are private, guarding their feelings and opinions.

I mean, I understand if you don't want to hang your underwear on your outdoor clothesline or if you don't want to discuss your childhood traumas with strangers.

But privacy? It just seems weird to me.

I'm completely open about everything. I see no reason not to be.

I've been known to be extremely open and up-front about everything from discussing personal issues, family histories, sexual experiences, my irritation with my child, everything. Obviously I try to keep my discussions to an appropriate audience.

But I just feel like other people are so tight-lipped about everything. And my response to that is: Why? What is your big secret? Did someone tell you that you have to remain quiet to retain an air of mystery? Mystery is overrated. Do you know what mystery is? Mystery is a lie, an illusion. Be open about who you are, what you're thinking, what you're feeling, what you want, and what you want to talk about, and when you need to fart. That way, your friends will be real friends. Your discussions will be deeper, or at least more interesting.

I think part of the reason I'm so open is that I wish everyone was. I want to know everyone's opinions on everything. I want to know where you've been and how it affected you. I want to know your dreams and who you wish to be. I want to see your wedding pictures and hear about how your kids behave. I just care about that kind of stuff. Not to say that I'm an overly-caring, sweet person...more so to say that I'm an observer, a watcher, probably a stalker on occasion.

I wasn't always this way. In fact, I used to be extremely tight-lipped about almost everything. I used to never cry, never talk about my feelings, never show myself. I wasn't quiet by any means - in fact, I was loud and obnoxious, probably to cover up my insecurities.

But now that I've been through so much shit in life - and excuse my language, but that's what it was: shit - I've grown far more confident in everything about myself. I know my strengths and my weaknesses and I know that my weaknesses don't diminish my strengths. I know my fears, dreams, hopes, and desires and I know that they are right for me, they're not just things I was told to do or be or want. I know my role as a mom and as a fiance and I know more of what lies in my future. So I don't need to hide. I don't need to be quiet. I don't need to apologizing for what I feel or what I want.

I also don't feel the need to be reserved or emotionally detached anymore. It's a weird, nice freedom. I think someday I'll become accustomed to this openness and I'll finally find a happy medium between the old, loud-to-cover-up-vulnerability me, and the current over-sharing hyper-opinionated me.

Damn.... this entry would never have even been slightly true just a few weeks before I met Dan. What the heck?

Friday, August 31, 2012

Baby Names for the Modern Family

There are an abundance of interesting baby names that are popular today. I work in an industry where I process a lot of paperwork for families throughout the country, so I come across some interesting names every single day. As a country that's been around for over 230 years, people seem to finally be getting tired of common names such as Jonathon, Elizabeth, Mary, and James. But now, nobody wants the same old name as the other kids on the block (Am I right, every Jessica or Ashley or Michael or James born in the 1980s?).

Instead, people want something fresh, something new. Baby names are useful for making your child stand out in a crowd, for getting your politics heard, and they seem to be the best place to express your personality as a couple.

Enjoy the list!

Baby Names for the Modern Family:

  1. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION   Name your child after a place. This is the simplest way to tell the world that "we had sex in this city, and that's where the wife got knocked up with this child" or "we've never been to this city so we're living vicariously through our kid's name." Talking to you, parents of kids named Paris.

    But sometimes, a lot of other people have used the exact same name as you. Because they too want to enjoy the sights and sounds of Denver through your kids names. So why not switch it up a little? Make your kid stand out!

    If your current name choice is Madison
    Choose an accurate alternative that means the same thing: Bland
    Or, go with a modern twist: Midwesterner Lee (Because every midwesterner's middle name is Lee)

    Current Name Choice: Brooklyn
    Accurate Alternative: Bad Accent
    Modern Alternative: Gang Fight

    Current Name choice: Dallas
    Accurate Alternative: Cowboy
    Modern Alternative: Republican


    Name your child after a movie star. Because nothing says "I put my family first in my life" like naming your child after an actor who will be a has-been by the time your child is old enough to find out who his namesake is.

    Also, apparently naming your offspring after a celeb's last name is a popular idea in some groups of women who have no hobbies. So, here are a few ideas to get you started:

    Current name choice is: Ashton (after that guy who was in that show, you know?)
    Accurate Alternative: DoucheBaggery
    Modern Alternative: Dimples

    Current name choice: Pattinson (after that "guy" who was in that vampire thing with the girl puppet Kristen who has dead eyes?)
    Accurate Alternative: Ghastly
    Modern Alternative: Glitter

    Current name choice: Mischa (after that girl with the face)
    Accurate Alternative: Cheekbones
    Modern Alternative: Who Fucking Cares

  3. LET IT GROW!  Plants make great namesakes for kids, but typically the market has been cornered by female names such as Daisy, Rose, or Fern.

    I'd like to propose some foliage names for boys:

    Skunk Cabbage

    ...or even some names inspired by foliage, which can be used for either gender:
    Vascular Bundle (You can forever refer to him as your bundle of joy! OMG that's so cute like seriously I can't even)

    Or maybe, if you're not a green thumb, you could name your child after an animal!
    Dromedary (Guess what day it is!?)
    Aoudad (exotic!)
    Woodchuck (call him Chuck!)
    Quagga (or Q for short)
    Jerboa (add a 'qua' at the end for girls)
    Chameleon or Chamelia (she'll probably blend with the crowds in at school though...)
    Porpoise (they're so cute, your kid will be too)
    Mammal (because it's like sooo meta)


     You drive one, why not name your baby after one? Apparently there's an entire list of car names for babies. I kid you not.  Surely if your child attends daycare, you've met children with names such as "Mercedes" "Porsche" and the much less expensive but still classy "El Camino With Pimped Out Rims" who was in the dusty corner of the playground.

    But what if you want to step away from the common car names? I give you a few matching first and middle names for the baby being born into your road-trip loving family:

    Shelby Danica
    Camry Jetta
    Lexus Aston
    Tie Rod
    Leather Interior
    Fossil Fuel
    Pretentious Hummer
    Never-Taken-Off-Road SUV
    Reliant Chevette

    And while we're at it, let's name our kids after some other things we can't afford:

    Diamond Ringue (or her more affordable QVC cousin, Diamionique, which I have seen as a name. Seriously.)
    Second Mortgage
    Payday Loan
    Extravagant Wedding
    Painful Divorce
    RV Retirement
    Term Life Insurance
    New Boobs
    Vaginal Rejuvenation
    Socialized Medicine
  5. WORK IT!

    Many people prefer classic names, and long ago, we named our children after professions. You've seen:

    Hunter (he who hunts),
    Carver (sculptor),
    Fletcher (an arrow-maker),
    Sawyer (a wood sawyer),
    Ward (a watchman),
    Bailey (a bailiff)...

    ...but most of those professions are out of date. What about some modern names based on professions that people work today? I've added some cutesy endings for the kiddo in your life.

    Secretarierre or her modern sister, Administrative Assistante
    Nurse (boy OR girl name!)
    Janitor, or Yan Itor  depending on your country of origin
    Small BusinessOwner
    Direct Market'er
    Jamberry Wrapper


    If profession-based names aren't your forte, what about verbs? You're surely familiar with many classics:


    But what about some new verbs, you know, to keep it fresh?


    Some people prefer to stick with classic names, but with an alternate spelling. Why not? It alleviates the hum-drum and takes a classic, plain name from boring into magical - it becomes something that not even the most astute Professor of Ebonics ("African American Vernacular, natch) can pronounce. It's a great way to make your child stand out in school.

    Here are some cute alternatives!

    Anne becomes: Aynne, Ahn, Eyn
    Ruth becomes: Ru'the or Roothe
    Jessica becomes: Jesikke or Jessahkeh
    Jennifer becomes: Gynquiffeur or Jennafurr'kolandah
    Stephanie becomes: Stefani, Stephaknee
    Jason becomes: Jaysen, Jaehsonn, Jasn
    Robert becomes: Rabrt, Robbort, Rob'rte
With this go-to list of baby names, your child will surely have the most modern, talked-about name on the block! And isn't that what having kids is all about? Getting people to pay attention to you?

You're friggin' welcome, moms-to-be.

~Re'Bekahh Denver Sunflower Subaru OfficeClerk Pontificate Su'

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Setting a date

Everyone is asking if we have a date picked for our wedding.

These are my goals before we even set a date:

1. Have a long discussion about what type of wedding we envision. My vision?

  • Large venue with ample lighting (I LOVE BRIGHT LIGHT!)
    No more than 200 guests
  • Local to Phoenixville  - not a destination wedding because destination weddings scream "I don't want you to actually come share our day with us, I just want the gifts"
  • I prefer ceremony and reception at same venue - and I don't want a church wedding
  • I do NOT want an outdoor wedding (I'm far too unlucky, it'll be horrible weather)
  • How many are in bridal party (I'm going with a maid of honor - Laura! and I have 5 bridesmaids that I've asked at this point, that should be it)
  • DJ or band? DJ in my opinion, unless we can get the Foo Fighters - haha
  • NOT a winter wedding (I hate cold) or a fall wedding (I hate fall colors) - so late spring or summer but not too hot (so basically the most expensive wedding season)

2. Get a rough price estimate for each detail of the wedding -

venue rental, photographer, DJ, cake, catering, honeymoon, bridal party gifts, bachelorette/bachelor party costs, pre-wedding pampering for bridal party, etc

3. Based on the price estimates, we will then budget to be able to afford the wedding in a timely manner. I'd like to avoid taking out a loan but I'm sure we'll have to, I'd just rather pay as much as we can without a loan. I realize this might be a pipe dream, but I refuse to go into massive debt over a wedding when we still have a house to purchase someday soon thereafter, and we plan on popping out 2 more little Hubers someday

4. Based on the budget, we will then set a date.

It is now August of 2012. I'm sure the wedding date will be set for sometime in 2014 at the earliest. I'm in no rush :-)

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Letter to my Bridal Party:

I just wanted to say a few things to the ladies that will be sharing my big day with me. Despite the fact that I don't ever watch those Bridezilla type shows (because I want to pretend that all my wedding ideas were originally mine, and watching those shows would shatter that illusion. It's the same reason I can't watch Martha Stewart...I'm pretty much set on the idea that she stole all her ideas from me.), but I do know that Brides tend to be a bit Crazy during their wedding planning.
And guess who bears the brunt of that Crazy? It can't be the groom - we're in the home stretch, can't scare him off. No, no...I've gotta keep my Crazy Monster Side locked away until I have him tied down to the altar.

It's the bridal party. The bridal party deals with the bride's crazy and her emotional highs and lows and her losing her mind about EVERYTHING. And since every bride seems to give herself the green light to stomp all over her best friends just because she's the bride, I've decided to write a letter to my party now - before my Bucket-'O-Crazy comes out. Let's hope they hold me to my word.

Dear Bridesmaids,

First of all, I chose you to be in my wedding party, so this means that we're close friends who adore one another. Please keep this in mind over the next few months. You like me. More importantly, I like you. I really do. You know that I'm a level-headed (when sober), caring person who just wants to have a fabulous, simple wedding day. But you also know that, like many of us ladies, I have a whole bucket of Crazy at the ready, at any given moment. I promise to do my best to keep this Crazy in check, even when things get hectic. Feel free to point it out of it starts showing.

They say that every bride should be the most beautiful girl at her own wedding. While I agree with this, I don't think it's cool to create a juxtaposition by putting the bride in a beautiful, flowing white gown, and standing her next to a chiffon overload of brightly-colored bridesmaids who look like they're wearing a pastry chef's rejected first try. Therefore, I promise that I will include your opinions and body types in *our* selection of bridesmaid dresses. You will look hot, I promise, in a well-fitting dress with a beautiful, simple color scheme. Also, affordability and rewearability will be a huge factor in our bridesmaid-dress-picking process. You're welcome.

Oh, you should also know: I'm cheap. If I can't get it on sale or clearance, I won't get it. I've been trying to kick this exhausting addiction to frugality, but sometimes it's just more sensible to be cheap. And at weddings, one fabulous way to go "cheap" is to do it yourself with wedding favors and decorations. I have a million ideas (I came up with them ALL myself). I would love your help. (Please help. I didn't realize how big this task was and I can't do it. Oh dear God, I can't do this alone!)

I promise I won't get drunk at my own wedding. You, however, feel free. If you're single, I'll try to invite as many hot single guys to drink with you. I will force you to have fun, not work your butt off, at the reception. I promise, you won't be stuck doing grunt work. We'll hire someone for that. Also, I promise to have the photographer get tons of pictures of you looking smoking hot for you to put on facebook. Again: you're welcome.

And now a few requests, if you don't mind? I love the cheesy thing where you clink your glasses until the bride and groom kiss. It's cute. However, I have something that is both cute for the newlyweds AND embarrassing for the guests: I have an aunt from Newfoundland who had a great wedding tradition: to get the bride and groom to kiss, someone must stand up and belt out a line from a song with the word "LOVE" in it. Oh yes - it's like wedding day Karaoke, but better. Also, I lied about it being my aunt's Canadian tradition. I thought of it all by myself. You're welcome. (Okay, fine, it's a Canadian thing. Whatever.)

Another request: I want toasts, and lots of them. Cheesy, embarrassing toasts that make the guests laugh and the bride and groom blush. If you can't think of any, we need to hang out so you can build up some embarrassing stories. Get on it. On that vein, I also want a really fun bachelorette party - drinking, laughing, dancing, but no guys. I'm pretty darn happy with Future Husband. And if we have male strippers, that gives him a ticket to get female strippers - and we all know that's never a good idea. Nobody wants to smell like stale used stripper at their wedding.

Also: Who's down with doing a fun, funky bridal party dance that surprises and amuses the guests? Come on. Let's embarrass ourselves. Let's make it a night to remember. As you know, I also thought of this idea and we'll be the first bridal party EVER to do this. Again, you're welcome.  Also: if we're all not comfortable with this, it's all good. I can't dance anyway.

Another point: please don't be overly critical of the things I choose to do and use in the wedding. I'm highly opinionated myself so I know that stating opinions can sometimes hurt people. You probably know that I'm a super wimp who takes things personally and can't get criticisms and fights out of my head. Let's avoid this possibility by only expressing constructive criticism if any at all. I'm also a bit of a control freak, so let me take the reigns even if I'm asking for opinions. I probably won't ask, but just in case, don't get upset if I ignore your idea and go with mine. I'm a bit of a flake.

In conclusion, Bridal Party, I love you ladies. Thanks for being in my bridal party. Thanks for being part of the most epic wedding party to ever have existed. Let's make this a fun day.