A few digital scrapbooking attempts...

Alright, so I'm getting better at this, but it's kind of hard and there is definitely a learning curve!  So far, the animals have been my muse, mainly because I have more pictures of them than anything else.  I'm wanting to make an engagement set, and a vacation set, but I need to find the right layouts first.


A week of firsts

I've finally discovered a hobby that doesn't completely overwhelm me!  Digital scrapbooking!  It really seems to be my speed...and I've figured out how to do it with Picnik, so that's great, because Photoshop in and of itself makes me want to bury my head under the covers and keep it there.  I can't do quite as much with Picnik as I can with Photoshop, of course, but I'm having a lot of fun with it.  And as much as I love manual scrapbooking, it really does overwhelm me.  So many choices, and so many events to scrapbook, and it takes soooo long.  And you have to go develop the pictures, and if you mess up, you're SOL.  I'll post some creations in the near future.

Thanks to a favorite dogblog of mine, Life with Dogs , I won my first ever online giveaway!  I won a glorious, seafoam green Expression Flexileash.  These aren't cheap!  I looked it up online, and they have a retail value of $39.99.  Not too shabby if I do say so myself.  Plus it's always fun to win stuff, and I never do.

This leash will probably be used primarily for Fiona, as she's the obstinate one who refuses to learn the command "heel".  You wouldn't think it to look at her, but to walk that dog on a leash is the equivalent of being pulled by a tow truck.  I can't count the number of times she's drug me across the parking lot.  Arley, on the other hand, was born to walk on a leash.  She walks in step with me without a problem, and we've never really had to train her.  Their personalities could easily be assessed by the way they walk on their leashes.  Headstrong and stubborn versus laidback and goes-with-the-flow.  Those are my girls!

 Another first this week: first real rescue!  Tomorrow, Shawn and I are headed to Effingham, Illinois to pick up Buster Brown, a gorgeous yellow Lab on his way to his forever home.  Buster is part of a "lab rescue train", he was adopted from Columbus, Missouri...all the way from Massachusetts!  In order to get him to the great Northeast, rescuers have put together a journey of legs that take Buster part of the way through his long journey.  We are leg 3 of Buster's journey.  The awesome rescue is helping to pay for the gas it takes to get there, so really, it's just a donation of time.  I saw the post on the Humane Society of Indianapolis's Facebook page, and I thought, what the hell?  I will feel a lot better about doing something like this than I would about sitting around all day.

Also, for those of you that aren't aware, the Northeast has much less of an unwanted animal problem because they have stricter spay and neuter laws in place.  As such, adoptable dogs and cats are in somewhat of a demand up there.  As such, devoted rescuers of animals help transport them to their new homes up north.  You might be familiar with Last Chance Highway, a mini-series featured on the Animal Planet that documented a similar thing.  Only that was on a much larger scale.

That said, I really, really appreciate the people in my life who don't chastise me for what I'm passionate about.  It's fine if you think I'm crazy, but please don't give me crap for it.  Please don't tell me how ridiculous I am.  There are many, many worse things about which I could be passionate. And no matter how trivial so much of the world deems it to be, to me, it's huge.  Helping even one dog get to its forever home gives me a high I can't describe.  Because being the voice for those who do not have one is what I believe in.  Because being the change is not just talking about it---but living it, too.  So that's why I'm doing it.  That's why I'm spending about five hours on the road tomorrow, devoting a huge chunk of my precious weekend to "just a dog" --- because, to someone in Massachusetts, he's more than that.   And I have barely even scratched the surface of animal rescue.  There are so many more people who do so much more than I've ever done--- who devote their lives to saving those "just dogs" and "just cats".  And to those people, I commend you, and hope to emulate that someday.

I'm going to explore this subject in more detail in other entry.   I'll also keep you posted on how our rescuers-down-under adventure goes tomorrow!

Meanwhile, my animals are being extra cute today.  So enjoy some puppy porn, and birdie porn, for those of you who fancy that sort of thing:

"I don't really like having my picture taken, so I'm gonna squirrel up my mouth and ruin the picture."

Archie is most proud of his vibrant colors when he's surrounded by the repetitive colors of fall leaves. And can I just say how proud I am of this picture?!

Always Looking Up: Adventures of Arley the Eternal Optimist

The neighbor's dog should bark more often, I'd get better pictures.
She really, really wants that ball.  But she is really, really too lazy to get it.


a list

1. I care way too much what other people think.
2. Everytime I sit down to write a blog post, I get interrupted.
3.  All I want to write about is dogstuff.
4. I can't stop thinking about moving to the country and starting a dog rescue. 

5.  No one reads this blog, and I prefer it that way.
6. I'm exhausted, and there just aren't enough hours in the day.
7. I'm too lazy to actually write a real post, so I'm just listing everything.
8.  I miss creativity via writing.
The end


Halloween Weekend

Quiet. Not a noise I hear all that often these days, and certainly not this weekend. Before I get into all that, I'm going to take a moment to savor the sheer...quiet of it all. Shawn has finally given up work for the evening and is passed out on the couch, beneath a blanket far too small for his long and lanky physique. I know this because his toes are peeking out of the end of it. We finally turned off the light next to Archie's cage, so he, too has retired to a peaceful slumber (and given us all a break from his squawking). Fiona and Arley are sleeping next to me, though they haven't retired for the night yet because they need to step outside and do their evening business. As for me, I have abandoned any hope of having a clean house with which to start the work week, and as such, have decided to put it off for another day and write a little.

We had a great Halloween weekend! Quite eventful, which I welcomed, for a change. Normally, I become quite grumpy if I don't get enough "me" time, which usually equates to "down" time. But we were busy and it was fun and the social obligations didn't feel as much like obligations, I just plain old looked forward to them.

Friday night we went to one of our favorite little pubs with one of our favorite couples: PJ O'Keefe's with Kelli & Nate. Love these kids. This particular pub is one that's in the suburbs of Indianapolis, so it doesn't necessarily attract a younger crowd (which is just fine with me as it was good conversations, drinks, and laughs we sought). Nevertheless, the four of us decided to dress up. I mean, how many times a year do we, as twenty somethings with lives and responsibilities, get to dress up in costumes and be characters of our choosing? So we dressed up. A sexy baseball player, a scarecrow, & Robin Hood & Friar Tuck all made their way into this suburban strip mall pub. And oh the looks we got from people! Lest I forget to mention it, we were four of the maybe five individuals in the whole place dressed up. Everyone else had likely come from work or was just boring and not lively and didn't get in the Halloween spirit. I like to think the looks we received were looks of jealousy, for being young, beautiful, and fun-loving. Pictures of youth that had passed them by...but it's likely that's a little dramatic.

Anyway, hours passed, we got used to the stares, and eventually it ceased to matter. We got drunk and we forgot the world existed for awhile, just us and our cast of characters, enjoying good drinks and good times with the greatest of friends.

...I spent most of the day Saturday trying to recover.   Meagan's little girl was with her daddy for Halloween, which sucks for her because she didn't get to take Amirah trick-or-treating, but was good for us because we got to get together and partake in weekend festivities together.  She and her boyfriend, Billy, joined us in our recovery efforts for the day, as they had also gone out the night before.  We went to see the last Saw movie, were pissed for a multitude of reasons.  The first being that our movie theatre wasn't showing it in 3D (big bummer!), the second being that the movie just all around was not good.  Gory, yes.  Realistic?  Not at all.  We spent more time laughing at the cheesy dialogue and terrible acting than we did actually being frightened or even repulsed.  Big disappointment there.

Later in the evening, Shawn and I had a couple of Halloween parties to which we planned to go.  The four of us got ready and began our night at Jenn's---taking pictures and bonding with her adorable new puppy.  We then went over to our friend Scott's house for a pretty badass Halloween party.  I don't recall a good portion of the night, though I do know that Shawn and I left for a brief period to go to another party we were invited to down the road---my friend and coworker Casey's house.  Good times all around.  Bonfires and beer and people in silly costumes---just can't quite go wrong there.

Back to Scott's house--- we played what seemed like several hours of flippy cup in which I determined that my flippy cup skills are significantly better than my beer pong skills, and that says nothing at all.  I reached a point in the night when I couldn't stomach the thought of anymore to drink and was, in all honesty, just very tired.  The good Friar drove Pocahontas and myself home, after which he fell asleep and Pocahontas and I ordered Cheesy Bread and had a very in-depth, drunken discussion about politics.  Ohhhh the memories.  It also occurred to me as I was typing this that I've spent the past four Halloweens with Jenn--- and our evenings usually always end in a similar way. 

I actually felt pretty good on Sunday.  I spent it lounging about in my pajamas, we also had our very first trick-or-treaters tonight!  Shawn even morphed back into Friar Tuck for the occasion.  Kinda fun, I must say!

I'll end on that positive note, and leave you with some pictures of Halloweens past:

 A witch and a Catholic school girl.  This was our sophomore year, also known as my first year as an IU student.  Epic. 
A devil and a bumblebee in Indy.  See that feather boa around my neck?  Jenn and Brian were still finding feathers from it a year and a half later.  Oops!
Our dogs hated us this night.  I loved that costume, though.  Almost everything was from Goodwill.  We enjoyed a fun-filled night in Broadripple shortly after this.  I became so inebriated that I attempted to pull the "do not park" covers from the parking meters and was threatened by a cop. 

Pocahontas, Firewoman, and Robin Hood ready for another fun-filled Halloween night. 

Happy Howl-O-Ween from my baby skunk!


ramblings of a tired mind

I get bitter and cynical sometimes, but I knkow that's just me. Somedays I hate the world, and some days I muster the ability to appreciate every tiny little second.
Some days I get overwhelmed by all the sadness. I read the news and I cry. Some days, I just cannot understand blatant and ignorant torture towards other sentient beings in the 21st century. But that's a tale for another day.
Right now, I look around and I see beauty. I see a sleeping puppy curled up next to the man who will love me until his dying day. I see a bird looking around appreciatively at his world from the perch on which he sits, inbetween pruning his feathers. I see another puppy peacefully dozing in the corner. I see a home with stable walls whose decorations remind me of the love and beauty that's around me.
I must admit it is hard sometimes to ignore the pain and anguish and utter tragedy that I witness day in and day out, whether I go looking for it or not. It's hard to put away the guilt I feel for only being able to do so little. Somedays, it's overwhelming.
I guess the point I'm trying to make is that you see what you want to see. If you look only for pain, pain is what you will see. If you seek out the beauty in the world, then, nine times out of ten, it is beauty that you will get. I should really remind myself of this more often when it comes to the individuals that surround me. I spend a great deal of time pondering the things that bother me about everyone else, very few times to I make a conscious effort to see the good in people. As a social worker, maybe I'm not supposed to say that. But I'm not really talking about my clients; it's easier for me to see the good in people who are used to having the world see only the ugly. I'm talking more about my peers, people I interact with beyond my profession--- just people. I pass judgment far too quickly, and it's something I should work on.
I used to think of myself as a people person, I loved people. But looking back, I wonder now if I ever really was that passionate about people, or maybe I was just really good at faking it. And the older I get the less energy I have to fake it. Who knows.
There is really nothing much that is tangible to which I can relate this rambling...only that it's been awhile, since I've allowed myself to be alone with my thoughts.
It's sad to think about how fast I zip through my days, without giving much thought to the things around me I value so much...without taking little moments to take it all in...sad to think about how fast time passes and how, one day, I will want nothing but these moments to return.
I probably should have called Granny today. Few things in this world soothe me more than her voice and the thought of her.
I did have a nice chat with Jenn today. Nothing terribly special. The pain we felt in our butts from our spin classes, work for me, school for her, boys and housework. Shawn likes to laugh at me everytime I argue with her. He knows she's like my sister and he knows that, like sisters, we'll make up. Even with that knowledge though, there isn't much that upsets me more than arguing with her. I've always been that way and I'm not really sure why. But she's my best friend, for better or worse, and I would dare to say that the kind of friendship I have with her is beyond irreplaceable.

I mean, we've been friends for over a decade. For over a decade, the same person has been the person I laugh with, cry to, and rant with. The same person has listened to my crazy, called me on my bullshit, and loved me in spite of myself. The same person has been the only person I consider calling at 4am when the bad gets worse.
You just don't touch a friendship like that. Not with distance or change or what have you. Doesn't happen. I'm blessed for that.

And a multitude of other reasons.


Write a post, help a dog! #dogsrule

How often have you had a chance to have a 20 pound bag of dog food donated to a shelter simply for writing a blog post? I know I never really have so this is very exciting for me! It’s really that easy. Pedigree has upped the ante big time. And please spread this message: The food drive is not limited to pet blogs. Imagine if we could spread this message beyond our circles and see how far it goes? The numbers could be substantial. Here is the full scoop:

* Each year, more than 4 million dogs end up in shelters and breed rescue organizations. Pedigree created The PEDIGREE Adoption Drive to help shine a spotlight on the plight of these homeless dogs.

* This year the PEDIGREE Adoption Drive is raising awareness for homeless dogs by donating a bowl of food to shelter dogs for everyone who becomes a “Fan” or “Likes” The PEDIGREE Adoption Drive on Facebook. So far more than 1 million bowls have been donated. So, go! Click 'like' for the pedigree adoption drive...


* Special for BlogPaws West: For each blog that posts about the PEDIGREE® Adoption Drive through September 19th, PEDIGREE® will donate a bag of their new Healthy Longevity Food for Dogs to shelters nationwide. It’s simple: Write a post, help a dog.

* Thursday, September 16 through Sunday, September 19, the Pedigree BlogPaws bloggers will host a Blog Hop, to help raise awareness for the “Write a post, help a dog” effort.

It is so easy to make a big difference. Please set aside a few moments to write a post. Include the bullet points above. Copy the pics if you’d like. Add whatever you’d like in addition to help get the message out. Because this is not limited to pet bloggers, there is tremendous potential. Know bloggers in other categories that might be interested? Please share this post with them, write one of your own, and be here Thursday to leave a link to your post. Let’s make this huge. It would just feel great.

Don't shop, adopt! Keep this going---20 pounds of dog food adds up over time! :)

Here's a post with a lot more detail about what you can do as a blogger:


Sorry, my link codes aren't working for some reason!


For the love of Fiona...

Dear Fiona,

What in the world have you done to me? You came into my life on July 5, 2009, and have spent everyday since then changing it entirely. You have made me the crazy dog lady. Because of the way you wormed yourself into my heart, because of how I love you with every fiber of my being, I have developed a passionate love for all creatures similar to you, one that makes me do crazy things like adopt another one of you. A love that has made the Animal Planet my favorite channel, and anyone who is a dog rescuer my biggest hero.

You, with your curly tail and big, doe-like eyes, are the sole reason we adopted your sister, Arley (a tribute to Arley later). You're the reason I traipsed around in three feet of snow in the dead of winter so that you could play and have a good time---let's not think about my frostbite, not even for a second.

You are the murderer of many pairs of my favorite shoes, and the thief of my heart. Your destructive little teeth are the reason we still don't have a bookshelf in this house, because the only one we ever did have, you had your way with before we could put it together.

You're a lucky girl, Fiona, but I am far luckier. My love for you has opened my eyes to all the dogs in this world capable of creating that kind of love in other human beings, if only given the chance.

Did you know you're the reason I take the long way home? Please do not think it's because I'm not in a hurry to see you, I am! It's just that, if I take the long way home, it sends me through less than stellar neighborhoods. These neighborhoods are more likely to have strays running the streets, and if I can, I want to rescue them. Because of you. Because I see the way you look at me sometimes, like you know how lucky you are, but with a bit of wistfulness mixed in with that luck based on those of your species who are not quite so lucky. I see that look, and I want you to know that I know you are right, and I am doing the best I can.

I tell this to only you, but I've recently been known to spend hours perusing the streets for strays. I have found a few, but they run from me. I've still got some practice to do in that department. I chase them, I promise. I've chased them while wearing heels and a dress, I've chased them into bad neighborhoods, I've stopped traffic in the middle of MLK Boulevard to ensure their (temporary) safety. And I've recently discovered a new idea. I will carry dog food in my trunk to leave for the dogs who will not come to me.

If I am ever able to rescue one from the streets, I'm not entirely sure what I will do with it. Don't worry, it won't take your place. People like to tell me that they're sure I'll be the next animal hoarder, but they're wrong. I will find homes for your kind. Clean them up, post them on Craigslist, do home visits, whatever it takes.

There's a lot of bad news in the dog world lately, lots of fighting and hoarding and neglect and abandonment, but don't you worry. I promise you I will do the best you can. Because that's what you do for me. Everyday of your life. You give me chance after chance, wag after wag, puppy kiss after puppy kiss.

You have inspired me to do for them what you have done for me. I cannot save every dog, and I'm still having a hard time grappling with that. But I do know that I can start somewhere. I started somewhere. With you. That lanky little puppy behind bars, with kennel cough and the saddest, sweetest look in her eyes. You stole my heart that day, and ruthlessly refused to return it.

I keep hearing that once I have children, my pets won't mean as much to me anymore. If that's the case, then I don't think I want children, because I can't stand the thought of feeling any differently about you, Arley, or Archie. Some people were born to be parents, maybe I was just born to be a pet-parent. Either way, you aren't going anywhere. I know you, and I know you'll love anyone who comes into your world, as long as you can see how much I love them as well. I know that you will embrace our future children in much the same way that you embraced me. I know you will be gentle, and I know you will not be replaced. You will be older then, and wiser, and you will understand that you'll need to step aside for awhile. I know that you will trust me to love you and to always take care of you, and I will. So don't listen to those people, they're silly.

Thank you, my sweet little girl--- for loving me in spite of myself. For adoring me when I am all but deserving of being adored. For making me smile on days when I'd much rather cry. For understanding when I'm just not ready to play tug-o-war at 7am. For teaching me what it means to love unconditionally.

You rescued me that day, just as much (or maybe even more) as I rescued you. People think I'm crazy because I love my animals so much, and let them think. Because of you (and Arley, and Archie, who I will write to next), I have discovered a world for which I am truly passionate. And I love you for that. More than you know.

Love Always,


Food and factories

I do a lot of reading. I go through phases: sometimes, I read books for the purpose of entertainment, others, I prefer to delve into specific subjects and learn as much about them as I can. Typically, these subjects are hot-button issues with which I'm not sure I have enough understanding to form an opinion. I love having an opinion, so I certainly want it to be an educated one.

Lately, I've been reading a lot about the food industry---primarily the meatpacking industry. So far, I've read "Eating Animals" by Jonathan Safran Foer and I'm about to wrap up "Fast Food Nation" by Eric Schlosser. I've got "An Animal Manifesto" on my "to-read" shelf, and I devour all the articles I can get in regards to this issue. Why the sudden interest in the food industry, you ask? For starters, I keep seeing these words protrude my supermarket visits. Words like natural and organic keep popping up everytime I reach for the milk--- so what do they mean? And why in the world is it suddenly so important? Could it be because people are becoming increasingly aware of what they put in their mouths, and, as a result, food companies are leading us to believe that they're accommodating that?

So I've delved into modern day muckraking in an effort to educate myself and hopefully make more aware decisions in regards to what I eat. What I've found out has been staggering. It's definitely made me think twice before I pick up the package of Tyson boneless skinless chicken breasts at Marsh. There's no way I can sit here and tell you everything I've learned, but I would strongly encourage advocating for yourself by educating yourself. I'm gonna share a few of the most shocking bits I've discovered, and you can take it from there. But before I start, here's what I'm doing about it:

Farmer's markets. These are a great way to support your local farmers, in addition to tasting better and being healthier.

Organic. If you're concerned about the welfare of the animals, then this doesn't always mean much. For example, "cage free" only means that the chickens must have access to the outdoors. This could mean a tiny square carved into the side of the building where the chickens are kept, whether or not they actually see/experience the outdoors is unknown. And usually, not the case. BUT...in terms of the hormones and steroids that most chickens come to know as just in their blood, chances are you're eating less of these.

Eating less chicken/turkey/pork. The poultry and pork industries' change to assembly line meatpacking and processing has rendered it the most inhumane and frightening of the meat industries. Beef is on its way, but it's not quite there yet. As such, I just don't eat chicken as much. Especially not when I pay attention to the size of the breast, which is, in most cases, unnaturally huge. Kinda makes you wonder what they're feeding those chickens? Yeah.

Did you know that there is no longer just one chicken? Two chickens now exist--- one for eggs, and one for chicken meat. Additionally, chickens have been injected with sulfa drugs and other antibiotics since the 1940s. All in an effort to make "the chicken of tomorrow".

Chickens are so designed to grow faster than their bones can support, that a huge majority of them cannot walk. Some pigs cannot survive outside. Factory farm turkeys can no longer naturally reproduce (it's all done at the hand of man).

Chicken is cheap, and yeah that's awesome, but let's put things into persepective. The average cost of a new house increased nearly 1500 percent over the past ffity years, cars 1400%...milk? Only 350%, chicken and eggs? Their prices haven't even doubled.

Chlorine baths are often used to remove slime, odor, and bacteria. Birds get pumped with broths and salty solutions for their look and flavor ("many labelled as natural are ballooned with 10-30% of their weight as broth, flavoring, or water"--Consumer Reports).

Eviscerators are used to rip open intestines, which release feces into the birds' body cavities. USDA once condemned birds with fecal contamination, but the USDA has since been petitioned by the poultry industry to change the classification of feces to a "cosmetic blemish".

This one's from an interview from a former USDA poultry inspector, written by journalist Scott Bronstein----" Every week, millions of chickens leaking yelllow pus, stained by green feces, contaminated by harmful bacteria, or marred by heart and lung infections, cancerous tumors, or skin conditions are shipped for sale to consumers."

That's just from a couple of pages from this book. The rest of it is jampacked with even more shocking facts.

I wanted to record some of these facts for my own references, I need to reread the book and jot down some more. It's repulsive on so many levels, on what it's doing to animals and what it's doing to humans. I won't even begin with the "humane" part of it, but I will say, pick up the book and you will find that these animals are treated as the lowest of the low, they receive no respect for the lives they sacrifice so that we can eat.

I'm not saying that a bird needs a spa prior to the end of its life, but what about the old days and those farms? Isn't that the image that most of us get when we think about where chickens, cows, and pigs come from? And the meat industry goes to such great lengths to hide this from us. Which is what's scary. What in the world are we eating?!

I recently read an article on the Daily Beast that dealt with how much earlier girls were reaching puberty. Are we finally starting to see the effects of the food we've been consuming for so long?


On exercise

I got a new laptop, so I don't have an excuse not to keep up with this blog. Feel free to hold me accountable.

We had a pretty laid-back weekend. We went computer shopping on Friday (I was just so tired of either stealing Shawn's computer, trying to type emails on my Iphone, or trying to type with major keys missing), a little thrifting on Saturday, took the dogs to the park, oh, and I lived at the gym at Saturday and Sunday.

Working out really does make me feel great, it's just the getting there and actually doing it that's the kicker...But I have to continue reminding myself how amazing I feel when I'm finished! And how good it feels to be in control of what I am eating. And how shitty I feel when I've finished gorging myself at a Chinese buffet, or the Olive Garden, or (insert any dish with an obscene caloric content at overpriced restaurant here). Yeah. Even though the weight isn't coming off as fast as I want it to, there are other changes that make it worth it. And I love my Weight Watchers meetings. Contrary to popular belief, weigh-in is confidential (I didn't know that when I started!). The tips and support I've gotten from other members has been awesome, and yeah, things are just good. I'm hoping that now that I've kicked up my exercise and water intake a couple notches that the weight will come off that much faster.

Wish I could go with Jenn more often. Unfortunately, our schedules are pretty well opposite (she works at night, I work during the day), so she goes early in the morning. Oh well.

I can do this. And I will. My motivation is knowing that, on my wedding day, I have to feel like I did the absolute best I could to look the best I can.

Like I said, a pretty laid back weekend. Apologies for the lack of substance in this blog entry. It's been a long, fulfilling day and I'm spent.


Conservative is not a dirty word, and neither is liberal

I know, I know, it's such a taboo subject, but sometimes I just can't help myself.

The longer I am a social worker, the more conservative I become, at least economically so, though I still remain about as socially liberal as one gets. Now before you go all, "Oh my GOD! Social workers can't be conservative, that's blasphemy!" Hear me out. And let me also say that social workers are among the few professions that can intelligently comment on matters such as these.

I was once under the impression that government programs were the answer to every problem in America. I was a little naive. Sure! Take my hard-earned tax dollars and use them to support your twenty children, there's obviously some deep and underlying problem that's caused you to HAVE twenty children that working America supports, other than your failure to seek birth control or abstain from sex. Sure! Go take this hand out and use it to tar your lungs with cigarette smoke, and while you're at it, visit the crack dealer on the corner.

No. I believe our approach to such problems must be proactive and not reactive. I would much rather see my tax dollars put into a program to educate young girls on the importance of birth control than pay for their tenth baby's Medicaid.

We operate within a flawed system, we try to solve problems by throwing more and more money at solutions that do not work. We must reconsider the structure of the system we use.

Please do not misunderstand, there are plenty of individuals in this country who benefit from government aid. I see them everyday, and I wouldn't (and do not) think twice about helping them out. For example, the client who lives in a shack with ten sisters and brothers and her parents. It isn't her fault her parents had ten kids the government had to pay for. She should not be punished. In fact, the only way such a cycle will end is if we do reach out to people like her in an effort to show her that what she has known doesn't have to be all she ever knows.

I have some faith in government programs, otherwise I wouldn't be in the profession that I'm in. I guess you could say I'm just a bit more cynical about it now.

And I certainly don't coddle my clients. They do have barriers, barriers that most of us cannot imagine living with on a daily basis, but if you show up at my desk and say you're ready to work, then you better act like you are ready to work--- call if you're going to miss an appointment, realize that job searching is more than just the one hour sessions you have with me a week. Yes, I still feel empathy and compassion for you, but you have to be able to show me that you are at least willing to try to overcome your barriers.

I believe in a hand-up, I do not believe in a hand out. That's on Goodwill's website, and I could not agree more.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, however, I despise the type of thinking that says that, no matter what, 100% of the time, regardless of the kind of trouble you've come to in your life, you should be able to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and move on. It isn't always that easy, and in order for this country to thrive, we must care about the common good of our neighbors.

I hardly affiliate enough with Conservatives to register as a Republican, but I just wanted to point out how easy it is for your ideals to change once you actually witness something firsthand. I never thought I'd ever use the word 'conservative' to describe any part of my political affiliation, but I have, and I'm not afraid of it. Everything in moderation. Including government programs that often enable the problem from the get-go.

*Steps off soapbox*


Half Year's Resolutions

Since I no longer believe in making New Year's Resolutions, as I'm not a fan of setting myself up for failure, I decided that June is as good of a time as any to set goals for myself. And, although maybe they should be, these are not the kinds of typical goals one sets for 'resolution-type goals'. These are the kind of things that cross my mind once in awhile, but then fall away from me. My hope is that if I acknowledge them enough to write them down, I will look to this in the future and think, "Oh, I cared about this enough to write it down, I should keep doing it." We'll see.

To name a few:
-Reflect...I was once much more introspective than I am right now. Some may call it 'living in the moment' and that may be not totally a bad thing, but I kind of miss my ability to introspect.

-Observe...I don't take things in enough. The birds, the trees, the very gift of breathing, pretty much all the little things (well, air is kind of a big one)...The giddy way my dogs act when I come home at the end of every single day, holding Shawn's hand, the comfort of my bed, the taste of the food I'm eating. I always kind of thought adults just didn't 'get it' when they talked about racing through life and forgetting to stop and enjoy the small things. But the older I get, and the more 'adult' responsibilities I take on, I realize that forgetting to notice the world around you in an effort to get where you're going is just so freaking simple. I can't blame it all on the working world, I imagine it would be similar for anyone with a cramped schedule and adult obligations, but yeah. I think there comes a point when enjoying the little things ceases to come naturally and begins to require vigilance and conscientiousness. Actively taking note to take note is possibly just part of it?

-Be more like my dogs...What? No, I'm serious. The longer I am a dog owner, the more I become convinced that the world would be a better place if more of us possessed the souls and spirits of the canine species. Go ahead, disagree with me all you want about where or not animals have spirits or souls. Possibly, they do not. But they do have emotions, they do demonstrate devotion and commitment to the human beings responsible for caring for them, trust, loyalty, fidelity, earnestness, these are a few of the qualities that dogs possessed, and only a few on the extensive list. It's true that the more I see of people, the more I enjoy my dogs. Who do not judge. Who don't care how much I weigh or if I smell like roses or otherwise, who rip and run joyously around the house upon my homecoming, oh I could go on and on, and I probably will at a later date.

These are a few of my half year's resolutions. Another one involves getting more sleep, which I'm going to attempt to do riiiiight...now. :)


On writing

I wonder why I don't write much anymore. I used to only write when I was sad, and I find that my "happy writing" as I call it, is choppy and sounds like every other blogger on earth. Funny thing is, I have a lot of really strong opinions about a lot of things that I wouldn't mind speaking of. I want to write again. I just get jumbled and stuck and blocked. It's been this way for awhile now, since I've been happier. And, ironically so, my lack of creativity makes my happy sad.

I guess what it comes down to is that I've always been better at making people feel that they could relate to my problems than I've been at telling stories. And now, I don't have problems, I have stories. I am thrilled that life has come to this for me, that my biggest problem is not having enough to deal with.

But when I was growing up, the times I turned to my journal or came up with my newest masterpiece of a poem (so says the 13-yr-old version of myself) were the times when I was venting my problems. On very rare occasions did I sit down and write in my journal about what I did that day, and even fewer were the times that I actually made that sound interesting. So, I guess, this daily account of life thing never did feel natural to me.

I've always kind of looked at it as bleeding on paper. I bled. But I'm so normal and the inner turmoil that haunted my teenage years has all but disappeared. Not that I wish it back by any stretch of the imagination. Teenage angst + crappy home life does not equal a time for which I wax nostalgic. I just have to find my niche again. And, it may feel forced for awhile. So be it, I suppose.

Even if it's musing about life's little wonders, I guess there's no one saying I have to chronicle a play-by-play of my day or have my blog fall into a specific category. I just miss it. I remember turning in essays in high school and college and having professors and teachers dote on me. A professor I had my freshman year of college asked me to forgive her, but she graded my paper on the level of a graduate student's writing because that's what she thought it was. I might be bragging a little bit, but that made me proud. Praise like that made me feel like I could actually do something with my writing someday.

I still can. I just don't want to lose it for good. I want to write again--- for me. I once had all these big dreams of writing a memoir about my life, and there's nothing that says I still can't do that. I just don't want to lose touch with my ability to express myself with words. I don't sing, dance, and I'm no actress, so writing has always been my way to connect with people through art. I don't want that to go away for good.


So, apparently I'm an old married lady

The Backstory

A few days ago, I was talking to a friend, let's call her Sam, when she said something that forced me into a state of mind which I hate: defensiveness.

Sam and I were roommates in college, she's finishing up her last semester, and I graduated a semester early. We were just catching up, I was telling her about my life in Indianapolis, and she was explaining to me why her birthday weekend was a complete disaster. Upon ending the conversation with her, Sam said, "Ok, I'll talk to you later, I miss you my little housewife."

Queue images of me with a spatula in hand and an apron tied around my waist. Um, no.

I'm sure she meant nothing by it, but a few hours later, her goodbye was still bugging me. So, I did what anyone of maturity would do- I didn't pick up the phone and call her, I sent her a text message, in which I defended my present lifestyle by saying that I was actively seeking employment, that I did not seek to be June Cleaver now, or ever for that matter. And, for that matter, even if I did want to be June Cleaver, if that's what made me happy then what was so wrong with it?

Sam replied that she knew, but that myself and Jenn (my very best friend who also lives in this city with her long-term boyfriend) act like married people, and we make her feel like a little kid.

I wasn't going to press the issue further, though I did respond by saying that I was happy with my life and all that it entailed, and I even enjoyed what, to her, would seem like an extremely boring Friday night.

My reaction

I get really tired of defending my life to those who don't understand it. I know Sam meant no harm with her comment, but I'm disturbed that that's the way she looks at me. No, I no longer get drunk five nights a week. No, I no longer make out with random boys at random parties. And no, I don't miss that lifestyle in the slightest.

I had a lot of fun in my college years, and I know how very young I still am. My fun isn't over, it's just different now. I resent that me living with my boyfriend and having a full-time job conjures up the notion that I am this wrinkled old lady. I'm not finished living my life, and long-term commitment to another individual does not automatically mean that you stop having fun.

I've always been a bit of a serial monogamist. My Psych degree leaves me with unsupported theories as to why this is the case, but it is the case. There have been a few brief points in my life in which I was unattached and I lived accordingly. I do not feel that my worth and self-esteem hinge upon whether or not I have a boyfriend, but I do not like being single. I'm a relationship person. And I'm also a person who appreciates stability.

Maybe this sounds boring to some people, and maybe the word 'stability' to them is the equivalent of 'boring' and/or 'finished with my glory days'. That makes me sad because I don't see it that way.

I'll give you a Cliff's notes version of my psychobabble- but I believe the reason that stability, certainty, and comfort are so important to me now is because they were so foreign to me for so long. What I have now is what I have never had. A lot of people my age want to test the stable ground that's been underneath them all throughout their childhood, I want to find mine.

Ok, so I'm finished being defensive now, and I feel better.


To: Whitney From: The Grown-Up Version of Yourself

And these days the only place you have to lose yourself is the Music. You are just so freaking together it's unbelievable. You have a job, you have a lover, you have the brightest future a life like yours would allow. And yet, you want to run away. You want to escape where things aren't quite so formulaic and crafted. You want to exist in a world you spent your life convincing yourself you didn't belong to.

The part of it that amazes you, that contradicts everything you just wrote is that you know if you still belonged there, you'd wish you were somewhere else. You'd wish you fit right into the Suburban mold with your dog and your fence and your commercialized ideals of living.

I know you, better than you think. I know that you will never be happy, because I know that you were born one of those people who will never be happy. I know the only time you find inspiration is in your misery, and perhaps that's why you cling so tightly to it--- like your misery is all that gives you character. If you allowed yourself to be content with your cookie-cutter world you might fall into that trap of being like everyone else. But, if you confess your discontent alone to your computer, well that makes you somehow different then, doesn't it? At least you get what you're doing is pathetic...at least you're mourning the loss of dreams you thought you'd one day chase.

Don't you remember the days when you wanted to live? Look deep inside yourself---what does it really mean to you to live? Do you long to ride elephants in Africa, touch the hands of Buddhist religious leaders? What happened to that part of you that dreamt of leaving it all behind for something deeper, and greater?

And then you wonder, too, if maybe those things have to really entail living. What is wrong with simplicity-- with a family to love, roots laid down around you, certainty ahead of you? Predictability does not have to be this term you run from, rather something you can embrace. The opportunity to be someone's loving wife, someone's mother, someone's best friend, to impact the world around you in ways that may not make you famous with the media, or make people want to buy your books, are those not the most effective ways to impact the world--- little by little, and one by one?

I think it is that you want to be beautiful, smart, strong, and successful. Maybe you have grown up enough to realize that you don't have to run off to New York City to experience life as you want to experience it. With age, you have developed into this person for whom, without family and friends, experience means nothing. Hugs from your Granny, long conversations with your mother, Friday nights spent alone with yourself, your books, and your music, coming home to the love of your life and your dog and your bird, this is life. You are not yet a slave to corporate America, you do not feel unhappy or empty. The part you're most uncomfortable with is that you are comfortable with the way the world exists for you at this point. You never saw this coming--- you missed the point where the person you thought you wanted to be became the person you are right now. You were not aware of the moment when that became okay with you.

And the flying high, the uncertainty, the idea of leaving it all behind to backpack through Europe and have one-night stands with gorgeous Italian men, it all sounds glamorous and ritzy, and, in theory, exciting. But at the end of the day- what you want is someone you love to come home to. You want music in your ears and the sun on your back, and you want to be able to list on both hands the people you love- and you want them to be the same people who love you back. You want an open mind and a warm heart, and you want to reach out and embrace those who aren't quite so lucky. And at the end of the day, you realize you can do all of those things from exactly where you're standing.


Why I "Settled" but not really

This post was inspired by a new favorite blogger, where she wrote about Lori Gottlieb's new book Marry Him: The Case for Settling for Mr. Good Enough, and why she's insulted by the term "settling". I agree with this blogger on all accounts, though I've decided to tackle the case for settling from the relationship angle.

A long time ago, when I was just a little girl, I was hooked on Disney movies. I would watch and rewatch Cinderella, and then I'd retreat to my room and act out my own fairytales with my Barbies. In these little fantasies I had, Ken and Barbie fell madly in love and had cute little plastic babies. Barbie was, of course, a princess, and Ken was her prince. Eventually, they became King and Queen of Plasticland, and were never heard from again. Until the next day, when I watched Sleeping Beauty, and Ken and Barbie got to fall in love all over again.

A few years later, after Ken and Barbie were sent into retirement, I discovered a new outlet for my romantic fantasies--- romantic comedies- back before someone pressed their "rinse, wash, and repeat" button and they actually felt somewhat original. I watched these movies, and instead of retreating to my room to play with Barbies, I retreated into my room to write in my journal. I would pen angst-ridden words about the guy out there I would never find- the Freddie Prinze Jr. lookalike who would steal my soul, sweep me off my feet, and ride with me off into the sunset. Yes, as a teenager, I was terrified that I would end up alone. I can't tell you how many times I'd put 98 degrees songs on repeat and fantasize about the kind of guy who would sing those lyrics directly to me. My poofy hair and chubby physique were enemies even then because it was absolutely what kept me from finding the man of my dreams, the man all these fictional women seemed to land so easily, and in just 90 minutes.

Fast-forward to my twenties. Now, I am only 21 years of age, and before you laugh and tell me I know nothing about relationships because I don't even know who I am, understand that, for a multitude of reasons, I grew up way too fast. I don't regret it, but it's simply a reality. Ok, so here we are, my twenties. At present, I live with a man I've been dating for what will be three years on April Fool's day. We have a dog and a bird, and I cook him dinner every night and we are very happy at this point in our lives and our relationship. We even see it being a long-term kind of thing. BUT WHY THE HELL DIDN'T I GET THE MEMO THAT A RELATIONSHIP TOOK WORK!? Why didn't someone tell me that I would sometimes have doubts?! Why wasn't it explained to me that eventually the hormones and endorphins shooting all through my body that made me feel those "just fine jumping off a bridge because I was so damned happy and oh, my God we are on top of the world" kind of feelings would eventually fade and I would actually have to decide if I liked this man? Whose idea was it to stop the Disney movies and the romantic comedies as soon as the guy and the girl got together, before all the reality set in? Why didn't, in my days of playing Barbies, I consider that Ken may have had an adulterous affair with the younger babysitter named Skipper, would my delusions of love have been easier to recover from? If someone had made a sequel to Pretty Woman to show that even Julia Roberts and Richard Gere weren't always attending operas and climbing ladders and making it glamorous to be hookers and were actually sometimes having bad sex and ignoring one another and gaining five or ten pounds after the comfort factor set in, would I maybe have been more prepared for what it took to make a healthy relationship function?

I really think it's possible. Because I can tell you, I learned all those lessons the hard way. It took me quite some time to realize that just because I didn't get so nervous/excited everytime I laid eyes on Shawn that my stomach felt like it was doing flipflops, that that didn't mean there was something wrong with my relationship. It took many off days to realize that off days were acceptable in a long-term relationship. That I would not always feel like spending hours in front of the mirror just because I was going to see him. That we would fight, that he would ignore me to watch the Colts play. That I would ignore him when Grey's Anatomy was on. That he would be messy to live with, and leave the toilet seat up sometimes and that did not mean that our relationship was doomed because he was not the perfect guy.

I do not think it's a coincidence that with the onset of Disney movies, romantic comedies, and this fairly modern notion that love means 100%, blissfully happy 100% of the time, and that hormones and endorphins make it easy and you never have to work to get it right, that divorce rates have also risen. It is not quite love if the person is flawless in every single way, love grows in accepting the flaws about the person because their qualities pale the flaws in comparison. There are some days when I do look at Shawn and get butterflies, some days that I am overwhelmed and quite surprised by how much I love him, but there are some days that are just okay, too. And, I'll admit it, some days that pulling my hair out strand by strand would be more tolerable than being in the same room with him. But we are a team, and we are committed to one another, and that means not running at the first sign that things don't compare to what we grew up seeing in the movies.

To sum it up, I do see what Gottlieb means when she says "settling", but, like the other blogger, I, too resent the term settling. I have not settled for anything. I do not think that I could do better because I think that similar problems and ups and downs would arise with another person, I just may not be so lucky in another relationship to have someone as committed to the relationship as I am. Gottlieb's got a good thing going, I think she just used the wrong term. We should not have to feel bad about the connotations that go with the word "settle" just because we have chosen to open our eyes and choose not to believe the lies we've been told, we should celebrate for being so liberated. It isn't settling, it's being realistic.


Reasons why I love the man snoring next to me

1. He is my best friend.
2. He gets it when I would rather jump into oncoming traffic than be affectionate.
3. He loves his computer as much as I do-- so the little moments when I'm sitting next to him on my laptop, while he is on his laptop, neither of us are saying a word, and yet we are perfectly, blissfully, happy, and I see this nerdiness repeating itself well into our elderly years.
4. He only yells at me for being a bad driver when I'm about to kill us...
5. The way he looks at our puppy
6. He's not ashamed to buy me Tampons and Midol, even if I'm not shopping with him
7. He makes snarky comments so quietly that only I can hear them...and I laugh and no one understands what I'm laughing about
8. His laugh makes me laugh harder than my favorite stand-up comedians' jokes
9. He knows when to just let me rant, eventually I'll calm down and realize what a dumbass I'm being. I do.
10. Sometimes we act like big kids together
11. He doesn't get annoyed when I cry over the homeless animal commercials on TV
12. He humors me when I want to make those $1 donations to animal shelters and children's hospitals
13. He promises to humor me one day by volunteering for a few days at the Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Utah.
14. He, too, thinks it would be cool to be Mario and Luigi for Halloween.
15. The rule we have about the radio- if I'm driving, I pick the music. If he drives, he gets to.
16. He kissed me in the rain at a Counting Crows concert.
17. He usually falls asleep before me, so when I go to sleep at night I always whisper 'I love you', and he always whispers it back <3
18. He never makes me feel stupid for my computer/electronic illiteracy, even when I can't figure out the TV remote for the umpteenth time.
19. When I won't tell him what's wrong, he calls my best friend because he knows that she'll know.
20. He loves my Mommy and Granny almost as much as I do.
21. He can read maps well, I have special needs for map-reading.
22. He's awesome at making my computer work again.
23. He has patience. More than I could ever hope to have.
24. He is the least judgmental person I've ever met.
25. He knows I don't like rudeness or crudeness--- so he avoids mention of bodily fluids, flatulence, and peeing in front of me as best he can.
26. I admire him. He admires me.
27. I respect him. He respects me.
28. He's more conservative with money than me, thus, preserving our hopes of enjoying a happy retirement and not living paycheck to paycheck.
29. He always smells good.
30. He is my future.

To be continued...I hope everyone had a happy Valentine's day. We spent the first part of our day househunting, and we found some absolutely beautiful homes! It was just amazing to envision our family there one of these days. Then we came home to relax a little and then went to dinner at Bravo for some delicious Italian food. I'm so lucky to have spent the day with the best friend I've ever had and the person I will love for the rest of my days. You know, at the risk of sounding cheesy.



For the love of the dog--- and the bird

As I sit here on this quiet February afternoon, I look around our cute little apartment and take everything in--- the larger-than-life plasma TV that we did not need (Hi, Shawn!), the decorations on the wall that I'm already sick of, my boots in the corner that have been seriously victimized by the snow--- and of course, the dog hair. And the bird feathers. Oh, and the dog and the bird. I've realize that, without these two additions to our home, it wouldn't be quite our home. Archie and Fiona are part of the family, they keep things colorful, they make us laugh, and I, for one, cannot picture life without them. Sure, I may have to go in the other room when I'm talking on the phone because Archie can't bare any moment when he's not the center of attention and makes it known so loudly via his squawking that I can't hear myself think, and of course I have to keep a lint roller on hand 24/7 to brush the dog hair off the couch and our clothes, but you know what? I think it is absolutely worth it. It's worth it because, when I first see Archie in the morning, he never fails to wish me a very enthusiastic "Good morning!"- even if I slept past noon. Expensive dog food and necessary vaccinations are so worth the exuberant tail-wagging I get when I come in the door, even if I've only been gone for five minutes.

I've sacrificed many-a-pairs of good shoes because a little puppy named Fiona was teething and pissed off at us for leaving her in the apartment. Countless migraines have been worsened due to Archie's incessant need to let his presence be known, not just by us, but by the neighbors, too. I vacuum daily because Fiona likes to rip the stuffing out of her new toys, and unless I take Archie into the other room with me when I go, he screams at me, clearly outraged by his temporary abandonment. Toilet paper was shredded, our comforter has a tiny hole in it where Fiona attempted to create her own Winter Wonderland by destuffing it, there's a spot of drywall in the bathroom we're gonna have to fix before we move, and Fiona and her puppy friend Bella even decided to play dress up with my makeup one night while we were gone, scattering Cover Girl bronzer all over our tan carpet.

Owning pets has been an adventure, but one I wouldn't trade for the world. The love I have for my animals surprises me sometimes-- my loyalty to them, my empathy for them. Somewhere along the way, I became one of those people--- who throw birthday parties for their dogs, swaddle their birds in towels like babies so they'll relax, and dress their puppies up for Halloween. I became one of those people, who would rather hurt myself than see one of my animals hurt, who has somewhat humanized the personalities of my pets, and will likely need to be committed the day one of them departs from this world. And you know what? I'm proud to call myself an animal lover. I just simply do not understand how people can mistreat animals- or buy them like the hottest commodity and then cast them aside when they become somewhat inconvenient.

Owning a pet, while, in my opinion, the benefits certainly out weigh the inconveniences, is a huge commitment. I wish more people would realize that before they get something they can't take care of, or just don't want to take care of. I wish spay and neutering laws were mandatory in all fifty states, and I wish people would think twice before buying an animal from a breeder or pet store- and instead consult their local animal shelter- where half the animals that go in, never come out. I look at Fiona and how much she loves me unconditionally, how she trusts me to always do what's best for her, and I wonder how anyone could be mean to something so innocent and pure. A dog's sole purpose in its life is to make its master happy, and we too often take that for granted. I can barely fathom the horror stories I hear about animal abuse and neglect- leaving a dog when one's home is foreclosed on, keeping a dog tied up out back, duct-taping a cat, plucking a bird's feathers for the fun of it- I just don't understand.

note, I photoshopped the bird onto the dog's head when someone needed a copy of them together for a Christmas gift- they don't get this close.

My animals have been there for me in my darkest moments, they've kept me company on the loneliest of days. They forgive me, time and time again, for being human. They are always excited to see me, and they couldn't care less about the state my hair is in. I don't have to jump through any hoops to get them to love me, they just do. Unconditionally, and for the simple reason that I loved them back. In a perfect world, every animal would be loved- none would be harmed unnecessarily, none would be euthanized because they were considered "unadoptable". Every homeless animal would find a loving home. If I could, I would scoop up every dog, cat, bird, fish, iguana, hamster, guinea pig, chinchilla, and rooster in the world that was in need of some love, and take it home and feed it, clean it up, and make it feel at home. But I can't-- the only thing more sad than cruelty to animals is animal neglect because someone thought they were doing good and took in too many animals, far more than they could care for. All I can do is encourage you to adopt an animal from a shelter, research the relationship between pet stores and puppy mills, look on sites like Craigslist and Free Cycle for people who are trying to find loving homes for their animals- save a life.


Snowed-in Saturday

Today was just an all around terrible day. But, before I go into all those drab details, I'll share the one good thing that came out of this day-that-can-go-to-hell-and-never-repeat-itself:

That, my dear friends, is my Fiona- trying to make sense of the mounds and mounds of snow that fell while she was sleeping. I am a tried and true animal lover, but the love I have for that dog may be slightly unhealthy. Until I am unselfish enough to give my life over to another human being (i.e., birth a child), Fiona is my baby. Who am I kidding, she'll go on being my baby even after that whole kid thing happens.

I have a bird, too. But he squawked all day and added insult to injury, so he didn't make today's list of things that made me smile. The injury part was Shawn's car getting broken into--- and his satellite radio getting stolen. BLEGH. As much as the stolen radio sucked, the worst part was cleaning up minute shards of glass in the dead of winter. To the thief: Why did you have to shatter the window? Couldn't you have been a little more meticulous that the pieces of glass I was picking up did not look more like shavings? I mean, really? Don't they write books about how to steal things with the most concern for the victim of the theft? I'll dream on.

Anyway, that's THAT. I was certainly happy to see midnight come around and the previous day go out the window. I can't wait to partake in Super Bowl shenanigans. Shawn and I and a few of our friends are heading over to a local Cinema Grill to watch the game on the big screen and eat our weight in all-you-can-eat wings and pizza. Go Colts!


Social media games stole my youth

Mmmmm, I believe I need a nap. The more sane amongst you would tell me I just need to call it a night, or a very early morning, and get the hell to bed. I'm gonna go with a nap. What I NEED, desperately, pathetically NEED, is to get my days and nights back on track. I've never had a problem sleeping in late, and, as long as I'm awake before noon, I don't consider it a day wasted. But it just gets so damned lonely in the wee hours of the morning when I'm still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and Shawn and Fiona are sawing them off next to me. Even the bird is sleeping! But me? Not me. Here I sit, playing stupid games on Facebook and wondering why someone's tank on Fishville is cooler than mine. It's a Friday night. I am twenty one years old. I don't think I even need to ask you what's wrong with this picture.

Truth be told, though, I feel like I've lived well for my age. No, this is probably not the typical night of a 21-year-old (although many are up at this hour, something tells me they're not getting jealous of other people's virtual fish tanks), but it's the typical night for me. What can I say, as much as I love to go out and get drunk out of my mind and rage until 6am, I'm just as content to curl up in my bed with my boyfriend and my puppy dog and thank my lucky stars I was born into a technologically literate generation. Why the latter portion of that statement, you ask? Without technology to keep me busy, I might actually be doing something *gasp* that is worthwhile- like keeping the sleeping hours of a normal human being, or reading a good book, or working on my writing again-- what on earth would I do without all these mind numbing distractions that have come to define a generation?

I may blog more about this tomorrow, but has anyone seen the 1992 flick Hero? It stars Dustin Hoffman, Gina Davis, Joan Cusack, and Andy Garcia. If not, it's a must see. They don't make feel-good movies like that anymore. Thank goodness for Netflix.

Okay, I'm off to bed. Good morning, world!


Rolling with the punches

I slept until 1:30 today. The Nyquil did its job and kicked in, but not until like 3am, which defeated the entire purpose of taking it in the first place. After I woke up, I realized I felt like hell. I was achy and tired, and all I could really think of doing was going back to sleep. This cold sore will be the death of me. I wish people would get it over with and start calling it herpes already. Isn't that what it is? Herpes of the mouth? Awesome. All I know is that I'd like to slap whatever adult passed it onto me while they were showering me with kisses while I was an infant. If I had had a say in the matter, I would have passed on the kisses. Unfortunately, I had no say.

So, I looked up the cold sore. Apparently, cold sores can also cause flu like symptoms. Which would explain the aching back and fatigue. Great. I don't have the flu, but I might as well have for as bad as I felt.

In the grand scheme of things, today was a bigger waste than most of the days I've spent at home. Not that any of them are too monumental and/or productive. But I'm pretty sure I moved from the couch only to eat, drink, or use the restroom today. I felt that bad.

I would give you a play-by-play of my day, but you could just as well look in my Internet history to find out what I did. A little Facebook stalking, a lot of Facebook gaming, repeatedly checking my email. You know, the usual mind numbing things you do when you're on an indefinite break from being a productive, tax-paying citizen.

When Shawn comes home, I'm always so happy. Always so excited to see him walk through that door. I instantly feel better, less alone, and happier. He just has that effect on me. He doesn't poke fun at me for sitting around doing nothing all day. In fact, he knows that it was probably just as long of a day for me as it was for him. We're happy to come home to each other. I hope we always are.

I cooked a pretty tasty dinner. Not working has given me an appreciation for cooking, an appreciation I was never aware of having up to this point. Italian style porkchops, yum. Shawn seemed to appreciate them, and Fiona certainly did, as she begged at our feet waiting for scraps to fall. Then we cleaned up the kitchen, played some Mario, watched a couple episodes of Lost, and now, more Facebook gaming and stalking. Such the exciting life I lead! Ugh.

I need a goal, I need some direction that I'm heading. That way, all this free time doesn't feel wasted. The problem is, though, that nothing sounds appealing. I was so overworked and stressed out for so long that now I'm content to sit back and let my brain turn to mush. Well, I don't know that I'm content, but it seems that that's what my body is forcing me to do---so I'm just rolling with it. I've been applying for several jobs, but I'm still hopeful that I'll hear back from the company I've been waiting on for a month now. Stupid corporate red tape. I need a job! Don't they understand that?