What’s Up Doc?

ImageIn my latest adventures, I have been in search of some supplemental work to my current job of “bed-ucating” my customers by selling organic, mattresses. I need to become rich, ASAP. I’ve gone to interviews to be a nanny, I’ve checked out the local pop shop that was hiring a part-time soda stocker, and I’ve considered submitting my works to a publisher to see if I can become a millionaire by tomorrow morning. I need something where I can use as additional income, on my own terms. As was inspired by my aunt and confirmed by a friend: What better than substitute teaching!? You basically rent yourself out to the County School District for a day, and you only have to pick up jobs on the days you’re free. Then you dress up like a school-teacher-in-training and trot into a school to teach who knows what, to who knows who, for who knows how long! I think it sounds exciting, daring, and full of blog-potential, and it came highly recommended by my aunt Hannah who did the very same thing, at my very same age for years; since I love me a good thrill, and am hoping to advance my vocabulary, I put in my application.

The grueling 8-month application process and orientation complete, my last step was to get a PHYSICAL and TB Test at a DOCTOR’s office. Now, for those of you who may not know me…I haven’t been to a real doctor in awhile. I went to one in France for my lip, and there have been some specialist visits here and there. But for the most part, my hoity, toity New Hampshire hippy-dippy alternative ways have thoroughly ingrained in me a very strong dislike for the medical field as a whole. Especially doctors. The reason for this is personal, what can a doctor tell me about my body that I cannot figure out for myself?

People think I am crazy when I say this, but I mean it truly. I am an extremely AWARE individual of how I am thinking, feeling, and acting. I can’t always be conscientious enough to alter these states of being, but I’m at least always in touch with what is going on in my inner and outer workings.

That being said, if I DO have a problem, I don’t give it too much attention because it’s not likely something critical or serious. Muscle spasms or pains? Not enough bananas, not enough water, too many sprints around the lake at 5 in the morning. Acne? Too many grains, gorging on popcorn, too much sugar. Exhaustion? Not a healthy balance, out of routine, not enough raw foods. The list goes on, and I won’t bore you with my medical history, but I will say that for the most part:

1. I don’t have any problems that cannot be fixed on my own through via diet and healthy lifestyle changes.

2. I don’t ever agree with a magic pill, which appears to be all that doctor’s prescribe following a diagnosis.

3. I don’t like to take advice in the first place. A.k.a. I’m stubborn. And picky.

I do however like to ask questions. A lot of questions. I interviewed my new (and super cool) doctor up and down, and asked a bunch of questions. Secretly, I was sort of trying to test her, her knowledge, and how intellectually she engaged in conversations with me.  Consequently, she asked me a lot of questions too. I guessed her astrological sign because she reminded me of my cool friend, Toni, and I wished we could become friends, but alas…she’s the Doc and I’m the patient so we’re probably not going to hang out, do yoga, grill veggie kabobs, and drink mimosas by the pool on a Sunday. She did however encourage me in achieving my hopes and dreams, and may have even secretly cut me a break since I don’t have insurance. It was all going fine and swell, and although I was sweating profusely under the rude interrogator fluorescent lighting, my blood pressure and pulse were all tip-top.

Then came the moment I was dreading more than any moment I’ve dreaded in probably the entire week….the TB test. I hate needles. Ok, let me rephrase that: I abhor needles. My first ever visit to the gynecologist resulted in me passing out because they took a tiny vial of blood to test my whosey-whatsit levels. I also passed out while heroically trying to be a blood donor, and several years later, while trying to heroically stand next to a friend who was a blood donor. I was never cut out to sport track marks, that’s for sure.

However, I have had at least ONE incidence having blood drawn or needles stabbed into me in which I’ve remained calm and not toppled. So, I was sure, a tiny little needle with a tiny little poison under my skin should be no big deal. That is, until I saw the TB bubble. The blob under my skin made me feel lightheaded and nauseous. I had to get outta there as quick as could be. The nurse asked if I was alright, and when I quickly nodded my head, she shooed me to the front with my paperwork. The woman in front of me in line was taking her time looking through her iPhone for the perfect day for her next appointment. “No, can’t make Wednesday, that’s my manicure. Hmm…August 4th would work but I have to check and see when my dog’s getting shampooed, and well, ok, I suppose I could do it after my manicure. Let’s see, that will take about one hour, then give me an hour to grab a bite to eat, pick up the kids, drop them off with the babysitter…Ok, how’s three p.m.?” I was becoming whiter and whiter and knew for sure I was about to go down. The sounds blurring together in that classic, predictable way. The colors and lights blending and then… I come to. I’m sitting on the ground (better than the last time when I toppled face first on the floor) and my head is between my knees. I must be getting good at this passing out business, this time I got myself in a humble position before blacking out. The nurses gave me a juice (which I quickly checked to ensure it was organic and not chalk full of high-fructose corn syrup, like they give you after you donate a pint of blood, along with a slice of pizza of course) and then I took a few sips, still roasting like a pig and feeling like I might go again at any second. I had to lay down (yes, me, a 27-year old grown woman) in the patient waiting room until I could muster the strength to update my Facebook status, write a check, and get the heck outta there.

“I bet that made you feel cool.” My boss said, when she asked about the giant bandage I dare not take off my arm, for fear of seeing what is underneath.

Oh, ya, I feel totally cool.

 

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5 More Ways I Can Relate to an Inmate

I have to hand(cuff) it to myself, I really enjoyed rereading my post yesterday, about “Orange is the New Black” TV series on Netflix. In fact, after poring over my brilliant words, it made even ME want do go watch more of the show (imagine that) and then I inevitably found myself feeling paranoid about cops all day long. That may or may not have been because I was going 60mph in a 30….just kidding, Mom. It was more like 65.

Unfortunately, I got the brilliant idea to submit yesterday’s blog entry to a website that is composed of writer’s “lists”. My list didn’t make the top list of publishable blogs apparently. They told me it was not “exceptional” enough. That made me cry. Rejection often makes me cry, so does breaking a nail, finding out that there is no more garbanzo bean flour for my morning tasteless, calorie-less “pancake”, and when my favorite underwear can’t be worn because they’re in the wash. Those are all of course, things that can throw your entire day off: The wrong underwear, not having a solid breakfast, and not being able to scratch your nails down someone’s back or sit at your desk and file them when there is nothing else to be done. More on the rejection aspect later, as I had another run-in with it later in the day. Like hitting a brick wall head first and then belly flopping into it rejection.  In a way, I have to thank these people for rejecting me.  They brought me to tears. Which made me start having withdrawals for my new favorite past time, but thinking maybe I should be reading books instead, I decided to request the book from the library (although it’s going to be awhile because I’m number 19 on the wait list).

Alas, in order to kill the time (no criminal pun intended), I decided to indulge in a few more episodes, and again I found myself again comparing my life to that of the notorious Piper Chapman. 

1. I Cry Often and My Eyes Always Look Sorta Water-WorksishAnnaMe

As aforementioned, I cry a lot. Honestly, too much. No wonder I am always so thirsty. My second rejection experience, after my blog submission being turned down,  was when I went to withdraw from some classes I was taking. The reaction was a cold, heartless farewell. Everyone only wants you for your money. No one loves me. And….the tears streaming in public ensue. Gosh, I’m so needy. The inmates in “Orange is the New Black” sure do cry a lot. When someone causes their lives to feel even more difficult or lonely than it already does. So, then I cry right along with them, swearing I can feel what they feel! Every prisoner’s story has me with crocodile raindrop tears and a half a box of crumpled tissues surrounding me on the futon. But honestly, today’s rejection was kind of a good thing for me. It helped me put into perspective my priorities, I suppose. That being said, mine were going home, eating a veggie burger, four celery sticks, five green olives and two tablespoons of homemade black bean hummus. That’s all I had in the pantry (“larder” if you need a hint for your crossword) which brings me to #2.

2. My Dinners are Random Compilations of Mush Designed to Strictly Meet the Government’s Caloric and Nutritional Standards

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The food the people in our jails eat makes me mad. Don’t they realize how much of an impact nutrition has on a person as a whole? You would think that they would work to help them eat more vegetables and kale chips and such. That’s not really the priority of our government, and I suppose as a taxpayer I understand and wish there was some sort of happy medium. Tonight, my plate of dinner looked like a tray a picky kid would get at the cafeteria and then lie through his teeth to his mom that he ate a well-rounded lunch. You see, in jail, they put prisoner’s on a 1200-1500 calorie diet. This is largely (no pun intended) in part because some women have sued due to getting “overweight” on prison food. It’s likely because they don’t have whole grains and Smart Balance butter alternative. I am not really sure though to be honest what they really do feed inmates. I just imagined to myself as I was eating dinner, that it was some random conglomeration of foodstuffs like what I had for dinner tonight. Boy, it was sure tasty though.

Here is a Yahoo article on the National Prison Meal which was recently implemented.

3. I Don’t Talk to My Friends on the Phone Enough

I don’t exactly have regulations on when I can and can’t talk on the phone, nor for the length of time I’m allotted to speak for. My phone does however have a feature with a “list” of everyone I’m allowed to call, I think it’s labeled “Contacts”. Despite my freedom, it doesn’t change the fact that I rarely answer mine, and infrequently, at best, call up my friends to chat. I guess it’s because I feel so disconnected and far away from so many of them, and I don’t like when people expect ME to talk, I can talk about them all day but I’ll either just be complaining or ecstatic as hell, and either way….no one wants to hear that. Instead I make lots of small talk and try to get them to talk while I stay small. I would just rather see them in person. And preferably, them coming to visit me because I’ve spent billions of dollars on airlines to fly back to NH already in life. I guess I have to focus on making friends in my current situation for awhile. Or get really good at composing letters. For those of you who may not know, a letter is an old-fashioned form of correspondence where you use this thing called a “pen” on a piece of what’s called “paper” and you write down your thoughts, ideas, and poignant phrases.

4. I have to wait for money to come through in order to buy nessecities like shampoo, toilet paper, hairbrushes, etc.

K, ya’ll. Here is a Groupon update for you. I finally got my refund check in; the baboons running the company sent not one, but TWO because the first one never came! So, the second check came yesterday via UPS and I excitedly went to the bank to cash it. My bank wouldn’t cash it because they had to place a seven day hold on it. But that didn’t stop me from taking it to PNC, the bank of origin, to see if they could cash the darn thing for me. The man at the counter was nice, offering to waive the $10 non-customer check cashing fee for me. However, the check had a “reject” stamp on it, a “do not cash” “stop payment”. I was furious! But I made a promise to myself to not drop this issue until it’s completely solved, and postponed my grocery shopping until I have some actual money to work with. Hence the shotty dinner. I also had to postpone brushing my teeth because I’m out of toothpaste, purchasing toilet paper, and of course, getting my weekly perm.  I felt just like Piper waiting on some dimwits to put her money through so she can stop wearing maxi pads as shower shoes and get some flip flops on those precious piggies. IMG_3807

5. I have to watch my mouth so as not to get myself in trouble

I would not say that I have a loud mouth or that my voice is particularly high in decibel output. I would actually say that when I do choose to share my opinionated thoughts, it’s at the wrong time or in the wrong company. For example, never say, “I quit,” to your employer. Unless, of course, you mean it. You might find your name off the schedule for weeks to come. Instead, complain about your job to your psychiatrist or significant other, they might get bored or annoyed, but at least they don’t control your paycheck. Also, don’t dis a team, any team, any where at any time. Women should keep their sports opinions to themselves. That includes opinions about motorcycles, cars, and monkey wrenches. I’m not being sexist, I’m sharing valuable nuggets from my personal experience. I hate to keep bringing it back to “Orange is the New Black” but that’s the point of this blog, so here goes my next point: Piper behind bars says and does ALOT of things all in the name of expressing herself that get in her into deep, deep doo doo. Including solitary confinement, and being on the bad side of the wrong inmates. Always be Impeccable with your Word. That’s one of the Four Agreements that I try to work on each and every day. It involves:

– Saying only things that will not hurt others

– Speaking only the truth

– Promising only when you are able to follow through with your promises

– Being true to yourself through your spoken word

– Using your word to stand up for justice

If ever I feel I’m on the verge of messing up…well, that’s what chewing gum is for. And topic changes. Which I PROMISE for my next blog entry. 

Ways in Which I Can Relate to an Inmate

I haven’t watched TV in years. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I turned on the television and watched an actual show; it might’ve been the Royal Wedding April 29, 2011 and then I was only half watching due to being at a friend’s house amidst riveting conversation. Feel free to ask all my loved ones for confirmation on this one: I don’t own a television. 

When I was a kid, we didn’t really have a TV either, we had a box with rabbit ears on it and some dial that turned and clicked in order to find channels that came in. Because of that, I became highly addicted to PBS shows like Arthur, which I watched well into my teens despite being berated by my peers. When I DID watch TV, it was such a novelty I found myself instantly addicted, like those children that are deprived of high fructose corn syrup their entire lives and then they find themselves face to face with a twice the shelf life Twinkie. Like these poor, hungry children, my own lack of constraint ensued and I went wild. Photo on 2012-03-29 at 12.00

Unfortunately, I didn’t like what TV did to me as a person. I did not like feeling lazy and grumpy after, or the headache that it gives you staring at a screen for too long. So, I quit cold turkey about four or five years ago and haven’t gone back….until…..

Netflix.

Now, in my favor, Netflix is not really TV. It’s better. You get TV without the commercials and without ever having to flip through to find a new show, you can just watch THE SAME show all the way through the entire season. This is a danger to people like me, those who are a breathing, walking relapse waiting to happen. Two days ago, because I’m home alone and had nothing to do for the whole day yesterday, I found a show called “Orange is the New Black”. You may have heard of it, it’s starring Taylor Schilling, who is a well-to-do, former Master Cleansing, whole-grain-eating, intelligent, funny, beautiful, entrepreneur and Smith graduate who gets put behind bars because of her involvement in a drug smuggling operation in her past life. I’ve been riveted and watched, despite them being an hour a piece, no less than 8 episodes of this in the past three days!!! I have laughed, cried, and find myself feeling like I can identify with so many of the feelings and emotions that this woman is going through. I wanted to badly for it to be a true story, even though I knew some of the details were a bit sketchy (one girl was somehow able to wear EARRINGS in prison, which I know they don’t allow) in the show, and this morning: lo, and behold, I found out IT IS A TRUE STORY! OISNEWB

Orange is the New Black was a book written by Piper Kerman (the character in the show is Piper Chapman)

1. Every Sentence is a Story

The show does a great job at making you fall in love with each and every character; even though at first some of them seem detestable, they weave in their personal stories of how they ended up in prison and by the end of an episode, you’re realizing that the inmate that threatens everyone with violence has had a really tough life. I can relate to this because I have recently come to realize the same thing about my fellow human beings, taking time to understand that each and every person has a past that has formed who they are now gives me a lot more compassion and sympathy, and understanding, for anything erroneous they may do. It also gives me a chance to offer myself some slack and grace, as I realize the most important thing is doing the best that you can, with the circumstances you are in.

2. Piper Chapman Does not Mind Sticking out Like a Sore Thumb

When our heroine (no pun intended) first walks into the prison, she realizes she is not like many of the other inmates. She is well-educated, funny, sarcastic, and a sensitive and emotional being (and Lord, knows, of course I can relate to THAT!). However, she also comes to accept that she was not this way in her past criminal involvement and therefore has to do her time just like everyone else. Through all of this, and the fact that she knows she is somehow way out of her league, she attempts to fit in and befriend many of her “roommates”. She is racially profiled and called “Cracker” and treated like the “newbie” who is feeling like a foreigner in her own country. Sometimes, you have to just fake it, even if you’ll never make it. I remember in high school and college feeling a little like a weirdo, because I got a really late start on school, didn’t know what an “exam” was or whether or not getting a 29 on one was good or bad, and had lived most of my life under a rock. At first, I was fresh meat to be picked on and challenged, I was the strange one. But as I worked on flying under the radar by befriending people, it helped me maintain my weirdness and yet not have to constantly worry about defending myself. People often don’t know why, but they end up liking people that are nice to everyone. In the show, Piper not only stands out when compared to the status quo prisoners, she also stands out in her own circle of friends, as none of them have dark and dastardly pasts or could even conceive of the idea of a dark, dank correctional facility.

3. Like Piper, I have/have had Friends in Prison

People get thrown into the slammer for some pretty messed up stuff. This part of the show was relatively painful to watch, as I saw characters struggle with issues of missing their families, withdrawal, the visitation experience, being harassed, and just the overall poor conditions. That’s when the tears came, when I thought of folks I have known that have had to endure very similar, if not worse trials. It also saddens me that for some folks, they will never be free of the punishment system, as when they are released they often go right back to what they know, only to find themselves in the hands of the judiciaries time and time again.

4. She has a Boyfriend Named Jason

Piper

Well, actually, in the show her boyfriend’s name is Larry, but his actor name is Jason. But still, it’s close enough.

5. Parts of My Own Life Have Felt Like a Prison Sentence 

Being free is a choice. I recently read a book, called Shantaram in which the main character underwent torturous stays in prisons, more than once in his life. He also worked in the slums in India as a doctor, and traveled through the mountains of Afghanistan in the bitter cold. His entire life he longed for freedom, but not truly feeling it as he wandered gyspy-like from refuge to refuge, avoiding the law and being arrested. Throughout the book, he realizes that no one can truly take away your freedom, even if they take away your physical freedom, your freedom of speech, etc. Freedom exists in the mind, and it is only ourselves that have the power to hold ourselves in true captivity. I have often stamped the word “victim” across my mind, abused myself, deprived myself of joy, and let my brain stew with thoughts of captivity and being locked down. Freedom is about having no limits, it’s about choosing to do your very best at each and every moment, and it’s about making the conscious decision to be grateful no matter what. Freedom is allowing yourself to give up isolation, to stop seeing things only through your own narrow perspective, and to open your mind, eyes, and heart to the bigger picture at hand.

There is only now. That is Freedom.
Now in the spirit of being free, I’m going to go exercise my and work out and get some errands done, so I can feel less guilty when I become a slave to my own addiction and watch more of this show later.

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Girl Least Likely

Something strange just occurred to me. 

I’m sitting here in the privacy of my own home, getting ready to write a blog to start off my day. Today is undoubtedly going to be good. I’m going to take a walk, or two walks, or three, enjoy the solitude of nature (as I breathe in the exhaust of the cars rushing by me), I’m going to eat homemade hummus that I myself created last night, and I’m going to enjoy not having to worry about doing anything excessively productive until tomorrow.

I’m sure you’re now wanting to know the strange thing that just happened.

I’m sure you’re wondering why I haven’t told you yet.

I’m sure you’re annoyed that I’m not getting to the point.

And then you’re instantly cured of being annoyed, because you understand that cliff-hangers in the middle of a written work are like pleasure delayers.

So, without further ado, here is what happened:

I’m preparing to write about yesterday’s experience with a girl that came into our store yesterday representing Shop Local Raleigh. She has a blog through ShopLocal Raleigh where she talks about local businesses and how she is coming to and weening herself off of her college daze. So while I’m letting these thoughts circulate a bit, in hopes that they will pick up momentum and start landing on the computer screen into thought-provoking and somehow complete sentences, I’m dabbling around reading her blog, reading my friend Toni’s blog, and a few other bits and bobbles to find out you know, the answer to what people are asking. The usual. I also visited StumbleUpon which is a site that allows people like ME who are just aimlessly surfing the internet, to find a random site tailored according to her interests. The sites they usually curate for me are spot on and correlate perfectly with what I’m into: kickingpuppies.com, crosswordpuzzlesforpeoplewhoare90yearold’slivingin27yearold’sbodies.org, and howtodrinkyourwaytoahangover.gov
DAacner2

Actually, to be perfectly honest, I think my interests are writing, spirituality, travel, cooking, exercise, staying in shape, not eating too much, self improvement, ya da ya da ya da. This morning, I hit the “Stumble” button and in the back of my mind, I was thinking the words “Writing Inspiration, Writing Better for Your Audience”  in hopes that something pertaining to well, writing, would pop up. This is when the weirdness happens: The page that came up was “The Ultimate Guide to Writing Better” complete with TEN whole tips on how to write better.  It was like the Internet read my mind. And no, in case you’re wondering, I did NOT employ them in writing this particular entry. The whole point of telling you all this was just to express how strange it was that I had been thinking it and then BA-DING-BA-DAM! It popped up. The end.

Back to the girl from yesterday and her blog….her name was Brianne (Breanne?) and she was either 21 or 22, which I alluded to based on the fact that she just graduated from college in May, and landed HER DREAM JOB in June. I must say, I am always happy for people that are happy and successful and everything, but a tinge, ok a TON of jealousy surged through my veins as she raved about her success story and this DREAM JOB.

She is supposed (tomorrow) to be writing a blog about her visit to our store, which I am quite anxious to read. In the interest of research and marketing, I read her blog and I couldn’t help comparing how she gets over 100 hits per day on hers, to me being elated to get 48 on my top read post. And I didn’t even crack a single laugh or drool over her gooey pizza and beer descriptions. When I read my own blog I’m cracking MYSELF up, so I can only assume the rest of you are in stitches and unable to contain yourselves. I guess her goal is likely to appeal to a crowd that I am not a part of.

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There are SO many blogs, inspirational sites, online magazines with articles galore, I am not even sure people are discriminatory about what they are reading these days. They just want funny, short, and some good stories about your epic failures in life so they feel better about themselves. The writing doesn’t necessarily matter, but can they find you on Facebook or Pinterest? The more I am learning about life, I am realizing it truly IS all about who you know. Opportunity and the a stab at fame and fortune come with shmoozing with the write people. MOST common folk aren’t really thinking about what you’re writing, they only care about how many hashtags you use in a sentence so they can link to your Pinterest page or Instagram. Is that how that #works? I have no idea, in all truthfulness. Because I am a loser with a capital “L”, I’m just going to go ahead and assume that I am not going to strike big in the writing world, or any other world for that matter, anytime soon, unless I can figure out a way to unabashedly tell my life’s story and change the names of all the guilty parties.

 

Am I an old dinosaur for wanting to go against the grain and be unpopular? Keeping up with the times used to be fun and exciting, but now the way things have gone down, careening towards disarray and disconnectedness, it’s not exactly top on my list of things to do: To Become Popular. I think that means I would have to OMG and LOL and BRB. Alas, I’ve never been Girl Most-Likely to Succeed anyway. 

Ham Mock

Generation of Inspiration

In case you’re an avid avoider of media, like myself, I will fill you in on some things that have been happening in the world as of late. And by the world, I mean it in the most American-ego-centric fashion and am only including things happening in our country.

1. School systems are becoming the new abortion. school-day-photo

Remember the way Roe v. Wade was the hot topic in 1973? Now, the word on street is what is taking place in our school systems as we allow lawmakers and policy holders to dictate how our children learn. There are a few things happening, which I found out the other day during an orientation for substitute teacher’s at the local school district. Substituting is a great way to dabble in the school system and find out what the generation of the future is learning and dealing with on a regular basis. Of course, it’s not the same story across the chalkboard, but those mandating changes sure would like to see it that way. Knowledge is no longer able to be placed in a mold and delivered to each child in the same, methodical way that it once was. Memorization, once a revered sacrament, and is instead being replaced with teaching kids to access information that interests them. New systems of education are being experimented with, such as self-directed learning formats, application, searching, discovery, inquiry, and a more subjective approach is being established. While such positive changes are taking place at this pivotal moment, and it’s likely a nationwide breakthrough is going to occur, my NC government, and maybe coming soon to a government near you, is busy taking away school and teacher funding, making budget cuts, and reducing teachers motivation to acquire further education. At such a crucial moment in our history, a time when altering the future is happening by waking up these little pupils and making them aware NOW, they’re attempting to put the kibosh on the passion that is infused in the learning process. Don’t even get me STARTED with the cafeteria situation and some of the ACTUAL things they teach kids. Let’s get with the times, NC. Whatever happened to school being the breeding grounds for inspiration and life?

2. The Blue Ridge Parkway is cracked.

This is no joke, the highway indeed has a huge crack in it and it’s getting even bigger. 20 miles of it is closed off from being driven on. I suppose we are going to need to hurry up and invent those Jetson-like cars sooner than we thought. Think of all the money you’ll save in tolls.

3. Coasters are no longer safe

Two years ago, I went to Carowinds in Charlotte, NC with my brother and his friend Brendon. We were hot. It was summer in NC….which, if you live here, you know that is no less excruciating than it is for a lobster to be placed in a pot full of boiling water. We had waited in line in the sun for about an hour for one of the roller coaster rides. I LOVE roller coasters, I love adrenaline and the thrill of being terrified nearly to the point of death, only to be rescued by the fact that I’m strapped in and locked in by a variety of safety mechanisms. For the same reason, I would love to try sky diving. However, this particular day was not a typical one at the theme park…or was it? When we got to the front of the line, there suddenly was a problem on the ride and it stopped running for about half an hour while ride mechanics or technicians fixed a “glitch”. Apparently the glitch was a problem with the braking mechanism. At this news, I began sweating profusely and it wasn’t simply due to the fact that the hot sun was blazing into my every skin cell, but because I truly did NOT want to go on that ride. However, Peter and Brendon, being the tough guys that they are, insisted we go. I couldn’t let my brother and his friend die without me, imagine how that would look when I had to go home and report to my mother what had happened. She would be so mad that it took him and not me! So, I went along. Plus, someone would have to tend to those two wild banchees in the afterlife, or else they would be dancing on streets of gold naked. Fortunately, nothing happened on the ride, except for the fact that my feelings of sheer and utter terror were amplified and resulted in me getting sick and not being able to continue the afternoon of riding on roller coasters. Now with this news of a lady dying in Texas, I am not sure if I could ever ride one again. I’d already written off theme parks because of the excruciating long lines, the entire herd like mentality of it the experience, and the sheer Americanism sold at every twist and turn. But now, it’s almost become an issue of reverence for me. How can I enjoy such a “harmless danger” when it has been the death to others…and all in the name of pleasure and fun. The riders with her said that she had been complaining to a park worker that her restraint wasn’t seeming to be fully operating, however, ride engineers and researchers say that there are computer mechanisms in place that do not allow the ride to start if this is the case. WITH ANY OF THE RESTRAINTS. So, why did this happen to this poor woman? The reasons are still being investigated…by Six Flags themselves. I feel that even if the truth does present itself, we’re not going to be privy to the full extent of it, not as long as we’re the general, admission-paying, coaster-riding public. roller-coaster-24

4. Yet people are still living on the edge

The other item under fire right now is that of Immigration. I recently watched a TV Show called “30 Days” in which Morgan Spurlock (Supersize Me) set people up to undergo thirty days of living in someone else’s shoes. He brings in a bounty hunter from TX to live with a family of illegal immigrants. This is a subject I need to educate myself more on, and it’s also one in which everyone has an opinion and are making their thoughts loudly known. When it comes to the word “reform” I simply want to know this, will it truly change anything? Haven’t we been in the process of reforming this place since the beginning of time? And all that we have to show for it is farms demolished by fracking, water polluted by overconsumption, and people wearing down SIDEWALKS because they are eating one too many Philly Cheese Steaks at lunch. Where is the reform to be had? Perhaps it’s time we reform to look at one another as individuals and take this into account when making a practical system for becoming a valued citizen. What is at the root of the immigration “problem”? Is it overcrowding? Less job opportunities for qualified individuals as the unqualified ones are willing to do it for fewer bucks? Is it our lack of compassion for what they are escaping? Perhaps our warm, friendly and inviting American persona is being put to the test? How welcoming are we REALLY? Why or why not?

5. Is Insecurity the new security?

You can always be sure of one thing. That there is NOTHING you can be sure of for sure. I promise that to be true. Not that I can make you any steadfast promises. But really, no matter how much I can prove something scientifically, or otherwise to myself, it still could be a completely made-up figment of my imagination. And then how would I know? So, when someone tells me I look good, or that I’m safe, or that I can trust something…I have a really hard time doing so. As I seek stability, security and certainty in this world, it seems I find more opportunities for gambles, chances, and high risks. So since everything is already so up in the air, why not live each and every day like it’s exactly that. Life can change in the blink of an eye, and while you may have your job, your loved ones, your children, your cushy 401K,  pets, fancy house, blue suede shoes, and favorite breakfast cereal to depend on today, tomorrow could be another story altogether. And then we have what we think is our own private world, but are likely being spied on by our very own countrymen at any given time. This I don’t mind so much, as I’m aware that it might be an infringement on my rights, I really have nothing to hide. I’d be happy to tell them how many minutes I brush my teeth everyday, Tweet them how many hours I spent watching TedTalks one afternoon, or text the government and tell them all about the great outfit I have on today. How messed up is our country truly? Is there any allowance for us to put aside our stress and worries and indulge in more carefree living? Has virtue, creativity and passion died? When we’re in such dire straits, as we tread through such unpredictable and dangerous waters, what do we focus on?  I love what my good pal, Ghandi has to say in regards to security:

“This is the secret of security: like love, at its highest, it is not something that we receive; it is something that we do. And in doing security, in being secure and promoting the security of others, we find our own.”

It starts with the spirit, not the spy game. It takes a shift toward altruism, not a shift toward shutting down others and others and others and finally ourselves. Want more security? Perhaps it begins with each and everyone of us doing our best, being true to our word, and being the person that someone else can trust.

gandhi_indiatravel

 

The Good Writing, the Bad Hair, and the Ugly Skin

I went to the anniversary party this weekend of my friend, and former employer’s, business Luna’s Living Kitchen in Charlotte, NC. The party was fabulous and I connected with my co-workers, crying over how much I missed them, and staring in awe at how healthy, radiant and clear-skinned everyone was. I have a tendency to get myself in an emotional ditch and not be able to pick myself back up until I attend some fun social event geared towards being hyper and outgoing. “This time was going to be different,” I mentally announced on my way there.
juli

First, was battling the three hour car drive THERE which consisted of planning an outfit (which I would quickly change into at a stop light, of course), downing a hit of caffeine so I wouldn’t fall asleep at 9pm as I usually do, listening to no fewer than four mix CD’s, deciding whether or not any of the events of my road trip were blog worthy, and checking my sunburned lip catastrophe that was a glaring attention getter amidst my otherwise flawless complexion. The very last half hour of my journey was the positive self talk which every girl needs before a social event to calm the swelling waves of her nervousness.

Needless to say, when I got there, I was feeling pretty good. It made me so happy to chit-chat with everyone, and it was refreshingly the very opposite of small talk, rather a string of witty puns, heartfelt conversation, and lively updates. I refrained from overindulging in the many varieties of hummus and after all was said and done, I was feeling terrific about having had gone. I began questioning why I ever get sad or unhappy to begin with! When everything in life is so promising and so friendly, and so grand….like all the folks at the party!

Unfortunately, as with every high speed chase, or jailbreak, or caffeine rush……there is always a crash. Mine happened to be on my parents couch that night, which was conveniently located just outside of Charlotte.  IMG957232

The next day, on my drive back to Raleigh, after about the fourth time scanning every station on the radio, I was trying to make my brain do interesting things by forcing it not to think about anything at all, in hopes that I would think about something truly brilliant and original. I took a look at my uneven, overpriced Groupon haircut in the mirror and realized how petty and dull my blogs have been. Lots of whining and complaining about how unoriginal, and unliked I am. Then I started asking myself some soul-searching questions, what do people want to read? Why type of person do people want to be around? Who am I when no one is watching? What do I have to offer this world?

It boiled down to the following peanuts:

1. You’ll pretty much only be liked as much as you like yourself. People say this all the time and it’s rather cliché, or so I’ve always thought. But it’s really true….basically, the amount of crap you’re willing to put up with and take is the amount of crap you’re going to end up getting. It’s hard to trick your brain into things that it doesn’t think, but that really is one of the keys to happiness. That’s why it’s hard to be both smart and happy, so if you have both, you’ve struck GOLD!

2. People like to read about themselves or things they can identify with. My favorite book is called Running in Heels, by Anna Maxted, a story about a nearly 30-year-old who has all sorts of dilemmas and problems and personal neurosis. So many of the things that the main character does and says remind me of myself. Maybe that is why it’s my favorite book. Unfortunately, my other favorite is the Amelia Bedelia series, hence the blog name. I am rather accident prone and blunderous. The point being, we all like someone we can draw parallels with. We like attention, feeling as though there is some purpose for our very own individual existence. This is why women like flowers, because it demonstrates that you were thinking of us while you were off filling up your gas tank, or conquering the world all in a day’s work. It’s why cards and letters, and Facebook statuses with tags in them, and jelly donuts are all AWESOME. Ok, so I don’t really think jelly donuts are awesome…. so now the question is, what can I write about that people can identify with? I’m sort of weird, so clearly I can’t continue to write about myself. But what I can do is observe the world around me and share some of my insights about how one person chooses to navigate through this crazy life with two middle names and an energy deficiency. Likely at least 3% of my readers will be able to identify.

3. When no one is watching I’m a…..I can’t tell you what I came up with in response to this one, or else I’d be blowing my own cover!

4. What do I have to offer this world? I used to be a firm believer that no matter how much someone professed to love you, or like you, you should always like them slightly less. Be one degree colder, one more shoulder distance away from them than they are from you. No bear hugs, no kisses on the cheeks, keep an icey cool front in front of even your least critical fans. However, as I was pondering this little philosophy, I was realizing how completely and utterly I abandoned that theory as of about circa 2011 and started nose diving face first into the refreshing pool waters of loving people just BECAUSE despite what they can do for me, or how much they like me. I tried to ween myself off the word “hate” and “dislike” and it made me realize how many more people I truly LIKE! Sometimes I even like people that bash me over the head with berating words or disapproval. It’s the strangest thing, but it really worked for me. Now, I realize one of the key things that I have to offer the world, what we all have to offer is a giant, big heart full of love. I am so glad I stopped paying for expensive yoga classes to help me become a better person, the answer really WAS inside me all this time, like they tell you between breathing out your third eye and shavasana.

I’ll leave you with a final thought, in the form of an activity.

In honor of His Honor being born, can you remember where were you on the day of the Royal Wedding? April 29, 2011. It was a Friday. It took me about three days to recover this information, but I finally found it buried in the dusty crevices of my brain and I felt proud. Sometimes I like to try this activity, pick a random date and year and try to determine either your whereabouts, or your company, or your outfit, or your feelings from that very day. You might even have your Facebook timeline, old emails, journal entries, or school documents to help you out. It’s a really fun way to connect with people and compare where you were in your lives on xyz date in 1906.

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Boring.com.gov.org.edu

The loathed weekday for most, I usually look forward to Mondays. I enjoy catching up in what was lost of my carrot-eating admist the indulgences and festivities of the weekend, I like burning away at the gym to set the week off on a good note, and I enjoy organizing and establishing my plan for each and every upcoming day and event as a fresh start. Today however, was a completely different story. To start, I woke up on the wrong side of the bed. Literally. I was in the middle. Then, I ate breakfast and conducted my morning routine as usual but when I got to the gym I felt like I probably should have left the six bags of marbles that I put in my pockets before I got there, at home. I could barely move I was so exhausted and despite the fact that my more in-shape, better looking arch nemesis was working up a sweat on the treadmill and getting thinner and fitter and better looking with each step and calorie she burned, I heavily and wearily took my bones and dragged them home to shower and finish getting ready for work.

After cleaning up, I still had a half hour but for some reason, being at home was boring me so I left early and tidied up the work place before starting the day. I was fortunate to get there so early as the delivery driver had conveniently ALSO arrived early and took away some mattresses to help make yet another family’s life organic and Blissful.

After he left, I decided it was time to do a little follow up work from yesterday, which took me all of two seconds.

Then I played a Scrabble word.

Looked through everyone’s ultra boring Facebook statuses….honestly…not a single one caught my eye today. Everyone’s Monday must be as dull as mine I thought.

A customer came in with two demons…er…I mean children… and kept me occupied for a few minutes; I realized I need to add “free babysitting” to my resume, as my services were utilized this morning while she conducted her business elsewhere.Flatline

She left and since then. Crickets. Not as in the game “Cricket”. No, no, that would be far too exciting. In fact, likely even HEARING actual crickets would’ve been more exciting. I got so bored I ended up chewing through an entire pack of gum and drowning myself in glass after glass of water.

You know, I used to think that I NEVER got bored. Because I never used to. Today though, despite having little things to do here and there, and even with the wide world of the Internet at my fingertips, I couldn’t keep my brain from straying to complete and utter boredom. In case you’re wondering, that looks like the picture to the right.