Longest Blogging Break Ever

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Yearly blogging break does not mean take a year off of blogging does it? Oops…

I know, I know. Blogging 101 says that you should be consistent. That a successful blog should at least write once a week. I was doing ok for a while, but then I wasn’t. It has been a weird year, a year where I questioned a lot of stuff in my life. Like what direction I was headed as a writer, or whatever you want to call me. The most annoying thing about myself is my tendency to beat myself up and second-guess every decision. I could make a career out of doing that, an official second-guesser. Is that a thing?  Well, it should be because I would be awesome and get lots of awards from the award giving people.

Anyways…

I started this blog as a therapeutic way to rehash some of my most awkward moments. I am still awkward as hell. It is one thing that hasn’t changed even though I am vastly approaching my third decade on this planet. I always thought my awkwardness would fade when I became an official adult.  All this adulting has done nothing for my unbearably awkward syndrome (its a condition, look it up).

Just the other day, I fell near the entrance of a local grocery store. Who falls trying to complete a simple task like grabbing a shopping cart? Me. That’s who. Did I mention it was in front of several people? One of which was a tiny older woman, who squealed when I flew backwards. Her yelp created an even larger audience to see the aftermath of my fight with Gravity. What a b word. Gravity, not the little old lady.

I don’t even know if I have an audience on this blog anymore.  I have possible lost the five or so followers I had.  Who cares. Its nice to be back.

Why I am still not sold on this whole “parent” thing.

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When I was fifteen I wanted four kids, a beautiful stay at home husband, and to be a world-class chef (or novelist, or editor for Entertainment Weekly). I figured it would happen when I was old, you know, like twenty-four. I got into my twenties, and my timetable seemed to be coming too quickly. I decided I liked the freedom of no children when my friends started to settle down and have them. There was even a time where I decided that maybe kids were not for me. I ended up getting married at twenty-four. My husband and I were on the same page about waiting to have kids. So we decided on a five-year plan. Five years to finish school, go on crazy trips, and enjoy a childfree existence.

Now at the age twenty-eight, I have one year left and am still having doubts of being a parent. Part of me feels ready, but I feel like it is a constant struggle in deciding. Some days I wake up and go, ” We can do this! I feel like a child would not be that screwed up in this environment.” Other days I question if I can properly take care of myself let alone a baby. Here are three reasons that still plague my decision to have children.

I have no clue what I am doing. 200-21

This concern is one that scares me the most. I am that type of person that looks at all the negative outcomes of a situation before attempting it. It is the same procedure I go through when doing something “daring”, like flying on a commercial flight. What if I hold the baby wrong and screw up its neck? I heard that’s a thing that can happen. What if I don’t know when they are sick? What if I am that parent that forgets the child on top of their car or in a shopping cart? People try to reassure me that most parents don’t know what they are doing. You can’t fool me with your “modest” act people! You are just trying to get us non-child folks to join your parent cult!

I still get uncomfortable around “live” children. 200-8

Sometimes I forget kids are kids. I try to have adult conversations with them. Trying to relate to some kids is really unbearable. More recently I have gotten a little better at this. I have two nephews under the age of four, and we get along just fine. They are pretty awesome, most of the time. I feel like they have helped change my view from “never having kids” to “ok, maybe if they are as cool as them.” My husband and I have already come to the conclusion that we will probably love our nephews more than our own children. The truth hurts, future children of mine. With other children though, I just don’t know what they want from me. I feel like kids are constantly staring at me because they can smell the fear and doubt that I have.

Kids are kind of creepy. creepykid1

I still feel like kids can be creepy. For example, some of the scariest movie moments for me involve old-timey children ghosts or possessed ones looking to murder you in your sleep. They are on par with killer clowns in the freaky factor. With my luck, I would be that parent with a kid whose cats go missing a lot. My fear of children may be based on fictional characters from movies and TV, but real kids are just as creepy. Do me a favor and Google “creepy things kids say.” I will wait. I apologize now if you already have a “creepy” kid of your own.

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I am closing in on my last year before my five-year plan “expires”, and it makes me nervous. I know that my concerns of having a child are at least semi-normal. Right, RIGHT?? One thing I can say is that the older I get, the more I think I can do this. In the end, I know that one day I will probably be a good mom and with any luck, the kid will be pretty awesome too.

This is me, trying to rant, about stuff…

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I want to punch this lady in her old lady face.

That was my thought yesterday when I went to go see Interstellar with my husband. We try to go to the movies on weekday afternoons because the theater is usually less crowded. It is the best odds to not get stuck sitting next to some jackass that doesn’t have good movie etiquette. It is one of my biggest pet peeves which doesn’t often mix well with my love of going to the movies.

I always think of those “silence your cellphone reminders” as being such a sad thing. Why? To me, it should be common sense that when you go into a dark room with a bunch of strangers that you would automatically know to do this!

Other things you should know:

  • That you are not the only person paying to see this movie.
  • That I didn’t pay ten dollars to hear you say, “that wasn’t funny” every two seconds in a comedy.  I didn’t sign up for your running commentary.  P.S. IT WAS REALLY FUNNY!!
  • I also didn’t pay to hear your kid tell you everything that is going to happen before it happens in the movie because they “read the book.” I am all for kids reading more, but I don’t need to hear about it while trying to enjoy the last Harry Potter film.

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  • I definitely didn’t sign up for getting my space invaded and almost hit in the face when you forgot that someone was sitting next to you while you played “keep away” with your friend’s cellphone.

All true stories, all reasons why I try to avoid weekend showings. Why do people have to be reminded to be decent human beings?

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Monday mornings/afternoons are the perfect time to get the full movie experience, without the large crowds. Normally on these days I only have to share the theater with a few random couples or the occasional small group. People who are possibly just like me and annoyed by large crowds. At worst, I will have to deal with the random person that decides to sit practically next to me in an empty theater. Which is just creepy to me, but as long as there are quiet, I could care less. Yesterday was not my usual Monday crowd.

Every time there are more than six people in the theater, I have a mini panic attack. Only because I know it will be just my luck to get stuck sitting near the most annoying person imaginable. Yesterday it was an older woman, possibly in her late 50’s, who decided to sit a couple seats away from me.

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It started with her lack of patience for the movie to start when the screen went black for a solid two minutes. She thought it would be hilarious to keep saying “Now for Interstellar!” Getting louder every time she said it. “NOW FOR INTERSTELLAR!!”  She ended up saying it about ten times.  Ten times too many.  Then when the previews started she would remark “oooh that looks good!” or “Not for me…” after each one.

I hoped that overpaying for the booming sounds of IMAX would drown her out when the film started. Luckily, for the most part it did. Except for the occasionally quiet sad parts, which resulted in her crying extremely loud. Or when they would show impressive shots of different planets she would gasp uncontrollably. As if she had just came to the realization that there was more in the vast universe than Earth. I guess the movie struck a cord with her, but the whole theater didn’t need to know about it.

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Frankly, I wanted to punch this lady in the face or wished she was marooned on one those planets she was so loudly swooning over.

The best part of movies, for me, is getting sucked into the plot and forgetting about the daily grind of life. It is kind of hard to do that when people can’t control their cellphones, kids, or their own mouths. In the end, the old woman didn’t annoy me enough to move (THANKS IMAX!), but it did however annoy me enough to write this rant.

So please if you are one of these people, stay at home and wait to rent movies.  Please, for the sake of humanity or at least my sanity.

So, yeah, rant over.

Anyone else have any bad movie-going experiences they want to share?

A Skeptical Third Grader’s Date with A Deadly Tree Frog

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It was slimy; my finger grazed its’ back as it tried to leap away. When my finger tingled I knew it was only the beginning of the end.

I was always one of those kids that took warnings to heart. When I was five I got lost in a supermarket, and my parents had always taught me not to talk to strangers. When an older man asked if I needed help, I screamed, “YOU’RE A STRANGER!!!” remembering everything my parents had warned me about. I ended up safe and only an aisle away from my dad the whole time, but nonetheless, I had always been paranoid.

In third grade, I was scrawny and shy, an obvious candidate for a tag along. My new best friend Celeste was magnificent and exciting. During recess, I would follow her every move. I admired Celeste’s independent and carefree attitude.   We would spend most of our recesses making up songs to sing, thinking that we would be the next “TLC” if only we could find a good enough third member. Other parts of our recess were spent escaping the grips of one of the Wilson twins, who had made it his mission to make one of us his girlfriend. He had orangish red hair, and his face was covered in freckles. He ran with his arms straight to his side, as if he had no elbows to bend them.   During class, I would count down the minutes before I could go outside and have my freedom.

My third-grade teacher Mrs. Crabtree was a robust old woman, who never taught us anything fun. Some days she would let us play heads up seven up, but most days it just be boring educational lessons.   We had been learning about amphibians in our science unit. One day as a special treat, Mrs. Crabtree brought in a tree frog to be our class pet for a week. I thought the frog was amazing; it was black and green, with dots of red on its back. The movements of his throat as it took a breath made me giggle.   We talked about him for most of the day.

“Can we touch it? Pleeeaaaseee” the whole class begged.

“Sorry kids, this frog is poisonous, so none of you are allowed to touch him.” Mrs. Crabtree said.

I don’t remember if she ever said that we could die if we were to touch this frog, but when she said the word poison, I automatically assumed as much. Celeste did the opposite; she took that warning as a challenge. From that day forward she became determined to touch that frog, even if it was deadly. Our recesses became filled with trying to find a way to get to the frog without Mrs. Crabtree being around.

Celeste came up with the idea of getting inside the building during recess when most of the teachers were in their lounge. Though I didn’t think it was a good idea, I didn’t want Celeste to think I was scared, so I went along with it. The only problem was getting into the building; kids were not allowed to roam the halls during recess. We had to get our hands on some bathroom passes from the recess aides, and they would never let us go together.

Then I remembered that I had accidently kept a pass from one of the aides a couple of weeks ago, I waited too long to give it back. Now it just sat in my desk, waiting to be discovered by my teacher. Who would no doubt accuse me of stealing and send me to the principal’s office, where I would be then banished from the school forever. See, paranoid. With access to an extra pass, we were sure that our plan would be a success.

On the day of our not so organized plan, my stomach was in knots. I wanted just to go back to pretending that we were “TLC” and being chased by overly freckled boys, but it was too late, I was in too deep. Celeste and I went into the building at separate times and met by the bathrooms. The halls by our classroom, usually filled with chatter were now eerily quiet. We peaked into the classroom door window to make sure Mrs. Crabtree was not inside. Man how I wished she was inside.

When we made in, Celeste pulled out a game changer.

“Ashley, I dare you to touch that frog for ten seconds, or I will tell everyone that you want to marry Ryan K.!!” Celeste said.

“What? I thought you wanted to touch it?” I asked. This was not a part of the plan.

“I changed my mind, don’t be a wuss!” Celeste demanded.

This is what I got for being a sidekick; I had to do all the hard work, and I had to taste the food to make sure it wasn’t poisoned for the queen. At first I hesitated, but I didn’t want my whole class to know that I was wanted to marry Ryan K. I pulled the lid off the class aquarium, reached down into my impending doom. The frog’s back was slimy as my finger grazed it back. It tried to escape, but I had it pinned it between my fingers and the glass of the aquarium.

“One…Two…Threeee…Foouuurrr…”   Celeste whispered.

A lot went through my head during those extremely long ten seconds. First was how mad my parents were going to be when I died of some tree frog disease that my teacher had warned us about. Second was that my big brother was probably going to take over my room the minute I croaked. Pun intended. Third was the fact that Celeste was taking a really long time to count to ten. Finally, when she did get to ten, I released the frog. My finger tingled; its starting, I thought. In a matter of days, maybe even hours, I’d be a goner.

In the coming weeks, I grew more and more paranoid. Thinking that Mrs. Crabtree would somehow lift my fingerprint off the frog’s back in an attempt to see what children had not listened to her request.

When my guilt had become too much for me, I confronted my parents with the news of my upcoming bad fortune. Only for them to chuckle and reassure me that Mrs. Crabtree was just trying to make sure the frog was safe. I wasn’t going to die! I eventually forgot about the tree frog and the whole mess about dying.

I learned two lessons in Mrs. Crabtree’s third-grade class. The first was that teachers sometimes lie. The second was that I was not that bright at the age of nine.

A HORROR-ible night to remember, Part Two

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I was thirteen, so my only real knowledge about how to win a boy’s heart was from endlessly watching high school romantic comedies and reading Tigerbeat.

My plan went as follows:

  1. Look H-O-T-T! (required spelling in my journal)
  2. Dance with Jack.
  3. Sit back and watch Jack fall madly in love with me.
  4. Enjoy the rest of the night as Jack’s new girlfriend.

Best plan ever.

A few of us arrived at Sara*’s house a couple of hours early to help decorate her garage for the party. Pretty much everyone in the eighth-grade class was going to be there. I grew up in a small town, so my entire class consisted of about seventy kids. It was going to the best night of my life.

STEP ONE: Look H-O-T-T! like a dead, hot person?

After we placed the finishing touches on the impressively large garage we all went into costume mode. I had chosen to go as a saloon girl because it was the only thing left that was pretty and in my size. The girls Jack usually went out with had only two things in common. They were all thin and pretty. Most days I didn’t feel like I was either of those, but I determined to not let that change anything. This night was going to be different because I was going to look like a babe.

If you haven’t already guessed, I was a very anxious and shy person. While changing into my costumes, I started to think about the flaws in my plan. What if I get all dolled up and never even get noticed? At the same time, I didn’t want to be the center of attention. My plan practically required that a large group of thirteen year olds would stare at only me as I entered the party. The more I thought about it, the more I was freaked out.

No, I couldn’t go through with it. I just wanted to blend in, hide. So using some crappy Halloween makeup that one of my friends had brought for their costume, I covered up. Declaring to all my friends that I decided to become a scary version of my costume. I wasn’t ready to be the center of attention.

My friends Sara and Anna* promised to help me with my ultra brilliant plan. Part of me believes they were just sick of seeing me pine over Jack. I trusted that they would find a way to help.

Sara’s garage quickly filled up with the majority of my eighth-grade class.  We were all enjoying the large amount of junk food and dancing to awesome hits from early Destiny’s Child to Britney Spears. Eventually, a slow song hit and kids started to self-consciously pair up. Waiting for a boy to ask you to dance has all the same uneasiness as waiting to get picked for a team in P.E. I hated both situations equally. I was trying my best not to look like I cared by pretending to tie my shoe when I saw a pair of feet appear next to mine.

“Wanna dance?” Jack asked, his pure blue eyes focused on mine.

I smiled and shook my head, dumbfounded and unable to form words. I was back in business.

STEP TWO: Dance with Jack.

I placed my hands on his shoulders; he placed his lightly on my waist. My eyes darted back and forth from his face to my friend’s faces. They were all looking at me with gleaming mischievous smiles. I honestly started having a tiny panic attack, trying to awake from this obvious dream. No, this was real, really awkward. We were spaced too far apart unnaturally swaying to the beat of the song. Then I started to think of all the things my friends probably did to do to get Jack to dance with me. What if they had to like, pay him or something? Eventually, the worry swept away as we started to swing in unison. I relaxed a bit and starting to enjoy myself.   After the song, Jack wrapped his arms and patted me on the back.

“Thanks,” he said and walked away. I’ll take it! I thought to myself.

STEP THREE: Sit back and watch Jack fall madly in love with me someone else.

Sara and Anna* among my other friends dragged me upstairs into the kitchen for a recap. I replayed everything, leaving out little tidbits, like how he smelled of soap mixed with a splash of Brut’s cologne. We stayed up in the kitchen for awhile, discussing who had the best and worst costumes of the night. Breanna Morris* was trying to get attention as a “sexy” pirate. We had a debate on what Madison Miller* was even supposed to be.

Eventually, we went back down to the garage. Seal’s “Kissed by a Rose” (a junior high dance classic) was playing. I looked around the party for Jack, hoping maybe he would be waiting to ask me to dance, or better yet to be his girlfriend.

Everything was moving in slow motion when I saw them together. It was as if they were swaying under a big bright spotlight with a sign with the words “HEARTBREAK! BETRAYAL!” illuminating above them. It was Jack and Breanna. They were intertwined slowly rocking to the music. His hands were resting on her…BUTT!

I could feel it coming. First it was the stinging of the nose then heaviness filled my chest. My eyes were filling up and there was no way to stop it. It was the worst pain I had ever felt in all my thirteen years. I hid on the top of the garage steps trying not to think about what I just saw. It felt like my whole world, my whole dream world, was demolished. My friends tried to tell me he wasn’t worth it or that Breanna was not even pretty. All the usual lies that good friends tell you to make you feel better.

STEP FOUR: Enjoy the rest of the night as Jack’s girlfriend ALONE.

I couldn’t help but stare at them. They looked so happy. It should have been me, I kept telling myself. Word got around fast that Breanna was the one who asked him out. Of course she had a plan too.  It was something that I would have never been able to do. She probably knew that.  We had history.

The night went by, and everyone seemed to be enjoying the party, except me. My friends did their best to cheer me up. I even danced with a couple of boys who I had crushes on before Jack. It wasn’t enough; I was still too devastated.

The sight of my Dad’s gold Pontiac was a welcome relief. I told him about everything on the way home. My dad’s advice was that Breanna was probably a “rebound” from his breakup with April. I looked at my dad with curious eyes.

“What’s a rebound?” I asked. My dad just shook his head and laughed as we continued home.

*Names have been changed because I like looking at baby name websites.

Naked Lesbian dances with your BFF.

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News travels fast in junior high. One minute you are in German class trying your best to connect with a couple of slightly popular girls. You gab over hilarious stories of being nerds with your friends. You tell one story silly story about putting glow stars all over your body and dancing around in your pitch-dark bedroom and the lesbian rumors are in full effect by afternoon gym class.

First of all it should be noted that I didn’t realize I had an arch nemesis in seventh grade. Her name was Breanna Morris* and apparently it was her life’s mission to make mine miserable. At the time of this alleged story I had no idea that she hated me. I didn’t think anyone had any opinion of me. I mostly kept to my small group of friends and generally felt invisible to the whole school. I thought of myself as being too average to even be noticed, let alone hated.

Yet she did hate me for some reason. The only reason I could figure out was the fact that I beat her out of a spot for Youth Honor Choir in sixth grade. I remember a rumor spreading after the fact that I wasn’t even that good of a singer, but our music teacher felt sorry for me. Sorry for what? Who knows? The rumor didn’t make sense, but what do you expect out of twelve-year-old girl.  It wasn’t long until I figured out that Breanna had spread the rumor around. This new rumor reeked of the same nonsensical details of the first one.

In German class, I had told a table including Breanna that my best friend Sara* and I were bored one night during a sleepover at my house. Our boredom was mixed with Top 40 radio of the late 90’s and a package of unused glow stars (Do they still sell those things? All I know was that the walls in my room was covered in them and it was AWESOME!). We were having our own personal rave without the added supplements (We were high on life, or not having one). We were having goofy innocent fun and Sara*, being the hilarious girl she was, decided to kick it up a notch by putting two small glow stars on her chest as if they were her nipples. This was the funniest part of my story and the girls in German class seemed to agree.

My story was a hit! I spent most of the day glowing in my triumph of relating to more girls my age.  I was no longer the shy and awkward girl. Instead I was the hilarious girl, who told great stories. The feeling lasted all but four hours. Throughout the day I kept getting looks from various peers in my class. I chalked it up to the fact that most of them heard how awesomely hilarious I was. Some of the boys that generally ignored me where making actual eye contact and even smiling at me!

By afternoon gym class I was feeling pretty good about myself. Then my new world was crushed and I wanted to crawl under the nearest rock. One of my close friends, Cass* brought me down to reality.

“Is it true that you and Sara were doing naked lesbian dances with glow stars all over your body in your bedroom?” She asked.

I was shocked, first of all what the HELL were “naked lesbian dances”? Second, who even mentioned being naked?

At the exact moment I realized that all the smiles and direct eye contact were actually snickers at my expense. The worst part was that the only other person that could truly say what really went on in my bedroom, Sara, was out sick with the flu.

When I found out who started the rumor (Breanna), I didn’t do anything about it. I was too embarrassed and wanted the whole thing to blow over and eventually it did. Yet when you go to such a small school and live in an equally small town it is hard to live that stuff down. Just another reason to not let your kids go to a K-12 school folks!

The most awkward part? Having to call Sara after school and say, “So apparently we are Lesbos who like to do naked star dances…hope your feeling better, bye.”

*Names were changed because their real names weren’t as good.