Wednesday, June 29, 2011

What women (don't) want...

Current mood: Relieved
Current song: Glee Cast - She's Not There

Women are complicated creatures; everyone can agree on that. Especially when it comes to dating and what we want and look for in a man. One second we're saying a manly man who's cold and treats us kind of badly (the classic jerk/badboy) is the ideal type... the next second we prefer the sensitive, romantic sap who'll eat ice cream and cry over a romcom with us. It's getting just as hard for guys as it is for girls to live up to expectations nowadays.

I personally have my own list of preferences and an "ideal" type in mind, but I am not picky whatsoever. In fact, of all the men I've dated, I don't think a single one was in my own standards. Not to say they were below a suitable level (well, maybe a few were), but they didn't follow the particular type I look for. I don't know... they say you shouldn't be picky, but then they also say you shouldn't settle. See what I mean about the flip-floppiness of it all?

One thing that is usually universal, however, is what women avoid when seeking out their ideal man. No matter if you're into the manly men, or if sensies are more your cup of tea, there is a list of qualities that in any situation are always a dating Heisman. I have talked extensively over the years with my friends, their mothers and my own, and with my grandmother and other people her age. This is based on solid, scientific research, from three generations of women... so pay attention, guys. Here are the top ten traits women will 9 out of 10 times avoid in any man:

The Cheap Guy
   Yes, this is first, because if you ask any woman what traits in a man she dislikes, cheapness is ALWAYS on that list. Now don't get me wrong, I'm no backwards old school type who thinks a man must pay for everything all the time. I will gladly go dutch on occasion, or even pick up the entire tab. But the Cheap Guy is not just any old stereotype breaker. He is not only unwilling to ever pay for you, but he will gladly admit so to your face. The guy who openly complains about how expensive it is to take you out anywhere, he not only drains your own bank account, but your self esteem as well. And of course you know he will gladly pay for his monthly Xbox bill before taking you to that play you've been dying to see. Let me just say this: if for your birthday, he offers you sex... it's time to get the hell out of dodge.

The Constant Drunk/Partier
   Even if you consider yourself a party girl, no one likes the guy who is spending every weekend of his life getting trashed. The Constant Drunks take this behavior well past college and partying years. He is the guy who can't get any enjoyment from an activity unless there is a drink in his hand. And of course, drunkenness usually leads to embarrassing or rude behavior, that will surely be talked about the next day amongst your co-workers. The Partier is usually the only one at the party having any fun, ruining everyone else's attempt at having a good time. He is also a user, and will eventually begin to drag your life down with his insatiable need to be drunk. Even if they have a steady, responsible job, this pre-alcoholism in the Constant Drunk is a major red flag for future behaviors. And it also goes hand in hand with the next guy...

The Player (eventual cheater)
   Have you ever heard a woman say "I so want a man who will hit on every girl who passes him?" Yeah, didn't think so. The Player is overly confident and cocky, self-absorbed, and thinks he is god's gift to humanity. He pretty much believes that every woman he hits on wants him just as badly. The problem with this, is that eventually he will come across a woman who does. Alcohol can play a big role in the Player's life. If he's prone to being a flirt, the Partier mixed with the Player can be a nasty combination. Also called "man-whoring," this quality is as equally unacceptable as a female slut. Although there is one difference: men like sluts, but women don't like man-whores.

The Dirty Slob
   This has always been one to bother me personally. Women have all these standards of hygiene that we must follow, but it has always seemed as if it's more "manly" for a guy to be a nasty pig. This is certainly not the case. Watch any Axe commercial. There's nothing that ruins a romantic moment more than a man who stinks. The Dirty Slob not only has bad hygiene, but terrible cleaning habits. You can only be so far out of college for that "frat house/bachelor pad" look to still be acceptable. The Slob also has bad manners, especially when it comes to eating, and to flatulence. We can handle burps and farts once in a while, but when we start washing brown stains out of your underwear, things have gone too far.

The Guy With No Future
   He doesn't have to be a millionaire, or a rocket scientist, but all women want a man who will help take care of them. Ambition is a big part of this. The Guy With No Future, however, has no drive. If he could, he would sit on his tush all day long, getting paid to do nothing. Yes, we all fantasize about this, but we also innately crave for our lives to have some kind of meaning or substance. The Guy With No Future could care less if he had no purpose in his life. He is an extremely lazy person. He will make no effort to not only pay bills, but to clean the house, walk the dog, or take care of the kids. Then again, the Guy With No Future will more than likely not have the opportunity to buy a house OR a dog... so you have nothing to worry about there.

The Mama's Boy
   It is universally known that a man who loves his mother is a very desirable quality. But like most men on this list, the Mama's Boy takes things just one step too far. When in a relationship, you are not dating him; you are dating his mother. Everything you discuss, is then discussed with her. Everything he tells you, is usually dictated by her. When the Mama's Boy is at an age where he should be very moved on from his home setting, he still latches onto her, and even goes as far as not being able to function on his own without constant contact with her. The Mama's Boy is basically a permanent, adult breastfeeder, and all he is doing when dating you is looking for a new mama. If you're dating a Mama's Boy, his mama sure as hell better like you... and the quality of your child bearing hips.

The Coward
   Mama's Boys and Cowards are usually peas from the same immature pod. Cowards are oftentimes treacherous and inconsistent, retaining those boyish qualities that his current relationship with his mom causes. If you want security, ladies, do not date the Coward. He will offer you no protection, will leave you behind in the event of a life threatening emergency, hide behind you if there are bullets involved, and will more than likely hand you over to the rapist to buy him time to get away. The Coward is no knight in shinning armor. No, he wears his yellow skin proudly.

The Know-It-All
   The guy who constantly thinks he is right, and knows everything about everything. He is the center of attention, and he knows it. This usually goes hand in hand with the constant arguer, who will debate and one-up you on everything that comes out of your mouth. He is usually also very self-righteous and judgmental of others. Quite a deceiving quality, this guy will initially impress you with his vast range of random knowledge... but with a generally pompous and bombastic attitude, the Know-It-All will eventually show his true colors, as soon as you try to reciprocate any intelligence of your own.

The Selfish Guy
   All men think a lot about themselves, but the Selfish Guy also completely does not think about you. He is very inconsiderate, and completely oblivious and uncaring of your feelings. He will whine about his day without asking about yours. Like the Cheap Guy, he will spend his money all on himself.. but unlike the Cheap ones, he will not even think that perhaps he should spend any of it on you. Not only does he think the world revolves around him, but will step on you to make sure it completes its revolutions. This is one of the worst qualities to possess, and should be avoided at all costs.

The Emotionally Unstable Guy
   This one covers everything that has not been covered already. It's bad enough having men who won't show their emotions, but there are many men out there who show way too MUCH emotion. The angry guy, the crybaby, mr. negativity, the indecisive, the guy with no humor, the guy with too much humor... a man who does not know how to handle his emotions is doomed to derail in a horrific bloody mess when he careens head-on with the ever-present emotionally unstable woman. The Emotionally Unstable guy is more common than people think, and remains to be a continuous problem, thanks to men's refusal to admit that they feel. But of all the negative qualities, this is the one that is most "fixable," so there is hope out there yet! Now, if we could only get them to ask for directions...

Whelp, those are the top 10 bad boy behaviors, though there are in fact many more. However, this list is in no way intended to bash men or their pretty typical behaviors, so if you see yourself reflected in these traits, don't feel too bad. This is just as much a product of your surroundings as it is on your own shoulders. But most women will agree, these are the things we go well out of our way to avoid, and will not be happy campers if any of these behaviors stay present for too long. So while I'm not telling you to change who you are, I am letting you know what sets us off, so you can try to keep those things a bit more in check. Good guy behavior = happy women = plenty of sex... so I'd call that a win-win, wouldn't you?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Things I Love Thursday: A clean home

Current mood: Wiped out
Current song: Human League - Don't You Want Me

Wow, this has been an insanely busy week.. mostly filled with cleaning, errands, and other party preparations. My mind has been completely preoccupied with our party happening in 2 days, that I don't have a whole lot of other loves that aren't related to it this week... and I won't be boring you with 20 bullet points of party accomplishments. I'll just start off with one generalization, to get it out of the way.

The TILT picture of the week is pretty self explanatory. That's basically what I've looked like all week - you know, if I had long, flowing brown hair, big eyes, and a perfect figure... or if I were a cartoon.

Anyhoo, here is what I loved since last Thursday:

  • Being almost completely done with party prep - including cleaning, setting up, and food buying!
  • All the awesome 80's music I've been blasting to get all the cleaning done to
  • Enjoying a relaxing late night grad party at Markos'
  • Making new friends at said party
  • The Blue Fig hookah bar
  • Spending an entire Saturday at Samia's house
  • The St. Demetrios Greek Festival
  • Father's Day being just another day to recognize how amazing my mom is <3
  • Getting my new clutch in the mail
  • Completing 2 shoulds - finishing my Hawaii scrapbook, and filling 6 pages of my new sketchbook so far with drawings
  • Frozen fruit bars
  • "Alpocalypse", Weird Al Yankovic's new album being released, after 5 long years!
  • The HoneyBaked Ham store
  • Game of Thrones finale!!
  • Fitness 19 and starting physical therapy on my own
  • New music obsessions
  • Maalox
  • Sharpie pens - my new favorite writing/sketching utensil
  • Deciding upon the perfect name for if I ever have a daughter (ask me if you want to know what it is)
  • Coming to the realization that I'm at a good place in my life right now, and that I don't need to be a graduated, successfully employed, married person with kids at this point in my life to be happy or "right"
  • And of course, a clean home

    Well, that's all for today. What have you loved this week?

      Wednesday, June 22, 2011

      The trees that grow slower bear the greatest fruit

      Current mood: Carefree
      Current song: ELO - Mr. Blue Sky

      In case you were wondering, yes this is the same blog. I'm the kind of person who likes change, and can't stand for things to be the same for too long. That's why I rearrange my room every year, why I change wallets every time I go to Target, and why my desktop background rotates between my hawaii pictures every 60 seconds.

      So it seemed only a matter of time before I changed around the colors and design of my blog. I will probably start doing so every few months, so prepare for a new look pretty frequently. If my last theme was "across the day sky," consider this one "across the night sky."

      Now, onto today's topic; life. Yes I know that's pretty broad. More specifically, I've been thinking lately about the speed of life's development, and how that varies greatly between everyone. Here's the average life course, as dictated by american society, in a gist: graduate from high school, move out of your parents' home and go to college, get a good job and find your soulmate, buy a house, get married and have a bunch of kids, work towards retirement, retire in a new home visited by grandkids every holiday. This is basically the order of things, and there is a certain timeframe in which each step is expected to be accomplished.

      Of course, being a freethinking sociologist/borderline feminist, who hates the word normal and tries to break as many societal norms as possible... I find this to be a load of crap. Not the list itself, but the expectation that you *must* complete everything in the list, in order, in a certain amount of time, to be deemed socially acceptable.

      The great thing about people however, is that even though society has this particular list for us to follow, everyone goes out and creates their own list anyway. Some people start their dream careers straight out of school, others go back and pursue their passion much later in life. Some women have children at 18, some women have them at 40. Sometimes marriage happens immediately, other times it never happens, and others it happens 4 or 5 times. None of these paths are right or wrong. Even when someone feels their life hasn't gone quite the way they planned, they shouldn't let that get them down. Every choice we make leads to something, and whether it's good or bad, it makes us who we are and we learn from it. And there is always time to go back and change the list around. The point is, you can't make concrete life plans. Even if you've made your own life list, don't let society dictate what that is. And be prepared to be flexible, because things can change at the drop of a hat.

      Now, that list I mentioned above, the one that society deems acceptable, is actually the list I want for my own life as well. However, I don't plan on doing it within the "normal" timeframe, and I've already gone out of order with moving out of my mom's house. I've been living at home all through college, and as of right now, I plan to stick with my mom while going to law school as well. Being 25 - 26 and still living at home may seem pretty late, but I actually have many friends at college who are still at home. In fact, ironically enough, the *new* norm is for college students to do exactly that, hence why medical insurance for young adults on their parents' plan have been increased until the age of 26.

      So my life list has gone in the order of college, job, THEN move out, and I am completely okay with that. But something that had been bugging me up until recently was the whole marriage thing. I have a ton of friends who are getting married soon, or who have been in long term relationships and who are already having kids.. and it really started grabbing at me. I began to feel self conscious, like the fact that I couldn't hold onto a relationship for more than a couple years, or that I certainly wouldn't be having kids anytime soon, meant that I wasn't planning my life correctly.

      But then I started looking more closely at the individual cases of these soon to be married couples, and I realized that each situation was completely different. Some of the couples are my age, some are in their very early 20's, and another couple I know didn't get around to it till their early 30's. And on top of my many friends who are getting married, I know even more who have been completely single through their mid-twenties, still not experiencing a relationship or any physical intimacy even during their entire college careers.

      The concept of life course norms are pretty ridiculous to begin with. During my grandmother's generation, families began early and they grew big. During my mother's generation, women waited until their late 20's to have kids and had only about 1 or 2. Most of my friends are only children or have just one sibling. Now during my generation, it seems to have reversed again, where couples are having large families early on again.

      As for me, I'm between start and finish in terms of relationships. I've been dating for about 5 years and have gone out with a wide variety of guys. I've had both casual dates and long term relationships, I've been physically intimate and overall experienced in almost every facet of dating life. The only thing I haven't done yet is live with a man or get married. So really, I fall right in the middle of the two paths, between no experience and the end result of marriage, and I'm between the two average ages where women are having kids nowadays. Which seems pretty "normal" to me.

      Even so, if it takes me till I'm 35 to get married and start having kids, then that's a-ok with me. I'm no longer going to worry about if and when I'm getting married, or if and when I'm having kids, or if and when I will retire in that nice little country home with grandkids all at my feet. I'm enjoying living my life in the moment, taking things one day at a time. My future life list is just that; my future. Right now, life is pretty great just as it is, and seems to me that it can only get better.

      I may be a slow growing tree, but I will be bearing some mighty fine fruit one day.

      Thursday, June 16, 2011

      Updates, Shoulds, and TILTs, oh my!

      Current mood: Pleasant
      Current song: Glee cast (The Warblers) - When I Get You Alone

      Thanks to being busy most of this weekend, I decided to combine a few of my weekly posts. So let's get right down to it. First...

      Knee update:
      It's been a while since I discussed my knee situation, and I know you're all just *dying* of curiosity. So here's what has been going on since the surgery itself... Two weeks (and one day) after the surgery, I went back to the hospital to get my stitches removed. My regular doctor was out of town, so I saw his practice partner, who was taking all his patients. I won't get into all the negative details, but let me just say... if you're planning a visit to Lutheran's orthopedic center, do NOT see Dr. Berkowitz. You've been warned. 

      Anyhoo, because he couldn't answer any of my questions, doc Berkowitz advised me to make yet another appointment in two more weeks to see my regular doctor. He also instructed me to continue to wear my immobilizer 24/7 until said appointment, since it "didn't specify in my chart otherwise." Yeeeah, that didn't happen. I decided to take the logical route, and follow the instructions I was given during my last surgery; wear it only sparingly if out walking a lot. Seemed better than doctor Pompous' advice.

      So today, another two weeks and a day after the stitches came out, I went back in to see my regular doctor. Suuuch a better experience. He answered all my questions and told me I did exactly the right thing about the immobilizer. When asked why I hadn't started physical therapy yet, I had to explain how doctor moron wouldn't give me a script since my chart didn't say anything about that. Dr. Bohl rolled his eyes and sighed. Apparently I wasn't the only patient screwed over two weeks prior. He had a whole separate stack of detailed instructions for every one of his patients coming in, that apparently Dr. Berkowitz had missed entirely. *facepalm*

      Anyway, I have my first physical therapy appointment scheduled and I'm all set to start strengthening again! The only downside I found out today, is that the numbness on the right side of my knee is apparently permanent. When my doctor made the incision down the middle of my knee, he cut through the nerve that goes from the inside of the knee to the outside. Technically I should have no feeling in my left knee either, from the same surgery I had on it 2 years ago. But by some fluke, the feeling came back in that one. Hopefully that means it will in the right one too?

      Okay, since I won't be doing a whole new list this saturday, I figured I'd do an update on some of the shoulds I've already listed. One of my readers commented in my last blog post about how some shoulds are hard to keep a firm grasp on, without having a more specific goal or timeframe to complete it in. This is extremely true, especially for me. I replied how I either need to set an exact time on which to start each should, or else I need to begin immediately after the idea enters into my head.

      I followed the latter strategy with my Hawaii scrapbook. Pretty much as soon as I posted the idea in my blog, I went out to Target and bought an empty scrapbook with a few accessories for it, then had 90 photos printed out the next day. Now I'm about halfway through a beautiful 20 page Hawaiian vacation scrapbook.

      With my other shoulds, I've tried to set timeframes and exact dates to accomplish them in. My ice skating should will obviously take place once winter hits. My vegetarian should I've set for the date of July 5th, the day after I gorge myself sick on holiday cookout food, hopefully making me want to avoid the stuff for a while. My drawing should will be accomplished soon. I got the small blue sketchbook in the mail two days ago, and now I'm just waiting on the new clutch that I'll be carrying it around in to arrive. As soon as it does, I'll be switching my wallet things into it, and the first time I go out somewhere, I'm making it a goal to draw something - anything - before I get back home. I figured if I do that each time I leave the house, I'll get myself back into the swing of things.

      And now I'll end this post on a positive note, my Things I Love Thursday this week:

      • The beautiful sunny and 70 days we've continued to have
      • Starting and already almost accomplishing one of my shoulds, my awesome Hawaii scrapbook (this week's TILT picture, above)
      • Fun shopping trips to Target and 5 Below with Katy-kinz
      • Craigslist
      • Getting most of the arrangements made for our party next week
      • All of the people who are coming to said party - I'm surprised so many confirmed already!
      • Enjoying a trip to Lakewood park for the first time this season
      • Root beer floats
      • Discovering a new sandwich shop that I'm immediately in love with (Cyclones Pitas in Fairview Park... I highly recommend it!) 
      • Parade the Circle
      • Seeing a bunch of old Case friends again at the parade, and the fact that they're all still in Cleveland for the summer <3
      • Talented artists who help to continuously expand my art collection (aka, art buying addiction)
      • Late night Portal gaming with Matt
      • Having an old tree in the backyard cut down, and thoroughly enjoying the 4 buff, tanned, shirtless men who climbed up branch by branch and hauled each massive log out on their shoulders
      • The 10 adorable fish who now reside in our pond
      • Music - the universal language of the soul
      • So You Think You Can Dance, Master Chef, and Game of Thrones all being on tv right now
      • Old movies with new friends
      • My mom forever being my biggest supporter, confidant, and friend
      • And last but not least, my best friend, Markos, graduating from the Cleveland Heights Police Academy, the place he's been busting his butt in for the past 4 months. I almost cried at the ceremony today. Congratulations, Markos! Love you!

      Sunday, June 12, 2011

      Should Do (Sunday): Should I willingly face a needle??

      Current mood: Busy (is that a mood?)
      Current song: Latin Soul Syndicate - El Gitano Del Amor

      Thanks to Parade the Circle, then hanging out with Matt all night taking up my entire saturday, I am forced to post this a day late. But hey, I'm not complaining. Going to my favorite summer event with some of the most awesome friends ever = a great way to spend a saturday.

      I was going to focus on just my knee shoulds this week, but I've been thinking about a few others lately that I wanna get down on virtual paper. These range in difficultly and time frame in which they can be accomplished, but within the next year or so, they are all achievable... theoretically. It just all depends on my will power. Case in point, my first should.

      • I should get a tattoo ------ Now, if you know me even the slightest bit, you'll know that my pain tolerance, out of 100, is somewhere between 3 and -27. So why would I willingly put myself through anywhere between 1 to 4 hours of repeated needle stabbings? Well, aside from being a total baby, I'm also a very creative person. I'm the kind of person who, even if I could, would never switch to contacts, simply because I love picking out creative glasses frames that represent me. I love art in every sense of form, including body art, and I love expressing my love for art. So despite the pain factor, I have always wanted to get a tattoo, and lately I've been seriously considering it. The two I would possibly get (either separate or together) are two of my favorite animals:

      The first is a wolf. There are a million wolf tattoo designs out there, but I immediately fell in love with this one. One guess as to why.... yes, it's blue. It's also watery looking, which is my favorite element. I love everything about water, in all its forms, and not just because water is blue. The wolf also has a personal significance to me, as it reminds me of the one person I was closest with in this world. Many people get tattoos as a tribute to someone; this would be my tribute to him.

      My second choice, and second favorite animal, is a tiger. Again, millions of tiger tattoos available, but I liked the tribal-ness of this one. Although the details of this one are still subject to change. Also, I'd want to get it with red shading, so its design would look like it was flaming, as an antithesis to the watery wolf above. Canine/feline, water/fire, blue/red, male/female... you can see why I'm considering getting them side by side. 

      As for a location, I'm thinking behind my shoulder. It's a more fleshy spot, and thus less painful. I'd also make them relatively small, so it's both less painful and also easily covered. This should is still a big maybe, thanks to lack of bravery and lack of money... but it's been an ongoing should for me, and anything that I've been thinking of for so long should really be addressed eventually...

      My other shoulds are not as detailed, nor as complicated to decide upon, but they are as follows:

      • I should start to draw again ------- When I was little, I loved to draw. I still have notebook upon notebook of pictures I drew throughout my childhood. Art was always my favorite subject in school, right up to the last art class I took, during my senior year of high school. I'll frequently pass my stack of sketch books and think to myself "I should draw again", but it never happens. Probably because of lack of inspiration. I forced myself to sit down the other day and drew out a picture of a wolf, but I was pretty rusty, since it was a forced effort. For me, the desire to draw is a spur of the moment kind of thing, that requires a sketchbook on hand at a moment's notice. That's part of the reason why I just bought a really pretty clutch on Etsy, so I can keep a small sketchbook and pen with me where ever I go. And also, thanks to Etsy, I just ordered a pocket sized sketchbook the other day (like this picture, but blue). Hopefully it'll help ignite my old passion.

      • I should learn to ice skate ------- This is one of my knee shoulds. As soon as I started middle school, I finally became brave enough to try to learn how to ice skate... but before I really got the hang of it, my first knee dislocation occurred, thus shattering my confidence and ability to ice skate ever again. Nine years later, and I officially am free of all knee problems! (except for slight arthritis.) Now that I don't have to worry about the possibility of falling and dislocating my knee again, I am free to finally learn something that my 4 year old neighbor has already learned. Her parents make their own ice rink in the backyard every winter so their older kids can practice hockey... so come this winter, I am going to be out on that ice, and 4 year old Sofia is going to be my teacher. 

      • I should do a creative project ------- All this talk of art and creativity has my creative juices flowing. Thanks to this blog, my urge to write has been satiated some, although I've been looking back on an old story I was writing and am considering continuing it. But writing isn't enough. Along with writing (and hopefully drawing again soon), I want something else to keep my fingers busy. My friend Sabrina is always making stuff, usually involving cute little stuffed animals, and she does it all by hand. That seems so fun to me! I'm not good with a needle, but I have a few other things I can do, like finally put together the bracelet I intended to make when I bought a bunch of beads back in March. Or I have really been wanting to make a scrapbook of my vacation to Hawaii. I already have scrapbooking material from when I made one of my senior year of high school. And I have plenty of little souvenirs all ready to add to it. Every time I go to an art fair, which is unhealthily frequent, I always think "I could make that" and "oh wow, I should do something like this." Well this summer, I am going to start.

      Well, that's all for this week. As my last should, I'll just say this... I should learn not to write out so much detail every time I blog, especially when I only intended on making a simple bulleted list. Oh well, that's probably one should that will never be accomplished...

      Thursday, June 9, 2011

      Things I Love Thursday: Wolves, Friends, and Etsy!

      Current mood: Excited
      Current song: Nickelback - If Everyone Cared
      Currently reading: A Storm of Swords by GRRM

      Wow, I can't believe it's already been a week since my last TILT. My how time flies. Well, this past week was certainly full of fun activities... but let's start with this week's TILT picture; puppies! Though more specifically here, arctic wolf pups. I love dogs of all kinds, but my real passion is for wolves. I've been thinking a lot about wolves lately, between the direwolves in the Song of Ice and Fire books, my consideration of getting a tattoo and deciding on it being of a wolf, and my desire to start drawing again, with my first attempt being a sketch of a wolf. So it seems appropriate that my TILT picture of the week be of wolf puppies.

      Now onto all the things I loved from last Thursday to this:

      • More enjoyment of each and every warm summer day we've had
      • Spending the week helping to set up for the garage sale (starting today through sunday.. drop by to see us and buy stuff!)
      • Making an appointment with my ortho to start physical therapy!
      • Spending lots of awesome time with my friends
        • Sleepover with Sabrina, making rice crispie treats, along with watching old 90's movies and tv shows
        • Going out to see the new X-Men movie with Markos and Sabrina, then staying up till 3am playing parcheesi
        • Enjoying a wonderful surprise visit from Samia and little Alexis-Marie
      • Using my free movie ticket to see the Hangover Part II finally!
      • Fixing the pond for my mom so the waterfall flows down the rocks a lot nicer
      • Writing up my first Should Do Saturday, along with already jotting down ideas for my next one
      • Talking with an old crush of mine and finally feeling my self esteem go back on the rise
      • Being able to bend my knee more freely - the stiffness is finally fading out
      • Making an official facebook event for our summer party!
      • Allowing myself to further be consumed by Etsy, but not caring one bit, because it's helping me accomplish one of my shoulds that will be posted this Saturday

      • And last but not least, picking out a pretty set of gothic, renaissance-like gloves (also on Etsy) to go along with my outfit for the Great Lakes Medieval Faire coming up soon! Hopefully I'll have enough money for them starting next month. Damn you Etsy and your drain on my bank account...

      Well there's this week's list of things I love. Thanks to Things I Love Thursday, I'm starting to feel even more peppy than I already had, and when I only focus on and recap on all the fun accomplishments I made all week, I'm feeling my last shreds of negativity begin to melt away. 

      What do you love?

      Saturday, June 4, 2011

      Should Do Saturday: I should make a list of shoulds

      Current mood: Contemplative
      Current song: Adele - Rolling in the Deep

      I've been thinking a lot lately about "shoulda"s. It started with reading a friend's recent blog post *coughJencough* about her experience with yoga. (Jen, if you're reading this.. you're a fountain of inspiration. I swear, you should give speeches. =] ) Yoga began as a "shoulda" for her, as it has been for me for a couple of years now. The difference is, she turned her shoulda into a dida!

      I have a lot of "shoulds." Not a day goes by where I don't think to myself, or my mom, or a friend "Man, I really should _______" It's really easy to say a shoulda, but another thing entirely to actually act upon one, especially large goals. That's why new years resolutions are so popular. 

      The best way to make your shoulda a dida, is to make a list out of it. If you have a large list, set a time frame in which to get them all done in. I don't know if I'm at a stage in my life to make a "100 goals in 365 days" kind of list just yet, though I really would like to one day. But I have a few main shoulds on mind that I would like to see myself accomplish, possibly this summer. Many of them involve my newly fixed knee, so they will take a while to build up to. But I also have a few that are achievable at any time... all I need to do is set my mind to them. And what's the best way to do that, again? Why yes, a list. You're listening.

      So, inspired by my new Things I Love Thursday adventure, I got the idea to make a Should Do Saturday, where each saturday I list a few things that I would like to see myself try, both big and small. Small things I can attempt right away, whereas larger goals I can take time to plan and feel out. The point is, getting them down on virtual paper will give me a constant reminder of all the everyday shouldas I think about, but never stay for very long in my mind. 

      For my first SDS, I'll focus on one particular should I've been thinking about lately. I've been considering that I should become a vegetarian. This is something I have never considered before, thanks to my insatiable enjoyment of every kind of meat (that is socially acceptable) there is. But like most of my ideas and schemes and new adventures, they stem from impulse and spontaneity. This idea started from a book. 

      After finishing off the second book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series (fiiiinally), I decided to take a break and pick up where I left off in Some We Love, Some We Hate, Some We Eat, by Hal Herzog. If you enjoy anything dealing with culture, sociological issues, or animals... GO GET THIS BOOK. I haven't been able to put it down, it's so so interesting. (It even has a chapter involving gender roles with animals... hellooo, is that me or what?) Anyway, in the book, Herzog discusses various anthrozoologic issues, such as why we love some animals but hate others, why we keep animals as pets and how far back does that go, what causes fads in dog ownership, do children who abuse animals become violent adults, etc. 

      The parts that I have been thinking a lot about lately go along with my consideration of vegetarianism. Herzog discusses a lot about the various cultural norms of animal consumption, like why is it okay to eat certain animals in some cultures, while in others it's taboo? In America, we find it repulsive to think of eating rats or snakes or even the family dog, but in other regions of the world, it's the norm. In the most recent chapter I read, he brings up the hypocritical way in how people outrage about the cruelty of cock fighting, but don't think twice about the hellish conditions the chickens we eat live in, not to mention the way in which they are slaughtered (trust me, it's brutal). 

      I've felt bad sometimes in the past about the meat I consume, especially when visiting farms and interacting with cows and pigs and sheep up close. I can't stand the sight of an animal being slaughtered, even in the most humane way, nor could I ever do the task myself (I guess a career in farming is out). But as long as I don't picture the animals as I'm eating them, or I choose to naively think that this particular piece of cow I'm eating died peacefully in its sleep of natural causes, I'm able to get through my 15 ounce steak with a clean conscience. Herzog points out that most Americans, not just me, have to try to mask the fact that they are consuming animals, to get though each meal guilt free. That's why the English language has adopted words like beef, pork and poultry. It sounds a lot better than saying "I'd like a slice of cow, some pigs, and a cute little birdy, please."

      While this book is fascinating and eye-opening, it is not the only reason I am considering becoming a vegetarian. I could easily just turn a blind eye and keep enjoying my meat, blissfully unaware of the actual process it took to get to my plate. However, the number two reason people become vegetarians (the number one involving bleeding heart animal activists who don't like to eat "anything with a face"), is to live a more healthy lifestyle. It is medical fact that meat is bad for you on a number of levels, unless you are the type of person who can eat small amounts of the healthiest part of chicken and some fish, cooked a certain way, without adding any salts, butters, or seasonings - basically, flavor - to it. But I am certainly not one of those people. My chicken better be fried, my bacon sizzling, my fish dripping with butter, and my steak rare enough that I can still hear the cow moo (talk about insensitivity toward animal rights).

      Lately I have been actively trying to eat healthier, both for my figure and for my heart and bones. More fruits and veggies, drinking more milk, less junk food and chocolate consumption. The one thing I have not done, however, is decrease my meat intake... especially red meat. Like the average college student, I have slightly bad cholesterol levels. But I'm sure most of that is due to my extreme love for steak. This is another reason I thought about going veggie. I'm not the kind of person who can just cut back on something... I basically have to go cold turkey. So vegetarianism seems like a good course of action for me. I'll feel better about not participating in the cruel slaughter of animals, and I'll also be taking a good step towards my health, especially since it's statistically proven that vegetarians are also more active and fit and generally healthier than carnivores.

      Becoming a vegetarian seems like it could be one of those immediately achievable shouldas, but there are a few factors against me right now. First, it's the beginning of summer. Summer means barbecues. Barbecues mean hot dogs, hamburgers, fried chicken, ribs, steak... all the food I love that I've missed over the long winter. I feel like I want to indulge in at least a little of my favorite summer meats, at least until the 4th of July holiday is through. The second, less shallow, reason I shouldn't cut out meat just yet, is that I'm still recovering from major surgery. My physical therapy begins soon, and I'll need the iron and protein of meat to help strengthen my knee back up. I don't think beans and peanuts will cut it right now. So I figure that the holiday actually serves as a good start date. By July 5th, I'll have recovered well enough, and probably be sick of bbq food by that point anyway.

      So there's my first SDS. It's not too large of a goal, it will just take some time to truly get into the mindset of. But I'm excited. And I also can't wait to make my next Should Do Saturday post! I'm thinking of making a list of all the physical activities I'll be able to try now that I have 2 working knees again. I'm sure this is not the first time someone has had this idea (it's basically just a glorified to-do list), but I'm feeling good about it. Feel free to use this to think about and make your own SDS's!

      Thursday, June 2, 2011

      Things I Love Thursday: Start of a new adventure

      Current mood: Upbeat
      Current song: August Rush soundtrack - Raise it Up

      Yay, I'm really exited to finally be starting my very own TILT! Of course, being the oblivious person that I am, I had no idea what a TILT was until reading my friend Jen's awesome blog, but after extensive google searching, I have discovered that they are everywhere! How have I not seen this before? Me, the lover of all things upbeat and positive and full of emotion?

      What is a TILT, you ask? Well, it's a perfect opportunity to take a look back on the last week and think about all the things you loved, and all of which you were thankful for. It's a great thing to get into the habit of, especially if you're one of those bleak people who think life is just one difficult road after another. I particular do not think this way, but I certainly do know I've had those days and weeks where I feel like everything just went wrong, and I sometimes allow myself to wallow in that misery, not taking the time to focus on the few or small things that *were* good about my week. So here I am, miss positivity, jumping into yet another form of bubbly optimism.

      Since I add a picture to each of my blogs posts, I decided that my TILT pictures each week would represent something I love. For my first post, I chose a collage of all things blue, because every day of every week, I love the color blue. And now for my first Things I Love Thursday list!

      • Starting my first TILT and finding yet another way to be cheery
      • The gorgeously warm and sunny days we've been having, finally breaking free of our stormy streak
      • Being out in nature
      • Long holiday weekends and Memorial Day cookouts with family and friends
      • Playing old early 90's board games with Christina
      • Getting my stitches out and finally being able to walk on my knee without a brace! (I was going to make a separate post about the actual doctor's visit, but it didn't go very well and the post would allow me to rant negatively... and thanks to discovering my new love for TILTs, I want to avoid all negative banter from now on)
      • ^ Deciding to make a positive step in my life to try to avoid negative rants
      • Also I'm thankful for the nurse who took the stitches out, for being as kind and gentle as she was.. the ability to sleep and sit normally again.. experienced doctors who are willing to perform major surgeries for crappy medicaid pay.. and the natural quick and remarkable healing process of the human body (I just lumped all my surgery loves together - they played a big part in this past week)
      • Seeing Katy again for the first time in months!
      • Beautiful baby maple trees that just start randomly growing in the garden (it's now transplanted to our lawn)
      • Creating an adorable fairy garden in my mom's already amazing backyard paradise
      • The baby bunny that is still living in the backyard
      • Replaying an old video game for the first time in 3 years, and falling in love with it all over again
      • My three wonderful pets being happy and healthy
      • Getting 2 orders of pierogies for free at the Two Dads diner in Lakewood just because the owner is extremely nice and awesome!
      • Beginning to make concrete plans with my mom for our big summer party! (everyone's invited, btw)
      • Trips to Caribou with Tiffany
      • Getting things all worked out with my loan company
      • Trying to stay politically active, by signing 2 more petitions fighting against new unfair Ohio bills
      • Buying a completely unneeded handmade clutch on Etsy, for no reason but the fact that it'll make me happy and I wanted to treat myself
      • The Westside Market, in all its delicious glory
      • All my favorite summer festivals coming up - this weekend, next weekend, and the weekend after that - three solid weeks of summer fun!
      • Making the healthy decision to start both going to the gym regularly again and signing up for yoga classes, as soon as my physical therapy starts - in 2 weeks, I'll be actively working on keeping both my body and my mind fit and rejuvenated
      • The most amazing friends in the world and my ability to make new ones almost every single day
      • My continuing ability to overcome almost any obstacle - physically, mentally, or emotionally - and my drive to never give up
      • Puppies and sunshine! - two of my most favorite things in the world, and I got to enjoy both this past week <3

      That's all for this week. My day is already even better than it started. The sun is shining, a breeze is blowing, the birds are singing... what an amazing day to be alive. My final thing that I love today: life. What do you love?