Sunday, August 29, 2010

30 Days of Truth- Day 30

Day 30 → A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself.

I decided to do Days 29 and 30 all at once, mostly because we leave for Michigan in three days and everything until then will be committed to packing, figuring out the last few planning details, figuring out exactly what needs to be done and when, while we're in MI so that all of the wedding preparations go smoothly.

So, here's Day 30...

Dear Anna,

I love that you're wide awake the minute you get out of bed (on most days), but that you can go right back to sleep if you decide the alarm clock was probably on crack when it rang the first time. I love that you work hard at the stuff you love to do, but also at the stuff you don't necessarily like as much. I love that you know how to have a good time even without drugs and alcohol. Another very admirable character trait, is that family always comes first and that change isn't a big deal as long as your loved ones are along for the ride. Home is where your family is, it's not defined by a space.
I love the softness of your hair just when it's dry after a shower and the color of your eyes. I love the little strut you get in your step when you think no one's watching, like you're walking an invisible catwalk. I love the fact that you like your body, most days, and don't feel the need to be a size 0 or even a size 8. The confidence that comes with that acceptance is damn sexy too.
I love the life you have, the wonderful husband, the adorable cat, and the good job. I love the fact that you like your job, not just because of the co-workers but also because of the day-to-day paper pushing. And the fact that you've never given up on that promotion, even though you've tried five times.

I love almost everything about you, even when there are days when things are looking a bit down.



30 Days of Truth- Day 29

Day 29 → Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.

How whiny I can get when I'm tired, hungry, annoyed, well, really any time I'm not grinning from ear to ear. I'm not sure I can really tone down the whine factor in my voice, but I guess I can pay more attention to it when I start to get whiny. I guess the hardest part might be to realize that I'm doing it, so that I can try not to do it. And why, well, it's one of the few things putting a bit of a strain on our marriage. My DH just kind of shuts down when I start to whine, which causes me to whine more because he's not paying attention. I need to find a better way of communicating my dissatisfaction. Something that's more conducive to getting something done.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

30 Days of Truth- Day 28

Day 28 → What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?

As short a time ago as two years, I would have said, I don't know. I actually had this discussion with my hubby's cousin about a year and a half ago, because she found out that she was pregnant at 17. We talked through her options, and although we are both pro-choice, neither one of us could really imagine having an abortion. She ended up having the baby, putting it up for adoption and then changing her mind. Luckily, the father of the baby is very much engaged in raising the child, and they are going to get married, and not just because of the baby. So hopefully that's a teen-pregnancy story that ends well. She also has the full support of her family behind her, is planning on going to college this year, etc. So she got pretty lucky.

Back to myself, I had this discussion with my parents when I was younger. I know they would have supported me in any decision I chose to make, if I had gotten pregnant unexpectedly. But they also offered to adopt any child I did have. However, that situation never came up, and I'm now a married lady, with a good job, a wonderful husband, and settled enough that if I did get pregnant now, I wouldn't freak out. I'm not quite ready to start actively trying for a child, but if it happened I think I'd be happy. After the initial fears that we can't afford a child yet, that we don't have the room, that our neighborhood isn't safe enough, etc. I overanalyze everything, so I doubt this would be any different.

If I got someone pregnant... well, that would probably take a miracle, or a turkey baster.

Monday, August 23, 2010

30 Days of Me

Since I am almost done with the 30 Days of Truth (I have about 3 days left), I was really glad to find this new prompt here.

So, here are the daily prompts for 30 Days of Me:

Day 1- recent picture of you and 15 interesting facts about yourself
Day 2- the meaning behind you blog name
Day 3- a picture of you and your friends
Day 4- a habit that you wish you didn’t have
Day 5- a picture of somewhere youve been to
Day 6- favorite super hero and why
Day 7- a picture of someone/something that has the biggest impact on you
Day 8- short term goals for this month and why
Day 9- something youre proud of in the past few days
Day 10- songs you listen to when you are happy, sad, bored, hyped, mad
Day 11- another picture of you and your friends
Day 12- how you found out about blogger and why you have one
Day 13- a letter to someone who has hurt you recently
Day 14- a picture of you and your family
Day 15- put you ipod on shuffle: first 10 songs that play
Day 16- another picture of yourself
Day 17- someone you would want to switch lives with for one day and why
Day 18- plans/dreams/goals you have
Day 19- nicknames you have and why you have them
Day 20- someone you see yourself marrying or being with in the future
Day 21- a picture of something that makes you happy
Day 22- what makes you different from everyone else
Day 23- something you crave for a lot
Day 24- a letter to your parents
Day 25- what I would find in your bag
Day 26- what do you think about your friends
Day 27- why are you doing this 30 day challenge
Day 28- a picture of you from last year and now, how have you changed since then?
Day 29- in this past month, what have you learned
Day 30- you favorite song

30 Days of Truth- Day 27

Day 27 → What’s the best thing going for you right now?

A wonderful hubby. We may have our differences of opinions occasionally, but on the whole we make a very good team. This past week was Restaurant Week in DC and that means, for my husband the chef, that he works 6-7 days, 10-12 hours a day. What that means for me is that I come home after work to an empty house, sit around by myself on the weekends, and get extremely upset when he then decides to go to a bar after work. I know, I know, I'm a terrible person. Well, that is precisely what happened on Friday night, he texted me to tell me he was going to the bar and I laid on the guilt trip (I've been waiting for you all day, I was really looking forward to spending some time with you, etc.). Said guilt trip didn't work (you know the adage, "be careful what you wish for," well, I wished for a husband who I couldn't wrap around my little finger... and boy am I paying for it).

So he comes home around 3am (the subway- aka the Metro- stops running at 3am on Friday and Saturday night) and I'm still awake, barely. He comes home, I go to bed, and try to give him the cold shoulder. Well, I know I have no legs to stand on in this argument, because he's been really good about coming home all week, and it was payday, which always means he ends up at the bar after work. So the cold shoulder approach didn't last very long, not to mention he didn't even notice I was giving him the cold shoulder to begin with. Long story short, despite our difference of opinions, he's still the best thing going for me right now.

Case in point, last night. He comes home right after work and the first thing he tells me (accompanied by a shoulder rub) is that he was thinking about it on the Metro on the way home, and he really has everything in his life that he wanted when he was a kid. A job, a place to live, some money in the bank, and a wife he loves and who loves him. I may have melted, but maybe the shoulder rub was partly to blame for that. I'll have to do an experiment, maybe next time he tells me his life is perfect, he'll have to refrain from rubbing my shoulders and then I'll know if the melting was because of what he was saying or because of what he was doing. And then he discovered that I had bought him beer (a very rare occurance at best) and came back into the room and said, "so you know when I told you I loved you and my life was perfect a second ago, well, I've decided I really do have the best wife ever." :)

Friday, August 20, 2010

Why My Medical Bills are Free... Sort of.

So, I started a Flex account at work this year. There's two of us with medical expenses (mostly dental and vision related, not so much physical or mental problems), but that really adds up. So it seemed like a good idea to distribute those payments out over a year's time. I don't feel the loss of the $50 (pre-tax) that come out of my paychecks and I can pretend all of my medical expenses are free! Ok, so I know they're not, but I can still pretend.

This is great, because instead of being completely unhappy about actually having to pay our dentist (which in the normal realm of customer service expectancies, I would not have paid for... can you return dental service?) I can just pretend that I didn't have to pay him at all, because I'm getting reimbursed for every cent I just paid him... from my own money. In fact, the payflex claim went through in about a day, after our dental insurance took months to come through for us.

It's totally worth it not to have to worry about almost $400 coming out of your account at once (although I still have to pay the dentist first, before I file the claim with payflex) and instead putting aside small amounts from every paycheck. It totally helps with the budgeting too, because I can just enter the same sum in for medical expenses every month and not have to worry about being wrong and having unforeseen expenses pop up in my budget. And did I mention the pre-tax thing? Yeah, I don't have to pay taxes on $400 and my mother (also my accountant/tax person) doesn't have to worry about itemized deductions (or maybe she does, but I really wouldn't know, because I've never done my own taxes).

30 Days of Truth- Day 26

Day 26 → Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?

Hmm, I thought I answered that question in my post for Day 25. But yes, I have thought of giving up on life. Several times actually. Mostly it was during my dark, angsty teenage years when I decided that no one cared about me and that it would make them sorry if I killed myself. Yeah, I know, typical emo behavior. In college I thought about ending it all, because it would be easier than dragging myself to class every day and coming back to procrastinate and then do homework at 1 in the morning. But right now life is pretty awesome, so those thoughts are far, far away. Plus, as discussed in the previous post, even if I did want to kill myself in earnest, I'm too much of a coward to actually go through with it. So I think I'm safe, regardless.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Two Great Things!

Two amazing things happened today...

The first was that I finally paid the dentist. The insurance company finally paid the majority portion of what we've owed the dentist since February. That's how long we've been fighting with the insurance company, 6 months! But we didn't back down, we didn't let up on the insurance company or on the dentist when he tried to refuse to help us with the appeal. And in the end it paid off, big time. We're talking a difference between $1400 and $350. That's over a thousand dollars that we didn't end up having to pay. Today I called the dentist and paid the remainder of the bill and it lifted this huge weight off my shoulders. I'm still never going back to that dentist, because he's condescending and refuses to take the time to explain things to me, but in the end he did come through for us. So I asked his receptionist to thank him for me.

The second amazing thing was that I have a time and date for my interview. I am a grants administrator and manage the grants that my organization passes out. Unfortunately, I'm not allowed to say who I work for, because I've had issues with this in the past. But I'll try to explain what's going on in the most general sense. Bascially, over the past year, I've applied for 5, now 6, jobs with the organization. I was well qualified for 5 of the 6, but I didn't get any of the 5 I applied for. I basically made me feel pretty worthless or that HR might have it in for me. I know I don't interview that well, I'm just not good at selling myself yet, and I get really flustered when people ask me questions I'm not expecting. But I know I do an awesome job and I was hoping that that track record would speak for itself. It didn't. This 6th job makes me feel like that has all been worth it. Why, because I really, really, really want this job.

I studied environmental studies in college, and my absolute favorite thing, the thing that interests me the most about environmental studies, is water resources. Specifically, freshwater conservation, water rights, dam removal, sustainable agriculture, riparian borders, etc. Now most of this stuff probably makes the average person yawn, but then again there are plenty of things that other people find fascinating that make me yawn. So it's all good if you're shaking your head at me right now, asking yourself, "what is she smoking?" (The answer to that is nothing, I'm just high on life.)

Well, some of the jobs I applied for had to do with water resources, but only one was about water rights, and I really wasn't invested in the Program because all of the grants I manage have to do with birds, trees, and tigers. Now, tigers are very pretty animals, but I'm just not passionate about saving them. Yes, I think they should be saved, but I'm not sure I want to be the one saving them. At least not directly. Obviously, I'm not going to go out and buy tiger parts from the black market, I might even give some money to an organization that saves tigers, but I don't really want to work with them directly. Some with birds and trees, I know they need saving, but I don't want to be doing it myself. But I just got assigned to a new program, which deals with freshwater conservation. And for the past month and a half my work has actually, for the first time, brought me true joy and happiness. And then I found out that they're looking for a full-time coordinator for the program.

As soon as the job was posted, I jumped on it. I got my resume and cover letter in the day after the job was posted. I've been waiting anxiously for the deadline to pass and to hear about a potential interview. In my mind, this is already my job. Why? Because I'm the only person at the organization who really works with the other two people who manage the program right now. I've gone above and beyond for them and I know they really appreciate that and like working with me. I'm just worried about who else might have applied. Today I found out that they did want to interview me, and I have a date and time now. But even if I don't end up getting the job, at which point I'll be ready to look for another job elsewhere, I won't let the new person lever me out of the program. I'm too invested in it and too happy doing this work, to let someone else take that away from me.

30 Days of Truth- Day 25

Day 25 → The reason you believe you’re still alive today.

I believe I'm still alive today for two reasons: the love of my family and cowardice. My family has always supported me and even during my dark, teenage angsty days when I was contemplating suicide to "show those bastards that they need me," I still knew deep down that they loved me. I knew that my family would be upset if I did go through with it and kill myself. The other thing that kept me from doing it, was the cowardice aspect. I didn't have access to poison or a gun, I'm scared of heights, I don't like swallowing pills (certainly not a whole bottle of them), and I'm scared of inflicting pain on myself (I just recently got over having to spend half an hour shaving my legs, for fear of cutting myself). So that really left no good options.

Cowardice is also the reason I haven't died accidentally. I slow down to a crawl in heavy rain, more so since my very slow-speed, hydroplaning car accident two years ago. I'm afraid of heights, so falling out of trees or off a cliff, or a parachute not opening has never been a problem. And in general I'm just not a very adventurous person when it comes to doing something potentially dangerous.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

30 Days of Truth- Day 24

Day 24 → Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)

I am terri-bad (yes, that's a word) with music. I can never remember song titles or lyrics, altough the melodies, no problem. I've tried to complete this for several days now, hence the lack of new posts. But I find that I'm no farther than I started, and so I guess I'll have to admit defeat and move on. Due to some sort of OCD, I can't seem to post anything else until this is taken care of, so admitting defeat should let me continue to post. Sorry guys.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

30 Days of Truth- Day 23

Day 23 → Something you wish you had done in your life.

I wish I had taken better advantage of my semester abroad at the University of Limerick in Ireland. I was so focused on keeping my grades up, dealing with a different grading and testing system, not having actual books for most of my classes, etc. that I didn't use my time to travel a whole lot. In the end, it didn't matter at all, because the different grade point conventions between U. of Limerick and American University meant that I ended up with lower grades than I should have for the semester. At of U of L they use .2 to signify a + to the grade (so a B+ would be a 3.2), but at AU they use .3 to signify a + (so a B+ would be a 3.3). And since they didn't bother looking at my letter grades (which is what the teachers gave out, which UofL then translated into the grade points for the transcript) my two B+'s turned into B's. Long story short, I got screwed over and if I had known that to begin with, I probably wouldn't have bothered trying so hard for the B+ when at the end of the day it was going to translate into a B anyway.

So, there were two options for housing arrangements. We could either choose to live with Irish students or with other international students. The co-ed apartment style dorms (individual rooms with bathrooms but with a co-ed living room and kitchen) that had only international students in it, had groups going out almost every weekend to Cork, Galway, the Aran Islands, etc. And some of the international students living with all Irish students would get to go home with their dorm mates on the weekends and see parts of Ireland that way. Oh yeah, Irish students go out almost every night of the week to pubs and clubs, etc. and on the weekends they go home to their parents where most of them have jobs to pay for their party time during the week. Unfortunately, I didn't get close to my Irish room mates. They asked me to go out with them the first few weeks, and I would have loved to, but I had absolutely no money due to an unfortunate extra technology fee that my parents didn't pay in advance. So I had to open a bank account and have my grandmother wire me funds from my German account, but that takes a while (2-3 weeks). So until then, I was completely broke.

So on the weekends, I mostly studied or talked for hours with my then boyfriend. My DH and I had just started dating at that point. But by the time I finally had money, my room mates weren't interested in trying to be friendly anymore and stopped asking me if I wanted to do anything. As for the other international students, I made friends with a few of them, but for the most part they stuck to their own room mates, especially if they were in one of the international student dorms. I wasn't really up for traveling on my own either. And anything outside of Ireland, required a longer period to make it worth it, but because the semester doesn't start until February, they also don't have a lot of vacation days in spring. In fact, the only time we did get was a day or two around Easter and about two study days before exams. Easter I used to meet a friend from high school in Scotland (that was a lot of fun) and the study days I used to go to Venice, Italy with my two friends from UofL. I also took a weekend trip to London to meet up with the same high school friend, and I went on the international student trips to Dublin and then to the West coast of Ireland. All of those trips were a ton of fun, but I wish there had been more.

Hopefully DH and I will be able to go back there one of these days and take care of that regret. We'd talked about it as a possible honeymoon destination, but neither of us could face the long flight right after driving to Michigan (10 hours) and spending a week pulling together our wedding reception. Maybe next year though.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Loremaster- aka banging my head against the wall

For those of you who don't play World of Warcraft, this might be as foreign sounding as the Sindragosa post a few days ago. But I will do my best...

In their infinite wisdom, Blizzard (the creators of the game) decided to put in something called achievements. As the name implies, these track your achievements in the game. And by "achievements," I meant anything that the creators arbitrarily decided was an achievement. Now, there is no reward (except bragging rights) for these achievements, yet. I am convinced it was just a way for Blizzard to keep people interested and playing the game once they reached the maximum level (currently 80).

Achievements vary, they can be anything from running around a whole zone and discovering every part of it (if you discover every single part of every single zone, and there are a lot in the game, you get a special "Explorer" title and an Explorer tabard you can wear, so I guess there are some very useless rewards after all), to collecting as many pets as possible (they have little "vanity" pets in the game that do absolutely nothing but look cute and follow you around, at 50 pets and at 75 pets you get a little bonus pet), to killing a certain creature or boss, to doing every single quest in the whole game.

Well, that last one, doing every single quest in the game is called the Loremaster achievement, because in theory, in the process of doing every single quest in the game you will learn a lot about the lore behind the game. Now, between vanilla WoW (the player's slang term for the original game) and the two expansions (Burning Crusade or BC and Wrath of the Lich King or WofLK) there are around 4000 quests in the game. 4000 little tasks for you to do (well, some aren't so little and take a lot of time and effort). Some are as stupid as some guy being too lazy to turn around and telling you to go talk to the guy standing right next to him, some involve killing a set number of a certain kind of creature, some involve bringing back items, etc.

There are 4 continents in the game, Northrend added for WofLK, Outlands added for BC and the original 2, Eastern Kingdom (which is technically two different continents connected by a big bridge) and Kalimdor. So far, I have completed every quest in Northrend and every quest in Outlands. I'm at 621 out of 685 in Kalimdor and about 330 out of 550 in Eastern Kingdom. Now, you might say, why the hell have you done that many quests when there is absolutely no reason to? Or you might say, but look, you're almost done. Well, folks, therein lies the problem. I still have plenty of quests left to do in Eastern Kingdom, but of those last 60 or so in Kalimdor... well, I can't find them. And even if I could find a few more here and there, somehow I doubt that will add up to 60. I'm that close and I feel like giving up. Yes, I know, it's a game. And a stupid use of my time, I'll admit that. But to come that close and feel like I'm going to fail anyway makes me want to bang my head against a wall.

30 Days of Truth- Day 22

Day 22 → Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.

This one is difficult. I haven't done a whole lot of things in my life that I've regretted later. I could say I wish I'd never moved to Florida, but I made some friends down there, I got to spent a year with my fiance learning how to live together. It gave me my first chance to stand completely on my own two feet (well, if you count my fiance) and a chance to work for a great little non-profit. Without those opportunities, I may not have been where I am today. I don't know if my life would have been better or worse, I don't know if I would be farther in my career or farther behind. I can play the what if game for ages, but at the end of the day, I'm ok with the decisions I made and I am honestly not sure if I wish there was something I hadn't done.

Friday, August 6, 2010


I've been playing with some possible banners for the blog. I still think it's too plain, especially with the blue background I'm rocking right now. Let me know which one you like best. Or if there's a combination you like. I was trying to get several things represented on the banner that I talk about on the blog.




Contents of my purse

The contents of my purse.

The Perfect Pear posted a fun entry about the contents of her purse. Well, if you've ever wondered what's in someone's purse, wonder no more. Here is the content of mine:

The book I'm currently reading: The Scarlet Contessa
Two PenPal Project letters that I wrote answers to and sent off the other day.
My collapsible umbrella (and was I ever glad I had that in the downpour yesterday).
My cell phone, keys, and wallet.
Several pens and a tube of lip gloss.
Stamps I grabbed at the post office yesterday so I could send off those PenPal letters.
My work badge and keys.
My SmarTrip card for the Washington, DC metro system.
The little green thing, is my moleskin idea book that's always in my purse.
Then there is my nook cable (usually my nook would be in my purse instead of a book)
A business card for a traveling cupcake van, that parks in various places around the city.

There you go, not terribly interesting. Although I have to admit, I may have gotten rid of some crumpled receipts before laying everything out. I cheat, what can I say.

30 Days of Truth- Day 21

Day 21 → (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?

Rush to the hospital. Just because I got in a fight with her, wouldn't mean I didn't want to be by her side. Especially since I'm very bad at holding grudges. They confuse me. It usually only takes a few minutes of cooling off after an argument, for me to start trying to figure out what went wrong, what the major points of discussion were, where they may have come from, and how I should address these points during the next discussion. I have honed these skills after three years of my husband walking out on me, when an argument gets too heated and stupid and he needs some time to cool off. Unfortunately, his idea of cooling off usually takes way longer than mine, and he won't answer his cell phone when I call him. So then I start to worry, etc.

But back to my best friend, who is in a car accident... If it was an hour before, I've probably already called or texted her to apologize and what not. Maybe we won't be completely squared away, but we'll be well on our way to it.

If I had a bedroom to decorate...

I have been reading Un-blog-evable's, "If I had a [room] to decorate..." posts. The latest in the line was a bedroom. I thought it was really interesting, so I'm going to follow suit. However, since I already have a bedroom to decorate, I think my challenge to myself will be... how would I decorate that bedroom if I had unlimited funds (not to mention I'd want us to own our own place first).

Paint from the Natura Bejamin Moore line and wooden floors from here.

This beautiful brown rug and green curtains from Target.

Bed from Anthropologie found here with a white comforter set from The Home Decorating Company.

An awesome refurbished green dresser and these cool twisty wooden tables from vivaterra as end tables.

As for decorations, I'd start with these green tiffany lamps for the bedside tables and this hanging lamp.

On top of the dresser, I'd love some candles.

On the walls, I'd hang several of these frames, with this artwork in it.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Sindragosa bites the dust, Lich King will surely follow... eventually

So, for all of you who don't know. I play World of Warcraft. It's an MMORPG (Massive Multi-player Online Role Playing Game) with currently millions of players (although I have a feeling that's millions of accounts, not necessarily actual players). Sorry for people who are not going to understand all of this, but I'm too excited not to post about it.

My guild has been running 25-man ICC (Ice Crown Citadel) for weeks, even months now. Pretty much since it came out. First we had a hard time getting past the first four bosses, now we're flying through those, and taking down most things in one attempt. Although, in our overconfidence we managed to wipe on Lord Marrowgar the first time we tried to down him on Tuesday (embarassing). We've been doing Sindragosa (big scary bone dragon) attempts for the past three or four weeks, and last night... we one-shot her!!!! At 10% I died, because I wasn't broken out of the ice tomb quickly enough, and then I watched with mounting excitement as her health dropped down to 5%, then 4, 3, 2, 1. When she dropped, I was shouting with excitement and doing a little happy dance in my chair, much to my husband's amusement. One-shot, after getting so close the past few weeks that we could taste it. It was amazing.

My walked through Princes and Blood Queen and picked things back up on Wednesday by one-shotting Festergut and Rotface within 30 minutes. Professor Putricide gave us a few problems, due to stacking issues, but we got him down too. And then, for the first time in our 25-man runs, we got to see the Lich King. We were so excited we decided to take a group picture with him still alive. Then we proceeded to wipe several times as we were learning the strategy for Phases 1 and 2 and the transition phase in between. Phase 1 is down, the transition phase is so-so, and Phase 2 was absolutely terrible. We only got to try it twice, but both times were a royal disaster. You've got something coming to you, stupid chickens.... just saying.

So yay! Our guild is 11/12 with one boss to go. Don't even mention hard modes to me yet.

30 Days of Truth

I have completed 20 of the 30 days. Here is what you have to look forward to:

Day 21 → (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?

Day 22 → Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.
Day 23 → Something you wish you had done in your life.
Day 24 → Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)
Day 25 → The reason you believe you’re still alive today.
Day 26 → Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?
Day 27 → What’s the best thing going for you right now?
Day 28 → What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?
Day 29 → Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.
Day 30 → A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself.

30 Days of Truth- Day 20

Day 20 → Your views on drugs and alcohol.

Alcohol, while legal, should not be abused. I've gotten the spins twice in my life, which tells you how often I've gotten past the "pleasant and tipsy" stage of drinking. I enjoy a nice glass of wine on occasion, but I try not to drink to excess. I just feel that there is no point in feeling like crap when the room starts to spin around you, not to mention vomiting and the hangover the next morning. Also, why would anyone want to pass out and forget all about their night? I know some people use it as a crutch, but they're just prolonging the inevitable acknowledgement that something has gone wrong and they need to deal with it.

Drugs I feel even more strongly about. Although I'm willing to negotiate on medicinal uses. If you're a terminally ill person, do I begrudge you a drag at a joint or even a line of coke? No, certainly not. However, when medicinal drugs are used to self-medicate or for the buzz, that's when I start to have problems with it. I don't even like taking things for a headache. I had to take Vicodine after I had my wisdom teeth out. Once the initial sedative wore off, I took half a tablet of the stuff, and was completely loopy the rest of the day. I made do with aspirin for the rest of the time.

Recreational drug use I'm completely against. Except as mentioned above for terminally ill people. They're illegal, dangerous, and addicting. I refuse to touch the stuff, not even necessarily out of a fear for the law or the potential consequences, but because I am perfectly happy with my life. I don't need to "enhance" it or shut it out. And I like knowing that what I see, say and do is done with all my senses working properly.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

30 Days of Truth- Day 19

Day 19 → What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?

Well, I started touching on the religion aspect in the last post, so I might as well answer that question. I am an agnostic. What that means is that I know somewhere in my mind, in my heart, the parts that are not ruled by calm reason, I know there is a higher power out there somewhere. I just have to look at awesome beauty and power of nature to know that something is out there. I'm not sure what form that higher power takes, because I'm not sure I want to put that love, that beauty, that power into a particular form. I completely respect anyone who believes one way or another, but I have a huge problem with the way religion has been used to justify various attrocities throughout history. And I'm not willing to back any religion that has perpetuated various crimes against others just because they don't believe the same thing. To me religion should be about faith, about love, and compassion. And when it's used to justify violence, it makes me sick. So that is what I think of religion.

Not to leave you hanging though, my feelings on politics are very simple. It's a popularity contest and politicians are interested in making their financial backers happy. I also think it's sad that so few people in this country actually vote, because politicians take their win as a "mandate from the people" when it's not in fact a majority vote at all. I actually like the idea of making it a fine-able offense to not vote, I think Nov. 2 should be a federal holiday so that no one has to choose between their job and being able to choose the politicians to represent them. Then someone who makes the choice not to vote, does so in the knowledge that it comes with financial consequences, not something they just don't feel like doing. Okay, maybe that wasn't as short as I thought it would be. :)

Monday, August 2, 2010

30 Days of Truth- Day 18

Day 18 → Your views on gay marriage.

I'm going to play catch-up. To me, marriage has always been a way for two people who love each other to make a life-long commitment to each other. I think anyone who fights for the "traditional family unit" or whatever, should take a better look at the rate of divorce amongst heterosexual couples first, before denying this union to same sex couples. Maybe their time would be better spent fighting for mandatory pre-marriage counseling or tougher divorce laws, etc. than trying to keep two people in love from making that status legal. So, do I think it should be legal, hell yes. Why, because I think a gay couple has the same rights to fuck up their marriage as much as the next couple.

Now, this brings me to the rights of organized religions to say whether or not they will allow their ministers to perform those marriages. Since marriage is above-all (to my happily agnostic self) a legal union (and no, civil unions are not the same thing as a marriage) and not a religious one, and we do still have a separation of church and state in this country (at least on paper), I do think that every church should have the opportunity to make that choice on their own terms. Is it fair that same-sex couples couldn't get married in a church of their choosing... perhaps. But then again, there are plenty of beautiful venues out there, with a justice of the peace or non-denominational minister who would be more than happy to marry them. Also, I don't see too many Catholic churches willing to work with a couple of another faith, unless at least one of the two was Catholic. Or a synagogue willing to lend their facility to a non-Jewish couple, etc. So it's all relative. Does it hurt not to be able to get married in the church you grew up in, yes, I think it would. But as already mentioned, I don't go to church, so that's hard for me to judge. I never wanted to get married in a church in the first place, but some people do.

I read about something a while back. It was a story about a lesbian couple in Australia, I believe, who had decided to have a commitment ceremony. Gay marriage is not legal down there either. So they gathered together all of the documents needed to approximate the legal status of a married couple (medical consent forms, name change forms, wills, etc.) and part of their ceremony was signing these legal documents together. Well apparently it took them forever to sign everything and it really brought home to them and to their guests what a legal hurdle they have to jump through to have the right to visit each other in the ICU, to inherit the others possessions, to be able to have legal guardianship over their children, etc. when for a straight couple all it takes is one signature (and a bunch of very easy name change forms, for women, not so much for men). I don't think that's right.

30 Days of Truth- Day 17

Day 17 → A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.

So I totally started this post yesterday, but I could not think of a single book I've read that has changed my views on something. This is not because I've read so few books, but because I've read so many. The local library loves me (probably in part because I sometimes don't have time to return books, thereby racking up large amounts in overdue fees). I'm starting to think the librarians know me by sight. Our living room is only not called a library because of the presence of our computers, dining room table, and currently our bed (it's too hot to sleep in our bedroom, unfortunately, so we dragged our mattress into the living room where we have a window unit). I guess other people would have just bought a second window unit, but when you have to pay an additional $75 a month for the privilege of being able to sleep at night, I'll drag that mattress anywhere. But I'm getting off topic.

Well, let's examine my choice of reading materials in a given month:
Historical fiction, romance, wedding books (which should stop after September), etc.

There's not a whole lot of non-fiction or classical lit to be had, except what I was forced to read in school. Unfortunately, since they were "required" reading, I honestly couldn't tell you too much about any of them. Maybe, and this is a big maybe, the book One River by Wade Davis changed my views about what to do about isolated indigenous populations in the rainforest a tiny bit. It's always been my opinion that progress requires wealth (which to me equates with currency) and certain rights, but reading this book showed me that some indigenous populations may be happier not being found. If all you know in life is that food should be shared with the rest of the community or that a psychedelic trip is not only legal but essential to a religious experience, etc. then who am I to walk in and tell them otherwise. Aren't most people happy with what they have until someone tells them to someone else has more?

Should they have the right to modern technology, especially health care? Do the women have just as much right to be equal members of society (which is not to say that they aren't already)? All of these rights I assume are a necessity to the rest of the world, what if they're just the product of our society? What makes us "civilized," and them "savages?" Just our mind-set. I've had this same problem while reading accounts of early settlers and missionaries in the United States or traders and missionaries in the Far East. What was wrong with just leaving them be to pursue their own culture or religion? Were they really better off in the long-run with the Western notions of wealth and power, did it make any difference at all? Clearly I have more questions than answers. But it's a question that has bothered me and that this book made me question.