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  • Buffy"

Friday, March 30, 2007


Happiness is a Child's Smile?

When my family moved into a new neighborhood while I was in middle school, a neighborhood directory was put out where my name had an asterisk next to it denoting 'babysitter.' I don't think my parents had anything to do with this; I think the neighborhood just assumed that female + certain age = babysitter. But my parents were always trying to get me to advertise myself as a babysitter. They didn't understand my resistance and instead said that babysitting was "easy money."

There is nothing easy about battling young children who are dying for attention since mommy and daddy went away.

Some of my "favorite" babysitting encounters include a little boy who liked to pin his sister down and repeatedly punch her in the face while their parents were gone. Next to that was the time I babysat three children ages 2, 4, and 6. The six year old liked getting naked and running around, the four year old liked urinating on the walls, and the two year old just cried all four hours I was there.

Just because I was most recently a child at the time (compared to the parents) doesn't mean I know what to do with them. The last thing I want is for a kid's parents to come home while one of them is naked. And the more flustered you get the more the kids love it.

No, I know nothing about babysitting or children in general.

In the community service group I was a member of in college, there were lots of opportunities to work with children. Most people loved these, and I always watched in awe as they played with them... running around, rolling around, funny faces, sassing back and forth... it was like these people had access to some hidden children-only language or a guide to being hip with kids. Whereas kids always knew in one second of looking at me that I was not "kid-friendly."

Now, don't get me wrong, I like kids very much and it's not like children everywhere start throwing empty cans at me when I walk by. I just don't know what to do with them. I don't really even know how to play with them or what they like to do. I just stand around awkwardly and mildly afraid.

Why afraid? Because in my experience, "kids say the darndest things." You never know what they're about to come out with, and it's probably something totally embarrassing. Like many years ago when boyfriend and I were at the Walmart cash register and a little girl came up to me and said, "You look like a boy!"

Of course, this girl had confirmed a horrible fear I had at that time... that I am boyish, completely without grace, femininity, and any fashion know-how, not sexy, undesirable, and even gawky. I pushed boyfriend ahead of me and out the door. The little girl scuttled behind us calling out, "You do! 'Cause yer dressed like one!" By this time it was a full-scale retreat. Boyfriend was shoved and manhandled into the car (oh God! Manhandled! She's right again!) and we peeled out of that parking lot.

I began to feel that kids can see things adults can't (or maybe it's really that everyone sees it, kids just don't have the tact not to say it). A kid can look at you and know whether you'd be a good playmate or you're an awkward miser. That's why I would like to note that yesterday I had my first truly pleasant experience with a child.

An adorable girl around 1 year old was on the train with her parents as I was riding home last night. She got fussy in her stroller, so her dad took her out and let her kick around and half stand on his lap. They tried to give her a bottle which she didn't seem to want, but when they finally took it away she liked that even less. I couldn't help but look over, well, stare, at this squirmy little thing, and she finally noticed me.

Her face just lit up. She had the sweetest smile. I understand now all those quotes about a child's smile being angelic and this and that. It really actually warmed me to have her give me that full face grin. She was absolutely gleeful.

Throughout the rest of the trip I'd look over and she'd look back and smile. I would wave and she would kick her legs and make a furious noise.

Maybe this peace I've made with children is only temporary and next week they'll be spouting my hidden fears again. But I'd really prefer to think of it as a change in me, some level of acceptance with myself or comfortableness. Sticking with my strange 'children can see your soul theory,' I like to think that this little girl could finally recognize some warmth and love in me that I knew was there but was terrified of being seen.


Thursday, March 29, 2007


Whinny whinny, neigh neigh

Ahh.... sweet, sweet slumber.

Only to be awoken at 2am by a Charley Horse!

It's hard to describe a Charley Horse to someone who has never had one. Boyfriend once exclaimed, "I think I just had a Charley Horse." Oh, no, my friend... oh, no... if you had a Charley Horse - you'd know!

Mine have always been in my calf muscle. I've had the occassional warning that one is about to occur in my foot, but I can usually control those before they explode. The calf muscle becomes stricken with intense, burning pain. You think, if you could just calm down and not touch or move your leg it would go away. This is actually one of the worst things you can do. You're supposed to stretch it, but moving your is so horribly painful. All you can do is writh around, trying not to scream so as not to completely terrify the person sleeping peacefully next to you.

This is impossible. They'll wake up. They'll think they just entered a scene from a horror movie.

Wikipedia says that common causes of Charley Horses are:

* Sore muscles after exercise
* Hormone imbalance
* Mineral deficiency
* Dehydration

But, really,

* Sore muscles after exercise - You've probably picked up on one of my main gripes lately; I feel off the gym wagon. No, I didn't fall off, I snuck off like a rat!
* Hormone imbalance - Why?
* Mineral deficiency - I even took vitamins that day (and I hate taking vitamins), and I had a strawberry/banana smoothie.
* Dehydration - Sure, I don't drink enough water... but why now?

I'm not satisfied with the answers I found. You lose, Wikipedia. But, something even better than a Charley horse:

Here's a video of an incredible dancing horse.


Wednesday, March 28, 2007


The War on Terror

My brother went to a military college. He's always been interested in the military, epic battles, good and evil, G.I. Joes as a kid, protect the women, etc. He became a Marine, and he served this country with two missions to Afghanistan. About one year ago his official time was up. He chose not to stay in, but instead to get out and start a "normal life." He started his own business; he's given up a lot to get where he is.

When he was overseas, I tried not to the think about the war or the president or even politics. My parents supported it, my friends waffled on it, and I was too scared to comprehend it. A superstitious thought, I worried my dissention could hurt him somehow. So I supported it as best I could, I closed my ears, I tried to think about something else... anything.

When he came back it was weird at first. For a while I talked to him less than I had even when he was overseas. Then things changed for him a bit, he mellowed somewhat, and now, even with some of the horrible things he says and his truly distorted world-views, I enjoy talking to him. Sometimes I even enjoy his company. Once this year we went out with some of my friends.. went out... did something together... connected somehow. I joined Myspace just to be his "friend," and since then we've talked more than any other time in my life.

Yesterday a letter came in the mail to my parents' house. It's funny how letters can evoke so many terrifying and exciting memories... waiting for college acceptance letters (would it be a legal sized envelope, a thick manilla with registration information [please please please]), test results that didn't mince words, insurance notifications where the battle of "who gets to pay" volleys back and forth for months or years.

On this particular day, no one was expecting anything fantastic.

We did not expect to receive a notification that he is being recalled for active duty.



Flights of Fancy

So March is a lame month, what can I say? It's tax season?

I've been trying to get some things in order around here so that every entry isn't "whine whine this" and "whine whine that." I'm happy to say that I've had some success. This apartment is clean (well, I haven't gotten to the bathroom yet). I've dusted, vacuumed, taken out three big bags of trash... who says that cleaning your house can't be a metaphor for life?

I stopped whining about it and started reading again. I'm currently reading a book called Pawn of Prophecy, the first in a series. It's a fantasy book, which means I would probably get a lot of mocking sneers if I didn't desperately try to covertly cover the title with my hands while riding the public transportation to work. Either you like fantasy or you don't, and if you don't, you're likely to think that the person reading it is a leper. You can enjoy Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter, but you had better keep it mainstream... or else!

On a radically different note, don't you hate how once you cut your hair you instantly regret it? Beforehand it's all you can think about. You ask everyone you know for their opinion. Some people say "don't do it," some say "of course!"... whatever they say only emboldens you that you must do this. The sooner the better! Don't waste any more time!

Then it's all over. You're left with a haircut that is too short even to put it all up without little pieces falling down. Alright, alright, I have to bring it back to me. I'm left with this short hair. Wearing it the way I've always worn it (curly) now just looks like a sad clown wig. A friend suggested I dye it rainbow colors to complete the look; sure, what have I got to lose? Now I have to straighten it with a flat iron every day.

At first people love it straight. They're blown away. They probably think, "WOW! She doesn't always look like a sad clown!" Or, "Gee, she looks great without that frizzy powder puff on her head." But people are fickle (like me for cutting my hair), and the novelty has worn off. Now I just look like any other straight haired girl riding the straight haired metro. What's one more girl with flat, straight hair? Whoopty-do!

At least when it was curly it was "different." Anyone know where I can get some miracle grow? Or perhaps some little green seed paste, leave my head in water overnight, and in the morning it can be "Cha-Cha-Cha-Chia!"

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Friday, March 16, 2007


Crap Fest 3000

Another work week is ending.  I'm not traveling anywhere this weekend, but I do have a friend coming up to visit.  My weekend is already jam-packed with plans. 

I'm a classic introvert.  I need my "me time."  I need space away to regroup or else I get completely frazzled.  Hanging out with people and making small talk drains me unless it's with a close group of friends. 

My apartment is a mess, I am a mess.  But all in all, it was actually a pretty decent week.  Boyfriend skipped his graduate school class on Monday evening, and for some reason that makes a huge difference.  Wii played a lot of wii (did you like my unoriginal and lame pun?), but we also got some work done.  I took a statistics quiz last night, now I just have to take the midterm by March 28 (I think?) or else I get dropped from the class. 

During the day I talk about weddings nonstop with one of my recently engaged friends.  In the evenings I play wii, watch American Idol, and observe the horrible stack of bills and miscellaneous papers that keeps piling up on my desk.  I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be an adult, wishing I hadn't stopped going to the gym, hoping that God will work some divine intervention and endow me with bigger breasts and a smaller behind, and all the while feeling both selfish and like some part of me is being neglected or ignored. 

I still haven't picked up a paint brush lately.  Last night I mentioned to boyfriend wanting to take a cake decorating class next time it's offered.  I haven't signed up for any kind of Yoga class.  I long to work with my hands... molding clay, designing cakes, standing on my head, picking up my flute again, hammering nails into the framework of a Habitat for Humanity house. 

This is probably tedious to read.  It's also probably hard to believe that I'm happy.  I like watching bad reality tv and eating dinner with my boyfriend after a few rounds of wii tennis.  I like helping my friend plan her wedding and having people come to visit.  I love indulging... It's just when I stop, when everything gets quiet and I look around and realize where I'm standing that I feel this ache.

I have a friend from high school whose name is still on my AIM Buddy List even though we really don't talk anymore.  She has recently started a blog; in high school and college she was always writing, and she majored in Creative Writing with high hopes for a career as a novelist.  She got married a few weeks after college (she had been engaged throughout) and now has a baby girl.  In her blog she relates everything back to God.  She talks about how she and her husband sponsor a child through Compassion.com and it shouldn't make us feel guilty, but grateful.  Recently she talked about a woman at church who wrote her a get well card when she missed her Sunday duties because of a stomach bug.  She felt disgusted with herself for not noticing this woman before and for not being kinder to her when the woman had had a heart attack a few months ago. 

This friend would probably say my ache is from my lack of God.  Sometimes I think about how nice it would be to belong to a church and have church friends doing church activities.  But after a life of doubting and challenging, I don't know if I could ever give myself over to it. 

All this reminds me of an ominous quote that shows up in a Sopranos episode (another selfish vice)...
Sometimes I go about in pity for myself , and all the while, a great wind carries me across the sky.
                        -- Ojibwe Saying

Another theory, though I'm hoping it's less popular, comes from a conversation I had with my brother yesterday. We were talking about his current girlfriend..
Brother: Yeah, we talk every night and she says she misses me. Her biggest problem will be if she can take it down a notch and play her role.
Me: what does that mean?
Brother: Here's the problem with society. Women are trying to act like men and taking mens roles. In the end, there's going to be a great awakening when they realized that they ruined their lives going after careers and other stupidity instead of taking on more traditional roles. [Insert girlfriend's nameh here] has that problem to a certain degree and I told her if she wants to have a chance with me, she's got to let me be the man. I'll compromise to some degree, but not too much and I sure as shit ain't leaving what I've got going on here as my success will soon be readily apparent to one and all.

So, maybe this is my "great awakening."  If I had just started making babies and knitting little booties for them once I hit 18, I would never have these feelings.  There are so many things wrong with what my brother said... where can I even start?  How do you argue with that insane troll logic?

So that's my little gripe in a nutshell.  Whewwwww.

Monday, March 12, 2007


Scents of Spring

I believe in Seasonal Affective Disorder .  There are some things going on right now that are huge.  Usually when I think about them, I get a horrible feeling in the pit of my stomach.  I feel trapped, I don't see a way out.  I feel like I'm being smothered, other times I feel like I'm being exposed. 

But when the warm sun appears after a long, grey winter, things just don't seem so bad.  I went home again this weekend for tons of family birthdays.  While home, I bought some new lotion, shower gel, shampoo and conditioner at Bath and Body Works - Coconut Lime Verbena.  It's a wonderful, cheery spring smell.  It's not an overpowering coconut like suntan lotion.  I'm really enjoying it so far; I think I'll be smelling myself all day.

I also got a pedicure and manicure with one of my recently engaged friends.  The first time I had a pedicure I felt a little bad, there was a woman who barely spoke English forced to scrub dead skin off my feet while I sit high upon my mighty leather chair.  But at this nail place most of the employees spoke English, there were lots of them working together, and they seemed to be okay with it.  It didn't feel like forced labor or like they were barely eeking out a living.  I think they did a nice job; my feet feel great.  But it was a little disconcerting to see scraps of dead skin from my feet assembled on the towel like orange rinds...

March is flying by, like every month.  I really need some time to get things in order, but having to go home for the past few weekends plus having visitors up here this weekend is making that more than a little difficult.  I have bills to file, laundry to fold, and statistics quizzes to take.  I see now the true meaning of "SPRING CLEANING."

I hope spring keeps coming in and stays.  I need a little light to make this all seem doable. 

Sunday, March 11, 2007



Friday, March 09, 2007


A better job awaits?


Wednesday, March 07, 2007


Cake and Rolling Stones

I had another cake thought... how about a yellow cake with chocolate icing and a layer of Edy's American Idol "Take the Cake" ice cream inside?  Mmm.. cake.

I haven't been to the gym in a little over one week.  One the bright side, I haven't gained back any of the weight I lost.  My doctor didn't seem that excited about me using Slim Fast when I went for my physical a few weeks ago, but I think it's great.  Maybe if you don't like the taste, you're forcing yourself to drink it, and you're starving yourself otherwise THEN it's not a good idea.  But I enjoy it, and incorporating it into my eating habits has been a breeze.  It's also kept me from snacking and eating desserts.  I haven't bought dessert in almost a month (my downfall)!  When boyfriend and I went home this past weekend his sister gave us some Otis Spunkmeyer cookies.  They come in a big tub that you keep in the freezer.  They're already shaped; all you do is open up the tub and toss the round dough on the cookie sheet... it's even easier than break-n-bake.  Clearly, I have to get these out of the apartment before I revert to my dessert-vacuum habits and consume the whole tub.

In other news, it's looking like I won't be moving this summer.  If that's true, this will be the first time that I've lived in same exact place in about 6 years.  And even though I'm probably staying in the same apartment next year, I'm almost positive I'll be moving the year after that.  It makes me wonder when I'll ever settle.  Is settling even possible?  Moving for more education, work, finding a good school system for your kids... I'd really like to get to a point where I put some big nails in the walls or paint one wall a bright and exciting color and not have to worry that the landlord will do a disappearing act with my security deposit.  I have no idea when or where that settling point will become a reality.  And even if I speculated, nothing turns out the way I imagine it (but so far that's been working out pretty well for me)!

Tuesday, March 06, 2007


Calling All Cakes

My mom's birthday is coming up, and I wanted to make a cake to bring home this weekend.

She likes coconut and key lime stuff and she loves nuts.  She doesn't like an overpowering amount of chocolate.  I've googled around and found some decent recipes for a coconut pineapple cake, but I'm just not sure they look reliable enough.

I would LOVE suggestions!!

Monday, March 05, 2007



Hello, blog land.  I needed a little cool-down period, but I have missed you. 

The last week or week and a half has been filled with some of the most intense ups and downs I've had in... ever? 

For starters, two very good friends of mine got engaged (two separate couples, not two friends getting engaged to eachother). 
Both couples are very happy together, and it's going to be an exciting year of planning.  For one of the weddings, I've been asked to be a bridesmaid!  I've never been part of a wedding party before, so I'm looking forward to it! 

A day or two later we had to put Max down.

A day or two after that, another one of my loans from law school kicked into repayment.  If I follow the payment plan that this company suggested, they'll be making a $10,000 profit!  So, I need to try to pay it back early... very early because the interest rate can change wildly!  I've been trying to figure out how big of a check I can cut for them now without going completely broke.

And speaking of crippling debt, I for some reason decided this was a great time to buy a Wii.  Boyfriend and I discussed it, and we're going to split the cost and consider this our anniversary present to one another (our anniversary is next month).  Even though it's been out for months, I still had to wake up bright and early to go stand in line outside Target before it opened on Sunday.  I was the first one in line!  Target had 33 Wii's, and there were about 20 people in line.  So my waking up wasn't entirely necessary.  But, I had fun... and it builds character, right?

Saturday evening my parents wanted to get dinner together.  Boyfriends parents also wanted to have dinner with him.  So we decided why don't we all just go out to dinner together!  This turned out to be, what I should have expected, an awkward time.  My conservative, socially awkward parents and his liberal, too-much-information, social butterfly parents just don't quite mix.  They've known eachother a long time, but you wouldn't guess it by how they act.  Boyfriend described dinner as, "a scene from Meet the Fockers."

Boyfriend's mother was acting a little squirrely, and I noticed she had dressed up.  I caught her whispering to her daughter (boyfriend's sister) a few times.  At one point, we all went outside to check out the lunar eclipse while his mom and my mom waited inside.  When we went back into the restaurant I knew something was up, my mom had "wedding face" on.

After dinner my parents went home, and boyfriend and I went back to his house with his parents.  His mom couldn't hold it in any longer, she thought the joint dinner was to announce our engagement.  She had even brought her camera.  Apparently when I walked into the restaurant, my coat was over my left hand, as well.  Then when she saw I was only wearing a tiny ring on that finger, she decided it must have been a promise ring.  When we finally convinced her nothing of the sort was going on she said, "Well, you'll find your way."

What does that mean?  Are we lost?  Should we be flogging and punishing ourselves for 'taking too long?'  This situation made me feel pretty bad.  There's so much spazzing and blabla over the question of when are boyfriend and I getting engaged, I just wish we could have some peace.

And the last thing worth mentioning, yesterday I had lunch at Chili's with a friend.  We thought we recognized someone from high school working there.  Well, I knew it was him but I didn't say anything.  I really beat myself up about that later.  Why didn't I just say something?  The whole car ride back to the DC area I kept wondering if maybe I'm becoming a jerk lately.  Maybe even a bitch?  I get carried away sometimes talking about people, I let my emotions go, and even though I expect people to treat me with an open mind and common courtesy, maybe I don't always do the same.  I could be getting selfish; I haven't done any service in such a long time. 

I expect a lot more from myself.  I don't want to be the snarky, biting person that I've seen hanging around lately.  I want to radiate warmth, and I apologize to everyone. 

It's so scary that it's March already.  I'm not closer to taking the GRE, something I thought I would have surely done by now.  I'm falling behind in my online statistics course.  I am just not where I need to be, but hopefully I will get close.