Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The alcohol juice

Life as an impoverished newly wed couple is really fun. Granted, I've never been a wealthy newly wed, so maybe life would be just as fun if we were rolling in money as it is now. However it may be, Peter and I have exciting adventures together in this life of limitations.

One of the fun adventures we encounter on a monthly basis is a local food bank we visit to receive free food. Volunteers gather together behind the Kahuku hospital every 4th Monday of the month to hand out free food to people in the community. To partake, you need only to show up with an ID and some sort of carrier to cart your spoils home. This food bank has been such a bounteous blessing in our lives; each time we attend, we come home loaded with enough food to sustain us for at least the next couple of weeks, sometimes longer. The fun part is that this food is coming by donation and is distributed to you via a conveyer belt of volunteers as you walk along with your boxes. It actually kind of feels like you're trick-or-treating in one long unbroken stream of houses that are really close together. Because you are not selecting your food, there is never any telling what you will receive.

It is this element of mystery which has made our experience with the food bank so very fun. On one occasion we received a "Humanitarian Daily Ration (Menu #4)" tightly sealed in inch thick plastic and stamped with the American flag, claiming to contain "one day's complete food requirement for one person." Where else in the world would we find such a gem?! It's still sealed and sits atop our refrigerator, but one of these days we are going to open it! Maybe we'll make a fort in our living room, turn off all the lights and eat it, flash lights in hands, while watching a Zombie movie. Maybe we will take it with us to church one day and use it as our snack, or take it to work for lunch. Whatever we do, and whenever we do eat it, it is going to be super exciting, and we will feel like Astronauts.

This last trip to the food bank provided us with four quarts of 100% Grapefruit Juice. It was a pretty yellow colour, which is always exciting because yellow is the fairest of all the colours, but as any of you who have tried to drink 100% grapefruit juice will know, it's a pretty little drink that likes to punish you sorely for attempting to quench it.

Not ones to succumb to the will of a juice, much less one we received for free, Peter and I opened a bottle once we got home, and poured ourselves glasses. As we drank, I was forcibly reminded of my high school days spent at bars with my friends, watching them do shots of pure tequila or vodka. I could never quite understand where the pleasure was, as all of them needed quite a bit of time spent psyching up to their task, then afterwards would pull faces that looked like they had just been sucker punched whilst trying to take a particularly vile and potent form of liquid medicine. Years later here I sat with my husband, both of us egging each other on to prove our genders' potency by taking shots of this juice.

In an attempt to make the drinking easier, I suggested we go to Foodland to purchase four more quarts of another juice and then mix the cumulative eight quarts together to dilute (and thwart) the grapefruit's power. Peter hypothesised that apple would be too light of a juice to do anything, so we instead chose a mighty opponent in the form of Pomegranate Berry Acai, and Pomegranate Cranberry.

As it turns out, when you mix together four quarts of 100% Grapefruit Juice with four quarts of Pomegranate Berry Acai and Cranberry, what you get is eight quarts of really potent juice that tastes mildly like stomach acid, but somehow grows on you the more you take tumbler sized shots of it. We've taken to calling it "The Alcohol Juice," and are actually finishing it up faster than I expected. We play our card games, and make the loser drink a glass of it, although usually we're so tired from our rapid fire attempt to annihilate the other, that the winner drinks as well. I find that I enjoy the juice a lot, so long as I continue to gulp at it from the bottle or glass, as soon as I stop is when the bitterness takes a vindictive dump on my tongue and laughs in my face.

Well, let it be said: I will probably never be an alcoholic.

Next food bank adventure... working out what to do with the six pounds of dried cranberries we have inherited.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The media is a maternity ward of lies.

There is a pet peeve of mine which is pretty consistent and prevalent in my regular life. However, I have a deep rooted hatred for it, and I wish it would go away.

The pet peeve emerges as such:

I am sitting watching something online/on TV/in a movie theatre/in some other fashion hereto unlisted. There is a character who is pregnant and has gone into labour. This actually happens very frequently online/on TV/in a movie theatre/in some other fashion hereto unlisted; in the past two weeks of our Netflix watching, Peter and I have witnessed THREE babies being birthed. The baby is shown (having, only moments previously, imaginarily been pushed out of and delivered from this woman's baby-hole) as a sparkly clean, sleeping 6 month old baby, who usually is not crying in any fashion, and is neatly wrapped in a soft blanket, which is also free from any baby-hole goop.
"THAT BABY DIDN'T JUST COME OUT OF YOU" I scream at the screen, a wad of some snack food wedged between my cheek and tongue, "THAT'S A GROWN-BUTT BABY."

The fact that this is so important to me, is something I just can't understand about myself. Here am I, completely and wilfully suspending my disbelief in all other aspects of the show, but curse you to purgatory if you don't fetch a newly concocted child from some hospital ward, dip it in goo and show me a truthful and accurate birth.
The first show in which a baby was popped-out in this past fortnight was Lost. Funnily enough, I did not spend the first fifteen episodes of the show prior to this baby catastrophe yelling at my screen,




Therefore, a new goal of my life is to stop yelling at my computer when it shows me someone giving birth to a baby that doesn't emerge like a flailing and goopy alien, but in fact one that looks like it could possibly be digesting solid foods already. Or maybe, perhaps, I should just steer away from all on-screen births, knowing as I do that they are a trigger warning for sudden and angry tirades. Really, either option is one best suited for everyone's sanity.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

The struggles and pain of a feminist marriage.

Feminism has been circling the news a lot recently. There are a lot of people out there who simply haven't been blessed to have an abundance of education on the situation, and who have taken their own, faulty, perceptions on the subject and chosen to embarrassingly tell the world why they do not need feminism. Oh you blessed souls, I pray for you.

I personally identify myself as a feminist. I follow the feministic belief that men and women are equal human beings deserving of equal human rights. While I daily see inequalities in our society that belittle women in favour or on the behalf of men, and these things do infuriate me, I strive to not be a misandrist, which is someone functioning on the belief that women are better and thus more entitled to respect and power than men.

With these integral beliefs that I hold so dear and warm to my heart, I work hard to practise what I preach in my marriage, but you know what? Sometimes that's hard because I'm a pretty pretty princess lazy and want my husband to dote on me. 

In order to keep myself in check, I have a simple decision making process. Before I make an action or a statement, I ask myself, if Peter were to say or do this time to me, would I be outraged? 

Things I would be probably be outraged to hear from Peter:

  • "No fair! I need the last cookie; my testicles crave chocolate, it's not my fault" 
  • "You should rub my back, I will be giving you children someday"
  • "Feed me, Melly. It's your job as a woman to provide for me." 
  • "I'm sorry I yelled at you, but it's in my nature to be hormonal this time of the month. You should understand." 
  • "Women are destroying society!!!" 
  • "You don't understand what it's like being repressed by the matriarchy. You're blind to the cruelties of your own gender!"
  • "Gross. Please do something about your moustache." (No, wait. I'm reserving my right to say this one). 

As I mentioned earlier, generally my requests are just things out of pure laziness, not that I actually think I am deserving of more service than Peter. However, in sticking with my feminist regime it means I hand over all rights to demand or expect chivalry simply because I possess ovaries. I lose all the little perks such as the right to eat first (because I am a woman), have my door opened for me (because I am a woman), have Peter stand when I enter a room (because I am a woman), to kneel before me and kiss my hand (because I'm a sexy beast woman)... you know, the normal stuff!  

That being said, being a feminist doesn't mean that I'm outraged when Peter chooses to do these things, it just means that I try to do them just as often as he does to me, and maybe I should try getting my lazy bum off the couch sometimes to help him while he's working to serve me. Just not right now, because I deserve to rest my mammaries am comfortable.

If you want to read more about the subject by someone funnier than me here's Jenny Lawson's newest blog post: Women Who are Ambivalent about Women Against Women Against Feminism. She's my hero.

Well, I mean, besides YOU of course!!!! 

Monday, July 21, 2014

Youths. What a stupid breed.

Saturday night and Sunday morning Laie was being punished by Zeus and his thunderbolts. It was disruptive enough to make our bed shake and ruin our sleep, but it was still fun all the same. I like lightning storms a lot. To me they are nature's version of fireworks. Or is it that fireworks are man's version of lightning? In a lot of ways lightning storms are even more fun than fireworks because you never know when they're going to happen, and you rarely have to spend hours trying to stake out a decent spot to watch before it actually happens. Yay spontaneity!!

Heavy rain in Hawaii is a lot like snow anywhere else. When you're a student you find yourself wishing and praying that it will rain hard enough in the night so that school and work will be cancelled. Then when it DOES rain hard enough, you go out and play in the streets with all your rain toys. People skim board, body board, wrestle, have water fights, and get up to all sorts of shenanigans in this truly disgusting ground water that adults try to scare you away from playing in, because it's got "sewage" water in it. Hey, if you didn't stop us from watching Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in the 90s, sewers aren't going to frighten us now. Plus, heavy rain usually means winter in Hawaii, the same way snow usually signals winter on the Mainland.

Thus, even though it's mid-July, this storm brought back a lot of memories from our Freshman year at BYU-Hawaii. My first experience with a wicked flash flood was one that lasted for about 10 hours straight one evening in December 2010. At first we were all laughing and splashing in our hales, but then we were all laughing and splashing, and urgently bailing water OUT of our hales as the female rooms began to flood. By the time we realized that we were in danger, it was about 10:30 at night, and everyone on campus, male and female, was gathered in Hale 5 with garbage bins and in a conveyer belt formation to bail and lay down sandbags as fast as humanly possible. It was close to being the middle of the night, yet every three seconds the entire sky would light up as though it was noon-day and every piece of sky visible was split with bright white lightning bolts. It was fantastic.

Now here's where the story becomes incredibly, worrisomely stupid. With our homes mostly protected by an incredible amount of sandbags, my friends and I began to run around campus, overly excited by the world coming to an end. There is a place on campus known as the "little circle" or the "flag circle." It is located at the very front entrance of the school, and is the first thing you see as you approach campus from Kam highway. This circle is a large circle of grass enclosed by about a hundred flag poles. Each morning and evening flags are raised on each pole to represent the diverse homelands of the students on campus. TadaH!! here's the little circle, you are now educated:

We have dances and festivals here because we're cool like that.
As we ran around campus we found that hundreds of other like-minded students had congregated in the middle of the little circle and were having an incredible impromptu party. "WAHOO!" we all screamed, "LET'S GO!" Even though this was a couple years before "YOLO" we all essentially screamed YOLO and ran to go play in four feet of ground water in a circle enclosed by hundred foot flag poles in the middle of a lightning storm.

Let's evaluate all of the life choices happening in this circle right now, guys. A bunch of humans (large conductors of electricity), playing in deep water (large conductor of electricity), in an area surrounded by metal poles (hashtag: metal + electricity = lovers 4 lyfe).

Every couple of seconds, when the sky would light up, I would stop to look at it and think to myself how beautiful the world is and how amazing life was in that one moment. Now that I look back on it, I think that was the tiny smart part of my brain saying, "I am going to die within the next five minutes, let's treasure every last second we have inside this dense 18 year old body."

Oh well, we all survived and many will probably do such a thing again if the opportunity presented itself.

Here are some pictures of me and my stupid friends.

Here we have several students jumping in an attempt to become more obvious targets for the electricity bolts. 
Granted, none of us have university degrees at this point, so we're relatively uneducated

I am so very proud of all of us for not dying.

Friday, July 18, 2014

House Spouse

Today while Peter was at work he popped up on Facebook chat. Facebook chat is a wonderful thing, I feel like it increases our communication 70%.  

what do you want to do for date night?


What if we made a short film?
You wanna write a script?

ahhh! that's so much responsibility!
we need to come up with a topic first

Carina says that it should be a romantic comedy where you fall in love with me before finding out that I'm a half robot. (you hate robots)

I feel like we need something simpler.

yup. needs to be easy
Or we could do a commercial?


Kay. What will we infomercial?!
we need a brand new product

Or an ordinary object that we find multiple new/better uses for
this is difficult!


Haha, kay, just some ideas then
Product name: The house spouse!

Love it.

Chat Conversation End

I present to you: Our Date Night. 

Thank you to our photographer Riley Jane for her filming assistance!  

Thursday, July 17, 2014

5 things ruined by marriage

Recently I've been thinking about how my life has changed over the past three months. Overall, I feel that the transition into marriage from engaged life was one so simple that sometimes I wonder if we're doing it wrong; maybe marriage isn't supposed to be this fun or easy. However, there are a few things that I have begun to notice that simply weren't in existence when I was still checking that "single" box on government forms.

And so, in no particular order, here are 5 Things Ruined By Marriage:

1. The capability to enjoy sleeping in bed alone.

Since getting hitched, I haven't exactly made it a secret how much of a struggle learning to sleep in a marital bed has been for me, but recently what has emerged as a brand new problem is sleeping in that same bed when it is no longer marital. Peter has now adopted my technique of picking up and taking the couch when the bedroom is too hot to bear and you need a new sleep location. The struggle is, I now cannot sleep without him next to me, and so find myself grabbing my pillow and blanket and camping out on the floor by the couch, creepily manipulating Peter's arm away from his body so I can hold his hand. Essentially, I now have no way of winning when it comes to sleeping at night. I either watch Peter sleep in bed (which is fantastic because he does the funniest things when he's sleeping. I want to film him but it's too dark, and I don't know if I'm ready for that level of creepiness yet), or sleep on the floor of our living room because I missed him and need him near me. THE STRUGGLE IS REAL.

2. Peace of mind in knowing I'm not THAT messy.

When you're living in a home with four other women, the never-ending supply of loose hair and hair-balls everywhere in the apartment (and seriously, I mean everywhere) is easily accounted for. Obviously, you have contributed to the mess of strands, but most of it was put there by others. Same thing goes for general mess in the communal living area. You can continue living your life with the knowledge that you are an essentially clean person, not ruining the lives of others with your hair or crumbs. When you're married you have no such luxury. Any hair that I find stuck to the wall, strangling Peter's Legos, or clinging to the bottom of our feet once belonged to me, and I alone am polluting our home with these overly attached pieces of reject body matter. It's enough to make anyone completely reevaluate their belief in themselves as basically decent humans.

3. Frivolous moments of monetary splurging.

Granted, I have never been one to binge shop or spend. I've always been pretty aware of what I need to survive and that there are certain needs that must be given priority and attention. That being said, I could pretty easily justify spending spare money on fast food, movies, e-books, beauty supplies etc. with very little buyers guilt to haunt me as I try to sleep at night. This is suddenly not true when you're aware that you have more than just your mouth to feed and that any monetary spending that you do will have a direct impact not just on you, but on your spouse as well. Sure I could survive on an eternal diet of Spam, rice, and Ramen as well as just skipping eatings if I need to, but CAN PETER?! The guilt alone of knowing you may be hurting your spouse and their future with any thing you spend at any time causes you to sincerely reconsider your needs and wants. Which perfectly segues me into my next luxury DESTROYED by my marriage.

4. Being the most important person in your world.

I don't think I am incredibly self-centered... but really, I am. We all are. What do you hear over and over when considering a difficult relationship with someone else? "First, look out for yourself. Is this good for you? Are you happy?" These questions are completely genuine and worthwhile; it is so important to make sure that your basic needs are met and that you are not stepping into emotionally self- mutilating territory. Yet now I find my own needs taking a back burner to Peter's. I have never cared about anyone's access to happiness as much as I do now. I want to find ways to make him happy and find ways to treat him. Your capability for guilt-free selfishness is wholly compromised when you're married. I still do have the ability to be the most important person in my world, and sometimes I am, but it no longer makes me feel very good. Luckily for me, my husband seems to feel the same way. Sometimes I find myself wishing we would fight more and have Realization of Personal Selfishness-Sessions less, because it doesn't feel very good at all when you're seeing how upset your husband is that he hasn't been able to provide for you the way he thinks he should. We both get embarrassingly weepy and snotty while whimpering in our strange baby talk voices,

"but, but, I just want YOU to be happy!"
"I AM happy!!! I want YOoOoOoU to be haaAAaaapee-eee *hiccups*"
"I am soo happy!"
"I want to make you happier!!"
"I want to make you even MORE happier!"

I could go on... but you really don't want me to.

5. Enjoying free time as an independent adult.

Separation anxiety is something most children overcome by the time they reach 6 to 7 years of age. I'm still waiting to find out at what age in marriage newly weds overcome the same thing. Even though I functioned perfectly fine in the two years that Peter was serving his mission in Japan, I now have a difficult time being physically estranged from my husband for more than a couple hours. At the end of each day we embrace like over emotional teenagers who think they're in love after the first week of high school, and if I wasn't so happy to see Peter I'd be incredibly grossed out and embarrassed by my behaviour.

If these things (The capability to enjoy sleeping in bed alone, peace of mind that you're not hideously messy, frivolous money splurges, being the most important person, and enjoying free time as an independent adult) matter to you a lot, ENJOY WHILE YOU CAN, BECAUSE THE MARRIAGE MONSTER IS COMING FOR THEIR SOULS. If not, then I guess you'll be fine, because beyond this, married life is pretty much the most fantastic thing since white bread.

It's you and me, Peege. Oh, and all these people lifting us up. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


A fact about me and my life is that I hate shoes.

I had a roommate for a long while who loved shoes. She had a gorgeous collection of high heels and we loved playing in them. On a quiet evening, if we were bored and needed an activity to do, we would put all of her shoes in little rows and try each pair on while wandering/strutting around the bedroom and looking at how fantabulous our calves looked in the mirror (fun fact: my computer accepts "fantabulous" as a word. How neato is that? (Update: "neato" is not accepted.)). This activity I super enjoyed, because my legs looked awesome in those heels and I felt pretty and fancy.

Outside of the house, and beyond mirrors that I can admire my legs in, my love for shoes abruptly ends. In attempting to walk in heels I usually feel like a baby giraffe struggling to walk for the first time. Any other shoe that covers my feet up completely has me imagining my feet as victims to a kidnapping, one which includes a smothering chloroform soaked cloth-hug just for good measure. Sandals are the most acceptable form of footwear, however they seem like a lie: "Hey look, your feet are free-HA JUST KIDDING, YOU ARE TRAPPED FOREVER!"

Thus, my footsies have the daily uniform of being bare or in soft soled ballet slippers. The wonderful thing about ballet slippers is that you feel like you're not wearing shoes. The terrible thing about ballet slippers is that they get holes in the soles incredibly easily. The pair I have now have come apart from the sole just under each toe-pad (there's probably another name for such the thing). Peter and I have both agreed I need new shoes, but ughhh gag me with a spoon!

I wholly despise the act of shoe shopping. Sometime last year I was in a Payless waiting for a friend to try on some fun heels. I decided to try passing the time by measuring my feet in the little metal contraptions that store assistants like to force you into when you're little and easily forced into such things. I tried to measure myself over and over again in some sort of metallic hokey-pokey, placing my left foot in, and my right foot in, and eventually shaking it all about, (because that IS what it's all about). I finally called a shop assistant over for help because I couldn't seem to get it right - I was reading each foot as an entire shoe size apart.

She instructed me from afar, seemingly too afraid to get too close to my feet, which is kind of strange to me, cause YOU WORK IN A SHOE STORE, LADY, COME FACE YOUR FEAR OF TOES AND HELP ME. When she finally did she agreed - my feet were an entire shoe size different. My left reading at a 7.5 and my right at a 8.5.

This fact does explain why, in addition to my baby giraffe walking, heels have always been so difficult for me. I could never find a pair to stay on my feet, but instead one would squeeze and the other would flop, meaning I have to tense my foot and leg muscles in the most peculiar way in a hope to keep both shoes on both feet and the same time, resulting in a very "yesss masterrrrr?" minion-esque drag-shuffle approach to walking.

Luckily, I live in Hawaii. Shoes are never required here. I am free for a year more.

Peter doesn't share my hatred for shoes. We're more interesting than you ever thought!!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Don't mock me, I'm relatively new here.

I like to think that I am a cultured and intelligent member of society. I know a lot of fun facts and, having been raised in Europe, I have been blessed to be exposed to a life that I know many were not. That being said, there are some things that I am still learning regularly as part of my assimilation into American life.

In the public education of my youth (from the ages 4-18), I spent 10 years in British public schooling, 2 years in American, and 2 in International. There are a lot of things that British and International school systems don't include in their curriculum. One of these things is the history of the American people. Thanks to movies and television I patched up the history that occurred after the Puritans left England to find religious freedom (which was the spot where my education in regards to America ended). These reliable resources told me that the Puritans were greeted by friendly Native Americans who they dined with happily and shared a delicious meal of turkey, corn on the cob, and an offensive amount of pumpkin pie. Hello to the creation of Thanksgiving!

When I was 15 my family moved from England to Maryland. I began school at an inner city public high school which was overpopulated and a terrifying culture shock to me. One of my very first English classes contained readings of essays scribed by Native Americans in regards to their sufferings at the hands of the white man. In studying these, I learned that things weren't so hunky-dory between the new Americans and the Native ones, and my mind was violently and metaphorically blown. Somewhere in this new education, however, I learned of the term "Indian Reservations" and my heart was less heavy.

For those of you who don't know, Indian Reservations are a place where Native Americans live as they did before the invasion of white men to America. These lands have been preserved for them to maintain their heritage. They live in teepees, study smoke signals, harvest the land, and play lacrosse while they sing songs about life around the river bend and care for every living thing because they are one with nature. They wear gorgeous garb of leather and feather, with war paint, and headdresses, and fine turquoise jewellery. There is no electricity on the reservations, and no part of western civilization has corrupted the boundaries. There are no phones, no TV, no magazines, or any modern invention. They are a happy and peaceful people.

This was never explained to me, but I had seen Pocahontas, and I'm not an idiot; when I first heard the term "Indian Reservation" and was informed that it was land that was provided and protected for Native Americans I knew that exactly what they must be like.

I once met a sister missionary for our church who was Native American at dinner at my friend's house. I asked her excitedly if she grew up on the reservations. She told me she did. I asked what it was like to come to Maryland. Was it a huge culture shock for her? What did she like best about it? I was incredibly disappointed when she said it wasn't, and that she liked being so close to the capital. "Capital-schnapital," I wanted to scream. "Tell me about your teepee! Do you miss it so much?! How much do you hate wearing shoes? It must be such a transition." These questions went unasked, because I didn't want to command the conversation at the dinner table, and instead I quietly wondered, and wished I could visit an Indian Reservation some day.

Once I got to University I found I had a deep love for documentaries, and spent many hours searching for things to watch to educate me on things I didn't know. One search turned up a documentary series by Morgan Spurlock entitled "30 Days." One episode's explanation stated that "Morgan goes to a Navajo Indian reservation to experience Native American life."


Never have my dreams been so heavily and abruptly crushed.

Every now and then a new part of American history or culture that I do not know will crop up in conversation and I will be teased for my ignorance, but I try to reason that I know a lot of things that others don't, and someday I'll know a lot more than I do now. That being said, I really did like knowing that Indian Reservations were just like in Pocahontas, so I'd like it if we could make that the case so I could be right again.

Also, Peter can't mock me too harshly, because a couple weeks ago he said the word "queue" for the first time in front of me, and he pronounced it "cue-you" so I got a moment to shine in the "I know something that you are grossly misinformed about" light for a bit. Granted, the mispronunciation of one word is a lot less embarrassing than a false understanding about an ethnic culture, built on a concept found in a Disney movie.


Saturday, July 12, 2014

Cameras: public service providers or dream crushing meanies?

I love the ocean.

I'm not a particularly strong swimmer; I never have been. I like to blame this ineptitude in water on my upbringing in England and Russia, two places where the ocean is not particularly begging to be swam in. Yet still I love playing in the ocean. I love it because I feel like this fantastically elegant creature. I like being able to float and twirl and lounge inside the water, just under the surface, doing tricks and motions that I can't do as effortlessly on land. Granted, if someone in the vicinity of my mystical floating were to suddenly flounder and need saving, I would be the worst possible person to turn to, but at least we would drown together, so it would kind of be like I'm preforming the water equivalent of the "buddy system" for drowning individuals. I am such a good person.  

Today Peter was asked out on a man-date to the beach. Rather than sit alone at home, I picked up and took off to Sunset to water-dance alone. As I floated and watched the sky and smiled because I felt like a happy little mermaid, then I suddenly had a life-changing revelation.

What if I am just as inelegant in water as I am on land?  

This thought occurred to me thanks to some terribly awful pictures Peter and I took last night on the beach. After a trip for free Slurpees at 7-Eleven, we stopped on Bikini beach to meander and talk, and eventually began taking jumping pictures. These types of pictures really seem to pack a double-ended punch; they are simultaneously hilarious while being highly painful to look at and consider. Half of your brain is like, "bahahahahaha look at how lanky and awkward I look!" and the other half of your brain is like, "ohhhhh my...  Look at how lanky and awkward I look *llama face.*" 

It's a sad truth, but it's one which is probably bringing great relief to individuals world wide. When I see an excruciating face or body position which I have pulled, I mentally attempt to compartmentalize it into my list of "Faces to Never Replicate Ever in My Life" filed away in my brain. Thus, hopefully saving a bunch of people from ever seeing such faces, and myself from social humiliation (spoiler alert: this doesn't work, like ever. I need to update my filing system). Realize, before I see these photos, often I have no idea how horrendous I look. Do you do this too? Tell me, smarty-pants reader (who is obviously smart because you're reading this ultra-cool-neat-fancy blog), in your own fantasies are you talented and beautiful until a photo proves you otherwise? Oh good, me too. We're like awkward twins/best friends. YAY!       

Returning to my original thought of my mermaid-like water elegance, two options presented themselves to me today as I float. One - I can attempt to do my water dancing in front of a camera. This provides me the possibility to learn the truth of my water-appearance, however unpleasant the outcome may be. Two - I can keep my water dancing private and to myself. The first option saves any onlookers from watching my doings and having to wrestle with their conscious to decide whether that one girl is drowning or not, and then, if she is, whether to save her or not, but the second option protects the sanctity of my mermaid dreams.

In considering this I felt like there was a lot to learn from the existence of cameras and our capability to take pictures of whatever we like whenever we like. Are these beautiful little machines creating world-wide public services in denying people's retinas from horrifying situations? Or do they simply destroy the dreams of people everywhere, including a 22 year old girl who wishes to be a mermaid in the ocean, but now has access to the knowledge that she looks wholly disabled and unfortunate?

I have decided to apply my Psychology training to this life problem and have my very own Schrödinger's Mermaid. This new theory, created by me and designed after Schrödinger's Cat, states: the mermaid is simultaneously beautiful and disastrous, yet, when one looks at the mermaid, one sees the mermaid either beautiful or disastrous, not both beautiful and disastrous.  


That's the end of my story. 

In a future life where Peter and I are sexy mermaids who gossip and laugh together.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Let me teach you, young grasshopper

Because I love my husband and I respect his opinion of what I should be doing with this blog, I thought I would take another stab at doing a How-To post.

This is something that I am really good at and, lucky for all of you, it's something that can be done in a plethora of ways. I have tried to pinpoint my most successful techniques here in this post, but take heart in knowing that not all styles will work for everyone, and that if you are dedicated to practising and developing your own path, you can do anything.

That being said, here is my guide to How To Make People Uncomfortable.

Step one: Identify Accepted Social Norms.

This first step is crucial because it will change depending on what circumstance you find yourself in and who you are surrounded by.

Step two: Ignore Accepted Social Norms.

This is pretty much the entire process. However, don't let the shortness of this list of steps fool you. There is an endless number of things for you to consider.

Let's discuss the example of the "Personal Bubble." This is a social norm which is accepted widely by most Americans as well as a variety of other cultures. The social norm states simply that each person has a bubble, and that no one should invade it unless invited to. Now that we have identified the social norm, let's go about ignoring it.

The personal bubble can be breeched in an amazing amount of ways. First, you have the physical breaking of the bubble. Choosing what and where you invade the bubble should be carefully planned out. Do not limit yourself to lingering handshakes that really should have ended 30 seconds before they do, or even just hands on various areas of the body. You can also breech the bubble with feet, head, elbows, butt, breath, or tongue. Destruction of the personal bubble can be as simple as placing your hands on the shoulders of someone you have just met and breathing deeply through your nose while you stare into their soul by holding eye contact for the rest of the introduction period.
You also have the intensity of the breeching to consider. How hard or gentle do you cross this invisible boundary? Do not make the rookie mistake of assuming that the harder the touch the more uncomfortable. In fact, often just the opposite is found to be true. If someone greets you by vigorously rubbing your shoulders and talking loudly into your neck, you may suppose that they are a trained masseuse offering you their talents graciously for your benefit. Someone approaching you and touching you lightly with their fingertips in a stroking fashion doesn't offer up a logical explanation, especially not when coupled with breathy whispers about how soft your skin is and how good it would feel as a blanket.

Because this How-To is so simple, I have provided below a list of party tricks to next try when you're at a large gathering, preferably with complete strangers.

  • Engage someone in a lengthy conversation about your medical history. Include as many details as you can about everything on your body which has ever hurt, your latest bowel movement, and any surgery stories you may have. Bonus: ask them to investigate a suspicious looking mark/rash/mole/wart somewhere on your body. 
  • Sing loudly in an area where people are conversating. Do not allow any dirty looks or loudening of conversation to stop you, it's actually best if you pretend that you don't notice anyone at all. Let your inner star out, and dominate the room so that everyone must listen to and adore you. 
  • Laugh loudly to yourself while standing alone in an area.  
  • Ignore any sort of hints that it's time for you to leave. Strive to stay in people's company for as long as humanly possible.  
  • Make eye contact with as many people as you can while they are far away from you. Once in close proximity and conversation only stare at spots directly above or to the side of their head.
  • Attempt to go the entire evening only speaking in movie quotes. It is better if the movie is a really obscure one, and the quotes not particularly funny. Try looking at B-movie lists for a good reference.  
  • Ask very personal questions, but don't allow sufficient time for individuals to respond. 
  • Make as many potty humour references as you possibly can.
  • Take a moment to behave like an animal of your choice. 
  • Choose one catch-phrase of a slightly outdated pop-culture figure and stick to it as your go-to line for the rest of the party. Try things like, "I'm really happy for you, and Imma let you finish, but..." and other such douchery. 
  • Give everyone a nickname based on some element of their physical appearance. 
  • Declare frequently and passionately how lonely you are and how no one seems to want to talk to you. Deny anyone who attempts to tell you otherwise. 
I hope that I have inspired some of you on pursuits of social-outcast-ness. 

And now, a classic cartoon from fantabulous blogger Allie Brosh, author of Hyperbole and a Half. She titles it: How To Deal With Close Talkers. 

Note, not my work at all. Allie Brosh, folks, Allie Brosh. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Where is Thumbkin? Hint: in my mouth.

Little kids are illogical. They do things which just simply do not make sense to adults, and often I wonder if the things kids do even make sense to them.

When I was younger I had a lot of favourite things. One of the most important of those things was my left thumb. As far back as I can remember my thumb and I were best buddies, and to keep my best buddy safe and warm, I kept it in my mouth. It's the same reason that Peter wakes up with drool on his nose now; he is my buddy, and I must keep his nose safe.

My protecting my buddy with my mouth is not the illogical thing, that totally still stands up as a smart thing to do, I just don't know why my thumb was so important to me; it isn't particularly delicious, it doesn't know any jokes, and it doesn't even look very pretty. Regardless, that thumb was everything to me.

My deep love for my thumb was a fact that brought great shame to my parents and siblings. I was Troy Bolton in High School Musical, and my thumb was the musical that no one wanted me to be a part of. Clearly my family does not appreciate the importance of a young soul being allowed freedom to dance, sing, and suck... their thumbs! If I didn't have so much love for that finger of mine, I would be making bank in bribes, because I was offered everything under the sun in exchange for it. The problem with the bargaining was that with each new thing that was offered to me, suddenly my thumb seemed to be that much more worthwhile! You'll give me candy for my thumb? THIS THUMB MUST BE BETTER THAN CANDY! And so on and so forth.

Another family tactic was to instil fear in my little heart by telling horror stories about what would happen to me if I didn't stop sucking. Usually, these threats revolved around my teeth and how they were going to be ruined big time (they were), but sometimes people got creative. My uncle Dennis, who lost his thumb to a lawnmower when he was a teenager, told me he had sucked it off, showing a perfect example of how lying to children is an encouraged pastime and tradition of American adults.

You would think that fear would be a good motivation to stop my bad habit, but the thing about children is: they cannot see into the future. Sure adults can't either, but we're much better at it than kids. I can say to myself, if I push Peter down on the couch and attempt to stick my tongue in his nose, he will fight me, and I will probably lose. I have seen my future of that particular decision. That doesn't mean that I DON'T push Peter down and attempt to stick my tongue in his nose, it just means I now what will happen when I do. Kids can't do this. There's that study, by super smart scientists where children are put in a room with a marshmallow and told that if they don't eat the marshmallow in X amount of minutes, they will be given more marshmallows. Spoiler alert!!: many of the children do not make it to the more marshmallow stage. They have a very hard time making decisions based on their consequences. Even if something better or worse is waiting for them, usually they just stick to what is most immediately gratifying. Seeing as I was not swayed by the possibility of crappy teeth or a disappearing thumb in my future, I would hypothesise I would have finished the marshmallow before the scientist had left the room had I participated in that study.

When the bargaining and threatening didn't work, the punishments and plotting would begin.
One particular punishment dished out to me by my mommifer in cahoots with my paediatrician was The Glove. This glove was pink, with different coloured fingers. It originally stretched mid-forearm, but was now a Franken-glove and had the top end of a white tube sock sewed onto it so it could cover my entire arm. It was then attached by glove keepers (heaven bless the '90s) to the back of my shoulder, thus making the skin on my hand completely inaccessible to me, an innocent 4 year old. I was Franken-glove's prisoner, and I did NOT like it. I remember one afternoon, after a trip to the grocery store, Mommifer had put the Franken-glove in place, and left me under the supervision of Barney on TV in the basement (this was where the TV was, not, like, I was put in a dungeon or anything). While normally Barney was a great love of mine, I could not enjoy his escapades while my thumb-buddy was being smothered by Franken-glove, so I spent my allotted TV time gnawing at the glove towards my freedom.
My slow destruction of Franken-glove had to be kept secret, so I reserved all my gnawing for times in which I could be alone, and tried to keep the hole on the padding on my thumb so I could easily hide it in my fist. It was kind of like I was digging a tunnel out of my prison and hiding it behind a poster. I was a totally logical, glove eating 4 year old.

Eventually Franken-glove was defeated and I was free to fill my parents' hearts with shame once more.

Looking back on it, I have so many ridiculous stories about me and my thumb, as well as my refusal to take it out of my mouth. Eventually, my parents paid an orthodontist to glue a metal claw to the roof of my mouth to attack my thumb anytime it entered, so that was fun, but hey, it worked. I am now only sucking on popsicles (like a sane person - Peter bites his which makes my teeth hurt and my soul confused as to why we are married) and filling my parents' hearts with shame in other ways, but much less frequently, and usually interspersed with joy, like when they read how witty and funny I can be on the internet (Hi, Parents!!!).

I tried to find a picture of me with my thumb, but I guess it was a non-documented thing for those full 9 years (oh, the family shame!), so here's a picture of me with a lamb at my thumb sucking age. Look at that awesome overbite.