Thursday, November 27, 2014

I am cool because I am thankful.

I wish that I could be like the cool kids, cuz all the cool kids, they seem to fit in... Jk. I'm cool already. However, I am going to do the cool I AM SO THANKFUL thing, because I am not afraid to be with the mainstream, that's how hipster I am.

Obviously, there are the classic things that all of us are thankful for. I'm very much grateful for my wonderful husband, for my family, and friends, but that seems like a waste of your time because, DUH (amirite?). Thus, I would like to use this post to write about the things that I really am truly wonderfully grateful for, but don't mention or stop to think about often enough.

1. People in jobs that I am not in.

The great thing about children in preschool is they have these dreams for their future occupations without any sort of social concerns. Little boys and girls have told me they want to be garbage truck drivers, or work at McDonalds so they can have burgers all day, and I love it. Not because I think these are glorious jobs, or heinous ones, but because I am grateful that people are willing to come collect my garbage cans each week, and that I am able to go get my tacos and burgers at any time. I am very thankful for our diverse interests and work areas because I am able to benefit from people's hard work and services. Thank you! I hope someday I can serve you in return! Please keep doing what you're doing. You bring my life joy. Srsly. Big hearts to you, Glen Coco.

2. People who are willing to let me pet their dogs.

Dogs are the greatest things on this entire planet. I'm not going to even try to convince you of this truth, because this is not the time, but I hope someday you realize how wonderful they are. These fuzzy little fur-balls of love and loyalty bring me so much joy, but unfortunately, at this time in my life, I cannot have one of my own. I have a personal rule, which is driven by a compulsion, that if I am passing someone with a dog, I will ask the owner if I can pet the beautiful wonderful creature they are walking. Most everyone says yes, and those people are glorious. There should be a national holiday for "Dog Owners Who Share Their Dogs" or something, because these men and women are warriors saving the days of people everyday. Bless you and your majestic canines. The animals, that is. Not your teeth... Although, those are probably pristine as well.

3. Funny things and funny people.

I love to laugh. I just love it so much. Sometimes, when people make me laugh, I feel so grateful for them making me laugh, I want to cry, which leads to a seriously confusing emotional state for my body to try to comprehend. Laughter is beautiful. Go find something that makes you laugh today, and then try the weird laughing, weepy thing. It's a mess, but still kind of fun.

4. Indoor plumbing.

Can we just slow clap it out for our wonderful pioneers of plumbing? When was the last time you were in a warm, running shower, and you thought to yourself, "gee, I just wish I could be using water I pumped (or gathered) myself to awkwardly wash my body. This is just too easy. Too hot." Or when you're on the toilet, consider, "man, this is terrible. I should be digging a hole in my yard right now. Who wants to poop inside like some kind of MONSTER?!" Well, if that is what you think, then, good for you and your efforts to conserve water and fertilize the earth, but for me, I just think indoor plumbing is neat. I probably would have chosen it over marriage before I met Peter. Come be my backup groom, shower pipes.

5. My snuggie(s).

Okay, this actually includes a deeper story. Or several. I adore my snuggies. I have two. I had previously mocked the snuggie, based alone on the infomercial which was made to sell it (#6, I am thankful for infomercials) and had never had a desire to own one, then one Christmas I received TWO and they changed my life. Seriously wonderful inventions. Big, fuzzy and with SLEEVES! Granted, the whole infomercial background which accompanies the snuggie, actually makes it an even better product...
 My red snuggie (the bigger of the two) has recently been titled the Feminism Snuggie, because it has brought equality to my marriage. Since we got married, Peter has always lost the blanket-war that rages while we're sleeping. I am a tuck-and-roller when it comes to dream time. I like to be enclosed in a warm cocoon of blanket safety, and do all it takes once I am asleep to assure I get said cocoon. From the start of our marriage I have worked hard to try and give Peter an equal share of the blankets. I will make the bed with only a tiny bit of the quilt over my end while he has almost a foot on his side. I will wake up in the middle of the night and try to return that which I have stolen from his poor body, but ultimately, I continue to rob him of warmth and comfort. Finally, however, I began bringing my snuggie to bed, and in doing so HAVE SAVED OUR MARRIAGE. Peter is covered and safe from monsters every night. Equality has been restored. And thus my gratitude for our feminism snuggie.  

There are dozen more things that I am grateful for, but for now my list ends. Honestly, because I am thankful for sleep, and right now it's calling for me.

Happy Thanksgiving, you beautiful people.

I am grateful for Skype and that my parents try to get Sasha to talk to me, even though she doesn't seem to notice I'm on the screen.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Trust issues

In 1996 I was 4. It was a pretty huge year for me. I moved to England, began my first year of school, made new friends, saw new places, and got my bedtime changed.
Previously, my bedtime had been a very strict 7:30pm. It was enforced by my older sister Sharah (who had clearly shown from an early age a great sort of defiance and bad behavior in order for her to receive such a terrible chore). However, as I was becoming a strong independent and grown 4 year old, my parents heeded to my prolonged, whiny pleas, and allowed me to stay up to a new and better bedtime of "half an hour to 8."
This new bedtime placated me for a good while, until I began to indignantly notice that I would be told, "bedtime! It's 7:30!" And then immediately after when I reminded them my bedtime had been changed, "uh, right, I mean, half an hour to 8! It's that. Now." You SNEAKY parents!

Consequently, from an early age, I was taught the value and success of manipulating young children, a talent which serves me well in my current employment. If this were a continued post about my marketability, you can guarantee it that "manipulating the blind" could be listed.

One large stumbling block for my client at work is his inability, or refusal, to eat regular food. Although he is nearing five, his parents still send baby food with him to school. Since I have begun working with him, his palate has expanded immensely, and he now eats chicken, fish, rice, fruit, bread, and other school lunch foods happily. However, this progress did not come immediately. I found early on that my client had a flat refusal to try any sort of new food, however, if that food found his way into his mouth, he would find that he liked it, and finish the dish. Such began the manipulation of a poor, defenseless blind boy. So many lunch times begin with my putting a new food behind a known food on a spoon, and offering the spoon handle to my client to hold, while my teacher looks on with fingers crossed. The spoon enters the mouth, we wait, he chews and pauses, we cringe, he continues to eat and motions for more. I get congratulated by the adults, and I wonder if this is some horrible form of betrayal. Sorry, buddy. We need you to eat!

Really, though, every form of relationship you have is some sort of manipulation. My sweet little puppy was easily manipulated from the beginning. The first trick we ever tried to teach her was a simple "sit." Sasha learned that if she were to sit upon command, she was immediately awarded with a delicious treat, and wonderful, kind praise. Unfortunately, she still hadn't learned to respond to any other sort of request. Therefore, my parents and I often found ourselves at the bottom of our townhouse's stairs, leash in hand, screaming for Sasha to come. At first we wondered if the poor puppy had some problems with her hearing, or if the house was just muffling our calls to her. Then father found a way.
One day as I stood in our foyer screaming for my puppy, dad came over and said, "watch this."
"Sasha!" He yelled up the stairs, just as I had done. Then, "Sashaaaaaaaa, sit!" We stood in silence for a moment before hearing a rapid "boom boom boom boom, click click click, thump thump thump" as Sasha jumped and ran from wherever she was hiding above us, skid down the stairs, and sat beautifully still right at my father's feet, tail wagging rapidly.

Of course, this is also, I think, how I have such a wonderful, serving husband. I have conditioned him into knowing that he will receive love, kisses, and praise when he feeds and loves me. I recommend you do likewise.

Moral of the story? Children, puppies, and husbands are essentially all the same.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Boasting about how cool you are is hard.

Good news in my life is that I have submitted my graduate school applications! I applied to three different schools, as did Peter. Applying to the three almost killed me, and applying to six put a huge strain in our finances, so the fact that some people apply to 10 or so programs makes me want to weep for their souls.

For me, the hardest part about the application process is having to pitch yourself to those all powerful and all knowing admissions gods. You are given a different set of requirements and page limit for each program, and within those requirements and pages, you need to universally show that you are the best candidate for the school. (For every school). Forget the people who have a perfect 4.0 for their entire undergraduate career, or those who won special awards for services to the school for closing the Chamber of Secrets, I AM THE BEST PERSON FOR YOU TO CHOOSE!

Maybe that would be super easy if I was confident that I WAS the best person for every grad program ever, but in writing these essays I found myself struggling to find things about myself that would be appealing to my potential mentors. Sure, I have talents and awards, but will those things be influential in assessing my application?

Thus, here for you, are the outtakes from my graduate school applications.

- Pursuing a PhD. is something which requires dedication and passion, two characteristics which I have displayed from a young age. By the time I was 12 years old, I had committed the first three Harry Potter novels, by author J.K. Rowling, to memory. Through study and dedication, I will come to know my course materials as well as Vernon Dursley knows mustache care and drills.

- As anyone who has experienced a stressful situation may tell you, pressure can feel like hot fire burning through your skull. Similarly, consuming 50 jalapeño peppers provides a comparable sensation. Luckily, as a seasoned jalapeño eating contest winner, I will offer your program the cool-headed expertise of a hot-tongued champion no matter how stressful times may become.

- In the animal kingdom, establishing dominance over those who seek to overthrow the peace of a tribe is crucial to survival. While I may appear small and of no threat, my belches are famous among my friends and enemies as being large and formidable, and may subdue a foe if met in a battle.

- It takes more than just thorough academia to make a successful therapist. In addition to studies, an extensive fluency in popular culture can assist to build effective rapport with clients. I myself have developed such a fluency, through hours of scrupulous internet browsing and Netflix watching marathons.

- I can text really fast.

- Thanks to new internet technology which allows Facebook likes to help save young orphans, or to banish child abuse forever, online popularity can provide incredible resources to a program. With this information, I also disclose that one of my Facebook statuses achieved 90 likes in only one day. So, I could be pretty valuable.

- Lectures are often long and important to sit through. My bladder capacity is incredible. I can hold urine for hours, and thus will not miss any important instruction time for bathroom breaks.

I could go on, but I won't.
Am I a fool for omitting all of these incredible talents?! Perhaps. Regardless, now all that is left to do is spend the next 5 months regretting my life until I can receive any rejection or acceptance which may be coming my way.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

You can tell I have never *actually* been tortured, because I complain a lot.

I think somewhere in the future many Getting-to-Know-You exercises will be outlawed, except in prisons for punishment, after scientists who study such things discover they lead to increased aggression and social ineptitude in those forced to participate.

There are some GTKY games where I leave the area or gathering feeling furthered in my journey through life. However, usually I experience forced and resentful social interaction because someone was holding brownies or other delicious refreshments hostage until I did so.

One of my least favourite of all such games is Two Truths and a Lie. You gather in a circle of strangers and tell everyone two truths about yourself coupled with one lie. Your new found fellow hostages (also only holding out for the promise of caloric joy) then need to guess which of these facts is a fabrication. The trouble with this game is no one really cares. Let me show you a simple example, pulled straight from the journals and documentations of College Life Anthropologists.

RA/Brownie Hostage Holder: Okaaaay! Stacie, it's YOUR turn! Tell us two truths, and one lie!

Stacie (victim of forced GTKY games): Okay, um. I have three siblings, I just graduated high school, and I love dogs.

RA/BHH: Great!! Who can guess the lie??

Other victim: *after prolonged silence* uh, oh, um. You don't love dogs?

Stacie: No. I have four siblings.

Other victims collectively: Ohhhhh.

Stacie: Yeah.


Why is this still a thing? I don't understand.

That being said, because I'm all abounding in logic, I am going to now play Two Truths and a Lie with ALL OF YOU! Yay!!! To find the lies, highlight the space next to "Answer:" with your cursor.

Round 1.

a) Peter is a male
b) I am a female
c) We attend a weekly support group for inter-height (specifically taller women) couples.

Answer: c) We instead bear our burden and shame alone

Round 2.

a) Peter has lived in Japan
b) I have lived in Russia
c) Peter is from outer space.

Answer: c) Peter is in fact from an INNER space. Specifically, his mother's uterus

Round 3.

a) My favourite animal is the dog, because the dog is the greatest of all the animals
b) Peter and I were married on the 3rd anniversary of our first kiss
c) I have a hair that grows on the left side of my nose named Earl and I murder (pluck) him about once a month.

Answer: c) The name of my nose hair is Carl. Earl lives in the middle of my wrist-mole and isn't plucked as frequently.

Bonus Round.

a) I love pizza
b) I love cheesecake
c) I regularly feast on the unborn.

Answer: c) I actually only eat eggs sometimes, not regularly. 

Did you win?? Tell me your scores in a comment and go eat brownies because you now have completed this GTKY orientation. Way to go, you beautiful space platypus.