Introducing 365 days of Macaroni

I have been encouraged to start a project for the new year, one that would have a theme and I would post that theme or project every day for the next year.  I’m not sure how exactly I’m going to manage to find the time to do this but here is what I’ve come up with.

Every day in 2012 I vow to make a new piece of Macaroni art.

Yes, macaroni art.  Don’t look at me like I’m stupid, everyone has done this at some point in their life.  Now, granted, it has been 20 years or so since I was in grade school so I’m going to be a little rusty, just live with me for the first few weeks, I promise by December 20 of next year(because we all know the world will end the next day) I will finally publish some amazing work of genius!

Anyways, there’s nothing on it yet but I have created a new blog dedicated to this project.  Check it out in the next few days to come!!!

 

 

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To the Future Sam, In All Your Fabulous-ness

To My Future Self

Dear Me (10-15 years from now)

2012 will be here in just a few days and I just thought that I would write me a note to help me remember certain things about what I have accomplished thus far.  Hopefully I will make it long enough to read this, assuming that the world will NOT end on December 21 and everyone is really just freaking out because long ago when the Mayans were chiseling away at the calendar they just got tired and ended on 12/21/2012 (Seriously, would you want to record thousands of years of the same dates, over and over, with just a stone and chisel?)

The common theme among blogs these last few days has been to sit back and reflect on what 2011 meant and what we hope to accomplish in the future.  I have never been one to follow suit and usually find some other way to approach a common theme but I think it’s important to understand where I was at a certain point in my life and realize how the things in my past got me to my future.

That being said I wanted to write me and give me a few warnings about the future that I have learned from my past.

1.  Regardless of how tempting it may seem, I should NEVER, EVER, EVER, jokingly tell my parents that I want a puppy when I know good and well I don’t need another dog!  (Remember Winston?  Have I killed that little S-O…I mean sweet little angel?)

Remember this face? Evil little mongrel

2.  If someone on horseback is riding towards me at a high rate of speed and yells “Get out of the way!” I probably should consider taking 4 paces to the left.

3.  When the fuel light on my dashboard comes off, then on, then off, then on, then starts frantically blinking, I should probably look for signs of civilization.  I probably don’t have to worry about that though right?  I’m sure by this time in the future there are flying cars that are fueled off crocodile tears or something.  We may have missed our chance in 2001 but surely by 2022 we will have figured that one out.  We are the dominant species after all right?

I kinda like looking at this thing!

4.  Always remember that I never have to deal with more than one moment at a time.  (You didn’t expect me to be serious did you?)  Never lose sight of the things that are important to me and never allow pressure to break me down.  It’s ok to step back and take the time to deal with things on my own time; no one can make me think otherwise.

5.  I should never let a horse stomp on my foot.  It hurts!

Even the small ones have super heavy feet!

6. A good sense of humor will get me far in life.  Up until this point, I’ve always considered myself to have a pretty good sense of humor.  I may be one sarcastic bitch but people seem to like that for the most part.  I hope future me has retained this quality.

7.  No matter how cute they are, I DO NOT need a baby llama.

Well, okay…maybe one!

8.  No matter how much she drives me crazy, I have the best mother ever!

9.  Not everyone understands just why I have to eat one thing at a time.

10.  I can burn all the bridges that I want to but for some reason those darn trolls never go away.

11.  I should change the oil in my car BEFORE the little oil can comes on.

12.  I am supposed to clean the filters on my home air conditioner at least more than once every 3 years.

13.  Grease will catch on fire if I leave it on the stove for an hour

14.  If I don’t check the batteries in the smoke detectors.  They WILL go off randomly at the most ungodly hour of the night.

15.  Wet paint signs are usually there for a reason

16.  I should never attempt to change a light by putting a barstool on top of empty boxes

17.  If I fall down the stairs and bust my head open, people won’t believe me and will call the cops to come and arrest my boyfriend.  (Even if I don’t have one at the time)

18.  McDonalds doesn’t appreciate it when I pay at the drive-thru with pennies

19.  I will never be as strong as I pretend to be.  And there’s nothing wrong with that.  Yes, I am a pretty thick skinned person and don’t let emotions get me down but it’s okay to realize that I am human from time to time.

20.  Even though I really am JUST joking.  Some people are sensitive and just don’t know how to take my sarcastic, witty, and sometimes cold, sense of humor.  Keep this in mind around certain people and try to be softer, even if it’s not as funny.

21.  No matter how advanced the human race becomes, stupid people will always reign supreme

22.  Skinny girls will always have cute clothes that me and will always look better in the clothes that I already have.  Get used to it.

23.  Boys will never out grow their toys.  My current boyfriend (God knows what the situation will be 10 years from now…hehe) has a toy room in his house.  Don’t ever forget light saber fights and the hours I endured putting up with his playtime.

24.  Birds congregate in freakishly large numbers in the Wal-Mart parking lot from 3-6 am.

Alfred Hitchcock WHAT???

25.  It will always be acceptable to go into Wal-Mart in Spandex, a tube top, and “Hello Kitty” house shoes.  I get more respect if I weigh 800 pounds and haven’t washed my hair in 15 years.

I hope this letter has found me well all those years from when it was written.  Always remember that even though my past experiences got me to where I am today, they do not necessarily define me.  I have the chance at any given moment to change direction in my life and decide which path fits me the best.  It doesn’t matter what I thought, did , or felt in the past, all that matters is that I take things one step at a time.

Love,

My ever precocious and lovable self.

Dear Santa: I hate you!

 

So I spent part of my evening last night browsing through YouTube clips and obviously, there are several videos of families gathered around the Christmas tree opening presents.  Usually a pretty heart warming thing to watch; there is a child in all of us (whether we admit it or not) that looks back fondly on the time spent on Christmas morning. However, I came across a group of videos that were of children receiving presents that they didn’t want and the resulting temper tantrums they threw.

 

I will admit, some of the reactions were in fact slightly comical and I particularly loved the ones where the child obviously didn’t like the present but tried as hard as they could to hide it.

 

Then there was the other side of the spectrum…

 

One kid threw himself in the floor and began flailing his arms and legs about as if he were have some sort of epileptic episode.  Another jumped up, stomping his feet, and screaming “I hate you! I hate you!” as he paced up and down the stairs. Even another actually told his dad that he could “Suck [his] balls”….Seriously?

 

I made the mistake once (and only once) of telling my parents that I hated them and on the rare occasion that I decided I was going to throw a tantrum, all my mom had to do was give me “the look” and I knew I had better straighten up FAST!  Somehow or another those narrowed eyes and pouty lips put the fear of God in me even though neither of my parents had ever really given me much of a reason to fear them.  Back then, you didn’t have to beat your children senseless to get them to understand (even though in those days you were allowed to discipline your children without the risk of having CPS breathing down your neck) all you had to do was instill a certain boundary line.  You didn’t have to be mean – you just had to let your child know that you were in control and that you were the parent, not the friend.  My mother instilled in me a value that I should respect authority, a value that seems to be fading faster and faster every day.

 

Back to the point, the purpose of this blog isn’t about temper tantrums and spoiled rotten brats, my question is: When did we turn from being grateful for the kindness of others, to taking that kindness for granted?  I thought the purpose of gift giving was to show those you loved how much you loved and appreciated them.  I understand that small children may not always understand this but at some point, they have to be taught that everything in life is not to be taken advantage of.  Don’t get me wrong, the reactions from the really young ones are acceptable and, to some degree cute, but some of these children were approaching their teens and absolutely were old enough to know better.

 

I originally wrote this inspirational message to close out this thought.  Outlining a plan to “make the world a better place” (yes I know this post is full of clichés….LIVE WITH IT!) but after I re-read it I thought “What a bunch of bologna!”  This is going to sound pessimistic but, can we really do anything to change the future?  Have you ever really thought about how we got to where we are now?  A lot of people find it easy to point the finger at my generation as we are the ones who are currently raising these unruly children.  Okay, okay, I see your point to an extent but, how did MY generation get to this point?  Isn’t it safe to say that it was from the values that my parents’ generation instilled in us? (Sorry mom)  And didn’t those values start from the values that their parents instilled in them?  If you think about it, it’s really a never ending cycle.

 

Sorry folks but June Cleaver never really existed.  Well, okay, I obviously wasn’t around in those times but I guarantee you there was corruption and immorality in the 50s and 60s just as much as it is now.  The difference?  They didn’t have modern technology.  There was no internet that could tell you every little thing that was happening in China minute by minute.  No one knew you were going shopping at the mall because you didn’t have the ability to “check in”.

 

Don’t spin this the wrong way, I’m not denying that the world is worse off than it was 50 years ago and I’m not trying to slam the older generations.  What I’m getting at is simply this:  We are humans; humans are cruel, rude, and immoral by nature.  We also have the ability to control some of these natural reactions but have to make the decision to do so; we just need a push sometimes.

 

I feel as though I really need to explain myself further because I feel like I have made myself vulnerable and exposed a darker side of my personality.  I’m normally a pretty jovial, easy going person who tends to lean towards sarcasm and humor to explain my quirky ways but, there’s just too much more to say that would make this entire rant worthwhile.  Let me just say that in spite of everything I’ve said today, I do know that there is good in the world and I think that everyone has the ability to find that common bond within themselves.  I also believe that “bad people” can turn good.  You hear people all the time say that “People don’t change” well I can testify on a personal note that that is absolutely NOT true.  I was a much darker person not all that long ago.  I won’t go into details on that, I’m sure it will come up at some point in the future but let me just say that anyone can change if they so choose.

 

So now that I have turned a rant about Santa into a huge debacle over the impurities of the world, I have to come up with some witty way to close this post.  The only thing that I can think to say now is……well, ummm, nothing!

Dear Nobel Prize Committee

Have you ever noticed how after a holiday and long weekend, when you finally do have to return to work, it seems like you are the lone stranger that apparently didn’t get the “memo”?  You show up to work only to find that almost everyone else stayed home.  It would seem that there is some sort of virus that only rears its ugly head around the holidays yet, strangely enough, it is ever so kind to stay away while you are enjoying holiday festivities.   It just sits, waiting to attack and then finally it bites!  The night before you have to go back to work…wouldn’t you know it?

Why has no one researched this?  Where is all of our hard earned money going?  Shouldn’t someone be doing some scientific study?

It seems that it only attacks certain individuals over and over and leaves the rest of us alone.  I think I speak for the rest of us who all showed up to work today after a long weekend when I say, “We are concerned about our fellow co-workers!”  What can we do to help them overcome this horrible disease they have been faced with?

Do the healthy and un-afflicted need to volunteer our time and blood samples so that scientist can study our DNA and determine why the same people seem to be consistently immune to this epidemic?

I think we have a serious issue on our hands here and I am willing to dedicate some blood, sweat, and tears to find a cure.  How do we get research started on this?  I really think if someone smarter than me got a hold of this project and discovered the cause behind this issue and also found a cure, it could definitely be a contender for the Nobel Prize!  I mean, sure, we need to cure cancer and all the other diseases, by all means please continue that research, but I’m sure there is someone out there that has a theory on what causes such a sickness as the one I speak of!

On behalf of myself and all the other people who managed to make it in to work today, I send this message to all of our sick friends who were not as lucky as us:

“We stand behind you and support you through this terrible time.  Now, quit playing hooky and get your ass to work!!!”

I Know Computers are Slowing Putting the Fountain Pen Industry Out of Business BUT…..

(Leave it to the Brits)

 

Ok, so, I read this story the other day about this British woman that went to the doctor complaining of stomach pain.  When the doctor x-rayed her, they found that she had a PEN (yes, one of those old fashioned things people used to use to write with before computers were invented) in her stomach!

 

I have so many questions but first, let me re-cap the rest of the story.  It seems that this 76 year old woman had forgotten that she swallowed a felt tip pen over 25 years ago.  It wasn’t until she started experiencing abdominal pain and weight loss that she decided a trip to the doctor was in order.  Apparently she was poking at her tonsil, for whatever reason, with a pen and managed to slip, jamming the pen down her throat. 

 

How do you forget that you swallowed a pen?  Seriously?  The story did say that when the accident initially happened, she went to the doctor who did not believe her and her husband discounted her story as well.  Maybe after all these years she led herself to believe that she had dreamt the pen swallowing. 

 

This story makes me think of that show on “Animal Planet” about the crazy things that veterinarians find in the stomachs of dogs.  It’s my fear that I will be on that show one of these days with Winston.  I don’t understand how he eats some of the things he eats.  If you were to open my dog’s stomach up right now, you would find some crazy stuff, carpet, wood, glass and God knows what else.  That show is crazy though, I saw one where this couple had a new baby and they kept losing the pacifiers.  When the dog became ill x-rays showed something like 30 whole pacifiers inside this dogs stomach.  It’s crazy the trouble that dogs will get themselves into.

 

So back to the pen story, the funny thing about this story is, the most shocking discovery during this whole case was that the pen still worked after being subjected to 25 years of stomach acid.  Really?  You just found a fountain pen in grandma’s belly and you think the most exciting part of the case is the fact that the pen still works?   Granted, it is pretty cool but this doctor was in total shock and awe.

 

So my final question is this:  You know how when you have surgery and they take out a kidney stone or something and they let you keep the stones if you want?  Did granny keep the pen?  I think she should probably use it to write a Thank-You card to the doctor!

They Killed My Mailman Today

I read an article today about how the accomplishments of our generation have lead to the “death” of certain jobs.  They are blaming the current economy as well as our dependence on technology.  While this may be true, I think this is an issue that has been bubbling under the surface for some time now and we can’t completely blame the current generation for the loss of positions.

I remember when I was a child and you would go to the grocery store, you would find just that, groceries.  If we wanted clothes we had to walk to the K-mart that was at the end of the shopping center.  I also remember when you checked out you did so through a human, not a machine.  The article really got me to thinking about some of the jobs that we once greatly depended on and now don’t really give a second thought about.

Postal Carrier:  I’m really quite surprised they lasted this long.  I suppose some people still depend on them to deliver packages especially around the holidays, but it seems to me like the creation of logistically specific package handlers would have done away with the United Postal Service completely.  Seriously, when was the last time you got a letter from your friend via snail mail?  It just doesn’t happen all that often.  And honestly, when you want to mail something, do you really think of the Post Office first?  Possibly, but FedEx and UPS also come to mind pretty quickly.  Even online shopping sites use either their own form of transportation or a third party so it would seem that the only thing keeping the Post Office alive are bills(which are mostly paperless now as well) and junk mail,  I think I speak for all of us when I say, we could do without both of those!

All of this being said, I am one of the awkwardly unique people out there that actually looks forward to checking the mail on a daily basis in hopes of finding something interesting. It makes me sad to open an empty mailbox.  For that reason, I think I’m going to get to work on writing my pen pal!

Real Estate Agent:  So it’s no secret that the real estate industry has been up and down lately.  I’ve heard reports that it’s on a rebound but the thing is, after the economy bottomed out, people have learned to value their money just a little bit more and aren’t nearly as “gung ho” to spend like they used to be.  People want more for less and out of desperation, sellers are often forced to give that to them.  With this fluctuation in the industry, real estate agents are forced to lower their cut.  The good news however, is I don’t really see how they can go away completely, at least not anytime in the near future.  I’ve never had to sale a house but I do know when I bought mine there was so much stuff going on behind the scenes that I would have had to have some sort of rocket science degree to understand it.  I’m sure one of these days, someone will invent computers that can sale houses but, until then, real estate agents will still be around.

Video Store Clerk:  I said earlier that I was surprised postal workers were still around, well same with video store clerks, even more so!  Netflix, Redbox, Gamefly:  Why in the world do I need to go to a video store and deal with the people there when I can go to a Redbox and spend a couple bucks and be able to return it wherever I want?  Granted, Netflix found themselves in a PR nightmare this year and pissed a few people off; they still offer a better solution than the video store.  In my opinion, it’s better off that we don’t “Be kind, rewind.”

Toll Collectors:  I’m pretty sure I personally have never seen one of these.  Where I grew up, we didn’t have toll roads and I can remember when we would travel somewhere that did, even then it was run by computers.  Now that I think about it, there may have been people on site for those that didn’t have exact change but the machines can do that as well now.  With the creation of toll tags and money vending machines, there’s just no use for someone sitting in a toll booth.  As far as I’m concerned, they can just get rid of the toll roads too!!!

Newspaper Reporters:  This one actually makes me sad.  As a writer, I can’t help but think I have contributed to some Clark Kent type fellow losing his job.  However, I have to admit, I have three papers sitting in my driveway as we speak because I just won’t read them and forget to pick them up.  They are giving me free papers and I’ve even called them asking them to stop it!  The good news it, just because we don’t want it on paper, doesn’t mean we don’t still want to know about current events.  Hopefully the internet will find a way to create more jobs for those in this industry, it may be electronically but it’s still a job!

Step Two: Righty Tighty, Lefty Loosey

“The act of writing is an act of optimism.  You would not take the trouble to do it if you felt it didn’t matter.”

Edward Albee

Standardized testing has been around in the public school system for years.  I remember when I was in elementary it was called the C.A.T. (no clue what it stood for, I can only assume A.T. stands for Aptitude Testing).  As I grew a little older it became known as the T.A.A.S. test (again, no clue what it stood for) and nowadays it’s known as the T.A.K.S.

No matter what it is called, it’s essentially the same test and consists of different subject matter.  We all know the basic reason for the test, basically a way for the state to judge how well children are doing in the school system.  I have an opinion on standardized testing however, since that’s not actually what I’m writing about, I’ll just say, I think they should do away with it and let teachers teach the things that really matter.  Anyways, the reason I bring this subject up is, no matter which version of the test they came out with, each one had a “Writing” section.

When I was young and naïve, I actually looked forward to the writing portion of the test.  There was usually some prompt that came accompanied with a picture and asked you to describe the picture in detail and make up a story to go along with it.  I remember one year the picture was of a pirate and we had to describe the pirate, give him a name, back story, and tell of a grand adventure that he went on.  I always took great pride in these projects.  While my peers around me were struggling with creating defined paragraphs, I was struggling with keeping the story within the two provided pages.

I guess by now it goes without saying that I found pleasure and a certain sense of accomplishment by the creation of some great story or poem. I wrote my first poem when I was in the 8th grade (my mom still has a framed copy of it on the wall in her guest bath).  It was something about being alone and walking through a sandy beach and in the end the end the ocean turns out to be a field of bluebonnets.  As silly as it sounds, that poem was actually my “revelation”.  It was quickly scooped up by my teachers and placed in a writing contest where it faired quite well, gaining me several awards.  It was then, that I realized that I really had something worth sharing with the rest of the world. It was also then that I began to understand myself and the way my emotions and brain worked.

Many of you, who know me, know that I’m not exactly the most vocal person in the world.  I tend to fade into the background and quietly agree with my surroundings.  It’s not that I don’t have an opinion about things, nor that I’m afraid to voice my opinion when I need to, I’m just the type of person that doesn’t speak if I have nothing to say.

I discovered that through writing, I could convey my emotions in a more logical and positive way.  It amazed me (and still does) how easily I could put words together if I had a pen in my hand.  I never really considered it to be any sort of talent, I just thought it was something that everyone had and never really gave it a whole lot of thought.

I went through a phase where everything that I wrote was morbid and depressing.  I’m not really sure where that side of me came from; I was a pretty happy person growing up and never really had any hard times.  Yeah I had a few issues to deal with here and there, I was made fun of for my weight and I lived with an alcoholic father but my mom was wonderful and did a great job of balancing things out for me.  I’m sure at some point I had the “I hate everything about life” phase, I’m pretty sure just about everyone goes through that one whether they like to admit it or not, but for the most part, I had it pretty good and I was well aware of that.

I found that writing was the most efficient way to capture my thoughts and feelings before I forgot them.  Just because I may not be openly outspoken about my opinions doesn’t mean that I don’t have them and as this project moves on, you are most likely to hear more and more about those opinions.  I have found that I can be a little more….blunt when I have a pen or keyboard at my disposal.

Step One: Find a Screwdriver!

After making several attempts at being a “blogger,” I’ve finally decided to just bite the bullet and do it.  If you think about it, it really DOES make a lot of sense.  I spend my free time writing; why not give purpose to the things I write?  Sounds logical enough huh?

 

I guess the reason I never really went through with the idea of blogging is because I figured there weren’t really people out there that cared enough to know what I had to say.  So I began thinking about certain themes for blogs.  I would come up with an idea and have several great ideas in my head but they never quite made it to paper.

 

So I guess you could say this is me, trying to start something new in this wild and crazy world.  Who knows what you will end up finding here.  Maybe some of my famous “Winston” stories, maybe something completely off-the-wall, maybe a poem from time to time.

 

One thing is for sure, this is a new beginning for me and I may have to step out of my comfort zone from time to time.  I’ve been around long enough to know that if you don’t try something new from time to time, you’ll never accomplish a darn thing!  So it’s time to “Take off the training wheels” and step in the world and experience all it has to offer!