Archive for July, 2013

Okay, here’s what happened:
I’m at a wedding of a friend of my husband’s. I knew about four people there, and they were the “usual” friends of my husband. We get to the reception, and it’s hot in there, and the chairs are uncomfortable, and I’m slowly falling asleep because I hadn’t slept in almost 24 hours (midnight shift, ug). So we walk outside for a few minutes while my husband’s friends smoke. And there’s this woman that apparently the guys all knew, but I had never seen before, and apparently she was a little off. She was probably around 45, and she was playing tag with a five year old girl. Which, I mean…I’ve never really been around kids, but she was not playing how an adult plays with a kid. She was in a lace white dress (don’t even get me started with that…I hate when people wear white to a wedding) and flip flops, and she’s running around a graveled parking lot with all of these people smoking and talking and trying to play tag with a little girl. So this woman is heading toward our circle of people, and all I can think is, “Oh, great, she’s going to shove herself between me and this truck that’s literally a foot behind me, and she’s going to knock me over or something.” Kinda close–she runs between me and this truck and stops, and she ducks down behind me and *grabs* my arm to keep her balance. And I do mean grab. And held. And dug her nails into my arm. And I don’t remember if she let go and started away or if I jump out of her grasp or what…but I do remember blurting, “Please don’t touch me!” And I know I had a horrified look on my face, or maybe even a look that said, Touch me again and I will knock you flat. And she looks at me like I’m crazy and goes, “Oh, wow…wow…geez…” And walks away.

I was just furious. I had never seen her before this; I didn’t know her name; and not only did she touch me like we were friends, but she freaking dug her claws into my skin. In my book–not.cool.

So, incidently, we were talking at work a few days later, and this girl said she was at the bar for her birthday, and while she was in the bathroom, this woman comes out of a stall and lifts my friend’s hair so she can look at the tattoo on her neck or back or whatever. And I’m like, “What did you do??” And my friend goes, “Oh, I didn’t care.” And I’m appalled.

Really? You didn’t care that some stranger that just walked out of a stall touched your hair without even saying a word to you first? I got funny once when someone I worked with before this job tucked in my shirt tag without saying anything because I had only known her about a week.

And another coworker agreed that it was weird that I didn’t like people touching me. I thought it was weird that they thought I was weird. I don’t know…I guess either I’m not used to it or I just don’t like it. I’ve always been a private/personal person. And I fall a bit on the loner side (and was worse in my younger days). The idea of someone touching me just freaks me out. It literally makes me tense up. I told my coworkers I have criteria for you touching me. I have to know you at least enough to consider you an acquaintance and to know basic information about you; I have to like you; and I have to know that you’re at least a decently clean person. If you meet those criteria, or even better, if you are a person I’ve known a long time or really like, I love giving and getting hugs, and I will even drink after you. Not eat, though I guess that’s kind of weird. I actually even have trouble using the same utensil as my husband…which I will admit is weird. Anyways, the point is…I don’t know if there’s a point. When I was little, I always hugged my mom and dad and grandparents and aunts, etc. So it’s not like I was never touched. But it’s even kind of strange to touch my friends without an occassion.

So, thoughts? Am I weirder than even I thought? P.S. My “personal bubble” extends quite a few feet around me, haha. Which sometimes makes work difficult…



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This isn’t really a rant–more of a confused post. And as hinted in my title, I’m not sure if this is just an American thing. I would never even begin to pretend like I’m an expert on other modern cultures, but I know for sure this is something Americans do. Let’s begin with this example to show you what I mean:

Person A: Twilight is so stupid. How could anyone watch that garbage?
Me: Oh, well, I mean…I read the books years ago, and they weren’t *that* bad. More like typical young adult stuff. I don’t really care for the movies, though.
Person A: You read the books? Wow, I thought you had better taste.

This isn’t exactly quoted word for word, but this seems to be a typical scenario with me. It’s a more muted one than most of what I’ve witness, and it’s probably because I’m ususally talking to people who already pretty much like me, and they aren’t going to bother pissing me off based solely on their thinking I like stupid things. (I tend to have a bad temper–sometimes it helps. 🙂 )

Example number two:
Person A: Twilight is stupid, and so is everyone that likes it.
Person B: Anyone who doesn’t like Twilight is a loser who should go jump off of a bridge!
Person A: Well people who like it are obviously not educated!

Etc, etc. That’s more of the example I was thinking of for this post, but the first one can be used, too. I feel like if and/or when I am guilty of this, I’m more of the first example. The only time I ever cross into the second example is when I feel like someone admits to being a huge fan of something that I perceive as overly violent or hateful or something along those lines. And even then I tend to just stay away from the person more than just freak out on them when I know it will cause a huge argument that no one will win.

And that’s the thing. This just causes stupid, stupid arguments in which each person is offended and insulted, offends and insults, and nothing changes other than now two people don’t like each other.

And it’s usually over something stupid like Harry Potter or Twilight. Not that I’m saying either of those are stupid. But really…is it not stupid to lose a friend or a potential friend just because they happen to not like Harry Potter? Is it that key to your life that every friend you have HAS to be absolutely in love with Harry Potter? Probably not. In fact, you might need professional help for obsessive problems if it is truly so key to your life that you have to tell someone they should go kill themselves just because they don’t enjoy the same young adult books and movies as you do.

On the other hand, you probably also have a problem if you seriously mean it when you tell someone to go kill themselves because they do, indeed, love something like a book or a movie or a band that you have concluded are, in reality, ridiculous and overrated. I don’t like Justin Beiber. I’m not even sure that I spelled his last name correctly. Do I know people who enjoy his music? Yes. Do I tell them to jump off of a bridge? If I do, they know it’s all in good fun. But no, I really don’t. I like music and singers and bands that a lot of people I know would consider stupid or embarrassing. So what? We all do. We all have that guilty pleasure…and we all have different tastes. So what if this person in your life that you think is just awesome turns out to be a closet Britney Spears fan? Is that really going to forever blockade any chances of a close relationship with that person? I mean, you might have to agree on silence in the car if you like death metal and they like Britney Spears, but so what? Get an audiobook if you have to ride together.

I just don’t understand this beyond obsessiveness that people have with icons–Harry Potter. Justin Beiber. The Kardashians. It’s just not worth fighting over. It’s not worth telling someone they are a worthless human being because they don’t like the same things as you. I feel like the big issues will never be worked out if we can’t even get along on “stupid” issues like allowing everyone to like whatever entertainment they like–so long as it’s not hurting themselves or anyone else or anyone’s rights, naturally. I hate when I say things like the above and someone goes, “Oh, so it’s okay to like dog fighting as entertainment, then?” No. Because dog fighting hurts the dogs and it’s a barbaric thing for humans to do. That is so beyond different than someone saying they like The Spice Girls.

So, in conclusion, let’s try to make this one small step in an effort to try to get along better with our fellow human companions, be it friends, family, coworkers, neighbors. Let’s not hate someone because they think your HP books are stupid and childish. Let’s not hate someone because they like something that you either like also but are too scared to admit it or because they like something that you just happen to not like.

Honestly, people…it’s just not that important to life. These bands and singers and actors and actresses and writers, etc…they are not your close family members or even your friends. You don’t have to rabidly defend them no matter what. You don’t have to rabidly condemn them no matter what. Chances are you will never even meet them. Just breathe in, breathe out…and let it go.


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I very recently received my copy of Neil Gaiman’s latest (adult) book, “The Ocean at the End of the Lane.” I was super excited and had high expectations to begin with, as I have liked Neil Gaiman’s work in the past, and lately I seem to be on a Gaiman kick (still reading “Sandman,” btw). This is a short work, only about 180 pages, which is the only thing that immediately disappointed me. I tend to like longer works, and I swear some of my past purchases happened only because they sounded mildly interesting but were greater than 500 pages–although, I will say, lately shorter works have been really convenient for me due to time and energy issues. So, I got over it and bought it.

Just to address that right off the bat, I’m now very happy that he only wrote 180 pages. Not because it was bad…but because it would have quickly turned “bad” if he had kept writing. I think part of the “goodness” or “genius” or whatever of a writer is to know when to shut the hell up, if you know what I mean. I tend to get wordy. I was always told in essays and stories that I tended to go around and around a little too much. This book was exactly as long as it needed to be. It told the story, it said what he needed to say, and it was done. Perfect.

The story itself was phenomenal, I think. I always have expectations, and they are never ones that I can specifically put into words. I kind of just feel my expectations. You know how someone is like, “I’m so disappointed” and someone else is like, “Well, what did you expect?” and then that person is like, “I’m not really sure.” Kind of like that. It’s more of a feeling than a tangible thing. I don’t think this book hit those expectations because what I felt while I was reading did not match up to what I felt while I was anticipating it. Which, believe it or not, is not always a bad thing. Both were good feelings–just different. I’m not sure I will explain this well or not, either, but part of what I read on amazon or wherever I was reading about it doesn’t seem to set it up correctly. I read somewhere that it was like a fairy-tale for adults. I don’t think I would describe it that way. I can’t even say why for sure, and I feel like other people would disagree with me. But it felt more like a magical realism story or some kind of a modern myth than a fairy-tale. “Myth” didn’t really enter my head until I started picking up on the moon and the three women, though. I still like the term “magical realism” for things like this, although I don’t see them used often.

I don’t want to ruin it for anyone who wants to read it. It is scary, intense, and full without being overly so. I feel like this is one of those solid tales that did not need blood, gore, and gripping fear to let the reader feel tense and on-edge, ready to see what’s next. That’s part of why I feel Mr. Gaiman is such a great author. He uses what he feels the story needs. Some people like to throw blood-bathed walls and entrails around for no apparent reason. He uses them when needed, and this story didn’t need them, and so they were not there. However, this is an adult book. It’s nothing an older teenager couldn’t read, but it’s not written in a YA fashion. It’s just an adult book written about a seven year old boy who witnesses and goes through things that no little boy should ever have to encounter, and the 11 year old girl he befriends that helps him get through it, along with her mother and her grandmother. There is a pond behind the women’s farmhouse that Lettie refers to as her ocean–but it doesn’t look like an ocean to the little boy, but things quickly become not-as-he-thought-they-were. Lettie opens his eyes to the unimaginable, taken pretty much in stride by the boy, as all children seem to be open to “magical” things, moreso than adults. There are things out there that think they mean good, but they really only hurt and destroy. And Lettie takes it upon herself to set things straight…which sometimes goes well, and sometimes doesn’t end up quite like she planned.

Seriously…pick up a copy 🙂 I found it cheapest on amazon, if price is an issue. It was a quick read for me, but it’s one I will read again some day.

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She was a lady, so blessed, so cursed,
She knew it all and could forget it nevermore,
For they all came to her,
And they moaned and they wept,
“Take it away!” they would say.
They would shout, and they would curse,
And hold their heads, and shake.
“I cannot take the pain.”
“I cannot move on.”
“I can’t bear it anymore.”
“It is yours to keep.”
It is hers to keep,
As they dunk their heads in,
Needing only to cup their hands
And drink.
And they would drink long,
And deeply,
As if awakening from a hundred year sleep
Or returning from a hundred year drought.
Her essence would flow through them,
Taking it away,
Bearing it back into herself,
This Lady Lethe,
And she would cradle the pain,
The agony, the wretchedness,
Against her bosom,
The Lady Lethe would rock,
And she would bear it,
So deeply inside,
For no shoulder or lake
Did she have to cry upon.

Feeling a little blue this morning :/

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Incident Three, or, How I Decided on Lunch

“You know what I would kill for right now?”

“A juicy steak with a butt-load of fries smothered in cheese?”

I frowned and looked over at Carissa. “Uh, no. I don’t eat steak, remember?”

“Yeah, but it’s so weird that I always forget.”

I frowned more deeply. “It is not weird. Anyways, no. I want one of those parfaits from Sheetz.”

“Really?” She sounded incredulous. “You want a stupid yogurt? That’s what you’re craving?”

“And a chocolate milk. I’ve really been craving milk lately. It’s weird.”

“No, you’re preggos.”

“Am not!” I gasped, spinning around to glare at her. We were walking across campus, both of us hugging books to our chests. I quickly glanced around to make sure no one heard her, not that I knew any of the people around us. “Stop saying that!”

“You haven’t had your period.” She sounded smug, and I wanted to punch her in the face.

“I’m going to stab you in the jugular next time you say that,” I hissed.

“You really need a new threat,” she retorted.

“Well, some day I’m going to do it and then you’ll be sorry,” I shot back. “And it’s not freaking time for my period yet! And I’m on birth control! And he used a condom, and it wasn’t time for me to even be ovulating! I’m not stupid!”

“Okay, okay, God!” she back off, exasperated. “You don’t have to get so worked up.” She snickered. “High blood pressure is bad for the baby.”

I smacked her on the head. “Why am I friends with you?”

“Because your cute gay friend can’t be with you all of the time,” she answered with a wink.

I laughed at that. “Yeah, it’s true. But anyways, come with me. I really want one!”

“All right,” she sighed.


“Well…here we are,” Carissa said flatly as we stood in front of the cold snack section at the local Sheetz. Luckily they were smart enough to put one within walking distance of the college, so we just hiked on down there. It was hot out, but I loved the feeling of sun on my skin. It made me feel so much happier. Didn’t make my paranoid mother or doctor paranoid, though. ‘Put sun screen on all the time,’ they would nag. Yeah, like I’m putting sun screen on before walking to class. Who does that?

So, anyways, we’re staring at the selection. Carissa, ever so helpful says, “Get the dirt dessert.”

“That’s not a parfait. It’s not even yogurt…it’s pudding,” I pointed out.

“So? It’s the most delicious looking one there.”

“You get it, then.”

“I already ordered food. Food that I wouldn’t have had to spend money on if you hadn’t dragged me down here and enticed me.”

“Oh, please.” I had watched her order her food. It was more like there should have just been a button that said, I will take one of everything, please! I tried not to, but every once and a while I would hate her just a little for eating what she did and staying so thin without doing anything special other than being blessed with a fast metabolism. Even she admitted she should weigh 500 pounds.

I picked up the strawberry one. “Ug, it’s not lowfat,” I complained, reading the label.


“I lactose intolerant…you know that. It will make me sick.”

“So…just eat it when you’re home and done with everything.”

“Yeah…” I trailed off, turning it around to read the back. “400 calories! For yogurt? No way,” I whined. “I can’t eat this.”

“Oh, my, god, Katrina. Are you even serious? It’s not like you’re eating them every hour or something.”

I put it back on the shelf, nonetheless. Being a recovering dieter, I still had issues every once and a while eating stuff that I knew was high in calories. I knew it was a big yogurt, but I also knew I would end up eating something else later. And the biggest problem was that I had looked at the calories. I had seen calories and fat calories and sugar content… If I hadn’t looked, I would have been fine. I used to pretty much know calorie count without even looking at the labels of most food, had been able to guess pretty accurately on stuff I didn’t know for sure… It had been pretty bad at one point. Even worse because for all of my obsessiveness, I hadn’t really lost that much weight. Just a little, and then I plateaued and was even unhappier. I sighed, making myself come back to my present predicament.

“Let me see what else there is,” I muttered, looking around to the other side. Carissa was probably rolling her eyes, but I didn’t care. “Oh, there’s yogurt over here.” I looked at them. Non-fat yogurt, check. Strawberry, check. It was only 59 cents. But that wasn’t very filling. I got shaky if I didn’t eat enough. Hmm…there were sandwiched, but I didn’t really like any of the kinds they had premade, and I was trying to keep it below $5 so I didn’t have to use my credit card. Veggie tray? Meat and cheese tray? I was hungry, and everything looked good. Oooh, a side garden salad thing. I had been craving salads, too. It was only $2. But I wanted milk. I carried my two items over to the drink section. Chocolate milk, fat-free, check. Oh, wait, they have double chocolate milk??!! That looks amazing! But, wait, it’s not low-fat. Uncheck. Damnit. Oh, wait…vanilla milk. I love vanilla milk, and I can never find it. But I had wanted chocolate milk. But the fat-free kind doesn’t taste as amazing as the regular kind. It’s not super great. At least the vanilla is low-fat, too, so it won’t make me really sick. After a minute of contemplation, I put the chocolate back and picked up the vanilla.

“I thought you wanted chocolate milk,” Carissa said, frowning at my choice.

“Well, I changed my mind. Oooh, I want a bag of chips.”

“So…” Carissa followed me, shaking her head. “You wouldn’t get the parfait because of calories, but you will get chips?”

“I’m not looking at the calories,” I said, specifically not thinking about the fact that I could guess how many calories if I really thought about it.

“All right.”

“No, wait, I don’t really want them,” I said sadly. I looked at the things in my hands. Was this under $5? How much was the milk? “Eh…I’m going to put back the yogurt, too.”

“Oh, my, god, seriously?”

Wait, did I want a candy bar? I had been on a chocolate kick lately. No, I didn’t need the calories, and I didn’t know how much the milk was. I’ll just go with this. Finally satisfied with my purchases, I went to the check-out, Carissa trudging behind.

“That will be $4 even,” the cashier happily said.

After paying, I turned around to wait to follow Carissa over to the area to wait for her food. “Are you happy now?” she asked, arching an eyebrow.

“Ug,” I said. “I could have gotten a candy bar.”

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The idea came from my sister, and I ran with it. So it is dedicated to her.

That Day
Meridia is a medium sized planet. Nothing special, other than it harbors life. It is surrounded by a sun, two moons, and another planet that is also swarmed with intelligent life. If you start to look more closely at it, you can start to see civilization. There are big cities, little towns, machines, stores, towers… And people. Lots and lots of people. As Earth overpopulated, people began to space travel, and they moved farther and farther away, on the constant lookout for more places to colonize. This planet holds all that a comfortable life requires and desires.

If you look more closely, you will see one large city near the exact middle of the planet. It is the largest city on that world. It is the city where the young adults and lost adults, the nameless and the wanters, the needers and the wanderers, end up. Just zoom in a little more. You will see a busy road, where vehicles go up and down ceaselessly, day in and day out. It is loud, anywhere from a deafening roar to a dull hum that eventually fades from one’s head. And on that high-trafficked street, there are entertainment buildings, business buildings, and food places…and in specific, a little café. This café opened just a few months ago, and already it has flourished and grown. It seems to attract the ones who are most lost.

It is warm outside today, and even at this early hour, at least two dozen people sit and stand outside the café, reading, sipping drinks, nibbling biscuits, thinking…wondering…hoping…but never talking. They are the one silent pocket on this street of endless noise.

At one end of this café, there is a young woman. Directly across from her, but on the opposite end, there is a man. Tiffa and Deven. They were in love, long ago. Not with each other, but with two that ended up shattering their hearts and their self-worth. They have yet to meet each other, but once they do, they will feel just a tiny little spark of recognition that will confuse and excite them just a little. They were soul-mates, bound by destiny to meet in just a few minutes.

Not far from Tiffa was another man, who looked sadder than most of the ones around him. He was in a crisis of the soul, helplessly in love with another man who sat only two tables away. This other man was completely unaware of Guy and his affections. Guy was convinced it was hopeless, that even friendship would never occur. Little did he know that today was a special day, and that destiny had also placed him in its wheel. At almost the exact moment that Tiffa and Deven would meet, this other man, the handsome Blaine, would look up from his paper and lock eyes with Guy. And they would both know that they were meant to meet, were fated to talk.

Our last unique customer of the day was a girl, the youngest one there. She had run away from home, her soul crushed when an accident took away her first love. Bree carried within her a gift, a child. A single tear slid down her cheeks. She had fled, thinking—*knowing*—that her parents would never accept this. But on this day, in just a few moments, someone was going to walk up to her and ask if she needed help. ‘Are you okay?’ this person would say, with kindness glowing in their eyes. And Bree would find that one friend that only the lucky are able to find in a lifetime. That one person that, no matter what, is with you and there for you. And she would be fine.

But what everyone at that extraordinary café didn’t know…and in fact, no one on that planet even realized, was that something was heading toward their planet at an alarming rate. Within three minutes from that moment, a huge meteor crashed into the planet and obliterated everything.

On the little neighboring planet, where a meteor *didn’t* come to kill everyone…the disturbance of a planet in such close proximity getting destroyed caused everyone on that planet to also die. However, there is a planet like those two that is in the next galaxy that is *fine.* And that is where our story takes place…

Obviously, this is for a joke. Although, as I was setting it up, I was thinking…that would make a good story, minus the dying part, haha. Or maybe with the dying part, just not that quickly…hmm… anyways, this came about years ago and was just recently brought up again while we were talking. My sister, taking after me, has written stories for as long as we remember. And she would always come up with these character personalities and descriptions and then have me make up names for her. And I would spend hours or even days on this, just putting different letters and syllables together in my head until she liked the sound of one. So one day, we were sitting at our parents’ kitchen table…she had to have been, like, 10 years old…and she goes, “I finished the prologue of my story.” And I was like, Oh, that’s great! And she goes, It’s only about 8 pages written. But I don’t know what to do next. And I was like…why? And she goes, Well, I killed off all of my main characters, so now I have to make new ones. O.o Uh…whoaaa…hahahaha. But that’s just my sister!

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A book I recently purchased is “Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness” by Susannah Cahalan. It is a memoir/autobiography of a young woman who very suddenly and unexpectedly finds herself in the grip of strange and unsettling symptoms. Quickly, her symptoms worsen and grow, until she is forced to go to the hospital, where numerous doctors and specialists assign and unassign themselves to her case. It takes almost a full month to fully understand what is going on inside this woman’s body. Ms Cahalan writes this book a few years later, and since she was incapable of retaining most memories during her time of illness, she uses a notebook she was given, a notebook her parents kept, notes from the doctors, recordings of her during her hospital stay, and, of course, what her friends, family, and those around her in the hospital remembered of that time. The book starts just a brief “second” before her symptoms start, goes through the worst of her illness (or, as she calls it, her month of madness), and her recovery.

The story itself is unsettling, that someone could experience all that this young woman did–and so quickly. But it is also, in a strange way, reassuring–the doctors worked hard, and Ms Cahalan was able to survive. Still, the book does raise a troubling question at one point: How many people out there suffer from this strange disease and never receive the correct treatment? Never have a diagnosis that is even close to correct? This disease looks like so many other things and has such a wide range of symptoms that it is almost obvious that people before and after Ms Cahalan’s time of illness never and will never receive the proper treatment they need.

Ms Cahalan’s profession was a writer for a local paper, and it shows in her writing. I have a love for memoirs/autobiographies/biographies anyways, but some are written better than others. Hers has the perfect style and tone for the story it reveals, and I have no complaints about anything in the book. I will admit I am about 50 pages from the end while writing this, but I’m sure in the last 50 pages nothing will happen to make me change my mind. A gripping book, an emotional book, and an uplifting book as you “watch” Ms Cahalan’s courageous battle against something so overwhelming and the work of friends, family, hospital staff, and doctors to help her get through and live. I definitely recommend this to anyone.

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