The Annual Celebration of My Birth

My twenty-first birthday is now less than a month away. I’m not like most others my age. I definitely plan to go out and get a drink on my birthday, but I don’t particularly want to go get shitfaced in a public place. I want to enjoy my birthday. Besides, let’s be honest. I’ve tasted alcohol before. It’s not like it’ll be some monumental moment. In fact, I’ve legally bought alcohol in public, too. Canada’s drinking age is nineteen and guess who lived twenty minutes from the border when they turned nineteen. 🙂

I watched a video today (click here) and it kind of made me want to do something different this year. Last year, I spent my birthday going to the Orlando Film Festival which was super fun (despite getting sick AND getting my period on my birthday[TMI? Not in my vocabulary])! The last day of the film festival falls on my birthday this time but if last year is any indication I’ll probably have watched all the good films by then anyway so I’ll have the day free.

I definitely want to get some free stuff because honestly…I love free stuff. But I think it’d be really cool to do something that benefits others. This may sound hoaky, but I truly become a happier person when I know I’ve helped another.

So that’s what I’ll be thinking about for the next month. If you have any suggestions PLEASE let me know in a comment!

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Willard: Cuter Than Us All

My best friend in the whole wide world’s name is Cheryl. If you’ve ever seen the show Community, we’re pretty much girl versions of Troy and Abed. I’ve lived with her for a year and a half now (been besties for even longer) and for the most part it’s been roomie bliss. Tonight took a somber turn, though.

Cheryl’s hairless rat, Willard, passed away at the age of three and a half (in rat years he was 87 and a half). I was there the day she fell in love with him at the pet store. I am not a rat person and I felt like taking away the hair wouldn’t add to his cuteness. But, upon meeting the little guy, I fell in love too. He was just too damn cute.

Willard was rambunctious. He had a particular love of reaching through his cage to the closest blanket and chomping away while you unknowingly slept. 😉 He grew into a man, and I was amazed because I couldn’t bring myself to think of him as anything but adorable. He never tried to bite and by golly he loved his wheel.

Tonight, Willard was lost to this world. It was his time. Cheryl and I cut up a shirt to create a burial shroud and placed him gingerly in a shoe box just his size. He now lives in the backyard of our house. I said my peace and we decorated his grave with local flora.

I gave Cheryl a big hug and got a sizable lump in my throat. Basically, I loved Willard and I love Cheryl even more. It’s a sad night in the Clark-Dykstra household but as with everything, life will go on.

Willard lived a long and happy life. I don’t think there’s ever been a more happy or more cute hairless rat in all the land.

Here’s to you, little guy.

Apparently when hairless rats are babies, they have hair. 🙂

Fringe Benefits

So as you may know, I spent the summer becoming a “runner”. All my life I vehemently denied that running could be in any way not evil. It’s just NOT fun. That is, until you’re decent at it, I guess. I wouldn’t say I’m in love with it now. It’s more of a love/ hate type of thing.

ANYWAY, as I’ve gotten more used to the idea of running for fun (my fingers burned a little as I typed that) I’ve become a bit of a snob. That, my friends, is a fringe benefit I was not expecting. I’ve compiled a list of all the annoying things n00bs do on the track that really grind my gears.

1. Walking in the jog or run lanes. This is the biggest one. There is a SIGN that clearly denotes the proper lane for each activity. Yet when people see lanes they immediately think they should take up a whole one while walking with a friend or feel as though they should walk in whatever lane they happen upon first. I don’t want to frighten you, but I’ve given some nasssssssty looks.

2. People like races. It’s just a natural sport. But if you want to race your friend let’s not do it on an oval track with 30 other people. They come up behind you and switch lanes like madmen darting around people. If I can feel the wind from your movement, you got too close.

3.The people that stretch for ten minutes and then run one lap and leave. This one is more amusing than anything, really. My track is 1/8 of a mile. The stretching is really not necessary.

I’m sure there are plenty more but as I don’t generally carry a notepad while running, I tend to forget them.

Anybody have any good pet peeves? If so, please share. I love it.

Politics

Ahhhh what a scary word! Watch out, I might say something offensive. But then again, maybe I won’t. Maybe you’ll agree with my beliefs. Or maybe you won’t agree with me, but you’ll respect the fact we both have the right to have opinions.

Either way, I wanted to share some things with you.

I watched Michelle Obama’s speech. The woman can give a speech. For twenty-three minutes she had my attention. She had my heart. She is me. Except more so. Barack and Michelle have worked for everything they have and honestly that almost means more to me than stances on certain subjects do. One of the many reasons I usually shy away from politics is that I have the tendency to lean towards pessimism. I feel like every politician is corrupt. Every one of them has some back alley agenda and they’re using promises of more jobs and tax cuts to achieve them. I know that’s not always true but I have a hard time deciding who I trust.

I trust Barack Obama. He has worked for what he has. Unlike a lot of Washington today, he did not grow up with a wealth of opportunities served up to him on a silver platter. His family was not rich. But he had a work ethic. And he wanted to help people. To make their life better. So he worked. Hard. The fruits of his labor: he became the president of the United States.

Because of his background he is an adamant supporter of federal aid for students. You can imagine that’s a subject I have some interest in. He wants equality for same sex couples. He believes a woman should have full rights over her own body (a very tricky subject for me, but I agree).

I wholeheartedly believe that Barack Obama is a good man. Not just a politician. That’s why I plan to vote for him this November.

If you don’t know who you’re going to vote for, do some research! Take charge of your right as an American. Don’t pick Obama because he’s black. Or Mitt Romney because he’s a Republican. Or Batman because he looks cool. Think about the people you’re voting for. What they mean. What they stand for. KNOW who is going to be in charge of your country.

Anyway, I thought I’d share my opinions and maybe get some of yours back. In the meantime, I highly suggest you watch Michelle’s speech.

The Art of Getting Away

It might be a science. Or maybe it’s an art and a science. I’m not sure. Either way, the point is getting away. I’ve vetted my extreme emotional states on this blog before (and Life: Spreading before this blog was born). I don’t necessarily hide how I feel. In fact, if you know me in person you know that you can pretty much surmise my mood within three seconds of seeing my face. I’m a bit of an open book that way.

I just finished the second week of school. I’m working a lot (which is a GOOD thing, it’s just also a difficult thing sometimes), and my classes require a hefty amount of my time and attention. (Don’t forget running, too. That’s a major time suck.) This means that after ten days of classes I was feeling overwhelmed. Not good when there are quite a few more days of the semester to come. But I forgot something. Sometimes you just have to get away. You must step away from the situation. Detach yourself.

Go home for the weekend (which is what I did). Go to a park for an afternoon. Find a really quiet spot in the library and read/play games on your phone/stare off into space. MEDITATE! Guided meditations are a little slice of heaven that everyone should indulge in sometimes. Play video games for three hours. Whether it be mental or physical, you just need to get away.

I cried on Thursday night. I did. I’m a pansy. LAUGH! (I do, everyone should laugh at themselves sometimes.) I got too stressed with the reading for class, the paper I forgot to write until a day before it was due, and so on and so forth. I cried. But as I was crying I grabbed my writing journal and started a stream of consciousness (something my junior year English teacher taught me). I wrote every feeling I was having straight onto the paper. I let out all of my insecurities and worries of not measuring up or getting it done. By the end I didn’t feel better per se, but lighter. What was inside of me, tearing me up, was now out on paper. It had left my body. After that, I put on a guided mediation and sat in the dark with my eyes closed going far, far away. By the time it was done my eyes were dry, my head was clear, and I was no longer freaking out.

The next day I left town for the long weekend and have been spending a supremely relaxing weekend at home. I’ve gotten in a lot of nephew time and only today (Monday afternoon) am I opening my laptop to even consider school work. As scary and pressing as it may seem sometimes, there is always time to relax. Even if it means taking ten minutes and meditating. There is always time.

So take that with you this week. If you start feeling overwhelmed remember to get away. Whether it be for five minutes or a week in Bermuda. Just get away.

Happy week!