Friday, May 31, 2013

Kissing is stupid

More adventures with the 5YO:
5YO (after seeing a man and woman kiss): How does that happen?
Me: Stupidity.
5YO (mouth wide): That's a bad word!
Me: Yes, but it's the most honest answer you'll ever hear to that question.
5YO: (Giggles)
Enjoy your Friday! Remember - kissing gives you cooties.

Found it here

Monday, May 20, 2013

Always something

Have you ever heard someone say, "It's always something."

In my experience, it's usually an older woman, and she's usually shaking her head when she says the words. She usually just got bad news for herself, or heard a family member telling a sad story of his own.

I'm never really sure if she is saying it because she empathizes with someone going through a difficult time - or because she doesn't really care, but has nothing else to say, and feels like she needs to say something.

I heard it the other day, and I found myself wondering - why don't I hear people saying "it's always something" when they get good news or hear a happy story? Or is it just that some people always see the bad?

Like, if I tell them how I had a really nice weekend, that was quiet and peaceful. Or how I was able to hang out with Joe, enjoy my deck, and even get a little sun. Or if I share how canceled Friday plans turned into a lovely Sunday night. Or about my geat Sunday afternoon nap. Or even how when a few people did bug me, it was comical and I was able to laugh.

I'm sure some people would hear all that and think, "Oh that poor girl - she spent a weekend alone, getting stood up and napping with her cat! And a few people bothered her...I guess there's always something."

When the truth is, there really is always something - to be thankful for.

Friday, May 17, 2013

More on God

More from my favorite five-year-old on God.
5YO (to me): Who did you vote for?
Me (totally confused): What were my choices?
5YO: Obama or Romney.
Me (totally shocked): How do you know those names?!
5YO (Undeterred): Who did you vote for?
Me: Well, you should understand that who a person votes for is a personal question, that not everyone likes to answer. But I'm happy to tell you that I voted for Obama - twice.
5YO: That's good. God votes for Barack too, so you're right.

I'm not sure what I like better - being told I'm right, learning that God voted for Obama, or that I'm living with a five-year-old who is on a first-name basis with our President.

I love this kid.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Back-up plan

When I was 13-15, the thing to do for me and my friends was go to the mall. We were the epitomy of "mall rats," walking around aimlessly for hours, with "no shopping agenda."

Most of the time, we bummed rides off our parents, but occasionally, we had to take the bus. Usually, I opted out of these trips because even back then, I was too much of a snob for public transportation (my friends were much better people than I).

One particular Saturday, I cancelled plans with my dad to go shopping for new school clothes (a high holy event for me), so that I could go to the mall with my friends. Then, they cancelled on me. Well - more like they went without me and called me from the mall to say they'd taken the bus.


I remember going to my dad and asking if his offer to shop was still good. He said no - I'd cancelled plans, and that was that. He didn't have anything else going on, and he wasn't upset - he was teaching me a lesson in how to treat people. I'd made him my back-up plan, and this was the consequence.

Ever since, I've conciously tried to avoid treating my friends (and especially my dad) like a back-up plan. I know I have slipped up, but I've never forgotten the lesson.

Kindness is not the same as weakness. My dad wasn't angry, and our relationship didn't change because of my one-time actions. But he kindly let me know that taking people for granted was not acceptable, and that a strong person will only put up with it so much.

We've all done it. Something new and exciting comes into our life, and we give it all of our energy and attention. Something else in our life has to go on the back-burner. Usually, it's a relationship that we feel is strong enough to survive a few tests, or will manage without any attention for a while.

But even the strongest relationship will eventually suffer if it's ignored long enough. It doesn't make anyone a bad friend or person; there's simply a limit to how long anyone can handle being treated like he just doesn't matter.

At some point, you have to say to yourself, I know my friend is kind enough to let this go on for a while. But is he weak enough to let it go on forever?

Monday, May 13, 2013

A wish for single friends

I'm just like anyone else (well, I mean, mostly). I believe relationships are a good thing, and a part of a happy life. The right relationship, anyway. I'm happily single, but I wouldn't mind finding a good, solid, healthy, happy relationship.

But until I do, I'm not going to just resign from being happy. There seems to be this popular opinion that everything in life is better when it's shared with a significant other.

Honestly, I resent the idea that I am somehow less of a person because I'm not one-half of a couple. I actually think that makes me more of a takes a lot more strength to choose to stand on your own than it does to lean on the first person who comes along.

Besides, why does "someone to share things with" have to mean a significant other? If you have good friends and family, then you're never alone. Some of the best times of my life have been spent with friends - and not a date.

At a festival with no date -
and the flowers were still pretty.
But even when all my friends are busy, or when I just want to be alone - I'm not less happy. I still enjoy nice weather, good food, live music, movies, ballgames, parties - whatever I want. I can have the same fun that couples can (and often for half the cost). I don't even have to argue with anyone about what time we should get there, what time we should leave - or if we should even go at all.

I understand wanting a relationship - I'd like one myself. But people should want a relationship so that it can add to their happiness - not bring them happiness. Everyone sometimes feels lonely, and like something is missing. But you shouldn't always feel that way.

If you do, I wish I could wish it away. I would wish, instead, that you find peace and hope and happiness. I wish you find beauty in life and a million reasons to smile. If that means you need to find someone, then fine - that's my wish for you.

But how wonderful would it be if you could find all of that by yourself? There's truly nothing more empowering than realizing you can stand on your own - and also finding that, thanks to wonderful friends, you won't always have to.

As long as you enjoy your own company, you're never really alone.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Random Friday thoughts

I have a bunch of thoughts in my head, but I can't seem to complete a post. Friday Fill-ins had nothing new for me today, so you're getting a stream of consciousness. 

» Still avoiding the publish button on those drafts I wrote earlier this week. They may go up next week, simply because I can't stand having unfinished business. If people get upset - eh. Haters gonna hate, I s'pose.

» Joe is on an anti-biotic. Have you ever tried giving a cat a liquid medication using an oral syringe? Good times.

» My hair has officially gotten too long, and I'm four weeks away from next appointment.

» Large vet bills mean I have less money, which makes me hyper-aware of every dollar I spend. I'm currently in a no-spending mode, which is why I'm particularly happy that the Alive at Five concert series starts soon. Free is right within my budget.

» Pasta dishes are a great way to lower the grocery bill, but if I'm going to be eating more pasta, I should probably make at least some of it whole grain. Not all - that's just crazy talk.

» I'm volunteering on Sunday for Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood, running their public info table at Tulip Fest in the afternoon. The public info section is behind the kids zone, between the amphitheatre seating and the playground. Stop by and say hello. We give out free stuff.

Here's a picture of Shemar Moore from his Facebook page. You're welcome.

If that's not inspiring, I don't know what is.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

A couple things

I wrote two posts for this week, but don't have the courage to hit publish. One is about friendship, the other about being single. Both could potentially make people angry, and I'm not in a confrontational mood right now.

Joe had to see a neurologist last week (For those who don't know, Joe is my kitty. He's an only child since his older sister passed away in March.) I'm waiting for the results of some tests, to find out if more tests are needed or if there is a recommended treatment. I'm scared that he won't be OK, that I won't be able to afford proper treatment, or that he'll be in pain. Mostly, I'm just scared to lose another friend.

I have several projects that have to be done at my house, which are currently on hold until I sort out the money issue. It appears I'll be staining my own deck (Baking Suit has offered to help. She's organizing a twitter party.) I had planned to hire someone to take care of the deck, but I'm thinking it's more responsible to handle that myself, since it's a fairly easy do-it-yourself sort of project.

Lastly, The Cornerstone Group is planning Diamonds in the Rough. The event is being held June 13 - details to follow, but I expect to be a bit preoccupied with that for the next few weeks.

But the weather is nice, I was able to lay in the sun this weekend, and I made my Little smile. Life is full of wonderful - sometimes you just have to look a little more closely.

Friday, May 3, 2013

God according to a five year old

Kids say the darndest things. I'm lucky enough to live with two who blurt out blog-worthy material on a pretty regular basis.

The other day at breakfast, the five-year-old told me she worries that God is cold at night, because He obviously doesn't have a bed in heaven. He just stays awake all the time watching over everyone.

This prompted a conversation about God, my cat who recently went to live with Him in heaven, how heaven works, how cemetaries work (ew, gross was one observation), souls and spirits, and finally church.

At which point, her mom told me that in church that weekend, the five-year-old leaned over and told her older brother:
Be quiet! God is on the stage talking.
She has it all figured out.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The one where volunteering helped me

I can think of no place better to tackle complex, philosophical questions than the TV show Friends.

For example, "The One Where Pheobe Hates PBS." In this classic episode, Joey and Pheobe argue whether any act is truly selfless - meaning the receiver benefits, while the giver gets absolutely nothing.

Joey says no way; Pheobe believes selflessness must exist, and sets out to prove him wrong. As a last-ditch attempt, she donates money to PBS during a pledge drive, making sure Joey takes the call, landing him on TV. Giving money to an organization she hates, to help her friend. What could she possibly stand to gain?

Turns out - helping Joey made Phoebe feel good. That good feeling meant even this act wasn't truly selfless.

I average about 3 volunteer hours a week. That includes time spent managing facebook pages, photo editing, blogging to promote causes and events, committee meetings, training, time spent with my Little, etc. It's not 3 hours each week - it's an average. Some weeks are more; some are less.

I've been told that's a lot of giving, and I should be proud that I donate my time and resources selflessly. I thank people who say so, knowing it's meant as a compliment. But while I'm saying, "Thank you," I'm thinking, "If you only knew."

When I say volunteering has changed my life, it is not an exaggeration. During a particularly difficult time, I asked a friend for advice on how to pull myself out of the funk, and keep myself busy at the same time. I wasn't interested in getting lost in my work, and while my friends are wonderful, I knew they couldn't provide distractions forever.

My friend suggested volunteering. I researched Big Brothers, Big Sisters of the Capital Region, Girls Inc. of the Greater Capital Region, and Upper Hudson Planned Parenthood. All had online forms I could complete and submit. All required an interview and some training. BBBS required a background check that fell just short of an FBI investigation into my life, past and present (understandable).

Friends asked how I would keep up that pace. In the beginning, it was a little tough. Just remembering to schedule and stay on top of all the emails took some getting used to.

But immediately, I welcomed the distraction, and the feeling that I was helpful. I loved the idea that I could immerse myself in something that was important. Even things that may have seemed insignificant to me were a big deal to someone.

Over time, I have needed that distraction less and less. I'm no longer in a funk, and plenty busy with other stuff in my life. But I still love volunteering. Sometimes the demand is tough - but I have found it's worth the effort.

Giving my time, my resources, my ideas, my creativity, and my help has made me feel accomplished and valuable in a way that my work never could. I have met new friends and made new contacts. I have learned more and gained experience that will stay with me forever. I have a new perspective on just how lucky I am, and I value what I have and the people in my life more than ever.

I will continue to give, and hopefully I'll continue to contribute. I will always cherish the thank-yous and appreciation.

But volunteering will never, ever be selfless.