Friday, February 26, 2010

Split Spirituality and Lenten Leaps

Mardi Gras has come and gone . . . we've finished our pancakes and pazckis and Lent is now upon us. For those of you who are not familiar with the term, Lent by definition is the 40 weekdays from Ash Wednesday to Easter [of which is] observed by the Roman Catholic, Eastern, and some Protestant churches as a period of penitence and fasting ( Being regularly dropped off at the door of an ELCA (Evangelical Lutheran Church of America) Church throughout my childhood and attending a Lutheran university where religion happens to have been one of my concentrations, deprivation and atonement are things I have practiced many a time during this season of sacrifice. Nonetheless, it's been years since the last time I have fulfilled any promises I have made for Lent, on the rare occasion I have made promises that is.

I imagine the reason for my lack of Lenten partaking is due to the fact I have been in a spiritual sinkhole for the greater part of the last 10 years, which in some measure is the reason for the overwhelming anxiety that has been a recurring theme for the bulk of my blog posts to date. I believe the source of this divine dent has much to do with the decisive disconnect between the beliefs of my youth how I presently feel about my once held viewpoints. Four years in a liberal arts religion program, a crisis of conviction, two bouts of depression, and a lifetime of guilt, all combined with my propensity for logic and reason has tainted my faith forevermore, and I fear there is no going back. It would have been so much easier to have my previous persuasions all tied up in a tidy box with a bow on top, but every time I try to put my religious views in reverse, the box ends up looking like the opened presents of a young child on Christmas morning.

Crucify, by Tori Amos, exemplifies much of how I have been feeling about devotion to deity, generally speaking, over the last several years. Of course I cannot tell you this without providing the allusive lyrics and video clip (as cheesy as I think it is) for you. Whether you choose to read, listen, or do both is up to you, but I hope you will take a moment explore what she has to say.

Every finger in the room is pointing at me
I wanna spit in their faces
Then I get afraid what that could bring
I got a bowling ball in my stomach
I got a desert in my mouth
Figures that my courage would choose to sell out now.


I've been looking for a savior in these dirty streets
Looking for a savior beneath these dirty sheets
I've been raising up my hands
Drive another nail in
Just what God needs
One more victim

Why do we crucify ourselves
Every day I crucify myself
Nothing I do is good enough for you
Crucify myself
Every day I crucify myself
And my heart is sick of being in chains

Got a kick for a dog beggin' for love
I gotta have my suffering
So that I can have my cross
I know a cat named Easter
He says will you ever learn
You're just an empty cage girl if you kill the bird

Repeat Chorus

Please be
Save me
I cry

Repeat Chorus

While Crucify does a good job of conveying how I have been feeling about my wavering views, it does not exactly explain what I believe today. I have pondered picking apart my postulations for you piece by piece, but have decided it is best not to bore you with the book I may inevitably ink out. Nevertheless, I feel it is important for me to simply surmise in the shortest style possible some of those said suppositions . . . .

I believe the energy that most of us refer to as God does exist. In the same respect, I believe we are all energy from God and since energy is neither created nor destroyed, we all continue to live on in some form after the shell that is our bodies ceases to exist. I consider myself to be a Universalist who has a strong appreciation for Christian Philosophy and deem myself Christian above all other faiths because a Christian is one who professes belief in the teachings of Jesus Christ (, which I do. I believe we are souls having human experience and are here for an education, not to climb some ladder and prove ourselves worthy of happily ever after existence. As such, I do not think our faith has anything to do with where our energy ends up after our humanity 'hits the skids', but do believe that morality (not necessarily that defined by Christianity) probably plays a large part in our afterlife experience. It is Jesus' philosophies on grace and love that contain the elements which make this hell of an earthly visit a heavenly experience.

Despite the dichotomy of my divination, I remain an avid attendee of weekly worship at my current congregation, as it is meant to be a place that exemplifies the love and grace that is so important to living this human life. While I detest domineering dogma (which is rarely an issue at my house of worship), I do believe in the overall discipline of Lent and the spiritual reconnect it can provide for one's soul, regardless of religion, philosophy, and/or faith. Therefore, I have decided it is time to make use of the Lenten season once again, but instead of making the typical temporary sacrifice that one usually makes during this time of fasting and forfeit, I choose to add new things to my life in the hope to once again become the conductor of my cavalcade. I have contemplated sharing my Lenten leaps of permutation with you, but frankly I doubt you want to hear about me taking 20 deep breaths each morning, making sure I clean for two 30 min segments daily, and consistently sitting with my kids at the table for lunch. Thus I am going to end here, for I fear I have gone on long enough, and simply sum up by saying what I hope to gain from new religious routines is an ability to cope with my current neurotic nuances and the eventual suturing of the split in my spirituality.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Webwork of a Wacky Woman

To the few of you who are fans of my foible formulations, I'm sure you have figured out the frivolous freakfest that is Amber. First and foremost, I am weird woman who often likes to speak in third person and is addicted to alliteration amongst other avocations.

I am easily obsessed with online games such as Tetris and Bejewled Blitz and have the potential to play them for hours on end (if not interrupted).

I enjoy reading fanfiction (fiction online based on popular original fiction novels and movies) about my favorite series of novels (still yet to be discussed, but I am going to get there eventually, promise) and have recently started writing some myself as an outlet for my anxiety (which if you haven't noticed, is a recurring rambling amongst my entries).

I have blogged about blogging, not once, but twice. I have also blogged about the fact I am fascinated with Rupert Grint despite the odd looks and huffs I get when admitting this and talking at length about him to friends.

It is because of my favorite fiction and fixation with Mr. Grint that I am also obsessed with British English (big clues in there folks) and love such expressions as bloody hell, sod of, snogging senseless, and barking mad.

I am neurotic (no really?), so much so that I need to channel my neuroticism into must follow daily habits, such as needing to spend exactly 30 min cleaning the first floor day by day and doing daily washing and drying OR folding of laundry, but not both, merely because the touch of OCD and ADD I deal with on a regular basis has interfered with my ability to focus on anything that I am not inherently ardent about; so sitting here and typing a blog is no problem (as long as I'm not interrupted), but the idea of going upstairs to declutter my closet causes my brain to go batty and my focusing facilities to fail me.

Obviously, as previously stated in my post before this one, I love long complicated sentences (yes folks, the paragraph above is indeed one sentence), and apparently by this post, painstakingly enjoy parenthetical prose.

If you think this is all nutters, I have something else that may take the cake: I need to flush my facebook notes because I don't feel they accurately characterize me any longer, and as I am going through said notes (mainly a bunch of filled out surveys) I have ironically discovered even more madcap things about Amber, that would be me, the wacky woman is about to share these offhand oddities with you.

I need to start with my foodisms, because I found enough of them to have their own category:

Texture is huge. I like tomato sauce and ketchup, but not tomatoes. I like grape jelly, but not grapes. I pass on foods with rubbery skin and mushy insides

I like peanut butter, but not peanuts.

I don't like strawberries or coffee.

I was asked a question about my favorite salad dressing; my answer was, "Light Italian, on a shredded carrot salad. I'm admitting my weirdness . . . I'm not a fan of lettuce folks, so give me a bed of shredded carrots and I'll put all the salad toppings on it. :)"

And just a few more incidental idiosyncrasies:

I love to watch (or used to anyway) The Biggest Loser while eating a big bowl of ice cream.

I listed Dancing Queen as the song that represents me the most.

I swore I would never do two things as a parent; lick my fingers to wipe my kid's face and let them watch Barney. I do both.

Despite the fact that I'm now 32, I love to watch the new 90210.

Apparently my "gangsta name" is Ambizzle

In July 2009 I was obviously bold enough to say the one of the three names I go by is "Sexy" (Amber and Mommy being the other two)

Finally, to emulate the quality of my quirkiness, I feel the need to color code this post so I can plainly point out peculiarities I have stolen from old facebook notes. I could clearly continue with a lengthier list describing my departure from dullness, but I bet by now you get the bottom line.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Fragmented Frivolity

I have mentioned before that Jon does not appreciate the way I go about creating and delivering my blog entries. The other day, being the gentle critic he is, Jon gets more specific and informs me he does not like the fact he has to read a few of the sentences in my complex compositions more than once. He thinks my blogs are not written for the average reader. I need to consider the whole of my potential audience and make things less multifarious. A few seconds after taking in his advice I come up with the title Fragmented Frivolity. As I explain the concept of this current configuration to him, he grunts and exclaims, "Why can't you just write a normal blog?" The answer, of which I keep to myself, is surely obvious, "Because I don't want to; there is no fun in that." I, however, do choose to jab him a bit and say, "Type up your own accounts why don't you? I do not see any entries on your empty blog page." Jon chooses not to say much in return, because unlike me, he likes to keep things simple. I dedicate this entry to him, regardless of how he may feel about it. I promise to keep my sentences and paragraphs as short and sweet as possible. In other words, they are going to be quite fragmented compared to my usual seemingly endless amalgamation of terms and phrases.

Nevertheless, I have decided I cannot type a blog for you without creating some kind of challenge for myself. Repeat readers of my ramblings may remember me saying that I hate worrying about verb tense. However, for this occasion I plan step up to the plate and use proper prose. Simply stated, I plan to keep my verb tense consistent throughout my paragraphs and hope I can accomplish this self-imposed challenge. To be frank, I typically avoid using proper tense because it does not always feel appropriate to me. Personally, I feel it is my biggest flaw as far as my personal narrative skills are concerned. For example, in my first blog post I have a sentence that contains verbs making use of past, present, and future tenses. My case in point is as follows:

"In my younger years I had to work for almost everything I wanted, so it seems odd to me that I dream of having a full time maid, and that maybe one day when I have a job outside the home I will fulfill that dream."

Since I speak of the past first, the present second, and the future third, it seems logical to me to use the most fitting tense associated with that frame of time. I can only imagine the red strikes amid my carefully crafted composition in high school and/or college if I turn in a paper with all three verb tenses in one paragraph, let alone one sentence as I have done in the instance above. For good measure, I have corrected the sentence for you below:

"In my younger years I had to work for almost everything I wanted, so it seemed odd to me that I dreamt of having a full time maid, and that maybe one day when I had a job outside the home I would fulfill that dream."

Now, I presume that is simple enough to do and perhaps I can be more vigilant of such matters in upcoming entries, but I still believe the correct version sounds strange as I currently dream of having a maid, rather than having "dreamt" of one in the past. Thus, I am going to reiterate what I say in The Blog about Blogging, ". . . it's my blog damn it, and I'll do it however I want . . . ." So, while I may try to tackle the task of appropriate tense occasionally, don't expect such careful caution in the future.

Are you bored yet? I am. From here I am going to say if you are not a lover of literature and/or do not write yourself, this is one blog I implore you to stop reading, as I am sure you are going to find this more disparaging than I do. If you do stop, I promise something far more entertaining next time, so please come back. Nonetheless, I need to get back to my point at hand, that being my extremely long sentences . . . .

I am fascinated with punctuation, and as such adore the art of a well written compound-complex sentence. I like to write my sentences long, with lots of commas, ellipses, and some semi-colons here and there too. I am enthralled with literary techniques in general. I love using alliteration. For those not in the know, alliteration is, "the repetition of consonants at the beginning of two or more words immediately succeeding each other." The perfect example is that of my title, Fragmented Frivolity. Additionally, I enjoy using metaphors and similes, which are akin but different. Metaphors are "the use of a word or phrase to refer to something that it isn't, implying a similarity between the word or phrase used and the thing described, and without the words 'like' or 'as'." Similes, on the other hand, are "a figure of speech in which one thing is compared to another, generally using like or as." I joke about using metaphors in a previous post, but in most cases I'm actually using similes. If you are still reading this I'm sure you are already privy to the information I have provided for you and aware of my past misnomers.

Before concluding this mind-numbing, yet somewhat informational statement, I cannot go without expressing the literary technique I desire to use most often is that of employing new words. I cannot stand to see the same vocalization more than a couple of times in close proximity with each other. I use an online thesaurus regularly. I have in fact learned many new words from a thesaurus, but the latest term I have come to love has presented itself to me while reading a book about my favorite author and her remarkable series of novels (of which I will eventually speak, but not today). The term is logophile, the definition being "one who loves words; a word buff". I have come across said definition at Microsoft Word, apparently, does not include the term in it its glossary as I stare at the wiggly red line that is under my newest favorite word. According to the aforesaid website, this very term defining someone's adoration of vocabulary has often been difficult to find in any standard dictionary. My Random House Webster's College Dictionary, conversely, does have it. Now, to call myself a logophile is a strong statement. Nonetheless, I have my favorite terms, some that you may see repeatedly amongst my posts. Such recurring offenders you may notice are aforementioned, said (as in said definition), indeed, privy, seemingly, and ramblings. Then there are words for which I am simply besotted but do not use as frequently, a few of them being dichotomy, befuddlement, pestilence, unmitigated, modish, insurmountable, amalgamation, multifarious, smitten, and most apparently in this collaboration frivolity and besotted. Being the neurotic writer I am, I have considered typing out all the definitions of these beloved words for you. At this point though, if you are still reading this incredibly dull post, I am sure you already know the definitions of said words or are at very least willing to look them up for yourself. If need be, good source for you to use is, and is the source from which I obtained all definitions for this blog. If you are so inclined to do the research, have a happy educational moment.

To those who stuck it out, bless your heart for hanging in there, for I am sure this has been as painful for you to read as it has been for me to write. Here's to me ignoring Jon's advice next time around and making my next post far more fascinating than this one.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

‘Words Like Violence Break the Silence’

Talking, as I have previously established, is something I like to do frequently and for long periods of time. Much of this issue with my 'diarrhea of the mouth' is just part of who I am, but as I've stated before, it's been worsened by the fact that the only two people I get to talk to all day are ages six and two, and as interesting as my conversations with Aidan and Emie may be, they are not exactly the stimulating adult dialogues I crave so dearly day after day. So when presented with the prospect to speak with other, as my kids would say, grown-ups, I ramble on raggedly, even when my 'words are meaningless and forgettable', and the above mentioned children are assailing my arms and pleading for departure. Nonetheless, there are indeed times where I find 'words are unnecessary', and I wish to not be spoken to, and do not want to use my vast aptitude for verbiage to speak in return, but when that time is deeply desired, 'words like violence break the silence, come crashing in, into my little world' and I am walloped with the very verbal violence I've subjected so many others to time and time again.

The time someone else's chatter creates chaos on my composure and when uncommunicativeness becomes utterly important is when 'all I've ever wanted and all I've ever needed is here in my arms' – meaning there is a book is nested comfortably between my two hands. One of my favorite things to do is to escape into the world of someone else's imagination and not come up for air until I deem myself ready to do so. However, upon reaching the pinnacle of any narrative, I certainly become the most imperative person in the world to family, friends, and sometimes strangers. Emie predictably needs help on the potty; Aidan's toy inevitably needs batteries; Hallo, our precious pup, without doubt wants left outside; a friend indubitably calls to converse (which rarely happens due to my aforementioned defect); and Jon definitively decides this is the moment to actually have quaint conversation with his wife. Sometimes I feel as if I am about to split open at the seams when such situations strike and certainly am stirred to spout out, "Leave me the hell alone, I just want to finish this chapter". While that does happen on occasion, especially if it's Jon who has instigated the interruption, I usually put on my polite grin and address whoever it is that needs my attention, attention which is only precious to others when I am doing something I enjoy so immensely, such as perusing the pages of my favorite plot.

Of course, since I am indeed inspired to share such seething with you at this moment, you can confidently come to the conclusion that this interruption into my escape in fact happened today, when I was thoroughly engrossed in the first book of my favorite series of novels. I took said book to the gym, and doing so must have meant I was wearing a sign that said, "I'm desperate, please talk to me." I promise you, I have went to the gym many a time with no reading material and no one ever wanted to share with me the cute things their little tots did that morning or what their favorite movie was, but if I have a book in hand, I suddenly achieve the popularity I once longed for in high school but would much rather do without in moments like these. By now you are probably begging the question of why I would take a book to the gym in the first place, as one would not reasonably go to the gym to read. Well no, I do not go to the gym with the sole intention to read, rather to take my 9:30 class. However, my son Aidan is a walking kindergartener, which translates to me having to drop him off at school at 9:00 and pick him up at 11:30 each day, in turn leaving me no time to return home before or after class, but just enough time to sink into in my favorite story. Today however, I was beaten with a barrage of bedlam on my brain, which has now left it bouncing like a raft on the rapids of a river rather than in the peaceful placidity and alternate universe of my beloved book.

So my friends, today I have been reminded of a lesson I learned long ago . . . karma is a bitch. I have complexity to conquer, one of becoming cognizant of when to cage the cackle. There is indeed a time to Enjoy the Silence, and I am not the only one who wishes to partake of such pleasures. Perhaps I may get the sweet silence I seek if I remember that what goes around comes around and that you only get what you give.

The title of this blog and all single quoted phrases are from the song Enjoy the Silence, written by Martin Gore and originally sung by Depeche Mode.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Portrait of Pestilence and Perspective

I could have driven to NYC or made nearly five trips to my mom's house in this brief, yet seemingly everlasting moment of my life. At least two rooms in my house could have been, but ultimately never would have been completely cleaned and decluttered. I could have crocheted a hat and scarf set in this stolen space of my existence. There were thousands of possibilities stripped from me in that one split-second decision someone else made, yet I chose to ignore the array of options that were still available for the taking. At one point I did try to read a literary supplement and do some crosswords that were purposefully obtainable for my entertainment, but my fury of the situation at hand would not allow me to focus. Instead I used the greater portion of this sagging gap of my essence insolent at Jon for not listening to my intuition about taking another path, intuition of which he admits has been spot on time and time again. I spent what could have been precious time with my children preposterously infuriated at them for not demonstrating the patience that I could not seem to emulate myself. I made the ultimate decision to exhibit the gift of my blemished humanity despite my option to accept that things were as they should be, because I was livid damn it, and I was going to make sure everyone around me knew it.

Impatience is a pestilence, one of the most contagious diseases I know. One person suffering from such impetuosity can nearly guarantee a domino effect of grand proportions to ensue. It's amazing to me that how in one split-second a single person's thought, decision, and subsequent action can cause an epidemic affecting thousands of people. It is a huge burden to bear knowing that the smallest move you make can at very least temporarily alter the lives of so many around you. For me and my family, we simply lost time and serenity. The time that could have been spent having dinner with my mother and brother, time that could have been used on my comfy couch and in my warm bed was lost mainly because of one person's lack of judgment. Serenity that we could have been sharing as a family reunited after three days was spent being angry at said person's poor decision which put us in this place, ultimately allowing us to be intolerant of one another because none of us were where we wanted to be in that moment. I'm certain that the edginess this lone person must have felt started the chain reaction that subsequently opened up the possibility for an equal amount of the edginess, from which I was now suffering and causing my family to suffer, to worm its way into the lives of the thousands of others also involved in this state of affairs. Impatience is indeed contagious my friends, but I was refusing to see it that it was unquestionably preventable.

While it had been probably one person's fault that I was in this circumstance for the 9.5 hours it lasted for me and my family, it was not this person's fault that I deemed myself unable to cope with the unmitigated state of events. Many hours after my rump began to form a permanent hollow in my seat, sensibility and rational thought began to resume its often misdirected spot in my brain. The resentment I felt about my position and at Jon for not taking the suggested detour was abating. I began to think about those who were stuck in the subway system in NYC when the enormous power failure occurred all those years ago and how awful that experience must have been for them. Even worse, I began to think about the survivors who suffered for days trapped in the twin towers after the attack or more recently in Haiti after the earthquake and began to realize how I was in an indisputably better place than I could ever have imagined. I became conscious of the ungrateful wench I was being, and how my behavior and the energy it was exuding was only a bumpy road that directed me and my family to nothing but irritation and aggravation with one another. The over 50 cars and semi's that crashed on I-71 south yesterday that lead to my spiraling state of unwitting anxiety was certainly not the highlight of my life, but did eventually provide me with a great amount of perspective and something to share with you. It reminded me to be grateful for a full tank of gas and warmth, and for the fact that kids were safe with us. I became appreciative that we were not the ones to cause or be involved in the accident, and that the worst that came out of the whole situation was a few injuries to those involved and a misconstrued sense that time was lost for those who had to wait. I'm hopeful for the lesson the driver who began this course of events learned from this potential catastrophic occurrence and perhaps he or she will remember they are not invincible, that snow can indeed be a dangerous thing under the right (or perhaps wrong) conditions. I was happy that at 1am I was able to walk into my warm home put my kids into beds they could call their own and finally put my head to rest an hour later. As I drifted into a state of slumber I was thankful to be reminded of one of my favorite quotes by Virginia Satir, "Life is not the way it's supposed to be. It's the way it is. The way you cope with it is what makes the difference".

For more information about the February 15, 2010 crash on I-71, please click on the following links:

Friday, February 12, 2010

Jeanealogical Misfortunes and Miracles

I had a plan, and it was flawless. I had the perfect exposition already composed in my head, because the experience for which I wanted to put in writing was surely going to give me enough content for what I hoped to be a lengthy yet witty essay enjoyable to every person who has experienced the pain of my current conquest. Previous exploits in pursuit of this particular item have always ended badly, and it is something that is often the blight of many women. Surely as I hunted for this item again I would have plenty of disgruntled yet comical insight to share with you all. I mean, I expected my quest to last for hours, days, or even weeks as it always had in the past. Disappointment doesn't even begin to describe how I feel after seemingly endless amounts of time being devoted to finding just this one article of clothing. However, on my latest shopping trip the miracle of all miracles happened: the first pair of jeans I tried on fit like a glove. In the hope that my good fortune would continue, I continued to try on a myriad of pairs, thinking I might actually find two different curve hugging pieces of apparel to take home with me, but after trying on at least ten more sets, I decided that one pair of jeans would be enough for that propitious shopping trip.

Jeans, why on earth do they need to be so complicated? Skinny, wide-leg, boot-cut and flare - straight leg, leggings, and others to spare . . . . So many choices, so little time, so much aggravation for which there is to rhyme. Okay, all Dr. Seuss aside, why under typical circumstances is it so hard to find a pair of denims to fit me properly? I have the curves of a NORMAL, yes NORMAL woman, otherwise known as hips. No matter what size I am, whether it 4 or 12 (and I've been both and every size in between thanks to two pregnancies and an illness between them), I still have hips. You would think that since it is common to have such curves on my bottom half that it would indeed be commonplace to have jeans to fit such curves. But with all these styles and all the brands out there, it still amazes me how few pair of jeans there are out there to fit my figure.

So I could go on from here, pleading with manufacturers to be smarter about their designs and remember we aren't all 16 year old girls running around with a figure that matches a boy of the same age. Today however, I am just going to be grateful for the very reasonably priced jeans I found on my last shopping excursion and save my breath and time by letting Ellen DeGeneres do my rant for me. Please take a moment to listen to her monologue below (the part about jeans begins about 3 minutes into the clip), because at very least you will get a good laugh.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Insufferable Obnoxiousness

Okay, we have established more than once that Jon is the best husband in the world, but despite his better qualities, he at times can be utterly obnoxious. Most of the time when he behaves in such a manner I either give him a smirk that indicates he should stop whatever it is he is doing immediately, or if he's lucky and I'm in a really good mood I provide him with a good laugh. However, there are a few moments in which the only way I can cope with his insufferable behavior is to be equally insufferable in return. When my friend Martin mentioned in a comment on my previous blog how much he enjoyed a set a quizzes Jon and I created about a year ago, I was reminded of one of those moments and decided I would like to share that flash of time with all of you.

One day while perusing the news feed on facebook, which I usually do at least once a day, I came across some quizzes that a handful of my fb friends were creating about themselves. I thought they looked fun, and being the inherent procrastinator I am, I decided to create a quiz about myself instead of doing whatever it was I should have been doing at that time. I decided to make it a bit tricky, but not so hard that those closest to me should have been able to correctly answer 8 out of the 10 questions in my opinion. The quiz I created is pasted below; the correct answers (for that time) are highlighted for you:

1) Which two schools did I attend for first grade?
a) Smith Elementary and North Lawrence Elementary
b) Amherst Elementary and Magnolia Elementary
c) Newman Elementary and Moffitt Heights Elementary
d) Magnolia Elementary and Newman Elementary
e) Amherst Elementary and Newman Elementary

2) How old was I when I got married?
a) 19
b) 21
c) 22
d) 24
e) 26

3) What is my middle name?
a) Diana
b) Donna
c) Dylan
d) Doris
e) Dawn

4) My first real job was at . . .
a) Wendy's
b) McDonald's
c) Bordner's
d) Rite Aid
e) Taco Bell

5) Of the people below, who would I like to meet the most?
a) Sarah McLachlan
b) Billy Joel
c) Zach Braff
d) Oprah
e) John Cusack

6) If I could be on any reality television show, what would it be?
a) American Idol
b) Survivor
c) The Amazing Race
d) Dancing with the Stars
e) America's Next Top Model

7) My favorite ice cream is . . .
a) mint chocolate chip
b) Chocolate
c) Strawberry
d) rocky road
e) butter pecan

8) When I was in college I earned money by . . .
a) being a therapist for autistic children.
b) working for a parks and rec department.
c) working in the university library.
d) a and b
e) all of the above

9) If I could go to any continent in the world it would be . . .
a) Australia
b) Antarctica
c) Asia
d) South America
e) Africa

10) I've seen which of the following people in concert?
a) Sting
b) Michael Jackson
c) Indigo Girls
d) a and c
e) all of the above

Naturally my dear husband took the quiz. His result you ask . . . 70%. We have been together for over 10 years (at the time), I thought to myself, and the best he could do was 70%. Now, just so you are informed, the three questions he answered incorrectly were 1, 8, and 9. I kind of expected him and everyone else to get number 1 wrong as I never really talk about that answer. Answering number 8 incorrectly was a little shaky, but he answered 'a and b', which is the next closest answer, so I let it slide. Number 9 on the other hand, well I was annoyed, as I know I mentioned wanting to go to Africa to him numerous times and hardly ever talked about going to his answer, which was Australia. I certainly could not let this go, so I gave him a really hard time by posting sarcastic remarks about him and his lack of knowledge about me in my status update, all in good fun of course. Jon, being the obnoxious man he is, decided to retaliate by creating a quiz of his own (which was riddled with typos, spelling errors, and lack of punctuation of which I edited for easier reading, LOL). Like before I posted it below with the "correct" answers highlighted.

1) Where do I live?
a) A house
b) Hilliard
c) Franklin County
d) Ohio
e) United States

2) What is my favorite invisible word?
a) _
b) _
c) _
d) All of the above
e) None of the above

3) What best describes my memory?
a) I remember everything
b) I never repeat myself
c) Rarely do I let things "slip"
d) A and C
e) I forget a lot, and often ask questions I just asked

4) I'm thinking of a # between 1 and 5, what is it?
a) 1
b) 2
c) 3
d) 4
e) 5

5) Who is my favorite person?
a) Myself
b) Amber
c) Mommy
d) Borat
e) I'm sleeping on the couch tonight

6) Which word do I prefer... "yes" or "no"?
a) yes
b) no
c) both
d) neither
e) c and d

7) What's my favorite multiple choice answer?
a) c
b) d
c) a
d) none of the above
e) all of the above

8) Which random sequence of characters did I push that I deem correct?
a) sbhsbgf
b) vgngfhfg
c) sdgcbcv
d) trhdfbg
e) dghdfghdfghdrthdrghbdrthdrghdhdrther

9) Which statement best describes my memory?
a) I remember everything
b) I never repeat myself
c) Rarely do I let things "slip"
d) A and C
e) I forget a lot, and often ask questions I just asked

10) What am I doing tonight?
a) All of the above
b) Nothing
c) Eating
d) Sleeping on the couch
e) wiping some poopy butt

My result to this ridiculous concoction you ask . . . 40%. I was seething. Everyone but me thought he was funny (okay, it was a little funny, but I had to pretend it wasn't at the time). I must say though, he surely made a mistake by saying the answer to 10 was 'nothing', because in fact if I had my way that evening, he would be sleeping on the couch. Alright, all joking aside, if you know me at all, you know that I just couldn't let that go. I created one more quiz and posted it for the world to see, the title being 'How Easy Is It to Make Your Wife Mad?' I of course pasted it below for your viewing pleasure:

1) Who did Amber marry?
a) Jon, I think I'm funny, Koppenhofer
b) Jon, I'm in the dog house, Koppenhofer
c) Jon, I can't quit while I'm ahead, Koppenhofer
d) all of the above
e) none of the above

2) What percentage would you say represents how well Jon knows Amber?
a) 60%
b) 70%
c) 80%
d) 90%
e) 100%

3) How long have Jon and Amber been together?
a) About 10.5 years
b) About 9 years
c) About 13 years
d) About 12.5 years

4) How long does it take a man to figure out not to make his wife look bad?
a) 9 years of marriage
b) 10.5 years of being together
c) A rough week
d) Never

5) Why did Amber create this quiz?
a) Because she wants to give Jon a hard time.
b) Because Jon is obnoxious.
c) Because Jon made a ridiculous quiz
d) Because Jon only got 70% on a quiz about her.
e) It's obvious, all of the above.

6) What are the odds that Jon is really in the dog house?
a) 50/50
b) 100%
c) He's not, Amber just had to give him a hard time.

So, do you want to know what his results were on this on . . . worse than the first at 66%. He missed number 4 by answering 'A rough week,' and wait for it . . . he missed 3! Yes, that's right, he missed number 3; he answered with 'About 9 years'. You can imagine he only dug himself in deeper at this point, especially when some of my friends were answering the quiz with 100% accuracy. In the end though, my anger was short lived and it ended up being a good laugh, not only for us, but several of our friends as well. Sometimes insufferable obnoxiousness is worth it.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Hot Topics and Guilty Pleasures

I would like to share with you a story, one that begins with a tale of a trip to Hot Topic. This quirky store is one I have entered only twice in my life, the first time being over six years ago when I was pregnant with my son. On this initial adventure, I entered the interesting shop with the sole intention of buying a gift card for my brother to give him as a Christmas present. He was a fan of the store, and I wanted to give him something he could use. I quickly began to regret my gift idea the moment I approached the counter however, when the excessively pierced man behind it looked at me as if I was from an alien world. I thought to myself 'I am far too old to be in a store like this,' perhaps at the time overlooking the possibility that it was likely my disposition combined with the fact I was visibly nine months pregnant which made me seem so oddly misplaced in a store that personally appeared to be for only the very young and modish. As the sweat began to bead on the back of my neck I quickly asked for the gift card, made my purchase, and swore to never reenter the hip ship again. Nevertheless, on a date with my husband last week, something beckoned me to take back that pledge I made all those years ago and reenter the very same Hot Topic in which I purchased the infamous gift card. The energy that emerged from the staff this time was much warmer, exuding a manner of goodwill and cooperation. They welcomed me with smiles on their faces and this time I felt much more comfortable in my own skin. Jon followed closely behind as I searched for the apparel I longed to have, but my hunt was not successful. 'Should I dare to ask?' I said quietly to myself. I figured that I could pass it off as if the t-shirt wasn't for me, but for a much younger friend or a sister that never actually existed. I decided to be generic at first, only asking if they had shirts depicting the movies that starred the character famously portrayed by the bloke I wished to wear on my chest. "Sure we have those shirts," the polite store clerk responded, "which one are you looking for in particular?" Suddenly I was not so comfortable anymore. A bit embarrassed I paused for a moment, and in those seconds of silence my husband laughed and gave me away. There was no doubt I was hoping to purchase the sought after item for myself. I reluctantly gave her the name of the character the intriguing actor plays, but she delivered the bad news that they no longer sold those shirts. Dismayed, I left store, but this time with no protest of my probable return.

A month previous to my last trip to the hip ship I got the best Christmas present ever. Yes, I know that was quite a jump, but I promise you I have my reasons. This most fabulous gift was not jewelry or a gift card for a massage, and it certainly wasn't a t-shirt. I was delighted upon opening this present from Jon to find a calendar. Yes, you read that right, a calendar. Seriously, one that was personally made by my wonderful husband and it was extraordinary, not only because Jon made it, but also because each month of that said calendar displayed a different yet brilliantly handpicked photo portraying the actor of whose face I was desperately searching for on a t-shirt in Hot Topic. My jaw dropped in astonishment as I realized the time Jon must have taken to make the very gift I had joked about receiving for the two months prior to the popular winter holiday. While flipping through this specially crafted masterpiece, I ogled at the pictures, some in which my new favorite chap was shirtless with mussed hair. The sexiness that emanated from these men, Jon and the unnamed actor respectively, made it hard to contain the drool about to escape my mouth. Alright, that's an exaggeration, but I'm sure my jaw opened a bit wider upon gazing at them. All in all, the twelve images picked just for me made it hard for this woman not to smile. I know I've already iterated this in my When a Man Loves a Woman post, but I really do have the best husband ever.

So while Jon is the light of my life, this mysterious actor of whom I am speaking is my culpable delight. My fascination with him began about six months ago after reading a series of illustrious books, and watching some of the equally illustrious movies that depicted said books. I swore to myself that I would never give into the hype; I would not read these books, let alone watch the movies that represented them, but my friends talked me into it and of course like everyone else who has touched their pages and viewed their brilliance, I was captivated with both the novels and the films. It was in fact because of these novels and films that this brilliant actor first became known to me. The more the films intrigued me, the more I became interested in the actors, and after I watched a few interviews of them on YouTube, it was the actor of whom I've been speaking who began to catch my attention. After hearing his gentle British accent and observing his shy demeanor, I suddenly found myself smitten. This was a man who appeared to be genuine, down to earth, who had quirky mannerisms and an affable sense of humor. His interests, his style (which ironically mimics that of those who work in Hot Topic), and his inherent comical nature reeled me in as if I were a fish who took the bait. It also didn't hurt that he had the most striking shade of hair and adorable grin lit up his whole face. He was unique looking, but extremely attractive in the same respect. The problem that lies in my enthrallment with this young man is just that, he is young, probably too young for me to be justly mesmerized with him. I was certain this would be a passing phase, something I would forget about a few weeks later, but here I am several months later and my adoration remains.

If you haven't guessed already, my latest guilty pleasure is none other than Rupert Grint, aka Ron Weasley of Harry Potter. Yes indeed I admit it, Mr. Grint who has been growing up before the world for the last 10 years has no doubt caught my interest. This 21 year old man who likes to hang out with his family, seems so normal in lieu of his celebrity status, and is super wicked because he owns an ice cream truck (that he can take me for a ride in anytime btw, LOL). So for those of you who don't get it or share my affection, well, poo on you, because he is downright cool in my book. So NO JUDGEMENT PEOPLE! J We all have our guilty pleasures; I'm just bold enough to admit mine.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Blog about Blogging

You know you've run out of things to say when you're blogging about blogging. Well okay, that's not true, words rarely fail me, and I'm actually currently working on three other blog entries, but I just haven't received the inspiration required for their completion yet. So I decided to bore the entirety of my three followers, one of them being my husband, by filling in the gap and talking about my befuddlement over this whole blogging phenomenon I decided to try out not so long ago. As stated in my first blog entry, the only reason I started writing these random essays was because of some encouragement from friend. I had written a few cheesy entries on facebook, and before that myspace, but nothing of substance really. I can't say I'm writing much more than fluff here either, but I suppose that depends on the perception of the reader. I wonder if I even have any readers out there, because other than my previously mentioned followers and handful of fb friends who have left me some personal comments, I don't have any feedback on these random thoughts I spew. So, if you are a reader, and you haven't let me know you are following, do as Eminem says and "please stand up".

While we are on the topic of blogging, what is proper blog etiquette anyway? According to Wikipedia, "A blog (a contraction of the term "web log")[1] is a type of website, usually maintained by an individual with regular entries of commentary, descriptions of events, or other material such as graphics or video." Thus by that definition if I am the individual maintaining the blog, it should be anything I want, right? I think so, but Jon on the other hand sees it a bit differently than I do. Despite the fact that he seems to enjoy reading my blog entries, he has told me that I'm missing the point of a blog. To him the entries should be short and sweet, and potentially ridden with random unconnected thoughts. You would think after over 11 years together he would know that I have never been privy to any such things, especially when it comes to writing. I edit, a lot! It bothers him that I want to check and recheck for errors and make smoother transitions, though I really think that has more to do with the time I spend writing and not with him, LOL. Anyway, he doesn't see the point, to him it is just a waste of time, but he doesn't get how much I hate mistakes, and if I find them after I posted, I correct them. I can't even post a blog until I've read through it entirely at least once without having to make a correction. I usually edit my emails before sending them as well. Errors just pick and pick at my brain, so it's better to fix them before rather than let my mind fixate on them later. Besides, just because I'm not writing a term paper doesn't mean that I don't want it to sound good. I mean, if I were writing an essay for a class, my verb tense would remain the same throughout paragraphs and I would check for things like dangling modifiers, but I hate dealing with those literary pains in my ass, so I don't in this format, because it's my blog damn it, and I'll do it however I want, which is pretty much how I do everything in life. J

Alright I'm done with my random rant, and its short compared to some other entries I've written, so Jon will be proud. I will bore you no longer with my meandering thoughts about what a blog should and shouldn't be, because in the end there is no real answer other than it's whatever the writer makes it to be. Instead I offer you a preview of what may come in the next week or two: Be on the lookout for guilty pleasures, jeaneologies (yes I meant to spell it that way), and Lenten journeys. I can only hope those entries will be far more interesting than this one.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Old Fashioned Progressiveness

The other day I was reminded that some still hold the notion of women being old fashioned, or even unaccomplished, if they make the decision to stay home with their children, and I want to know why that is. This concept is something I have not considered or been bothered by for some time, but the provocation I feel from this assumed idea resurfaced recently when I realized a friend of mine was upset by an anonymous comment made on his blog post. The lady (I assume) responsible for the remark was insinuating my friend's thoughts "[take] us back to a time when women were expected to stay home and were taught to hang of every word of their husbands," simply because he appreciated the fact that a girl he once dated loved his funny stories, particularly ones about odd things that happened to him. The point of his blog entry was far from her implications about it in my opinion, with my interpretation of it being that despite strange and bad things coming to pass, situations inevitably occur just as they should. Nonetheless, I can't deny her wayward comment struck a nerve.

Honestly, I want to know . . . what is wrong with wanting to be the one who spends the majority of my kid's time with them? By staying home our family has a great number of advantages including flexibility, more time together, and less stress (for the family unit that is). There are obvious drawbacks as well, most of which affect me, but what is a bit of sacrifice for a few years if it means the overall betterment of my children's well being and our family as a whole? Sure, we could have more money if I held a paying job, but then again Jon has a great occupation and we are budget conscience, so we still live comfortably on what he makes alone. Obviously if I produced an additional income we could buy a bigger house, have nicer vehicles, and go on more exotic vacations, but we do not need these luxuries and do not believe having any of these indulgences makes our lives any better, or makes us any more important for that matter. Personally, I am not forwarding my career or putting any money toward my retirement at this time, both of which are things I would like to accomplish, but why do I have to make such accomplishments now? I plan to go back to school, I plan to have a career, someday, but right now for me, it's my kids who are my focus. I will only ever get this one chance to savor these adorable moments that fly by me each day. In the end, it doesn't seem like that much of a sacrifice at all.

Now I know these convictions do seem conservative, but are they really? I actually consider myself to be a fairly progressive person, and even pride myself on it at times. It is not of my opinion that women stayed home "back in the day" because it was right for their kids or their family, not that they couldn't or didn't think it was befitting so to speak, rather they were mainly inclined to stay home for the reason that was in fact the norm of their time and even as the commenter said, "expected" of them. However, today I believe it is more the standard and even sometimes anticipated that women to go to work and kids to go to daycare. Consequently, aren't I being progressive by doing something so seemingly old fashioned? If truth be told, the implications of this abovementioned woman's comment are almost as suppressive as the allegedly once held belief that it was a woman's duty to stay home with her children. I, on the contrary, don't believe it is an obligation at all; alternatively it's a choice that Jon and I were fortunate enough to have in this two-income trap world. Jon and I know how privileged we are to have this opportunity and we are grateful for it each day.

Finally I want to make it clear, if I haven't done so already, that these are decisions I believe are in the best interest of myself, my kids, and my family, and that it is a choice made for my family alone. I am not a mom warrior on some war path trying to convince every woman that it is better for the world if all of us moms stayed home. I stay firm in the belief that we all have choices in this life, and the decision for my kids to be at home is one I made long before I started dating Jon, at a time when I was just being hopeful that I would indeed one day be privileged enough to meet the right person, get married, and have my beautiful babies. It was not pressed upon or expected of me; it was just something that was inherently important, if not instinctual. In fact, it was primarily imperative that my kids be home with one of their parents, meaning I could have easily been the one making the daily commute to my job if the circumstances had been different. I won't deny that I always hoped I would be the parent to stay home, but being the progressive person I believe myself to be, I was surely in favor of the stay-at-home dad as well.

So at this point I guess it is all in the perception of the reader as to whether my thoughts are old fashioned, progressive, or maybe a bit of both, but that is the beauty of humanity, that we all see things through a different pair of eyes. It would be a very boring world if we didn't.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Jack of All Trades, Master of None

I am struggling with the overwhelming sensation that my creative juices are being squelched much like grapes in the process of becoming wine . . . but then again, isn't wine one of the finest creations begotten from grapes? Thus in theory, this internal conflict I've had to come up with my next blog entry should make me better writer, no? Not necessarily, because instead I choose to begin this essay of sorts with a cheesy a metaphor, in the hope that it will get those juices flowing again . . . and then of course I use a pun to elaborate the obvious. You are probably starting to notice my propensity to use ellipses also . . . ha! I must admit these literary techniques seem lame in this format, but if I were writing fiction, perhaps they would work well. Coincidentally, writing fiction is a more recent hobby of mine that I've come to enjoy very much. Presently I just write for myself, using characters from other works of fiction and developing them beyond the author's original prose. I have no plans to date to show my creative, or perhaps not so creative, writings to anyone, so the fact that I dabble with other author's characters is fine for now. However, I would love to take a creative writing class, which in turn may lead to the possibility of developing my own characters and seeing what interesting stories they inspire me to write. As with any hobby, I have a desire to master it, the writing that is, but the problem lies in the reality that I have a lot of hobbies I enjoy, which in turn makes me feel like the "jack of all trades and master of none."

A week or so ago on facebook (yes, you need to deal with the fact that I will mention it often) I typed the aforesaid cliché into my status update. It was my way of expressing that I was having a moment of jumbled inspiration. In other words, I was being pelted with a myriad of ingenious ideas all at once, and all of which involved completely different creative venues. The result was my brain being scrambled like eggs (ha, another metaphor) as it was coming at me all too fast. Just as quickly as sparks of insight were filtering into my brain they were being pushed out by new ones without being given the chance to focus on anyone one of them. Frankly, it was beyond aggravating. So after making the said post on facebook, I surprisingly received a couple responses from those who could relate, and oddly enough there was connection amongst all of us, the tie that binds being that we are all stay-at-home moms. Now from here I can only speculate as to why these lovely ladies were feeling the same way I was in that moment, but the reason I felt this way was indeed because of my creative frustration, the source being the fact that as a stay-at-home mom seamless time is certainly NOT one of the advantages I have. I am constantly interrupted in everything I do. My little darlings, as precious as they are, need fed and assistance going to the potty; they want me to help them draw pictures, do puzzles, and play games with them. Despite my children's usual adorable nature, they often whine, cry, and scream when they are not getting the things they want, they make mountains out of molehills, and of course they fight with me and each other about almost everything. My days are filled with endless blows constantly disturbing my already fragile consciousness. Even if on the rare occasion I am given the time, it is so broken and my brain is so filled with what I have to do next that there is not much thought or energy left to master much of anything. Even now as I type this, the kids are actually playing quietly in my son's room, but my brain keeps reminding me that I need to check on them in a minute. Additionally, I keep getting prodded with other things I need and want to do today . . . I need to finish cleaning out my sock drawer; I need to iron my jeans; I would really like to read another 2-3 chapters in my book today; I hope I'm going to finish that hat I'm crocheting sometime in the next century. With all these thoughts constantly pounding at my head and no cohesive time for me to put them together, frankly it is no wonder why my brain will never shut the hell up!!

So it was inevitable, I had to interrupt the process of typing this out to check on my kids, and of course while I was up there I noticed that some books needed reorganizing, thus doing that first before coming back downstairs to continue with my thoughts here. Now, I'm wondering if I'm going to be able to carry on in the direction I first began. I am distracted and frustrated that I cannot remember the next point I wanted to make. This is why my first three blogs were typed late at night, and exactly why I am always up at least 1-2 hours after I should be in bed, because it is the only chance I have for my inspired flow not to be disrupted. The late nights in itself lead to another whole set of issues of which I will save for another time, because right now I am just trying to focus on how to tie my original thoughts together, which can be summed up by saying I really just have the desire to be great at just one or two things. The ironic dichotomy of this whole situation is that I picked up all these hobbies to escape from the menagerie of daily mommy thoughts that plague my mind, but in the end all they have left me with is a more substantial amount of frustration. Ultimately my struggle to master creative direction makes me feel like a hamster running in a wheel in which it cannot escape from or stop (okay, enough with the metaphors already). Hence, for now I just need to resolve that just like housework, insurmountable aggravation is part of the bargain of being the domestic diva I am. After all, despite my complaints, being a stay-at-home parent is really not a bad gig, and the advantages of my work is something I hope to share with you sometime soon.