Friday 5: Forward


  1. What are you looking forward to in your personal life in 2017? I get married in 2017! I’m also hoping to move to an apartment. I found a listing for one I really liked this evening, so once I show it to the fiancé, we’ll see.
  2. What’s something you’re planning ahead for? Said wedding, of course, and the possibility of moving. And if the move happens, it’ll influence any potential job changes.
  3. How intense is your to-do list for the last days of the year? Not very. Mostly just chores and my usual routine of looking at job listings and places to submit writing. I’m all caught up on other paid writing deadlines…for now.
  4. What’s something you’d like to jump past, between now and the end of the year? I’d like to skip past the tediousness of wedding planning to the actual wedding. Maybe also skip the moving process and just be in a new place.
  5. How will you ring in the new year? Well, as of this writing, I’m sick with a sore throat and slight cough, so there’s a chance I’ll be ringing in the New Year at home in my jammies. But I feel a lot better than I did this morning, so I’m optimistic that my original plans to go to Terra’s are still a go.

Friday 5: Something’s Afoot

  1. What’s the nicest pair of shoes you’ve owned? I’m not sure! I’ve owned my fair share of nice heels and boots, but nothing really stands out as a clear winner here. Maybe this pair of plain black suede high heels I have. I wear them a lot when I need to look classy.
  2. What’s likely to be your next shoe purchase? Whatever I see that I like. I’m really, really picky about shoes, so I’ve learned the hard way that if I see a pair of, say, white flats that I love but don’t need, buy them now because when I do need them, I’ll hate everything I see.
  3. Where’s your favorite place to get shoes? Probably DSW because they have a good selection and I always find shoes I like there.
  4. When did you last swap out the insoles or laces on a pair of shoes? Ha, probably years ago. It’s not something I usually do or usually need to do.
  5. What were the last shoes you got rid of like? Worn-out snow boots. The outer lining was all torn. At least I upgraded to better ones!

Friday 5: Back in the Highlights Again

  1. What was your highlight in dining for 2016? I’m gonna go with my recent trip to Conflict Kitchen, because it was the most interesting and most adventurous thing I ate all year. I mean, it wasn’t that adventurous in the grand scheme of things, but it wasn’t one of my dining staples and it was a place I’d been wanting to try all year, really.
  2. What was your highlight in relationships for 2016? I got engaged New Year’s Day and have been planning my wedding at a pretty leisurely place ever since.
  3. What was your highlight in entertainment for 2016? Seeing Stevie Nicks. Does meeting cast members of The Walking Dead and Skinner from The X-Files count? Because I say it does.
  4. What was your highlight in self-improvement for 2016? At some point over the summer and into early fall, my fiancé and I worked up to walking about 4 1/2 miles on weekends. Most recently, I decided I needed to do more physical activity to get in shape, especially now that it’s too cold for said walking, and so the day after Christmas, I went to a gym for pretty much the first time in my life and lifted weights. I lifted a pitiful amount and was sore for days anyway, but I’m proud of myself for having done it and intend to make it part of my routine in 2017.
  5. What was your highlight in completing something for 2016? Probably my 40-ish articles due for AXS that are the reason why I’m writing this now, almost two weeks after these questions were first posted.

Thanks, Friday 5!

On Carrie Fisher

Like most of the rest of the world who is sick of 2016’s shit, when I heard Carrie Fisher had a heart attack, I went into Panic Mode but hoped for the best. Unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be and now she has left us, too. I put together some words on Facebook, and I think they’re worth reposting here, much like I did when David Bowie died at the start of the year.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been drawn to “strong female characters”–women who kicked ass literally and metaphorically, who were independent, who did their own thing and made no apologies for it. When I’ve looked back as an adult on the movies and things that have influenced me, in particular that love of badass women, I’ve traced it back to two characters–Dana Scully and, of course, Princess Leia. My dad’s a nerd (he’ll deny it, but he is), so I saw “Star Wars” at a young age, and naturally, the character I loved was Leia, kicking ass and taking no shit. As I got older and the Internet and Twitter became a thing and I was able to watch/listen to Carrie Fisher’s interviews and follow her on Twitter, which was always full of gems, I saw that Carrie herself was just as much of a badass as Leia. I’ve loved hearing her sassy, outspoken, and brutally honest opinions of the world, and I’ve always hoped that one day, I’d get on her level and be able to be just as badass.

So basically, of all the losses we’ve had in 2016 that have made me sad–which was plenty–this is high up there. May the force be with you, Carrie.

Friday Five: Ache But Don’t Break

  1. What caused your most recent tummy ache? I haven’t had a real ache lately, but I’ve had some bloating. The exact cause is a mystery, but I probably ate too much shit.
  2. What caused your most recent heartache? I don’t know! I haven’t had one in a long time. Maybe the closest I’ve come has just been frustration over the messiness of the apartment and feeling like my fiancé isn’t pulling his weight.
  3. How did you deal with your most recent headache? I got a migraine at work a few weeks ago. I took some medicine, called off the next day, and pretty much slept that whole day.
  4. How do you deal with a sore throat? Tea and soup. If it’s really bad, gargle with saltwater.
  5. Where else do you ache? I’m prone to back pain.

As always, from Friday 5.

I’m not dead!

So, AXS needed someone to handle their preview coverage of New Year’s concerts, so I signed up to do it. Thing is it ended up being something like 40+ articles due in batches starting about two weeks after I signed up and spaced two days apart, which wasn’t so bad until stuff kept coming up that preventing me from devoting time to writing over the weekend. In the end, when I was home, I did nothing but write those damn articles from last Monday until I finished them up last night–and they were due last Friday. This is where Neil Gaiman’s ideas on writing are true. Paraphrased, he says that out of being good, on time, and nice to work with, as long as you hit two out of the three, people are happy. I was good and nice, but other than asking me if I’d have them done by yesterday, they didn’t seem displeased.

And since that was all I did for about a week and a half, not counting fun-filled weekends, I decided not to write a damn thing (besides this) for a week. Which then changed to a day. I’ve since changed my mind a second time and decided no writing until after Christmas. I deserve the break, but whether or not I can handle myself without doing work is a whole other issue.

But to recap what I did with my life in the meantime, the day after our museum trip, I took a trip to the mall to pick up boots I’d seen at the King of Prussia Mall when we stopped by after the Stevie Nicks concert. I’d had to order them online and was anxious to pick them up, of course, plus I squeezed in a brief trip to the mall.

The next day, we headed out to Bedford for a surprise birthday Brett threw for Nolan, in which he rented out a small movie theater and we watched the classic Parent Trap. We all commented on things like Lindsay Lohan’s career and how sad it is that Natasha Richardson died. I hadn’t seen the movie in several years easily, and it was a fun one to go back and watch.

We rode out with my mom, who told me initially that she absolutely had to leave on time because she had things to do for work, I believe, and in fact was wondering if maybe we’d be able to duck out before the set end time, but who was the first to accept the invitation to go out for drinks after? Her. So we had some food, drank, hung out a little, then hit the road back home. Paul and I hung around my parents’ house briefly before heading home ourselves.

When I was in college, finals time was filled with events for us to attend, typically as ways to de-stress. The one that stands out most was moonlight breakfast because it was my favorite–a free late-night breakfast served in the cafeteria–but I know there were plenty of other things. And this is a pretty common thing across college campuses. Paul’s sister Emily, who’s actually going to my alma mater, spent some time the other day playing with dogs they brought to campus. I’m jealous. I would’ve been all over that in college. Hell, I’d be all over that now.

Because 2016 isn’t done destroying everything yet, we had a funeral to attend today for Paul’s uncle’s dad. Afterwards, a member of the family hosted everyone for lunch, as is pretty typical, and we ended up at a table with some people from his side of the family we didn’t know. Paul’s dad happened to mention something to me about talking to Emily and hearing about the dogs, and the woman’s reaction was kind of…strange.

She started off by saying that kids who attend things like that weren’t “raised right.” When I explained they’re just little events throughout the week to help the kids de-stress, she said that they need to learn how to handle stress on their own. I was starting to get kind of irritated with her attitude about the whole thing at this point and made the point that it’s not the sort of thing where the events aren’t some sort of crutch, they’re just events and tools, really.

The conversation shifted after that, and had it not, I don’t think it would’ve gone so well. But I was surprised by how strongly she felt about it, and I’m confused as to how de-stress events that are usually pretty simple got conflated into essentially coddling–she didn’t use that word, but it was implied. It was as though in her mind, the school holding any sort of event at all to help with stress was going too far, especially given her comment about students needing to learn to manage stress themselves, but it’s not like these events stop them from being able to do that. Really, they’re nothing more than opportunities for them to de-stress on their own, especially for kids who might be stuck on campus without a car and little to no money to go out and do something otherwise. The school isn’t holding their hand and guiding them through how to handle the stress, it’s merely providing an opportunity for them to actually do it. I’m sure the kids who went knew damn well they’d enjoy it and didn’t need a university to tell them that, and I don’t see it as being much different than being an adult coming home to a pet after a long day.

Even if it were a matter of providing some guidance on how to alleviate stress, I don’t think that’s a bad thing at all, particularly if you’re taking young adults who aren’t quite out in the world yet and are teaching them healthy ways of doing it. I understand the importance of people learning how to cope on their own, but some people turn to terrible, unhealthy ways of doing that, and there’s nothing wrong with giving these kids a little nudge in the right direction. It’s not coddling, it’s not babying, it’s not “PC culture,” it’s not that kids these days are wimps who can’t handle anything–it’s a good, helpful thing to do, especially if you end up with kids abusing drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism who might carry that into adulthood. Guidance isn’t a bad thing.

I went to some of those events in college myself, and I appreciated the opportunity to go to them because it got me out of my dorm and at least out doing something else. And here I am, a functional adult who does, in fact, know how to handle stress despite my school holding those events. I rarely get stressed these days as it is, and when I do, I know what helps with it. I even know that if I get too overwhelmed or I just need a little push, I can schedule with my therapist, but I’m gonna guess that people who have a problem with puppies on a college campus probably have a problem with people seeking professional help, too.

The whole thing was blown completely out of proportion, really. I think part of the issue may have been that Paul’s dad specifically said “service dogs,” so I think maybe she misinterpreted their role on the campus and the purpose of the event and thought that it was a little more serious than it actually was.

I also find it kind of funny that someone got as worked up about de-stress events as she did. Maybe she could benefit from them herself.