Monday, October 27, 2008

Just Lizabell

This blog is now located at www.justlizabell.com.

At that address you will be able to find all my recent updates, posts, and means of contacting me. Please switch your RSS subscription over to that site using the links that are provided.

Thanks!

Elizabeth Marie

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Feed Part II

Ok one more reminder to everyone to update their feed!

You can go here to change to my feedburner feed.

For those of you that have already subscribed please make sure your feed address is set to:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/justlizabell (all lowercase)

as there has been some confusion in this area. Clearly I suck at the whole RSS things.

This is what I get for switching domains. *le sigh* It will all be worked out soon!

Thanks guys.

Also can anyone please notify me via the contact page if they are having feed issues? Thanks a million.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The New Feed

I've had a few people tell me they were having some problems with my RSS feed so let me just throw out another quick reminder.

The sites' original feed has changed so all of you who were subscribing to my old feed, which looks like this:

http://justlizabell.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default

will not be able to see any of my updates. : (

So. To avoid such chaos/misfortune please remember to subscribe to my new feed:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/JustLizabell

Which is actually still my old feed just with the new site backing it up. But never mind that. Just make sure you are on the up and up with the new feed.

Thanks much!

Monday, October 20, 2008

The New Just Lizabell

Ok everyone I have an announcement to make! But before I do let me first say sorry for the lack of regular posting for the last little while. I've been doing some pretty hefty design work and unfortunately it left me with very little time to write - let alone sleep. However the results are well worth it.

So without further ado...

May I present: Just Lizabell - New & Improved!

The blog has undergone some serious redesigning (but I managed to keep in all the things I loved about it in the first place) and I'm happy to say that it's new look is here to stay.

As much as I've loved being on blogger and the blogger community itself, Just Lizabell has grown beyond my expectations and because of that I think it deserves to have a more permanent type of home. So anyone that is running of my blogger feed please redirect it to:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/JustLizabell

And please note that there is also a new feed for comments!

Later this week I will be changing my blogger url so that it redirects to the new site to avoid any confusion! Also I have a new email address at which you can inquire about the new site if need be. Please do so at: contact[at]justlizabell[dot]com.

Thanks so much for everyones patience while I get the blog switched over.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Plasma TV For The Puppy

Ok I couldn't help but put this picture up. I walked around the corner out of my room this morning and this is what I saw:


Yea that's my puppy. And yes he's watching the fish in our fish tank. Nope it's not enough to watch me run around the house like an idiot trailing his toy rabbit behind me shouting "IT'S PETER COTTONTAIL TIME!" He has to watch the two fish (both roughly the size of a jellybean) swim back and forth from one end to the other of our ridiculously over sized tank.

Love you too Sam.

(Almost) Naked Chicken

Fun fact: My mom is a vegetarian. And I was too - for many years (much to the disdain of the rest of my family). It's a lifestyle I don't mind in many ways as I would much rather have a salad than a burger any day but it can also be rather challenging at times. It makes eating out extremely difficult. It was a practice I gave up when I moved into my fathers home after my sixteenth birthday - mostly because I knew it wouldn't be accommodated - but it's still something my mother holds fast to. She'll cook non-vegetarian dishes for the rest of us and just make separate little things for herself. And even though I'm more than aware of all the health/environmental benefits of it I've never been particularly tempted to take up vegetarianism again - until last night.

My mother was kind enough to pick up a chicken for us to roast yesterday at the store but upon bringing it home and opening it up to clean it we found this:

Yea - those are feathers. Yep. FEATHERS. Ew.

Is there not like a big long process in which all the chicken resembling parts of the chicken are REMOVED for the health/sanity of us chicken consumers?

My precondition with food is that it must not look like whatever animal it formerly called itself. I don't want to know.

I just about died upon seeing this. And just as I was gaining my composure enough to be able to take this picture my mom looks over her shoulder and goes:

"Hey [Little Brother] - will you go get the pliers?"

At which point I ran from the room, covering my mouth, and trying not to gag.

However I am now an expert on what it sounds like when an already dead chicken is plucked. Yeah. There's a sound.

I'll be spending the next week eating nothing but muffins and cornflakes - thank you very much.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day 2008



*Blog Action Day is a specific day of the year on which bloggers from across the world come together in an effort to raise awareness on a specific issue. This years issue is Poverty. This is my contribution.*

Remember in grade school how, when discussing other countries, our teachers would always refer back to that survey that demonstrated the wealth of the average person in America compared to the average wealth of the rest of the world? The one that shows that we Americans were among the richest people in the world merely because we owned a refrigerator, had more than one pair of shoes, or had access to clean drinking water on a daily basis.

I remember how our teacher would hand out different slips of colored paper and tell us all to stand on top of our chairs. Most of the class had yellow, pink, or green slips. A few had blue. Only one other kid had a red slip like mine. She explained that the yellow, pink and green slips demonstrated the different levels of poverty in which most people were living and told us that if our class was a small scale representation of the world everyone with one of these slips was living in an impoverished country. She asked those people to sit down. Over two thirds of my classmates quietly took their seats.

"Those people," my teacher told us "are the people that do not have clean water, safe food, or a house to live in. They don't have access to doctors and medicine when they're sick. They don't get to come to school like you do. They probably wont live as long as you will." She turned to the students holding blue strips. "Those of you that have blue papers are living in developed countries. You have safe houses, decent schools, some medical care, and a government that provides some benefits for you." With a nod from our teacher those children took their seats too.

Finally, she turned to look at me and the other girl that was still standing. "You two are from countries like America where you can have the best schooling available, be taken care of by the best doctors, and maintain a lifestyle that many people in the world could never dream of. You can own a car, new clothes, a big house, toys, and books. You have heating, indoor plumbing, and many other things that are considered luxuries to most of the world. The people like you amount to less than five percent of the world yet they own more than ninety percent of the worlds wealth." And that was when she looked me right in the eye and said "Don't you think we should share?"

Poverty is, and always will be, an issue of extreme importance but its devastating effects have been brought into the limelight recently by economical failures spanning our globe. It's common knowledge that both the American and the Canadian economy have not been doing well lately. People everywhere are in constant fear of losing their jobs, their homes, and their savings. It's terrifying to think about but the worst part of it is that it could all have been prevented. I truly believe that if it wasn't for the strong few who prey on the many that are weak we could have avoided a financial crisis like the one we're in now. If it wasn't for large corporations and billionaire CEO's that just can't have enough and choose to find ways to cut costs that deplete our markets, raise inflation, and leave so many jobless - without even a pension to get them by - maybe we might have been able to stop this from happening. If it wasn't for all the greed upon which our nation runs then maybe our unemployment rates wouldn't be so high and our citizens would be happier. If health care wasn't just another opportunity to make money, to cheat a patient out of something he needs in an effort to keep more money in the investors pockets, perhaps our country could enjoy the riches of being safe and healthy.

Just last night Crayon and I had a discussion over what we would both be doing to support ourselves financially and how that would affect where we live and when we get married. We talked about what kind of options we had with our careers and what choices we could make that would allow us to live comfortably - without the cloud of financial stress hanging over our heads. And it was then that I remembered standing up on that chair in school with all my classmates looking up at me and how I wondered if I was going to be one of the lucky few that didn't spend life worrying about whether or not I would be able to make rent or buy groceries that month. I didn't want to have to choose between three meals a day or college textbooks. I don't want to have to suffer through a career I despise for the sake of being able to fill up my gas tank every week. And most importantly I don't want Crayon to spend forty hours a week doing something he doesn't love just for money.

The amount of poverty that resides in our nation spreads far beyond our bank accounts and affects every aspect of our lives, from where our children attend school, to what kind of car we drive, to whether or not we can even afford to see the doctor once a year and unfortunately it's something that can't be fixed over night - but it can be fixed. So tonight, if you choose to watch the presidential debate, I urge you to do so not only with an open mind but with the welfare of those less fortunate than ourselves as your prime concern. Let us not elect a president who will, driven by greed, bring our country farther into debt and farther from accomplishing the goals that are important to the American people, but instead put in power a man who will start from the bottom helping those in the most dire of circumstances first and leave the corporate bailouts in the past where they belong. Let this election be a turning point for our society and a chance to eliminate poverty in every form.

*Blog Action Day 2008*
*Vote Obama 2008*


Monday, October 13, 2008

Christmas In October!

This is the picture I took before I went down to Salt Lake last weekend:


Prettyness right? Everything is green enough that you can tell Fall is just starting to show her colors. While taking this picture I was all excited for leaf fights and caramel covered apples. I was hoping Fall would stick around for a few months this year. Clearly, The Weather had other plans.

This is what I came home to:


Not cool. Not cool at all.

*Please excuse this brief intermission of actual writing while I download every Christmas song I can think of and decorate my room with red/green crepe paper THREE MONTHS in advance*

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Stress & The Yellow Canary In The Hat

The other day I was sitting at my laptop, writing a for the blog, when I was rudely interrupted by a chirping noise - coming from my ceiling.

That's never good.

I went to investigate and found nothing. However I did discover the culprit of a very obnoxious - albeit entirely separate - tapping noise. Mr. Woodpecker seems to have opened up spare whittling shop directly under the awning of my house. Unfortunately his hours happen to be exactly whenever I am working/writing/sleeping.

Since then I've decided that there is very much a small bird living inside some little space in the roof of my house. Which frankly, I've come to think, is pretty damn nifty. I like to consider him my little pet. He sits up high and watches me write and throws out little chirps of encouragement. Or so I like to believe. I think he's probably yellow and wears a red and white polka dot hat. My little yellow canary bird in a hat. (Apparently I've graduated from having imaginary friends but not pets. Nice.)

This little bird has also become somewhat of a metaphor for the way I've been thinking about my life lately. He has it all figured out. He probably has a mostly stress-free life. The area I live in is pretty wildlife friendly (the house cats tend to be rather tame and most dogs are kept indoors) so I doubt my little bird is having any Jason Bourne like chase scenes in his day-to-day existence. He has a constant food source. I know this for a fact because every time it rains the entire worm population in the tri-state area congregates on my front sidewalk and sings Christmas carols regardless of the season. Rain today? Yea well: BOOM. WORM SONGTIME.

Plus this bird also has an endless amount of entertainment. He can watch Sammy (the puppy) get chased by Little Brother, Little Sister, and Zoey - the evil dog. He can watch my mom have fits when she can't figure out something that's written in her textbook. And he can also while away his hours watching me at various times curse, hug, pet, and stare dreamily at my laptop (the last one is only when there's a picture of John Krasinski on it. Or something shiny. Or a Kindle.)

And all of this got me to thinking. I want a stress free life. My dentist says that I grind my teeth while I sleep - something to do with stress/how I lay when I sleep/my diet/exercise/the air/allergies and basically anything even remotely medical-ly sounding. However apparently if I was less stressed I would have fewer headaches and pointier teeth so that has become my new goal of late. Less Stress = Utopia Based Lifestyle. Or something like that.

Except that lovely God-like command isn't as easy as it sounds. You know just because the booming voice spouts off one day with "BE LESS STRESSED OR I WILL SMITE YOU IN SUCH A WAY THAT YOU WILL BE EVEN MORE STRESSED MWAHAHAHA" doesn't mean I can just magically poof and be all happy go lucky. Because, frankly, my life is a bit stressful.

Not that I'm not completely blessed. Because I am. I'm young, I have pretty great health, I have a family and friends that adore me, and I'm lucky enough to have found an amazing man who cares about me as much as I care about him. So overall I try really hard not to complain. But when it comes to matters like the economy, figuring out how to pay for college, trying to write my book, and ultimately finding some way to move back down to Salt Lake to be closer to the fiance things tend to get a bit overwhelming - and as a result - stressful.

So what I would really like is to be like my little bird that sits up in the ceiling watching things with a detached perspective. It doesn't bother him if maybe my website isn't working one day or if I didn't manage to get up as many posts as I would have liked one week. He's just happy to be safe and warm and able to chirp without anyone getting after him (which I've warned my family away from by threat of using the blender at 6 am on a regular basis - you want sleep? the bird stays).

I think the most important thing to remember is that my little bird also doesn't get stressed about being stressed which, remarkably enough, is something I've been known to do. Because when it really comes down to it I'll figure out how to pay for college. I'll get my website up and running soon enough. I'll find a job and an apartment down in Salt Lake in good time. Maybe it wont work out according to my timeline or the way I planned but it will all eventually work out. And that's what really matters.

I think my little yellow canary in the hat is a pretty good example for how I should try to live my life.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Ghost Busters

Let me preface this post by sharing a neat fact about me.

(Ok not so much neat as a total pain. But anyways.)

I am afraid of everything. Like EVERYTHING. Not in a paranoid/might possibly need medication sort of way - but more in a worry-some/worst case scenario type of way. For example:

- I'm afraid of being electrocuted/hit by lightening.
- I'm afraid of me or anyone I know getting getting in a car accident. (This particularly applies to the fiance who drives WAY too fast. You know its true Crayon.)
- I'm afraid of earthquakes/fires/tornadoes/floods and I guarantee that when I buy insurance for my first home whatever sales guy I purchase from is going to be damn happy he went into work that day as my "Every Feasible Disaster That Might Occur Even If Your Climate Only Makes Half Of Them A Possibility" package will probably pay for a trip for every single one of his children into the Happy Land of Orthodontia.
- I'm afraid of all bugs and anything that has more than four legs. Or no legs.
- I'm afraid of getting food poisoning (This is only because I've had it fairly recently though - Note to all Utahns - Stay Away From "Ocean City".)
- I'm afraid of getting some sort of disease/illness or of having anyone I know get one.

But first and foremost the thing that I'm probably the most terrified of - is dying. Which, according to all those weird studies I Google when I can't sleep at night, is pretty common. Simply because we are a society cultivated on the idea that we can and should plan for every possible outcome in our life. Except that doesn't really work with matters like death and the afterlife because we really just don't know how it all shakes down after we're dead and gone. And I, like many others I know, just don't like that. Ignorance is never bliss. And what it really comes down to is the kinds of beliefs you hold - particularly your religious beliefs.

Religion is something I've never really discussed on this blog, partly because I don't want to offend anyone and partly because I haven't seen enough of life to seriously commit myself to any one set of beliefs, but when it comes to death the two seem to go hand in hand. I grew up in a Mormon (LDS- the majority religion in Utah) household and while my family was attending church I always had the idea of Heaven (or possibly Hell - depending on how much of my Mom's perfume I had "borrowed" that week) to fall back on whenever my worries crept up on me. Since then most of my family has become "inactive" (Mormon lingo for: we don't go to church anymore) and while that's perfectly fine with me, as I was never terribly attached to the church and didn't lament the lack of its presence in my life, it has left me without a solid set of answers to turn to when I inevitably start to worry about how quickly my life is moving and what I have to face when its over. And because I have no real solid evidence one way or the other (afterlife vs. unconsciousness) I have no means of satisfying the little bug in my head that likes to remind me of these things at the worst possible moment. He wants answers and I have none to give him. Except not everyone has this problem. And when I say not everyone who I really mean is the Fiance.

When Crayon and I first started dating he let me in on a little fun fact. Apparently his house, and specifically the basement of said house, is haunted. Which is pretty cool. Now before you start rolling your eyes and using words like "poppycock" let me provide a little insight. Crayon cannot lie. He simply cannot do it. The few times he has tried to lie to me (concerning presents, surprises, and other such matters) he pretty much fails at it entirely. He grins, talks in this falsetto type voice, and can't maintain any form of eye contact. The whole thing is rather cute. And when I catch him at it -he blushes relentlessly- but he'll deny that to the ends of the earth.

The point is that if anyone else told me that their basement was haunted and had given me the examples he has I would have told them that they were full of it and probably refused to text them for a few days as punishment for trying to pull a fast one on me. Except Crayon can't lie. Which brings me to this whole new kind of realization. If Crayon can't lie and has told me that he's seen/heard a ghost in his house, then does that mean that "ghosts" actually are real (in some form or another -that is)? And if there is such a thing as a "ghost" does that also mean that there is some type of awareness after we die?

Frankly all of this tends to make my head hurt and also makes me a tad more stressed out soooo (because you guys *rocked* with all of your Tv suggestions - seriously my desk calendar is actually being USED now. it's pretty awesome) I would like to know if anyone else either believes in ghosts or has had any kind of ghost-like experiences. Any sort of insight is appreciated here - and if you think the whole ghost dealio is total bullshit that too would be helpful to know in its own way. If I get some good responses I'll do a follow up post with the best stories and (after I get Crayon's approval) I'll share some of what he's told me about his basement dwelling ghost. Oh - and if you don't want to share your story in the comment section (for personal/anonymity reasons or otherwise) or just think it would be easier to type up elsewhere feel free to email me instead. (See contact info ----->).

Thanks guys. Looking forward to your responses.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Must See Tv

We all have our little addictions in life. Some of us live off of Ben & Jerry's, others over indulge at Barnes & Noble, and still others cannot resist buying yet another set of expensive lingerie (obviously none of these apply to me. *ahem*).

However. The tried and true addiction that has taken over the entire country is Must See Tv (of which I have created my own definition). Hah. You thought I was going to say Palinsanity didn't you?

Must See Tv (as defined by me - omg rhyme!): Must See Tv is any Tv show which the general public of the U.S. finds itself addicted to regardless of production length, plot quality, or character depth.

Here are some examples - but before anyone freaks out just know that I'm not saying any of these shows are bad per se. Just that they've taken over our weekday evenings. And I may or may not be planning my schedule around some of them.

Examples: Heroes, Gossip Girl, One Tree Hill, House, The Hills, Dexter, and the most awesomely awesome show out there - The Office!

Yes. I admit it. I absolutely adore The Office. I didn't start watching it until the third season was under way but upon discovering I was hooked and subsequently had to spend an entire weekend catching up on the first two seasons I had missed.

I love the relationships between all the characters (not necessarily pleasant in some cases) and the interaction that takes place. The Office is maybe one of the best shows ever made. In my personal opinion it's also much better than its UK parent - which I found dull, hard to follow, and with lackluster dynamics between characters.

However with my extreme love of The Office taking over any available Tv time I might have - I'm worried that I'm possibly missing out on other great television and that when I rejoin society (Read: Salt Lake) I'll be totally and completely out of the loop and with little clue as to why everyone is talking about some guy named House and some girl named Peyton. Essentially I need more Must See Tv that I must see.

So this is where you guys come in! If you happen to watch/know of/ADORE any particular Tv show please leave a comment and tell me which one it is. I am determined to spend more time glued to my couch and am willing to take any help I can get in accomplishing such matter.

And for those of you that would have suggested The Office here are some pictures to tie you over. (Until Thursday - that is.)


Monday, October 6, 2008

Spying

Yesterday I got caught spying on my neighbors.

I'm not really a spying kind of girl I'm just very curious. Which is code for "I was REALLY bored and couldn't bring myself to leave the house in search of more interesting forms of entertainment."

I wasn't intentionally spying. I didn't have some little command station set up at my kitchen window in hopes of seeing some unlucky individual exit their house in such a manner that I felt the need to snatch up my binoculars and frighten the poor person to death. In fact I hadn't even consciously decided I was going to spy. It just sort of happened to me. Much like how a really bad outfit can sort of just happen to you. Maybe you didn't plan it - or maybe all of its pieces looked great on their own - but together this little outfit is by and far something that should never happen again.

I was the victim here of this unfortunate mischance. The victim I tell you. Not that I'm "playing the victim" for those of you that subscribe to those types of notions - merely that sometimes people find themselves in situations beyond their control and are, as a result, victimized by their circumstances (and not their subconscious). And it was in one of these situations that I found myself when I stood up from the small computer workstation I've assembled on the floor of my living room and happened to be standing directly in front of the window - out of which I could see my next door neighbors arguing out on their front lawn.

Now Utah is like the poster child/state for "Don't Wash Your Dirty Laundry In Public." The people here are largely Mormon and as a result they tend to be very private with not only their personal affairs but their lives in general. They gossip incessantly but never actually confront each other with the information they are privy to. They also happen to be especially wary of us "Non-Mormon's". My family doesn't attend church - hasn't since I was in middle school and because of this we are somewhat removed from our neighborhood social circle. I know my neighbors on the left have too many cats, an obnoxious redheaded daughter, and are going through a divorce. My neighbors on the right are teachers, travelers, and I suspect them of having a sex life akin to that of a twenty-something PR bachelor (they have a video camera that sits in their window - information I could have lived without).

So of course when I see my Neighbors Of The Left arguing in such a public fashion I do what any normal person would. I stand there and stare like some sort of dumb turkey. It's like when there's a nearby fire and the entire county gets in their cars and goes and drives towards it even though all of our smart-people-instincts are telling us that its probably not a good idea to head in the direction that the twenty-foot flames are spewing from.

Regardless of the fact that I am actually a somewhat capable/intelligent person, when I stood up and saw this man and woman arguing outside I literally could not stop myself. I had to stand there and watch. Which is exactly what I did. Except I also moved up closer to the window and pressed my nose up against the glass in an effort to hear more - my theory here being that if you're going to watch the cheesy soap opera you might as well full-on watch it - and not just let it play while the TV is muted.

I don't know exactly where the conscious part of my brain went (maybe it went to its therapy session so it could understand why I was behaving in such a ridiculous fashion) but where ever it was - it wasn't doing it's job. So when the man, who is still chewing out his wife for one reason or another, turns and looks at me (Face: Still Pressed Into Glass) I didn't immediately realize that oh yea - he's looking at me. Moments later - brain came back from therapy and figured out that OH SHIT HE'S LOOKING AT ME. At which point I proceed to drop to the floor like some sort of retarded sloth that woke up on the wrong side of the tree branch.

I haven't felt that dumb in a really long time. It's actually kind of refreshing. However I topped it by feeling even more stupid as I crawled out of my living room on my hands and knees (to avoid being seen by Arguing Man, his wife, or anyone else who could laugh at me) into my bedroom where I spent the remainder of the night contemplating the fact that I could never leave my house again.

This is what happens when I'm left alone for the weekend with no one to talk to but the Puppy.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Me Vs. The Weather

For some reason all the really chaotic things that happen in my life tend to revolve around water. I've been attacked by sprinklers and the car wash, I'm a terrible swimmer and I really don't appreciate it when my hair gets all rained on and turns icky. Whenever there is any form of precipitation whatsoever I always seem to end up mumbling curses at the weather under my breath while trying to soak up the 4 pints of water that have taken hold in my ponytail. Not really my idea of a fun afternoon. So today when it started raining and I knew I'd have to take the puppy out and that it would be a while (for some reason it seems to take EIGHT HOURS for him to go to the bathroom) I decided to get all smart about it. I donned a bright pink raincoat and gloves and was determined not to get wet. The Weather did not appreciate this and thus began plotting to ruin my day.

Here's where the The Weather first decided to get crafty. Two doors up from my house there is a family that also owns a Shih Tzu (my puppy, Sammy, is far cuter though - just for the record). This little dog is named Zoey. He is possibly the meanest dog in the world. I swear when that dog looks at me I can just hear it making all kinds of condescending remarks about how one shouldn't go hunting for the paper in the morning with hair that looks like she just spent four hours bouncing around in an inflatable castle while rubbing a balloon on her head. To which my response is "Well you have GREEN ribbons in your hair. And I'm pretty sure you're a boy! And green is sooooooo a girl color now." followed by me sticking my tongue out at Zoey who just laughs because he knows I'm scaring all the morning joggers.

The Weather - being as smart as it is - also knows that Sammy is absolutely terrified of Zoey. Sammy is still a fairly small puppy and he gets nervous around any type of animal that isn't either a fish or an earthworm as he thinks the former is entertainment and the latter is lunch. I also may or may not have had to throw a rock at the neighbors' cat because it was chasing him. So of course right when Sammy and I head out the door for our Morning Walk/I Think I'll Run Circles Around Every Tree I Can Find While I Try And Pee On Them At The Same Time gig - here comes Zoey, shooting out if his house like a cannon and booking it straight towards Sammy and I. This is probably the only time where my dog and I have had the exact same thought at the same moment because I swear the second we saw that little black and white hairball running at us we both looked at each other with an "Oh shit." sort of face and started running towards the picnic table that across the street from the house.

In retrospect it would have been far more intelligent to just go back inside the house. But nooo. I didn't get the "Think On Your Feet" gene. Thank you mom - for keeping that and the ability to use electrical appliances without setting off the fire alarm ALL TO YOURSELF. So instead of boarding ourselves up inside my house, Sammy and I are now perched up on top of a wet picnic table trying to stay somewhat dry, while Zoey barks madly from the ground below us. What a lovely position to be in. I'm sure I look real attractive trying to hold on to a puppy that's acting like he just took a bottle of Ritalin while also avoiding getting bit by what seems to be some demon-possessed dog with pogo stick superpowers. The dog is literally trying to jump up onto the picnic table. So of course I'm freaking out - trying out all my grown-up dog commands. "Sit!" "Stay!" "GET AWAY FROM ME YOU EVIL THING!" None of which are helping - when, out of nowhere, I see a shining ray of hope. Zoey's owner has come outside for some reason or another and is now standing in his driveway up the street watching this little nightmare unfold. I start doing this frantic arm waving thing while pointing towards Zoey and yelling "Your dog is trying to EAT my dog!" And just when I think I'm home free this is what happens: Zoey's owner looks at me and - I kid you not - shrugs. And then proceeds to walk back into his house.

What. The. Hell. What kind of owner lets his dog not only run wild but chase other dogs (and the owners of said dogs)? Come on - seriously. How hard is it to call your dog's name and get it to leave me alone? By this time Sammy is looking at my with these huge eyes as if he thinks we're never going to escape and will have to live on the picnic table for the next day and a half until my mom gets home and can chase Zoey away for us. This is about the point where The Weather (who has been laughing maniacally this whole time) decides to have some real fun with me. Remember how I don't like being wet? Well I didn't know it at the time but I was about to have a whole new understanding of the term.

I decide that Sammy and I are getting back into the house THIS VERY MINUTE. I remember that I have Sammy's treats in my raincoat and begin to formulate what I thought was The Most Brilliant Idea Ever in my head. Clearly - it was not. With a dozen puppy treats in one hand and Sammy gathered up in the other arm I throw the little bone shaped cookies as far as I can, wait a split second until Zoey runs after them, hauling ass like it's the Olympics, and then in a huge leap - jump off the picnic table and start running for the door. Well right then The Weather decides how things are going to go down and starts pelting what had to have been golf ball sized drops of liquid at me, soaking my front lawn, and seem to have also managed to alert Zoey that his captives are escaping because instantly the awful creature whips around and starts to chase down Sammy and I.

The problem with this scenario is that my lawn is shaped strangely. It has weird divots and odd random sprinklers that haven't worked since the early nineties. None of this was on my mind as I was running. However, it did cross my mind when my pant leg caught on one of these useless sprinklers and threw both Sammy and I into the small pond that had been forming in the little valley of grass in my front yard as it rained. Great. I'm drenched. Sammy is drenched. Zoey is heading toward us at the speed of light. And The Weather is laughing until his sides hurt. Luckily I was able to slip and slosh my way out of the little pond, and managed to make it to the front door and slam it before Zoey could terrorize us any further. The only good thing about the whole day was the loud thud I heard only moments after closing the door. I hope Zoey has a huge headache for the rest of the day.

*No dogs were harmed in the making of this post. Just my pride.*

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Palin/Biden Debate - Part I

Words cannot begin to describe how ridiculously excited I am for tonight's V.P. debate. Maybe about as pleased as I was when I heard that the moderator for tonight, Gwen Ifill, was not only a staunch Obama supporter but also *female*. Yay! If the Republicans try to pull any of their "Forcing Palin To Answer Genuine Questions And Prove She Deserves To Be America's Next V.P. Is Sexism" crap they will be staunchly reminded that according to their own standards the moderator, being in possession of both fallopian tubes and a pretty face, is not capable of sexism under any circumstances. So ha!

I happen to be a feminist kind of a girl and I like to revel in the fact that in Modern America, I am supposedly allowed to have it both ways. I can be both pretty and smart. I can be feminine and hard-working. I can be self-sufficient while still being respected. Just because I can open the door on my own doesn't mean its not a nice gesture-and one that I appreciate. Sarah Palin however seems to take this sentiment and twist it to all kinds of new heights. She's female, in a position of power that's way above her league, and instead of rising to the challenge and showing that she has just as much capacity to be there as any guy (not that she does in all reality - because we all saw the Katie Couric interview - but she could at least try) she's using her femininity as an excuse from having to do any real work. It's such a shame when there are SO many more educated and deserving women that could be in this position. I, quite honestly, was really hoping that Obama would pick Hillary as his running mate. I'm aware that there were complications with the matter and that it would have been a stretch for both of them but it would have been nice to see our entire party united under those two.

Anyways the point is that tonight will be one of the first times where the public is really going to see Palin the way she is. McCain won't be there to back her up (not that he does much of a good job of it anyways) and she wont be able to play off the comments of an interviewer and try to formulate answers from the details of the question she was asked (her attempt at this with regards to the Bailout Plan was quite pathetic) because from what I've seen of Iffil - she isn't going to put up with any of Palin's bs. Hopefully tonight will be a night that sways many of the swing voters to a more democratic tune.

Until the debate starts you can entertain yourself by going here. It's a website showing off Sarah Palin's brilliant mind.

Note: For those of you that are interested in hearing my comments throughout the debate tonight (cynical as they may be) you can follow me on Twitter (via the link on my side bar <---) and keep track of what I'm saying that way!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

This Is Why I Live In Utah





Is Autumn not the best season EVER? What's it like in other places?

Monday, September 29, 2008

Tug-of-War

Sometimes I would really love for my life to be like a movie. I would love to have some heart-wrenching scene with soft piano music (preferably composed by Philip Glass) punctuated by whispered promises and a few tears followed by one of those awesome kick-ass scenes with the motivational songs where you watch all the trials and tribulations of the main character as she struggles towards her goal (always maintaining her gorgeous hairstyle) and finally accomplishes the impossible. I want all the months of worry, stress, and mild psychosis when it comes to my writing to be all wrapped up nicely in a two minute song with a great drum beat. I see no reason why it shouldn't work that way.

Real life is so much harder than that though. Those kind of inspirational moments only last a few minutes and then whats left is the actual grunge work that you have to do. There's no fast-forwarding to the end - where the sunsets and the smiles are waiting. You have to wade through all the mud and the muck to get there and when you do there is absolutely no chance that your hair will be clean and shiny. And that's where I am with my book.

There's the excited stage where I have my nifty little idea and I lavish for a few days in the sheer brilliance that exists in ME form (not). Then there's a workaholic phase where all I do is write for several weeks and typically stop changing out of my pajama's (and when I do change, god forbid, its just back into another pair of pajama's). But when that's all said and done I end up here. Trying not to look at my storyboard because I swear its making all sorts of condescending faces at me and avoiding my computers' desktop with the folder that reads "The Book You Have Not, And May Never, Finish If You Don't Get Off Your Couch And Write Faster, Better, And More Than You Currently Are, You Lazy Procrastinating Girl."

It's not that I don't want to write. I do, truly I do. I love telling stories, I love making people laugh, and I LOVE looking at a finished piece and getting that feeling that lets me know that whatever I put down actually does make sense and might also sound nice too. It's just the in between part. The part that rests its furry little butt down just after I open my word document and before I close said document in a mad rush to find out who in my house is making popcorn and if they'll share. It's that part that scratches just below my ankle, nips at the tips of my fingers, mews incessantly and then bats its little eyelashes when I threaten to make a small sacrifice out of it in the fire pit, as if it did nothing wrong. It comes in the guise of parents and teachers, family and friends, and essentially anyone who has ever told me that money cannot be made from writing, that what I'm doing isn't work, and that I'm condemning my future husband (sorry Crayon) to a lifetime of poverty if I continue on as I am. It also rears its head under the day to day pretense of school classes, part-time jobs, scholarships, dentist bills, 401k plans, car payments, gas prices, rent, and - god help me - Etsy. I swear Etsy will be my undoing. But when I'm gone all my friends will have an ENORMOUS amount of cute (albeit somewhat unnecessary) paraphernalia to inherit.

I suppose what I'm really trying to say here is that lately my life has become this awful tug-of-war between the things that I Adore doing (my writing, blogging, taking pictures, reading) and the things that I feel like I Must do (school, work, life planning, career building, happiness ignoring). I'm trying to strike some sort of balance but unfortunately it doesn't seem like the world runs on the idea that we should make time for the things we love now instead of later.

I have a feeling this is going to be a stressful week.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

McCain/Obama Debate

Here's what made me really happy about the debate last night:
  • Obama didn't make a single cutting-down type of remark towards McCain. That is the kind of respect and perspective we need in a leader.
  • McCain did nothing but interrupt and tear down Obama - and it was noticed.
  • Obama did wonderfully at proving that even though he doesn't have as much foreign policy experience as McCain he is just as capable, if not better, at making good decisions regarding such matters.
  • Obama got through the whole debate without a single misstatement.
  • McCain showed great disrespect for not only Obama but the moderator as well while Obama was very well-mannered for the entire debate.
  • Joe Biden was interviewed following the debate but Sarah Palin was nowhere to be found.
  • People polled said that either Obama won the debate or it was a tie. Supporters for McCain seemed to be few and far between.
Overall I was really pleased with the way Obama stood his ground and presented his policies. I actually sort of feel bad for McCain and the fact that he has to pull false statements out of thin air to keep up with Obama. Not to mention that there's a bunch of controversy now over whether or not McCain swore a few times during the debate. It all seems pretty irrelevant at this point as Obama is moving further and further ahead in the polls. We'll have to see how the next month plays out but I have a good feeling that Obama will be our next president.

I'm also really looking forward to watching Sarah Palin trip all over herself during the debate with Joe Biden next week. Sounds like tons of fun to me.

*Obama 2008*

Friday, September 26, 2008

First Blog Award!

Am I loved or am I loved?


Me! - From over at Escape From Dullsville being the darling that she is - decided to give me the "I Heart Your Blog" award! This is Just Lizabell's first official blog award and as such we must celebrate with a full on post about why Google should make me the next Blog of Note! Just kidding. We will, however, do as the awards rules state and:
1) Link to the giver of the award (see above - thanks Me!).
2) Nominate seven other blogs you heart and link to them as well (see below).
3) Leave these bloggers comments to let them know they are loved as well!
Soooo - *fanfare* here are the seven blogs that I adore and am passing this award on to.
1) Working Girl - Because they are both an inspiration to us all!
2) Oh! How Lovely! - Because she's a total sweetie, mildy fashion obsessed, and holds fun contests!
3) The Lucky Nest - Because of her charming writing, and adorable Etsy creations.
4) Folding Bike Destinations - Because I'm to much of a wimp to do what he does!
5) Kristin - Because I wish I could take pictures like her (and she's a sweetheart too).
6) Katie - Because she's a great mommy and her blog makes me smile.
7) Escape From Dullsville - Because she was so sweet to give me this award!

Thanks again to Me! for being such a great reader/commenter and congrats to all the other blogs who have recieved this award as well!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Community College

Ok this was not part of my planned post but when I opened up Blogger I somehow accidentally did something nifty with my mouse (its never on purpose) and this little graphic: Check Spelling - the one we Blogger users all know and love as our faithful spelling-fixer-upper - magicked its way down into my post. And I can't just delete it. Look how cute it is! Plus I cant figure out what I did or how I got it down here with me and thus can't replicate the effect and give my little spelling graphic any friends - so instead of being deleted off to Discard-O-Land he's coming along for the ride. I'm sure he feels very special to be the only one of his buddies that got mentioned/placed in a post. Even if I didn't intend it. I have also saved him to my picture folder soooo be sure to be on the lookout for him again. He's too adorable not to come poking back around, looking for more posts to interrupt. I think at some point we'll have to name him. Along with a few other various characters that are trying to weasel their way into my posts.

Anyways! What I really wanted to share will all of you is how much I absolutely cannot stand when I am on the phone and get put on hold/transferred to 8 or 9 various departments and end up talking to a ridiculous amount of people - none of whom seem to know the answer to my question.

I was calling down to one of the community colleges in my state, trying to figure out why I couldn't log into my little See Your School Shit On The Web If We Feel Like Letting You Today thing. Obviously today was not one of those days. I put in my little user name and request a change of password since its been AGES since I had to log in there and - lo and behold - the evil site tells me that my information doesn't match what they have. Well. Last time I checked I knew how to spell my own name. I also happen to know my birth date. (May 14 for those of you that want to send me presents! Like a Kindle! Ohmigod I would looooooooove a Kindle. Apparently you can read blogs and all kinds of fun stuff on them. Not that I expect you guys to send me one since they're like 400 dollars and....this is so not what I'm posting about right now. Damn.) I typed in my little student ID number right too. I checked. Many times! So finally I get the bright idea to call up the little student help center and after a gazillion rings some lady who is clearly not a student, and doesn't care for the breed either, answers in the most nasally voice I have ever heard.

"Yes?"

Yea - no "Student Help Center this is *insert creepy name here*" Just a "yes?" Great way to start off.

"Um for some reason I cant seem to log into your website. I have all my information and I've tried it several times so I know I'm putting it in right. It says it doesn't match what's in your records. Is there any way you can tell me what information you guys have so I can get it changed?

"Well are you putting it all in there right?

.... Uh...did I NOT JUST SAY THAT?! "Yes. I'm doing it right" (*side note: This is where Crayon would say "That's What She Said!" and get this cute smug look on his ridiculously handsome face.)

"Well I guess something don't match what our Data Center has on ya"

Lady. I just said that. Without a Utahan accent that could make birds fly into walls.

"Yes I'm positive that everything I've entered is correct."

"Well I'ma transfer you to the Data Center now."

"Great. Thanks" *terribly 1990's hold music ensues - please god let me avoid hearing "Holiday" by Madonna ever again*

"Data Center" Wow. A greeting. Must be a normal guy.

"Hi I was having trouble logging into the web page and-"

"OhyouneedtheStudentHelpCenterforthatI'lltransferyou!" I can hardly understand what the dude said because he was in such a rush to spit out his words and get me off the phone that his tongue has probably collapsed like a fat cat on a windowsill after spending too much effort chasing the neighbors canary bird. Had the guy even listened to me he would have known that NO - I do not need the Student Help Center or Ms. Utah Nasal back there who is probably sitting at her desk eating pork rinds while laughing about me, the poor girl who will surely never find her way out of this tangled maze of phone tag.

"Yeeeeeesssssss" She draws it out in this annoyed tone of voice. God forbid we have to answer the phone TWICE in an hour.

"Hi - look its me again, the Data Center transferred me back here. I really need to get that information changed so I can log in to the website."

"Oh. Well how come you didn't say so? I haaave a computer."

Wow. Is that what that big square thing sitting on your desk is? Thank you Nancy Drew now I can return to my life with the piece of mind that somewhere in the world there is a person with the deductive abilities to realize that she, like every other office worker on the planet, has a computer available to use at her disposal. This is the part where I seriously considered reaching through the phone and strangling this woman.

"Lovely." (Which is code in my language for "You stupid stupid person.") "So can we change that then?" I give her all my info, wondering if this woman is smart enough to attempt Identity Theft.

*long awkward pause*

"Um hello?" There is no way this lady hung up on me. So help me god I will drive down to Salt Lake and raise hell in the Student Help Center if I must.

"I'm getting it, hold on." Yea - as if she's the one who should be impatient.

"Well it looks like they didn't have your Social Security number so they made one up for ya and that's why you cant log in. So you WEREN'T puttin' all your stuff in right."

"I'm sorry, hold on. They made up a Social Security number for me? They just made one up?"

"That's our policy"

"Your policy is to make up peoples information if you don't have it? Right ok. Well can you give it to me so I can try logging in with that number."

"I'm sorry I cant give out Social Security numbers over the phone." You have got to be kidding me.

"It's not real! It's not a social - its just made up numbers!" I say in disbelief. "Well can I change it and put mine in there instead?"

"No you have to come do that here in person. I don't do that over the phone." (*Another "That's What She Said" for Crayon)

"Well then how am I supposed to get into my account?"

"Here I'll give you the number." Uh - ok? Did we not just establish that we cant do that? I want to say something snotty but instead I remain quiet in case this lady's bipolar memory starts coming back. She gives me my little number and I hang up, thanking her for some unknown reason, to which she promptly slams the phone down on the receiver, as if I'm some sort of huge inconvenience to her. All this for the sake of viewing my transcripts.

I type my little number in, wait patiently for it to load...and....YES! IGOTONTHESTUPIDWEBSITE-NEENERNEENERNEENER!

Only to find out there's a hold on my account which: prevents me from viewing my transcripts.

So now I have to call the Accounts Department, which I promptly do. Only to find out that Monotone Brittany only works from 9-4. It's currently 3:15. Apparently, since I keep getting nothing but her voicemail - leading me to believe she's gone home an hour early, the entire community college is a magnet for incompetence and anti-work syndrome.

I may have to burn it to the ground. If only to improve the gene pool by doing so.

This is why I'm a writer. So that I don't have to deal with the massive amount of insane people that occupy this state on a daily basis.

Alright. Off to go call them again. *Hums "Holiday"*

Monday, September 22, 2008

Writers & Readers

Someone once told me that writing is about becoming conscious. It's about returning to that place in yourself where you're open to everything the world has to offer, good or bad, and happy to learn your lessons from it all. Writing is about letting people look at the world from behind your eyes. And that's what makes creative writing so personal. It's not a neutral textbook description, a glossed over magazine article, or a monotone news report. It's everything and everyone you know all rolled up into one little marble and flung out on the hardwood floor for whoever wants to pick it up and inspect it. It's every emotion and trial, victory or defeat, that you've ever had - laid out on the table with just a little bit of trimming for everyone else to pass judgement on.

And in many ways, that's what makes it wonderful. Because if you're lucky (and I try so very hard to be lucky) you will get to have those incredible moments when someone reads your writing and smiles, laughs, or tells you that - yes, they know what you mean, they understand how you feel. And that is all the validation that a writer can ever need. To know that maybe some little part of what you've written made someone pause for a second and think about things a little differently. Or that maybe, after a long day, someone will read something of yours that reminds them to be strong, to always pursue what's most important to them, and to never ever give up no matter how hard things might seem. I think that that is what we all look for in good writing - something to connect with, and to take us out of our own perspectives for just a little bit.

Because the best and truest writing is the kind that allows us to see ourselves more clearly through its pages. It's the kind that forces us to look at the issues that we ignore and encourages us to act upon the things we find unacceptable. It a renewer of hope and a light for those that have lost their way. The kindest and most generous of writing is that which doesn't appease us with fairytale endings but instead encourages us be brave even when we feel unsure. It's the writing that entertains while it educates, and teaches while it transports us away from the daily grind. This is the kind of writing I want to do. This is the kind of writer I want to be.

So in light of all of this let me give a little shout-out to all the awesome-ly awesome people that have not only subscribed to my feed and followed the blog, but also endured all the techie work (which never seems to end) and left me some amazingly kind comments. You guys and all your comments are what keep me writing (and this blog going). So thanks a ton everyone - you guys are the best readers a girl could ask for.


Elizabeth Marie

P.S. Since we're talking about the blog I'd love if you guys could show it off to your friends? Hmm? Wink-wink!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Popcorn Popping

Me: Tell me what my Christmas present is!

Crayon: No.

Me: Come on!

Crayon: Nope.

Me: You better tell me. Or else.

Crayon: Or else what?

Me: I'm going to fill your car with popcorn kernels, roll up all the windows, and let you have a field day watching our 100 degree weather turn your car into a portable microwave.

Crayon: ......

Me: You're car is gonna smell like popcorn FOREVER.

Crayon: ......

Me: And you'll never get all the popcorn out of the seats and the carpeting.

Crayon: ....

Me: Not to mention you'll attract every seagull in the state with that popcorn smell. I can already see you weaving through traffic trying to escape them as they dive through your sun roof in hopes of a beak-full of buttery delicious-ness.

Crayon: ......Really?

Me: *feigns innocence* Really. That is - unless you want to tell me what my Christmas present is?

Crayon: I'll take my chances with the seagulls.

Me: Oh. My. God. Fine. I'm so doing the popcorn thing. Just you wait.

Crayon: If you put popcorn in my car you can't have your Christmas present.

Me: *pouts* Fine.

I wont put it in his car. I'll just put it on his sunroof. Nice surprise for when he opens it.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Bug Zapper Racket

Has anyone ever seen one of these?

It is possibly the scariest and most inhumane little invention I've ever come across. So of course my fourteen year old little brother absolutely adores it. He thinks its God wrapped up in bug-zapping form. I think its mildly grotesque.

I didn't even know what this thing was. I knew it sat on the ledge in our exercise room and I knew it had been there for a while. What I didn't know was that this little thing had a button allowing one to send a current of electricity through its metal netting and subsequently kill whatever small winged creature it came in contact with, which vaguely reminds me of a medieval torture device. Fun right?

I might not be so biased against these things if not for the horrific display of bug homicide that was its first demonstration in front of me. The problem with this bug zapper is that it seems to be designed for small bugs. Flies. Bees. Mosquitoes. Well, I live in Utah - land of the ants that could possibly eat your dog for dinner and the beetles that chase you down with pincher's the size of a small crowbar, so the bug zapper is a little bit out of its league here. That however, does not stop my little brother from using it. Not even a little bit. So when a moth the size of vampire bat comes fluttering into my kitchen the first thing he does is book it out of the room in search for any death-by-electrocution-tennis-paraphernalia while us girls cower in the corners of the room, trying to avoid getting the wretched thing caught in our hair, and have completely forgotten the "It's Just As Scared As You Are..." rule. Whatever.

So Little Brother comes back into the room, hauling ass, in hopes that the giant winged bug will still be there. Unfortunately it is. Its landed all carefree like on the fireplace, completely unaware of the chaos its causing, and generally minding its own business except for the fact that its in my house. I can practically hear the thing singing "The hills are alive..." in all its nonchalance. Little Sister and Mom and I are all still freaking out shouting things like "Get it out! Get it out" "Its going to tell its friends to come back here if we let it stay!" "It probably has rabies!" and god knows what else while Little Brother slowly creeps forward, arm outstretched, racket in hand, and finger poised on the button that I'm sure is labeled "Emit Cruel, Unusual, and Surely Fatal Death Shock".

The room gets quiet as Little Brother brings the racket only inches away from the moth which is still perched on our mantle. We're holding our breaths. He fires up his miniature piece of electric sports equipment. And then.

ZAP!

If you've ever lit some of your own hair on fire (yes I've done this - both to myself and other people) then you can understand the horribly disgusting smell that this bug was giving as it burned. And I do mean burned. Because, as boys tend to be, Little Brother was thrilled with his new found power as Bug Executioner, and so even after the moth fell to the ground and was clearly dead he continued to roast the thing with the tennis racket. I am plainly horrified and am burying my head in my sweater to avoid breathing in the dead bug fumes which are now wafting through the house. Little Sister and Mom are egging Little Brother on with the type of chanting one would expect to hear at an ancient Roman gladiator match.

It would be one thing if it had ended there. Instead Little Brother gets down on all fours and presses the racket into the bug on the ground like one would with a spatula to a pancake causing it to not only smoke and sizzle but to emit even more of the awful smell.

"Just wait." Mom tells me.

"It gets better!" Little Sister adds.

Better how? I get my silent question answered when the moth, which is now stuck to the racket - held on by its 9th degree burns- crackles and finally gives a loud pop, accompanied by a small white-ish blue-ish ball of light which apparently means moths have a tendency to spontaneously combust after 50,000 volts. I'm immediately having flashbacks to the first time I saw The Green Mile.

"That was awful" I remark, staring at the mini cremation site our kitchen floor has become. No one agrees with me.

What is our world coming to if we can't be happy killing bugs with acidic spray and blunt force like we used to?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Feeling Adored

Terribly sorry for the lack of updates over the last few days. I took a mini vacation to spend some time down in the city with Crayon (who was nothing short of adorable the whole time) and somehow managed to ignore both my laptop and cell phone while down there. It was a lovely break from the book writing and I was once again reminded that I'm the luckiest freakin girl in the world (boyfriend wise- that is). Because seriously I had no idea that there were still guys around that would insist on opening every door, holding your bags when you go shopping, and paying for dinner. Crayon, I kid you not, does all of these things and so much more. He's happy to stay home and watch The Office with me (OHMIGODITSALMOSTSEPTEMBER25TH!) or to go see all the obnoxiously girly movies that are playing in the tri-state area and he endures my drunk-sounding-semi-awake-but-still-trying-to-hold-conversations state that inevitably comes about around 10pm. I have this marvelous ability to both fall asleep at the same time that everyone woman over the age of 65 finishes her cross-stitching and decides its time for bed and to believe that I'm still capable of saying immensely profound things while I'm drifting in and out of la-la land. Very attractive I'm sure. And yet this handsome brown eyed guy lets me ramble on about frappuccino's and fire trucks and only teases me the tiniest bit about it the next day. Definitely a keeper.

I've moved over from that group of women that pooh-pooh's romantic movies as society's way of sucking our gender in to their if-i-buy-*random hair care product goes here*-then-i-would-surely-be-in-love-like-that bullshit to the quietly happy group that can enjoy the chick flicks without wondering if I'll ever by that happy and simply hopes that every other woman has the chance to feel like I do and be adored like I currently am. I do wish that our culture wasn't so judgemental - be it on the basis of appearance or money or upbringing but fortunately for us there seem to still be a few good guys hanging around that aren't looking for an airbrushed type A model, but rather a real sort of girl that they can try to build a life with.

Also any guy that willingly lets his girl post about him on her blog under the nom de plume "crayon" has got to be one confident dude.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Children

There are certain stipulations by which our society lives. Its taken us time but we've made efforts towards creating a delicate balance of equality between men and women. Women can now hold most of the same jobs as men. We are afforded the same benefits, such as insurance and 401k plans. We are almost compensated at the same level. Almost. However there is one item that tips the scales in favor of men (or women depending on your view). Women are still afforded certain benefits if they become pregnant. And this fact changes the perspective on everything.

Now, even in an era that promotes sexual awareness/education and the ability of a woman to choose when she becomes pregnant, having children is still considered something you're supposed to do. Which becomes a difficult situation for those of us who don't want to.

"Why?"

"Why what?"

"Why don't you want kids?"

".....Because I don't."

It's a conversation that few seem to be able to accurately grasp. Instead they respond with answers like:

"Oh you're too young. You will later." - Is there some specific day on which the "I-Want-To-Have-Children-Now" hormone kicks in? Am I, and educated woman, supposed to simply let my body's hormones control my decision making process. I don't spend three days out of the month gorging myself and hurling insults at those around me - and if I did would society make exceptions for that kind of behavior? The very thing that defines us as being more than simply animals is our ability to make decisions based on logic and reason, not just savage instinct or flaring hormones.

"You aren't mature enough to want children." - I'm sorry but getting married at 18 and popping out 6 children that you have neither the means to support nor the education to raise doesn't seem like a very mature line of thought to me.

"But babies are so much fun!" - Is this the materialist, buying new baby clothes every day, taking dozens of professional portraits, showing off to my friends side that's coming out? If I chose to have a child I wouldn't do so merely to have a new accessory to hang off my hip.

The truly frustrating part of all of this is that people simply don't understand. Now please don't misunderstand. I think it's great that there are women out there who believe that life is a precious gift for them to bring into this world and consider it a blessing that they can have children. That's absolutely wonderful. I have great respect for the women who choose to do so. I watched my mother raise three children (one of whom is hearing impaired) by herself - god knows its not an easy task by any standard. However, even though I can appreciate the selflessness these women show by wanting to take care of another human being, I'm just not one of them. It's nothing to do with a career, or selfishness, or fear. I simply have no desire to bring a child into this world. I don't think I'm qualified to be a parent and given the state our environment is in I can't justify bringing a child into an environment that may not even be habitable for their life span. It just feels wrong.

What really concerns me is that there are other women out there, with the same ideals, who instead of recognizing their choice for what it is -a choice, end up believe that there is something wrong with them because they don't have that maternal instinct whispering in their ear. What I want to know is why we can't let others make their own choices and accept them as they are?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Teapots!

I know I don't need to spend time on Etsy. I know that. However, god help me, the amount of cuteness that is radiating from Etsy's vintage section makes me want spend ridiculous amounts of money on things I don't need, will never use, and can't afford. But I'll be damned if I don't fill my first house with pretty rugs and wall prints from the eight hundred stores I just bookmarked into my favorites (if Crayon doesn't mind, that is - and knowing him he'll just be excited with me and encourage me to buy everything. bad influence).

The problem with me and Etsy is that we just can't commit. It gets all anxious and starts trying to seduce me withs its colorful mugs and artsy dish towels and then I get all withdrawn and start freaking out over my budget (which does NOT have an Etsy column in it btw) and then it gets clingy and tries to win me back by showing off all its pretty new accessories and the whole thing just starts all over.
Still, here are the results of my mini-afternoon-affairs with Etsy of the teapot variety. Did I mention I collect cute little teapots? I don't actually drink tea or anything I just think they're cute. Yeah, its a problem. They have support groups for people like me.

Ok this first one isn't actually a teapot. It's like a little favor box for parties. Someone please throw me a party or do something fantastic so that I might have an excuse to buy tons of these and fill them with other pretty things. Linkie

Ok this second one is sheer brilliance in a teapot. I mean what is this exactly? I'm thinking a cross between a zebra a giraffe and an an armadillo embodied in a teapot. I love it. Absolutely love it. Someone please buy this for me. Please. I NEED it. ;-) Linkie!

Ok this one last one appeals to the more hippy-esque side of me. I could never have the heart to actually put water in this. I'd feel bad and probably end up crying and assuring it that I meant no harm. Love the sun theme going on here. Linkie!

Ok that's all for tonight. More Etsy addiction to come soon!

9/11

I like to consider myself somewhat informed when it comes to the events and issues that are prominent and pressing in our nation. I have a fair list of various news websites I keep track of, I keep an eye on Google Trends, and I follow Google News on Twitter. What's disturbing about all of this is that not from any of these various sources did I come across any articles or feeds relating to the preparation for, or remembrance of 9/11 until this morning. Now maybe I wasn't looking hard enough, or in the right places, or maybe its become our custom in America to make speeches first and amends later. It's frustrating because while the higher officials of our government are waving flags and standing at podiums, the people of America are sending flowers and visiting graves. The speeches and the services are nice but they don't fill the gap left by those that were lost on this day seven years ago. The effects of such tragedy are spread far and wide - and even those of us that didn't lose someone that day are not removed from the responsibility to respectfully honor the sacrifice that so many people made for their country as well as their family and friends that day.

In many ways its a blessing that this reminder should fall so closely to our presidential election. It's an opportunity for the people of America to remember what was lost and also to remember that we must hold our government responsible for its negligence and its carelessness with the lives of our fellow citizens. We cannot allow our country to be run by another man who will sit quietly by in a classroom while our nation falls under attack. We cannot allow our leaders to do nothing in the face of natural disasters in which many lives might have been spared. We should not be forced to suffer the consequences of selfish, greedy men, that take advantage of our nations trusting people in an effort to dissuade us from the truth. The most important thing we can do now is to hold dear the memory of how our country came together in the aftermath of 9/11 and realize that this election is an occasion that calls for such unity amongst us.

Regardless of age, race, or income there are issues that we should all be able to agree on. Health Care should not be an opportunity for the wealthy to prey upon the poor. The citizens of a free nation shouldn't have to make a choice between seeing the doctor and putting food on the table. Quality education should be provided at no cost, in safe - healthy - environments for every child. Women should have the right to decide what happens to their own bodies. Anyone should have the right to visit their loved ones in this hospital - regardless of their sexual preference. And above all we must all come together to protect our planet from the dangerous effects our technology has on it. This earth is our home - and it's the only one we have. All talk of economy and expense must be put aside because without our planet we wont have a place to hold those discussions, let alone a place for the children of this generation grow old.

On this, the seventh anniversary of 9/11, I urge everyone to be just a little kinder to those around them, to our planet, and even to those they may not agree with. I hope that you all take a moment today to remember those that are no longer with us, those that are that have suffered from the events of that day, and those that are currently fighting for what we hold most dear here back home. Let us all show our gratitude for the courage of those at ground zero by ensuring that no American life is ever spent again without dire need and virtuous reason. If there is one thing, more than any other, that we might to do to honor the memory of 9/11, I believe it would be to make good use of the processes set up by our forefathers, and to elect a man that can lead us out of the mess that has been made of our country these last eight years, and hopefully, that will be enough.

*Remember 9/11*
*Obama 2008*

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Sammy Joe














Everyone: Meet Sammy Joe. Sammy: Meet everyone. I assure you that even though he can't read he checks the blog updates just as avidly as I do. Sammy is a Shih Tzu (try to hold back the "shit" jokes please people - i know its tempting, albeit, unoriginal), a lover of the rain and fleece blankets (pictured here). He's eight months old, prefers his hair up in a little palm-tree-like ponytail on his head (also pictured here) and is already a great dancer. Welcome to the blog world Sammy.

P.S. Sammy also enjoys poetry, jazz music, and long walks on the beach. ;-)

Pigs In Lipstick

Here's my favorite bit of controversy from the last few days. Obama was quoted saying:

"You can put lipstick on a pig. It's still a pig. You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It's still going to stink after eight years."

Sounds like a pretty straightforward message regarding the need for change and the idea that the GOP is merely dressing up old policies with campaign jargon stolen from the Democrats, hoping to win over more votes with empty promises. Unfortunately for Obama, who is still struggling to get the Republicans to stand up straight and have some serious debate on the most pressing issues our nation faces, McCain has decided to misunderstand the comment as a personal, sexist, attack on the Vice (Pit bull) President nominee Sarah Palin, who -lets not forget- reminded us that the difference between a "Hockey Mom" and "Pitt bull" is, of course, lipstick. What impressive rhetoric from the person who could be second in command at the white house and has confessed to her adoring public that she doesn't actually know what the vice president does.

I also loved what Obama's camp returned with upon McCain's accusations. Not only did they rehash their frustration at the lack of serious politics they also reminded McCain that he himself used the exact same phrase to describe the health care plan of Hillary Clinton. Still sexist is it?

*Obama 2008*

Monday, September 8, 2008

Frank

Me: So what are you up to tonight?

Crayon: Heading up to Mel's place to work on the car. I miss it. And the bunnies.

Me: The bunnies?

Crayon: Yeah. The ones that run around in Mel's backyard. I've named them all.

Me: You've named the bunnies? Let's hear it.

Crayon: Furry One, Furry Two, Momma Furry, Baby Furry, and Frank.

Me: Ummm....Frank?

Crayon: Yeah. Frank. He's the fearless one. I've caught him chasing the deer twice!

Me: Frank. The bunny. Chases deer?

Crayon: Yeah. Duh.

Me: *I'm-not-buying-this-pause*

Crayon: He tackles them too....

Sunday, September 7, 2008

A Better Way Of Living

Sometimes I wonder how we got to this point in our society. I wonder how it is that our whole lives came to be built on what seems to be a never ending cycle of stress, worry, and fear. I look around and all I see is how trapped we seem to be. How many of us have to sacrifice things we love, want, or need because our lifestyles, and the methods provided to maintain such comfortable lifestyles, dictate that we must do so. The binds that prevent us from experiencing many of the truest joys of life and continue to push us out of bed to our 9 to 5 jobs each morning are spread far and wide, undeterred by age, race, income, or hometown. They are the school loans, the insurance premiums, the mortgages, the cars, the interest rates, the credit cards, the ever out of reach promotion, and without fail the very comforts of life that we strive so hard for that ultimately end up making our lives uncomfortable.

I have friends that wanted to travel. I have friends that wanted to volunteer, teaching children in impoverished countries. Friends that are now, working part time, trying to put themselves through school. My mother wanted to be a nurse, to own her own home, to retire comfortably, without worry. She's now just barely going back to school, over forty, without any real estate to her name and without a retirement account to fall back on. My father wanted to make his living writing music. He currently works in electronic marketing, writing songs at night, and flying to Nashville in pursue of a dream that's slowly become a hobby over the last twenty years. One of my best friends from high school wanted to be a make-up artist. Now she works at a dealership, selling cars for sixty hours a week. What is it that allows us to write off the things we want, as later dates in our calendar, and things to do - but at the bottom of our list. How is it that we let the most important things fall through the cracks for the day to day sake of "making it", of "surviving"?

I wonder if college tuition was free, if health care was provided without a second thought, and if banks and credit card companies were regulated more closely, would the average middle class worker stand a little more of a chance when trying to build a life? If hospital bills and co-pays didn't force people to sell their homes would it be easier for someone to finance a small business? If not for student loans that keep us tied down and credit cards that never seem to get paid off would there be more people taking a year to go travel and see the world? Is it a lot to ask that we be free to move about and create the lives that we truly wish for? Should our society not be built on the ideas of lifting up its citizens instead of chaining them down for the sake of profit? How did we get to this point? And more importantly, is there a better way of living?

Lizzy

Friday, September 5, 2008

Palinsanity

One of the most frustrating aspects of politics is that we, the general public, are in this constant struggle to sift through the propaganda, the cover-ups, and the flat out blatant lies that we're delivered through not only sickeningly biased media sources (read: FOX News) but from the candidates themselves. However the one aspect of all of this that I find particularly infuriating is when through sickly sweet public statements public figures reveal themselves to be nothing more than brown-nosing, deceitful, hypocrites.

Take the newly nominated GOP vice president candidate, Sarah Palin, for example. This lady, the farthest from being considered feminist you can get while still having ovaries, has proved herself time and again to be uneducated, misinformed, and shows blatant disregard for anyone who's political agenda does not match her own, but this time she has really outdone herself. We recently discovered that Gov. Palin, recent mother of four month old "Trig", her down syndrome baby, took a blood test during her pregnancy to screen for such anomalies as down syndrome and various other birth defect. *Gasp* What?! How could she? A blood test?! How dare she take a doctor advocated, obstetrician encouraged, blood test that had she refused would have landed her in a counseling session and allows her to make an informed choice. We all know how firmly Anti-Choice Sarah Palin is. So what was she thinking when she told her doctor that yes, she would like to have this blood test done to see what defects her baby might have, given the fact that she's 44 which puts her odds of having a down syndrome baby at roughly 1 in 30. How wonderful for her that she was given the opportunity to make that decision and to be an informed mother. And its so thoughtful of her to be a strong advocate of the groups and ideals that would see to take that choice away from women. Because not only is Palin a die-hard Anti-Choicer she's also against abortion without an exception for rape or incest. Expert lawmakers have confirmed that if, as Palin advocates, Roe Vs Wade was overturned it would also make it illegal to have an abortion for down syndrome or other birth defects. If Palin is such a strong believer in denying abortion in any and all circumstances, be it birth defects, rape, or any other undesirable situation why didn't she refuse any kind of testing thereby denying herself the same choice that she would deny the rest of us women. Her choice to raise and attend to the needs of her baby are admirable but it must be remembered that its only admirable because she chose to. Had it been mandatory that she carry her baby to term there would be no fanfare, nor parading of her "motherly ideals" because it simply would have been something she had to do. She might even be deemed reckless for having a baby at such a late age in life when the chances of the child being born with defects are so high instead of being glorified as selfless because she chose to have the child as she is now. The fact of the matter is that its incredibly hypocritical of Palin to take advantage of the choices that other women before her, with whom she has little more than a chromosome in common, fought so hard to have and then turn around and try to take those same rights away from the rest of us.

It's absolutely appalling.

Vote Obama 2008

Thursday, September 4, 2008

King Of The Flip Flops

Dont you just love being right? Or, for that matter, who doesnt love when they get to tell someone that may or may not have been teasing them about something that they themselves were in fact RIGHT? And even better than being right is when, on the rare occassion, something percieved to be odd, different, or just plain out of the ordinary - is actually THE COOLEST THING IN THE WORLD.

J (the boyfriend/fiance - who will henceforth be known as Crayon) has, since we started dating, been teasing me because of the fact that my second toe (the one normal people wear toe rings on) is slightly longer than all my other toes. However, today I have news for him, and anyone else that might have been subject to this form of discriminatory prefrence when it comes to toes.

Stephanie Klein (of the blog Greek Tragedy - see the blog list ---->) has not only mentioned this affliction/talent. She has given it a name.

*ahem* Royalty Toe.

Brilliant isn't it? SO HA!

No longer will my Royalty Toe take any negative criticism, or poking fun at. It will stand proud - nay King-Like, to be compared with all the other nifty body anomalies such as joint dislocation, ear dancing, double-jointedness, and all varieties of tongue origami.

And since I can do none of the above I am quite proud of my Royalty Toe.

I will be spending the day wearing new flip flops as a reward for my Royalty Toe's modesty in light of this new discovery.


Lizzy

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Crazy Ones

Parents are such interesting creatures. I'm not really sure when parenting became a hobby/pastime in our society, but I'm going to assume it was around the same time that the breed of psychotically obsessed, my-child-will-win-the-beauty-pageant-damn-it, crazymommybloggers developed. Now I have nothing against the mommy-blogging culture. In fact I think its great that there are families out there that get along well enough that they can stand still for pictures and find time to post said pictures on sunflower decorated blogs without taking any form of cheeriness-inducing medication. I'm also jealous of the constant stream of writing material that a hyper four year old must provide. However, that being said, its the crazy mommy bloggers that scare me. The ones that update every fifteen minutes, and write eerie posts about how much they loooooooooove their kids. First of all taking pictures of every-single-thing your child does all day long is such a ridiculous waste of camera space that it should be banned completely. No one (not even the fake-ly adoring, well-manicured, botoxed mother in law) cares quite that much, that we need a constant stream of information regarding Jane's new habit of eating the fridge magnets, or Robbie's recent taking to gift-wrapping the cat. Secondly, if you really do love your children to that extent shouldn't you be spending time with them instead of typing obnoxiously long paragraphs, filled with aggressive run-on sentences, explaining that yes you do love your children, as evidenced by all the photographs, new presents, and lengthy posts, - regardless of what child services has to say. It's the creepy stage mothers like this that give all the well meaning, family oriented blogs a bad name.

Lizzy

P.S. I'm doing some techie work on the blog so if anything looks weird or doesn't work right please let me know! Thanks much.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Palin?

I don't make it a habit to write about politics on my blog but this time I simply had to say something.

Sarah Palin? Come on. Seriously?

Ignoring the fact that she's been in office for a grand total of five minutes, that she's younger than Obama(thus nullifying the "young and impressionable" card the Rep's keep playing), that she is extremely unqualified and inexperienced especially when, if (god forbid) McCain were to win the presidency, she has the very real possibility of having to take over upon his death, the real issue I have with her being named as McCain's running mate is that I simply cannot see it as anything other than a bid for the pro-Hilary voters. Is that really a move that the Republicans believe will sway Hillary's almost-demographic (which consisted mainly of young college students, the elderly, and middle class women)? It's frustrating that the GOP seem's to be harboring the belief that those of us that supported Hillary did so merely because of her possession of ovaries - and will settle for anyone else that just happens to fall in that category. Ms. Palin is anything but adherant to even the most basic of feminist principles, and frankly its rather terrifying to have a woman who returned to work just three days after having her child making decisions about the rights and choices other women have over their own bodies.

Palin is, time and again, introduced as a "mother of five" and a "mother to a down syndrome baby" which, once again, makes me wonder what the party is aiming at by touting all these motherly ideals. Has it not occured that the last thing the pro-choice, pro-gay, pro-health care women of this country are looking for is an anti-choice, pro-drilling, anti-health care governer who, instead of shielding her daughter (and said daughters' pregnancy) from the media, seems to be hoping it will cast her family into a We-Are-Noble-And-Self-Sacrificing-Light. Unfortunately for our Red party, there are too many voters who believe that women are not interchangable and that it actually does matter what their positions, beliefs, ideals and ethics are - not just their gender. I am, however, still appaled that someone out there seems to think that having a woman in office, any woman as it were, will appease us (watch out for the scary word --->) feminists.

Just because she's a woman, doesn't mean she has a feminist agenda.

Lizzy

P.S. Sorry for the rant - politics drive me crazy.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Backup Plans

Sometimes its so damn frustrating to know what you want. There are days when I envy my friends for just being able to do the "college thing". It all seems so ridiculously easy. They all get to go to school for four years, pick a major, and follow their yellow-brick-road of a career path to wherever they want to go. They get to go to med school. They get to apply for the law program. It seems unfair for the rest of us that have "unconventional" career choices. What guidebook is there for us to follow?

There aren't pretty office complexes for writers. We don't get to sign up with big brand names and impersonal corporations. We don't have the job security, the HMO's, the pensions, or the 401k's. There's no set formula to do well in our industry. No guarantee that with good grades and extracurricular activities, we'll graduate with job offers and proud parents, with a sense of where we're headed, or even the promise that we'll like it when we get there. There are no try-outs, no hopeful gateways, and the entry-level jobs that one might work up from are few and far between. There aren't any support groups either - and writing is a lonely affair. Working on a book is nothing like blogging. The blog community has the benefits of instant validation on any and all content. For the lucky few of us that have a small number of dedicated readers we are able to receive immediate feedback, (and most of us survive off of this drip-line of positive reinforcement). Unfortunately with a book you're up against 65,000 words without any kind of a support system. And that can be pretty daunting. It can also make you reconsider what the hell it is you're trying to do exactly.

My mother wanted to be a writer too. She fell in love with words the same way I did, through literature and music, and like me, she never really let go of the idea. She worked hard at it, as she does with everything in her life, and sold a few short stories here and there but nothing further came of it. She's a testament to the reality that the creative industries have more than enough fresh blood each year, to glide over all the Mid-Lister's that didn't make it as big as they had planned. Now, at 44 years old, she's going into a nursing program, finally pursuing her only other passion. She's my reminder of how cruel life can be to those that fall between the cracks and it makes me wonder if I'm not setting myself up to fail.

Now that I'm here I can't imagine really doing anything else - the standard fall-backs of journalism and teaching don't appeal to me very much - but I can't help worrying about what happens if I'm not part of that lucky (but minuscule) percentage that actually manages to get published, let alone figure out a way to make a living off of this writing business. I know that all I can do is try my hardest and hope for the best outcome but it seems like I have so much riding on all this now, I can't help but let my rational side suggest that I might be making a mistake. I have a fiance with whom I hope to build a comfortable (read: not lacking) sort of lifestyle and I wonder if I ought to pursue a more established type of career. I know that he wants me to do what makes me happy but I refuse to be one of those women that stays home and lives off their husbands income. I wasn't raised that way - and frankly I'd probably go crazy. So what it really all comes down to is - if not this, then what?