Friday, July 26, 2013

Fun Facts Fridays: Five Things I Use Every Day

Not the most entertaining list ever but here you are.  These things float around in my purse or in my bed room or wherever.  I use them.  

1.  Cell phone
Also known as my primary alarm clock and communication device.  I do not have a smart phone because I am not quite that cool.  

2.  iPod touch
My back up alarm because it does in fact take two alarms to get me out of bed in the morning.  Plus several whacks of the snooze button.  I use the camera regularly, play a lot of games on it, and take advantage of the calendar and a number of apps, including audible to listen to books in the car on my hour commute.  Basically, it's my iPhone senza contract.  And cell phone service.  But I love it.  

3.  Hair Tie
My default hair style is a pony tail.  Especially at night because as I mentioned last week, I can't stand to be hot and sweaty and my hair sticking to my neck and face certainly does that to me.  

4.  Kindl
I do not know what I did before I had this device.  I adore it.  I never have to worry about what to read if I finish my book while I'm out doing something.  

5.  Flowerbomb by Viktor and Rolf
My awesome smelling but way too expensive perfume.  It's addictive.  I have a strong sense of smell so I definitely like having perfume.  Especially flowery ones.  

Not my most entertaining post by far but there you have it.  I don't know what any of this says about me but take it as you will.  'Til next time, 

Thursday, July 25, 2013

A preview

So there are probably other things I could blog about.  I'm kind of feeling lay though so I'm going to cheat.  Back in November, I participated in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and actually finished a book.  It still needs serious editing.  Which I will do... Eventually.  You know.  When I have time.  But anyway, I'm just going to post the prologue here for the general population to read.  So there you have it.  I hope you enjoy.

 I suppose there are worse things to be defined by in life than your incredible luck, and I imagine there are plenty of people who would trade their own luck for my incredibly stupid but also incredibly undeniable luck. The problem for me, though, was my luck was the only thing I seemed to be defined by.
In most things in life, I was fairly mediocre. When I was in high school, I was a good student and did the honors classes and whatnot but I was never particularly good at any given subject, nor did I like any subject over another. I was an A and B student in every subject. I wasn't especially good at art or music or dancing or cooking. I had no talents to speak of.
From the time I was three up until I graduated from high school, I had done gymnastics. I was far too tall to ever be great at it but I worked hard and I was consistent, making me an asset to my club team, even if I was never going to go to the Olympics or get a college scholarship from it. At five-six when I was in high school, I had towered over more or less every other gymnast I had ever met. I also, like most girls (but not most gymnasts) went through puberty, though a bit later than normal. As a result, I was the strange tall gymnasts who actually had a full chest and hips to match the ripped arms and huge shoulders I had from throwing myself through the air and catching a stationary bar. As I said, I was okay. I wasn't a superior athlete naturally, I just worked hard.
Having no particular talent or love of any particular subject, college became quite the dilemma. With no better ideas going through my head, I had gone to the closest state university and majored in business since I figured that would be useful no matter what I wound up doing. Part of me had also been hoping I would find something I really liked in the course of taking my electives. Again, I did fairly well in my coursework, well enough to graduate cum laude but not so well that I thought I wanted to do my MBA.
Following my graduation from college, I simply wasn't sure what to do with my life. I thought God was playing some sort of sick trick on my life as my high school friends pursued their dreams, some finding their dream life, and others falling flat and finding a new dream. My childhood best friend, Alba (yes, she was named after the place Napoleon ran off to), was off at vet school, well on her way to becoming an Equine vet, like she had dreamed of. Her longtime boyfriend Brett was working as a police officer and was planning to propose to Alba soon.
I really felt like a loser compared to my friends and their perfectly laid out lives, with their plans all turning out exactly as they had hoped. I had made no plans so I supposed there was no room for me me to be disappointed that my life wasn't going according to plan, yet somehow their was an emptiness. I was twenty-four and working as a barista at a coffee shop. I was a good barista, in that I made the drinks properly and was friendly with all of the customers, even when all I felt like was being grouchy. I was not one of those artistic baristas who made insane art with cappucino foam. I liked my boss and I liked the people I worked with. In fact, I liked my coworker Lucas a little too much...
I digress, however.
The point of this story is not how lame my life was in those murky first post-college years. The point is how my life changed from that point, how I grew out of being a mediocre, un-talented young adult and into the person I was always supposed to be.
Remember how I said my only defining characteristic was luck? If you were as lucky as I am, you might have been defined by it as well. I was lucky in a strange sense that required no talent or preparation or skill at all.
It all started when I was five years old and the library was having a raffle for one of the very expensive American girl dolls. I was not yet old enough to appreciate the price of such a doll so my parents had thus far refused to buy me one, saving it for a gift when I was older and wouldn't drag it around by the hair and play with it in the mud, like I was apt to do with my Barbies. My parents couldn't say no to letting me buy a raffle ticket to benefit the children's division of the library, however, especially given that there was a one in 10,000 chance I would actually win the overpriced doll.
Imagine their surprise when we got a call from the librarian the day after the drawing, telling us to come to library to have my picture taken with my pretty new American Girl doll. At this point, there was nothing to cause anyone, including my five-year-old self, any alarm. The odds had just come out in my favor that one time, it seemed.
My parents, as it turns out, should not have been worried about the level of care I would administer to the doll. I treated her as if she were made of the fragilest glass and gave her a place of honor in my doll cradle, shoving all the other pretty dolls to the floor so she would be warm and safe under the softest pink blanket I had.
At Christmas time that same year, the Lion's club was raffling off a bicycle to benefit the Toys for Tots campaign. I dearly wanted that purple bicycle with its shiny pink streamers and the polished white training wheels. My parents let me spend my tiny allowance on a two dollar raffle ticket, reminding me that winning the doll giveaway was a once in a lifetime thing so there was virtually no chance I would actually win the bike.
The giveaway for the bike was held at the annual town Christmas parade after party in the fire hall. I remember I was wearing my favorite pink hat and drinking a hot chocolate with marshmallows. I had been inspecting the various plates of cookies when my Dad gently pulled me by the shoulders to come over to watch the drawing.
I remember very distinctly that the volunteer fire chief, a buddy of my dad's from work, smiled as he reached into the big basket full of tickets. As he dug through the names, he told the crowd that five thousand tickets had been sold. As he pulled a name out and opened his lips to read it to the crowd, I took a big drink of my hot chocolate.
“Lucille Harris,” he called.
I choked on my hot chocolate and Dad had to thump me quite hard on the back as I coughed.
“Will lucky Lucy come to the stage to get her prize!” the fire chief called.
As I was still recovering from choking, my Dad picked me up by the armpits and deposited me on the small stage to get my new purple bicycle. I beamed, despite the hot chocolate dripping from my pink fleece jacket. The stain, no matter how many times Mom washed the jacket, never did come out. Nor did the nickname “Lucky Lucy” ever leave me.
After I won the bicycle, my parents became concerned that my five-year-old brain would not be able to understand how unusual it was that I had won two contests, right in a row. They needn't have worried because even at that young age I had concluded that obviously I had run out of luck by now.
A few months later, when my elementary school decided to raffle off a memorial day vacation to one of the kids who participated in the read-at-home program, I didn't think much of it. I was automatically entered because my parents had faithfully filled out the logs every night when they read me a bedtime story.
In my six year old way, I was fully flabbergasted when my name was called and I was presented with a packet of information to give to my parents about the vacation we would be taking in a few weeks.
I think it was at that point that both I am my parents started to suspect there was something to my luck than just chance. When we were on that vacation, my parents decided to test my seeming luck and had me sign my name on a giveaway for a kite at the toyshop on the boardwalk. Lo and behold, I won the pretty rainbow kite and all of us, even me, the small child, understood that I was lucky.
My parents raised me in the church so with a lot of prayer, they came to the conclusion that it was a blessing from God, if a bizarre one. Incredible luck was a gift that was to be cherished, and not to be used without at least some discretion. I did not enter contests for the sake of winning things I didn't need or want but there were still many things I had won through the years. My family hardly ever paid for a vacation. In college, I won lots of book store gift cards and hardly ever had to pay for my textbooks. I had won free gas, cash prizes, gift cards, and all kinds of stuff, ranging from boxes of cereal and free hair products to a full kitchen makeover for my parents. By the time I had reached my 24th year, I hardly ever entered contests because a lot of the giveaways were stupid and I honestly did not have enough vacation time to go on every stinking cruise and Disney vacation they gave away. Blog giveaways were great though. I had won a kitchen aid mixer and a electronic cutting machine in the same week.
My luck had not solved every problem in my life. My dumb luck had not saved my parents when I was in just a sophomore in college. Luck had not kept me from feeling alone in the world or kept me from crying when I went through my mother's things in preparation to sell their house to fund the rest of my college education. Luck had provided me with a lot of things in my life but it had not made my life perfect by any means.
Luck had not found me a husband or even a serious boyfriend. I had dates to major dances during high school, but other than that I hadn't dated at all in high school. In college I had dated a few guys but nothing long term or very serious. I had a suspicion that height had something to do with it. Unlike most girls who stopped growing by fourteen, I continued to grow until my sophomore year of college. I think sheer force of will in gymnastics had kept me from growing beyond my five-six in high school but I shot up to five-ten in college. Combine that height with my favored high heels and I was as tall or taller than a lot of men.
When I was 24, I thought the direction of my life was set. I thought that the only defining characteristic of my life would always be my luck and never anything I enjoyed or was good at. In September, the thought that my whole life would be defined by my luck was further cemented in my mind. Everything changed and yet nothing had changed. I got up in the morning and picked up the paper. I nearly choked on my coffee. The headline blared at me.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

Fun Facts Fridays: Day late, and a dollar short

You might notice that that it is Saturday evening.  And this post title contains the word Friday.  Um... oops?  I got home late(ish) last night and completely forgot.  Normally I produce a top ten list but I'm not feeling especially creative tonight.  So I'm just going to give you ten random facts about me.  WHich you may or may not appreciate.  Whatever.  Read it and weep.  

1.  I absolutely love reading children's/young adult fiction.  Right now I'm re-reading the Ember series which is a post-apocalyptic series with four books.  In the first, we meet the people of the City of Ember, a city that is dying.  The city was built underground to preserve humankind but they weren't supposed to stay as long as they did--the instructions to leave and knowledge of the outside world were lost.  Lina and Doon discover the way out of the City.  In book two, the whole city makes it above ground and encounters a group of people called the Sparks.  The two groups struggle to work together for survival.  Book three is a semi-related prequel called The Prophet of Yonwood, and Book four Is called Diamond in the Darkhold.  I actually hadn't read this one before but it's good so far.  

2.  I watch a lot of guilty pleasure reality TV.  Like Breaking Amish.  The only one I simply cannot abide is Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.  I just can't do it.  I don't really like Big Brother either.  But House Hunters?  Ooh yeah.  Tabitha's Salon Take Over?  Give me more of that!  

3.  Recently, Netflix took down several of the seasons of Law and Order: Special Victim's Unit and I almost cried when I found out.  I LOVE that show and I like being able to watch it whenever I want.  They got rid of the early seasons!  *whine*

4.  I have a piano that I inherited by banging on it at my grandmother's house when I was very young.  I would insist that all my family come hear me "play."  I was earmarked as a musician from a very young age.  

5.  I cannot STAND being overly warm.  If I'm sweaty, I feel like the grossest person ever.  In particular, if I wake up sweaty I am super unhappy.  If I have time for another shower, I take one.  But as I normally shower at night and therefore don't leave that extra time in the morning for a shower.  

6.  I think that leggings should never be worn as pants.  Period.  I don't care if you have thighs the size of toothpicks.  Put on actual pants.  

7.  I am super excited for Catching Fire to come out in November.  I love the books.  My friends talked me into reading the series by friends right around when the movie came out and I have been an addict ever since.  
8.  I am an introvert.  I love talking to people but in order to stay sane, I seriously need alone time.  If I do not get enough alone time I feel like punching people in the throat.  

9.  I love crafting and dream of being a "famous" craft blogger but I doubt I ever will be.  Why?  Taking enough pictures for a tutorial takes the fun out of it for me.  I like doing things and creating things, not really thinking about the process and how I will explain it.  

10.  I've written a novel.  An inspirational romance novel--aka a cheesy Christian romance novel.  I've mentioned it before but it bears repeating.  It needs revising and editing and polishing and all of that but maybe some day you will see a book by me on the shelves.  :)

Til next time, folks!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Finish the sentence with Jake and Holly & life updates

I seriously need to see the doctor about my depression/anxiety and insomnia.  Why?  Right now the only way for me to sleep through the night is by taking some benadryl before bed (which is the active ingredient in Tylenol PM and most OTC sleep aids, btw).  Apparently the other night it was a little too effective because I have absolutely no recollection of my alarm going off until I looked at my cell phone and saw that it was 6:15.  My alarm starts going off at 5:45.  So I must've hit it six times without having any recollection of the event.  Um...  yeah.  

I have just over a month until I start my new job.  I finally turned in my HR paperwork on my day off so I guess that *actually* makes it official.  There are about 500 things I will need to do between now and then but hey, they'll get done.  At some point.  I hope.  

And on to the reason most of those reading this wound up at my neck of the woods...


1. If I had one extra hour in the day...  I would sleep.  Or so I tell myself.  In all likelihood, that extra hour would wind up being dedicated to facebook and reading blogs.  

2. I wish my name...  was not so freaking common!  My parents thought they were being really original with the name Caitlin... only for it to be a top ten name for the next sixteen or so years.  What would I choose for myself?  Hmmm...  Harmony.  or something really strange like Bunny Starmuffins.  

3. I think anything chevron is... cute.  But also way over done.  I like chevron but part of me can't wait for it to be over as a trend.

4. My last nightmare... was about work.  I have nightmares about work almost every night.  I know I'm lame.  Feel free to psychoanalyze me.  No, seriously.  Diagnose my craziness and send me to the loony bin.  Maybe I'll finally sleep through the night.  

5. Sometimes... I fantasize about eating everything I want again.  And then I remember that I gain weight by imagining that I ate ice cream.  And I already took in/gave away all of my fat pants so that plan is out.  

6. My last meal on earth would be... lobster, macaroni and cheese, bread with lots of butter, and lots of ice cream.  BRING ON THE CARBS AND FAT!!!!

7. I would much rather be smart than pretty.  I happen to be both but I think my brain serves me a lot better.  

8. Mayonnaise... is a wonderful condiment.  And also a fantastic hair conditioner.  Just don't leave it out in the sun.  

9. 10 years ago, I didn't think... I would be anything like my parents.  Granted, I was thirteen and when you are thirteen, being like your nice, reasonably successful parents is the last thing you want in the world.  About that...  Now I am quite happy to be compared to my mother who is a fantastic lady.  

10. Selfishly... I hope I win the lottery.  But I think everyone thinks that so hmm.  Selfishly I would really like my family to disappear for one day a week and let me have the house to myself so I can do my laundry, watch endless movies without interruption and crank the AC so the temp inside is below 70.  Sounds like heaven.  And also sounds impossible.  

11. My favorite show on TV right now... is not Glee.  Or any reality TV show.  In fact, I watch mostly reruns of all shows on Netflix.  So I'll go with NCIS since that one actually airs on TV and I don't deeply resent recent casting changes (like I do with Law and Order: SVU). 

12. And, George Zimmerman... is not a police officer like half of the people on the internet seem to think.  He was a neighborhood watchman.  I would also say he probably belongs in jail, but I'm not sure he should've been charged with murder II... Probably manslaughter I.  To be fair, with the string of break ins in the neighborhood, I probably would've been suspicious of someone I didn't know walking around the neighborhood as well, but I would not have pulled out a gun and shot them.  

'Til next time, folks.

Monday, July 15, 2013

An unpopular choice

For those of you who missed the memo, I am a strong, faithful follower of Christ.  While far from perfect, I seek to emulate Christ with how I live my life by walking in his ways and following God's laws.  There is a misconception, I think, that God's law somehow limits personal freedom.  In some ways, sure it does.  Yet, in other ways living within God's law creates freedom.  What do I mean?  

One of the least popular of God's "rules" is that sex belongs inside the union of marriage.  Think about our society.  Sex is portrayed in the media as no big deal.  In a movie, when the hero and heroine sleep together after they've barely had an opportunity to know each other, it's expected.  Part of being a liberated woman is now accepting your sexuality and throwing it out there for all the world to see.  That's what you see the women on TV and in the movies doing, right?  Having one night stands and sleeping with a different guy every night, giving it up in a drunken stupor.  

Tell me this though.  Do even the characters on the screen seem fulfilled by this?  If this is really how we are supposed to be expressing our sexuality, then why do we celebrate marriage?  We're just limited our sexual freedom, right?  

I am twenty-three, a college graduate, a feminist, and... a virgin.  Yes, you read correctly.  I made a promise to God that I would wait until marriage to share that part of myself with another.  I've had boyfriends, not many but a few, and they all respected (if not exactly supported) my position.  It's not always been easy; I have been tempted like every other human being.  There is freedom in my choice.  What freedom?  The freedom to not worry about an STD, or a surprise pregnancy, or whether the person I just slept with really cares or just wanted booty.  When I do get married, and do have sex, I will not have to worry that this relationship is fleeting, that any moment could be the end.  

You may think I'm crazy, or naive, or stupid.  It's okay.  There is a quote that I saw some where that said, "I think the concept of virginity was created by men who thought their penises were so important it changes who a woman is."  I have two things to say about this.  Number one:  men can be virgins two, and God expects the same standard of sexual morality out of both men and women.  Number two:  Being a virgin doesn't change who I am.  It doesn't define me as a person.  Sex is something I choose to refrain from, like some people refrain from eating meat.  My life isn't centered around my (lack of) sex life.  I am living my life under God's and my terms.  When I get married, that relationship will doubtlessly change my life in many ways; it will become part of my life.  

So there it is.  I'm not saying my choice is popular.  I know plenty of people, plenty of Christians, even, who have made a different choice.  And that's okay.  Your choices are between you, God, and your partner.  


Friday, July 12, 2013

Fun Facts Friday: Top Ten Places I want to Visit

So some of these places I have visited, and some of them I haven't.  But this is my list so I can do what I want.  

1.  Disney World

I am a child, clearly, because I've been to Disney World twice is recent history and yet I am still desperate to go back again. In fact, we're making plans to go back again. I just love it there; It's the happiest place on earth.  


2.  Oxford, UK

The second place on this list I have actually visited.  I miss those winding streets.  There are so many things I meant to do while I was there that I just... didn't.  So I want to go stay in a hostel and visit the museums I never went to, and also the ones I did.  Relive the golden days.  Please.  


3. Dublin, Ireland

The capitol of Ireland.  It is full of beautiful statues and parks, museums, shops, and pubs.  And drunk Irishmen.  I would love to go for St. Patrick's Day some year.  Meet my Irish roots and see the rolling hills of green.  Also, I would love to find a leprechaun and get a pot of gold.  


4.  Nice, France

Nice (pronounced "nees"), is on the south coast of France and has white sand beaches and azure blue waters on the Mediterranean.  The weather is apparently lovely almost always, and there is a Matisse museum, plus excellent shopping and places to visit.  


5.  Bruges, Belgium

Bruges is a canaled city in Belgium.  It is used frequently for historical films.  There are awesome museums, and even a hotel that was once a palace.  I would love to go around Christmas time when they have a wonderful Christmas market, complete with ice skating rink.  


6.  Paris, France

The Eiffel Tower, the Lourve, Notre Dame, The Paris opera house, and French pastries.  A stereotypical dream destination but I still want to go.  Sounds like fun, don't you think?  Maybe a nice French musician will sucumb to my American charms.  


7.  Venice, Italy 

So Venice is comprised of a group of small islands, full of canals, and is sinking into the sea.  So I would like to go see it now before it becomes one with the ocean.  Preferably with my imaginary husband by my side for a romantic gondola ride.  


8.  St. Petersburg, Russia

I want to see those gorgeous onion domes for myself.  I want to see the old palace and brave the cold of Northern Russia.  Maybe get a fur coat.  


9.  Edinburgh, Scotland

The Capitol city of Scotland, full of old buildings, winding streets, beautiful churches and museums, pubs, shops, etc.  Many wonderful sites to see.  


10. Chernobyl/Pripyat, Ukraine

I know this makes me a freak of nature but I really want to go see the falling apart city and watch nature taking over what man has created.  There's even a broken down carnival!  


Wednesday, July 10, 2013

It's all about perspective...

I am a terrible blogger and you should all probably hate me and throw rocks at me for my failure to, you know, post with regularity.  Yet somehow my page views are up?  Mysteries never cease.  I'm still crazy busy with work and all the driving and the exhaustion and whatnot.  Sorry this blog has fallen by the way side.  

So I am working as a bank teller for the summer which is a surprisingly stressful job.  You think it's just counting money and smiling at customers but it's way more than that.  There are all kinds of rules of things I can and cannot do, most of which I cannot discuss.  Mistakes can be costly.  It is very stressful at times, especially for me, the raging perfectionist.  

Let me be clear.  I do not consider myself to be perfect, by any means at all.  There has only been one perfect person, and he died on a cross for me.  I have screwed up in a thousand and one ways, like most people.  I am no better or worse than anybody else.  The issue, I think, is how I react to my mistakes.  

The perfectionist in me does not like to let myself move on from mistakes.  Rather than saying "well that sucks" and moving on, I have the tendency to obsess over every minute error I have made.  I have trouble shutting down the inner monologue often times, no matter how many times others reassure me (or I reassure myself) that it is okay.  

I suffer from depression and have been on and off medication/therapy for such since I was sixteen.  Just like the chicken and the egg, I'm not sure which came first:  the depression or the perfectionism/anxiety.  They are most certainly tied, right down to the chemical imbalance in my brain.  It comes down to a lovely chemical called serotonin.  A flood of that little chemical can cause feelings of anxiety and irritability.  The flood dissipates and suddenly depression sets in.  Back and forth, back and forth.  

I've been in an "off" phase with medicine lately which I like because I don't have to remember to take the pills or deal with the side effects.  Lately, however, I've been thinking that the fatigue (often pretty severe) would probably be worth it to lessen the extreme anxious feelings.  More than you probably wanted to know, I'm sure.  

Through all of this, I try my level best to find positivity.  I try to focus on the blessings God has given me in my life rather than my shortcomings.  I am not always successful--I'm not perfect, afterall--but I know that no matter how bad I think things are, God has blessed me and I have wonderful life.  

A wonderful, super busy life.  So sorry if the posts are a little scattered.  Ta-ta for now.