Friday, July 24, 2009

Missing the Old Days

Am I happy to be finished with the 19 years of school I was forced to endure, hell yes! Do I enjoy all of the freedom or lack there of that comes next, hell no! In my opinion, school sucks, and as much as I would like to go back and discover some new and exciting career, I think about how much I hated it the first time around, and my mind changes back very quickly. Out of those 19 years, I would have to say that middle school was easily the absolute worst. Your appearance is in its most awkward of phases, and you and your fellow classmates are all about terror and creating chaos. Middle school was the time when we made the teachers cry, would riddle the ceilings with spit balls, lock the nerds in lockers, write on each other’s clothes, and just generally create a very unpleasant environment for the teachers and each other.

High school and elementary school were ok for the most part, but I would never in a million years choose to go back to either one. Pre-school probably wouldn’t be so bad. Lots of finger painting and making turkeys out of your hand. Doesn’t get much better than that, does it? The only time I really enjoyed school was in the 6th grade. The teachers actually made learning fun. Wow, what a concept. But one good year out of 19, those are some sad looking odds.

Leaving out school, which is kind of hard to do considering how much of your life it consumes, I miss the simplicity of being an adolescent. But why I’m really bummed, is because I miss being able to call up a friend and say, “hey, let’s go to the movies”, and you go. Or the beach, or Great Adventure, or to lunch or dinner or wherever. Now, the majority of the small amount of friends that I do have, live all over the place and I often find myself, alone. I have no one to call up and meet for coffee. I have no one to go to the local street fair with. I have no one to do a White Castle run with. I’m by myself.

Truthfully, there are times when I really could care less about having friends. I have no desire to have a roommate (until a scrumptious someone of the male variety comes along of course; paging Bobby Deen!) and I often vacation alone which is amazing. You don’t have to worry about anyone but yourself. You eat when and where YOU want to eat, you visit the sites YOU want to see, you ride the rides YOU want to ride. It makes it a hell of a lot easier. The only time you may feel a tab bit of self-pity is when you are at Disneyworld let’s say, and you get up to the front of the Peter Pan line, and they ask how many in your party. Just one!

It’s the smaller things that I miss having a friend to just call up on short notice and make plans for the next day, not the next year. There are things I would love to be doing this summer, but it will end up being either I go alone and suck it up, or stay home. Staying home usually tends to win out.

Things like going to the movies and the theatre I have already learned that it’s just easier to go by myself. If I want to see a play or a movie, I just go. It’s just easier than trying to find a time that everyone can go and who wants to see what, blah blah blah. Usually there is so much waiting; I end up missing out completely. But some things are just more fun with someone else to share it with.

Nowadays, if you don’t book time with someone months in advance, you can forget about seeing them; especially in the summer. Two of my best friends in the whole world live hundreds of miles away. A handful live in the city, which while it’s not far, is a pain in the ass. Some are scattered throughout the country and some are strewn across NJ, which even in a small state, may be hours and hours away.

People grow apart, people move away, people start families. It’s a new life. It’s a new time. It’s time to adjust.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Bucket List

So it’s official. Since I am rapidly approaching thirty, I have indeed started my very own Bucket List. While some people think it may be too early to start such a list, I say the earlier the better. Hell, I may die tomorrow by tripping over a squirrel and landing face down in a puddle. And besides, Oprah says it’s a good idea so who am I to argue with the queen. This way, I have a bigger and better chance of accomplishing my goals. Goals like, having a flea circus, or shaving a Giants ‘NY’ in the back of my head, or running naked through the Amazon. I have big dreams and they all deserve the best chance of becoming realities!

So far I have compiled a list of 51 wondrous to-dos and am hoping for more inspiration. To increase my list to hopefully 100 wondrous to-dos, I am accepting proposals for new and exciting goals from anyone who cares to contribute. Right now I have a variety of smaller and very realistic goals combined with some ‘yeah-right never gonna happen’ dreams. You gotta dream big and reach for the stars. That’s what they all say, whoever the hell ‘they’ are.

Here is what I have assembled thus far…….(in no particular order)…….

1. Travel to New Zealand (if I think I could survive the flight)
2. Travel to SoCal (before the state breaks away)
3. Travel to Vegas (and not leave broke)
4. Travel to England
5. Travel to Scotland
6. Travel to Italy
7. Travel to Vancouver
8. Travel to Germany
9. Travel to Chicago
10. Travel to Seattle
11. Travel to DC (as an adult)
12. Marriage (preferably just once)
13. Kid (s)
14. Own a home (of some kind)
15. Stay @ Paula’s Inn
16. Record a Song with my Aunt
17. Have something published
18. Go to a Superbowl
19. Own a Brand New Car
20. Learn to Swim
21. Learn to play the Guitar
22. Learn to play the Piano
23. Play Guitar with my dad
24. Go to a Broadway Premiere
25. Go to a Broadway Closing Night
26. Hug a Chimp
27. Swim with Dolphins
28. Feed a Giraffe
29. Write a Book
30. Stop Caring so much what other people think
31. Get Fit/Lose the belly fat
32. Visit Dorney Park
33. Meet a President (past or present)
34. Visit Disney LAND
35. Visit Universal - LA
36. Meet Poppi’s Family
37. Drive Across Country
38. Learn CPR
39. Take my mom to Savannah
40. Get a Mani/Pedi
41. Get a Massage
42. Get Braces (again)
43. Chemical Peel
44. Yell at someone
45. Work/Volunteer with Special Needs Children
46. Bring a homeless person a meal (hopefully more than once)
47. Visit the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
48. Row Boat in Central Park
49. Learn to Use Chop Sticks Efficiently
50. Appear on a Late Night Talk Show
51. Create MY OWN cookie recipe

So, there it is; relatively simple goals for a relatively simple gal. In addition to suggestions however, I am open to any assistance in accomplishing the above goals. For instance, if anyone wants to purchase me Super Bowl tickets or send me on an all expense paid trip around the world, you just let me know. I’m open to charity if it means filling up my bucket!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Woke Up On the Wrong Side of the Bed…Again

This morning I woke up a tad bit later than usual. I habitually sleep through my alarm which is why I have a backup set during the week on my TV. Some mornings, with the radio blasting ‘Birthday Sex’ or ‘My Humps’ and the news people blabbering on the TV about death, tragedy, and politicians having torrid affairs in bathroom stalls and foreign lands, I still sleep through it, sound as a baby. When I lived in PA, my roommate would always ask me, ‘Did you hear the police come last night?’ “Did you hear the domestic violence going on last night?’ ‘Didn’t you hear the monkey swinging from the ceiling?’ The answer would 99% of the time be No. Generally I could sleep through almost anything, which could be a good thing or a bad thing, especially in that apartment.

I think getting up in the morning is almost certainly the worst part of the day. I mean, even on days I am heading somewhere fabulous where you think I would be full of excitement and energy and pure joy, I contemplate putting my head back on the pillow for just another 5 minutes, and then another five, and maybe just ten more minutes. Even when Disney is on the plate for the day, that waking up thing is still just so damn hard. I seriously consider postponing or even cancelling the Magic in favor of more sleep. Christmas, same thing. I love it, it’s my favorite day of the year, but I just want to SLEEP. Inevitably the Magic wins out every time, but it’s quite a struggle.

Usually my body will adjust to getting up at a certain time after a while, but it seems to be taking quite some time to adjust to my newest schedule. For 5 months I was getting up at 9…or later…and now I have the pleasure of waking up at 6:30. That’s really not that early considering I used to have to be at work in the city at 7:30 am after a car ride, a bus ride, a subway ride, and a brisk walk. I think part of the reason I have had a hard time adjusting has been this insane weather. I don’t know if you call rain every day weather, but now the sun is finally shining and summer is here and still I cannot wake up.

So this morning I was only behind by 10 or 15 minutes but that really affects the whole routine. The morning routine is set and if I deviate from the norm even one bit, something unexpected and terrible will inevitably occur. Like if I put my shirt on before my pants, I may forget to apply deodorant. It’s happened before and Nobody wants that. I made up the time this morning by abandoning my plans for breakfast and lunch. Now the fact that I have to spend money on buying lunch makes my mood worsen even more.

I was not in the best frame of mind this morning, but I feel that the dire mood is only due in small part to the loss of my usual allotted gettin’ ready time. I watched the Tonight Show while getting ready and one would think that maybe that would put a smile on my face. Conan is a funny guy. I think there may have been a few moments where one corner of my mouth started to move up a millimeter or two, but there was no full on smile happening. It’s now 9:27 am and if you could see my face as I am typing this you would probably express amusement, unlike me. I feel like I look like I want to beat the hell out of someone. That may indeed be true actually. I just can’t snap out of this mood. With 7 and ½ hours left to go ‘til the end of the day I better snap out of this sooner than later or it’s gonna be a REALLY long day.

Why is it that some days you just wake up pissed off? Where did that damn saying come from about waking up on the wrong side of the bed anyway? I would really like to know the origin. Maybe I could gain some invaluable insight or even an excuse for my sour mood. Was it because of those few minutes I lost? Was it because I was dreaming about a sailboat race with squirrels and we were losing? (Don’t ask) Or I am just a grumpy Gus for absolutely no reason? I would prefer to blame it on the squirrels. Considering I can only wake up on one side of my bed anyway, let’s hope it’s the squirrels. Otherwise I may be waking up on the wrong side of the bed everyday. Feng Shui time anyone?

Monday, July 6, 2009

Creepy Crawlies Drive Me Crazy

The dictionary defines the word bug as ‘an insect or other creeping or crawling invertebrate animal’. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that other definitions for the word are ‘an unexpected mistake or imperfection’ or ‘a disease producing germ’.

Recently it seems my dislike, or fear if you will, of all bugs has become more apparent and perhaps more severe over the last few years. You would think that with age, the fear would lessen. I mean, I am rapidly approaching 30 for heaven’s sake. I will say right off the bat however, that I truly do feel bad killing any variety of these tiny or sometimes not so tiny creatures. I often apologize profusely before stomping on them with my big ole foot or sucking them up with a Dust Buster. But, the fact remains, if they are in my house or in my car, they need to disappear. And the odds of me quietly shooing them out the door to safety is slim to none, very slim; except of course for lightning bugs. They are my only friends in the bug kingdom and I would never do them harm. I used to feel the same way about lady bugs until freshman year in college when my room was infested with them. They weren’t so lady like anymore!

Lightning bugs aside, I have issues with all other creatures in the bug universe. Many of my childhood memories involve fear of bugs. Every time we used to visit my grandmother down the hill, we would have to fend off a swarm of bees to get in the front door. And while I was told many times that they were only the chubby, happy bees that don’t sting, there was no calming me down. I could envision myself being attacked by them in a large, vicious swarm, and it wasn’t pretty. I didn’t see one bit of jolly or happiness in those bees. Of course, I never did get stung, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t still scary.

My grandmother also had what we have coined Hopping Bugs in her basement which were truly terrifying. Turns out, we also have them in ours. They are actually called Camel Back or Hump Back Crickets but Hopping Bug works just fine. The name itself says it all. It you are ever bored and feel the need to google them, beware, they are extremely terrifying to look at up close, or from any distance really. I was washing the dishes one fine day and I thought I saw some sort of shadow on my shoulder. Upon further inspection, which consisted of me simply turning my head to the left, I realized that one had silently hopped its way on to my shoulder. Not sure from where it hopped, but there it was. I went into a hysterical state, full of rage and intent on Killing. Can’t remember if I caught it or not. That part of the memory is a little fuzzy. They often creep there way upstairs and when I find them it’s like terror envelops me. Seriously, look them up. Scary little bastards.

Then of course there are spiders. I really hate them. My grandmother was the kind of person that would see a spider and either leave it alone and take the risk of having it crawl on her face while sleeping, or catch it and set if free out in the wilderness. I, on the other hand, scream (depending on the size and location) and look for the nearest weapon. Last weekend we were harmlessly out for a drive, when out of nowhere, I started twitching and yelling. My poor friend who was driving of course feared something was wrong until I told her there was a large spider crawling toward me. In a car you are trapped. Seat belted in to a confined space with no chance of evasion. Eventually, and due in large part to the fact that I was perhaps creating a dangerous driving environment, my friend pulled over so we could do away with this evil creature. She gave me a rolled up magazine and told me to just brush it off the door. Fear took over my body as I stared in to the eyes of this hairy, blue-mouthed spider. I couldn’t do it. What if it jumped at me while I was trying to simply help it to safety? Thankfully my friend came to the rescue, acknowledging first that this particular spider was indeed scary. She brushed it out of the car and off we sped as to not give it a chance to jump back on to the car and continue its terror spree.

Everyone has bug stories. I mean, there are countless more bugs in the world than people so encountering them is unfortunately a daily occurrence. I could go on and on about Japanese Beetles getting tangled in my hair, or inhaling mosquitoes while playing soccer, or being bittern countless times by fleas, or waking up to a squirrel sitting on my hamper…. Oh, sorry, that’s another story and an entirely different topic. Back to the bugs, I know they have their value in the world and I respect that, I guess. If they could only stay away from me, perhaps I wouldn’t mind them so much. It’s only in their best interest anyway, seeing as how coming near me is most likely a death sentence. Creep and crawl all you want, just maintain a safe perimeter and all will be well.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Rapidly Approaching 30

So, it has recently been thrown in my face that I am rapidly approaching the big 3-0. And while this accusation is 100% true, it is something that I have feared probably since I was 25. I have many memories of declaring, “I’m almost 30, I’m almost 30”, loudly from my friend’s Queens balcony, when I still had 4 or 5 years to go. Now it’s down to months and I think I am in complete denial. I have no idea what comes after the number 29. Perhaps 29.1, 29.2, 29.3………. Thirty is a dirty, dirty word.

When you are young, you look forward to aging. There are so many wonderful things to look forward to at that point. When you are an infant, there are countless milestones in your life that, while you have no memory of them now, are very exciting at the time. Mostly exciting for your parents, but they certainly do make your life more interesting. Like the first time you realized you had hands and fingers. That supplied endless hours of trippy fun. Or when you figured out that you could put your foot in your mouth; more hours of amusement. Now I can’t even get my foot halfway to my mouth; although I do often put my foot in my mouth in a different way. Moving on, you then you have your first roll over, first crawl, steps, word, sentence, and the list goes on and on.

Once you reach adolescence, the milestones become more important and exciting for you and less so for your parents. They are just an emotional mess because their baby is growing up. I remember how excited I was to reach double digits. 10! It was such a huge deal. Travelling down the “Death Hill” on Rt 23, I would always tell my aunt to be extra careful to ensure I would make it to double digits. Then there’s becoming a teenager…. Seemed exciting at the time, but I would never choose to relive those years. No, thank you.

Between the ages of 16 and 21 are probably the most exciting birthdays you will have. 16, you get your permit and create much fear in your parents who have the unfortunate privilege of being in the car with you. 17, you can drive all by yourself and inevitably experience your first minor car accident. 18, you are an adult, which means buying your own cigarettes and accruing gambling debts. 19, you are almost 20. 20, you aren’t a teenager anymore, thank God. And of course 21, the age of countless black outs. After that, really the only age to look forward to is 25 so you can rent a car. Still haven’t taken advantage of that exciting privilege.

So, now it’s 2009 and I have hit all of my childhood milestones. So what’s left? 3-0 is right around the corner and every day I notice something else that only brings it home that I am getting older. For example, I recently noticed that my stomach and backside have been taken over by cellulite. Uh, where the hell did that come from? Gonna have to buy a cream for that. While on the beach last weekend, I found a small cluster of spider veins. Uh, I didn’t invite you to the beach. Perhaps they have a cream for that. While posing with a large tub of peanut butter sauce from Hershey, I noticed in the photograph that I have some pretty darn intense crow’s feet. Bring on the eye cream. And isn’t the fact that I just said photograph an indication of age? I’ve also noticed my face is getting fatter, despite my recent workout activities. Is there a magic cream for chubby face???

I am lucky that I have someone at work that is also rapidly approaching 30; and approaching much more rapidly than me I might add. Sorry Alexis. It’s nice to have someone to go through all of these revelations with on a daily basis. I really think they need support groups for aging. ‘Hi, My name is Jill and I am rapidly approaching 30’. We could discuss wrinkles, and cellulite, and weakened bladders, and perhaps gain some advice from fellow almost 30 year olds in a loving and nonjudgmental environment. I would attend those meetings; unless of course I forgot due to my fading memory. We could gain invaluable advice about what to do if you need to pee and there is no bathroom in site. Or, how to properly apply eye cream, and wrinkle cream, and cellulite cream, and foot cream, and anti-aging cream, and fortifying creams.

I’m not sure how I’ll feel on the actual day of the big 3-0. I think I may need to keep a psychologist on standby. I would need them to keep me calm after hearing all my parent’s age friends and family tell me ‘30 isn’t old’ or ‘you have your whole life ahead of you’. Well, thanks but no thanks. You were all married with a house and children and a career well before 30! I got nothing. Nothing except for my pseudo-independence, which is pretty awesome. Having to adjust to sharing my schedule with another person someday is not something I look forward to.

As for now, I will continue to purchase cream after cream. I will march on proudly and cream-covered as my last days of being a twenty something are fewer and fewer. Perhaps a bucket list is in order.