Friday, March 25, 2011

Matchmaker Date #1

My date called me last Sunday to make plans to get together.  We decided to meet on Friday, and agreed that small talk on the phone was not a great idea until we met each other.  It always sucks when you have a decent conversation and meet someone and it turns out they are hideous.  Well, OK the likelihood of that is slim, but you know what I mean.

He messages me what he is wearing and since I knew his ethnicity, I was able to find him somewhat quickly considering how many people were there.  It looked like he was a bit surprised when I walked in, but he did see a picture of me (yes, it was a recent one with the new cut).  We sit down and I order a drink.  We talk a little about a lot of different things:  food (he is a vegetarian), animals, travel, music, TV shows, movies, architecture, job, past relationship, family, you name it. Conversation when on topic flowed well and we both talked.  He did comment that he came up with most of the topics, and I just laughed and said yes I don't have a lot of practice in topics but I was still sharing a lot.  I didn't have a lot to drink, and he did comment on that. 

Overall he was nice.  He had some qualities I am looking for but there are two major things that would hold me back 1) he is Indian, but has been in the US for at least 15 years....but how do you not consider if his culture would play a part in raising a family or other important life things?  He wasn't like super Indian where I couldn't understand him (he actually as a slight British accent) and his skin wasn't dark 2) His age.  OK, so he is only like 41.  My original age range was 30-39...what is another year or two especially if they still act 'young'.  But I still wonder if that is too big an age gap for me. I kinda freaks me out that when I was 10, he was able to legally drink.  3) can I date a vegetarian?

Would I go out with him again?  I wouldn't be opposed to it, to learn more, but I didn't get any sort of sense of attraction.  I would prefer to meet other people and rule them out and then maybe agree to another date - which I know is a wrong outlook, so I guess my answer would be NO not for a date...but perhaps as a travel partner or whatever.

So when I got home a little while ago, I filled out the 'post date' questionnaire that asked some basic questions like:  where did you go? did you like it?  What was your favorite characteristic of your date?  Least favorite characteristic of your date?  Would you go out with him again?  What would you have changed? Blah blah blah.

On my way home, I messaged HSK.  We briefly conversed but no plans were made and I wasn't going to start since I feel like I've reached out way more than he has, even though it isn't a competition...but remember - don't want to over do it or under do it.  Complicated stuff.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It is just going to go in the garbage, so donate it instead

Do you ever wonder why we look the way we do? I wonder why we have eyebrows for example...what is their purpose? To catch sweat from rolling down your head?  Speaking of eyebrows, isn't it crazy how much hair we have and how fast it grows?   I fluctuate with having my hair either really long or short.

In the summer of 2009 I decided I wanted a change.  I cut off a little more than 10 inches and was able to donate it to either Locks of Love or Pantene Beautiful Lengths.  They both have different regulations but I qualified for each.  I felt so wonderful donating my hair to the cancer patients (Pantene) or  any long term medical hair loss (Locks), I know it isn't a lot, but such a simple act helps others that appreciate it when their self esteem is low.  I wondered why I never did it before, as this was probably the 4th time I cut so much off. 

I loved the above look. I thought it was cute but also made me look more 'put together' but yet it was still kind of simple to do.  Since I am not really a high maintenance kind of girl, I needed something 'easy' since I can't imagine spending so much time on doing my hair.  Unfortunately, I didn't keep the look up.  I got it trimmed once and then it grew out and started getting so long again that I found myself constantly putting it back in a rubber band just to get it out of my face. 

This past weekend I decided to get my hair cut.  When I saw my hair lady she was surprised how long it got and took out a ruler to measure.  She said I could cut it but it would be short.  I of course said YES, if I could help another patient, it is for a good cause - and really, I don't care about my hair.

So, she put it in a braid and cut it off. Then started cutting my super short hair in whatever style she wanted.  I had to buy a hair dryer and a hair brush  :( and I am still trying to figure how how to do it. But it is growing on me.
I get home and I go to the Pantene site to download the form to submit my hair since I knew I didn't have 10 inches.  It turned out that I only had 7 or a tad over it...but the minimum for Pantene is 8 so now I have a braid of hair that I can't do anything with and a tad bit of guilt that I cut it a bit too soon.  It is my fault I didn't check it before I left, but I have been sidetracked lately.

I hope that any of you that need a change and cut your hair will seriously consider donating your hair.  It is for such a great cause, and is not an inconvinence for you other than you cutting your hair.  Check out their sites (I have the links above) to see if you can bring a little more joy and happiness into someone who is suffering from a horrible disease.  What is the worst that can happen? You hate your haircut?  Don't worry, it will grow back.

Monday, March 21, 2011

I don't know how to date

I don't know how to date. I know how to be in a relationship, but even that now is probably not all that accurate since it has been a long while. Dating, the period before the relationship, kinda sucks. There are all these 'rules' people think are true but these 'rules' a lot of other people don't even know about (like me) so it just makes everything so confusing. You don't want to over do it and come across as needy and you don't want to under do it and it be like you aren't interested.
  • How long to wait to have sex?
  • If they give you a choice to spend the night or leave...what do you do?
  • If you spend the night, what time leaving the next day is appropriate?
  • At the beginning - how do you know if you are dating or getting together for sex?
  • If you meet their friends you wonder what they said about you before you got there about the nature of how you are acquainted
  • They mention they want to do soemthing together, is it just small talk or they really think it even if it is weeks/months away and you know...what if you aren't speaking then?
Sure, I know the general answer to most of those is something like - whatever feels right. But let me tell you that 5 of the 6 of those I had to seriously consider this past week. Yes, I know that I sound like I am 20-something, but when you haven't dated in oh I don't know 9 makes it kind of hard. 
And that is probably why I haven't dated in the last five years. I've been on a few first - third dates, but after that, I don't know, I kinda back off, but I know I'm not missing out with those guys.

So when I met my matchmakers this past weekend, they were a little surprised by a few things:
  1. That I am not hideous. They were not expecting me to need help in the dating area. Which really just goes to show people that somewhat attractive people need help too. Sure I can find a guy to get laid if I really wanted...but that isn't want I want. I want more. I want a long term relationship - preferably a husband. But that also makes me wonder if all the guys that use that kind of service are less than decent looking.
  2. That I don't know how to meet someone decent
  3. That people don't approach and talk to me that are either single and somewhat attractive and not an asshole.
  4. That I don't really date
  5. That I have only had 2 serious relationships - and one wasn't even that serious.
I hope that the matchmaking thing works out, but it is only a minimum of a three month commitment so if it doesn't work I'm not out months & months of money. I also really think that when I do honestly 'date' someone I like, it is because they aren't a hold me over, it is because I truly like them and something long-term will be there.

All I know is that I am finally READY to be in a relationship again...and for the right reasons. I have really enjoyed my few encounters with HSK and my self esteem in the sexual area is rising back to normal...but won't really get there until I am more comfortable with someone; but at least the whole idea seems a lot less scary.

I will keep you posted on my dating stories. I will have a brand new one coming soon from the matchmaker.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

wax on - wax off

By now you all know that I am hairy.  I've tried expensive eye waxings...and they really are not much different than the nail salon that charges $7.  I had this great place I went 2 homes ago, then when I moved to NJ, it was harder and I tended to get waxed when I visited family.  I moved again and this was more permanent and I didn't want to travel for a waxing, so I found a local place closer to me.  They are fast which I like, and they always try to upsell...but you need to since waxing isn't expensive.  They always ask if I want my lip waxed but I never do (since I had electrolysis done).  Then one day I stumbled into my usual nail place for a waxing on a Monday and it turns out Monday is half off waxing.  only $4!  Wow.  So I started going regularly on Mondays, but not regularly like every 2 weeks. Sometimes it is three sometimes it is four.  I don't ask for anyone in particular but I normally get this one lady and she has been doing a good job. 

This past Monday I go in for my usual clean up.  My two ladies were busy doing nails, so someone else does them, she does them much thinner - and I said she could take a little extra off this time, but to still keep it not too thin.  She understood and started her work.  Then all of a sudden there was wax on my lip. I was like, "WHAT are you doing???" and lady said, don't you normally get that done? And I said "no". What happened with them at least ASKING? now I have a half waxed upper lip.

I am glad that the electrolysis worked - and I don't really have a hairy lip...otherwise I'd look like a female version of this

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

My brain is playing yo-yo

I am seriously super confused. Where did my confidence go from just two/three days ago?  Monday night I met with real estate agent regarding selling my condo.  It was all very positive making selling a no-brainer.  BUT then after she left, I did some research on renting an apartment - you know, for after I live with family for a few months...I will want my own place to go.  But rent is just a few hundred less than I pay now...AND for way worse accommodations.  Even though I'd save maybe $400...I would loose that tax write-off, have to pay to park at the train which would also mean more gas, and not really pay down my credit card fast enough.

So I am starting to think that selling is not a good idea right this second...unless I know WHY or WHERE I want to move.  Well, maybe I know the is mostly because I hate the noise penetration level of my current living situation. I want to be done with it.  One of my goals for my thirties is to 'upgrade to a nicer apartment'. I kind of forgot about that until today, and I know what I want more or less. I'd love a townhouse, corner unit with a driveway and/or garage.

Townhouses can be expensive!  I looked briefly on Monday after I looked at rentals and found three developments that look nice.  One is right down the road from HS friend, his development is huge with three varieties of housing; one 30 minutes north of there, and the other probably about 30 minutes north west of there.  The townhouses closer to me are either 1) UGLY  2) way too expensive 3) good price but in a really bad area.  So that leaves me back to square one.

BUT remember I also wanted to sell so I had flexibility to relocate...and by relocate I didn't initially mean an hour away.  But my fear is that I sell my place, live with family a few months/rent apartment and in a year...still be here.  All that wasted for nothing.

I guess I really need to start looking for jobs.  :( I really hate that.  I have NO IDEA what I want to do with my life, until I am a housewife.  I am relatively smart (or used to be but since I am not challenged on a regular basis, I have lost some of it) with a master's degree, common sense, strong work ethic, productive, blah blah blah.  I'd love to hire someone to help me find a job (recruiter) but I went to a seminar about that and the lady basically said unless you are top level (making $120,000 or more) recruiters won't really help too much.  I will still try I guess, one that is geared not to top level executives, since I am WAY under that salary bracket.

I hate that I have this huge fear of making a mistake. I mean, I know it isn't an end of the world mistake or anything.  I don't want to know my future, but at the same time I'd like to know it will be OK, I'll be happy and not delay the happiness (like if I move and start over somewhere taking 5 years to find love VS staying here and end up in love sooner.  OR keeping my apartment and selling it in a year and making more $$ and knowing that I knew where I'd end up.)

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Buh-Bye Bank Boy

Yesterday the guy I know from high school texted me in the AM just to say Hi and maybe to find out if I was alive from my drive home last night.  We continue to chat for a bit and wouldn't you know it, Bank Boy texts me asking to hang out with me this weekend.  I am free Saturday night, but told him I didn't want to.  Of course he expects that from me - but wanted more information, like was it just my mood this morning - maybe it would change by Saturday, that he assumed I'd want 'some', and that I would be free. So I tell him that I recently got 'some' and was content. He didn't like that....what guy would? So I had to provide more information, since he kept asking questions.  I am not really comfortable talking to one guy about another that I enjoy better.  I told him that although there is no commitment between me and the guy I know from high school, that I'd just prefer not to hook up with him since I was still feeling the happiness of the encounter.  He finally got it...that I have a 'connection' as he put it to this other fella. I didn't elaborate, but I told him that at this time, I'd prefer if we didn't hook up.

Now mind you, I am a realist.  I am willing to engage in adult activities with others...but it was a good time as any to get Bank Boy to back away.  Getting together with him was more like a chore. I didn't really enjoy it and I would have to drink a lot to be willing to perform.  After the guy I know from high school, I realize that casual sex (if that is what it is?) could be enjoyable sober.

Monday, March 14, 2011

It's a tie

It is official, I am going to surpass last year's sex drought. Last night I suceeded in tieing it up at #4 and it is only March - and I am quite confident that more is to come. I can't say I was surprised it happened last night. I invited myself over to the guy from High School's new place. I gave him his housewarming gift which he really liked and appriciated then we just hung out and ran some errands and got dinner.  I wasn't expecting anything to happen since I am not sure how things like that work....where you hook up one time and not sure if you do it again?  When we got back at 9 I should have left, but didn't and we had a glass of wine and went at it.  Wow.  I was kinda shocked with how great it was - and I was 98% sober.

Things are starting to get better even though all the pieces are falling apart a little, but overall I think I am on the right track to being happier.  I spoke with my family over the weekend about selling my condo and I have an appointment tonight with one real estate agent.  The family was super supportive and knew this was coming since I've been so unhappy with my building for a year or two.  I've talked myself into realizing buying it isn't a regret - I needed to do it to help move on from SI, but now I want something else.  I love my place, I love living alone, but I can have that same love for a new place....and that was confirmed even more when I went to HS friend's place and it was spacious and QUIET.  I need someplace quieter and a place that can grow with me (like having a future husband move in or a child).  I feel a lot more confident in this decision.

But then where to go? That part scares me a little since I will have so many choices. I'll stay with family for a little while, then maybe rent a super small apartment until I figure out what I want to do.  Pay down my credit cards, save or go back to school, move closer to a new job - and starting thinking that a humanitarian job in a third world country might be what I need for a while.  But then I also thinking staying near where I am would be great too or moving to Colorado or Washington DC.

I also paid the I will have a meeting with them soon and hopefully have a date or two.  Since HS friend works strange hours, is so busy, lives 50 minutes away, and even though we have a bit in common...I don't think he is looking for something serious right now.  I am up for anything, but I'd really love to have somoene to spend my nights/weekends with so I am going to still move forward with this dating other people thing since I don't know where anything is going.  Maybe it will be fun talking to a few people, so uncharacteristic like of me.
*Is my spell check not working? I can't imagine I got all the words correct!

Friday, March 11, 2011

BIG thoughts

I am so afraid of making the wrong decision.  I don't remember being like this years back, but I guess the SI breakup jolted my system.  Before that I didn't questions my intentions or what I was doing in my life, I had complete faith that everything would work out.  However, now....I still think things will work out but I over think everything, I am scared to commit to anything.  In the last 24 hours I decided I MIGHT sell my apartment.  What does this mean for me? Where will I go?  Is it smart? Is it too spontaneous? Am I doing it for the wrong reason?  What if I do it and later regret it?  I am 31 and quite capable of making my own decisions...but this weekend I am going to talk to my family and see if they will help guide me.

See, perhaps selling my apartment would be like correcting the wrong of buying it in the first place.  After I moved out of mine & SIs house, I moved in with my parents.  I thought it was temporary until we worked things out and I moved back 'home'.  A year or so later - I get a piece of mail with HER name and our address on the return and I went out and found a realtor looked at 4 apartments and bought something.  Not the best reason.  I thought it would help me see reality and make myself realize I can support myself.  I locked myself into the area when I thought maybe I'd be better off moving away.  It worked out I guess, I was near family and they really helped me these last 4 years...but now I am getting antsy.

I am feeling a lot better this month mentally and I know I need change, but I don't know what kind.  It has also been 3 months since I've talked to SI.  Perhaps this is my time (4+ years later) to do that drastically different thing?  

Oh I just don't know.  I have dreams of picking up and moving. Starting somewhere brand new.  But that is scary because 1) I have a really hard time making friends.  It took me like 3 years to make some where I am now, and I still don't have a lot.  2) Job searching...but then again, I'd be doing this here or there.  3) Am I running away from problems?  I thought so at first, but then realized NO, because I gave it a good 4 years.  Anyway, I know that if it doesn't work out I can always move back this way.

Do any of my blog friends want to up and move to like Colorado, Washington DC or somewhere in between and are looking to know someone else in that new town?

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Denise + Alcohol = Slut

Hi. My name is Denise, and I have a problem.  See, when I drink too much, I tend to do stupid things.  Let me give you some examples. 
  1. In college my freshman year, I had such a crush on this kid Jackson.  Oh my goodness was he cute in a surfer Abercombie & Fitch kind of way.  Went out with some friends, over drank, puked a bunch in the bathroom...then came out saw him and went up to him told him I thought he was hot and we started talking and kissing.  My friends LEFT ME THERE and I had no choice but to go home with him.  We fooled around all night, but I didn't sleep with him...and I regret it to this day - and did the walk of shame back home that next morning.
  2. Late 2001 or early 2002 I went to a local bar and met this guy. Turns out he went to my HS but was a year older than me.  He was also a cop - and we sorta just had a little in common that he drove me and my friend back to my place. I sent my friend inside and I totally went at it with this stranger in his car in my driveway.  I did some things I didn't expect.  We ended up dating a for like 3 months.
  3. In early 2002 I drank way to much with a friend at a bar.  Things got kind of blurry that night, and I was kissing this guy a lot.  Turns was different guys, not the same one.  Whoops.  I was hungover for three days.  I stopped drinking for 5 years after that since it scared me how much I threw up for days.
  4. In 2010 I was stood up by doofy, and since I already cooked my date dinner and made dessert, I opened called anyone to come over and eat the food.  Bank Boy showed up.  3 bottles of wine know what happened if you've read my blog at all. If not...catch up! 
  5. In February of this year, again I drank a lot and ended up taking a high school friend home with me after at least two bottles of wine. It was very unexpected. but by far the best drunken hook up I've had.
  6. In Chicago this past weekend I was at a piano bar.  I had already had 2 glasses of wine, 1 martini, a bottle of wine, and just converted to beer (probably had 5 beers there).  That seems like a lot...but it was spread out over 6 hours, but yes, I was tipsy!  So this guy makes eye contact with me, I smile because how can you not when you are singing along to music?  Next thing I know he comes over. [side note: this is the FIRST TIME I was approached in a bar/out in YEARS and YEARS].  We chat, drink, start kissing.  Next thing I know it is 2:40 AM and he wants to have sex.  I was tempted...since well, I tend to do that when drinking that much...but I had to wake up at 6 AM for a flight so I decided against it.  I have never had a one night stand and was very much tempted to do so.  My co-worker was an amazing wing-woman and didn't even realize how horrible the last 3 hours of that night probably was for her - I felt really bad.
Don't get me wrong, I don't drink that often these days.  I don't sleep around because I am nervous someone will kill me.  I worry to much, yes, I know.  But I make poor decisions when it comes to sleeping with some of these guys.  Bank boy for instance, I need to drink to fool around with him, I needed to do that with A too (you haven't heard of him yet, I don't think).  That is horrible!  I want to have more sex, a lot more...but I'd rather just do it with one person than a new person.  Until then, I guess I will keep drinking occasionally.  And if I do one day decide to have a one night stand...a real one, where I don't know the persons last name or anything about them...well then at least I can join the rankings of half our population. It could be fun.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Chicago Eats

Hey followers, I just got back from a great trip to Chicago. This trip was even better than the last few since I had a friend there with me which made it way more enjoyable both for the work part and the free time.

Let me tell you where we ate, and what we ate, so if you are in Chicago you will have some ideas.

Su Casa.  49 E. Ontario Street.  312-943-4041.  We were just walking around looking for a place to have lunch, and we came across this place.   The outside color was a bit bright which caught our attention and we didn't know if it would be any good.  We walked in we were surprised how many people were in there at 2pm.  The staff was very friendly, the atmosphere was typical fun Mexican, and the place was quaint.   Chips and salsa were quickly brought to our table.  The salsa had a little kick to it which was really good.  Turned out we both ordered the same thing:  Strawberry Margarita $8 each and Chicken Enchiladas Verde $6.95 which came with a side of rice and beans.  The enchiladas I thought were quite tasty, the rice was moist (nothing worse than dry rice!) and the beans were cooked well. 

Niu.  332 E. Illinois Street.  312-527-2888.  I actually ate at this place 4 years ago and had my first ever sushi experience.  I thought it was good then, but only had sushi one other time since then, so I really had no comparison.  We found a sushi place we wanted to try, but when we called we couldn't get a reservation until 9pm and we didn't want to wait that long since we had a really long day.  The hotel concierge recommended this place because it was very close to the hotel and because she said it was very good.  So my second time there confirmed that indeed this place is pretty great.  The inside is a bit modern the staff is friendly and more importantly we didn't have to wait.  We started with the steamed Vegetable Goyza $7 which were good, but had a hard time maintaining its shape/staying closed from when you picked it up to dipping/eating.  Then since we waked 10+ miles and it was FREEZING we had a chill and split the Shrimp Tempura Udon Soup $14. We were a bit surprised with this one.  The udon noodles in the broth was very good - but on the side was 4 shrimp tempura, 2 sweet potato tempura, a broccoli tempura and one other one.  Not quite what we pictured, but the udon part was great and we didn't finish the tempura.  I ordered the Sexy Mexican $12 and my friend had Mellow Yellow $14.  Both were phenomenal, and both had a little spice to it.  Yum, thinking about it makes me want to eat some right now.

Pizano's.  864 N. State Street.  312-751-1766.   We wanted some Chicago deep dish pizza but were unsure where to go.  In my many times in Chicago, I've been to a few, but thought a new place would be good.  We asked a local where they went for pizza and she said Pizano's - but she went there for the thin crust pizza which supposedly is the best in the area and even Oprah endorsed them.  But of course, we didn't want thin crust, but went there anyway.  Since deep dish pizza takes about 20 minutes, we split a BBQ chopped salad $12.50 with the house dressing as opposed to the ranch.  The salad was very good, the basil (I think it was that) really added a lot of flavor.  The pizza then came out, and I was a bit disappointed just looking at it.  Oh, we got the Mark's Pizza which was garlic, tomato and basil.  There was no sauce on it just the tomato.  We did finish the small pizza - but realized it was probably a mistake to go to a place that is recognized for their thin crust.  Oh well.

Signature Room at 95th - Hancock Observatory.  875 N. Michigan Avenue.  312-787-9596.  After a very difficult work day, we thought we would splurge a little and eat at the top of the Hancock Tower.  There is a dress code (no sneakers, no jeans, etc) so it was nice to go out in our work clothes and really enjoy our evening.  We had a great table near the windows at the end of the seating area. Unfortunately it was rainy and foggy so we didn't get a view of anything except the greenish cloudy fog.  Made for a great laugh.  We ordered a bottle of Brassfield Pinot Grigio $45, mixed green salad $9 which I had a hard time eating since I don't really like that type of greens.  The entrees were the sea scallops and shellfish risotto.  The risotto is what I ordered and it was amazing and delicious.   The risotto was perfectly cooked and seasoned and had a mix of I believe crab, shrimp and topped with 4 scallops.  My friends dish of scallops were also perfectly cooked and go good.

Ghiardelli.  After our dinner above, we decided some ice cream was in order, and it was just across the street.  I ordered the brownie sundae and my friend ordered the caramel sundae. Neither of us were able to finish the ice creams, but it was so yummy.

Sullivan's Steakhouse.  415 N. Dearborn Street.  312-527-3510.  We wanted seafood, but elected to eat at the steakhouse for it as opposed to a 'seafood' place.  The place was a bit fancier than I thought it was going to be.  Our waitress was so nice and attentive.  I never had a martini, so I ordered their signature one The Knockout $10 and my friend had the blueberry lemondrop $11.    My friend warned me that martinis are mostly vodka so we ordered an appetizer: the fried calamari $13.  Oh my...can I say this was the BEST calamari I have ever had?  Sure, calamari is best fried (in my opinion) and is usually served with some sort of red sauce.  This one was cooked in some sort of sweet and sour sauce.  We ate all the rings, every last one.  Then we ordered a bottle of wine to keep the momentum going. I don't remember the kind, but it was a sauvernon blanc.  We had salads $3 - which were way larger than I expected. I got the chopped one, and friend go the regular house one.  I had the king crab legs $42 with a side of mac & cheese $9 and friend ordered the Ahi Tuna $31 with a side of sweet potato casserole $8.  We were stuffed before our entrees even came out...but she ate about half of hers, I did try it, but I am not really kean on chewing practcially raw tuna (it was just seared) but it was smooth.  The mac & cheese was creamy and oh so good (and I hadn't had a pasta in such a long time that I really enjoyed some of it).  The sweet potato casserole was good too, and it was topped with some sort of caramelized walnuts? I felt bad wasting so much food.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Day 20 - Your views on drugs and alcohol

I will be honest upfront.  I have drank alcohol, I drank before I was 21, but I never did anything more than that.

Growing up I watched what my uncle went through with his drug addictions.  He would spend time at our house trying to get clean.  He stole from us, he lied. I saw what it did to my mom and her family.  It was very difficult.  I prayed for him all the time that he would clean up and get back on track.  I made a pact with one of my cousins when I was like 12 to not use drugs since it scared me.

In high school some friends smoked weed and I was tempted of course, but I didn't because I knew I didn't want to end up like my uncle and I also wanted a career with the Federal Government.  I was willing to risk that little bit of fun for something I knew would make me happier later on in life.  I never smoked a cigarette either, I saw what it did to my friends/sister and that I didn't want to become addicted. I was also worried that smoking cigarettes might lead to weed which would lead to something harder. Instead of eventually liking something so much and becoming addicted, I thought it would be easier to just avoid it.

I suppose the peer pressure wasn't that bad.  No one really tried to force it on me, but they didn't ignore it either.  If anything, my friends respected it more than my sister and cousins who tried a few times to get me to smoke.  Fast forward 15 years and I still never touched it.  I also never got that job in the Federal I could have done it, but I don't regret not doing it.

My uncle did eventually clean himself up. He just had his 14th anniversary!  It wasn't easy - and thank goodness my extended family and my mom never gave up on him.  Every year I attend his anniversary NA meeting supporting him.  I sit and listen to the horrible stories they tell and reflect how happy I am that I never had to go through what they went through.  I can't even imagine a life like that.

So, I think drugs are bad.  Smoking is bad.  Drinking is bad if that is also an addiction, but the social drink here and there, I am OK with that.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Day 19 - What do you think of religion?

I think religion is good for people.  I was raised Catholic, I was baptized and had my communion and confirmation.  When I was younger, I didn't mind going to church with my mom.  I enjoyed singing the songs and memorized many of the lines - and didn't understand why the priest would look at his book when he was explaining the body of Christ.  I started to read the bible from the beginning (I didn't finish).  But that aside, I was OK with attending mass - until a year or so before my confirmation.  As I got older, I had a lot of questions, but I felt that many people could not answer my questions...and when they did, I did not like the answer.  After all, the stories in the bible are just that - stories told from someones point of view.  Whose to say that my stories and my friends versions of my life can't be a religion?  Anyone can start something, but getting all those followers? Is that cult like? I don't know.  So, after my confirmation, I only went to mass when my mom asked (begged).  I was the most religious of all my sisters, so I became the godmother of one of my nieces.  I was a registered parishioner at my last church - but for the wrong reasons, SI's mom was super religious and it was 'required' of me to be a part of a church (mind you, he was not!).  Now, I rarely at attend mass, but do so on the rare occasion (but more than the holidays).

So, I guess I haven't answered the question yet.  I think people need religion. They need someone they think will help them or answer their prayers.  Perhaps they need to believe in a higher power.  Those are all good reasons...and I hope people become less paranoid about other religions. I say believe in whatever you want - don't force it on others and don't ridicule other's beliefs.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Day 18 - Your views on gay marriage

This will be short.  I don't care what people do.  If you are happy - do it.   I have no objections for two people of the same gender loving each other and spending their lives devoted to one another.  Just as I have no qualms about interracial marriages.  However, I think it is important that I am all for not just loving someone of the same sex, but that those two people have the same legal rights as heterosexual couples.  If you are going to devote your life to one person, regardless of who they are, I believe you should have the same legal rights.  Plain and simple.  Come on politicians - its not a hard concept.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Day 17 - A book you’ve read that changed your views on something

I read a lot but I can't say that any one book has really shocked me enough to change my views.  So, I am going to instead tell you about a book I read that brought something to my attention.

Twelve and a half years ago my sister had a baby boy -  I was about 19 years old.  Being an aunt at 19 was great, I was young enough to still be a kid, but old enough to do things for myself.  I didn't understand the complexities of a parents love, I knew I loved my parents - or at least what I thought love was.

I enjoyed reading to the baby, and one of the books my sister had in her collection was Love You Forever by Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw.  Unbeknownst to me, I picked it up and started reading, but the book really hit me and I started crying.  Sure, laugh all you want being its a children's book (doesn't the giving tree make you shed some tears too?) but this book touches upon a mother's love for her child and really touched me. 

It was like all of a sudden, something clicked inside of me.  I am my mother's daughter, she loves me and would do anything for me.  I started viewing my parents differently - perhaps most people start doing that when they have their own children.  Then it gets you thinking about what you would do for your own parents and it is probably around the same time that I realized my parents will die at some point - and that fear started setting in.  I can't not articulate what exactly changed, but it was enough that I started appreciating my parents, tried to not take advantage of them, respect them more, and want to be like them when I had children.  I have really enjoyed the time I spent with my parents over the last few years - and I do think this book helped open my eyes to understand how much someone can love another.  I am aware that many people do not have this kind of family love - but growing up my family did, and still does. 

Now, twelve plus years later, I have read this book more than once and to each of my nieces and nephews and I've purchased this book as a gift for friends that have a baby-  hoping they will enjoy it as much as I did.