Shake My Sillies Out

When I was little I remember singing along to one of those tacky cheesy obnoxious yet catchy-as-all-get-out songs, “Shake My Sillies Out”, while wiggling around in my car seat and flailing my limbs out towards my poor brother.

However, as I’ve aged, my affinity for those tacky cheesy obnoxious yet catchy-as-all-get-out songs has far from decreased. Occasionally I find myself looking humming “I’m Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee” while strolling through by some flowers, and I’ve been known to break into a chorus of “If All the Raindrops Were Lemon Drops and Gumdrops” at the sight of a candy bag or a particularly intense rain storm. But over the past month it’s been “Shake My Sillies Out” that has really taken hold of my imagination.

Because I have a lot of things to shake out. Mostly, my worries, which are just plain silly (see, it’s a totally relatable song).

My silly worries:

  • I am worried because I once again have the winter blues.
  • I am worried because it is my last semester of college ever.
  • I am worried because I need to make more concrete plans regarding a job after this last semester of college ever.
  • I am worried because my boyfriend is delaying his summer job plans which greatly influences my summer job plans.
  • I am worried because I have not been sleeping well.
  • I am worried because I have been steadily gaining weight and ignoring exercise.
  • I am worried because my new spring internship has me starring at the computer for 8 hours a day.
  • I am worried because my cat has a bad scratch on her belly that keeps reappearing.
  • I am worried because of my brother’s lack of direction for the future.
  • I am worried because my mother has slipped into worse unhealthy habits than I have.
  • I am worried because when I go through my childhood photo albums with my father it strikes me exactly how much of my life has already gone by, and how I never truly appreciated it to the best of my capacity.

This past month I’ve done a lot of shaking, though sadly none of it counts as exercise.

But I feel better, and now I can hopefully start to sing some more age appropriate songs.

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My New Year’s Advice for Humanity

My New Year’s Resolutions for Humanity

I am not particularly critical of myself. Most days I am just fine with the way I look, I think that I spend an appropriate amount of time watching television, and my soda habit is virtually nonexistent.

So instead of setting an arbitrary number of times that I should go to the gym in a week, I’m going to provide some New Year’s resolutions for those stock characters in the population who could use some help setting resolutions.

1. The Single.

If you’re single, resolve to find a companion.

Ex. Cozy up with a cat and throw the laptop off the sofa.

2. The Smothered.

If you’re smothered, resolve to find alone time.

Ex. Cozy up with the laptop and throw the cat off the sofa.

Far too often people find that they are unhappy with the level of companionship they receive. Whether you haven’t gone on a date since before blogging became a thing, or whether you are a mother so overcome with responsibility that you haven’t realized that blogging has now become a thing, there is a way to achieve your goal.

1. The Smoker.

If you smoke, resolve to substitute your addiction.

Ex. Reach for a lollipop instead of a cigarette.

2. The Overweight.

If you’re overweight, resolve to substitute your addition.

Ex. Reach for a cigarette instead of a lollipop.

Far too often people find that they are unhappy with how they are treating their body. Whether your body was used as an air filter or as a trash can, there is a way to achieve your goal.

1. The Spender.

If you spend too much money, resolve to save in certain ways.

Ex.  Pay the $500 bar tab, but have your friend drive you to the emergency room.

2. The Saver.

If you save too much money, resolve to indulge in certain ways.

Ex. Don’t partake of the $500 bar tab, but spend gas money to drive your friend to the emergency room.

Far too often people don’t understand how they should be managing their money. Whether you party with Magnum Grey Goose until you’ve forgotten you don’t even make a living wage, or have a sip of your buddy’s Coors after a successful day repurposing that coat hanger into a piece of art for your cousin’s birthday gift, there is a way to achieve your goal.

With these expert tips, even you can achieve your New Year’s resolution! And by following my methods, it’s guaranteed that you’ll also have something to work on come January of next year.

Working on My Passion

fireman wishIn kindergarten I wanted to be a veterinarian, because I thought that all girls were vets and all boys were firefighters. I knew that my mom and dad didn’t perform either of these jobs so it’s a bit confusing on how this notion came to exist.

In fourth grade when I realized that not all animals were as friendly as my cat, I decided that I would like to be a real estate agent. We watched a lot of HGTV in my home.

In the ninth grade my mom wouldn’t lend me the necessary capital to flip a house, so I decided to settle for being a teacher. I’ve never really want to be a teacher. I’m impatient. I already want this blog post to be finished with itself.

And now, after I’ve learned that flip flops are better suited for the beach than decision making, I am stuck having no solid idea of what I’d like to be “when I grow up”, which according to my impending college graduation date, will be in a few months.

I blame my lack of a career direction entirely on being too well-rounded of a person (it’s not a brag if it’s also a fact). I love history and anatomy and math and science and reading and music and health and theatre and technology and different cultures and writing and I’m always interested to hear what new information someone has to share on even the most foreign of topics. I have no specific topic that drives me to wake up in the morning, and even though I like any excuse to sleep in I can’t help but wishing that there were something more.

I don’t want just any ol’ job. I want the best job on the planet where I have to use that cheesy line about it “not being work” and everyone laughs but I glow on the inside knowing that it’s true and that I’m really quite happy where I am and that my life is contributing to something that I never want to leave. Also it should pay a million dollars an hour.

But where does one go to find one’s passion? I’ve been looking for a good part of my 21 years and haven’t found anything that I’d love to be involved with for the rest of my life. I’m an English and Communications double major because I like to read and I like to talk to people and because the university made me choose. I’m also involved in Terp Thon which helps the kids at Children’s National Medical Center, I loyally attend the UMD athletic events, and I’ve long been involved in sign language club and gardening. But to focus on solely one of those aspects? It wouldn’t be enough. Which leads me to believe that I haven’t found the one. The one passion that overcomes all other interests until it consumes my whole being with desire.

I know that it’s not realistic to expect such fulfillment from a job and that I’m quite spoiled to be in a position where I can afford to question what I truly want from my career, but when you’re spending the majority of your life working you don’t want to waste time with emotions of any lesser caliber than sheer joy.

I’m not willing to settle for any long-term career that I’m less than passionate about. And I’m certainly not willing to settle for any pay range less than that million dollars an hour.

So for now I’ll just have to keep searching and figure out how I can make room in my resume to express this sentiment.

What to Expect When You’re Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is here, and with it the wholly unrealistic expectations of peaceful family togetherness and a tasty home cooked meal.

thanksgiving

In order to have a truly enjoyable Thanksgiving and limit the amount of times your head gets banged against the wall near the festive corn and pumpkin display, certain things just need to be accepted as inevitable:

  1. Canned foods and instant recipes will abound. Who has time to make homemade cranberry sauce when the in-laws are knocking down your door and the mantle hasn’t been dusted since last Thanksgiving?
  2. Christmas will be acknowledged. Come the weekend after Thanksgiving, it’ll be December. So those boxes of Christmas decorations lurking in the corner of the living room will just be skillfully ignored.
  3. No matter how loudly you speak, Poppy will not be able to understand you. Even if you can get his hearing aid working and his attention focused, once he finally discerns the word “twerk” the conversation will self-implode.
  4. Skinny jeans will be banned from the premises. Both looking good and stuffing yourself until you pop cannot exist together. Bring the sweatpants with the mustard stains; family doesn’t judge you.
  5. Your family will judge you. Your grandmother will notice the untidy state of your hair and mother will ask if a second helping of pie is really such a good idea, and do you need that much whipped cream anyway?
  6. The pets will want in on the action. Can you really blame little Josie for jumping onto the fine china? She’s not use to you putting in any effort and just wanted a closer view of what exactly “trying” looks like.
  7. You will want to quit your job. Crescent rolls are all that matter in life.
  8. Nothing will ever change. The fruit cake will still taste like boot, you’ll still fall asleep during the football game, and the panic of the impending holiday season will upset the mound of potatoes settling in your gut.

As long as you prepare for what’s ahead, there is no reason that Thanksgiving can’t be a perfectly lovely holiday that allows you to spend time enjoying the company of others and their attempts at cooking. And when Christmas arrives, simply duck and cover.

Bugging Out

bugging out

Unlike with sharks, there is no classic musical interlude that warns you of an approaching creepy crawler. Without warning, you simply turn your head to the unseemly sight of too many gangly hairy spindly legs. Cue the cardio burst towards the door and the declarations to the gods above that if they slay this monstrous beast you shall present to them your first born child.

Then, right as you run up to little Timmy’s room and snatch him out of the crib to be raised Simba-style to the heavens, the bug flies out of an open window and you are left apologizing to a grumpy toddler while laughing nervously to displace the blush spreading over your cheeks.

Because it’s foolish to be afraid of bugs, and we all know it.

And yet most all of us are scared witless at the mere mention of the b-word.

And why?

  1. Because they look ugly? So do I every Monday morning. Eye-gunk can be just as disturbing as pollen-gook
  2. Because some are considered poisonous? Put down that Big Mac long enough to consider what’s really killing you.
  3. Because we don’t understand them? I don’t understand my teenage brother (though admittedly, there are times I’d like to swat him).
  4. Because of bad past experiences? Once I fell off my bike. And yet, like most functioning members of society, I am not thrown into a panic at the sight of bicycles.
  5. Because of the movies? Please, A Bug’s Life is a cinema classic that teaches you to root for the underbug.
  6. Because you suffer from arachnophobia? OK, that makes sense actually.
  7. Because others are afraid? If my mom wears corduroy overalls does that mean that I should too? (That line just caused more chills than any bug could ever have done).
  8. Because they’re tiny? Take two big steps in the opposite direction of the insect. It will now take them a month to reach you.
  9. Because they look different than us? So does absolutely every single thing on this planet. My cat looks different than me, but when she’s not hissing in my face I still love her oh so much.

singing bug

There are so many reasons to dislike bugs. And there are so many reasons why those reasons are stupid.

Let’s just hope I can remember those reasons the next time a spider crawls out from under the couch and I’m tempted to trap it under a bowl until I can reach little Timmy.

Bucket Lists and Bombshells

There is never a convenient enough time for anything, so why ever let that be an excuse for not doing something special?

Whether it’s your deepest passion to travel to Spain despite a lack of financial stability, the willingness to go on a camping excursion though threatened by the time commitment, a craving for higher education while needing to support a family, or the desire for something as simple as wanting to dye your hair, sometimes you just convince yourself that “the time isn’t right” to follow up with your dreams.

But it is!

live unless bed

The time is always right for happiness and living and experiencing life. There is never a bad time to celebrate being alive and creating a memory to look back upon with the grandest of smiles and the happiest of recollections. Why delay what you were put on this earth to do? Live!

IMG_2849So before I could compile an even larger range of excuses as to why I can not complete one of my Pail List  items, before I graduate in the spring, before I begin a full time job, before my supposedly approaching wedding day, before my future catches up to me, I took care of item numero uno and dyed my hair blonde (“Medium Natural Blonde” which when combined with my already dark hair color translates into “Sun-Kissed Brown Cinnamon”).

I’m already so much happier for deciding to commit to this wish of mine. I feel more confident, I feel like I’ve just returned from a delightful tropical vacation, and I feel like I’m ready to seek out some more of life’s experiences despite any obstacles that I perceive. I also feel like a model and am struggling to stop taking pictures of myself…IMG_2868IMG_2859IMG_2871

A Happy Healthy Challenge

Even at first glance, there are two things about me that are quite obvious.

  1. I enjoy eating
  2. I don’t particularly enjoy that I enjoy eating

My Pail List and mental wish list and list taped to my wall and to-do list have long held the goal of me losing weight. Throughout my childhood and for many years I was under the impression that I needed to lose weight to conform to a certain ideal, and while I still have the desire to lose some of my puppy fat (though my puppy may have grown into a fully sized dog by now), I’ve come to recognize that I should focus first and foremost on fitness and health.

But when my unnatural love of peanut butter coincides with cold months and a lack of willpower, I find myself suddenly starring down at the Papa John’s menu more often than at my Zumba DVDs.

30 day challengeMy other blog (yes, I’m openly cheating), Happiness Through Health, is going to see me attempt to create a 30 Day Challenge revolving around losing weight, logging exercise hours, and blogging out our feelings for fabulous gifts and prizes (well, two averagely exciting prizes for the winner and runner up).

If you’re interested in joining me as I find a way to still enjoy pumpkin pie and cranberry sauce and stuffing in the midst of this challenge, just head over to the original post and mention that you’re interested. Bonus points if you provide a guilt-free pumpkin pie recipe or talk me out of this idea and just let me turn myself orange from pumpkin consumption.

From Bucket List to Daily Gift

One day I got it in my head that I would like to run an official race before I eventually and inevitably kicked the bucket. While I had always had a rocky roady relationship with running, I was unsure where this decision would lead me and was faced with the real possibility that my Pail List would contain an item that I may never cross off.

DSCN0843Yet, earlier this summer, I did indeed get to cross off “run an official race” after completing the Baltimore Women’s Classic 5K in Maryland. Despite twisting my ankle a bit I came out of the race with the feeling of glowing accomplishment and a decent time of a bit after 36 minutes.

And then I kept running.

And I compiled a workout playlist

And I bought nice shoes.

And I printed more training schedules.

And I felt good about myself.

And I learned the words to Mambo No. 5

And I kept running.

Just today I ran a 5K at the University of Maryland. My time hovered between 29:30 and 32:30 minutes. I ran the whole entire way. I smiled throughout the hills. I laughed at the twists and turns. I high-fived the volunteers. I had a beautiful time.

IMG_2724

I am so grateful for having comprised a pail list. Had I not had the courage to acknowledge what I wanted to get out of life, I would never have pushed myself as hard as I did, and I never would have discovered my love of running. Yes running, I can say it now! I love you! And it all started back when I began my first training plan and discovered my love of the treadmill with a well timed episode of Say Yes to the Dress and the rolling and gentle hills of my neighborhood and the springy track at school which makes me feel as graceful as a gazelle despite looking like an awkward antelope.

Though singing karaoke will probably not lead to me becoming a world famous singing sensation, I am quite satisfied knowing that I’ve chosen to explore such different and fulfilling areas of life with the activities/events/circumstances that preside on my Pail List.

For me, life isn’t always about having momentary bouts of fun, it’s about living each day pleasurably with a contentment that provides a sustainable happiness. That’s why I have my Pail List, and that’s why I’m grateful for my list leading me to more of life’s pleasurable moments.

Busy as a Bee

With two jobs, four clubs and organizations, a mound of homework, a fitness regimen to keep, sports to cheer for, and friends to stay in touch with, you’d think I was done saying yes to life. And you’d be as wrong as my brother trying to talk with a British accent (just plain wrong).

winnie the pooh beeIn fact, just the other day I received an email asking me if I’d like to sign up for a tour of the apiary on campus. Once I confirmed with Wikipedia that apes were not actually involved and I would get the chance to visit my bumble bee buddies, I immediately signed right up! Though I’m no where near comfortable with creepy crawly buggy critters, I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for bees (possibly stemming from my love of Winnie the Pooh). In my messed up and illogical mind, bees seem to be the one type of bug that I’m actually alright to be around.

But that didn’t stop me from being nervous as heck when the time came to actually visit the bees on the roof of UMD’s dining hall. In a group, we approached four white boxes housing hundreds of hundreds of bees. After spraying them with a gas (which is not as toxic as the film Bee Movie describes, but is a simple burning pine needle mix that makes the bees calmer and less likely to sting), the box was taken a part and columns and columns of bees and bees were removed to show exactly how the world of bees worked.

Hive Tour 5Honestly, I remember very little about the intricate workings of the bee hive. I learned that the queen bee can mate with around 10 males in order to populate the entire bee hive, I learned that bees called “drones” do not have the ability to sting, and I learned that I look pretty rockin’ in a beekeeper hat. Mostly, I was too busy standing around in awe of the bees buzzing happily by me, around me, and often, even on me. I think that’s why I like bees more than other bugs (ladybugs make me happy, but I’m just learning how to tolerate butterflies); bees just seem perfectly content to work, fly, and be cheerfully yellow. And how on earth could you hate something so kind as to make honey?!

If you ever get the opportunity to visit an apiary, do it! Though I was terrified for the first 20 minutes as I watched the bees circle around our group, it was actually quite beautiful and I never felt in danger despite wearing a t-shirt and short sleeves. And even if this opportunity doesn’t present itself to you, if you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation that could lead to a grand adventure and some lovely memories, think of me and say, “well, if that scaredy cat of a girl can pal around with some bees for an hour, surely I can go hang gliding over an active volcano while learning French and writing the greatest book series since Harry Potter”, or whatever it is you’d like your adventure to entail…

Our Daily Torture

Could you even imagine being enclosed in a space so small that there is hardly any room for you to turn around, let alone move. You wonder what could have happened to bring you to this terrifying enclosure of slick and sickly walls. Then, before an explanation can even enter your head half-formed, water comes cascading down from above, so hot that you instinctively jump away, though there’s no where for you to escape the bombardment of fierce droplets as your skin threatens to blister. And suddenly, as if the box’s true torturous purpose was revealed, the water turns ice cold, practically forming into shards that bite and anger the already delicate skin. An impulsive glance downward in an effort to lessen the anticipated facial mutilation reveals that you are stark naked. Vulnerable. Unprotected. Unsheltered. Unmasked and unveiled. You shutter recognizing that your feet are bare to the mysterious substances ever-present in this torturous chamber. The water continues to pour down in icy sheets from above with a vengeance that a furred Poseidon would be in no position to summon. And if your reddened and raw skin weren’t suffering enough, a bristly device is applied to every inch of your exposed self. Pressing, pushing, scratching, scolding. Back and forth the fibers now begin to remove layers of skin with the help of colorfully applied chemicals that have forever ingrained their distinct odor into your very being. As your body begins to shed its abused skin, you don’t even shed a tear. You have no choice but to remain upright and unaffected, or suffer the well-documented fear of ridicule and social expulsion. Just as you begin to think of escaping from this house of horrors, breaking free from this place of pain and site of suffering, when it almost becomes too much to even keep your eyes open through the torrential downpour that is now this never ceasing stream of water that will surely continue rising until your lungs are as exposed to its presence as your outer body, once your knees begin to weaken and your strength is nearly sapped from the tremendous endurance and strength that you have shown in the face of an unknown adversary that may just prove to be Satan himself-

You step out of the shower, and it’s back to reality.