NYE

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I just want to comment on how annoying it is to be a woman on New Year's. Let's not even talk about the horrors of trying to find someone to spend the evening with, whether it's a significant other or a girlfriend, but what about trying to figure out what to wear?! And then, once you've found something to wear, I at least worry about what I want my makeup too look like! I feel like maybe the whole thing is a conspiracy to make women crazy. Outfit, make up, hair, nails....the list could go on forever! All to look good for a few hours at an event where the majority of people are there with a date anyway. It's enough to make me a hermit for the rest of my life. The world is just lucky that I like doing my make up in spite of all the rest of the crap it implies.

More Snow Pics!

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Apparently random dude from across the street decided to start trying to clear the sidewalks in front of my apartment!


I unexpectedly found myself in snow up to my knees! I can't wait for the snowman building...

My roomie - she's from Miami and has never seen THIS much snow!

Snow Day!!!

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I've decided that even though the snow has COMPLETELY inconvenienced my life and put a kibosh on the plans that I had for this weekend, I'm still going to be happy!!! There's just something about seeing all that frozen water falling from the sky that makes me happy. It probably has something to do with how whenever it snowed in NC we got off from school, but who cares? I'm getting a kick looking outside my window at the newly descended blizzard and I have enough food and heat to keep me warm through it all! So now the question becomes 'What am I going to make for breakfast'?


Why is this gentlemen trying to clear a side walk in still falling snow? The world may never know.

Uselessness in Action (or would that be inaction...?)

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The other weekend the completely ridiculous people that live upstairs had a party. Yeah, that's right, the same people who persist in vacuuming at 6:30am decided that they should have a party just to see if they could push my roommate and I over the edge. The only funny thing about this is that they left us a gift! A 'USB Massag Ball'. By any other name, the worst vibrator ever created. It only has one setting that goes on when you plug it in and the different 'massage heads' are completely useless. Even when my roommate tried using it as a massage tool, on her knees, she was like 'Nope - fail'. We're not sure which neighbor or visitor graced us with this new tool, or if they were trying to insinuate something about our love lives, but whoever they are they failed miserably. If you're going to give the gift of self satisfaction why not at least spring for a Rabbit and really make a lady say 'Thank You'?

An Ode to Humanism

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Ode to Housewives - http://cornellsun.com/node/11677

Disclaimer - First- I am a spiritual agnostic, but I have no problems with organized religion. Like any organization it has its positives and its negatives and I write this note from that view. Two - In my opinion a woman's sexual expression is up to her as long as she takes the necessary measures to protect herself and her partner. Three - I do not personally know Joseph Sabia and while this note represents a response to the issues he addresses in the article referenced above, this is by no means a personal attack as his opinions are his own and he has a right to them.

While there are quite a few inflammatory and insulting points brought up in the first of Sabia's articles, I would like to begin with disputing one of his first - "Feminists told women to throw off the shackles of their oppressors by sleeping around, shacking up, refusing to be stay-at-home moms, aborting "unwanted" children, and listening to Joni Mitchell. The feminist movement instructed women to abandon the essence of womanhood -- being a wife and mother." I would never consider the essence of my womanhood to be defined by what I could be to other people. If a man is not defined by being a husband and father, why should I be taught to assume anything different? Feminism taught women the value of choice and provided the tools so that each girl or woman could examine their own lives and hopefully learn to lead it in a way that is best for them - separate from cultural and societal pressures or confinement. The inherent value of choice is that if a woman feel strongly that her personally happiness as an individual is best served by being a wife and stay at home mom she can do that - but she doesn't have to. Instead if she feels like going out into the world to working to become the best doctor or lawyer she can, that doing that better serves herself and the community, that is also her choice. And both choices can be made freely without outside preventative measures or societal condemnation. Yes there are extremes for every life style, but I believe that every man and woman's life should be about balance, which with the right help and work can and should lead to a healthy balance of work and play - with no restriction on what type of 'work' it is. I'm not going to let some person other than me decide what the only thing I can do with my life is.

"[W]omen will only find true happiness when their time and attention is focused on their husbands and families. That is what the traditional breadwinner/homemaker family is all about." This particular quote is one where I'm going to lose my attempt to dispute these claims intelligently and just cry BULLSHIT. I can be a happy and completely satisfied person without being a wife and mother. What happens to women who can't have children - for any of the variety of reasons that can happen? Should they just off themselves now because obviously, there's no way their life can amount to anything and they are facing an existence burdened with a loss and incompleteness?! Come on now Sabia, I think this point is completely baseless and has nothing to say in regards to the thousands, the millions, of women who don't have children and 'somehow' manage to be happy and whole. Instead it is the woman who is lucky enough to find that which makes her feel fulfilled, inspired, and exited by that will be happy. It can be her husband, it can be her children, but it can also be art or music or photography or anything else!

Finally, though there are more parts of this article I take offense to, there is this particular quote: "But the traditional family is not discriminatory; rather it encourages an appropriate division of labor consistent with biological and Biblical truths. Women are the nurturers and men are the providers. Such an arrangement should not place women in an inferior position, but instead should elevate their status." I can't accept or respect any argument that assumes that saying 'Biblical truths' will make the point for them. There are too many religions around the world, each with their own definition of the 'appropriate division of labor', that this argument is just baseless to me. And this line doesn't just pigeon hole women - what about men? Who is to say that they can't be a nurturing influence? I believe that who a person is can be traced back to a combination of genetics and environment - in addition to just luck (good or bad), thus a man should be entitled to the right to be the nurturer or provider just like a woman. There is a Bible or other religious text in the world that is going to make me believe that divisions that worked a thousand years ago, for not everyone - just some, are going to appropriate to enforce on the people of today.

In essence, what I'm trying to say, is that I don't think it's really all about encouraging strict feminism, instead I believe in supporting HUMANISM. Men and Women deserve equal opportunities to decide their lives for themselves. PERIOD. It might actually be possible if that we stop condemning everything, that each couple could come to their own decision about what is right for them without guilt or extraneous stress. Who knows? Stranger things have happened.

Stress and Overwhelmed

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And here it goes, the realm of the drama queen - if you don't want to listen to the semi-emo depressing rants of someone who at the moment hates the world, please stop reading now.

Be Warned Of A General Lack Of Coherency From This Point On
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I HATE EMAIL AND I HATE MY JOB AND RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT I HATE MY LIFE. Yes I used all caps purposefully, because I'm screaming inside my head. Not out loud yet, but inside my head. All I was trying to do was keep my Gmail inbox clean of the random crapola that gets dumped in my Yahoo account due to the many sorority list serves I'm on. But do you know what Gmail has that Yahoo does not? The ability to UNSEND - which is in my personal opinion a godsend. I mean - sometimes you fuck it up. Sometimes your grammar is wrong or your spelling is out of whack or sometimes, just some special times, you have the COMPLETELY WRONG ADDRESS IN THE SEND FIELD. But what can you do after hitting that button? Well in my case completely freak out - at least on the inside.

I'm pretty positive my need for control over everything around me has to do with my family. When your family is fucked up you have pretty much no control and so I think that for me that's channeled into me being a somewhat hyper type-A personality. Someone who likes to volunteer, step in, raise her hand and accept one more fucking responsibility. I don't know what the fuck's wrong with me. Right now I'd rather just go be a fucking hermit, one that sits there with her books and her clothes and her make-up and only maybe goes out in the world. Going out in the world it what hurts, going out in the world is what leads to fuck-ups and disappointments and generally unhappiness.

And - here comes more emo (watch out) - it does make me ask myself, how much is the happiness worth it? Yes it's good to have friends and loved ones and I don't know, go out, but how much does the chance of unhappiness weigh against that? Yes it's just a chance, yes people should be strong and go out and evolve! Well fuck them. They've probably had enough therapy that the idea of going out doesn't give them panic attacks. I think the only reason I don't get panic attacks or ulcers is that 90% of the time I'm so numb I can't even feel enough to get them.

Instead I get random rants of horrible unhappiness. Sometimes with tears, sometimes not. My world is horribly unfair - yes I'm sure there is a sister or a friend or a family member that can help remind me that the good stuff is there too, but I've forgotten. Right this second I've forgotten. All I seem to be is a speaking stick that can help do this or help do that or fill out this form. Not a person, not someone who knows anything about what they're doing or what's going to happen. I feel completely impotent to fate and sometimes it really does seem like I would be better off just not in it.
Or at least, just not responsibly for anything or maybe floating around in a drugged haze. Yeah, that would probably be better.
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Smile though your heart is aching
Smile even though it's breaking
Though there are clouds in the sky, you'll get by
If you smile through your fears and sorrows
Smile and maybe tomorrow
You'll see the sun come shining through for you

Light up your face with gladness
Hide every trace of sadness
Although a tear may be ever so near
That's the time you must keep on trying
Smile, what's the use of crying?
You'll find that life is still worthwhile
If you just smile

--Charlie Chaplin

Right this second

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I don't want anything. A car, responsibilities, a job - nothing. I think I'd rather just live alone as a hermit to die in a little cabin surrounded by nothing more than books.

Yes that's a lot. But right this second? I mean it.

Awkward Moment for beecreative

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My most awkward moment took place in 6th grade. You know - middleschool? The land of cruel girls and thoughtlessly inconsiderate boys? Not a good time, let me tell you.

Anyway, the story starts with a boy - as usual. This guy (whose name I don't even remember now) was my big crush of the moment. Big blue eyes, dark hair, he was like my little example of what I wanted to marry when I grew up. Of course, being so cute it wasn't like my feelings were the only ones he had to contend with, thus I stayed far away and instead yearned from afar (sigh). Then finally, one day when I'm at lunch, after I've grabbed my tray and loaded it with the special - chili - I see him. Head up, looking my way and waving. Waving! I was so excited that I turned to wave and make my way over to him and the worst happened. Wipeout. Complete and total. I fall over my own two feet and not only land on my butt, I land with my chili covering me all over, though I guess I should be thankful it missed my face. The worst part? I'm crouched there trying to get my act together and look up to see my crush going over to the girl who had been behind me. Because that's who he'd actually been waving at.

FML.

I hope that moment is awkward enough to last anyone a lifetime, but don't forget to check out BeeCreative for more humiliation and because Kym has some hilarous stuff available!

For Remembrance

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Thank you to every man and woman who risks their life for our freedom. At home or abroad, whether you're seeing action now or did 20 years ago - Thank you.

Genes Load the Gun

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I think it's interesting the kind of discussion that can come about in regards to global health. Not just when we talk about what's happening in the United States, but including the entire global community and their stance on an individual's health. Last night I went to a Duke sponsored discussion on global health that included two of the leading names in the field - Dr. Victor Dzau and Dr. Paul Farmer. Have President Brodhead sitting between them and leading the interview/discussion? Now that's not a bad way to spend a Wednesday night.

I can't claim to understand everything, or to even know enough about the sides of the issue to have an opinion of my own. But I do appreciate my chance to hear those in the know illuminate some of the problems. Global health is being tackled so differently everywhere that to hear someone like Paul Farmer, who has worked in Haiti, Africa, and so many more places to try and make a difference in the lives of the poor, is a special opportunity.

I can't seem to think of a way to sum up what I learned or heard at this talk, more an example of my own failure to communicate the issue accurately, but here are a few quotes that I typed into my phone while trying to keep the discussion clear in my mind:

1) "Genes load the gun but environment pulls the trigger" - President Brodhead on public health, congenital disease, and societal influences
2) "The issue of global health is health everywhere. And health everywhere is a lot of issues simultaneously." - President Brodhead, summary point
3) "What is important to do and how do we use the resources we have to do it?" President Brodhead's opinion of Duke's view of its own purpose, but also Dr. Farmer's choice on how small enterprises make big and lasting changes

I think the biggest idea that I took from this discussion was the idea of global health not being something 'outside of the US', not 'International Health'. The poor and distraught in the US need help just as badly as those in other countries, and it seems to me the issue will never come to a satisfactory ending without all of us working together to tackle it everywhere.

Family

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I think family is probably the easiest and hardest word in the English language - in any language really, but I can only speak from my own perspective.

My mother died on October 9, 2009. Died. Born January 14, 1954 she lived a life of extreme hardship towards the latter half of her life. She was born in Maine, grew up in the New York-Brooklyn area and in her late 20's met my father. She eventually decided to leave college, the proceeded to have my sister, than me. When I was 2 years old she and my father decided that it would be better to move down to NC where his family was from - here's where it gets wonky. My mother moves down and my father says he's gonna come down later, but guess who never quite makes it? Unsurprisingly to some I never lived in the same house with my father again and saw him only about 3 times that I remember, all of those happening before I was 10.

While in NC my mother found out she was pregnant with my brother but had the unfortunate luck to be diagnosed with gestational onset diabetes. And wait for it people - this is where it get's better. After gaining wait from the diabetes, over the next few years the bad diagnoses just keep coming - severe osteoarthritis of the spine, heart failure, kidney problems, cataracts - every single one of them my mother had to deal with, while trying to raise three children on welfare and disability in a world that doesn't really welcome people who need that kind of help.

Imagine, living the first half of your life happy and healthy with direction and purpose and be condemned to spend the last part of it sick, ashamed, and alone. Because my mother was extremely alone - some of it due to her own wishes, because she was ashamed to be seen as she was in the end, and some of it due to the people and family who knew her before who never seemed to make an effort or care about her well being enough to be there in person. And later when we moved out of the house of my youth (and SO AGAINST MY WISHES) she gave in to my sisters demands and moved in with her, she got to go face to face with the ugliness of the human spirit.

As my siblings got older - they got uglier. Uglier in spirit I mean. Talking down to my mother and telling her what a burden she was, all of it designed to somehow try and make themselves feel better at the expense of her mental and emotional health. But what was even worse for me during this whole situation was the my mother would not let me help her. She wouldn't move in with me, she wouldn't move out to her own place. I understand that she was depressed but it was incredibly hurtful and frustrating to be put in the place of wanting to be my mother's protector or at least helper, and be denied.

In the end my sister was telling her that my mother had ruined her life and was a burden to her and that she HAD to leave. Even though our mother had been her best friend for the entirety of her life up until now, even though she made my mother move in with her with threats of never speaking to her again - all of it didn't matter. She was a burden now. A burden because my sister's new 'friends' were telling her that this was how other people lived their lives, how grown people lived their lives.

So in the end my mother died. In the hospital after being sedated and never waking up again. I can only take heart in the fact that my last words to her were how I loved her and how those hospital people better start treating her right or heads were gonna roll. But on my train ride down to NC on the 9th, it didn't make much of a difference. And when I got there I did not hug or touch either of my siblings, and even though that seems odd in abstract, in reality there was no other way for that reunion to go. Fights are always either happening or imminent with them and I'm gonna work to not have that negativity in my life.

That properly wasn't a proper eulogy to my mother. But before I can even start trying to craft one that brings to life what she meant to me, I had to be able to say what was stuck in my heart. And saying it does make it slightly better but I'm still not going to be happy any time soon and my life does suck. I loved my mother. She was one of the strongest and most resilient women I've ever known and I say thanks every day that she taught me to be a woman that would never give up and never accept less than the best.

Elissa Beth Wooster
~January 14, 1954 - October 9, 2009~
Loving Mother

Music Box

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I'm sitting with my mother's music box.
It's not big, barely fitting in the palm of my hand,
but I'm sitting with my mother's music box.

It plays the song her father sang to her and
I remember buying it for her, knowing-
knowing
that she would cry when she heard it.

And now I cry when I hear it.
Winding it up and listening to it play,
hiccuping as I hiccup.

The Ballad of Jon and Kate

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I don't understand why people are confused or surprised about the lower ratings 'Jon & Kate Plus Eight' is getting. Let's be real people, there are two main reasons (even if people don't want to admit them):

1) Struggling, happy people are entertaining while struggling, unhappy people are not.

2) No one wants to watch the systematic destruction of these kids' childhood.

To go back to #1, let's take a look at TLC's track record - 'Little People, Big World', 'The Little Couple', '18 and Counting', etc. All of these shows star people and families that are experiencing the world under extraordinary circumstances with a significant amount of aplomb and grace. What makes the families entertaining is their determination to live a 'normal' life no matter how much the world might be working against them - aka - struggling, but happy. What has happened to 'Jon& Kate Plus Eight' is that instead of watching a family stick together against the odds, we have the tangible representation of a big American fear - dissolution of a once loving marriage. This isn't about happy, struggling people any more; instead its focus is on how these two people have moved so apart from each other that separation is necessary, and the children who are stuck in the middle. Thus on to point #2 - the children.

Yes, in the beginning, the show was cute. I was a fan and I loved watching all of these little individual personalities take shape and grow in a loving, if a little large, family. It was my look into a functioning family unit- at least for a while. But as the kids got older and they became more and more aware of the cameras and how their lives were being filmed I began to wonder: who was benefiting from this show? Weren't these children just going to grow up with the mistaken impression that they had to act a certain way and be a certain way to maintain the constant attention? As some articles have claimed, instead of just being child actors, the Gosselin children had their entire lives as a kind of sitcom, broadcasted into millions of homes across America. It's not something they get to turn off and go home to a family to escape - their family is their job. Even if they don't know it yet.


And know, with Jon and Kate falling apart it's even sadder. These children don't deserve to have their parent's divorce blasted across America - their pain is really and probably magnified enough by the lives they've lived already. NO ONE WANTS TO WATCH THIS. Or at least, very few people want to watch - there are always going to be the voyeurs who want to see the end of what was a happy beginning. But either way, TLC should take the low ratings as a clear message - America doesn't think this is funny anymore. What was once a harmless look into an incredible family is now an intrusion into their very private grief - exacerbated by Jon and Kate's inability to stop talking to the media.

So yeah - 'Jon & Kate' isn't what it once was. For very clear and unsurprising reasons. At least, unsurprising and clear for those who are willing to admit the truth - it's time for TLC to stop filming and let this family settle into whatever 'life' they have left.

I hate ComCast

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and I want to punch them in their unfortunately proverbial nuts.

#1 Customer Service Satisfaction my ass.

Sorry - I know it's random, but it had to be said. 50min conversations over my lunch hour for almost a week straight are completely unnecessary and result in great unhappiness on all sides - because unfortunately, at this point, even innocent employees are feeling my wrath.

They Say Control

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They say that you can't take it with you,
that the memories last a lifetime.
But what if that thing you can't take
is the only thing that takes you?
That anchors you in a world beyond your control?

They say you shouldn't shop when you're depressed,
that it only leads to needless spending, to debt.
But what if that piece of clothing,
that spare, material thing,
is the only thing you feel like you control?

Control is what it's all about I think.
Family, friends, your job-
all of them outside elements,
environmental factors,
far beyond an individual person's ability to control.

So they say you can't take it with you.
They say that money can't make you happy.
But in a world where you have little to no control,
I'd rather hold on to the things, to the seemingly useless.
Because how useless can something be if it gets you through the day?

And doesn't kill you while its doing it?