Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Living with Cats

There are three cats living in my household. My roommate has two and I have one. As we like to say, there is one cat for every human living in our home. To the cats' chagrin, there's always one available to be picked up and held. 

Having cats is one of the greatest pleasures of my life. It's right up there with a good night's sleep and a good meal. That being said, living with multiple cats can present its challenges.

Sookie (black box) and Pixie (pink box) doing the "cute" thing

Here are some of the not-so-cuddly aspects of living with cats:

1. They vomit on your things

One of our cats is worse about this than the other two. I'm not sure why she does it, but she tends to vomit in the worst possible places. Instead of vomiting on the tile or linoleum where it's easy to clean up, she will instead get up on a surface and vomit on it.

Here is a short list of places I've found vomit:
  • Living room rug
  • Dining room table
  • My ottoman
The bed was really a heartbreaking find. I was very upset with the cats for a long time. I still can't 100% point at the perpetrator, but I have my theories.

2. Cat hair = everywhere

This is a picture of my darling cat Marnie:

She's a cute little bugger, but she's got a ton of fur. Just look at those furry feet.

Ever since I've had Marnie, there has been an upsurge of cat hair tufts floating about the apartment. I'm not kidding. Sometimes I just find clusters of her fur in corners, on furniture, or actually floating around like dust.

It isn't pleasant.

One of our couches in particular is pretty bad at retaining the cat hair. So I have to be careful not to sit on said couch in black pants or I'll end up looking like an OCD person's nightmare.

3. Curiosity killed my nerves

Sometimes the cats make me extremely nervous.

I live in a basement and my windows are weird (see this post for an explanation of that), so I have to keep something propped against the window in order to keep my windows open. Well, 2/3rds of our cats have decided that they suddenly love to jump up into the open window and sit.

I'm terrified that they're going to find a way to push the screen out and scurry off to freedom. So far, that hasn't happened. But it's one of my fears.

They also get very curious when I'm cleaning. I am assuming this is a normal cat reaction, but the cats love it when we use bleach. They will jump upon the surface that has been cleaned and roll around in the bleach, sniff it, and essentially get high off the fumes.

I'm sure it can't be healthy. 

Pixie pretending to be innocent... a lie

4. They scratch things that aren't meant to be scratched

None of our cats have been declawed. Declawing is something that I go back and forth on. Bitch Cat was declawed when I got her, which was great for scratching (she couldn't) and playing (she couldn't scratch me or injure me in any way). However, declawing is essentially an unnecessary procedure that causes undue pain and potential psychological harm to the animal.

(This post isn't meant to be a controversial take on declawing, but if you want more information about the harm it can do please visit this link)

Anyway, all three of our cats like to scratch. We have an old couch that's a piece of crap anyway -- so it's fine that they scratch at that.

However, I don't appreciate them scratching on my lamp, the new luggage I spent $70 on not 6 months ago, my new ottoman (the one that has been vomited on), purses, etc.

Curse you, cats!

5. They're hot, then they're cold. They're "yes," then they're "no."

I was thinking recently that Marnie is sometimes so affectionate and cuddly. She'll sleep in my bed several nights in a row and follow me around the house meowing and purring for attention... and then one day it'll be like I'm a complete stranger to her.

We go from BFFs to nothing in 60 seconds.

I was thinking that was weird, but then I remembered that it isn't weird because Marnie is a cat. And that is the behavior that you have to deal with when you have cats.

Dogs will love you all the time, but cats will love you selectively

And, in some ways, I think that's kind of better. Dogs will love you blindly. Cats are independent, free thinkers who will only love you if they think you deserve it! You have to earn the love of a cat. At least... that's what I tell myself to make myself feel better.

Despite these few little annoyances, I wouldn't trade the cats for anything. They are adorable, entertaining, and warm (when they do let you cuddle them). I'm proud to be a cat lady.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Why I Wear Makeup

This post is a response to this article that was published on Thought Catalog. It's somewhat of an old article and I meant to post this awhile ago but never got around to it. I still wanted to get it off my chest. So here we go...

Too often I see men asserting themselves -- both online and in person -- about how women shouldn't wear makeup. Granted, this is not all men and not all men are pig-headed about it. Some men do prefer women with a more natural look. This is their prerogative and isn't unlike me saying that I tend to prefer dark haired men to blondes. This is not invalid. We all have our preferences and we’re all physically attracted to different things.

However, there is a difference between having preferences and being judgmental toward a large percentage of an entire gender for something as simple as the way a woman chooses to present herself.

The author of the article to which I am responding not only insinuates that women wear makeup in order to mask insecurity, but he also assumes that women who wear makeup have no ambition outside of appearance. This highly derogatory opinion piece blatantly tells women to get an education and develop hobbies. Apparently I am not able to function as a human being while I’m wearing eye shadow.

Now, I don’t assume that this one man’s opinion makes up a majority of men’s opinions. I don’t tend to make sweeping statements about large groups of people if those statements are not shrouded in actual facts. That being said, I have heard the “women shouldn’t wear makeup” argument more than once and I think the biggest problem is a lack of understanding.

I can’t speak for every woman, but I can speak for myself and for some of the friends with whom I’ve had discussions on this subject. I don’t wear makeup to find a man. I don’t wear makeup because I think I’m a hideous person and I’m trying to mask all my flaws. I’m not trying to “be someone else.” It isn’t a matter of insecurity or desperation. I wear makeup because I prefer myself with makeup. It’s that simple. Makeup is a way for me to express myself. My choice to wear makeup and the type of makeup I wear should not be separated from the other ways I express myself – such as my choice of hairstyle, clothes, the way I decorate my room, the type of car I drive, etc.

My decision to wear makeup (or not to wear makeup) does not need to be substantiated by anyone other than me. We all choose to express ourselves in different ways and for different reasons. The reason I wear makeup may differ from reasons that other people do – and that’s fine. It might be something that some people do not understand or prefer, but this should not be anyone else’s concern except for the person who the face in question belongs to.

I do not like football. However, I do not fault people who get really into it and deck themselves out from head to toe in their favorite team’s gear on game day. It’s a hobby/interest that I don’t share, but that doesn't invalidate their reasoning behind doing what they do.

Another part of the argument that bothers me is the assumption that women wear makeup for other people rather than for themselves. Have I taken extra time to make sure that my makeup looked especially good for certain occasions – like first dates and job interviews? Of course I have. However, I don’t see this as being any different than a man paying extra attention to make sure he gets a clean shave on his neck or making sure his tie is on straight. It is human nature for us to want to look our best if we’re trying to make a good impression. We all have our routines for trying to look like the best versions of ourselves, and none of us should fault anyone else because that person’s routine differs from our own.

At the end of the day, it comes down to our own personal opinions and convictions. No, not every woman is going to wear makeup. Not every man is going to be drawn to a woman who wears makeup. Neither of these things needs explaining. But just as the choice to wear no makeup or to dislike makeup are completely valid lifestyles and opinions, my choice to wear makeup it just as valid. It doesn’t matter the reason why I wear makeup. It is my face and it’s up to me how I choose to present that face to the world. And I’m glad that I live in a world that allows me to do so.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Keeping things for nostalgic purposes

This is a pair of shoes:

Kind of beat up, aren't they?

I've had this sad pair of boots since 2001, when I was 11-years-old.

Until today, I kept these boots for nostalgic reasons. Amazingly enough, they do still fit me. But they haven't been in decent condition for years and, honestly, I no longer find them very attractive.

But for some reason I still wanted to hold onto them. Analyzing it further, I think these boots were one of the few reminders I had left of the life I had as a child. We got them when I still lived in Missouri, my father was still alive, and I was for all intents and purposes still pretty clueless about the world.

All of that changed the following year when my parents split up, we moved to Ohio, and my dad was later diagnosed with lung cancer. 2002 was a really rough year, but 2001 was great. And these boots were a lovely reminder of 2001.

Today I decided to part with these shoes. I still have other, smaller reminders of my childhood. I have a whole box (the box itself is from childhood too -- a gift from my church friends when I moved away) full of stuff from elementary school, church camp, etc. I'll probably keep that box forever, but it's easier to shelve than a pair of bulky boots.

So goodbye to you, old friends. I've enjoyed our time together, but that time has come to an end:

What are some items that you've kept as reminders of the past? Do you think you'll ever part with them?

Monday, October 20, 2014

Blogging for the sake of blogging

There are some bloggers who can manage to come up with great content and be prolific with posting it. Other bloggers can come up with great content sometimes, but they still post regularly just so that they don't have tumbleweeds blowing through their blogs.

Then there's me. I don't come up with great content all the time, but I also hate blogging for the sake of blogging.

At first, I thought this post might be like that. But I don't think it is. And I might be a bit of a hypocrite because I'm blogging about blogging and I normally hate it when other people blog about blogging.

At a certain point, the repetition of the word "blog" becomes comical. It's a pretty funny word when you really think about it.

Anyway, I hate posting something that I know is sub par and not on point with the rest of my content just so that I can have something to post. When I've done that in the past, I've ended up looking at my past entries and finding really terrible pieces that never should have gone up in the first place.

Not only did those pieces probably bore half of my readers, it also wasted my time in even bothering to type it up. I don't want to do that anymore. And that's why it's October and the maximum number of posts I've had in a month for 2014 is 5. February was apparently a good month for me to be blogging.

But honestly, I just haven't been "inspired" by much this year. It's not been a particularly great year and it hasn't been a bad one, but it's been pretty busy. I've been working two jobs and also trying to maintain at least a semblance of a social life, so blogging has taken a backseat to those things.

Even when I've been sitting at work on a slow day or wrestling to get to sleep at night and a great idea has popped into my mind, I sometimes never even end up executing those ideas due to limited time. By the time I do get around to writing again, the idea isn't fresh anymore.

This isn't an apology and it isn't an excuse. This is also not me hating on people who blog every day. Some people blog every day and manage to keep me interested post after post. But I don't work like that.

This is just me stating something for the record: I'm not going to post for the sake of posting. So there might be gaps of time where I don't post anything. I would rather lose a few readers for lack of content than lose everyone for bad content.

I'm also not saying that every post I make is going to be plated in gold and worthy of any kind of accolade. Some people might even think, "She seriously thought that was a good post?" 

The answer to that question is going to be yes. Because I'm only going to post content that I'm actually proud of. And I feel good about this decision.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Pet Peeves: People who comment on posts without reading them

I'll admit that I sometimes don't read an entire article from top to bottom. If it's something I'm only vaguely interested in or if I don't have a lot of time, I will skim an article. But I will at least read over the pertinent parts and develop a feel of what the writer was trying to get across before I type up and publish a comment.

Some people don't do that.

I recently had an opinion piece published on Elite Daily. This opinion piece was about Stephen Collins, the 7th Heaven actor who was recently outed as a child molester when his ex-wife released a tape where he admitted to the acts in a therapy session.

It was a revelation that really struck me because I'd grown up watching this man on television. As a child, I watched him assume a role model position -- both as his character and in himself by extension. I watched this man act on a television show that featured dozens of child actors in the years it was on the air.

This is something that disgusted me. It would have disgusted me regardless of who he was. But since he was someone of whom I had once considered myself a fan, it prompted me to write about it.

So I wrote an article and submitted it to Elite Daily. They ran the article, but they changed my original name. My original name was "Thoughts on Stephen Collins from a Former 7th Heaven Fan."

It was a lame title, and they changed it. I don't disparage them this at all. I was a journalism minor and I know the importance of having a headline that grabs readers into actually clicking on the story and reading it. And that's what they did. They gave it a title that made it more interesting. 

That title was "Why I Hate Stephen Collins For Ruining My Memory Of '7th Heaven.'"

Now, I won't say that I "hate" Stephen Collins or even that it completely tarnished my memories of the first show I ever really binged on. But that title was definitely more headline worthy than my own.

In my article, I did mention how I was disappointed and that the disappointment did stem from the perspective of having been a pretty big fan as a child. However, that wasn't the main point of my article. The main point of my article was the increasingly sick realization that anyone could be a predator. Even someone who seems like a great, upstanding role model may be a wolf in sheep's clothing. That's a fact that keeps beating itself into my brain as I get older.

I mentioned how scary it was to think that he was a role model to children who loved the show -- and how he exploited his position of power. 

That was what I wanted readers to take away from my story. It was just my opinion and me working out some things in my mind about how he seemed like a really trustworthy person who has since proved himself to be anything but.

And still, it seems like the title is what drove people to discussion. They insinuated that I was not being sympathetic to the victims and that I was making the whole situation about myself. They said that I was selfish because all I was worrying about was my childhood memories of watching 7th Heaven. The only thing I can think is that the people who commented did not really read my post, but just assumed based on the title (that I didn't even come up with) that I was only concerned about my childhood memories being ruined.

That is not what I intended at all. I didn't intend to be controversial or self-pitying or anything of that nature. Am I disappointed? Yes, and I am allowed to be. But I recognize that the biggest issue in all of this is that the allegations be investigated properly and that Collins be tried accordingly. 

Here's a link to my article. If you think that it comes the way these commenters did, please let me know. And yes, I do know that people on the internet are going to hate. I just wish they'd gotten the meaning behind what I wrote before they made up their minds.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Reversing my opinion of New Girl

I'm a woman. As a woman, I have a stereotype to fulfill. I reserve the right to change my mind on something that I was once pretty certain about.

Today, that thing that I'm flip-flopping (as the news pundits would say about me if I were a political leader) is my opinion of the show New Girl.


In this post in from August of last year, I made my case against the "quirky girl" movement. I placed Zooey Deschanel at the head of it. To sum that up, I believed that Zooey Deschanel realized how trendy it is to be quirky and has built her entire image upon it.

I still think this is mostly true. I have, however, changed my mind about the show New Girl. Initially I thought that the show just served as another medium for Deschanel to spread her glittery weirdness to a wider audience. If we're honest, she pretty much had every other corner of the market covered -- film, music (she's the "she" in She & Him), and even the internet (HelloGiggles.com, anyone?).

My initial try with "giving it a chance" lasted for all about five episodes. I concluded that New Girl just wasn't for me.

Since that original stand I took in 2011, I've noticed that the show only seems to grow. People love the Schmidt character and I've found quotes scattered about various nooks and crannies of the internet. Some of the quotes were funny, but it wasn't enough to get me to try watching the show again.

Then I had a couple of friends tell me that I needed to watch the show. When I told my coworker the struggle I had with Zooey Deschanel and her clearly intentional weirdness, my friend assured me that the show didn't continue to capitalize on that. She told me that the show was actually very cleverly written.

So I got bored after finally getting caught up on The Good Wife (caught up for the first time it started airing in 2009) a few weeks ago and decided to take the plunge.

And you know what? I actually do like the show. It's not my favorite comedy in the world. It's not even my favorite comedy still on the air (that award goes to Parks and Recreation, at least until its conclusion next spring). But it's fun and the characters are easy to relate to.

My favorite characters are probably Nick (played by Jake Johnson, who I think is adorable) and Winston (Lamorne Morris). 

And - I won't lie - Zooey Deschanel's character, Jess, has grown on me. But not quite as much as her outfits have. If I could have even half of her wardrobe from this show, I'd be a happy camper. Exhibit A:


The show has also brought on some good guest stars such as Jamie Lee Curtis, Justin Long, Natasha Lyonne, Lizzy Caplan, and others.

I'm about halfway into season 2 now and feel pretty good about it. Even if that means publicly admitting I was wrong on the internet.

How do you feel about New Girl? What are your favorite television comedies?

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Elementary: Things my parents didn't prepare me for

In early 2013, I did a segment called "Childhood Memories" where I mostly blogged about toys, books, and shows from my childhood.

Now, I'm taking that in a different direction. This will be the first in a series of posts about things I actually did during childhood -- most of them fairly ridiculous.

So without further ado... I present:

Things my parents didn't prepare me for

I was essentially an only child growing up. I have half siblings on both sides, but they were all much older than me and did not live in the same house while I was growing up. My mother didn't work when I was a kid, so I also didn't go to a day care. In fact, I can probably count on one hand the number of times in my life that my parents ever needed to hire a babysitter. I didn't attend pre-school.

What I'm trying to convey is that I didn't spend very much time around other kids during the first five years of my life. It wasn't until I started Kindergarten that I really had this type of exposure.

When I started Kindergarten, I really didn't know what to expect. I didn't know how other kids operated -- the types of jokes they made and the fact that, sometimes, they weren't all that nice.

So here's a couple of pitfalls I had in Kindergarten:

1. I screamed my name out loud the first day of school

Hey look, it's me
It basically went how it sounds. I walked into the first day of Kindergarten and sat down at my assigned seat. The desks were pushed up against each other in clusters of four. When I arrived at my seat, one of my desk mates was already there. It was a boy whose name was Tommy.

Tommy told me his name and he asked mine.

At first, I was a little shy. "Cherie," I whispered. Tommy didn't quite hear me.

"What?" Tommy replied, asking me to repeat myself.

"Cherie," I said, a little louder. Tommy still couldn't hear me. 

"What's your name?" he badgered. At this point, I was annoyed. How did this kid not hear my name again? So this time I wanted to make sure he got it.

"CHERIE!" I bellowed, a blood curdling scream. 

Tommy's eyes widened. He heard me that time. Unfortunately for me, so did the teacher. My Kindergarten teacher walked into the classroom from the hall, where she had been greeting the students as they entered.

"Who was that? Who screamed?" she demanded. Tommy, being the little rat that he was, pointed directly at me. 

The teacher then asked for my name (making me say it for the fourth time in five minutes) and proceeded to write my name in the top corner of the chalkboard.

The "name on the board" tactic served as a way for teachers to both shame and keep up with who was being particularly childish that day. I was ashamed. I was the first child in my Kindergarten class to get in trouble. It wasn't going well for me.

2. I didn't know about April Fool's Day

I went to school on April 1st, 1996 without thinking there was anything separating that day from any other day.

Boy was I wrong.

Having not grown up with other kids, I'd never had any reason to know about April Fool's Day. My parents were older when they had me (my mother was 31 and my dad was grandpa status at 52), so April Fool's Day wasn't something they even acknowledged at that stage in life.

So there goes unassuming little me down the halls of elementary school that morning. If I recall correctly, I was making my way to the breakfast line when it first started to happen. 

The whole time I walked toward the cafeteria, kids kept pointing at me and telling me my shoes were untied. That's what I remember the most. There might have been a couple of other jokes, but the one I remember the most were multiple kids telling me my shoes were untied.

I was wearing Velcro shoes! I knew my ABCs by age three, but I was a little behind in the art of learning to make bunny ears with regular shoes.

Looking back, I'm not sure why it unnerved me so much. Those kids clearly weren't very clever.

3. Kids made me cry when they told me I wasn't going to have a birthday every year

My birthday is January 29th. For some reason, some kids were either misinformed completely or thought they'd be able to play a joke on me by telling me that I wasn't going to have a birthday every year.

I later learned that it was the kids born on February 29th that would miss their birthday due to leap year. However, I was quite disconcerted with these kids in Kindergarten essentially telling me I would be skipped every few years and remain my same age while everyone else got older.

To this day, I'm not sure if the kids who told me that just got January and February confused or if they knew, given my track record about not knowing things, that I'd believe them and it would upset me. I guess we'll never know.

Does anyone else have any similarly embarrassing stories from childhood?



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