Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Happy Mediums: Trying to Find a Work/Life Balance

Lately I've heard more and more people talk about trying to find a good "work/life balance." I don't think I've ever been particularly good at this, and as of lately I've been really failing.

It's not that I bring my work home with me. In fact, I'm pretty good about forgetting about my job while I'm not there. The problem is that I'm working so much that I'm finding very little motivation to do things when I'm home. I usually alternate between a) sleeping and b) watching hours of mindless television.

Don't get me wrong -- mindless television is the best. But so is blogging. Blogging (and writing in general) is my favorite hobby. But I've been finding it increasingly more difficult to think of blog topics and to actually execute those topics.

Part of this comes from my day job being very mentally exhausting. I'm coming up on 2 years with the company this week and the last few months have been especially excruciating. I think that I've just finally given up on it since they announced they're closing our building next year.

I guess this post is two things. First, it is an apology for the lack of original content around these parts lately. Second, it is an attempt at making a post so that I'm not completely forgotten. It's a bad attempt, but there are words here and that's a success to me.

I think that finding a "happy medium" is important -- a nice halfway point between being dedicated to a job and being completely drained by it. 

Hopefully I'll think of something decent soon and actually find the inspiration to put it into words.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Happy 4 Year Blogiversary to Me!

I missed the actual date of my blogiversary. It snuck up on me and passed by very quickly, the bastard. I originally started this blog on May 10, 2011. Its original name was Refractions, and it had a .blogspot.com URL. Four years. Can you believe it? Probably not, because hardly anyone was reading this when I started. And even now, there's probably about six of you. Hi guys.

So many things have changed since that fateful day. Not only has this blog evolved multiple times to become the giant clusterfuck of opinion pieces, cat pictures, and passionate rants about televisions, but my life has also changed dramatically.

For anyone who hasn't been there since the beginning, here are the major highlights of my life:

So, that's all about me. Here are some of my favorite posts. These are the ones I'm most proud of:

Ok. I'm done tooting my own horn. Out of 267 published blog posts, I found 22 that were either a) important or b) still amusing to me. Please humor me and my trip down memory lane.

Here's to the future! More mostly mediocre and sometimes inspired blog posts about the stupid things I did as a kid!

Friday, May 15, 2015

Things I Would Tell My Teenage Self

Now that I'm 25 and have a little life experience under my belt, I can look back on my sad, overly dramatic teenage self and wonder, "Who was that idiot?"

That's not to say that my more pimply self didn't have some good reasons to freak out all the time, but it turns out that a lot of the things I worried about didn't really matter. Who'd have thought that my mom would have been right about all of that? It's not like she was ever a teenager herself or anything... but, you know, parents just don't get it. Oh, hindsight.

Anyway, here are a few things I wish I could go back and tell my teenage self:

  • Yes, you will eventually date someone. It will not be in high school and the first couple of people you date will not end up being "Mr. Right." They will be the "Mr. Right Now" for a few moments in time that will eventually end. And guess what? You'll get over it.
  • No, you will not end up with that cute, pseudo-hippie boy in your English class no matter how much you think you're right for each other. You will get over this as well... but it might take an embarrassingly long time.
  • You will go to college locally and things won't really change much from high school except that there will be fewer cliques and vicious gossip. You won't love college when you're there, but you'll kind of miss it when it's over. 
  • One day you will not have so much time for writing even though you'll wish you did. Your writing will be a little bit better, but it's going to be harder to finish things because of your busy schedule and desire to sleep. Enjoy all this extra free time while you can.
  • Eventually, going to bed at two in the morning will be the exception and not the rule.
  • Some of the people you detested in high school were actually fine people. One day you'll realize that maybe you judged people a little too harshly.
  • The people you consider your best friends now may not be there a few years from now. Some of them will still be your friend, but life will take you in so many different directions that staying in touch will be difficult. Try to appreciate them now.

What would you go back and tell your younger self?

Sunday, May 10, 2015

A Mother's Day Post

I've mentioned numerous times that I'm not a huge fan of holidays. In general, I think holidays are more trouble than they are worth. Mother's Day is an exception to that. 

I wouldn't be the person I am without my mother. That's probably an obvious statement since I wouldn't even exist without my mother, but she did a whole lot more than just bring me into this world. She taught me how to live in it.

My childhood was mostly a happy one, but my family was far from perfect. My father, despite loving my mother and I, didn't support us like he should have and became increasingly argumentative and watchful over my mother. 

When I was 12 -- on March 15, 2002 -- my mother and I left our Missouri home and moved temporarily in with my grandparents in Ohio. A few months later, my father was diagnosed with lung cancer and passed away within weeks of the diagnosis.

After settling all of our Missouri affairs, my mother moved us to Virginia. The new start that she was able to give us allowed me to experience opportunities that I never would have had if we'd stayed in that small Missouri town.

I wrote this article for my mother this Mother's Day. Mothers are often not recognized for being the heroes they are. And, although we should do this all the time, Mother's Day is great way to reflect on that and to show your mother that she is special to you. 

What did you do for Mother's Day?

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Elementary: The First Time I Knew I Wanted To Be A Writer

This post is the fifth in a series about my elementary school experiences. Please click here for the full series.

For most of my life, I have wanted to be a writer in some capacity. It recently dawned on me that the first time I realized this was in a church bathroom when I was eight-years-old. Of all places, I know.

Here's some background.

When I was in first grade, my teacher had us write stories. I don't actually remember writing these stories as much as I remember being told that it happened. I'm sure that "writing stories" for a six-year-old consisted mostly of drawing bad pictures (see Artwork by Cherie for examples of bad drawings) with just a few words thrown in throughout. And if it amounted to a story with actual characters and a plot then that was just a bonus!

What I do remember more than any actual schoolwork I did in first grade is that my teacher, Mrs. Day, constantly bragged about this brilliant kid she'd taught the year before. Jeremiah. I swear to God, if I had to hear about Jeremiah one more time I was going to lose my mind.

Mrs. Day thought that Jeremiah was the bee's knees. She constantly talked about how great his work was and how smart he was... It was a little bit irritating and, looking back, probably a little bit unprofessional on Mrs. Day's part.


Fast forward two years. I am eight-years-old, a third grader, and I'm visiting my friend's church (later to become my church) for the first time. My friend takes me to the girl's bathroom. While I'm peeing, I hear her start talking to two other girls about me. From inside the stall, I realize that these girls know who I am.

One of the girls says something akin to: "No way. It's her? It's Cherie?" 

When I get out of the bathroom, I am faced with two younger girls who are looking at me with adoration. It's a little weird for me.

The girls then explain to me that they are first graders. They are currently in Mrs. Day's class and Mrs. Day constantly talks about me and how great my stories were.

I'm floored. Somehow, I have become the student that Mrs. Day gushes over. And still gushes over even two years after I leave the class! By that time, I don't remember the specifics of the stories that I wrote or that they were particularly impressive, but I feel a swelling of pride because these two younger kids are looking at me like I'm a celebrity.

Those two kids ended up becoming two of my best friends for the next few years of my life. We never really talked about Mrs. Day or my stories after that, but that day stuck with me.

That's the day that I realized I might be kind of good at writing. I already knew that it was fun -- that I enjoyed putting together stories and creating characters -- but that's when I realized that there might be more to it than I'd thought. Later that year, I wrote a story that was picked for the semi-finals of a contest. I still have a copy of that story. It's terrible and it borders on plagiarism of a book I'd recently read, but I'm still pretty proud of it.

I've posted this before, but here is my biographical sketch:

I may owe this blog, my journalism minor, and all those creative writing assignments that I aced in high school to Mrs. Day.

At what age did you discover your biggest passion? 

Monday, May 4, 2015

An Open Letter to Sookie the Cat

Dear Sookie,

I never anticipated the need to write you a letter. In the case of your sister Pixie, I had anticipated the need for open communication for quite some time. She is a mean, irritable animal. The letter I wrote to her was an honest one. Though I've yet to receive an official response, I like to believe that she took my words to heart. 

But Sookie... you and I have never really had a problem. Personally, we get along just fine. You get along with pretty much everyone who you're not afraid of and I think that's a noble thing. But there are a couple of things we need to discuss.

First of all, we need to discuss your constant need to hide in my room for hours. You see, I'm very rarely aware of your presence in my room until the most inconvenient of times. I will be sitting in my room, perusing the internet or watching a movie for hours on end. I'm completely unaware that you're curled up in a little ball somewhere -- under my bed, in my window, in my closet. I then go through the nightly rituals of readying myself for bed. I close the door, turn off the lights, cozy up with my myriad of pillows, and get comfortable.

Right as I'm starting to doze off -- riding just on the cusp of sleep -- when you decide it's time to make yourself known. Instead of coming out, I don't know, anytime within the last few hours, you seem to make a point of picking the very moment that I'm drifting into a serene slumber to decide it's time to leave my room.

I'm beginning to think this is malicious. And if that is the case I do not appreciate it. You are not subtle with your desire to escape my room. No. Jolting me awake by loudly singing the song of your people is the only option.

Now, Sookie, I tend to give you the benefit of the doubt with this one. Let's be honest. You've never been the sharpest tool in the shed nor the smartest cat in the house. Exhibit A is this picture to the left, where you literally got your claws stuck in a coat hanging next to the couch. What a dummy. 

But I'm thinking that we can at least have an open dialogue about this hiding in my room/waking me up situation. 

Sadly, this is not the open topic of discussion for this letter. The other issue is a far bigger one. Your bulimia. 

It's only speculation at this point, Sookie, but I've come to the conclusion that you are a purger. Similar to the other, fatter cats in the house, you are often one to gorge yourself at the food bowl. 

The problem with you, though, is your need to then empty your stomach throughout the house. More than once have I come home to vomit on various surfaces in the apartment. Here is a short list:
  • my bed
  • my ottoman
  • my floor
  • a receipt that was lying on the living room floor (you got props for that one, though)
  • the rug in the living room
  • the kitchen table
  • the coffee table
And, again, it's starting to seem kind of malicious because of the frequency that this throw up is found in my room. Sookie, I've even seen you come into my room, throw up, and leave my room. I'm glad you feel safe in my room, I guess, but enough is enough. My bedroom is not your own personal pukeatorium.

Your mother (my roommate) is under the impression that you eat too quickly and/or have a sensitive stomach. I think it's your need to be the slimmest cat in the house. But let's face it. You wouldn't have a problem maintaining that status even if you didn't purge. Your sister Pixie and sister-cousin Marnie are always going to be the fatties.

Sookie, I hope that you will not take too much offense at my desire to voice my concerns. Also, if you do not understand this letter due to your lack of mental capacity, please allow Pixie to interpret in a way that you can understand. 

With Concern, Mild Annoyance, and Moderate Love,

Aunt Cherie

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Summer 2015 Get At Me!

I'm very excited for this summer. This summer is going to kick the other seasons' asses. Seriously. Fall and winter better bring their A game because this summer is going to be a tough act to follow.

Here are some things I'm excited for... in order of when they're happening.

May 1st -- Avengers: Age of Ultron

Ok, so this might be cheating because May 1st is technically still spring. But this is my list, so let's just pretend that summer begins in May. Because that's basically how I've lived my entire life.

Anyway. I'm a big fan of the Marvel movies. However, I'm one of those fans who kind of forgets about the whole series until about a month before another movie is set to release. For example, I was super pumped about these movies last year when Captain America: The Winter Soldier came out. Basically, it was awesome and I was all about Marvel for like a week after seeing it.

Then I forgot about Marvel until this week. But it's going to be awesome.

May 1st/May 8th (Maybe?) -- Welcome to Me

I don't know if you all have figured it out yet, but I'm currently very into Saturday Night Live, specifically the cast from 2005-2013. This means, by extension, that I love Kristen Wiig. I find her immensely talented, beautiful, funny, and the picture of grace. She's just so wonderful.

This movie looks like a combination of funny, tragic, and quirky. These are a few of my favorite things in a movie. Also, it's been getting good reviews. It's in limited release on May 1st and extends to more cities on May 8th, but I don't think it's ever getting a complete wide release. So I'm going to have to get creative with this one, like I did Tusk last year. 

Anyway, here's a trailer:

May 11th-12th -- Work Trip!

I'm going on a work trip so I won't actually have to take phone calls for two days! This is always a win. Plus, we're basically not doing anything on the 11th except driving up to Maryland, shopping, and eating dinner. Work pays for me to have my own hotel room and I'm probably getting two free meals out of the deal. Work trips rule!

May 14th-18th -- Tennessee Bound

Basically right after I get back from my work trip to Maryland, I'm heading back to Tennessee to see my parents at their new cabin home near Gatlinburg. I've been three times already and it's always been a lot of fun (except last time because we got snowed in and I also got sick). I'm trying to go about once every three months and so far that's worked out.

June 12th -- "Orange is the New Black" Season 3

Pretty much the entire Netflix-watching world is excited for this, right?

June 19th -- Inside Out

Yes, another movie.

I'm pretty pumped about the new Pixar movie, Inside Out. My excitement is twofold. 1) Pixar rarely disappoints. 2) Some of my favorite people in the world are doing the voice acting. Amy Poehler, Bill Hader, Mindy Kaling, Kyle MacLachlan, and other cool people have lent their voices to this film.

Amy Poehler voices Joy, an emotion inside the head of young Riley. Riley's other emotions consist of Anger, Fear, Sadness, and Disgust. And it's basically about the emotions going crazy. It's going to be great.

June 27th-30th -- Beach Trip + Fall Out Boy (again)

Ok, so my friends and I might like Fall Out Boy too much. If you've been reading Pink Nightmare for awhile, you might remember that we went to see them in 2013 and then we went to see them in 2014. Well, I'm proud of announce that a yearly Fall Out Boy concert seems to be tradition at this point. If they're touring, we're going.

Similar to the last couple of years, I will be attending the concert with my roommate, Lauren, and my concert buddy, David. We'll be going to Virginia Beach and staying at a beachfront (though our room is not oceanfront) hotel. It's going to be great fun and we will be frolicking the entire time.

July 17th -- Ant-Man/Trainwreck

More movies!

I'm really excited about July 17th because I'm planning to do a movie double feature. I haven't done that since high school and, when I did it in high school, it was with Just Friends and The Ice Harvest at our second run theater. So not quite as exciting as opening night to a Paul Rudd fronted superhero movie and the new Judd Apatow comedy.

Anyway! Ant-Man had me skeptical at first, but Paul Rudd looks fine in the trailer and it's written by Adam McKay so I'm not worried.

Trainwreck is going to be great also. Judd Apatow is directing a script written by Amy Schumer, who is just blowing up. This is Amy Schumer's year, I'm pretty sure. It helps that the romantic lead is played by Bill Hader, a man who makes my heart go pitter-patter. Anyway, it's gotten really good early reviews and everyone is saying it's hilarious. I'm pumped.

Here's a trailer:

So these are the things I'm excited for this summer! What's on your list?



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