Thursday, November 21, 2013

Dressed for Success

   You may know the saying "don't judge a book by its cover?"

   Well, if you're me, you do. I once bought a book on ebay that I had discovered in my elementary school library when I was in the fourth grade. When it arrived, I took one look at it, and promptly decided to buy the same book again when I realized the cover was wrong- not the one that had captured my youthful imagination the first time around. And then I donated the book with the offending cover to my university's library. Just one of those beautiful, life-coming-full-circle thangs.

Ummmm... No!

Much better







   Continuing in the same vein, judging me by my outsides is perfectly acceptable- one time a year. And that one time is Halloween. Feel free to form your opinions of me based on my carved pumpkin (who cares about the insides of those anyway), my haunted house decorating, and the level of success with which I replicate delicious holiday sweets from Pinterest and Women's World magazine.

It's Grumpy Cat, in case you couldn't tell

   I don't know why Halloween just does it for me. Scratch that, hell yeah I do! Candy, candy, and oh yeah, CANDY coming out the yin yang. And even better (as if that were possible), you get to dress up as all sorts of outrageous things. It's also that time of year that reminds me why I got that theatre minor in the first place.

   And really, it's the costume part of Halloween that has sorta become my trademark. And because this is MY blog, I get to both exhibit and brag about some of my favorite costumes- and you all get to do the judging. Which is really more or less unnecessary because these costumes have already been judged, and I've won four (count 'em) FOUR costume contests. 'Tis a proud legacy. Bragging (temporarily) over.

   Anyway, I guess it all started, as most things do (see above book cover scenario), in my childhood.
Is it creepy to think of yourself as a sexy kid? Or just narcissistic?
The High School years-

    The costume was my brainchild, but my mother's hard work. 

I'm a bunch of grapes! Please ignore the traumatic, junior year braces.

   Tragically, the grapes were not an award-winning costume. I had yet to come into my own. That honor lies with the year I was a picnic table. That colloborative effort involved both my mother and my father, and they accomplished said feat by covering a cardboard pizza box with the middle section of a picnic tablecloth. On top of the covered, flat box, my parents had managed to attach a picnic basket, complete with cutlery, plates, napkins, and food. I wore this insane contraption atop my head, all day long. The remainging material from the tablecloth fit comfortably around my shoulders and hung down to my hips. To complete the look, I painted my face red, painted ants on the toga part of the tablecloth and voila! Instant Senior year stardom. Sorta. Most regretably, I cannot currently locate a photo of this costume. As soon as I do, you can bet your sweet trick-or-treat that I'll be posting it.

The College Years-

   Freshman year of college, I went as a mildly sexy vampire. Not too shabby. Sophomore year, I went as a dark fairy, winning me my second costume contest, which I really didn't understand. I mean, it looked pretty good, by there was some REALLY stiff competition. There was a guy who freaking dressed like princess Leia, buns and all, and the best part- FULLY BEARDED!

I add this without permission of the subject. And it feels so liberating!



   Ironically, the year I lost first place as the grapes as a high school junior, I also lost 3rd place- to a dark fairy. Then, a mere three years later, I WIN as a dark fairy. I was both annoyed and pleased with myself.
Make-up mask courtesy of friend/roomie Alta Stokes-Baxter.


   For my Junior year of college, I'm ashamed to admit that I went to the Internet for creative counsel. Hey don't judge (even though I specifically gave you permission to earlier). It could have been a rough year, emotionally, scholastically, etc. Who knows; I sure don't remember. Regardless, the resulting ipod dancer costume turned out pretty cool.

That night, I could have made my motto "dance like no one's watching. Except I hate that motto, and I hope everyone WAS watching. I sure as hell put enough effort into this absurd get-up.


   And alas, we have my first Senior year of college. My dad had always said a zit would make a good costume, and that year, I must have been feeling pretty zitty (phonic word play intended), and so I went for it. Uh... yeah...

I used whipped cream as the pus, which I would squirt into my mouth, and then spit out when I squeezed myself (only when I was outside, of course. I'm not an animal).

It takes a very special friend, however unwilling, to put themselves in this compromising position.
   Second Senior year is, by far, one of my favorite costumes of all time. Sometimes, like with this year, inspiration doesn't strike until a few weeks before Halloween hits. But that year, that glorious year, I knew months in advance what I would be, and it all came to me as I simply walked home from class, just like any other day...
   Say hello to costume contest winner #3.

I'm ALWAYS watching!

You may recognize this girl from a previous Halloween. This is my friend, Crotch, and yes, that is her name (that I gave her Freshman year of college).


And now, without further ado (or costumes), here is my latest, and 2nd favorite costume:


This was taken at work. I handed out Skittles and everything. For HR reasons, I avoided saying "taste the rainbow."

 And that brings us to the present, where I now have to figure out how to win a 5th contest. Damn this abominable success! It's like cocaine, or something I can actually relate to, SUGAR! It's addictive, and I greedily desire more. So the wheels are in motion, and I'm already strategically planning ahead. I have a couple ideas; nothing set in stone.



I've always thought Jennifer Aniston could pass for my Doppleganger...

Here's to hoping you all had a Halloween equally as delightful. Due to the fact that I was dieting, I didn't eat any candy. Not a single piece- a confession that does not please me in the slightest. But being down 28 pounds does. Hey, it wouldn't be a proper entry if I didn't fit in one more bit of bragging here at the end. And on that note...

Frightfully and fitfully yours,

Sweens


Monday, October 14, 2013

There's Nothing to Fear, but What You Feel


"Sometimes I think that it's better to never ask why"- Pink

Wow. If crap could be holy, this would be one of those occasions. I haven't written in FOREVER! I have friends that don't even like blogging who have me bested. It's literally been three months, o sea, 1/4 of a year, since I've had anything useful or otherwise to contribute. I have some ah-splaining to do..."

Here's a mild recap of some things that have happened. I honestly probably don't remember them all.
  • I still work at Vivint, the leader in home automation and security. But I got a new job. I hesitate to call it a promotion, because I'm not sure that it is, or that I did anything to earn it. But I enjoy it a lot more than when I used to call people up and be like, "hey, so... security?" The nice thing is, I actually think they're great systems, but selling them wasn't my strong point. I have to admit, I used to have a great disdain for salespeople; now I admire them. The honest ones, at least. It truly is a skill, and I am truly now the Team Scheduler- the person who makes sure all those systems get installed for the time when the customer wants it, or as close as humanely possible. It takes a good deal of patience and organization, and I'm enjoying the challenge. The fact that I get free food, Vivint swag, and work with some pretty cool peeps doesn't hurt either.
  • I'm dieting. What's worse, I'm on a stupid diet. Really, all diets are dumb, but this one takes the cake (except that it doesn't, or I'd be eating it). It's called the HCG diet, and man, do you lose weight quick! I'm down 20 lbs. in three weeks! It breaks all the rules of health-conscious common sense, but I have to give it credit-  it works and it works well. Essentially, I got to the point where after I came home from the mission, I was eating like it was my talent, and was I ever practising!  However, in an effort to be around for the year 2025 and so that my clothes fit again, I decided to do something about myself, and when this whole "diet" thing is said and done, I just want to learn to have an interdependent relationship with food; one where we both need each other but aren't obsessed with each other. No more sneaking off to be alone in each others' arms late at night!
  • The play's the thing! Or it was. I was just recently in a production called Well Written by Tim Larsen for the Liberty Lake Community Theater. The play is about a doctor whose patients are all famous writers that are making her crazy- Shakespeare, Hemingway, Jane Austen, Stephen King, etc. I played the secretary, the doctor's confidant and the one who ultimately has the answers everyone is seeking. You might say I didn't even really need to act ;) But really, I forgot why theater is really my first love (sorry food!), but all it took was being with a stellar cast in a stellar production to remind me. Theater is about strengthening communities, forging friendships, and telling powerful, thought-provoking stories that force the audience to contemplate the human experience (cue your oohs, ahs, and single rolling tear here). Anyway, it was a blast, and I'm delighted that I got to be a part of it.
My awesome cast!

Me, backstage. I was the only one who got to use the mic!
 And now, on to something completely different and much, much more revealing, maybe more so than I've ever been in a public forum before. I feel like I've been an observer for so long- feeling one way but trying to stay on the sidelines where it's safe, where people will still think the best of me. I don't think that I can do that anymore.

Most people who know me at all know that I am a self-proclaimed feminist. I've never burned a bra in my life, but I have served a mission, gotten an education, voted in every election since I turned eighteen, and I hold a steady job. The fact that I can participate in all of these activities freely and without shame is at the very heart of what it means to BE a feminist. So like the term or not, essentially, if you believe women have the "right" to do those things, then guess what? That belief falls under the umbrella of feminism because things weren't always that way. Just as many people who feel that they are 'spiritual,' or 'creative,' have different ways of expressing those beliefs and ideas, people who are 'feminists' have different, often very personal definitions of what it means to them.

And this is what I've been having to come to terms with, because I'm not just a feminist- I'm also LDS, a Mormon. And for some people, the two are easily reconcilable. For me, that's not always the case. You see, in my faith, women don't hold the priesthood, which we believe to be the power of God on earth to act in his name. It never really bothered me much- until I went on a church service mission. Ironic, right? The mission was an incredibly faith-building, extraordinary time in my life. Most of this blog is ABOUT my mission, for freaking Pete's sake. But I couldn't help but feel annoyed that there were some things I just couldn't do- I could help bring people to Christ, but I couldn't give them blessings, and I couldn't baptize them. In fact, I learned and was surprised (though I shouldn't have been), that without the priesthood, new areas of the world can't even be opened for proselyting. And for the first time in my life, I felt that I was missing something that would help me to better help others.

Cue my arrival home in February, right after an event called "Wear Pants to Church" had taken place, where women were encouraged to wear pants to Sunday meetings to open up a dialogue about how gender is viewed in the church.  And now, fast forward to my recent present, when the group Ordain Women has been peacefully petitioning that church leaders prayerfully consider women's ordination to the priesthood. Not demanding it. Not threatening repercussions for not receiving it. Just asking that the people we believe speak for God ask him what He thinks.

You would think they'd asked people to come nude to church and for everyone to renounce the gospel.

I've read the hostile comments online, and it leads me to wonder, what the hell are people so afraid of? It's not looking like women are getting the priesthood anytime soon, but even if they DID, I can only see this being a positive thing. More willing hands to bring about more blessings and help share the burden with the good men of the church. I do believe we talk about being "equally yoked," which is hard to do when one gender is doing the majority of the heavy pushing and pulling ( with church callings, blessings, meetings, administration, etc). I know all women in the church don't feel this way, and  may not really want the priesthood. I'm growing to learn to respect that viewpoint as well.


Two yoked oxen. Genders unknown
blog.chron.com

But on a more "selfish" note, I personally  would like more of a voice in the church I attend. I've never liked the idea that as a female, I can gently suggest an idea that can then be considered by the patriarchy- I want to be a moving force in meetings and decision-makings, or not just necessarily me, per se, but women in general, female leaders, the few that we have. Just to be clear,  I don't think women are abused or mistreated in the church- but I think they're underrepresented,  and I think that those of us who are trying to have an honest, open dialogue about how we feel need not be looked upon with fear but with an open mind. Who knows- everyone might even learn something from it.

So why is this so hard for me to admit when it's something I truly believe? Well, 90% of my friends and family are LDS.  I'm usually the type that likes to get along with everybody, be everyone's friend. It wasn't until recently that I saw a Winston Churchill quote that struck me hard, and made me pensive:

       “You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for        
      something, sometime in your life.”
 
 Now the point isn't that I want enemies, obviously. The point is, I need to stand up for what I feel is right, even if not everyone I care about with agrees with me. In fact, many of my friends have little problem expressing their views- I've read what some of them have been saying on Facebook or in church about Ordain Women, and women and the priesthood- and I'd be lying if I said they'd been giving rave reviews. And who wants to deal with the possibility of being labeled an apostate, an unbeliever, or as someone lacking in faith? Um, NO ONE! And I don't feel that I am or even that so far I've been treated that way. I feel like what I AM doing is taking some age-old advice and applying it to a new-age question:

"Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." Matthew 7:7

yelp.com
I've always loved this picture of Christ knocking outside the door; I had it on my scripture case throughout my mission. The general interpretation is that he has no handle to open, you see- we do. He's a-knockin' and we have to let HIM in. But the thing about doors- they always have two sides. And he's give me permission to do some knocking too, if I have questions. All I want is to be able to ask them.

Openly yours,

Sweeney

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Open Your Eyes - Your Dream has been Deferred

I'm rather appalled that on my mission, when I had absolutely no free time (o sea, very little), I STILL managed to pump out a blog every week. I think I've written a grand total of seven thus far, which averages to a little more than one per month. Which is gay. I could be saying 'gay' as I often do to mean "uh... lame." I know we've all been told by the likes of Hillary Duff and other such celebrities that this is inappropriate. I could also try the "I have gay friends so its no big deal" justification, but other famous folk frown upon that too. So I leave myself the best defense- none. I say it because it's my first amendment right, because being PC is so last second, and because if the homosexual community can change the meaning of the word gay, well, so can I. That being said, you could take it to celebrate the demise of the DOMA. Take it however you want to. It's the joy of the written word.

So. I watched the movie Vanilla Sky last night. I don't know what I was expecting, but it wasn't what I got. There are several phrases repeated oft throughout the movie, but the film is ended and began by the same command: "Open your eyes!" The main character, David (played by a younger, less brazen Tom Cruise), has difficulty telling apart reality from dreams. Sometimes, they're just so alike... anyway, so it turns out, after a particularly traumatic event, he had opted to be cryogenetically frozen and was living in what was referred to as a "lucid dream." The only reason he ended up finding out is because, even in an induced dream-like state, he had the same problem of knowing what was real and what wasn't, which means the dreams weren't perpetually pleasant like they were supposed to be. Oh, and in case you haven't seen the movie yet,  I should warn you- *Spoiler alert!*

Anyway, dreams have always been a subject of interest for me. They are for most people, because, well, they concerns ourselves. And that's something that tends to interest most people. I've also always been intrigued by how my friends have always been so anxious to tell me their dreams, as if they had actually happened. Often times, it seems we're more concerned with relaying our dream state to other people than to comment on real events that are happening in our real lives. But that probably has more to do with the fact that dreams are often times more interesting than reality. Sometimes we wish they WERE our reality. And sometimes, we don't. But whether pleasant or nightmarish, it always seems to be an intense scenario that makes us want to linger a little longer in our state of surreal, if not at least to see what happens, how it all ends.

Another fascinating aspect of dreams is that we often divide the definition to mean one of two things: Either a cognitive working of the brain during sleep to produce a situation/story or an unfulfilled desire we harbor, with the hoping of having it realized at a future time. I figure that both definitions are bound by a common thread- they are both envisioned by the individual, but neither is based in a logical reality. Half the time I wake up from a dream wondering who the hell I am and what just happened. When I find myself thinking of the future and the hopes I long to fulfill, I often shake myself from my reveries wondering who the hell I am and what is going to happen?

And that inflated introduction brings me to a situation I found myself in a couple of weeks ago. Or rather, a situation I put myself in. I wanted to wait to blog about it so as to give myself a little perspective and hindsight.  It was a Saturday in June, and two days prior, I had called a talent agency in regards to an ad they had been blaring on the radio all that week: "Have you ever wanted to be famous? Do you wish you could be like all your favorite TV and movie stars? Well then call to set an appointment and make your dreams come true!"

Yeah. I liked that.

So I did. This company sent me a commercial for Pond's facial wipes. I memorized it and showed up to my audition on Saturday, only to feel heavily embarrassed by the fact that I was obviously the oldest person there. While tempted to leave, I made myself stick it out. The man in charge of this outfit's name was Brandon and apparently, he used to be on that show I never watched on Nickelodeon called "Ned's Declassifiedes." He and the rest of his crew had that look about them- dressed a little to sharp, talkin' a little to smoothly. And the whole time that he did his hour presentation, he was mostly addressing parents and talking about how, if their little darlings weren't selected, it wasn't because they weren't great and fabulous. But some people have an "IT" factor. Some don't.

After his little speech, we all got the chance to meet him or one of his other cronies individually and discuss why this was something we were born to do. I talked about my theater minor, how being an actor had always been a dream of mine, blah blah blah.  He seemed impressed I knew Spanish. Apparently fair-skinned blonds who can do commercials in two languages can be very lucrative. Anyway, he liked the picture I'd attached to my personal info. sheet. It's the same one as my Facebook profile pic.

I know. Irresistible
Then, after informing me that if I were selected, we'd have to get a move on with my career (I'm almost 26, and 25 is the cap age for "new, young, exciting talent"), he sent me to the front of the room  to get in a line, where I would do my audition in front of a blond, balding man in his thirties, who purportedly was an actor. When it was my turn, I was told to begin when ready. I took a deep breath, and let him have it.
"Wow," he observed, impressed, "you've been practicing."
"Little bit," I acknowledged. I was then told I was free to go and would hear back that night if I had made the cut.

 
It's better in person. I hope.


Now, there were a couple problems with everything that happened:
1). Before Brandon made his presentation, a bunch of images flashed across a big projection screen, showing the talent that had already been discovered and the myriad of fashion/television companies worked with by this agency. It looked great on screen, but inside, I was thinking "is this really still my dream?" It was all so flashy looking, so serious, so... fake.
2). This talent company expects money. The teach their selected participants poise and acting and enhance already existing skills. The idea is to then turn them loose at a talent convention called iPOP, where a couple hundred talent agents come to scout for the bestest and most boisterous. But if you're not signed with an agent, you've essentially sunk a few grand down the drain with all your fancy training.

So later that night, Brandon called. I still have my California area code (I moved to the state of Washington... LONG story), and he recognized it. He used that knowledge to break the news to me- I was being called back- CALLED BACK! He wanted me to meet him at the same hotel studio room were I'd auditioned earlier that day and have me read a monologue, after which he would detail to me what he expected from participants in his program. I told him that I was flattered, but that I didn't really have the money required to do it. His response:"Well, I AM the owner of the company. If you're good enough, I can give you a partial scholarship to up to half of the cost."

Wow.

I ended up agreeing to go. But the more I thought about it, the heavier it weighed on my mind. I did some research on the company, and while finding no complaints about them in particular, I ran across other information that suggested these type of programs weren't the best routes to getting fame and fortune. So after talking it over with family and listening to that bloody, pulsing organ located in the left side of my chest cavity, I called Brandon to let him know that I had changed my mind. He seemed good-naturedly bummed out, (not devastated like he should have been), and told me, "yeah, with people your age, I usually encourage them to go for other hobbies and interests. Best of luck to you."

End scene.

The stage calls to me. T.V., film, theater- I love it all. And it's still very much a part of MY lucid dream, whether I'm awake or asleep doesn't seem to matter. But sometimes dreams change, or at least, certain aspects of them do. I've accepted that I'll probably never be a "star" in the traditional sense. Does that depress me? It might have, a few years ago. But now I realize that I have other dreams and passions that deserve attention, just as much or more so than my "easy come, easy go fame and fortune" one.  And I can't help but think of one of my favorite poems that I first ran across while in high school English class. It's by Langston Hughes and it's called "A Dream Deferred." There is also a famous play I've read a few times that bears the title of one of the lines in the poem. I won't tell you which- you can guess or do some actual research. There will be no spoon feeding in this blog entry.

A Dream Deferred

by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore--
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over--
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?
http://cswnet.com/~menamc/langston.htm

I like how Hughes isn't spoon feeding his readers, any more than I'm willing to do so to mine. See what you can learn from good poetry? He paints some very vivid imagery of what might happen to an unfulfilled dream- showing that the results are often as varied as the individuals who have them. But he doesn't give any hint to what the effect of these retired dreams have on the actual dreamer. Maybe that could have been the part II of this poem, had Hughes so desired it- what the denied dreamer does- do they dry up, run, rot, sag, or explode? Or do they find a way to lead happy, successful lives in spite of it all? 

I guess that's up to the individual. As for me, well, only time will tell. But if I had to choose... I think I'd explode! *Spoiler alert*

And now I leave you with your own soul-searching question: In his hit song "Airplanes," rapper Bobby Ray asks, "and when your  plans unravel in the sand, what would YOU wish for if you had one chance?"

What indeed?

Inquisitively yours,

Sweeney

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

You Say it Best... When you don't say it ALL

Ahhhhhh... I love it when it's been so long since I've blogged that so much has changed and I no longer care about what I was originally planning to blog about. No matter. 'Tis a duty (is 'tis an abbreviation of 'it is?' And should I blatantly be declaring my lack of knowledge on the matter when I could oh-so-easily look it up myself?)

Anyway, last time I clocked out, I was sharing with the whole wide world how I've used the Internet to find man friends. Which after fishing around a bit on other blogs/storyboards/profiles, turns out to not even be a big shocker anymore. Ok, it is and isn't, but either way, it will most likely always be perceived as the mockable option. Like living with your parents into your mid- twenties. Wait, that gives me an idea... (Note to self: future blog post about a subject I'm sure has already been talked about, re-talked about, and then overdone, overkilled, over-and-out. But that's the joy of a year-and-a-half absence from "the real world." Everything is still new and nothing is off limits. In theory).

So... online dating part II, eh? I want to talk about SOOOO many other things instead. Like my big move up to Washington. Or wanting to visit friends who live farther away than I'm used to and being too poor to do anything about it. But damn-flabbit, I made a commitment, and I'd always turn 3 shades of pissed when investigators on the mish didn't follow through with theirs. How can I become my own worst enemy in my own hour of need?

In a nutshell, an online dating profile might be like my favorite type of profile- the criminal profile. One of my all-time favorite shows EVER is Law and Order: SVU (dun dun, dun dun duh dun dun- der nerrrrrrh!) There's also the myriad of other shows, such as Criminal minds, CSI, Psych, Covert Affairs, The Closer, etc. (some of these I watch, some I don't), that use the whodunit and why formula for figuring out the inner workings of their Un-Sub (which I finally found out means "Unknown Subject," or in other words, your antagonist). And that's online love for ya. Lots of Un-Subs whose motives you have to figure out and determine whether or not they're killers. After my many browsings, these are some of the profiles I've managed to identify. This just proves what I've know all along- that I am soooo ready to be Olivia Benson's partner. Is she not the coolest of all female television protagonists? I purposely digress. Again.

1). The Auto-Biographer- Ok, we get it- You're a REALLY in-depth individual. You're not just into watching endless t.v. shows on Netflix next to an empty bag of Funyons (how'd it GET that way?). You like deep conversations. Like, really deep. And when the website of your choosing (Plentyoffish, OkCupid, Match.com, eHarmony, etc.) allows you several boxes for self description, you fill them all. Completely. Each is a separate island and short-long novel in and of itself. I once spent 20 minutes reading some guy's profile, no joke. And while that may be more my fault than his, I feel like the idiom "short but sweet" exists for a reason. The worst part is, I actually feel like I know you after all the energy I spent reading about you, which in reality seems like saying I "know" [insert celebrity name here] because I follow all their tweets, like, everyday. Essentially, even though I rarely believe less is more, I do believe the LESS you explain, the MORE I have to learn and to ask about if we ever meet in person.

2). The Cocky Ass- We get it- you're too cool to be on these sites, and you're just "bored" and want to "see what's out there." Right. I say this too. But at least I have the good sense not to spend quality ME space explaining that. Just get over it already- you weren't too cool for school, and you certainly aren't above screen love. Even if your picture is 95% more appealing than all the other ones I've seen in the last half hour. This category also applies to the dudes who like to add a big, long list of exclusionary conditions of what they will/won't accept from their online femme friend. Let's get one thing straight- some things are definitely deal breakers (I don't feel the need to list them). However, don't close doors before you've even seen what's behind them. You're laundry list of dos/do nots might discourage someone really great from coming knocking, simply because they don't want to waste time figuring out which key opens the many locks you've put into place.

3). The Imagineer- Speaking of appealing images... maybe we don't all have them. The biggest online joke is that what you see isn't always what you get.
http://kravabykiki.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/360px-honesty-in-the-online-dating.jpg

But no one is fooled by the pics that only show you from your neck up. Or that you mysteriously have a hat on in every photo. As my good friend Hannah Montana sings, "Nobody's perfect." I may not want to see a close-up of the two hairs that still have squatter's rights on your head.  But if you're honest about how you look now, it'll save us both some disappointment in the long run. Because rest assured, if I can't identify you if and when the real life meeting takes place, you can bet I'll break into a long run- away from YOU!

4). The Word Painter- 'Hey Sexy.' 'What up, babe?' 'You're hot, post more pics, please.' There's a right and a wrong way to start a conversation with someone. These aren't even profiles I'm mocking at the moment, so pardon the deviation, but man- nothing sucks more than someone who can't think of an original question/comment/observation to send to my inbox. You're not being charged per word, folks. If first impressions count in a real, face-to-face scenario, imagine how that's magnified when you can't even see the person! Use your words, people!

5). The Derek Downer- This guy's worse than number two. For me, the only thing more annoying than a Cocky Ass is an Eeyore- the Sad Ass. You know the type- they make you uncomfortable because they are the ones who say the male equivalent of "does this dress make me look fat?" I swear, for all the grief women get, men are just as bad. I've never had so many guys tell me how not attractive they are. Great. Well, let me just send you my number, cuz I'd love to hear more about that. I've told many of them and I'm saying it now- make me believe YOU are responsible for bringing sexy back. Even if you just get me to think you were one of the extras in the music video, I'll take it. We can't all be Timberlakes. But that's the magical part- we're not all looking for J.T.'s. Some of us go for the Timbalands, Kingstons and Pitbulls... (perfect time to make an "International Love" joke, courtesy of Mr. Worldwide himself).

6). The T.M.I. Guy- This real winner of a man match differs from number one mainly through sheer brassy audacity. I don't need to know how many times you were cheated on. Or all your deepest, darkest fears. "So... you're only on here for casual sex, you say?" That's promising. "You've been a real mess ever since [insert family member here] died, huh?" I especially love it when you give a guy your number and he feels the need to tell you that it's his first time... getting a girl's number. Do us females a favor and keep this type of information buried deep, deep inside. So deep, you might even forget about it yourself.

So there you have it. Just like all the best Facebook relationships, "it's complicated," more so than I'm willing to detail. It's no easy feat translating everything good/enjoyable/realistic about yourself onto a two-dimensional screen page. It's really an art in and of itself. I can't think of any of my friends who have tried it, myself not excluded, who hasn't at least confided in and asked the opinion of another person in perfecting their online presence.  But I guess that's the good news- that behind these two-way computer connections are real people, with real potential. And really, isn't that what keeps us coming back for more?

Update: As of now, I've given this whole Internet dating thing a break. Of course, time and hormones have a way of roping us back in, even when we swear we've had enough. (Isn't it great how I switch to the all-inclusive 'we' pronoun when it's convenient for me)? My real problem isn't online anyway- it's my curse. I've realized that any time I'm about to head out and move away (to college, to my Washington D.C. internship, before my mission, and NOW, right before moving to Washington), is when guys I've know for awhile FINALLY find the courage to admit to me (or to a third party who will then relate to me) that they find my Sweeney ways to be alluring. Or in layman's terms, they like me. I feel so delightfully elementary school right now. But maybe my sad/funny excuse for a love life would make for a decent Disney princess plot line. But they'll have to come up with the ending of how to break the curse. I'm out of ideas. And for the moment, that's fine by me.  But no matter what, I know I will- sorry... I know 'we' will all live _____________ever after." The End.

Smiles and such,

Sweeney

Monday, May 13, 2013

The New American Normal

I might outdo myself today. One can only hope.

So exactly a week ago, I was sitting in the foyer at church, waiting for Sacrament Meeting to be over so that I could teach my Sunday School lesson. That is my calling in my home ward even though I am also attending the Singles Ward. Weird. Anyway, as I was a-sitting, a twenty-something couple and their toddler son intrude upon my solitude as the little boy proceeds to do human donuts in the middle of the carpet. I was mildly distracted from my lesson prep, and since unlike his mother, I wasn't attempting to enforce a reverent silence upon him, he seemed to slowly but surely magnetize over to my neck of the foyer. What happened next put one of those stupid smiles on my face that lasts long after the event has passed. This little tyke hobbles over to the table next to where I was seated in my armchair, and notices there's a single yellow lily bulb resting atop it. He looks from the flower to me, picks up the flower, grins, and hands it to me shyly before rambunctiously returning to his parents.

Now all things considered, this is an extremely cute incident, but it caused me to ponder on the act itself, especially considering the young age of the boy. He couldn't have possibly had romantic notions in mind, (I'm NOT some sort of creeper), and yet, his actions seem to indicate that there is an instilled instinct in the male sex to show affection towards the female species. Now who could find something wrong with that? Well, I'll tell you who- those of us who, for whatever reason, are lacking in the male attention department. The occasional toddler and elderly gent aside (and to be fair, most of the men in the Dominican Republic), my male interactions have always been unsteady at best. Talk about your perpetual "best friend" candidate. Let's just say the big 'F' word- flirting- has never been my strong suit. Now many girls with this curse, plague, gift, however you want to look at it, might feel like they've been wronged- that the world is somehow against their chick flick happy ending. They might even feel impulsed to say
Anne Hathaway It Isn't Fair In Love & Other Drugs
I've seen this around on the interweb a lot lately, and it tickles my funny bone.


Well, maybe it's not. Ok, it's definitely not. I was one of those college girls that had an uncanny amount of attractive roommates. And working on your personality and hearing about how "intimidating"  you are starts to grow stale after awhile. You start to wonder what is going on and become suspcious of any girl you assume may be less attractive than you but still seems to have a sling full of dates and men folk at any given moment. Anyway, all of this is really just background information to demonstrate why my present situation is what it is.

So once upon a time a few weeks ago, I was a fresh meat return missionary. Let's face it: we're an awkward, backwards bunch. I STILL get weirded out sometimes when guys try to hug me. Anyway, a friend of mine (who shall remain nameless for my own protection), suggested that I try an Internet dating site called OkCupid.com. The thing that kills me looking back is the little off-the-cuff comments we made to try to justify our endeavour. These include (but are in no way limited to):

1). It's just for something to do
2). We're definitely a step above the rest of the desperadoes on here
3). This is SO embarrassing
4). What happens on the Internet stays on the Internet
5). I'll probably erase my account in a couple days anyway

These are the things we tell ourselves so we don't feel pathetic in looking for some sort of connection with the opposite sex in a virtual world. Another list sums up the assumptions made about people who seek their secret love using technology. They are:

1). Creepy
2). Super creepy
3). Socially awkward
4). Can't get a date any other way
5). Lost a bet/accepted a dare challenge
6). Are in last resort stage

The other brilliant biases would suggest that the person on the other side of the screen has to be:
www.dailyhaha.com
And these assumptions are not without precedent. There are a wonderful selection of true creeps online. But how does that differ from the creeps we are forced to/allow ourselves to be in contact with in real life? As I have become more open to friends/family about my new browsing habits, the most common question I have received before actually meeting my fantasy beau for a real-life date is, "but what if he's, like, a MURDERER or something?" To which I respond, "have you ever seen Sleeping with the Enemy? Or Enough? You can be attracted to/intrigued by a person that you met in an honest-to-goodness real life situation, fall in love with and marry them, and still be blind sighted to who they really are. Going on a date with someone from the online world isn't much more dangerous than going on a date with someone you just met but don't know well. You just have to be smart. Meet in a public place, get to know what you have in common, and if they ask for the location of your favorite dark alley or your Social Security number... check please!

Perhaps my favorite reaction is the "have you thought through all the tried-and-true traditional ways of meeting somebody?" But nobody upon being asked seems to be able to give any really good suggestions to their own query. When pushed, they might feebly add, "well, there's always the grocery store..." Right. Should I put the Coco Puffs into my cart or the hottie on aisle 6? As if it were that easy. Who are all these single sassy lads and lassies roaming the Safeways and Food Maxx's? And how do you even turn a mundane chore such as food shopping into a romantic encounter? "Hey, I see you're buying Swiss cheese. Niceeeeeeee. I like Swiss, but it gives me gas." (It doesn't, for the record).

But running with the shopping analogy in the other direction, we use the Internet to look for and find the things we like best and want most: clothes, food, memorabilia, furniture, news, etc. It's convenient and it allows more options to be available to us. So why is it still so taboo and absurd to apply this same philosophy to the facet of our personal lives that seriously affects our happiness? Well, the short answer is, 'it just is.'  If I've said it once, I've made it my slogan: I have no problem being single. For a comprehensive look at some of the fringe benefits, make a click here. But as my good friend Cyndi Lauper has stated, "girls just want to have fun." And sometimes, it's nice to have fun with someone else, whether or not you're looking for something serious.

Now a couple week after creating our accounts, the selfsame friend that got us both into this whole mess to begin with responded to my text of "how goes the hunt?" with "EEh. I've had a few hits. Nothing that great. I feel pretty lame that I'm even taking this sorta seriously." I responded, "dude, it doesn't make us lame. It make us the new American normal."
drawception.com
We do what so many other people are doing nowadays, but then why are we still embarrassed to admit it? It's seems to be the stale fart in the room that no one wants to fess up to. All these gas analogies, according to my mom, would probably be the reason why I am Internet prowling to begin with. And while I don't proudly wave my "I'm sexy and the Internet knows it" baton in the air, I'm not hiding it in my purse either. Not anymore. In the "real world" (wherever that is), the people most lauded are the ones willing to take a risk, take the initiative. O sea, it's a classic case of Muhammad going to the mountain when the mountain doesn't have the balls to go up to Muhammad and ask him out. As my favorite candy bars poses the question so well, "why wait?" Why indeed.

Well, that about wraps it up for this time around. That's one long entry. I don't want to seem overly-passionate about the issue (heaven forbid). I do want to drag this on for another entry, when I will talk about different dating profiles: the good, the bad, and the "are you freaking serious?!" Til then, may everyone find what they're looking for in the manner in which they are looking for it.

Smiles,

Sweeney

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

You Just Got Delanied

Well, if you ask me (but you didn't), change is definitely in the air. Some people might say it's because Spring has sprung. I however, will chalk it up to having to do mostly with the changing of my blog. New design, and new word (spoiler alert* it's FOOD) in the title. The makeover mostly has to do with the fact that I love juxtaposing unrelated concepts. What does being scared Sweenless have to do with a flyaway dandelion? Not a blessed thing, unless you count the fact that I'm always a little worried whenever I blow on one and not all the little florets get blasted loose from the stem. And although the emotion of worry can eventually lead to fear, I don't think we've reached that point just yet. I just liked the idea of shaking things up a bit. And I love, love, LOVE food, so I thought it would be very appropriate to declare my affection openly. That seems to be the thing to do nowadays.

But what about the other words I've singled out in the title to describe the things that matter most- family, friends, AND fiction? I feel like I've been sorta letting these things fly too far under the radar. Time to remedy the fault of forthrightness, starting with one of the brightest stars of my, and pretty much anyone's life. That's right, we're talking about the Costco pizza-loving, perpetual Hannah Montana-watching, afraid-of-nail-clippers little sister... DELANEY M. SWEENEY! I was looking through some of my pictures and just wanted to highlight this uniquely special member of the Sweeney family tree.


Ok, technically this is not a photo of her. But it explains what is to come.

If I have a faux headshot session, guess who's there to steal the spotlight?




Laney, classically hogging our Noni





I gave her a makeover. At first, she wasn't all that tickled about it.

But the end result was too aesthetically pleasing

And... end scene with sassy hair flip
You may have noticed that in most of the photos, Delaney is sporting her much-loved Hello Kitty shirt that she dons daily after school. To mess with her, I showed up one day with my mom to pick her up from school, wearing it. Needless to say, she was not pleased with my fashion statement. And I can't say it's my best look.


 She does love her some cheeseburgers
Who makes the world's cutest Christmas tree? This girl!


Delaney's sick obsession- our beautiful, evil cat Sophie.
While in the mall,  some new friendships were formed.

Such is life with Laney. Inescapable, undeniable good times for all. I still can't believe she's a full-blown teenager. And even though she doesn't develop exactly like a typically developing child, she still supplies plenty of 'tude. And channeling some of that attitude, I will sign off by saying, "out!" (Delaney's command anytime I try to enter her room while she's dancing to Taylor Swift). It's just goes to show that even though some things change (big or small), Laney is and always will be, Laney.

Reminiscently yours,

Sweeney

Thursday, April 11, 2013

I Beg My Pardon (And So Can You!)

OK, so every once in awhile, we are forced into retrospection; usually when there is nothing more interesting to occupy our minds. Take for example, the new Man of Steele movie. In spite of my opinion that Superman is the least interesting of all superheroes, the trailer for this reboot is drawing my attention like the Magna Doodle pens do to the little lead beads. But in the absence of new movie trailers, memes, or gossip, usually we are only left with reflection of the past and inquiries of the future, all to avoid dwelling on the present task at hand.
 
Such is life as the Home Depot water girl. Many people pass me as I water and playfully comment, "wow, that would be a great job to have!" That's what I usually think about teachers or politicians or other hot shots (in Spanish, you'd say 'peces gordos,' which means "fat fish"). Not that I don't enjoy my job, but it is A LOT of water. And it's not particularly brain-stimulating. Which gives me plenty of pondering time. And I could create several blogs over the material that has come to me during these small hours-
www.growbiointensive.org
But my best water-lation (revelation, but wetter- get it?) thus far came whilst I was in the middle of watering the Jasmine vine plants at the back of the nursery. My mind wandered to a certain someone I know who did some things that are so heinous, it almost leaves your brain numb to think about it. Trust violated, hearts hardened, that kind of jazz. Things that only belong on the worst episodes of Jerry Springer.

So imagine my disdain when this same person, obviously weighed down with imperfections and a hearty dose of stupidity, starts mocking a reality star for their drug abuse frailties. I just couldn't believe it. For me, this person's crimes far outshone what some random famous fool had done. By a long shot. And so... Hello?! Was homie for real? How can someone whose actions have changed the course of several peoples' lives have the colossal nerve to harp on a complete stranger, when said enigma's sins pale in comparison? I was awed, baffled, and really pretty angry.

However, I was still watering, so I was able to meditate over the matter a little more. Then it occurred to me- Oh. My. HELL. I wonder if that's how GOD feels about each and every one of us. To him, we must all seem like perpetual hypocrites. Have you ever had that moment- you have just told someone not to pick their nose in public or to stop incessantly tapping their nails on the table... only to find yourself doing the same thing not much later!  We just can't seem to help ourselves.  A lot of times, we even dedicate our prayers to pointing out how much someone bugged us that day. Well, that could just be me. I figure if  the human race gets a kick out of "The Real Housewives," well, maybe God enjoys his daily dose of drama as well.  Anyway, I read a great little ditty in some other blog/post/article that I don't remember now about how much we all want to be pardoned by the world for "not being perfect," and yet, we ourselves are so slow to forgive the least offenses we perceive have been committed against us.

Ironically enough, right now it's 9:39 at night, and the subject of the pre-recorded episode of "Criminal Minds" that I'm watching focuses on a murderer who chooses his victims based on how their private lives clash with the projected perfection of their public profiles. One of the victims, for example, was a reporter who tattled on the world while secretly growing a stash of pot in her backyard. The plot is a lot more complicated than this, but the point is, the murderer was punishing people in secret (a crime), for other people secretly committing crimes but supposedly going unpunished. So he was hypocritcally killing all the hypocrites. Technically, he should have just been killing everyone then, because almost always, the lives we all portray to the world are not always the ones we are actually living. I guess the best lesson I've learned from both my Depot days (o sea, nights) and my penchant for all things dramatic television is that we are all hypocrites and we all need to go a little easier on each other. Including ourselves. A little pardon goes a long way.

Is this actually gonna happen? Nah. We've been at this for 6,000 years people. Mr. Rogers little village of warm fuzzies wasn't built in a day. Let's just say we're a LOOOOOOOOONG-time work-in-progress. We are critical beings with vitriolic sweetness by nature. But hey, they say recognition and acceptance are the first steps. And what I'm saying ain't new. Guess it'll take a few more such "water-lations" for the message to get through. Oh, well. In the meantime there's denial and a whole smorgasbord of great T.V.

See ya,

Sweeners

Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Hoops We Jump Through


Wow... so I was reading through my latest entries, trying to clean up the I-only-have-a-half-hour-to-pump-out-this-blog harried grammar of my mission days, and realized I left a few gaping holes. I didn't even say what happened during my final days as a missionary.

Well, for starters, Quelito DID get baptized, and it was amazing. He's so cute. It was a great way to end my second-to-the-last day as a missionary.
Left to Right: Me, Quelito, Hna. Bryant, and Denise, the mom

And on my actual, legitimate last day (a Sunday), I was asked to give my actual, legitimate LAST talk in church. This assignment was SO last minute, and considering I'd already given my testimony the week before in church, AND a talk the week before that, I was a little burnt out. So I just winged it, which I have never done before. And it turned out well. When it comes to things we really care about/believe, usually the unscripted stuff turns out better. Of course, you still have to study and prepare the material, but I'd been doing that, oh, for only A YEAR AND A HALF previous, so I think that even though I couldn't tell you what I talked about, I remember feeling really good while talking about it. And the people in the congregation looked engaged, so I took that as a good sign.

And either the talk was THAT good, or people were feeling sentimental, cuz everyone was either asking for my contact information or offering me their skirts. I have to admit, the offers were tempting; there were some pretty sassy skirts. But it was just a final reminder of how great these people are, and how much I would miss all of them.

Anyway, I have realized a couple things that have been really hard readjusting to. I was really surprised there weren't more. Sometimes, it feels like my mission was a crazy time warp, and I'm already back to exactly how life was before the mission. Exactly the same, except I know Spanish, and experienced a whole different culture and had my life changed forever. But sometimes, it's almost like that was a crazy dream, and none of it was real. But all I need to throw me back into reality is to hear a loudspeaker announcement in some random department store, in Spanish, and I'm back. Something happened. Something big, and I was a part of it. And it will always be a part of me.

But back to what I was saying about my readjustments. Getting used to throwing toilet paper into the actual toilet has been quite the retraining process. It just didn't feel right for the first month of my being back. And I'm STILL getting used to the taste of tap water. It tastes a little off to me. But when you drink out of this for as long as I did, well... we'll just say that dirty became the new clean for me.


To be fair, I only got my water from a truck like this in Lava Pie, my last area. But I always drank from those blasted bottles.

 
Other than that, I think I've handled the "real world" with some sense of grace. I even have a job now. As I mentioned on Facebook, I get to rock a bright orange outfit, and help people make life-changing decisions. That's right- I am officially a Home Depot Associate, Garden Department.
www.sportingindianafc.com

This is what they don't tell you when you get your degree- that you'll probably just end up watering flowers someday. Actually, thus far, I enjoy my job, even though I work in the evening, until midnight, most days. But the other employees are friendly enough and it's fun kung fu-ing people, o sea, Hispanic people, with my Spanish. They just never see it coming. I think they go from being uncomfortable to impressed in about a 30 second time frame. They always end our conversations by encouraging me to keep practicing and learning. And it has made me realize just how much I miss I miss speaking the language on a regular basis. Those people I've talked to have touched on one of my greatest fears- I'm terrified of losing the language.

But at the moment, my peeves are overtaking my fears. One such peeve is that, to accomplish anything in this life requires a whole bunch of hoop jumping. Let's face it- in this day and age, you practically have to be certified to breathe. I'm violating some sort of code as we speak. I guess what's really eating at me is that the two professions I'm looking at right now (teaching and paralegal) require that I be certified to do them. Granted, I presently don't know much about being a paralegal (other than what I've learned from watching "Law and Order: SVU," but teaching- come on! I was a Teaching Assistant in college, I have my Bachelors in Humanities with an English emphasis, AND I've essentially done nothing but teach for the last year and a half of my life. I so have this! Except that I don't. If I want to follow through with either of these plans, it would require more schooling, o sea, more MONEY. Jesse J may say that it ain't about the $, cha-ching cha-ching, bu-bling bu-bling, but I also suspect that she isn't up to her extensions in school debt.

Now, I'll never regret my education, because I'd never be who I am and where I am without it. I guess I just wish I'd known more about what I wanted to do with it ahead of time. People told me not to worry, and so I didn't. "It'll come," they said. Well, it did come- but somehow "better late than never," is a feckless consolation at this point. I still believe my future's bright, but maybe it's too bright, cuz it's blinding me and I'm not quite sure where I'm going. Chalk it up to a quarter life crisis. I'm not alone, but I think there should be a help group for people like us. Hmmmmm... maybe I just found my vocation. I guess being an overly-confident teenager had to catch up with me at some point.

So, if anyone has any particularly strong emotions/opinions/jokes about the whole "hoop jumping" hoopla of today's up-and-comings, leave your message after the beep.  Uh, BEEP.

Smiles,

Sweeners

Oh, and a big P.S.- I passed the CBEST test. One less hoop to jump through.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

It Just Takes Some Time (Little Sween You're in the Middle of the Ride)

Wow, I'm back. But no, really back, like, in charge of my own ship and everything. Well, if you can compare my keyboard to a helm, and being back with the fam again to the ol' ball and chain (er, I mean, anchor), then I guess I can say it feels pretty good to be back on the good ship bloggernaut.

O sea, it's sorta a big mix of feelings. Like the surprise goody bags Hna. Bryant loves getting at 7-11 with her brother. I just never know what I'm gonna pull out next from day-to-day. And there I go again, recounting a mission experience/companion/memory. I've come to a conclusion: people want to here about your mission... in theory. On your blog. In small doses. But I think that was one of my biggest weird factors upon coming home. I always thought it would be so natural to say, "oh how cool, milk from a jug and not a box," or "hey, the light comes on when I flip this switch... and stays on. You spoileds have REAL 24 hour light?!" People would think I had been culturally refined or somethin.'

Somehow, these comments just didnt' slide out as naturally as I would have hoped, if at all.

Not only that, but people don't really know how to respond to them. Reading about fantastical, death-defying missionary moves sounds good on paper (virtual or otherwise), but people nowadays are just so busy and if they have time to talk, they want it to be about a subject they can relate to. I agree with Einstein. Time IS relative. Not to say time moved differently, slower, strangely, on the mission but IT DID.  Where does it go now? I definitely feel like I'm accomplishing less, and yet, somehow, I find myself a month out of the proverbial airport gate, and life hasn't magically become simpler. Case in point- I really meant to write this post a few days after I got home, not weeks.  Anyway, more annoying than my lack of blog devotion is the fact that the problems I had pre-mission life didn't somehow vanish after my year-and-a-half of devoted God service. I'm still trying to figure out what in hell's kitchen I want to do with my life.

Is it possible to have a quarter life crisis? I feel like I've been having one for the past 3 years...

Hey, that sounds disheartening and stuff. I AM back in the real world! But I guess I'm not being completely fair (though I'm a lot less fair in general after 1.5 years of free tanning under an unforgiving Caribbean sun). As my original blog attests to, I was driven by a strong wind (more like a hurricane), to go on a mission. I didn't particularly want to go, but I accepted it, went, and ended up being all-the-better for it. Yeah! I can even hablar in espanol. And, you know, spiritual stuff. But now I come back to the harsh realities of, well, REALITY.  Should I attend the family ward or the ever-intimidating *gasp* singles ward? Where did all my friends go (or stay?) Why am I an adult that still lives with her parents? And WHO IS GONNA GIVE ME A JOB? Right before I left for the mission, I was offered a job interview that I'd tested for a year previous and almost positively would have gotten. And when my parents were kind enough to reconnect my cell phone line until I can get my own plan, o sea, the iPhone 4S (which, according to what everyone has been telling me, is pretty much mandatory), I found out that I had an old message on it- someone who had seen my resume on Monster.com and was calling with a job interview.  There. Aren't. Words. Who plays these pranks? I feel like the time punch card of my life is full of holes in all the wrong places. As the Rolling Stones would say, "you can't always get what you want... but if you try sometimes, you just might find, you get what you need." Maybe that's how I'll make my fame and fortune-writing a counter-song about the unsung option: what if you can't have either?

But it really ain't so bad. Hard? Obviously. Weird? Certainly? Self-doubt? On the occasion. I think I'm just being forced to get over any lingering entitlement mentality. If I should think I'm owed anything for being even a half-way decent missionary, I can almost feel the heavens rumble, with the indubitable accompanying voice saying "girl, PLEAZE." And I think I will. Be pleased, that is. And enjoy that which is enjoyable. Here isthe short list of some of the things I've done/decided/tried/enjoyed since being home (not necessarily in that order. But not NOT necessarily in that order):

*Be endlessly harassed by my sister
*Text
*Visit from the grandparentals
*Visit from the aunt eater
*Harassment from the brother
*Google chat
*Drive down Lombard Street and eat a crab sandwich in San Fransisco
*Toyed with the idea of being a teacher
*Go shooting
*Take the CBEST (California Basic Educational Skills Test- necessary to teach in the good ol' C of A
*More harassment
*Speak in church about being the Good Lord's carrier pigeon (I believed I could fly!)
*Speak Spanish to the Post Man (and really no one else. I forget people don't automatically know that a white blondie can speak Antonio Banderas' language).
*Job search, which I think constitutes as a form of harassment
*EAT AN UNHOLY AMOUNT OF TINA BURRITOS. AT LAST!

So I feel like my gift of the present is the presence of other people. I've gotten to see and at least talk to a lot of people I care about. But I can't help but have the feeling of being stuck in limbo. Nothing is settled. Where I go, if I stay, what I do. These are the kind of roots that help ground people and give them sanity, and I don't have them. And not like I was terribly sane to begin with. Har har, laughing at loud at my own expense. And yet, if the D.R. taught me one thing it's that you can handle ANYTHING. Even if it seems like parts of your life are held together with Silly Putty, something unexpected and delightful may be just around the corner. So cheers to Jimmy Eat World, who comforts me in times of uncertainty and unintentional fence sitting.

"The Middle" lyrics

It just takes some time,
little girl you're in the middle of the ride
Everything, everything will be just fine,
Everything, everything will be all right, ALL RIGHT

To all my fellow riders, just buckle down and hold on- No one will judge you if you have to let out a scream now and then.

Hanging on for dear life,

Sweeney - I no longer come with a title. Hopefully the name says it all at this point. Whatever "it" is.



Oh, and this is my grand and triumphant arrival. Is it everything you could have hoped for?
                                      
                                                                  
Freshly arrived
                                                 
                                                                                                  

My biggest fan beats out mom for the honor of first hug

The Sibs
                        

                                      

Nothing says welcome home quite like a sign on your garage door that says "welcome home!"
With cupcakes, no less.