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Saturday, February 11th, 2017
9:45 pm - Introversion
Maybe it's time to take a break from political postings. It's been exhausting trying to keep up with it and not have outrage fatigue.

One thing, I've recently come to learn about myself is that I'm an introvert. INTJ forever. I always suspected that I was one but never knew what introversion truly meant. Growing up, I was always that shy, quiet, bookish kid. Now I know it was maybe more introversion than shyness. I have no qualms openly talking about controversial subjects such as sex or wearing outlandish clothing.

I was a shy child. I loved reading. I was that weird 6th grader reading 1,000+ page Stephen King novels. The other kids would give me dirty looks for not only reading when all of my work was done in class, but for also willingly reading a book with so many pages. During middle school, I always had a book with me, that I'd read between classes. Around that time, is when I got into Dean Koontz and Clive Cussler books. One summer in high school, I decided to start reading only classical literature, which included Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Catcher in the Rye, A Clockwork Orange, George Orwell. Seriously, what high schooler willingly reads such things outside of English class? During the summer and weekends, I'd stay up into the wee hours of the morning reading. The internet hadn't become a thing yet.

I remember always having a distaste for bullshit small talk. It wasn't until I was a teenager, that when someone asks "How are you?" the response should be "Fine, thank you. How are you?". Not that I don't care how people are, it just seemed nonsensical to me to say such things and not truly mean them. But it's the American way, I suppose. I also hate bullshit small talk about the weather or the local sports team.

In high school, some people thought I was a snob because I was so shy and didn't talk much. To be honest, if someone talked to me, I was always very polite. But I was never the kind of person to make the first move. I was always afraid that I'd be rude or intrude on personal space if that person didn't want to talk to me. Or maybe I'd say something accidentally offensive. I still feel this way as an adult. If something is truly important, than the effort will be made to engage.

My mom always gave me shit for not having a bunch of friends in high school. She always wished I had tons of girlfriends calling me all of the time, because that's what she had in high school. I had friends in high school, but no one close. I didn't mesh with anyone quite like that. I was in classes with most of the smart, AP kids. But many of those kids, were also the ones in sports, student council, etc - just not quite my scene. The kids that were into art and alternative music, were in the non-AP classes, and they were also into drugs / alcohol. Something that scared me off at that age. I never truly fit in. I would have loved to have had some fellow female friends who wanted to have discussions about music, politics, art, history, but there were no other females I knew like that. At least the male nerds had their own group, but alas no groups for the lady nerds.

In college, I did branch out a bit more socially, thanks to the internet. The internet and text based communication has been a Godsend for me. I'd much rather email / text / instant message you vs. call. Although, face to face interaction isn't so bad. I prefer that over phones, oddly enough. I like text based communication because I can better craft what I'm going to say.

One of my silly fears, is that I'm not going to get my point across in the right way. This can still happen with text communication. But when I'm on the spot, I flub words or I put in filler words like "um" or "you know" or "like". I find it to be horribly embarrassing and a confidence killer.

This is how much my dislike for phones goes. Even calling the local pizza place or Chinese take-out is enough to send me onto the verge of a panic attack. I know this sounds horribly ridiculous and silly. But apparently it is something that some fellow introverts also feel. Not that the person answering the phone to place my food order, really gives a flying fuck whether or not I flub my words, but I do care. When calling to place an order, I'll rehearse what I'm going to say in my head so I don't sound stupid. I'll rehearse the potential conversation several times. Crazy, I know? And when I can't get together the nerve to place a phone food order, I either starve or make myself a peanut butter sandwich vs. eating yummy pizza or Chinese noodles. Thankfully, now many places allow you to order food online with minimal human interaction. It's amazing.

During my college days, I'd spend some Friday and Saturday nights alone in my dorm room. Usually, I'd be browsing LJ, downloading mp3s, and IM'ing with other loners. I remember feeling like a pathetic loser for doing so because all of the "cool" people were going out and partying. Not that I really wanted to be at some lame frat party or a crowded bar, drinking shitty beer, but I wouldn't have minded hanging out with people and having intimate conversations. And in reality, spending those weekend nights alone, weren't all that terrible. If I enjoyed them, then so what?

I used to enjoy going out on the weekends as an adult. The hubby and I would often go to a movie, a new restaurant, maybe even bowling. But this was also back when life was less busier and my job was less demanding. I had more energy for such things. But now, most weekend evenings, I'd rather be home. Preferably in my comfy pants, with a cat, and a glass of wine or a cup of tea. This down time can be amazingly energizing, but it often takes hours and hours of downtime to just get one or two hours of charged up Amanda. In this down time, I like to read / peruse the internet. I probably do too much of that. If I'm not doing computer stuff, then I'm probably plopped in front of the TV with my latest craft project and binge watching TV. It's all wonderfully restorative.

I'm finding that it takes more and more rest to restore me. But I'm also way more "on" than I have ever been. Versus being stuck in some dark lab corner for my job, I'm now stuck having to interact more with fellow co-workers. At least I have my own office now, which helps, and I don't get drawn into idle (and exhausting) chit-chat as much.

I'm also more social now. I find that forced group interactions are the best way for me to meet people, if not I find anything else weird and awkward. My neighborhood is oddly quite social and I've gotten to know quite a few of my neighbors. It's very strange in this modern day. Other people I know, may only know the people directly next to them. Over 100 of my Facebook friends are my neighbors. It's a good thing. But it means I am involved in quite a few neighborhood activities and gatherings. There's the monthly Bunco game night. Then there's the neighborhood Garden Club, which I somehow was made President of? There's also the summer dinners at the neighborhood swim & tennis club. And don't forget about the random parties and other social gatherings over the year.

I do rather enjoy hanging out with my neighbors. Many are quite older than me. I like hanging out with the old ladies, especially since many of them aren't just about their grandchildren. They have many interests outside of their offspring. We talk travel, books, history, politics, food, and all sorts of intellectual conversations. I love it, but when I have the energy for it. There have been many nights after socializing, that I just come home and retract into my craft room cave.

And on top of neighborhood gatherings, there's also a knitting group I knit with on occasion, I'm becoming active in the local American Chemical Society (ACS) chapter, and there's also a fellow group of tiki-philes, that I hang out with. 10 - 15 years ago, I would have never thought I would know so many people let alone interact with them on a regular basis.

So tonight, the hubby is out, solo with the other tiki-philes. I bailed last minute. After a meeting this afternoon for the ACS group where I had to be "on", I was a bit wiped out. I could handle some socializing but limited, but that wasn't going to work for the hubby, who works from home now, and is craving social interaction. I feel lame for bailing for not "feeling well", but the downtime is rather nice. But self-care, is important, right? My self-care just means lots of downtime.

(pbr me asap)

Saturday, February 4th, 2017
6:23 pm - United We Stand, Divided We Fall
I know it's just not me, but it does seem like this country is more divided than ever. Some want to say that Obama was the great divider. But I do beg to differ. He wanted to unite us, but the devisiveness was already starting prior to his presidency.

Left vs Right
Liberal vs Conservative
Urban vs Rural
College Educated vs Non-College Educated
Black vs White
Gay vs Straight
Poor vs Rich
Progress vs Tradition
Female vs Male
White Collar vs Blue Collar

I could go on.

The divides have always been there, but there used to be common agreement on certain principles. We could agree to respectfully disagree. Key word, respectfully.

I want to somewhat blame the internet. The internet was a VERY different place in the late 90s and early 2000s. It took effort to be there. Now, most people have internet access via their phones. Heck, even my 95 year old great-uncle is on the internet and Facebook. That does say something.

Even back then, there were stupid quizzes, hoaxes, and chain letters being spread about, but not to the masses so much. But then smartphones and Facebook happened.

It's easy to make an official looking website. We were even warned about how biased, and uninformed bloggers were detrimentally influencing the news, in the late 2000s. But we fell for it anyways. It's so easy to fall for news and stories that confirm our biases.

I, myself, fell for that shit in 2008 and more so in 2012. I liked Facebook pages such as Occupy Democrats, The Other 98%, Addicting Info. My Right leaning friends like pages such as Right Wing News and Freedom Daily. They're ALL a bunch of bullshit.

It was nice in some ways to have anything confirm my own biases and points of view. But eventually, when those pages would only feature someone unknown Tweeter with a sassy Tweet, I started to realize just how bogus these groups are. Tweets shouldn't be news. The headlines are sensational which are meant to only get ad clicks. If you actually read the article, it was mostly bullshit and fluff. At best, it was an editorial piece and not hard facts. A few months ago, I went ahead and "unliked" any groups like that. It was just becoming too much. I wish more people did this.

In their place, I've been trying to read better journalism - NPR, The Atlantic, New York Times, Washington Post. While, I'd say these news sources do skew liberal, at least they're not as sensational. Their articles are more fact driven.

Unfortunately, I think that the internet has also decreased our attention spans. If something can't be summed up in 140 characters or a bogus infographic or meme, we're not interested. We don't bother to read lengthy, thought provoking articles filled with political nuance. If we did, we'd understand that not everything is so binary. But the binary is far more readily understood and easier to process.

I've been told by several Conservatives that I'm one of the "good" Democrats they know. WTF? It's usually because I can debate with them intellectually and respectfully about politics. Although, it makes me wonder what kind of Democrats they are exposed to? The Democrats I tend to associate with, are intelligent and we often can debate about politics in an informed way. We don't just shout Liberal think statements at each other.

Echo chambers are a real thing. And they're even easier to fall into. I'll be honest, my social group easily skews towards the white, college-educated, city-dweller demographic. Many are Liberal and we agree on a lot of things. Even this past Election Year, I didn't unfriend / unfollow anyone on Facebook. I didn't post anything telling people to unfriend me if they're racist / sexist / whatever-ist. Quite frankly, the way I see it, is it's your Facebook. Post / comment whatever you want. If you're an asshole about it or harassing me, that's different. We're all entitled to our opinions. To me, opinions are like assholes, we all have one.

Quite frankly, I do think it's a good thing that I am exposed to those that are of differing opinion and background.

However, one of the issues is that I think the internet has killed our ability to debate. Hiding behind a computer or phone screen, allows us to be more brazen. We feel OK to call people names and be rude. There is less consequence if you're being a rude, asshole.

Several months ago, one of my Conservative neighbors wanted to know why his Liberal friends were voting for Hillary. I spent a good 10 minutes, typing up a thoughtful and intelligent reply. I'm all about respectful debate. The response I got from my neighbor's Conservative friends - "Libtard". Seriously, the best you have is to call me an awful name, which adds NOTHING to the conversation.

But I've seen too many internet conversations go this way. And us Liberals are just as bad. While we might not call Conservatives silly names, we will tell them that they're racist, a bigot, sexist, misogynist, homophobic, pretty much any -ist or -ic. The thing is, even if these things are true about said Conservative, it sadly does little to further the conversation.

I know good people that do think these horrible things. They may think that the gays shouldn't be allowed to marry. But dammit, if there's someone in need, they're right there giving the shirt off of their back. It's confusing. But calling them homophobic and stopping the conversation right there, doesn't help. It makes us all retreat back to our bubbles and echo chambers where it's safe.

Personally, I like being offended. Maybe, that's why I like the music of GG Allin. Being offended means, we're allowed to think differently. The thing is, I don't want my government and its laws to be offensive. Our government should help protect everyone, regardless of race, creed, sex, orientation, or anything.

I try to put my personal beliefs to the side. I try to go off of the cold, hard facts of the situation. I can't let my emotions or biases prevail. One thing I've been trying to do, is address my biases. For example, Trump is doing some horrid shit. However, I try to reframe it by thinking, if this was Hillary doing the same horrid shit, would I be as pissed off. For the most part, yes, Trump is doing some horrid shit. But by thinking in such a way, I'm able to check my biases more. We should all be doing this. The hypocrisy of both the Left and Right, is unreal.

We all need to do better to check our biases.

(1 drunk amanda | pbr me asap)

Sunday, January 29th, 2017
12:26 pm - Immigration
So, I come from a long line of immigrants. A good chunk of my family immigrated to the United States in the early 1900's from Hungary. There's even a copy of relative's signatures from when they went through Ellis Island. Last year, I even did that 23andme genetic screening for shits and giggles. It was fun. But it showed me how much of a "mutt" I am. My genetic background is mostly European with ~20% Eastern European. And also just wee bit of Northern African (0.2%).

With current immigration laws, my family would have not been able to immigrate to the USA in the early 1900's. The story goes, is that my great-great grandmother had a shit fuck ton of kids, as women back then did. I think it was something like 13 kids but only a little over half lived past childhood. There were also plenty of other cousins and such. One set of relatives immigrated to the USA looking for jobs. Eventually, they landed in South Bend, Indiana, and worked at the many factories that were in that city at that time. Slowly, each set of cousins, siblings, etc, started to make the trek from Hungary to South Bend. Based on some old pictures I saw, it was easily 20 - 30 family members that came over. Later on, I found out that many of them hated living in the USA. They wanted to move back to Hungary but couldn't afford to. So they stayed in South Bend.

I heard stories of my great-grandmother being put into kindergarten without know a single word of English. My grandmother supposedly only spoke Hungarian at home. They lived in a part of the city where there were other Hungarians and also a sizeable Polish population. The immigrants spoke their language amongst each other. Ate their stinky foods. Practiced their local customs and religion. Sound familiar?

There was also backlash against these Eastern European immigrants. They took jobs in the factories and were often willing to work for lower wages. Again, sound familiar?

Recently, President Trump has done some nasty things regarding immigration.

First off, there's that stupid wall. It's the worst idea ever and isn't going to prevent that much illegal immigration. Tunnels will be built. Drugs will be flown over the wall with drones. It already happens. A wall isn't going to stop that. There are still miles and miles of coastline that is unprotected. What prevents people from coming over via boat? The wall is going to be an expensive waste of money.

Also, a decent chunk of illegal immigration happens in a quasi-legal way - people overstaying their visas. Maybe, crack down on that instead of building a dumb wall?

However, I don't find much of an issue with immigrants. I get why they upset people. Their customs and food may be weird. However, I say use it as a learning opportunity. I live in one of the most diverse parts of Atlanta. I'm surrounded by immigrants from all over Asia, India, the Middle East, the Caribbean, Mexico, South America, and it's amazing. Some of the best ethnic food and groceries stores are a short distance from my house. I have found food to be the gateway to learning and understanding more about other cultures. Now I eat things such as tongue, goat, and even chicken feet. Though, I could pass on eating chicken feet again.

There is the language barrier. It is frustrating, however many immigrants I know want to learn English. Usually they learn enough to get by, not hold full fledged conversations, which is OK. However, their kids, are the ones to become fully immersed in the language and often act as the translators for their parents. I have also come across several Uber / Lyft drivers who are only doing it to practice their English, not because they need the extra money. I think that's rather fantastic. Also, why aren't we Americans using this as an opportunity to learn another language? In other countries, people learn multiple languages, in America, not so much. I studied German in high school and was somewhat fluent, although I'm quite out of practice now. When I studied abroad in Germany, all of the German students easily knew 3 - 4 languages (German, English, French, Russian, or Latin) and were fluent in all of them. We should really be doing the same in the USA. Knowing another language is just an all around good skill to have.

Some like to think that immigrants steal jobs. I get that mindset, especially if immigrants are willing to work for lower wages. But honestly, I blame the employers in that regards. I have heard firsthand stories of some companies holding their immigrant employees hostage with lower pay and poor treatment, by holding their immigration status over them. If the immigrant employee gets fired, they lose their justification to stay in the USA, so said immigrant employee will put up with lower wages and poor treatment just to stay in the USA. Also, some of the immigrants are doing jobs that no one else wants to do. Some of my fellow co-workers are Mexican immigrants and not US citizens. They do hard, factory work. It's straight up manual labor, in a hot, dirty factory, and for not a whole lot of money. I've seen US Citizens only last a few days doing that kind of labor. The Mexicans, bust their ass and do a good job. Blame the employers for taking advantage of people, NOT the immigrants.

The so-called Muslim ban is fucking ridiculous. I understand people's concerns with terrorism. But quite frankly, the odds of being killed by a terrorist is quite slim. I'm more likely to die in a car accident than be killed by a terrorist. And I'd be more concerned about un-hinged white men who have guns. They seem to do a nice chunk of the mass shootings in the USA.

I see how Islam gets a bad rep. Some want to say it's a violent religion. You could say the same about some aspects of Christianity. While some want to say that's only Old Testament stuff and Christianity is more about New Testament teachings of love and caring. Sure, except when Christians cherry pick stuff from the Old Testament regarding gay people. However, there's a sizeable amount of Muslims in the world. And most Muslims actually live in Indonesia / Asia NOT the Middle East. You don't hear of terrorist violence coming from that part of the world. Why villainize an entire religion based on an extremist fringe group? It's like saying every Christian has the same beliefs as the Westboro Baptist Church. Not every Christian is THAT hateful. And many of the nicer Christians that don't preach such hateful vile, are actually just quiet. They just want to do good things and keep to themselves. It's the outspoken assholes that get all of the attention.

I come across Muslims all of the time because of where I live. I've never been fearful of them. And they could give a rat's ass about me. They check me out at the grocery store, and don't give me lectures about the bacon or alcohol I'm buying. For the most, they're probably thinking about how much their feet hurt and are just trying to make a living, like so many other Americans are.

I agree with vetting and background checking immigrants from suspicious countries. That makes perfect sense. But to out right ban people, especially the refugees, is just straight up wrong. It's not the American thing to do. The American thing to do is to help in what ways we can.

(pbr me asap)

Friday, January 27th, 2017
5:56 pm - Week One
So, it's only been one week of a Trump presidency. It's been riddled with scandal and controversy. Somehow I survived.

Sometimes, I wish I could turn off being a political junkie. I'd hate to think about all the time I've spent the last year or so reading articles from Mother Jones, NPR, The Atlantic, Washington Post, New York Times, all about the presidential race and now Trump. I kept up with politics during the last race in 2012. It wasn't nearly this exhausting and time consuming back then.

Although, maybe that's what he wants. He wants us to be exhausted by it all. For this chaos to seem normal, so we all stop giving as many fucks. I hope that doesn't happen.

I truly don't wish any ill will upon President Trump. I want him to be the leader he claims to be for the American People. I want him to do right by EVERYONE. However, I have little faith that will even happen.

Some say he should stop tweeting. I don't do Twitter. I had an account and never used it. It was just one more website that I don't have time to keep up with. Plus, most of my friends that do Tweet, cross-post them on Facebook. I also don't do Instagram for the same reasons. Facebook, Pinterest, Ravelry, and my RSS feeds are enough to keep up with. Anyways, back to Trump and his tweets. I used to never check Twitter. But now, I find myself check his Twitter page to see what next horrendous thing he says.

What Trump tweets, it is so unpresidential. I get why he does it, but the language. You can be bold and brusk, but in a more appropriate way. Instead, Trump comes off as a petulant turd child. The things he tweets about really can't be conveyed in 140 characters or less. There's so much nuance in many government things and thoughtful discussion can't be done via Twitter. However, I think the attention span of so many Americans is so short, that we don't have the time to understand the nuance. If it can't be summed up in an attention, viral headline, we don't care. SAD!

However, as much as I hate the petulant tweeting, I think Trump should keep on doing it. If this is how he truly is, then I don't want him to hide it all. Let him destroy himself.

And the ridiculous controversies so far....

First, there's the inauguration crowd size debate. Seriously, who gives a fuck? It wouldn't have been an issue until he started bragging about it. And guess what, the press is going to troll the fuck out of him for it. He can't resist the bait. It's such a silly thing to get upset about, especially when there are more pressing issues.

And now, there's still debate about the popular vote and illegal voting. You fucking won even with people trying to recount the votes on the closely contested states. Why bother? Why be so petty? Unless it's your goal to strip more and more people of their voting rights. I hate sounding like a conspiracy theorist in regards to all of this. But none of this looks or sounds good.

(pbr me asap)

Saturday, January 21st, 2017
9:40 pm - Feminism
So today was the big Women's March in Washington DC, along with similar marches all across the world. A bunch of knitters made "pussy hats" for the marchers to wear. I'm happy to say that I knew several women at the DC march who wore pussy hats that I made for them. I even made one for myself to wear in solidarity. Although, I didn't march at the Atlanta protest. Partially, because large crowds like that make me nervous. And with tensions so high about a Trump presidency, I was fearful that things would get violent. Plus, I already had a prior appointment to get my hair dyed that die. I have shitty feminist priorities I suppose. Marching is nice and given the amount of people across the world that voted, it does mean that something is wrong. But I hope that I can be active in other grassroots ways to fight any bad shit that may happen over the next 4 years.

I've had several comments from people that the pussy hats are vulgar and does that mean that men have to wear "dick hats"? And how does one explain the hats to young girls? Apparently, it doesn't matter explaining the hats to young boys....And how do we explain President "Grab Them By The Pussy" Trump to kids? He started this. There is symbolism to the hats. And by looking at pictures of the various marches with a bunch of people wearing pink hats, it did help make the movement look more uniform.

I hate how feminism has become a dirty word to some. Some people don't think it's needed because women are equal now. No, we're not. The ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) never officially got ratified to the Constitution in the 1970s. While there are some protections for women under some states law, we're not officially equal under the Constitution. Sexism, just like racism, and all types of other -isms are still prevalent. It might not be in your face type stuff, but it's there and subtle.

On the flip side, some people say that feminism isn't inclusive enough. Some say it neglects women of color, transgender women, women from other countries, poor women. Or if you're pro-life or religious, you can't be a feminist. Or if you're a man, you can't be a feminist. I beg to differ. There are lots of different types of feminists out there. Yeah, it used to be more of a club for privileged white women. It still sorta is, but many of the feminists I know are concerned about the rights of women of color, transgender women, women from other countries, poor women. There are so many feminist issues to be concerned about, that some issues get drowned out.

Abortion rights are a big one. However, all the people and feminists I know that are pro-choice aren't pro-abortion. We think abortion is terrible however it's a far more complex issue than just baby murder. It's not a binary problem and far more nuanced. Many pro-choice people I know are also for more accessible birth control options, better sex education, assistance for poor women, all in the name of reducing unwanted pregnancies or helping those that do have them. And if you're pro-life that's fine. Don't get an abortion. However, it's not up to me to delegate such a personal choice to other women.

I started getting into feminism during my college years. I'm not quite sure how I got into it. It was a mixture of punk rock, experiencing sexism first hand, as well as being in Purdue's Women In Science Program, which helped make me aware of the many challenges female scientists face.

Feminism spoke to me in so many ways. I never was much of a girly-girl growing up. Because of that, I always felt like I was a reject female. And on top of that, like many women, I have body image issues. Feminism helped me feel OK with being who I was and what I look like. It's still a struggle to be OK with who I am at times, but feminism has made me aware of why I struggle and how to cope.

My sense of feminism has evolved over the years, as I've gotten more exposure to different types of people. And it continues to evolve.

Feminism isn't only about man hating. Yes, men are the source of some grief, but it's more about challenging the status quo. I don't think that sex with any man is rape. Nor do I want to spell women as womyn. There are extreme forms of feminism out there, but it's the minority of feminists.

I think it's great to see so many women challenging the status quo and fighting for change. Our message does become mixed because it does vary from group to group. Our messages can come across as militant especially to people who don't like change. Although, I do find feminism to be more and more inclusive all of the time. I do think Islam, when taken to the extreme, is an oppressive religion, especially to women. The symbolism and reasoning for wearing a hijab or a burka, is awful if you ask me. However, I do get the desire to be modest especially if covering the hair is one person's idea of modesty. I may not agree with it but if it's the woman's choice to cover her hair, I'm OK with it, but it has to be her choice. I find make-up or high heels to be repressive. But I know of many women who do like to get glammed up from time to time. It is kind of fun. But as long as wearing make-up or high heels is not a requirement. As long as there is freedom to make your own choices.

And to me, that's a good chunk of feminism. Being free to make your own choice for yourself. Whether that be your career, sexuality, relationship, appearance, reproductive decisions, etc. It's freedom to make these choices without ridicule or shame.

(1 drunk amanda | pbr me asap)

Friday, January 20th, 2017
6:31 pm - Trump
It's happened. Donald Trump is now officially the 45th president of the USA. My heart is heavy thinking about what may come under a Trump presidency. To be honest, he is a bit of wild card. There's no telling what may happen. I'm going to hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

When he first started his campaign up again in 2015, I thought it was going to be just like the previous election. He'll be a loud buffoon during the debates, an amusing buffoon. He'll make a spectacle just to promote himself, pick up some more Twitter followers, sell some Trump steaks or whatever. However, something was different this go around. It's a combination of things - social media is more prevalent now, people have become more jaded and desperate.

I watched the Republican debates with a bit of glee. It was more about the spectacle of it all. When Trump bragged about the size of his penis at the debates, I thought he was done for. It was amusing but VERY immature behavior coming from a Presidential candidate. But as Trump picked up more and more votes, it was becoming quite clear that he was going to be the Republican nominee. Seriously, anyone would have been better, even Ted Cruz.

But given that Trump was going to be the Republican nominee, I thought it meant that the Democratic candidate would have been a shoo-in for the Presidency. He has no experience. He's thin skinned. The rallies were insane with him telling his followers to beat up protesters. Given all of this negative stuff, caught on tape, I thought that there was just no way he could become President. Heck, "binders full of women" or 47% comments were enough to ruin your presidential run in 2012. Calling women fat pigs, cursing, etc should have meant that you wouldn't get as many votes.

Then, there was the "grab her by the pussy" debacle. It was so horrid. That entire weekend after that was rough for me. The thing is, I was sexually assaulted in college, when some guy did try to grab me by the pussy when I was at the local dance club. I was wearing a short skirt, as many girls did to that club, and this guy comes up behind me, while I'm talking to my table of friends. He then tries to shove his fingers up me. There was no, hi, what's your name. Nope, straight to the pussy grabbing. Before I could even realize what was happening, the guy had fled into the crowd. That same night, I was dancing with a guy, and he grabbed me by the nipple and twisted. Sexually assaulted twice in one night. Being the naive 22 year old, I just kind of brushed it off. It's what I got for dressing "slutty". It's what you expect to happen to you as a woman at a club. Now, I know that it was sexual assault and horribly wrong. I was completely innocent in all of it. I have spent many hours reliving that trauma everytime pussy-gate got brought up.

I thought Hillary did so well during the debates. She came across as very knowledgeable and acted professionally. Trump, not so much. Still, the whole email thing got the best of Hillary. I did vote for Bernie in the primaries. However, I was definitely very much pro-Hillary before Bernie announced his run. The email debacle was suspicious as well as not releasing the the speeches. But when the speeches were released and emails leaked, they really didn't contain anything all that controversial or horrid. I tried to read through them without my pro-Hillary bias. And even then, they weren't THAT bad. Trump's behavior was still far worse, with the name calling, lying, and just all around bad behavior. But somehow, because he was not polished like we expect from politicians, he got a free pass.

Then came election night. I had my election night drink of choice - champagne. I figured I'd either be celebrating or I'd need to drown my sorrows. I had been religiously checking 538.com multiple times a day, to make sure Hillary was in the lead. It was midnight and the election was yet to be called. In 2008 and 2012, the results were easily called by midnight. I tried staying up a bit longer, but that's when they were saying that PA, MI, and WI were too close to call, and it wasn't looking good for Hillary either. I tried to go to sleep, but I couldn't. I was exhausted, but my mind wouldn't stop racing thinking about a Trump presidency. No matter what I did to try to calm my mind, it wouldn't shut off. Here comes 4 AM, I check my phone, and Trump had one. My heart sank. I was supposed to be getting up in 2 hours or so for work. There was no way I could function on 2 hours of nervous sleep. I called out of work. Thankfully, my Democratic boss was understanding. Still, I felt ridiculous for calling out because of election results.

So here I was, trying to make the best of it all. I wanted to hope now that Trump was going to be President, he'd stop with the petty name calling, the insults, the blowhard behavior. But he didn't change. And I don't think he will. He get's off on the controversies and seeing his name all over the news. The conflicts of interest are HUGE! I'd like to think that they would have been up for more debate during the campaign. But there were just so many Trump controversies every few days, it was hard to follow them all.

I fear for the worst. Am I going to lose healthcare coverage because of pre-existing conditions? Will I still have access to birth control? What if I do need an abortion? What about my LGBTQ friends or immigrant friends? What will happen to their rights? What about the poor people I know that do rely on government subsidies to get by? It's scary times. Although, I hope that the slow pace of government will mean these things won't happen. Or there are enough moderate Republicans who won't put up with this garbage.

“Nolite te bastardes carborundorum. Don't let the bastards grind you down.” ― The Handmaid's Tale

(pbr me asap)

Friday, January 13th, 2017
10:58 pm - Hair
I've never been much of a girly-girl. Not that there's anything wrong with being a girly-girl, as long as it's the person's choice.

Easily, for the past 14+ years, I have had short hair. I couldn't imagine having long hair again. Today, I got my asymmetrical pixie-bob thing cut even more. This time with an undercut. The lower back and sides of my head are now completely shaved. It feels GREAT! I've been experimenting more and more with my hair the past few years than I ever have before. Maybe, it's because I feel secure with employment such that I won't get fired if my hair gets too "weird".

So let's go down Amanda's hair odyssey.

Looking back on photos of me in the early 1980's, I had the haircut that most little girls had at that time. Heavy bangs, with long hair in the back. It was semi-mullet-ish. According to my mom, I pitched a fit anytime she tried to braid it, or put my long hair in any sort of ponytail or pigtail. Maybe this was my start of rejecting many feminine-esque things.

Then, come 4th grade or so, my mom, probably frustrated with me, had my hair cut off into this horrid bowl cut. It was the late 80s and still a haircut of the time. I remember crying my eyes out when the hairdresser cut off my hair.

Then come 6th grade, I had grown my hair out some and convinced my mom to let me get a perm. It was the early 90s. Every girl wanted a perm. So there I was, with heavy, straight bangs, and frizzy perm hair. So cute! I had no idea what to do with my permed hair. I thought that the hair pick wasn't enough to get out the tangles, so I'd brush my hair, leaving it a wavy, frizzy mess. I kept with the perm look for another 2 years.

Then, I started growing out the permed hair. And good riddance. Eventually, it grew out enough, so I was left yet again with heavy-ish bangs and straight hair. Maybe not the cutest of looks. But I pretty much ended up wearing my hair back everyday, because there was always that one weird kink in my straight hair, such that I couldn't wear it down. I had no idea how to use a straightening iron or anything on my hair.

It was my Junior year of high school. It was a weird time. I decided out of the blue to cut my hair and have a bob. It also meant growing out my bangs. This was also the first year I experimented with dyeing my hair. I went with a black semi-permanent dye. I'm still surprised my mom let me do this.

Then, my hairdresser, who did my hair, my mom's, and my grandmother's, died all of of a sudden. He was gay, although I didn't know what gay even meant at that time. We suspect it was HIV / AIDS, but we'll never know. Because, my hairdresser was dead, I went to one of those cheap places to get my hair cut. They didn't understand what a stacked bob was, and ended up shaving the back of my head. Not quite the look I was going for.

Frustrated with my now short hair and not knowing what to do. There was no Pinterest at that time. I then opted to cut it all off via my mom's new gay hairdresser. I was going for that Winona Ryder pixie look. At this time, I had my first real boyfriend. To be fair, I had no idea what was going to happen when I went to get my hair cut. It was also one week before the Winter semi-formal dance. I later eventually found out, that my boyfriend (who was an asshole), almost broke up with me, because I had cut my hair.

I kept with the pixie-do for another 6 - 8 months. I actually liked it. However, my douche-y boyfriend, not so much. So that's when I began the process of growing out my hair. By the time I entered college, my hair had finally reached chin length. I kept growing it out. Despite growing out my hair, my high school boyfriend, who went to the same college as me, never ran his fingers through my now long hair or any of that romantic shit.

So, my hair is now long. But quite frankly, I have a three-head i.e. a short forehead. I need some sort of bang or else I look weird. That's when I opted to go with bangs and long hair, again. It was my sophomore year of college. I still ended up wearing my hair back the majority of the time. I rarely got it cut. Eventually, my hair grew quite a bit past shoulder length. I look at pictures of me from this time period, and damn, that shit looked terrible. No style. Just bleh.

Then, the movie Amelie came out. I instantly fell in love with it. And I wanted the main character's bob with bangs. This was 2002, maybe 2003. I don't quite remember.

I rocked this bob look for quite some time. There were a few variants. Sometimes, I let the bob grow to chin length. Other times, I had it cut much shorter. It's a good hairstyle for me. It was very simple for me to maintain. All I had to do each morning, was run some water through my hair, and brush it, and instant cuteness! I got many compliments on my bob from complete strangers. The only downside was the bangs, actually. The bangs readily picked up any forehead oils, causing them to look greasy and stringy - not cute! And given how fast my hair grows, I'd have to cut my own bangs between hair cuts. Having short hair, you have to get your hair cut every 6 - 8 weeks. But my bangs, needed trimming every 4 weeks or so. Eventually, I got decent enough at trimming my own bangs, but it was a tedious process that took a good 15 - 20 minutes, to make sure my bangs were straight.

Over this time frame, I experimented with various hair colors. For awhile, I was dyeing my hair various shades of auburn. It's a beautiful color of hair. But most cheap hair dyes from the drug store, for this color, don't last long. After 2 weeks, you're left with a brassy colored hair, that isn't cute. Being the chemist that I am, I have read that there's something about the red dyes for hair, that just don't last long, no matter what you do.

I also experimented with black hair dye. Black is an excellent and classic color for a bob. And I did variants of black, blue-black and purple-black. One summer, I went wild. I bleached my hair and dyed it bright red with Manic Panic hair dye. It left my hair a frizzy, damaged mess, and of course the color faded to an awful red-pink color after a week. Then the brown roots started to show. It was a fun color while it lasted.

Eventually, I went to black again. It just worked for my punk-gothy-emo self at that time. Then, come 2007, I got tired of having to dye my hair every 8 - 10 weeks. Being the cheap ass that I am, I opted to dye my hair myself with cheap drug store hair dye. I bought one of those hair dye strippers, from the drug store. Not good. It only ended up bleaching my roots and not removing the black hair dye. Definitely, not a cute look. I then had to bleach all of my hair and I dyed it brown, similar to my natural shade.

I let my hair remain the ugly shade of brown for awhile. But then come 2008, I started to go gray. It was maybe 4 - 6 gray hairs at most, but I wasn't ready to have any of that. I was 27 and not ready for gray hair. So, I started to dye my hair black again. I got some weird looks at the concrete place when I came in with black hair. They thought I was going "goth". Little did they know....

I kept up with doing the black hair (myself) until 2014. That's when I learned a neighbor of mine, a hairdresser, was doing hair with fun colors out of her house. It was tempting. I always wanted "fun" colored hair, but never worked anywhere, that I could get away with it. At my current, secure, job, I work alongside people with visible tattoos. I figured, worst case scenario, if my employer had a problem with my crazy hair, I could always dye it black again.

My neighbor dyed my hair black, but with purple hidden streaks. It was the first time I had anything like this done to my hair. It's a long process, that takes a good 4 - 5 hours to do. Also, around this time, is when I decided that I was bored with Amelie bob and got my hair cut to mimic Jennifer Lawrence's cute pixie-do. No one gave a fuck about my new short hair. And it took 4 - 6 weeks once the purple dye started to fade a bit, before anyone noticed my crazy hair colors.

Since then, I have experimented with blue, teal, and magenta streaks. It's fun. I couldn't imagine myself without crazy colored hair now.

I love my short hair. I couldn't imagine having long hair ever again. I try to tell my friends with long hair, that they need to try it short, at least once. Worst case scenario, it will grow back. Thankfully, the hubby prefers me with short hair. He saw a picture of me with long hair and hated it. My hairdresser also loves my short hair. Probably, because it means I do have to visit her more often vs. those with long hair and only want the "ends" trimmed off, every 6 months. According to my hairdresser, she has fun cutting my hair. It means, she gets to try out all of the techniques she had learned over the year. Actually, it can be difficult to get her to cut my hair even shorter sometimes. My thought is that it will always grow back.

So now, I have this asymmetric pixie-bob-undercut-do with magenta streaks. It's fun. If I wear boyish clothing, I do give off a lesbian vibe. Though, nothing wrong with that. I do need to get it dyed again. I'm thinking black with blue and purple streaks. I'd love to try out the rainbow hair trend or do something even more crazy with the color. But I think that may be a bit too crazy for my employer.

(pbr me asap)

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017
11:08 pm - Sad
It's been 2 weeks since Lily has died. I'm trying to stay strong. Some days I'm good. But tonight, I just straight up feel sad. I miss the never ending love, affection, and companionship I got from that kitty. I had pets and such growing up, but none that lovely me quite like Lily did.

I've been through animal death before. It's never easy. When Onyx died, it was tough. I missed her. But I also had Lily to help me through it. Lily changed after Onyx died. She became the cuddly, lap cat, I always wanted. She rarely left my side. My bond to Lily grew way more in those 4 short years.

Cavey, my other cat, is sweet. But it's not the same.

current mood: sad

(pbr me asap)

Saturday, January 7th, 2017
7:03 pm - Snowmageddon 2017
Well, I survived the great Atlanta Snowmageddon of 2017. YAY! The folks were super excited that Atlanta might get anywhere from 1 - 5" of snow. The Midwesterner in me, just laughs at this but the South is not prepared at all to hand that white stuff. What ended up happening, is a lot of freezing rain and a light dusting of snow. The majority of the roads were quite passable come the afternoon.

Although, I did have one tree in the backyard snap from the weight of the ice still on its leaves. I'm glad I had 2 sick trees taken out last week. One could have possibly fallen on the house under the right conditions.

I laugh at how snow is handled in the South but it does make sense. Atlanta has maybe 5 snow plows and keeps low stocks of de-icing salts and sand. Quite frankly, snow is such a rare occurrence, that it doesn't make financial sense to keep up with the expenses of removing the snow. I'll move onto some of my Atlanta snow stories in a bit. Although, any threat of the white stuff is enough to panic everyone to raid the grocery stories for bread, milk, and eggs. Apparently, French Toast is a popular thing to make when you're snowed in? I think the weather people are in cahoots with the bread, milk, and egg industries.

I actually like the snow days. They're usually a good excuse to veg when I'd normally be working, something this introvert loves. It means comfy pants, hot toddies, binge watching TV, knitting, and maybe cooking a tasty pot of some sort of soup / stew.

The last Snowmageddon in 2014 was terrible. Atlanta was the laughing stock of the country. It wouldn't have been so bad if everyone had not gone on the treated roads all at the same time. Pretty much every business, school, and government office let everyone off early at the same time. It resulted in the great snow jam. I followed the disaster on Facebook. I had friends that spent 10+ hours in traffic trying to get home. I was lucky that my normal 30 - 40 minute commute only took me 1 hour. If I had left work, 15 - 30 minutes later, I would have been unfortunately stuck in the thick of it. I ended up missing work for 2 days. The one thing that did piss me off, is that I did have tickets to see Book of Mormon, opening night at the Fox Theatre. I was greatly looking forward to the performance, but the showings that night and the following were cancelled. I was at least able to score tickets for another performance, but not opening night.

But because of Snowjam 2014, which left kids on school buses stranded or left at some schools, everyone is now paranoid about a single snowflake. Even before it had started to snow / sleet yesterday, schools and many work places had an early release. According to some teacher friends, many parents opted to not even send their kids to school for fear of a repeat of 2014. Damned if you do, damned if you don't.

My last great Atlanta snow experience was in 2011, when 4 inches fell. Schools were out for a week. I missed 2 days of work. I did attempt to go to work on the 3rd day. The roads were still quite bad, but I felt obligated to go in. At that time I was still working for the concrete place, and my coworkers were workaholics. So I always felt guilty if I didn't at least put forth some effort. It turned out that the 2 workaholics came in both days. To be fair, they didn't live that far from the office and could have walked if they wanted to. But still, take yourself a nice day off, like the rest of us.

On the 3rd day, my Floridian hubby decided he was going to attempt to drive in the snow. I told him not too. Even with my snow driving skills, it's still difficult to drive in it. My Honda Civic isn't meant for it. Plus, Atlanta has a lot of hills compared to the relatively flat Midwest. Well, hubby ended up getting his car stuck in the neighborhood, and had to leave his car while he walked home.

Anywho, it's still quite icy out and the temperatures are dropping. There's a 10 degree wind chill warning tonight. I'm going to hunker down extra hard, and enjoy some more relaxation before work and things start to pick up again. I might as well try to keep my batteries charged as much as I can.

current mood: cold

(pbr me asap)

Friday, January 6th, 2017
7:58 pm - Planned Parenthood
So now, Planned Parenthood government funding might be on the chopping block now too. Compared to other government funds, the 500 million that goes towards Planned Parenthood is pretty much nothing, and none of it is allowed to go towards abortion.

I've mentioned my views on abortion on here before. And it's always constantly evolving, and usually for the better. I become more and more pro-choice but not necessarily militantly so.

Unfortunately for many, Planned Parenthood is now synonymous with abortion. To be fair, they are technically the largest abortion provider in the USA. But there are far more private clinics that do abortion too. I always find it ironic to hear stories about abortion protests that happen outside Planned Parenthood clinics, even though that clinic doesn't even provide abortions. They only provide referrals.

Fortunately, I have never had to use Planned Parenthood's services. I was always lucky enough to either be abstinent in regards to sexual intercourse or when I did become more sexually active, I did have my own health insurance and could afford to go see a doctor to get my birth control. However, many of my female friends relied on Planned Parenthood in their early 20s and college days. Usually, they didn't have health insurance or the means to get healthcare. And this wasn't necessarily healthcare for birth control either. It would be yeast infections or all of the other wonderful stuff that comes with owning a vagina.

Even though I am pro-choice, I do see abortion as baby murder. However, I do think it's far more complex than just baby murder. It's not a black and white issue, but more gray. Several of my friends have had abortions. And when I hear their reasons for them, I totally get it. One became pregnant very early on in her marriage despite using contraception. She choice to abort because she wasn't ready for a child, plus she has health issues that make any pregnancy immediately high risk. She later on had 2 lovely children, when she was ready to take on such responsibility. Another friend had ectopic pregnancies, where the embryo implanted in the fallopian tubes. This can be quite deadly. Although, some don't consider ending ectopic pregnancies as true abortion, the "baby" was killed.

I try to keep up with all of the various abortion laws going into place across the USA, the TRAP laws. They're all aimed at supposedly improving the safety of abortion, but in reality they're designed to make abortions more difficult to get. I think it's despicable. You know what's dangerous - childbirth! The childbirth mortality rate in the USA is way to low from where it should be. Childbirth is more dangerous than abortion.

I've heard arguments from all sides of the abortion debate. Everything from the fetus is a parasite and therefore not a baby. To it's a baby and should be loved and cherished vs. brutally murdered. I don't think either argument is necessarily wrong or right. I get where both sides are coming from.

Ideally, I wish we could let abortion be the difficult, medical, personal decision that it is. I don't think any woman is happy to have an abortion. The procedure and the side effects sound quite sucky. But also caring for a child can be quite sucky too. I mean, I don't see abortion clinics passing out frequent customer cards. Get four abortions and your fifth one is free! That doesn't happen. Yeah, there are some women who have had multiple abortions. But that's a rarity. Many women seeking abortions already have children and usually don't have the means to care for even more children. Especially with how we're all about reducing programs such as Welfare and Food Stamps. Can't we just let women decide what is best for herself and her family? Hopefully, with accurate medical guidance from her doctor?

(pbr me asap)

Wednesday, January 4th, 2017
10:20 pm - Obamacare
I guess I'll start off with saying is that I hope that Obamacare doesn't get repealed by the Republicans until they have an adequate replacement and none of this "repeal and delay" nonsense.

So here goes my opinions on Obamacare or as it should be referred to aka the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

I don't think it was a bad Act but it was hastily put together. Improvements are necessary. But I also think, even if more time was spent fine tuning the law itself, there still would have been various hiccups during implementation. There always are.

Personally, I have benefited from the ACA. The big one for me was the pre-existing condition clause. If you go back a few years in my LJ, you'll find my rants about the debacle I experienced when my thyroid condition became a pre-existing condition and I lost coverage for that issue. So what happened there, is that I had a few days gap between health insurance coverage. I pretty much crossed my fingers that I wouldn't get in a car accident within those few days or get some sort of disease. Because of this brief coverage gap, my thyroid stuff then became a pre-existing conditions. I had no idea until I got the bill for my yearly blood work and it wasn't covered. Typically, I'd pay $30 - 50 for the blood work but now I was on the hook for $800+. Thankfully, my PCP was able to code the blood work differently so I only ended up paying $300 for the blood tests. It still sucked, but thankfully I had a nice chunk of savings in my bank account, so I wasn't hurt by this expense.

Secondly, my birth control is now free and I get a free cervix scraping (a pap smear) every year. Woo-hoo! The husband and I secretly joke that my birth control pills are my slut pills. To be honest, I wouldn't mind paying a reasonable prescription co-pay for my birth control. It seems fair to treat it like other medicines. JUST AS LONG AS IT'S COVERED! I ran into a situation with a former employer's insurance where birth control wasn't covered. Being the naive person in my 20's, I just assumed it was always covered. All of my other prior insurance plans covered my slut pills. Well, that employer didn't cover them. At that time, I was actually on the Nuvaring. That ended up now costing me $65 out of pocket vs. the $20 - 30 copay. Again, thankfully I had the funds to cover that extra monthly expense, but I know not everyone is as fortunate. I ended up eventually changing over to the Pill. The cheapest one my doctor could put me on, was a Pill that cost $14 / month out of pocket. Although, I am a big proponent of Contraception. I mean, it is one of the best ways outside of abstinence (and who really does that?) to prevent unwanted pregnancies and thus, also abortion.

The ACA has its issues. Some plans didn't cover enough and were too expensive for some. That unfortunate group that's too poor for Medicaid but not quite wealthy enough to pay for coverage got screwed. The initial website roll out was chaos but was quickly fixed.

Overall, the ACA has been an OK success. More people are covered and I hope that means healthier Americans. And the ACA hasn't been the "job killer" some thought it would be. Why not fix the issues instead of straight up repealing it and possibly harming millions of Americans? Heck, even nickname it something less controversial too!

But let's face the real facts here, health insurance is expensive. Healthcare is expensive.

A few years ago, when my husband worked for a non-profit, we were on their cushy health insurance plan. It was pretty decent. But it still didn't cover everything. For awhile, I had to have some physical therapy that wasn't covered by insurance until my $1500 deductible was met. Deductibles still confuse me, although I think health insurance is meant to be extra confusing so that no one understands it. Anyways, this meant that I had to pay $100 for each therapy session out of pocket. Again, thank goodness I could afford it!

Health insurance has always been expensive, even prior to the ACA. And the costs always increased every few years. There were a few lucky people that had great and cheap coverage through their employers, but again they're few. I think for my husband's good plan with his non-profit employer, still easily took out $500 - 600 / month out of his pay. I knew people that easily paid $600 out of each bi-weekly paycheck in order to cover themselves, their spouse, and kids. That's practically a house payment or rent for some, and that's only being used towards insurance.

It sucks that health insurance is so expensive. And I barely use it. My major expenses are my yearly thyroid blood tests, vision, my yearly pelvic exam so that I can get my whore pills - pretty simple stuff. But I'm also a fairly healthy adult. The insurance is there, so that if something catastrophic were to happen, I at least don't go too much into debt. It's sad to see people who do have insurance go into crazy amounts of debt. It's just plain WRONG!

The insurance companies are partially to blame. They are profit driven, and making coverage more expensive while covering less makes them quite profitable. I mean, how else are the CEO's going to get their million dollar plus bonuses! However, the hospitals are also partially to blame as well. Everyone charges different things for everything. And this is also how you hear stories about basic aspirin pills costing $10 at hospitals. TIME magazine had a great article a few years ago called A Bitter Pill about these ridiculous costs. The hospitals have to mark up everything and then the insurance companies then bargain that price down. It seems like a ridiculous system and the losers are the end person, the patient.

A few years ago, I had to have a MRI. I went to the outpatient clinic I was recommended to go to, which was in-network. Everything was scheduled at a time / date that was convenient to me. Low and behold, I get a call from my insurance provider, that I couldn't go to THAT clinic. I had to go somewhere else that was maybe $1500 - 2000 cheaper. Sure, I get the cost savings, but it was the same damn procedure. Being scared that the insurance wouldn't cover the MRI at all if I kept my current appointment, I went ahead canceled and had to reschedule. It was a pain in the ass. I did it but I felt that it wasn't quite right. And then, because I went somewhere else for the MRI, the results didn't even get sent over the appropriate doctor. I went in for my follow up and my doctor had no idea where my MRI results were. Which meant, I had to spend extra time at the damn doctor's waiting for the results to be faxed over. And then, to make this whole ordeal even ridiculous, I get a check in the mail, a year later for $80. Apparently, when I did pay the ultimate bill (something like $250), that bill was too high. It should have been $170, which is why I got a check in the mail, an entire year later. My mind is still blown by that.

Overall, I think the ideal way to fix the ACA, is to have a government option available. And hopefully we get our heads out of our asses and eventually do some sort of single payer system, like everyone else does. But I just don't know how we could even go that way at this point in time.

(pbr me asap)

Thursday, December 29th, 2016
1:21 pm - Lily and the Brush
Another Lily memory came to me today.

Lily was a short hair kitty. Long hair cats are pretty but I don't have patience for the maintenance that comes with it. However, by brushing a short hair cat, you do cut down on some of the cat hair, that covers everything. Seriously. I have cat hair stuck in my keyboard. No clothing is without at least one strand of cat hair.

I would on occasion brush my cats, but Lily would go crazy for being brushed. For some reason, she liked having her face brushed. I could just hold the brush, and she would somewhat violently rub her face against the bristles. To me it looked like it almost hurt but she would love every second of it. I could even lay the brush on the floor, and she would start rubbing against it. I always thought about getting one of those corner brushing things you can affix to the walls of your house, but I never quite go around to it.

Dammit, I miss that kitty.

The other cat, Captain Caveman aka Cavey, we adopted after Onyx died, is being extra sweet to me. But it's not the same. Cavey is my husband's cat. She prefers him.

I know I'll get around to adopting more cats eventually. I sort of want more black cats, but I wonder if the resemblance would kill me.

I'm having Lily cremated along with her favorite voodoo doll toy. The urn I chose is a black cat that's lying down in a pose similar to one she would do. Her ashes will sit on top of my yarn cubby thing, alongside Onyx's urn.

Part of me wonders, as I get more cats and they die, will I just have this urn / ash collection eventually? Am I THAT crazy cat lady? What happens when I die? As of now, it doesn't look like I'll ever have children. What happens to all of my stuff when I die? Who inherits it? Although, I wouldn't mind having my ashes mixed with my cat's ashes, whenever I do die. But I don't know the legality of that.

current mood: depressed

(pbr me asap)

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016
2:06 pm - More Lily Memories
I may post more Lily memories as they come to me. All one of you who maybe read my LJ anymore are probably tired about hearing about my damn cat. But Lily was more than just a cat to me. Yes, it's different than losing a person. But pets have a special place in your heart. I want to record some memories before they get covered up in my mind by newer ones.

Lily truly loved me. Her love was unwavering. She always wanted to be around me. I live in a split level home. Sometimes, I'd be in the lower level watching TV. You'd hear this yowling sound. It was Lily calling for me, worried as to where I was. Or so I'd like to think. I'd yell out to her, that I was downstairs, and she'd come running down to me, often looking for pets, but so happy to have found me.

Lily was always my constant companion. I have this weird shower / bathroom configuration in my home. The main shower-bathtub has sliding glass doors on both side, with bathrooms on either side. It's weird. But the hall bathroom would be open, while I'd take a shower. She'd sit there outside the shower, sometimes fussing at me as to why I was willing to be so wet.

I didn't let Lily in my bedroom after the great pee incidence. This was many moons ago, back when I lived in a 2-bedroom department, when I first moved to Atlanta. For many years, Lily and Onyx shared the same litter box. But out of the blue, Lily decided she no longer wanted to share, so she peed on our main bed. I pretty much soaked the mattress in Nature's Miracle to get the pee stink out. Yeah, this sounds gross, but it's sometimes what you do as a pet owner. Plus, mattresses are expensive. The hubby and I then had to sleep on our couch. Well....Lily then peed on that, so we had to sleep on the floor, while everything was drying out. Terrible times.

There were sadly a few other pee incidences. It sucks. But as my mom always says, you can't have nice things when you have pets or kids. It's true. The husband always liked to think that Lily's inappropriate peeing was related to me. Whenever I was stressed, she would start peeing on things. Me and Lily did have a deep connection but I don't know if it was quite THAT deep.

Because I was afraid of Lily peeing on my bed, I didn't allow her in the bedroom without me being there. Although, I did eventually let her start sleeping me after the peeing problems. I'd have to get her out of the bedroom each morning by shaking the treat bag. Eventually, I didn't even have to do that much. She associated me getting out of bed, and going into the kitchen to pour my morning tea = treat time. No treat bag shaking required. I'm not sure who had who trained. Did I have Lily trained to get out of the bedroom without shaking the treat bag? Or did she have me trained to give her treats every morning?

While I would get ready in the morning for work, Lily would wait outside my bedroom door, so peacefully. She would then sit on the top steps. I'd give her a pat on the head, and tell her I'll be back later because I have to make money to buy her food and treats. It was one of our morning rituals.

Lily was never much of a lap kitty. Except she'd want to get on my lap, when I was at my computer. Never when I was on the couch. It was quite odd. Sometimes she'd start drooling on me, because she was so content being on my lap. Other times, she'd bite my hand if I wasn't petting her enough. Though the one thing she liked to do while sitting on my lap, especially on lazy weekend mornings, was to accidentally dip her tail into my morning tea. She didn't do it on purpose, but her tail would be happily wagging and it would flop into my tea sometimes. I had to tell Lily, that kitty tail tea doesn't taste good.

That's all of the Lily stories I have for now. I may post more as they come to me.

current mood: nostalgic

(1 drunk amanda | pbr me asap)

10:47 am - Lily - RIP
Well, the worst happened. Lily passed away last night at the vet's office.

She was still quite critical when I last saw her. The vet gave me the option of taking her home overnight, just in case that would be less stressful. I thought the 30 minute car ride, would actually induce stress. I also had the option of taking her to a 24-7 vet hospital, but those places get kind of crazy, and I didn't want to subject poor Lily to any more stressors. The vet thinks Lily died peacefully. I hope she wasn't in any pain, at least.

If you scroll through my older posts, you'll find my eulogy to Lily's sister, Onyx, who passed away just a little over 4 years ago from the same thing - heart disease. With Onyx, it was quite sudden. Lily, it was a few days. It's still not easier.

Apparently, Lily had a heart that was too big. It's not something that vets can usually find out unless they do invasive ultrasounds and x-rays, that are also quite expensive. But I like to think that Lily's big heart meant she loved us extra hard.

I know that I gave Lily and Onyx an amazing life. Way better than if I had left them to the Central Florida wilderness where they'd surely be killed by something or get knocked up at a young age.

Onyx was a sweet kitty and it was tough losing her. But I think losing Lily is going to be extra tough. Lily and I had a different sort of bond. Anyone that hung out around our kitties enough, knew that Lily was crazy for me. I was her human. She did eventually start to love the husband, but I was definitely her favorite.

I had dogs and cats growing up, but they were never own. The pets tolerated me but they always preferred the company of my parents. Onyx, and moreso Lily, were my first true pets. And Lily was the first pet to prefer me.

Lily and Onyx represent a lot to me. I first found them as kittens back in 2004. I was 23 at the time and I was just officially entering adulthood. These kitties were there for me, through good and bad times, as I was trying to figure out relationships and this crazy thing called life. I'm now 35. I still don't have this adulting thing figured out, but these kitties were representative of this turbulent time of my life.

I have tons of Lily stories and pictures, which I'm going to share some below.

Lily was my alarm clock. Not so much in the "feed me" type of way that many cats do. But when my work alarms started going off, she got used to me petting her each time I hit snooze. If I didn't pet her, that's when she would start clawing at me or sometimes even biting me, in order to get attention.

Lily was quite militant about being loved. She loved being petted, and if you stopped when she wasn't ready, she was sure to let you know with a nip, head butt, or a paw pat, that you weren't done. I could call her name from any room in the house, and she would come running to me, excited for any bit of attention.

At night, she'd give me dirty looks telling me that she was ready for bed. She'd jump on my bed, anxious to be petted and loved on. The past 6 months or so, I always tried to love her extra before bedtime. It was our own special ritual. I always would think to myself, that Lily is a senior kitty and soon enough, these special times would be no more. Little did I know that it would happen sooner vs. later. I always thought her love for me was so fierce, that she would be one of those awnry cats, that lived till their late teens / early 20s.

Lily was kind of a boring cat. For the most part, she just would sleep, eat, and would want to be petted. She never played with toys too much. But there was this one toy, that she oddly took a liking too. During a trip to New Orleans a few years ago, I stopped in a pet shop in the French Quarter. They had these homemade voodoo doll cat toys made out of sticks, dried hay, and some felt. It was $2 and supposedly benefited the homeless kitties of the French Quarter. Lily never played with this voodoo doll toy. Except 2 years ago, she all of a sudden took a liking to this toy. She didn't play with it. But she liked bringing it to me. Many mornings, I'd wake up with the voodoo doll in the bed with me (yuck!) or at the bedside. Other times, I'd hear this weird yowling from her, and here she'd come to whatever room I was in, with the voodoo doll in her mouth, where she would then drop it by my side. It was her "kill". She often did this to my husband and I, while we were watching TV. We'd always thank Lily for the voodoo doll, and give her pets for being such a good kitty. Over the years, the voodoo doll lost its head and an arm. I always thought this meant there was some sort of decapitated kitty now in the French Quarter. I'm having the voodoo doll cremated with Lily.

I'm going to miss that kitty, fiercely. It still hasn't sunk in quite yet. But I know it will get better eventually.

current mood: sad

(2 drunk amandas | pbr me asap)

Tuesday, December 27th, 2016
10:35 pm - Lily Update
Well, my worst fears have come true. Lily is in the midst of heart failure. I'm so glad I took her to the vet this morning vs. waiting until her scheduled appointment on Thursday. She's still in dire condition now and she's staying at the vet overnight. I'm hoping she pulls through.

The past 6 months or so, when Lily would jump into bed with me at night, I'd give her some extra lovin' and I'd think to myself that she's a senior kitty, and eventually I'll no longer have these moments. I just didn't think it would be THIS soon.

Losing Onyx was tough, but I think losing Lily is going to be tougher. And here I am thinking of the worst again. It's hard to be cheerful when my furkid is so sick.

Lily was always obsessed and possessive of me. My husband and mom, always noticed this. When I'd leave for work in the morning, my husband would tell me how Lily would yowl for a while, wondering where I went. This kitty LOVED me LOTS. It's kind of special to be owned by a cat. I had dogs and cats growing up, but they were never mine and I was never quite there's.

But then, these 2 little black kitties walked into my life. I almost consider them to be my first real pets. They were the first pets I was truly responsible for.

I'm hoping Lily pulls through. But even then, she's going to be on borrowed time. Her poor heart is enlarged, probably because she just loved too much.

current mood: sad

(pbr me asap)

Monday, December 26th, 2016
8:32 pm - Lily
For those that have friend me on the Facebook, probably already know this, but my dear kitty, Lily, is quite sick.

She's 12 years old and a Senior kitty. I knew that one day she'd have to cross the rainbow bridge, but I never thought it would be this soon. But then again, I'm expecting the worse.

On the 23rd, I noticed out of the blue, she had this weird limp on her back leg, and her paw was knuckling over. She was fine, just a few hours earlier. So the hubby and I rushed her to the emergency vet at 10 PM. It turns out, Lily had a blood clot. I was given a prescription for Plavix, to help break up the clot and some painkillers. That's it. No x-rays, nothing outside of you should follow up with your veterinarian soon.

Giving the pills and painkiller doses to Lily has been a nightmare. I'm already nursing an infected thumb from her biting down on my hand and several scratches. Poor kitty and poor Amanda.

The good news is that the Plavix has worked and Lily is no longer limping. The bad news is, she hasn't been behaving like her normal awnry self. For the most part, she stays in one of three spots all day. I have her quarantined in my craft room which has now been dubbed the kitty hospital. She's also not eating, but at least she's drinking some water.

I'm hoping her lethargy is only a side effect of the medicines. However, I did the kind of stupid think by googling blood clots in cats. Supposedly the prognosis, isn't great. It's good I caught it so soon. However, blood clots are a possible sign of an underlying heart condition.

As some of you may recall, Lily did have a sister, Onyx, who died several years ago from congestive heart failure. It's not something you can routinely test cats for and I was hoping that Lily maybe won the genetics lottery and didn't get this trait. But it looks like, I might be wrong.

I'm taking her into the vet tomorrow. I have an actually appointment on the 29th, but I don't want to wait that long now. I'm hoping for the best but expecting the worse.

current mood: worried

(pbr me asap)

Thursday, December 22nd, 2016
8:59 pm - Islam
So apparently, our oh so wonderful PEOTUS is talking about a Muslim registry again. I still can't believe that shit. It's so terrible.

Yes, there are legitimate concerns about radicalized Muslims. Although, I'd say the same of anyone of ANY faith that has become radicalized.

There's easily over 1 billion Muslims in this world. However, the majority of these Muslims are actually in Asian countries, and we give less of a damn about them because they don't come from the Middle East. I hate the idea of villainizing an entire religion because of a few bad apples. The same goes for Christianity. I have known many wonderful Christians in my life. For the most part, they're not super vocal about anything political. They just want to worship their God and live a quiet, peaceful, Christian life. But there's always that one vocal asshole, that will make you think all Christians are the same as those dicks of the Westboro Baptist Church.

I live in one of the most diverse areas of Atlanta, which means I live near quite a few Muslim folks. Quite frankly, they don't give a fuck about my lily, white ass. They just want to buy their groceries in peace, just like me. The Muslim cashiers at my favorite international market, don't even flinch if I have bacon or alcohol. They're just trying to make a living, and get through their day, just like me. Also, halal chicken sausage and Chinese food is quite tasty. I did get a little creeped out when I saw a woman in a burka, at Michael's one day, buying yarn. I've only seen pictures and videos of women in burkas. It looks oppressive, but it's definitely something else to see it in person - she looks like a giant, black ghost.

Anywho, I thought freedom of religion, was one of the principles, the United States was founded on. I'm all for people practicing their religion however they see fit, as long as it doesn't involve things like animal or virgin sacrifice, because that is kind of wrong in some ways. Though, I think many religions have gotten away from that type of thing.

By no means, am I a scholar of Islam. Some say it's a peaceful religion, others say it's violent. Although, as someone who was raised Catholic, you could say the same of Christianity. The rebuttal I always hear is that the violent Christian stuff is only in the Old Testament, but most Christians adhere to the teachings of Jesus in the New Testament....except when it comes to things such as homosexuality or abortion, or any other controversial social cause. You can cherry pick the Bible and the Quran. Scripture can be interpreted in many ways. Plus, we don't know how much has been lost in translation over the years either.

ISIS, they're a bunch of bad people. And I don't think they represent Islam at all. They're just a bunch of power hungry thugs. And they kill way more fellow Muslims than they do Americans. I still don't understand the Sunni vs. Shia Muslim in-fighting. But quite frankly, the more we demonize Islam, it's just more fuel for ISIS and other radical groups. They need this hatred to recruit disenfranchised youth. It's just like what gangs in the USA do. We do need to stay vigilant about ISIS's activities, but we can't demonize an entire religion because of it. Watch this video https://news.vice.com/video/what-its-really-like-to-fight-for-the-islamic-state) from Vice of actual ISIS fighters. You'll see how young and unprepared their fighters are compared to any military.

And there's now the hijab / burqa debate. While, I don't agree with the idea of women having to cover up so much, but if it's what a woman thinks is modest and it's HER choice, then so be it. For some women, not showing any cleavage or thigh, is modest. Other's it's a baggy, turtleneck with long sleeves or looking like one of the Duggars. We need to stop policing what women wear - let them choose how they want to be modest or not at all. Although, I do think that you shouldn't be allowed to drive while wearing a burqa - more for safety reasons than anything else.

Quite frankly, didn't the USA do something similar with the Japanese during WWII? A few years ago, I was on vacation in Los Angeles. I just so happened to be there when the Japanese American National Museum had an exhibit all about Hello Kitty, so of course I had to go check that exhibit out. It was overwhelmingly cute and amazing, by the way. But after you get done looking at the overwhelming cuteness that is Hello Kitty, you then get dumped out into an exhibit about the Japanese internment camps. It was a well done and educational exhibit but damn was it depressing. There were articles from Life magazine from that era about things like "How to spot a Jap" or how to tell the difference between a Japanese person and a Chinese person. Could you imagine seeing such an article in modern day publications? It's some terrible shit. Although, the most heart wrenching part of the exhibit, was that they found one of the actual internment camp barracks, that was still standing. The barrack was disassembled and reassembled inside the exhibit. The barrack was a straight up shack. I couldn't imagine having to live in one.

And we're considering something quasi-similar for Muslims now? Haven't we learned our lesson?

I get that things like 9/11 or the Orlando shootings are horrifying and sad. But given statistics, I'm probably more likely to die in a car accident or die from cancer or heart disease, than be killed in a terrorist act. Yeah, all of this terrorism stuff is scary, and our government needs to stay vigilant but not at the cost of demonizing innocent people.

(pbr me asap)

Tuesday, December 20th, 2016
10:53 pm - The "War on Christmas" and Other PC Garbage
Ah, it's time for the yearly "War on Christmas" debate because it's supposedly so uncouth to say Merry Christmas to anyone, and you have to say the more generic Happy Holidays. It's such a foolish thing, that angers most people.

As far as I'm concerned, there's no War on Christmas. Christmas in in full swing. You still get to celebrate the holiday, whether you go to Church or do nothing but drink eggnog. It's an official holiday for many in the USA. Even other, non-Christian countries celebrate Christmas. Did you know, that in Japan, they celebrate Christmas by going to KFC? It's apparently a big damn deal over there.

Christmas is everywhere, even before December. Heck, there are even special stores that sell Christmas stuff year round. I don't see how there's a War on Christmas. The entire world is becoming more and more secular. It's just how it is. If you want to go the Jesus route, that's cool too. You still have the right to do that. No one is blocking you from going to Church on Christmas Day.

The main reason for saying Happy Holidays instead of Merry Christmas, is that not everyone celebrates Christmas in that way. It's a way of respecting other people's beliefs, and is just a generic nicety. What's so terrible about being nice and respectful? However, I have yet to know anyone outside of militant atheists that get upset about being told Merry Christmas. Quite frankly, there are worse things that people could be saying to you. Merry Christmas / Happy Holidays or Happy Hanukkah or Happy / Merry Whatever is a nice thing to say to someone.

So please, wish me whatever happy holiday of your choosing. I don't mind. It's such a petty thing to be offended over. And it beats being called a fuck face or something like that.

However, I do think PC (politically correct) culture can be a bit overbearing at times. It's confusing. There are contradictions. And the militant PC police types are annoying, when they try to correct everything you say. However, I don't think being PC is a bad thing either. Overall, it's just a way to be kind and considerate of others, and what's so wrong with that?

The PC police are annoying. However, outside of large corporations and government, most individual people are free to say whatever they want. You want to call black people the N-word. It's a bad word, especially for white people to use. But it's legal for you to do that. It's going to be hard for the PC police to actually send you to jail over you exercising your free speech rights. However, you have to be OK with people calling you out on it, and possibly calling you even worse names.

I'm often reminded of this xkcd cartoon. It's quite poignant with the truth of it all.

(pbr me asap)

Monday, December 19th, 2016
11:49 pm - Is Anyone Here?
It's been over 3 years since my last post. Recently, there's a private Facebook group I was added to that has exploded with a bunch of former LJ users, reminiscing about LJ.

Lately, I've been thinking about picking up blogging again. I kind of miss it. Although, I'm not sure if LJ or some other format would be better. I have no idea what the cool kids are doing anymore. Let alone if anyone I know would even read my ramblings.

I love Facebook. It's kind of like LiveJournal, or at least it appeals to my introversion. Text based communication is far more appealing to this introvert. However, with Facebook, it seems like if you post anything over a paragraph, no one reads it. I know I don't. Maybe I've developed adult ADD or something. But unless something grabs my attention after reading the first few sentences, I find myself just scrolling through and maybe clicking the occasional "like" button if the sentiment is good enough. I still don't understand Twitter let alone Snapchat. I'm an "old" now.

Today, I started looking back on my LJ posts. Dammit, I was a crazy broad. I might still be. Although, I found myself posting less and less, as life got busier and Facebook became the way to communicate online. But with Facebook, there's just sometimes too many people that friended you, whether it's former coworkers, family, or neighbors, and you don't always want them to know some of your deeper thoughts, because they just wouldn't get it.

When I look back on my early 20s, damn it was chaotic, and much of it has been logged here and my private, hand written journals. I had a lot to figure out. Who I was. Who I wanted to be. Who I couldn't be. I had to figure out this whole having a relationship thing. What I wanted to do with my life.

I suffered from depression and anxiety, greatly during my late teens and early 20s. I saw countless therapists and was on quite the cocktail of various drugs. For the most part, the drugs just made me sleepy, and who wants to sleep for 14+ hours a day? I can't remember the last time that has happened to me in my adult life. The talk therapy helped the most.

I still wrestle with my inner demons. Although, one aspect of adulthood that has helped with keeping my sanity, is work or mostly having a routine. Pretty much I go to work. Come home. Pet the cats. Maybe cook dinner. Talk to the husband some. Maybe have a glass of wine or a beer or bourbon neat. Fuck off online. Go to sleep. On the weekends, more of the same. A thrill nowadays, is going out to some eclectic restaurant or if I even stay out past 10 PM. I've started to realise that I'm an introvert, and staying home in my comfy pants is far more appealing most days and nights. Kind of sad, that I've lust that exploratory spunk. I guess that's what work does to you. It killed all of the crazy energy I had, that sometimes resulted in chaos.

In 2017, I'm going to try to write, at least here, more often. For now, I think it's going to be mostly political stuff. I have a lot of thoughts on things, and I think I have an unique viewpoint of a few things that you don't see in the comments section. In the past, I have tried to turn this into a craft / food blog, but I kind of sucked at there. There's Ravelry or Craftsy that are more suited for sharing crafty things. And while I still cook, most of the time, I'm not done cooking until 7 PM or later, and by then, there's no good daylight for taking sexy food pics. Other than that, my life is rather boring. Most LJ people that cared found me on Facebook, and we follow each other's lives there. It's good for that at least. As much as I should go on a Facebook diet, it's quite handy to use it to follow so many things - neighborhood happenings, news, what company is having a sale, cute cat pictures.

(pbr me asap)

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013
10:46 pm - Undecided
I've never been the biggest fan of children. Even as a child, I never cared to play with baby dolls and pretend to change diapers. But I was oddly fascinated with the dolls that did actually poop. I never wanted to hold my baby cousins. I did do some babysitting in high school, but these were older kids, ages 8 - 10, so they could somewhat entertain themselves. I was just there to prevent fights, prepare meals, and make sure homework was done.

Oddly, I always knew I wanted to get married. For some reason it was ingrained into this Midwest girl. But I always thought that eventually kids would come along, it's just what Midwest girls do, right? I never had much in the way of fantasies about my ideal wedding day, let alone the number of kids I would have and what their names would be. If you had asked me a few years ago whether or not I wanted children, I would have told you hell no. Just certain factors weren't in play yet. It's not like I need to have certain milestones at a certain age, but I knew that if I were to ever have kids, I wanted a stable relationship, steady employment, a flexible employer, and a house. I have those now, but why am I so undecided?

For some reason I thought that when I became 30, that darn biological clock would go off and I would be baby crazy. I'm 32 now and I'm still ambivalent. My ovaries don't want to explode every time I see a baby. I'm just kind of 'meh' about the whole idea. I still have a few years left before my reproductive capabilities go away (without having major medical intervention). My desire to have children varies from day to day. Some days I'm 60% for kids, other days I'm 75% against having kids. I know everyone says that when the kid is your own, it's "different". I do believe that, but should I have a child if I'm this wishy-washy? If I'm going to make a baby (assuming I can), shouldn't I be in love with the idea first?

One of my major reservations against having kids is just the amount of work it takes, especially to do it right. Some nights after work, I barely have the energy to feed my cats. My dinner may consist of crackers, hummus, and a glass of red wine. I couldn't imagine coming home from work and have this needy thing to attend to or else I'll be put in jail. I shudder at the thought. At least with cats, they're fairly independent. And honestly, if I did have kids, my goal would be to make them independent ASAP. Not like I would kick them out at age 18, but once they become tall enough to reach the buttons on the washer / dryer, they're doing their own laundry. Same thing goes for food prep. I'm not about being a child's slave. If my kid ended up being a picky eater and wouldn't eat my healthy, home-cooked dinners (i.e. not crackers and hummus) which I do make from time to time, I'd make them at least try it. None of this make a separate meal crap for each kid. And if said kid didn't like my food they could go ahead and make themselves a bowl of cereal or PB & J sandwich and suck it. Yes, I would tell my kid to suck it. I was that picky bastard kid who hated veggies. But because my parents always made me try everything, whether I wanted to or not, I have become open to new foods. I actually eat weirder shit than my parents now - think organ meat, goat, weird veggies, and raw / pickled things.

Another reservation is I HATE modern parenting trends. My kid would be a "special snowflake" just like everyone else. But none of this "kids will be kids" horse shit. I will NOT be child's friend ever. I would be their parent and said child will have consequences and boundaries. I'd be a "mean mother" (http://www.yarnharlot.ca/blog/archives/2013/10/04/the_meanest_mother_in_the_world_.html) Also, screw having my kids involved in 584947582 activities at once in hopes of their dumb ass getting into Harvard. My kid would only do activities they wanted to do, and only one per month. I'm not going to be that parent that's constantly driving their kids around, living in a SUV / mini-van. If my kid truly wanted to be a school bus driver vs. a scientist, so be it. But of course I'd advise them on consequences of decisions. No helicopter parenting shit. In fact, because of this, I think I would be a great parent, the type of parent I wish there was more of. And I know, being a parent isn't easy. In fact, it's a thankless job. But I'd like to think I would be a no-nonsense type parent. My mom surely was, and I think I turned out the better for it. Even though, I didn't quite get the "nurturing" vibe from her. I hated her for it, especially during my teen years, but now I'm so thankful that I'm not such a clueless Millennial. This blog (http://kidobsessedamerica.com/) probably describes everything I find wrong with modern parenting. I get that babies and toddlers may not have the most control. But when I see 8 or 10 year olds, throwing fits at the grocery store, or can't sit still in a restaurant, that's when I start to question the skills of the parents. I try not to be judgmental about that shit, because parenting isn't easy, but I just loathe spoiled brats.

Another reservation is health consequences. If you don't know, I was diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder called Graves' Disease when I was 14. This disease impacts your thyroid, which pretty much impacts every organ of your body. I had my thyroid destroyed with radioactive iodine when I was 15 and have been on supplement thyroid hormone ever since. According to my endocrinologist, I shouldn't have any pregnancy complications, let alone problems trying to become pregnant. But various Graves' Disease message boards tell a different story - everything from women who have suffered multiple miscarriages to almost deadly pregnancy complications - to it taking several years to become pregnant. It's scary. And honestly, I don't know if I'd be tough enough to persevere through miscarriages. It makes me worry that I may not have much time left to safely have kids.

I have read several books on this matter (Why Have Kids?: A New Mom Explores the Truth About Parenting and Happiness, Two Is Enough: A Couple's Guide to Living Childless by Choice, I Can Barely Take Care of Myself: Tales From a Happy Life Without Kids). I was hoping these books would help solidify a decision on whether or not I wanted kids. But all they really did was just put words to my reasons why I'm hesitant on having kids. The husband and I talk about this topic every few weeks. I think that we put more thought into such a decision compared to some parents. Maybe what it will take for me to have kids is to have an "accident" and find myself pregnant.

Honestly, I do think I would be OK with never having kids. There are plenty of homeless cats in this world that need love. I have quite a few older friends that are 'childless by choice' and honestly, I don't see their lives lacking in love or anything like. In fact, they seem to have rather fulfilling lives. They take amazing vacations, go to fantastic parties, restaurants, concerts, etc. They have successful careers and supplement family with friends. It doesn't seem like such a bad lifestyle. It's different and may not be the status quo, but I don't see anything wrong with never wanting to reproduce, especially since there is medical technology of all sorts to prevent pregnancy. And I don't think it's selfish either, because honestly I don't see them enjoying parenthood. Why subject a kid to someone who may loathe them?

What if I don't have that maternal instinct? I somewhat feel it for my cats, but not towards babies or kids. Because I don't long to touch or hold babies, doesn't that make me a defective female? That's how I often feel. I don't even have that pretty, bubbly girl handwriting. In fact, my handwriting (more like printing since my cursive is even worse), looks like a 5 year old boy's handwriting. I've always felt like a defective female since I've never had the longing for typically girly things. But oddly, I do enjoy being crafty and cooking, but I think that's more due to my creative side. I'd be a hard ass parent, and probably for the better. But I'm afraid, I'd totally be lacking in the nurturing area. And my worse fear, is that I would totally hate my child - none of that love at first sight shit. What if I never *loved* my child? I'd make sure their physical needs are met. But what about their emotional needs? I see myself totally sucking in that area.

But on the other hand, what if I end up regretting NOT having kids? What if when I turn 50 and decide I just totally fucked myself over by missing out on such a life changing experience? Could I live with that regret? Perhaps. I don't think it would be crippling, but I may need some therapy and lots of wine. I hate missing out on experiences. I like experiencing new things. It's why I want to travel the world, once I get my 3 weeks of vacation every year. I want to eat weird foods. Put myself in weird situations. I want to know what it's like to grow a human inside of me. What it's like to breast feed. But unlike a temporary trip to a foreign country, having a kid is lifelong commitment.

I ask myself everyday, how would today be different if I had kids? I think about it. Some days I'm more OK with it. And other days, I just want to take Plan B for the hell of it, since the idea of being a parent scared me so much. Who knows if I'll ever make up my mind, before it is too late. Or if I'll find myself pregnant or that biological clock will finally go off, and I'll be baby crazy. But I do know, that if I actively go into making a baby, I want it be something I'm completely OK with, in fact, in love with the idea, no regrets, consequences be damned. Will I ever get to that stage? I honestly don't know. And I don't think it makes me a selfish person, or whatever else people tell you when you say you don't want kids. And I don't hate kids. I'm not their biggest fan. But I do enjoying seeing my friend's Facebook posts about their kids.

current mood: contemplative

(2 drunk amandas | pbr me asap)

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