Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dog Food Challenge 2013: Eater One

Welcome to the 2013 Dog Food Challenge.

About a week ago, I posted some information about the 2013 Dog Food Challenge. Basically, I have four people and myself. On Valentine's Day (because we hate V-Day) we're going to circle up, and delve in to some canned dog food. Some of us for research. Some because it's also a fundraiser...(we're each aiming to raise at least $10 to donate to the local animal shelter) and some well... I guess we'll find out why they're doing it.
She looks super fancy

This is my friend (and co worker) Jen. She's super fun to work with, and slowly but surely, I'm getting her into couponing, which is stellar (and saves lots of money).

When asked why she agreed to eat some canned dog food she said, "I don't know. I feel like it's interesting, like something I wouldn't normally do...ever."

For the record, she's the only one who didn't take some substantial pressuring to get her to agree to the challenge.

Stay tuned to find out who the other contenders are :)

Monday, January 28, 2013

The Truth About Sex

Some really cool things were said
Last Wednesday, I dragged the boy to the state capital and we attended Moving Choice Forward for Maine; a small gathering of ProChoice advocates sharing why they're passionate about women's rights. There was free coffee, free cake, and free condoms.

There, I met a representative from Planned Parenthood, and we chatted a bit. (I had called him a few days before to see if all the speaking slots had been filled, he said that I may be able to speak at a future engagement.) Standing in the crowd, I listened to women share stories. I heard about Margaret Sanger living in a time when women shoved knitting needles inside them to terminate unwanted pregnancies. I remembered considering the same thing during my pregnancy. And as I listened to these women and men talk, the more amped up I got thinking about being able to share my story with others.

Stoked off of this new development and how awesome it would be for my memoir and platform, I was bubbling when I went to work. During a co-worker's lunch break (and because she knows about my experience in abortion), I told her the news.

"What will you talk about?" she asked. "Abstinence?"

I reeled back, thinking of my teenage years pushing the boy I loved off me because I was waiting for marriage. "No...that doesn't"

For the remainder of the day, I started more fully considering what I'd say if given the chance. Would I talk about my own abortion and how it saved my life? Would I talk about being Pro-Life until fully faced with the decision myself?

My favorite of these is "Trust Women"

And then I told the boy about having an abortion, and braced myself for him to bail out, to yell at me, to tell me I'm damaged, or worthless.

But he didn't. He barely flinched. I asked what would happen if I did the speaking gig, and he said, "I'd be there to support you."

It made me think. I was brought up in the church to believe that Harry Potter was demonic, and gays go to hell, and sex before marriage makes you something of damaged goods. Therefore, an abortion makes you something less human.

But it's not true.

I deserve this life. I deserve a nice boyfriend (who when I'm pissed off at the coffee shop surprises me with hot chocolate). I deserve to think of myself as a woman who had a medical procedure because I made the decision that I do not want children. It doesn't make me damaged goods or less human.

It makes me human.

The truth about sex then, is that it happens. It can be fun. It can be romantic, or kinky, or awkward, or anything you want it to be. The only bad sex is the sex that isn't consensual. It's okay to be in a relationship and do the deed. It's okay to have a one night stand if that's what you're in to. It's also okay to remain abstinent for religious or personal reasons. Be human, make choices, but make sure you know why you're making these decisions.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Happy Birthday

My sister and meeee :)

In case you were unaware, I have the best sister, ever. She sends me stuff in the mail, and loans me money when I'm real broke, and visits the state of Maine on my 21st birthday to help babysit me. She's supported me through ups, and severe downs. She called me while I was in the psych ward, and sends me nice letters when my best friend's death anniversary approaches.

And on this day, January 25, 27 years ago, one of my best friends was born. That's not to say it's always been bliss...there was that time I punched her in the face and gave her a blood nose. And there were those other times we went through 4-6 month spans of not speaking. But I love her.

So, Happy Birthday Laura! I hope it's awesome, even if you're 2,500 miles from me, know I'm there raging with you in spirit. (I know the distance cuz I totally just google mapped it :) )

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

What's That On The Fan?

Welcome to the Dungeon

Well, as I called it on Friday, the poo has hit the fan, my friends. After my roommate/landlord texted, freaking out about my friend (now boyfriend, eek! Commitment issues everywhere) spending the night, he came over to let me watch Harry Potter. Within the first fifteen minutes, landlord's son (he's 30+ years old) comes downstairs and calls out, "It's time for company to leave."

"Thanks, but we're watching a movie."

"No, I think it's time for him to go, didn't you get my mom's text?"

"I did, and we're watching a movie. Night." (I'm so passive aggressive.)

Well, he goes back upstairs, and Damien and I continue watching the movie. And he falls asleep. Rather than waking him up and kicking him out, I let him sleep.

In the morning my alarm beeps, and I climb the stairs. Baxter, who opens the door with his face, smashed into the closed door. It didn't open. I patted him, pushed him to the side, and twisted the knob.

Terrifying, isn't it?
Worst part, when I moved in and saw it, I had a mini panic attack.
I should trust those instincts more often.

It still didn't open. They'd locked us in the basement. So I start yelling until the landlord's son opens the door, where another fight ensues. I let Baxter out, and managed to lose my car keys so Damien gave me a ride to my eye appointment. When we came back, the landlord's son blocked the entrance and was all, "You can leave now." (He is NOT a small man by any means. His entire body took up the door, so there was no way to get through.)

Now, a few days later, I'm still livid about the entire situation. If a fire had started, the three of us would be dead. The 'second' entrance is currently barricaded with the landlord's crap for 'winter'. There would have been no quick way out. Secondly, I pay to live there. Which means if I want to have friends over, who aren't doing anything, I get to have friends over. I'm not a sister/cousin/relative. It is NOT okay to EVER, EVER, EVER lock someone in the basement. (Unless you're seven and they cheat at tag. Then it's okay.) Thirdly, her little niece that got screamed at by her little boyfriend is a pot head, and yet it's okay for them to come whenever they want, without giving me notice so when they come creeping in at midnight I think I'm going to get murdered.

The so called "emergency" exit

So once again, I'm back to the apartment/house hunt grind. Wish me luck.

To end this on an uplifting note here's a song lyric that keeps me going in these situations:

"All I need is the air I breathe, and a place to rest my head" ~One Republic

Monday, January 21, 2013

The 2013 Dog Food Challenge

In November I undertook NaNoWriMo and popped out what's tentatively called Blackout. At a point during the novel, the main character (Jenna) has to eat canned dog food, and she talks about how awful it is...
This is Baxter.
Jenna had a BFF dog, too

But as a writer, can I really do that? Can I really write about something that I don't know about? I mean, every time I give Bax some, it smells pretty good. I've poked it a few times, and it seems okay. I read the label, and it basically sounds like the stuff hot dogs are made out of.

Thus, my brain started screaming, "You must do it! You must eat dog food to write about it accurately!" 

Still, it's more fun to do dumb things with friends.

It's even better to do dumb things with friends, and turn it into a fundraiser for a local animal shelter. With that said, here's what's going to happen in the upcoming weeks:

Icky, icky
1) I'll be posting a PayPal donation button where the NaNoWriMo one currently is. If you feel like this is a good cause, feel free to donate. If not, don't.

2) I'll do blog posts (probably one a week) of who the Dog Food Eaters are. You'll get their bio, how I know them, and ideally a fun picture. Oh, and why they agreed to do this in the first place.

3) On February 14th (as long as all jobs and commitments work out) the five of us will consume canned dog food. Ideally we'll be able to do a vlog post, so you can see the fun, too. (I don't think anyone will eat an entire can, it's more-so going to be a few bites...or vomiting. Whichever happens first.)

Welcome to the 2013 Dog Food Challenge. 

Are you ready?

Friday, January 18, 2013

More Roommate Issues

In case you haven't heard, I am not meant to live with or near people. There needs to be about a ten mile buffer zone or my crazy will bring out your crazy. It happens. Time and time again.

Baxter saying,
"Please let's move again!"
So we've reached that point with the current living situation. Maybe it's because I'm a bad roommate. Maybe it's because I don't like guys screaming at their girlfriends and making them cry at eight in the morning. I'm not sure what it is...but I seem to be in that situation where all I do is camp out in my room and avoid my roommates at all costs. This phase is the one right before shit hits the fan...(wait for it. It's coming.)

I live in Maine. It's beautiful, has four seasons, and ::gasp:: one of those seasons is Winter. Which means snow, and sometimes a blizzard. A few weeks ago, I drove home, went off the road twice and arrived only to find that the steeply up-hill driveway hadn't been plowed. After several attempts, I gave up, turned my car off, and walked angrily up the hill.

"Lynne," the roommate's son said, 'Are you stuck?"

"Yes," I said in a very short manner.

"Want to try again?"

"Nope!" I nearly screamed and walked into the house where they proceeded to bombard me with, I need to be up and gone in the morning, yack, yack, yack. I got re-stuck in the morning, and stood in the driveway at 5am crying (good day, right?)

It's been a million little things like that. But last night, for the first time since I've moved in and had to readjust to alcoholic roommates, I had a friend spend the night. Yes, I like him. After I got out of work, we drove really slippery roads (he told me I drive too fast in crappy weather), then went downstairs to watch The Hunger Games. Yes, he's cute. Yes, he slept in my room, but no, nothing happened because I'm a good kid and not currently self destructive. (Also, even if something did happen, I'm an adult. I'm allowed to do those things!)

So we get up this morning, make oatmeal for breakfast (which was delicious, though Baxter got to finish most of it), and then he offered to give me a ride to work (since we were both headed in the same direction). As I go to finish getting ready (brushing my teeth and all that jazz) the guy who wanted me to "Try again" when my car was stuck and his baby mama were taking a shower together. (Keep in mind, he also pees with the door open, and pees on the floor. Not. Cool.)

So we sit and wait and we talk about watching Harry Potter because I haven't seen the last movie (still. Have you heard it's demonic?), so because it's human decency, at work I text the roommate/landlord and say, "Hey, he's coming over again tonight because we're going to watch Harry Potter."

Her response?
Bad roads. Not safe. I'm not sending peeps home
in that
"NOT HAPPY COST ME THIRTY DOLLARS for the guy to plow only part of the driveway OBVIOUSLY After a storm you get plowed FYI Just hoping you are not planning another SLEEP OVER here. The first one was quite enough."

So let's rewind a bit. A month or so ago, as the mountain started picking up, she sat me down, looked me straight in the eye (without a beer in her hand, maybe that was the problem) "Listen, you live here. This is your house too. We want you to feel comfortable. If you want to bring people over, you can. If you can give us a heads up, that's be cool, but you don't have to ask permission or anything."

Tack on the fact that my room is FREEZING and I've asked her to help warm it up some so I don't feel like death. Okay, now re-read the text.

My brain just exploded on the ceiling. Resuming the living arrangement hunt. How is Germany these days? Is it still way over populated? (I need not crazy people in my life!)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Perks Of Having A Roommate

I complain a lot, right? But you guys like to tell me that I'm positive a lot of the time, so while I talk about hating roommates/living near people, I figured I'd surprise ya'll. Here is a list of why it's nice to sometimes have roommates:

Lots of vehicles to choose from
1) Spare Vehicles

Once upon a time the breaks went out on my car. I was told it was no longer safe to drive. For a few days, I rocked throwing Riley in neutral and coasting to a stop with the assistance with my lovely e-brake. Then, though my car had already been started, my (current) roommate stopped me, and offered me a ride to and from work. We live 20 minutes away. It was a very kind offer.

Living alone, this is not an option.

He hates water
2) Washing your dog.

Baxter's a big boy, and when it comes to water, he becomes the biggest wuss you'll ever meet. During hurricanes  he'd wait DAYS before venturing outside.

So when the bath water runs, he hides in the bedroom (or basement depending on the living situation). It literally takes AT LEAST two people to get him in the tub, and once he's there, one has to hold him, while the other bathes.

I need roommates. He smells awful. It's been months since he's gotten a bath. (Please help.)

3) General Help

Though I now have to go to court to testify against him, before he became the sketchy 62 year old naked man, he was the creepy housekeeper. As such, one night on the drive home from work, not one, but both of my headlights went out.

I drove home with my high beams on. During the following days, I bought new lights, but had no clue how to put them in. Creepy housekeeper rescued the day.

And then exposed himself to me. Icky.

So heavy...
4) Heavy Lifting

I have a lot of stuff. One of those things is a 100lb punching bag. When there are stairs involved, it's kind of the end of the world to me. I harness my chi, put my game face on, and haul ass.

But, when I moved (into my current living situation) my roommate and her son helped carry a vast amount of my belongings down the stairs. I barely had to do any of the heavy lifting. It was bliss.

Whereas moving from North Carolina was the bane of my existence. Not only was I alone, but there were stairs. Multiple stairs and moves (don't forget that small bout of homelessness I threw in there right before I left).

Not a good time. Roommates help you carry stuff.

And while all of these things are lovely and wonderful, nothing is as good as the best perk of having a roommate:

He's all "Please don't leave me!"
5) Live in Pet Sitters

My adorable love muffing (did I really just say that?) has the worst case of separation anxiety I've ever seen. When I'm gone, he'll stop eating for a little while. Then he'll mope, and stair out the window. Then, at some point (usually about day four of my absence) he'll start getting cuddly.

To the point, when I was in Seattle I get a phone call from Laura going something like this:

Her: You need to come home.
Me: Why? Is everything okay?
Her: Your dog is cuddling with me. He knows this is against the rules.

Bottom line: I was able to leave for over a week, and know he was taken care of. When you have good roommates, they'll watch your pets (whether they want to or not).

Monday, January 14, 2013

Pet Pet Peeves

So the other day just as I was getting ready to leave for work, Baxter decided it would be super cute if he ran off and tried to play with the dog next door. I had less than two minutes before I had to be on the road. I screamed at him to come back, went to go after him but the snow was real deep and I didn't want wet shoes for work, so instead, I stood there, fuming (flames were being thrown from my eyeballs in his general direction).

I came to the conclusion, "Sometimes, I wish he'd just get attacked so he'd learn his lesson."

With that said, because you all know how much I love lists, here is a list of pet-pet-peeves that I have. Those little things that pets (mine or yours) do that annoy the crap out of me, and make me consider dropping Bax off in a parking lot and running the other way. (Kidding...sort of.)

At least he's cute though :)
1) Hunting Season

Okay, this one isn't their fault. But, in the state of Maine, it's pretty prime to hunt, right? Well, they're kind of idiots here, and they like to shoot things; people, horses, deer, dogs...If it moves, they think it's worth shooting.

Come hunting season, you wear bright orange (or something bright) when you walk outside or down the street. Worried about Baxter tramping off in the woods, I found this bandanna and put it on him (because he's the size of a small pony).

Every time I let him outside, I held my breath, waiting for the day I heard a gun shot, and would have to go knife a hunter. (Thankfully, that never happened, though a few mornings, the shots were real close to the house.)

2) Counter or Table Top Loving Animals

My sisters and I raise our animals that they are NEVER, EVER allowed on the kitchen table or the counters.

Well where I'm living that doesn't seem to be a rule. (Than again, the poor cat is terrified of Bax and treed herself when we first moved in.) It's icky, and it just makes me think the animal is disrespectful.

3) Thinking They're Allowed Wherever

I tend to take for granted the fact that Baxter is a rockstar. If I have crap on the bed, he'll stand there and stare at me like, "I'm gonna need you to move that, k, thanks." He doesn't jump on strangers (that's not to say he doesn't rear up like a horse). If I'm sleeping he'll paw around, find my body, and very delicately step over/around me.

I forget not all dogs are like this. Some jump as soon as you walk through the door, some walk all over you as you sit on the couch. These dogs kind of make me want to punch them in the head.

Then, when I leave that place and go home to Baxter who wags his tail so hard I get bruises on my legs, I hug him super tight. (Best. Dog. Ever.)

4) No Pets Allowed

While you can have an awful pet who steps on me, chews on my hands, does whatever, nothing bugs me nearly as much as these signs. I loathe the fact that Baxter isn't allowed in stores (other than the lovely PetsMart), simply because he's amazing. And I feel like the public should get to meet him.

Although, the dogs who don't get along well with others.

Those ones should just stay home.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Would You Sell Your Body?

The question gets asked a lot; What would you be willing to do for money? I make the joke that I'll sell my body for money, become a hooker, and work the streets. And then I realize I don't like being naked, or being touched, or you know...being tied up, or freaky, or any of that stuff, and I'm pretty sure if people are paying me for my body, they kind of get to do what they want, no? So then those plans fall apart.

Or so I thought.
The hospital was huge. And I usually got lost.

I've spent the last two weeks being a voluntary lab rat for a drug study. Why? 1) Because I don't like animal testing and I've always said there will be people dumb enough to test drugs for whatever reason. (I am that dumb person :) ) 2) They paid me $300 and I have a lot of bills to pay.

Three times, I spent about an hour getting hooked up to machines that monitored my face muscles and my galvanic responses. As she hooked electrodes up to my de-watched and de-braceleted wrists, I said rather sheepishly, "Please just ignore the cutting scars." The woman placing them on me stopped for a second and said, "Wow, you really have been through a lot, haven't you?"

When that was done, I shoved a syringe up my nose, inhaled deeply, and then got to watch Blue Planet for a half hour (it was lovely. I watched about Polar Bears and whales), and then looked at pictures and answered test questions like, "How attractive do you find this face?" "How likely would you be to approach this person?" "How approachable do you find this face?" One day I was given the placebo. One day I was given the actual drug and had some difficulty breathing/the room kind of spun. (I may have lied when they asked whether or not I have heart problems...)

After, I spent a few minutes answering a survey and then having to get blood drawn. I chatted quite a bit (making sure to sell the fact that I'm an author and that I do presentations because you never know when it'll come in handy).

Baxter takes injections/giving blood
better than I do. 
By today, I look like a heroine addict (turns out one of the days I was dehydrated and it was difficult to get blood). I had my last round of looking at pictures, though because I got no drug or placebo, I didn't have to shove anything up anywhere, or give blood.

As I put on my jacket to leave I started getting kind of sad. I'd spent several hours with the woman hooking me up to machines and poking me with needles. She told me about her family, I showed her pictures of Baxter (and told her about my screwed up family). It was strange coming to an understanding that I probably won't see this woman or the doctor ever again. They both seemed awesome and nice.

The last Tuesday I'd been there, the woman had told me, "Do you plan on having kids?" and while she didn't know about the abortion, I still cringed.

"No," I told her. "I don't want to end up like my mom."

Her voice became very serious. "I don't think you'll EVER have to worry about that. You're nothing like her."

As I drove home from work that night, I ended up crying. What if I do want kids? What if I end up like my mom? Isn't in better to just say you hate kids and that you never want them so you don't end up even potentially destroying them?

As I got up to make my final exit, she stood in front of me, fully stopping my path to freedom and said, "I'm hugging you, and I don't care whether you've showered or not." (I hadn't.) Then she wrapped both of her small around around me, and we embraced. When we parted she looked me square in the eyes and said, "You'll do great things with your life. I'm happy I met you, and I wish you nothing but the best for your future."

She walked me to the elevevator and as I stepped on, I looked back and said, "You know, when people like you give me those little speeches, it kind of reaffirms the fact that I need to become a bad ass and change the world."

I drove home smiling. I get the feeling that she doesn't say or do these things to ever lab rat in the study.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Truth About Craigslist

Guess what, guys? We have our first real complain about 2013! Aside from Bax being sick. Just when you thought it was safe to forget about all of the quarrels of 2012, one comes creeping back. Kind of like a court case that just doesn't go away...

Wait, that's exactly what it is.

If you missed any of the drama of the Roommate Saga, you may want to freshen up here. Once upon a time, I lived in a super sketchy place because when I moved to Maine I had no place to call home. So I went on Craigslist, and found this place. The landlord said, "Oh, the house keeper is kind of strange, but he's harmless, I swear."
Can we just forget I lived here?

Turns out, not so harmless. So the other day at work, the arresting officer (in civilian clothing) came up to me as I restocked the liquor aisle. "Remember me?" he asked.

My face lit up. "Of course, how are you?"

"Good, and um, sorry to be the bearer of bad news," he said, handing me a piece of paper.

I opened it, and wham-bam, it's a subpoena. I am now to appear in court any time between January 9th-31st.

I'm trying to tell myself it's just research for a future novel, but really, I just want that whole ordeal to be over. I'd be a happy girl if I never had to see him again. So the truth about Craigslist, is that you may want to fully research your place before you move in. This is the second time things have blown up in my face (the first being that incident with bedbugs).

Any of you have any legal issues? Or, better yet, what's your worst (best) roommate story?

Monday, January 7, 2013

Pet Parenting

I don't have kids. I don't want kids. But I have an adorable 120 pound small shetland Baxter has been a huge part of my life for the last six years, and it's hard to imagine my life without him. We've celebrated his birthday, mine, gone to the ocean, across the country, and had other adventures. When we left North Carolina, we left several of his dog friends, and someone he loved a lot. It was really, really hard.

Bax with Le Partner in Crime
on New Years
But all the fun and bonding stuff doesn't mean we're perfect together. The other morning, my car got stuck in the driveway. This was after the night where I was caught driving home in a blizzard, and went off the road twice. Terrifying, but I was okay. So in the morning, I had to move my car so my roommate could get out, and managed to get it stuck. Using Baxter's weight to my advantage, I threw him in the backseat, and began shoveling.

And then he started trying to move to the front seat. I'd tell him to get in back, and then...he stopped listening.

At 6am, I found myself screaming at him because I was so livid I wanted to break someone's neck (namely my landlord's for not having the driveway plowed). Once my car popped into the road (literally), I threw Baxter back inside, apologized for screaming at him and went to work.

I came home about 12ish hours later.

Just before Christmas I was working 16 hour days between two jobs. I've been gone from home a lot. I miss my pup. I know he misses me because when I come home, he doesn't even want to go outside first thing, he just wants to crawl into my lap (because he thinks he's the size of a puppy) and snuggle. It breaks my heart that I'm away from him so much, and makes me feel like a bad pet parent.

Which is why on Christmas, and December 31st 2012, Baxter made the pilgrimage to a friend's house and rang in the holidays. I don't like being without him. I don't like that I'm currently in the library typing this up, and he has to hang out in the car. Pretty much, if you want to be friends and hang out with me, your place needs to be Baxter friendly, k? Thanks :)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Good Advice

I got this fortune cookie the other day. I thought you might like to share in its wise-ness, too.

Relish the transitions in your life
~they will happen regardless
Who you are right now may not be who you are in six months. It may be from something bad happening. It may be from something awesome happening. But embrace the change.

Happy Friday.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

TBR and Goals, 2013 Style

He's just so darn handsome :)
Welcome to 2013! Mine has already started with a wee bit of a headache, and lots of shakiness. Then Baxter decided to vomit...three times, and have blood, so you know, it's been an adventure (which is why this post is a little late. We went to the vet, and he is currently on watch, so I'm pretty sure he'll be okay. Just worrisome).

If you haven't updated your Goodreads challenge yet, you should! My goal is to read twenty four books, 12 of my own, and 12 from the library/friends. Wish me luck.

The 12 from my own library are:

How I Stayed Alive When My Brain Was Trying To Kill Me
Tell Me Where It Hurts
The Glass Castle
Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac
The Fault in Our Stars
A Child Called "It"
The Idiot Girls' Action Adventure Club
Just a Boy
The Secret Between Us

Outside of that, my goals (I don't like resolutions so much) for 2013 are to continue paying off student loans, pay off one credit card (entirely), and get the other way down, buy a new computer, and find a new (more stable) place to live. I'd also like to write another novel, re-edit the ones I already have, continue that whole public speaking/motivational speaker thing....

Oh, and you know,

Land an agent :)

What are your goals for this year? How did you spend your New Years?
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