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COTM November

November 20, 2014

So, it is November already.  Oh wait, November is more than half over!  How did that happen?  Well here we have a (very late) edition of the condition of the month.  This month we all thought a bit about that dreaded affair: the high school reunion.  Scary as it may be, that event is not so far away on the horizon as most of us would like it to be.  Will we go?  Will you go?  Why or why not?  Feel free to post our own reflections in the comments!

 sleeping booty tileWhoa there, ten year high school reunion?! We aren’t quite there yet right?! We still have three years! My roommate is there though because she just got her invite in the mail. Apparently theirs is at a bowling alley and you couldn’t pay her to go. She keeps in touch with about 5 people from high school and has no desire to ever see anyone else ever again. She doesn’t even have many high school Facebook friends. But if you’re making me think about being ten years out of high school I suppose I’d say I would go. I don’t think I’ve changed all that much but I generally liked almost everyone I went to school with and have an overall positive memory of the experience so going to a giant party where I get to reconnect with a few of them doesn’t seem terrible. I keep in touch with a lot of them still anyway so really it could just be me and my friends all getting together for a great night. We’d dance and drink and laugh about old times. Yeah, the more I think about it the better it seems. Maybe ten years out of high school won’t be so bad after all.

— The Sleeping Booty

cinderslut tileAh, high school. I just turned 26 and am feeling more adult than ever—do I really need to be reminded about high school?

But, since you asked, yes, I would go to my 10 year high school reunion (when it happens, if it happens, in 2.5 more years). But, only if it is convenient. If I am still living abroad, there’s no way I’m making special plans just to attend it. But, if I happen to be within driving distance of my hometown at the time it happens, I’d be glad to go. Ideally, some of my high school friends that I am still in contact with would also be going. There’s still a number of them that I don’t see much anymore, but I’d still love to hang out with for an evening, and the reunion would be a great way to make that happen. As for the rest of the 300+ people in my graduating class, I don’t care too much. The other day I saw a picture on Facebook of my American Government class from senior year. There were two guys in the picture whose names I couldn’t even remember! And it’s only been 7 years since graduation! I don’t really relish the awkwardness of some people remembering me when I don’t remember them, and vice versa. What if I experience a resurgence of my high school insecurities? Why isn’t anyone talking to me? All the popular kids are at that table but there’s no more room… I had a good time in high school and I was never bullied or anything like that, but there were some people I just never clicked with, and I’m not sure I would 10 years later, either.

Part of the appeal of a reunion, I think, is to size up your former classmates; you know, see who got fat, who married beneath them, who made money, who didn’t. And that part sounds kind of trashy and lame—after all, we have Facebook, so we can judge our former friends from the comfort and anonymity of our own homes, right? It doesn’t sound that great to me to sit around sipping over-priced beverages and making chit-chat about what we “do.” But, then again, for one night every ten years, I can probably handle it.

More positively, my in-laws recently attended their 40th high school reunion, and they had a great time. And, technically, my parents “met” at their own 10 year reunion. So, without reunions I wouldn’t even be here. I guess that makes me a fan.

– Cinderslut

little merskank tileI used to be excited for my high school reuion.  Back when I was just a year or two out of high school it sounded so fun.  I had a pretty good high school experience so the idea of meeting up with people from my class again sounded fun and I thought it would be very excited to see what everyone became when they ‘grew up’.  However, as time passes, the whole thing sounds a bit last fun.  In the past couple of years I have had several run-ins with people from high school and really, in general, they were kind of awkward.  After finishing high school, I moved to the big city for college and after that I moved even further, to England, to complete my graduate degrees.  By the time I go to my high school reunion I will (God willing) have my PhD— from Oxford no less.  I have no issue at all with people making different choices than I have, staying in my home town, starting a family… those can be wonderful and rewarding things.  The academic path is not for everyone.  However, when I meet up with people still living in our home town and they ask me what I do, I feel uncomfortable: like I am showing off.  And it always feels awkward.  I somehow have the feeling that my high school renuion will just be that conversation over and over.

That isn’t to say they’re aren’t some people from my high school that I would love to meet up with.  I have a number of friends from high school that I not in the best of touch with and it would be great to see them again.  Somehow though I wonder if those people I want to see are precisely those which are least likely to come to our reunion.
So, will I go?  We’ll see.  Probably I would go— more for curiosity than anything else. But really in the end it will depend where I am.  If I am in the state, I’d probably go.  But if I am out of the country I can’t see myself coming back just for a reunion.
–the Little Merskank
snowwhore tileWill I go to my 10 year high school reunion? It’s hard to say. Merskank and I went to the same high school and I feel that every time we go home its like a high school reunion because so many people from high school never left our hometown. When I go to visit my parents, I literally cannot escape running into people from high school whether I want to or not. And I feel like Facebook has changed things too.  I wonder if there is anything I would learn at a 10 year reunion that I couldn’t learn from just looking on Facebook.
And even if there wasn’t Facebook, I don’t know that I really have a desire to catch up with anyone in particular because the people that I cared about from high school are people that I’ve kept in touch with. However I am not adamantly opposed to going. It would be an interesting social experiment. For me it might depend on my friends and whether or not they decided to go.
– Snowhore
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Five Things I’m Too Damn Sober For

November 15, 2014

A while back both Cindy and Snow wrote posts on a few things they’re too old/young for (seriously, passive aggression is never good) and after having an eventful house party last weekend I have a list of my own I’d like to share. Here follows

5 Things I’m Too Damn Sober For

1. Puking in the bathroom at someone else’s home – A friend of mine invited her cousin to our party and while he was only mildly annoying at first, after a few glasses of wine, shots and more than a few rejections from women, he locked himself in our bathroom and puked for over an hour. We barely got the 27 year old upstairs and into a cab and as we watched him drive away I realized I was too sober to be dealing with people I don’t love puking in my bathroom.

2. Trying to Feel Sexual Validation From Same-sex Close Friends – In college it was almost a weekly thing to get hit on by our friends, and I can understand why a few of my friends would ask someone trusted like me to ‘experiment’ with. But I always let my drunken friends down easy, because I knew they only really wanted to kiss me so they could tell their boyfriends they had later. But at our party this weekend a friend of mine got pretty drunk and started coming on to me, not because she wanted to experiment or because she really wanted me, but because she was lonely and wanted validation. Again I let her down easy and put her to bed, but I’m seriously sick of women thinking it is okay to hit on their friends casually. What if I’d really liked her? She could have just ruined our friendship over a drunken fling. If she was a guy would it be okay? Which brings me to me next complaint:

3. Being Drunk as an Excuse for Acting Poorly – If we had madeout what happens in the morning? She’d say it was just a drunken thing, nothing to be taken seriously, or she’d pretend it never happened. I’m too sober to blame my actions on anyone or thing other than myself. Some goes for being rude to other people or saying things you normally wouldn’t. If you want to do something do it, but don’t get so drunk as to convince yourself that you aren’t in complete control at all times.

4. Drunken Hookups – I may not have a ton of relationship/sex experience but I do know that I don’t want to meet a guy at a party and then find a back room with him. Sure I could see a handhold, a dance, and in the perfect circumstances I could even be convinced into a kiss, but I’ve seen enough drunken hookups go bad that I’ve learned a worthy hookup can wait a day. One of my roommates at our party went in her room with a guy who she had just witnessed makeout with another random girl he’d just met. He used the I’m drunk and didn’t mean to kiss that other girl excuse and she bought it, choosing present validation instead of knowing her own worth. I’m too sober to watch my friends make dumb decisions like that.

5. All Day Hangovers – To be clear I am definitely not a sober person, I have a glass or two of wine a few nights a week and at our party I was sufficiently buzzed all night, rarely to be seen without a glass in my hand – I even took a few shots. But at this point in my life I’m too sober to get wasted and be sick for the subsequent 36 hours. Sure I appreciate a lazy Sunday or eating greasy food at 11am, but there is life to be lived during the day, and I’m not going to just call the day after a party a wash and sleep through it.

Drinking is awesome, I love it, but why haven’t other people figured out that MODERATION is the best of both worlds?

One Year Older – Embracing the Unknown

November 9, 2014

It seems like everything always changes on my birthday.

In my first year of college my birthday was the day that really solidified my friendship with the naughty princesses and made Seattle seem like home. On my birthday the year after I decided to apply for a spring study abroad in Greece and by my birthday junior year I was registering for journalism classes to get my double major. After we graduated my birthday was the day that Cindy’s prince proposed and we all started our paths to go our separate ways, I even got a high school basketball coaching job around then. A year after that I had just moved back to Utah when I was offered an engineering job on my birthday and started living and working with my father. A year after that I was buying a plan ticket to Europe on my birthday, taking steps to travel for 5 months and do something I’d always wanted.

So it makes sense that on my birthday this year things are changing again. I turned twenty six on Friday and as of that minute I am now unemployed, uninsured and paying rent.

I’m definitely equal parts freaked out and totally not worried, seeing as so many other things in my life are so great and every year I go through a time of unknown like this right around my birthday. I’m so grateful to have great friends and family that I know will help me out if something really ends up going wrong, but I’m confident things will work out as long as I don’t completely hide my head in the sand these next few weeks.

I have until November 15th to pick an insurance provider on the health.gov website and then I’ll have health insurance. So that is something I have control of and I’ve given myself a Thanksgiving deadline to find a ‘grownup job’ before I just take any easy job I can get to pay rent while I keep looking for the right career. And after working an easy job this summer I know I can handle it, so there is really nothing to worry about. I can do this unknown thing, because so many of the best things in my life came from moments like this, when I had no idea what to expect and just said yes to whatever felt right.

I think twenty six is going to be my best year yet. And believe me, it will be hard to top traveling Europe at 25, rafting the Grand Canyon at 24, coaching basketball, teaching science and taking care of my grandfather at 23, getting math and journalism degrees at 22, moving out of the dorms into a house with friends at 21, studying abroad at 20, meeting the naughty princesses at 19, and growing up with a family I am so proud of and grateful for.

With so many highlights and so many other millions of magical moments in between, a little unknown is something I can totally deal with.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!

November 7, 2014

Just a quick blog shout out to Sleeping Booty and Cinderslut who made the official plunge into “late 20’s” life by turning 26 today! We couldn’t be prouder. I will be following you very soon. Merskank however, will never age. WE LOVE YOU TWO!!!!

All Natural

November 3, 2014

As you know, my husband and I recently went on a two week vacation. Since we were camping the whole time, I made the decision to not bring any makeup along. Now, it’s not that I typically wear a ton of makeup but I definitely wear some form of makeup almost every day, so not wearing any for 2 weeks straight was kind of a big deal.

I am not a person who has been blessed with perfect skin. I’ve dealt with acne my whole life and even though it’s calmed down over the last few years, it’s still around enough to annoy me. I’m used to employing multiple makeup tricks to cover it up. But on this trip I had none. Now I was only seeing my husband and sleeping booty, so I knew it shouldnt be a big deal, but it still felt a little strange. I’m confident in my own skin most of the time, but when you take away your backup, something changes.

I guess you could say I felt naked(which I was in some sense of the word). The first week I wasn’t a huge fan of the way I felt. I knew I looked fine, but I didn’t feel beautiful. I still grumbled when I saw blemishes and thought to myself at least I won’t see any of these people again. But then, halfway through the trip my entire perspective changed, and it was all because of one picture.

We were in Bryce Canyon. If you’ve never been there, put it on your list right now. One of the coolest aspects of the canyon is the different colors of the rocks. We were passing a wall that was brilliantly red, and we decided it was the perfect backdrop for portraits of ourselves. The contrast with our skin was  perfect. My husband pointed the camera at me and I just stared back, not even trying hard to smile. It was so simple but the result really suprised me. I looked at the photograph and I thought nothing else had ever been so purely me. There was no mask, no acting or reaching in my expression. I saw myself with no filter. And I thought, this is beautiful. I wasn’t focused on the imperfections, but the whole picture.

After that I was blissfully happy in my own skin. And when we finally got home from vacation, I was actually annoyed by the sight of all my makeup. I looked at it while getting ready for work and thought how pointless the effort of putting it on would be. I’ve actually only used makeup a couple times since coming home. My mindset has totally changed. I see my blemishes and just shrug them off. I don’t think makeup is bad or anything, and it can be fun to play with when you have a lot of time on your hands. But I suddenly don’t feel that I have a strong need for it anymore, and that makes me happy.

When Siblings Become Parents

November 1, 2014

Get ready for a post about that life milestone that I’m sure is crowding everyone’s newsfeeds more and more these days, parenthood.

"Hee hee! I'm here to change absolutely everything!"

“Hee hee! I’m here to change absolutely everything!”

I married into a family where kids were already the main event; my husband’s two siblings had two kids a piece when we got married, and now they each have three, and one even has a fourth on the way. While it is super fun to be an auntie, and I love those kids to death, over the years I’ve felt a bit sad that I never got to know my brothers and sisters-in-law before they had kids. Of course, my husband did, but so much has changed since the days when he and his siblings could all hang out—it’s just a distant memory.

Things change when people get married and become part of a couple, sure. But they don’t change nearly as much as when those same people become parents. At least, in our family, having kids pretty much meant saying goodbye to a real, deep relationship with our siblings.

Now, every family event is oriented around the needs of the children. Their nap-times, bed-times, likes, dislikes, tantrums, and whims pretty much dictate what we can and can’t do as a family. When we do all get together, they take center stage (of course, since we’re all pretty enamored with their adorable-ness) and definitely monopolize the attentions of the grandparents. Even when we all stay at my in-laws house for days on end, such as during Christmas or our annual summer family week, there are usually just one or two hours in the evening when we can talk and interact as adults. And even that can be interrupted by a crying baby, or the fact that everyone is just plain exhausted.

My sister-in-law is a great example of someone who tries hard to give us her attention when we do spend time together—she’ll ask a great question about how work is going or what we’ve been up to, but then, inevitably, before we can answer in any depth, one of her kids has distracted her and the moment is lost. Then there’s my husband’s brother. I know my husband would love to have a closer relationship with his older brother, but they simply never get to talk. Again, when they do get together, they might be able to talk about video games or work for a few minutes, but it’s always interrupted before they can get deep. Furthermore, my brother-in-law is usually so exhausted from working full time and raising three kids that he zones out on his phone more often than he initiates conversations with his only little brother.

All of this is definitely exacerbated by the fact that we live so far away from everyone. Living abroad makes us miss our family more and be even more disappointed when the limited time we do get with them is cut short or kept at a superficial level. Take Skype calls, for example. With both sets of parents, it works great: we call them at least once or twice a week and usually are able to talk for about an hour. As a result, our parents know much, much more about our lives than any of our siblings do. But when my sister-in-law calls on Skype, it is literally a five-minute experience, max. Her three kids make faces at us or tell us what they want to be for Halloween (which is great, don’t get me wrong) but if their mom tries to weigh in or ask us anything about our lives, the kids soon ruin it by making noises, getting into fights with each other, crying, or just wandering off so she has to follow them. Regardless, we’re not able to have any kind of real conversation. The other set of siblings just never even bother to call us at all.

I don’t want to whine and make things all about me, but after spending the better part of three years in this family, I would have thought I’d have gotten to know my siblings-in-law better than this. I just don’t feel like they really know me, because we never get to interact. One day, their kids will be older, and maybe then things will be easier? But then the day will come that I’ll have kids of my own, and I’ll probably be just as frazzled and preoccupied.

Well, at least then we’ll have something in common.

Condition of the Month: October Distractions

October 25, 2014

We’ve all been a little (try a lot) distracted this month, so rather than scrap our monthly condition post we’ve just decided to post it now (very, very late) and talk about the things that distract us.

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sleeping booty tileMan oh man am I busy. That’s a fact. But who is to say which parts of my life are the distractions and which are the real things that I should be focused on? Sure finding a job and applying for health insurance are things I need to do, but isn’t spending time with my mother watching a television show we both love just as important? Since I’m about to move out my parents’ house for good I have to buy a new bed for my new place and stock up on groceries, but I also have photos from my spring trip to Paris and Spain and Ireland that my friends have been not so patiently waiting to see. Which is the distraction? Should I work to submit my photobook vouchers that expire at the end of the month or to finish the half written blog posts that never seem done? Should I spend my time working out or catching up on the news, cleaning the bathroom or trying to get a letter of recommendation? All I really want to do is to organize my room by sewing up another t-shirt quilt and scrapbooking all my high school boxes, but with so many other things with actual deadlines I just never feel ahead. And as if these distractions aren’t enough, throw other people into the mix and you’ve got one super unfocused person. You already know I spent an unreasonable portion of my summer preparing for my friend’s wedding, and you won’t believe how much time I’ve spent helping my brother with school and housing and everything else in his life. I write letters to friends, head out on hikes to catch up and go on trips just because I think they’ll appreciate it. My friend is going through a bad breakup and I’m even part of a secret Facebook group called Support Our Friend where we come up with ways we can help her. I could easily spend my whole life distracted by other people. But as distracting as friendships are, they’re worth it and as never ending as my projects are, they matter to me. Sure, I feel constantly distracted, like I should always be somewhere else doing something else, but I also always feel accomplished, because I’m constantly working to check things off my list. If I go on Facebook it’s to strengthen a friendship, if I am washing the dishes I’m making my family proud, if I make a scrapbook I’m de-cluttering my life. It’s true, all these things distract me from figuring out a career and a future, but all the things I choose to do make me who I am. And it’s exciting to realize that no matter what I do, nothing can distract me from that.

-Sleeping Booty

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cinderslut tile (2)Unlike any school I’ve ever attended, my current school had a two-week break at the beginning of October, so I got to go visit Merskank in the U.K. and relax for a while, which was really nice after a whirlwind first month of work. But for the last week it’s been back to school and back to the grindstone. I can tell you that I have a huge to-do list, with most of the items being school related. This is just part of life as a teacher—the work never ends. Luckily, I like doing what I do, so it doesn’t stress me out to have two novel units just getting off the ground and another one (on a book I haven’t actually gotten around to reading) imminently approaching, plus a social studies course, applying for a lead teacher position, an afterschool club, and other assorted responsibilities. Well, it doesn’t stress me out too much. Other than work, there isn’t too much to distract me, honestly. My husband and I are both in a busy season professionally, so we pretty much come home, collapse, cuddle for a few minutes, and then engage in what I like to call garden therapy. We walk around the backyard, look at the veggie plants just starting to sprout up (and our banana tree, which is just starting to bear fruit!) and talk about our days. And then…we have dinner and are in bed by 9 p.m., ready to do it all the next day. It’s busy, but it sure beats being unemployed!

-Cinderslut

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snowwhore tileDistractions. Right now I feel like I’m letting life itself be a distraction. Lately I’ve been feeling that its time for me to make some job/career changes, but I hate the thought of applying to jobs and so I let my normal “busy life” be an excuse/distraction to keep me from actually putting effort towards making positive changes in my life. I will always be busy, so it’s not really a good excuse, but if I have to focus on work for 40 hours a week, and my home/social life for the rest of the time, than I can distract myself from the part of me that wants more. I know that it will get harder to keep that part of me silent, but at the same time, my fear of change and risk can be pretty loud as well.  It’s definitely not a good long term solution, but it’s just so easy to do. And don’t all of us to some extent let the comfort of our everyday lives distract us from pursuing our goals and dreams? It is easier to consume yourself in the small dramas of everyday life than to ask yourself what you really want. Because if you ask yourself what you really want, one of two things will happen. Either you will realize that you have no idea what you really want (which is frustrating), or you will recognize what you really want but realize that getting there will be huge challenge and you don’t know if you have the guts to go through with it( which is terrifying). So when we come to that point, what do we do? We pretend like we never had the thought in the first place and go back to distracting ourselves.  But a life of distraction is not a very full life, and secretly we all know it.  The question is—what are we going to do about it? What will I do about it? At this point, I’m really not sure.

-Snow Whore

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little merskank tile   Merskank has been the busiest of all of us lately what with TEACHING at Oxford, writing her thesis, and being a supportive friend, daughter, and girlfriend. Her answer to this question is yet to come.