Cream Cheese and I: A love affair

I never really liked cream cheese on anything but bagels.  It was good as a base for dips, but other than that, I just didn’t have anything else to eat it with.  Bagels were my staple.

In high school I was introduced to dipping hot Cheetos in cream cheese.  At first I was opposed to it in every way, but after trying it, I was obsessed.

The next unexpected cream cheese food I tried was a Philadelphia roll.  I love sushi, but I was weary about combining it with cream cheese.  Cheese in general doesn’t go with sushi…cream cheese?  A friend of mine convinced me and now it is one of my favorites.

After having a deep fried Philadelphia roll, I decided my aversion to cream cheese in hot foods was unprecedented.  I started adding it to the meals I cooked, substituting nonfat cream cheese for whatever cheese was called for.  It worked really well.  I stuffed chicken breasts with a seasoned cream cheese mixture, breaded them, and baked.  I used cream cheese instead of cream for a couple of my recipes, resulting in a thicker sauce.

I severely underestimated cream cheese, which I think a lot of us do with one food or another.  Cream cheese is for bagels.  Not anymore.  I guess the whole point of this post is you shouldn’t take something and define it.  Don’t be afraid to experiment or do something unexpected, be it with food or anything else.

I’m Sorry

She watched him get shoved down.  She watched him get tortured every day.  She saw him shoved into lockers.  She heard what they called him.  She saw how much it hurt.  She did nothing.   It had always been this way.  She was one of the popular kids, and he simply wasn’t.

His clothes were obviously hand me downs or recent purchases from Goodwill.  Her clothes were all designer, her walk in closet full to capacity.  He was small and weak.  Her boyfriend was an all star athlete who looked like he had hit puberty at age ten.  He barely talked, sat in the back of the classroom, ate lunch alone.  She was constantly deep in mindless conversation, sat surrounded by friends whether in class or not.  He was rarely seen outside of school.  She was at every social event of the school year.  He worked at the local bookstore.  She would never need to work thanks to her parents money.  They were polar opposites and somehow, they had gotten stuck together working on this English project.

She always invited him to her house, even though the expansive home obviously made him uncomfortable.  He always looked as if he didn’t want to touch anything for fear of ruining it.  Her mother, shocked at first that she would associate with such a boy, still managed to be welcoming and inviting.

She did her best to converse with him.  But it was difficult.  He never spoke about his family.  He never mentioned any friends.   She couldn’t bring up school because she knew it was hell for him, in fact she was one of the people who made it that way.  Mostly they talked about the project.  That was the one thing that connected them.  They both loved English.

Her friends told her how sorry they felt for her.  They told her how awful it must be to get stuck with him.  They told her to ask him to do all of the work.  She had parties to attend and shopping to do.  He’d obviously comply because he was obviously in love with her, who wouldn’t be?  Just blow off the project.  I can’t believe you invite him over.  He’s been in your house?  I hope you disinfected everything that came in contact with him.  What does your mom think?  Well, at least she’s being nice.

That night she was supposed to go to a party.  Instead she called him and invited him over to work on their project.  He declined.  She was shocked.  He claimed he was too busy to leave his house, so she offered to come over.  He immediately became furious and hung up.  He had told her to keep her conceited head out of other people’s business.   She took serious offense to this.  Conceited?  If she was conceited, she would have gone to that party and left him to do the work himself.  Determined to show him she really did want to work on their project, she gathered the pieces from her room and drove to his house.

Everyone knew where he lived.  It was the only house with no car in the driveway.  The only house that never gave out candy on Halloween or put up lights for Christmas.  It was, by far, the smallest house in town.  Peeling paint, weeds,  a screen door hanging on for dear life.  The curtains were never open.  You rarely saw a light on.  This is what he biked home to after being tortured all day at school and working his after school job.

She pulled into the empty driveway and knocked on the door.  No answer.  She rang the bell.  No answer.  Then she heard the crash.  She opened the door and ran inside.  There she saw him trying to help his mother off the kitchen floor.  There were liquor bottles lining the countertops and littering the floor. We all knew his mom had gotten sick after his dad was killed in action, but we didn’t realize this was her disease.  He looked up and ignored her, intent on getting his drunken mother to her room for the night.  He was struggling under his mother’s weight.  She reached out to help him, but all he had to do was look at her for her to know he didn’t need or want her help.  He did this every night.

After he disappeared into the hallway with his mother, she began to pick up the chair that had been knocked off its feet and the empty bottles on the floor.  She looked around for a trash bin as she carried the empty bottles through the kitchen.  This is why he wears hand me down clothing.  His mom can’t take him shopping.  She obviously doesn’t work, so he had to pick up that job at the bookstore.  This is why he looks so tired.  This is why he’s so quiet.  This is why I was never invited here.  He goes to school, and we make it hell for him, then he comes home to this.

She found the trash bin outside and emptied her arms of the bottles.  As she turned to come back inside, he was standing at the back door, silent.

“I’m so sorry,” she managed, before breaking into tears, “I’m so sorry for everything.”

Sports: Why I Still Know Nothing About Them

I have never been a sports fan.  My dad only watched golf and NASCAR when I was growing up, both sports I find utterly boring and repetitive (although I watched NASCAR for the crashes).  He would watch other sports if they were on.  A family friend had great seats to all the San Jose Sharks games, so I learned to like hockey.  Outside of that, our family watched the Superbowl, but that was about it.  I went to my first baseball game at 23.  Same with football.  Sure, I attended the games during high school, but only because it was a requirement since I was on the dance team.  Overall, I just wasn’t raised as a sports fan.  I do support my local teams because I’ve lived in this area all my life, but I don’t consider myself a true fan.  The players I can name are players I find attractive.  When people discuss sports, I tune them out because even if I listened, it’d all be Greek to me.

I’m not one of those girls who loves sports.  I’m also not one of those girls who pretends she does.  It just doesn’t interest me.  I’d rather go out than watch the game on tv.  I’d rather listen to music than sports on the radio.  It just isn’t my thing.  Granted, every guy I’ve ever dated has either been an athlete or been a die hard sports fan, but that doesn’t mean I have to learn to love sports.

What I do enjoy is going to games.  I enjoy the atmosphere, the camaraderie, and let’s be honest here, the drinking.  I’ll go to Superbowl parties.  I’ll go to games.  That I enjoy.  I don’t need to know every rule or every statistic.  I don’t need to know what the odds of our team winning are.  That isn’t why I’m there.  I’m there for the experience.

What’s irritating about this is when people tell me I should make an effort to get into sports.  Why?  Because the person I’m dating is into them?  Well, I’m into shoes.  Should he learn about them?  I don’t expect him to ask me about designers or styles or what’s in, why should he expect me to ask about a certain player’s stats?  Just because he likes something, doesn’t mean I have to.  It isn’t like I refuse to go to games with him or I bitch when he watches the game.  I just don’t have a desire to learn all the rules and technicalities.  I don’t know or really care what an RBI is.  I don’t understand why that point wasn’t awarded.  Occasionally I’ll ask, but if I don’t want to know exactly what’s going on, it shouldn’t make or break a relationship.  People are different with different interests.

This is probably why girls who pretend to like sports irritate me.  If you are genuinely into sports, awesome.  If not, why are you pretending?  I refuse to pretend.  I just find sports boring.  Plain and simple.  I bet some people would find a ballet boring.  I find it exhilarating.  I’m not going to force my friends or anyone else for that matter to like what I like.  Don’t force me.  Sure, invite me to a game.  If I want to go, I will.  If not, don’t push it.

Final Destination.

I was driving home from the city.  I wasn’t really paying attention.  I wasn’t doing anything else ,but my mind was elsewhere.  I realized I had been in the far right exit lane the entire time and it’d soon be turning into an “exit only” lane, so it was time to move over.  I glanced over my shoulder, checking my blind spot.  I peeked into my mirrors and looked back one more time to be sure, then, signal on, I started switching lanes.  Suddenly an asshole in some sort of red sedan flies into my lane, speeds up, and nearly hits me, causing me to swerve back into my lane to avoid him.

Of course, I’m cursing, and now I’m pissed.  The driver is a middle aged man, probably showing off for the blonde who is half his age and is perched in the passenger seat, giggling.  I still have plenty of time before I’m forced to exit, so I decide right then and there if I want my revenge, I’ll just get really close to his bumper.  He’s already ridiculously close to the car in front of him, in an effort to get it to speed up, why not give him a taste of his own medicine?

I speed up and as I’m approaching his car, I see cars much farther up ahead swerving.  Brake lights.  I slam on my breaks and stay away from his bumper.  This guy is going to slam his car into the one in front of him and if I’m not careful, I could be collateral damage.  I try to scan the emergency lane ahead to see what the swerving was about and if there was an accident.  Right as I look back, we are approaching where the first cars has begun to swerve.  I see him run it over in his car and now, although my car is a few car lengths behind, this twisted metal bumper is hurtling itself towards my windshield. It’s bouncing of the pavement of the freeway, flipping end over end, as it flies at me.

I can feel my eyes widening in fear, and I begin to panic.

Do I swerve left and avoid the bumper hitting my person, but run the risk of it going through the passenger side?  Although it’s empty, it will still cause detrimental damage and there’s no assurance I’ll be okay.  There are also other cars to my left, any of which I could collide with.

Do I swerve right?  I’d be bringing myself into the direct line of the flying shrapnel, but I might be able to make it into the emergency lane without problem.  But should I not swerve far enough over, I’ll have lined myself up perfectly with the bumper, and it is definitely over.

These thoughts ran through my head at four times the speed the bumper was approaching.  It felt like minutes, but was probably under seconds.  I swerved to the right, screaming the entire time.  The bumper hit the front of my car and cartwheeled over it.  It nicked my front bumper and roof, but missed both the windshield and rear window.

I felt like I was going to throw up.  There was so much adrenaline pulsing through my body I forgot about the idiot driver and the random piece of metal and everything that had just happened.  My mind began to go back to a series of movies I love: Final Destination.  I just had a moment straight out of their script.  Had that bumper made it into my car, killing me, it would have caused a major accident.  It would have been a freak accident, and I avoided it.  I was so proud of myself.  I wasn’t mad or afraid or upset, but proud.  Proud that I had cheated death.  Proud that I had come up with the right solution.  Proud that I was still alive.

I get it, I’m overweight…

Yes, I’m overweight.  Yes, I’m a lazy ass.  Yes, I’m out of shape.  No, I don’t need your condescending attitude about it just bc you’re thin.

Why don’t I jog? My breasts are so large, even just jogging is excruciating for my back/shoulders which are already in pain most of the day.

Why don’t I just hike more or climb stairs? My left hip will need to be replaced soon due to bone deterioration from medication I was on for years and my left knee was injured when I was a teenager.  I’m actually supposed to avoid stairs at all costs, but take them because I feel like a lazy ass when I don’t.

Why don’t I lift weights? Much like my hip, most of my joints are extremely weak and prone to dislocation.  My shoulders are a big issue.  Growing up with an abusive father, my body as been beaten and battered for years and parts of me are just falling apart.

None of this is an excuse for not being more active.  I can walk around my block.  I can do small things to make myself more active and help myself shed these unwanted pounds.  Trust me, despite my lack of action, I know what I need to do to change myself.

What pisses me off about all of this is there is one person in particular (a friend of a friend, who I don’t particularly like and only put up with because he’s invited everywhere and it isn’t usually my place to say something) who feels because he has a fast metabolism and is stick thin, he is qualified to “train” me and any of my other friends who are either overweight or just want to improve their athleticism.  BULL.SHIT.  I’ve seen him work out.  I’ve seen him ATTEMPT to run an extended distance.  Being thin is not the equivalent of being fit.  Don’t tell me I should start running when I know that isn’t the best way for me to get my cardio in.  Don’t tell me what I should or shouldn’t eat when all you eat is fast food.  In fact, just stop talking all together.  I didn’t ask for your advice or help, and trust me, I NEVER will.

The other thing he loves to do is invite me and my friends on “epic adventures” aka “I’m gonna drive us all up to some woodsy area, and we can smoke pot and drink beer”.  Fine.  I don’t see why we have to sneak weed into a wildlife preserve or hike to the top of some mountain just to sit and drink, but if it makes you feel like you’ve done something with your life, sure.  What makes me want to hit him with my car is when he comes up to me and says “don’t worry, the hike isn’t that bad, you’ll be able to make it to the top.”  EXCUSE YOU, DOUCHEBAG.  I can hike.  Despite my complaining, I can do it.  I’m not going to pass out before we hit the top.  I’m not going to cry.  I might be a little winded by the time we get to the top, but I’m not incapable of walking the few miles to the top of wherever the fuck you want to take us.

I used to dance competitively.  I used to be thin.  I used to workout every day AFTER taking dance classes for hours.  I gained all of this weight as a side effect of the drugs I was on from 15-22.  It slowed my metabolism.  Weakened my bones.  But it didn’t make me incapable of swimming laps or hiking for the day.  Just because I’d rather go to the beach than hike up a mountain with you, doesn’t mean it’s because I’m just too goddamn fat.  Maybe, just MAYBE, we blow you off because you think you’re better than everyone in EVERY way and have no problems showing that, constantly.

Yes, I’m overweight.  Yes, I need to be more active.  No, I don’t need people who have no idea what they’re talking about “reassuring” me that I can do a certain physical activity.  My legs are almost pure muscle.  I’ll make it up the fucking trail.  Don’t tell me you’ll make it easy for me.  I’m overweight, not disabled.  I’m not on crutches.  I’m not in a wheelchair.  I’m just out of shape.  You want to “help” me?  Shut up and let me do my own thing.

Then again, this guy rates himself as a 9 on the 1-10 scale and going by looks alone, he’d be lucky to make the scale.  Add in his personality and he’s definitely somewhere in the negatives. So, I’m not surprised he thinks he’s the god of health.

it’s been a while…

being busy takes its toll on a blog, but since i lost my job, my personal life is taking a nose dive, and my housing situation is rocky once again, it seems like outside of endless job applications, i’ll have time to blog again.  when it rains, it pours, and this just means i’m going to have to get myself a bigger umbrella.  i’m over using capital letters, for now.  yes, i am *that* lazy.  i’m not sure if it’s the weather or the lack of sanity in my life currently, but i am suffering with a huge case of the lazies.  also a huge case of smoking…and drinking…possibly some recreational drug use thrown in there…either way, i am sort of enjoying this mini vacation from life i’ve found myself on.  i don’t have anywhere to be, ever.  no job to go to in the morning, no dates to look cute for that night (who am i kidding?  I’ve never had those), no one to impress or please but myself.  it’s different.  it’s allowed me to think.  it’s allowed me to draw some conclusions.  because i have a blog, it’s allowing me to ramble.

if i were a dog, i’d be a lab.  i’m not always super smart, but i am smarter than i look.  i’m easy going, ready and willing to make you happy before making myself happy, i’m friendly with everyone, but loyal.  the only problem with this lifestyle is people can easily take advantage of you or take you for granted, and should that happen, you’re too busy focusing on other people instead of yourself.  unhappiness ensues.  it isn’t really your fault, you were just hoping that while you were making everyone else happy, someone would make you happy in return.  that’s fair, right?  well, as my mom always told me, life isn’t fair.  in fact, it was her favorite thing to say to me right as she was being brutally unfair.  long story short, you are the main factor in your own happiness.  if someone makes you happy, keep them around, but if you lack that person or those people, it becomes your job to put yourself first.  it’s a lesson i’ve been taught time and again, but only now is it sticking.

i dont necessarily believe in karma.  i don’t deny that what you put into the universe may come back at you, but i think it’s about more than just being good or being bad.  you have to feel that way as well.  you can do everything for everyone, but if you’re unhappy at the end of it all, no reward is going to come around.  that’s why we see awesome things happen to shitty people and shitty things happen to awesome people.  it isn’t about everyone else as much as it is about you.  if you are doing everything in your power to make yourself happy and living as true to yourself as possible (even if you are a shitty person) the world is going to spit awesome things back at you.

life isn’t fair, but it doesn’t fuck you over constantly either.  do what you can with what you’ve got.  lemons into lemonade or whatever.  but look at that.  just take a look at that adage for a second.  life only gave you lemons.  you still need water and sugar to make lemonade.  life isn’t supplying those.  you’re still going to have to work.  so life not only handed you shitty lemons, but also forgot to bestow you with the rest of the ingredients for lemonade.  fuck that.  if life keeps handing you lemons, make some fucking apple juice, and leave people wondering how you pulled it off.

it’s that simple.  work with what you have.  if you have nothing, work to change that.  little steps.  a tiger can’t change its stripes, sure, but you aren’t a tiger.  you’re a human being.  sentient.  top of the food chain (or so we like to think).  you can change.  people *can* change, it’s just that most of us don’t want to.  most of us are happy with what we are because it’s what we know.  someone hurt us, and now we act the way we do.  something went wrong, and now we have a certain personality trait.  we are all broken.  we are all insecure.  we are all afraid to trust people.  we all put up walls.  we all have fears.  dreams.  memories, good and bad.  we’ve all lost.  we’ve all won.  people can change.  they just have to find that one thing that’s worth changing for, be it a person, a job, a dream.  anyone can change.  the change may not come overnight, but who says it has to?

if you’re unhappy, the root cause is probably yourself.  i never wanted to admit that.  sure, other people or things contribute to that unhappiness, but when it all boils down, it’s up to you.  it’s up to you to take what people do or say to take how things turned out and let it make or break you.  things have broken me.  i am damaged.  i am broken.  that doesn’t mean i can’t be fixed.  it doesn’t mean things won’t get better.  it doesn’t mean i can’t move on.  it’s up to me to change myself and, in turn, that will change everything.  i’m finally mature enough to realize this.  i’m not always right, everyone isn’t always against me, i have something to do with my own happiness, i have a lot to do with it.  now i’m going to make it happen.  with or without anyone else’s help.

Fear Factor

What are you afraid of?  Heights?  Spiders?  Th Dark?  I’m afraid of all of those things and a few more.  We all have reasons we are afraid of something, and no matter how strange they may seem, they’re usually valid reasons.  I knew a girl in high school who was afraid of balloons.  BALLOONS.  Why?  When she was young, she was at a birthday party and someone popped a balloon in her ear.  A small piece of latex from the balloon actually entered her ear canal due to the force of the balloon popping and became lodged there.  She actually ended up needing surgery to have the latex piece removed before it caused any sort of infection.  Even the strangest fears are founded on something.  I’m going to share mine with you.

 

The dark.  Mirrors.  Open doors.  The edge of the bed.

These fears are all related.  As a kid I had night terrors and one of the things suggested to help me get over them was to open up about my dreams.  I would talk to me mom about what happened and why I was afraid.  My mother, being the great mom she is, decided scaring me in the same way I had been scared in my dream would help.  Once I dreamt about man eating plants growing in my bathroom (I had the master bedroom in our old house because it was at the back and my mom wanted the front room for safety reasons) and in the dream I had opened my shower curtain to find a bunch of plants there, waiting to consume me (I had read this in a book the night before).  My mom decided to fill my shower with potted plants while I was at school, knowing I’d shower later that night after dance class.  As stupid as it sounds, pulling back the shower curtain to a shower full of plants was so terrifying, I didn’t sleep in my room for two weeks.  My mom also liked to force me to watch scary movies, knowing I wouldn’t be able to sleep afterward.  A lot of these movies involved seeing things run past open bedroom doors, reflections in mirrors, etc.  As a kid, my bed was always against a wall, and I slept as close to that wall as possible.  Doors were shut, closets sometimes had a chair in front of them.  Mirrors were covered in pictures and things cut from magazines.  To this day, I am 23 and sleep  with a light on.  I literally panic when the power goes out.  I can’t sleep in a room alone if the doors aren’t closed and it’s pitch black.  Even sleeping with someone, the doors will still bother me and there has to be some sort of ambient light.

 

Spiders.

I don’t mind arachnids.  I mean, fleas and ticks are gross, but I wanted a pet scorpion as a kid (and I still think having one would be kind of cool).  Spiders (I call them spideys, a childhood thing that just stuck), however, are a different story.  I don’t know if its because they bite or have so many legs or all the eyes or possibly the fangs, but spiders are just not okay in my book.  I really think its the combination of the fact that they make web (no other animal that I know of does) and how they eat their prey – mummifying it and then draining it of blood.  Fleas have eight legs and they bite.  Ticks fill themselves with your blood and also have eight legs.  Scorpions have stingers.  But spiders, they are hairy and just, awful.  Even pictures of spiders will freak me out.  I think walking into a rather large web as a kid and having to swat three or four spiders off my body is what did me in for this fear.  My mom is also afraid of them, but not even close to the extent my sister and I are.  We can’t even kill them with a shoe, for fear of the spider surviving (which they do sometimes) and coming after us since we’re so close to it.

 

Heights.

I love roller coasters, but am extremely afraid of heights.  As a child my dad left a present on the roof one Christmas and told me Santa must have left it up there.  He brought out a ladder and I told him it’s going to stay up there because I am not going up after it.  I have gotten better with this fear,  I used to be unable to walk out onto balconies, but now, as long as I don’t get too close to the railing, I can handle it.  My dad fell off a roof when I was very young and his back has bothered him ever since.  I used to have recurring nightmares about falling off of our roof, and I think that’s why I have this fear.  Although it’s common, neither of my parents share it with me.

 

Elbows.

Okay, so this one is a little strange.  I am afraid of elbows.  People pointing their elbows at me or showing them to me freaks me out.  I can’t stand having my elbows touched and I don’t like touching other people’s elbows.  A skinned elbow is probably the worst thing that could happen to me.  I would probably have some sort of anxiety attack.  My mom had severe eczema when I was growing up, and she used to tell me I’d catch it from her.  Her elbows were red, raw, cracked, and sometimes there was blood or pus.  It freaked me out.  She would shove her elbows in my face and that terrified me.  I didn’t want to catch what she had and have it all over my face.  She would try to rub her elbow on mine when we sat next to each other.  This plus the actual structure of the elbow is where my fear comes from.  Unlike a knee which has a “cap” and elbow is literally a joint covered by skin.   There isn’t any muscle there or anything to protect the elbow.  I had a dream once that I was doing something (I can’t remember exactly what now), and I somehow pulled the skin off my elbow while it was bent, revealing a cone (for lack of a better term) of white bone.  To this day I feel like that is totally possible, despite the reality of the situation.

 

I’m sure I have other little fears I have forgotten to mention, but these are definitely my biggest.  They’re all justified somehow (usually by a scarring childhood event), and I feel like everyone has something that caused them to be afraid of whatever they have a fear of, despite the rationality of the fear itself.

What are you afraid of?