Sunday, September 29, 2013

You're judging me...for that?!

Most people who have known me for a while, or at least 5 minutes, knows I've done/do much shit of a questionable nature that attracts the raised eyebrow of the socially pretentious. Usually I don't really care, because if they do judge, I don't actually have to hear about it. I'm surprised I haven't received a tongue lashing quite frankly. I think it's because I'm so sweet and nice. And pretty :)
But at the coffee shop, I was judged hardcore. Lemme set the scene. This was on my tip jar:

Like cocaine, once you get one of those babies under your skin, you always come back for more. 

Got that little sign in your head? Ok, so here's how it went down:

So, this older gentleman comes in and orders a Mexican mocha. He wants to know what is in it. 
Me: "Chocolate, cinnamon, nutmeg..." 
Judger: "Peppers?" 
Me: "No." 
Judger with a look of grave disappointment: "Oh. Do you have peppers?"
Me: "No." 
Judger: *heavy sigh and eye roll* "Ok, that's fine." 
So I have already dashed his hopes and crushed his dreams. 


Judger, reading my sign, eyebrows raised in question. It's obviously a test: "You're not really getting a tattoo, are you?" 
Me: "I already have seven." 
Judger, with much judgement: "Okkkaaaay. I guess I'll support your tattoo fund..." *reluctantly tips me*
In his defense, he was a judgemental throwback to when only sailors, bikers, and prison inmates had tattoos. Apparently, he wasn't aware that pretty much every lawyer and their doctor mother has tattoos now. Can't blame him for that. 
I told my story to our beloved local artist, Don Nisbett, who has a place of honor at our couch every morning and I pointed out I just can't please everyone. He pondered if I actually try. Touche. So then he "tattooed" my arm:
What exactly are you saying, Don?

And then...

Customer: "Is someone trying to talk you into getting a tattoo?"
Seriously? Do people not notice I have two clearly visible on my forearm?
Me: "No, there's really no 'talking' me into it. I already have seven."
Customer, obviously trying to recover: "Oh, but is someone trying to talk you into getting more?"
Me, with great understanding because obviously these are not tattoo people: "You can't really 'talk' me into something I already want to do. They're addicting."

I never thought I would be judged by having tattoos. Questionable morals? Sure. Drunk texting? Of course. Overuse of the word 'fuck'? Understandable. Using my cleavage to get more tips? Maybe. But tattoos? Perhaps it's a generational thing. Tattoos used to adorn persons of dubious character and I can understand how it might be difficult for some people to get over that stereotype. However, one would hope those passing the judgement might be polite enough to keep their opinions and raised eyebrows to themselves. Chalk it up to a new experience for me. I started thinking that this incident might be an introduction to an interesting social experiment where I put controversial signs on my tip jar and record people's reactions. Give me a sense on the people I'm dealing with here. I have a few ideas I'm tossing around:

"Bail Money"
"We All Make Mistakes"
"I Can Quit Anytime"
"Almost Enough to Get Into Heaven!"
"Turns Out Abortions Aren't Cheap"

I think there's a good chance I would have waaaaay too much fun with this. 

Monday, July 22, 2013

Random shit like this happens to me all the time.

The other day I was in a horrendously foul mood at the coffee shop because, despite our continued reminders, everyone insisted on believing I am a mind reader and then getting pissed when I had to dump their drinks and start over. Here it is once again: we do not have special mind powers (Except for that one time Kelly and I are pretty convinced we predicted and/or effected the tide so that we could have a beach ride on hard packed sand). If you don't tell me what you want, I can't make it. Thinking it doesn't count.
Anywho, on top of that I made pittance in tips and I was thinking drinking an entire bottle of wine was in order when the phone rang. It was a regular customer explaining that she had a question and felt that since we have animals, perhaps we could answer it. Because having animals=a fountain of knowledge about all creatures of the Animalia persuasion. Turns out, her beloved dog was attacked by a raccoon and she had some concerns about how to care for the poor thing. I was like:

Luckily, as I informed her, she had called the right person. Ever since I was 8 years old, I wanted to be a veterinarian. It was this dream that prompted me to call my first employer at 16, Sno-Wood Veterinary Hospital. I worked there for the next four and a half years, even during my summer's off from college. I attended Washington State University and majored in Zoology, Pre-Vet and conducted my internship at Sarvey Wildlife Care Center where I worked in the medical room and mammal room. Basically, I was about to drop some diamonds on this lady.
After establishing that her dog's leg wasn't dangling precariously by a strand of tissue and there was no need for extensive stitching, I advised her on proper wound care and to keep the little dog hydrated until she could get in to see her vet in the morning. A wild animal attack, though perhaps not seriously damaging, requires a vet y'all. She hung up the phone a grateful and relieved woman and I felt I had made a difference. The day just got better from there. The conversation led me to think that perhaps this knowledge should be shared with others, so here are some fun facts everyone should know about raccoons:

#1: most important fact about raccoons in Washington State: they DO NOT carry rabies here! But, you should still vaccinate your pets and watch for signs of infection in case you're dealing with one that snuck a ride from another state.
#2: you don't have to worry about rabies, but those dirty bastards do carry other nasty diseases they can pass on to your pet and you. Most notably, Raccoon Roundworm (I did a paper on this one; the worms like to make nice homes for themselves in your brain) and the bacteria Leptospirosis that can be fatal for both people and pets. Most nastiness is passed on in raccoon feces. Which brings me to a good piece of advice.
#3: do not attract wildlife to your house! If a raccoon finds cat food on your porch, he'll eat it and hang around getting fatter and fatter and pooping in your kids' sandbox. They also like to use roofs as latrines. And what's more? He'll tell all his raccoon buddies. Yes, raccoons like to share. Pretty soon, what was once one cute little bandit is now 50. And it's baby season. They teach that shit. Less raccoons=less poop=less chance of infections/attacks.
#4: raccoons fight dirty. Sure, they might look cute and their hands are adorbs, but raccoons are vicious fighters that will bite and claw like a frenzied tasmanian devil. Do not mess with them, especially during baby season (like right now). If you or your pet is attacked, wash the area with a mild soap and hot water and get to a doctor/vet. Antibiotics is essential in any wild animal attack. If you suspect rabies, the animal will need to be captured and tested.
#5: make sure they can't get under your house or in your attic. Raccoons don't pay rent and they smell. Don't encourage them to move in.

The raccoons LOVED me because I brought them blood biscotti and grapes (the equivilent of raccoon candy), but don't let those cute masks and chortles fool you: they will cut a bitch. Their hands are dexterous enough to handle knives.

#6: don't let this rant fool you! I think raccoons are amazing creatures and have a special purpose on this planet. Did you know their hands are very sensitive and they can use them to detect edible material in low or no light? Sort of akin to a cat's whiskers. Water increases their sensitivity, thus the washing of food that we so frequently see. They aren't being cleanly. They are dirty rascals that will eat bread soaked in blood; trust me, they are not concerned about hygiene. This is just a reminder that they are called WILD for a reason!

This has been a Mandy's wildlife public service announcement, and this is why I have a four year degree. Next time, why oppossums might be the best garbage disposals ever.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

No udders required for this bag balm

   Look, I'm alive! And no, I'm not going to channel some Twilight angst and follow that up with, "But I'm dead inside." Wrong number.

   As many of you might know, I've been going through some personal drama that has impeded my editing and reading time. For those of you who are unaware, I am currently going through a divorce. When people use the term "going through," they're not kidding. It's like trudging knee deep in a bog thick with weeds and disgusting sloppy muck that sucks you down with each step. And considering knee deep for most people is like waist deep for me, that's quite a bit of sludge to soldier through. Also, imagine you're being bombarded with razor sharp thorny vines and shrieking crows. Oh, and don't forget the ROUSes. I'm sure everyone will respect that I currently have no desire to share the private details leading to this outcome, especially in a public forum, but know that I am happy and my kids and I are doing great. The other upside is that this experience has led to inspiration that I can hopefully soon incorporate into my current work.

   Obviously, because of the overwhelming heaviness of my current situation, it has been difficult to submerge myself into any serious, though provoking books. My brain is already tired, and I only succeed in reading a few pages before it completely passes out. Thus, I have dedicated this time to cathartic works by amusing authors. I don't want to be depressed or challenged right now, I want to laugh so hard I fracture a rib, maybe even pee myself a little.

   Here are some titles that I've read/currently reading that have been like soothing bag balm for my soul:

You know and love him, and so do I. David Sedaris is one of the most touchingly hilarious writers I've come across. It's almost difficult to believe his stories of his dysfunctional family and antics are true. But it's like I tell people when I relate tales from the coffee shop: you just can't make this shit up. In this most recent collection of essays, Sedaris tells the story of his first colonoscopy, how his father terrified him out of doing pretty much everything, the time he almost bought a pygmy skeleton, and the heartbreaking story of the boy his father liked better than him. Pure observational humor that is intelligent, honest, and real. There are also a few fiction pieces that are fairly amusing, but it's the true tales that are as always the best Sedaris.

Seriously, if you look in the dictionary under "hilarious," you'll find David Sedaris. My current read is  "Naked," in which Sedaris travels the country hitchhiking with serial killers, makes clocks for a Child of God, and takes three hours to get home from school because of his obsessive tics. I'll let you know how it pans out. I may have wet myself a little when he went through a phase where he spoke in Shakespearean English for a period of time. 

Other books on my "give me belly laughs" to-do list include:

I read the first chapter and almost died. Great recommendation from a friend. From The New Yorker: "As Roach points out, scientists studying sex are often treated with disdain, as though there is something inherently suspicious about the enterprise. Yet through understanding the anatomy, physiology, and psychology of sexual response, scientists can help us toward greater marital and nonmarital happiness. Such altruistic intentions, which the book shares, aren’t the wellspring of its appeal, however. That lies in the breezy tone in which Roach describes erectile dysfunction among polygamists, penis cameras, relative organ sizes and enhancement devices, and dozens of other titillating subjects. Not to be missed: the martial art of yin diao gung (“genitals hanging kung fu”), monkey sex athletes, and the licensing of porn stars’ genitals for blow-up reproductions. To stay on the ethical side of human-subjects experimentation, Roach offers herself as research subject several times, resulting in some of her best writing."

Another from the hilarious Christopher Moore: "Moore’s Sacré Bleu is part mystery, part history (sort of), part love story, and wholly hilarious as it follows a young baker-painter as he joins the dapper  Henri Toulouse-Lautrec on a quest to unravel the mystery behind the supposed “suicide” of Vincent van Gogh."

Any other recommendations? Please don't hesitate to share! And please excuse my break from writing to concentrate on life for a while. I will get back to it soon!

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Unexpected attraction

I find it really amazing what some people find attractive and others do not. Is it a pleasant cologne? Sideburns? A loquacious vocabulary? Maybe that's just me...Perhaps for you it's eye color or height. Maybe something more carnal? I'm not judging.
I actually did a little bit of research on this and discovered the science of attraction is quite complicated (obviously) and quite interesting. If you want to break it down to it's basest form of what causes attraction, look no further than evolution and good ole hormones.
Survival of the fittest: it's as simple as that. A female chooses the stronger, healthier, more attractive male in order to perpetuate the species. His phenotype is a direct reflection of his genetic fitness, and therefore alerts the female to his superiority that will thus be passed on to her offspring. Classic examples include larger antlers in deer and colorful plumage in birds. These are characteristics of a healthy individual, thus the female will be more attracted to these traits, as well as males that display housebuilding abilities, care giving qualities, and physical prowess. The evolution of attraction correlates with desirable genetic traits to be duplicated.
We can't rule out these gems when discussing attraction. There are three stages of attraction dictated by hormones beginning with lust. Ah, lust, and it's wonderful friends testosterone and estrogen. Without lust, there would be no random, passionate encounters or loving trysts. And when these brief interludes continue, we move onto phase two: attraction. When you can think of no one else, you are on the dopamine express. Yes, that lovely hormone that gives us pleasant feelings, and it's buddy adrenaline that increases our heart rate and makes our mouths dry. That's when you know you're headed for the charm: attachment. The hormones associated with attachment include oxytocin (AKA the "love hormone) and it's partner in crime, vassopressin. Together these hormones will evoke feelings of contentment, lower anxiety, and increase calmness and security. This is the touchy-feely stage of attraction, leading to pair bonds, 2.5 kids, and a white picket fence. You know, the good stuff.

That's the nitty gritty, but how does one get this far? Where does attraction all begin and why? Johns Hopkins sexologist (yes, it's a real job. I looked it up) John Money developed the concept of the "lovemap" to assist a discussion of why people prefer certain attributes. It is, "a developmental representation or template in the mind and in the brain depicting the idealized lover." Picture your perfect partner: height, weight, job, values, smell, etc. Got it? That's essentially what he's talking about. Money goes on to state that this is a nature and nurture trait; that we learn what we like as well as draw on our genetic background. What we prefer involves all five senses that are often linked to personal experiences. Grandpa smoked a pipe? You may be attracted to the smell of tobacco. Dad tall, dark, and brooding? Guess what! Live near a lake? Blue eyes may be your thing. All the pleasurable experiences spark what you may find attractive in another individual. But what about those random oddities that leave you wondering, "who knew that was so hot?"

Which brings me to the point on this rambling diatribe. This all may seem nonsensical, but this is how my mind was working when I was trying to figure out why I suddenly found something so ordinary and maybe somewhat odd so freaking attractive. Here's what I'm talking about:

Sooo hot, right? RIGHT?!

A newsboy hat and bow tie? Who knew? I am not a huge fan of Newsies, my grandfather wore neither of these items, and I'm not into Dr. Who. Little help? 

Oh, I know! *slaps forehead* Maybe it's because they are being worn by Daniel Vincent Gordh, who is playing William Darcy on The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, and who also happens to be tall, dark, and handsome. With sideburns. And don't even get me started on those eyebrows...*drool* 

And here is where a little nature comes into play. Maybe I was destined to find this combination strangely attractive. All I needed was a handsome man to show me the way. It also helps that he's so loquacious and stars in a modern adaptation of my favorite novel. Yes, all things come back to Pride and Prejudice. And perhaps that is the core of why I find the newsboy hat/bow tie combo so attractive: I am a nerd.

The moral of this story? We all have our own "lovemap" to follow. Don't be afraid or ashamed of it (unless it's illegal), and for the love of God don't be like me and over analyze. Just get out there, buy your man a newsie hat and bow tie, and get on with your life! It will be a lot happier once you do ;) 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

My Precious

Ok, everyone, guess who received a Kindle Fire for Christmas! THIS GIRL! Admittedly, I have been avidly opposed to e-readers of any sort because I love the feel of a real book. Yes, I am that girl; the one you catch in the rows of the library sniffing books with a look of pure ecstasy on her face. I am the girl who has stacks of books she hasn't read yet and keeps getting more because I absolutely love looking at full bookshelves and get excited thinking about all the adventures waiting for me there. So, with this in mind, I staunchly resisted getting a Kindle no matter what the other half said about how great they are. And then my Mom gave me one, and I discovered they are full of awesome.

My precious.

Let's discuss.
I have a Kindle Fire, right? So, not only can I download books from Amazon and great ebooks from sites like Smashwords, but I can also watch movies on Netflix, YouTube, surf the web, Music, yada yada yada. It's almost like having a tablet (or so I understand; I don't actually have one myself. I am way behind in the technology). Here are the pros and cons I have encountered:

You can watch movies with amazing clarity
Quick e-mail, Twitter, and Facebook checks
Look up that cah-razee YouTube video all the kids are talking about
Lots of Apps to play with (which I really don't, but my kids do)
Parental controls for kiddo play (seriously, my kids figured it out in about 2.5 seconds)
Access to Amazon for a bazillion book titles
Lots of storage for said books
I have Prime, so I have free movie rentals and access to free books
You can accessorize!
Easy to use, even for me

Easy for quick browsing, but you are limited on the amount of internetting you can do (yes, I just made that word up). Really, a laptop is more convenient for cut/paste/sharing/multiple window usage.
I am challenged when it comes to typing with a stylus. For in depth writing, a keyboard is the way to go.
I am intimidated.
It's not a real book.
There could be more, but it's early and I need coffee.

In the end, aside from the occasional ebook and fanfiction, I really haven't read much with my Kindle. I still prefer the real thing, but I can see the appeal of having hundreds of books at your disposal with just a click. I can foresee this coming in handy.

My vote: