The Return of Amy

A funny thing happened to me the other day: I had a moment where I felt like myself again.

I was at work on a sunny Friday and noticed my coworker come in with a dozen My Little Cupcakes. I thought to myself that either she was going to have to most awesome breakfast of all time, or I should be expecting an email alerting me of food up for grabs. You know the email—the type that sends polite office workers into fools stampeding toward the kitchen. Sure enough, an email appeared in my inbox with the promise of chocolate, sprinkles, and buttery whipped cream.

But ah-ha! There was a catch to cashing in on these sugary bundles of joy. The cupcakes were from her husband Steve’s birthday, and in order to take a cupcake, she asked we write him an email to say happy birthday. Interesting!

Now, have I ever met Steve?
No.

Did I even know she had a husband named Steve?
Again, no.

But was I going to let any of that get in the way of me and some perfectly adorable cupcakes?
FUCK NO.

I’m not entirely sure why I was amused by this situation. The “me” from a few months ago would have angrily received that email, made some comment to myself about how dumb and small those cupcakes are, and hit “delete” with enough gusto to break the backspace key on my keyboard. Then I probably would have popped on my “please-don’t-talk-to-me” headphones, listened to some more depressing Sarah McLachlan type music, and rushed to the ladies’ room 15 minutes later for a good cry when fill-in-the-blank thing happened.  Yeah…That was pretty much me at work from September to last week. Home life was even uglier.

But for whatever reason, I wasn’t annoyed by this email. In fact, I wanted to play along. If an email to Steve is what she wanted, an email to Steve she would get!

I carefully thought about what sort of message I’d like to craft to good old Steve and came up with the following:

Dear Steve,

You don’t know me, but I am writing to wish you a happy (belated) birthday and to say thanks. Because your parents got it on when they did, and because you married Eve, who then started working here, I’m reaping the benefits of a delicious mini cupcake! So thanks! Hope you had a fabulous day.

Your Fan,
Amy

OK, so it wasn’t exactly Pulitzer Prize material, but for the first time in a long time, it felt like the real Amy was back—the person who was creative, spontaneous, upbeat, and dare I say…a little bit funny!? What an awesome fucking feeling.

This past year or so has been incredibly hard and sad, but I think I am finally past the roughest patches. I’m fortunate to have an incredible group of people who stood by me when the bottom fell out and saw me through the most awful months of my life. Sure I still have my Sarah McLachlan days, but I’m regaining myself with every day that passes, returning to the person I was before. I’m crossing off items on my life’s to-do list, spending my time with people who bring me happiness, and I’m doing the things I love. The fact that I’m even blogging speaks volumes to this.

everythingisgoingtobeOK

Three people this week alone have commented on how nice it is to see me so happy again.

I couldn’t agree more.

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What We’re Teaching Little Girls

I recently experienced the following at a grocery store…

In the check-out line behind me was a young girl who couldn’t have been older than seven or eight.  She had long hair, was wearing a floral print dress, and by all accounts seemed like a typical, innocent child. She was buying popsicles with her Dad, scoping out all of the magazines, and this is the conversation I overhead:

Girl: Dad, wow. Look how fat Kim Kardashian is…
Dad: Wow, yeah she is.

Girl: And oh my goddd, is that __? It doesn’t even look like her. You can totally tell she has had plastic surgery. I bet she has had a face lift, maybe more!
Dad: Yeah, I think you’re right. She’s barely recognizable.

Girl: Ugh, look how ugly Mylie Cyrus looks with short hair! Why would anyone want that haircut?
Dad: I don’t know, honey. It does look pretty bad. I prefer the long hair myself.
Girl: Me, too. I would never want to look like her!

!!!

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There are so many problems with this conversation that I don’t even know where to begin. I guess I’ll dive right in with the little girl.

Socialization 

This girl is seven years old and has already been socialized to believe the most important thing in life is beauty. And not just any type of beauty—beauty that’s defined by being blonde, white, and thin (with long hair, apparently). She thinks that anything that strays from this is bad, wrong, ugly, and undesirable.

What is arguably the saddest part of all of this is that the standard of beauty she so badly believes in and presumably wants to emulate doesn’t exist and no one has ever told her differently. Those aren’t real people she sees on the magazine covers. They’re airbrushed, photoshoppedliquefied, perfected versions of someone they used to be. And she probably won’t learn this until it’s too late.

Did you know half of girls between the ages of 3 and 6 worry about being fat?  Don’t even get me started on thinspiration or thigh gap.

Little girl's diet plan

One little girl’s “diyet” plan, found by her mom

Girl Hate

Another huge problem is that this little girl has already learned girl hate. She’s been taught all women are in competition with each other and that she should dislike any female that could potentially be prettier, smarter, or better than her at something… And if she suspects any of those things, she’s learned to pick them apart.

Wow, look how fat Kim Kardashian is.
Ew, why would Miley Cyrus do her hair like that?

You might be thinking, she is only talking about celebrities…does this really matter? YES, it absolutely matters because she I guarantee you she will do this with girls her own age, if she isn’t doing so already.

Reinforcement

Even though I truly believe our society is to blame for what this little girl knows, I still find myself angry with her father. He is her role model and did nothing but reinforce everything she said. Wow, you’re right. I think she did have plastic surgery. Yeah, I’m not a big fan of short hair either.

Was it possible that this dad had a really long day and was just absentmindedly saying anything to appease his kid? Sure. But something tells me he truly believed these things and may have even taught his daughter some of it.

There are so many teachable moments with kids. During this short time in the check-out line he could have easily talked to her about body image, worth, respect, the concept of beauty, or even some age appropriate sex-ed!

IE: Actually, honey, Kim Kardashian has gained some weight because she’s having a baby, and that’s the normal, right thing to happen.

The Dad happened to be an elected official. I don’t know why, but I expected and hoped for more from him.

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Change

I have a niece that’s three years old and is obsessed with weddings, fairy tales, and princesses. Her favorite color is pink and her favorite activity is putting on makeup, a crown, and prancing around the house. When anyone gives her a compliment, nine times out of ten it’s, “Oh, Maddie, you are so beautiful.” She always cocks her head to side and starts laughing, as if to say, “I know.” Her five year old brother Jack experiences the opposite. People seem to have a list a mile long of words to describe this boy: smart, inquisitive, caring, compassionate, strong, and, sure, cute. So why is it that Maddie, even at three years old, is constantly reduced to her looks? Why doesn’t anyone tell her how smart she is? How capable she is? How strong, or compassionate, or good she is? I try so much to relay these messages to her when I see her, to let her know she’s more than just a pretty face, but it disappointingly feels like an uphill battle I’ll never win.

Tonight made me realize more than ever that this isn’t the world I want my future daughter or son to grow up in. I don’t want them believing their worth is measured by the symmetry of their faces, or the number that appears on a scale. I don’t want them to hate other kids and people around them who aren’t blonde, thin and white. I want my future seven year old daughter to not know what the word diet means. To not know what plastic surgery is. To recognize the images she sees before her in grocery check-out lines aren’t real and don’t matter. To spend her summer nights chasing fireflies barefoot in the grass, or telling scary ghost stories around a campfire with her friends. To scrape her knees. To get dirty. To eat ice cream cones. To be a child. And to remain that way for as long as possible.

I just don’t know how to make this happen and that’s what saddens me the most.

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My Dad vs. Modern Technology

Sooo Hotmail is officially dead. Sounds like everyone who was still holding out was migrated over to Outlook. I could really care less about this development, except it made me think of my dad and a funny story.

My pops is a hard-working, traditional kind of dude. He’s spent the better part of 40 years as a painting contractor and has worked on everything from local banks to doctor’s offices to residential homes and even some Vermont McMansions. He knows everything there is to know about painting – what kind of primer to use, how many coats a job will need, which areas will need patching, sanding, caulking etc…which is all great…but it means his knowledge on things you and I take for granted is basically non-existent.  Let me get right down to my point: the man knows absolutely nothing about modern technology and more importantly, doesn’t care to know.

Did you ever hear that joke about the person who was using a computer and received the prompt, Press any key to continue,  and his/her response was, Where the heck is the ‘any’ key???  Yeah, well I’m 99% sure that joke was based on my dad. With his coke-bottle glasses rested on his forehead and his eyes about two inches from the screen, he once spent a good 5 minutes searching the keyboard for it, only to throw his hands up in despair and say, “I can’t find the ‘any key,’ anywhere!”

business man with laptop over head - mad

Martin P. knows three things and three things only about computers: 1) how to turn them on; 2) how to get to the start menu and; 3) how to start a new game of Hearts. The end.

His hatred for technology dates as far back as I can remember and was especially strong for video games systems. For whatever reason, my dad just couldn’t remember the name of any of them, and always seemed to be a game console behind. He called the Nintendo, “The Atari,” called the Sega, “The Nintendo,” and then finally reached a point where he just referred to all video game systems as “THE MACHINE.”

“Bobby, it’s time to shut off THE MACHINE.”

“I’ve had enough with THE MACHINE, MACHINE, MACHINE! I mean it. It’s all you guys do!”

“Uh, Ricky, the red light is blinking on THE MACHINE…”

My dad also grouped the cable box, VCR, and of course all computers into THE MACHINE category. In fact, he was so “anti-machine” that we didn’t even purchase our first home computer until I was a sophomore in high school and my teachers stopped accepting hand-written essays (btw, we’re talking about 2001, folks.)

I think the reason he hates THE MACHINE is the same reason he hates THE MAN. He grew up in the 60’s, dodged the draft, believes all politicians are corrupt, and is 100% convinced Big Brother is always watching. THE MACHINE (whichever one he happens to be referring to—doesn’t matter) is just one more way for our government to keep tabs on us and he’s not gonna let that happen. Yup, no computers for my dad.

He does every estimate by hand. Gives out every bill by hand. And the only advertising he does is a Yellow Page listing. My dad’s business doesn’t even have a website, which is just mind-boggling to think about in our digital age. I guess it goes to show you the power of a good referral.

So yeah…keep all of the above in mind as I now (finally!) tell you the funny “Hotmail” story from a couple years ago.hotmail-logoThe year was 2005 and I was living in Gorham, ME, attending the University of Southern Maine. During one of my (ah, hem, DAILY) phone calls from home (MOM), I got to talking to my dad about some guy we both knew. Can’t remember his name, but for our purposes let’s just call him Ted. Here’s how the conversation went down:

DAD: Yeah, so I ran into Ted the other day.

ME: Oh yeah? What’s he up to now?

DAD:  I guess he’s looking for work. Said he might wanna do a couple of jobs for me this summer if I needed help. But I dunno…

ME: Oh, that’ll be good, Dad. Why are you hesitant?

DAD: ‘Cause the guy is…I don’t know how to describe it…WEIRD.

Let me just interrupt here to point out that my father is the most opinionated person in the ENTIRE universe and is never afraid to tell you how little he thinks of a person. So to hear my Dad struggling to come up with an insulting adjective for Ted was off-putting.

ME: What do you mean he’s “weird,” Dad?  Did something happen?

DAD: I don’t know. I just think the guy’s kind of…full of himself and I think he’s some sort of SICKO.

ME: (starts laughing when I hear the word ‘sicko’) Ok, so something obviously happened…SPILL…

DAD: Well, he called me up after I ran into him and we got to talking…and then at the end of the phone call he wanted to give me his “E-mail” address (my dad says “E-mail” address real slow, and I imagine him also using air quotes). I tried to tell him I don’t have “E-mail” but he started spelling it out anyway.

ME: Ok…so…

DAD: And well…he told me it was TEDVT1924 at HOTMAIL dot com.

ME: Ok…??

(long pause)

DAD: Yeah, HOTMAIL. Can you believe the nerve of that guy? I mean, who does he think he is?

ME: I mean Hotmail is kind of a shitty email service but I still don’t get why this makes him a sicko.

DAD: Well, I dunno. Not that there’s anything wrong with that (my dad’s favorite Seinfeld quote), but I don’t think I want any part of it.

ME: DAD, I still don’t understand what the hell you mean.

DAD: I think he’s pretty cocky. That’s what I mean. And a sicko to have HOTMAIL as his email.

And then it clicked. My father, the computer-illiterate, heard HOT MALE.

Benjamin Godfre - Hot Male Model-03_thumb[2]

Once my hysterical laughter subsided, I explained to dear-old-Dad what “HOTMALE” really was, and assured him Ted was still a good guy.

DAD: Well, I didn’t know! I don’t know anything about that sort of stuff. It’s not funny, Amy. Ugh, we’re getting another call. MARY LOOOU. How do I do this thing? Gotta go, Amy. Someone’s beeping in. I HATE THESE MACHINES.

*click*

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Priceless

White eyelet skirt: $35
2 tickets to Gin Wigmore at Higher Ground: $26
Finding out your brother is engaged via Facebook: Priceless.

There are some things money can’t buy.

For everything else, there is alcohol.

FACEPALM-Copy

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Back-Trackin’ Ain’t Easy

He may or may not have been from the Jersey Shore

Today, while attempting to find a backing track to our new radio commercial…

DJ: So, what kind of music are you looking for?

ME: I’m thinking something happy and upbeat…something poppy…

DJ: Ok, what about this? (plays tribal, African drum loop).

ME: Um, (smiles politely), nope, I don’t think that’s quite it.

DJ: Ok, how ‘bout this? (plays some reggae, Bob Marley rip off)

ME: Very relaxing, but no… I think we need something more POP.

DJ: (plays intergalactic, dubstep medley)

ME: (laughs uncomfortably)…I think we need simpler than that. Have you ever listened to Spotify? They have really great music for their commercials.

DJ: Oh ok. Let’s see here… (Googles “Spotify commercial.” Finds it. Plays it.)

ME: Yeah! See, isn’t that great? I think that’s what we need.

DJ: Yeah, definitely. So it seems like there’s some guitar strumming in there and it’s really simple. I think I got it…

DJ: (plays theme-song to “Deliverance.”)

ME: Uhhhh…Maybe it would be helpful for me to tell you a little more about who we are and what we do…(cause you clearly didn’t listen to the ad you just recorded)…Our target audience is women between the ages of 18 and 24…

DJ: MMM, hmm. Right. How about…

DJ: (plays Enya)

ME: Yeah…again… we serve YOUNG WOMEN and I don’t think that’s really gonna speak to them. Can you sort these by mood?

DJ: HAHAHA, no! Wouldn’t that be great?

ME: It certainly would be.

ME: Feist! That’s the kind of music I want. As if Feist were our backing track.

DJ: Ohhhh, ok!

DJ: (plays sultry, SloJam. Clearly has never heard of Feist)

ME: BAAHAHA! Bow-chica-bow-bow! That would be great if we were a strip club. But that’s not gonna work either.

DJ: Are you sure?

ME: Yeah, I’m positive.

***

2 hours later…(ok, fine, it was only 20 minutes)

We landed on something. What it was, I really can’t remember now. But if you end up hearing it on the radio in the next week or two, please know I tried my best.   

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Bear and The New Kitten: Day 2

So, you guys, I hate to say it, but things aren’t going well at home.

Baby girl and Bear are NOT getting along. I know it’s only been two days, but I was convinced that I would come home from work yesterday and find this:

cats cudding

Instead, all I’ve seen is THIS:

cat hissing

Strangely enough, it’s the kitten who is doing all of hissing. Bear has been ridiculously mellow and is dying to get to know her. Unfortunately, whenever he approaches her she goes ape shit and starts making these demonic growling noises and raises her hackles. Cause she’s so scary. All 4 pounds of her.

Bear really can’t figure her out. He just keeps looking at Liam and I like, “Really? I’ve got 12 pounds on this chick and SHE’S trying to intimidate ME?” He is not impressed. And unfortunately, he sprayed last night. UGH.

Can I just point out that the website said she gets along great with other cats?! We’re feeling slightly lied to.

Bear being thoroughly irritated

Bear definitely feels lied to

They did have a breakthrough this morning though, which was that they smelled each other without a fight erupting. But like all good things, it came to a screeching halt when Bear decided to sneak up on her from behind (seriously, dude, I’m on your side. Help me out a little bit). Kitten lept into the air like a flying squirrel and beelined it to our bedroom. The end.

I’m exhausted.

Have you noticed she still doesn’t have a name?

Between refereeing brawls, anticipating brawls, and following the sound of her pitiful little cry from another unusual place (like when she wedged herself in between dresser drawers), we’ve had zero time to think about names.  We also had all of these sweet names picked out for her, like Sadie, or Nora, or Charlotte that are nowhere close to her personality. She’s definitely a sassy Diva and needs a diva-licious name.  I suggested Beyonce, and before I could even finish my sentence Liam had put the kibosh on it. BOO.

cute kitten

I’m a diva and I know it

The only silver lining so far, and I do mean only, is that she is a phenomenal cuddler. She snuggled on the couch with me for a couple hours last night and then slept right on Liam’s pillow! Now if we could just transfer a small portion of her love and affection from US to BEAR we’d be all set!

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 Also accepting sassy cat name nominations in the comments section.

<<Photo credit: cybergal / Foter.com / CC BY-ND>>
<< Photo credit:
doistrakh / Foter.com / CC BY-NC-SA >>

Posted in Cats! | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Big news!

Announcing the newest member of the Lafayette / Page Household…

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Isn’t she precious?! About one year old and no name yet.

I know this is probably coming as a shock to many of you. Or not a shock at all to people who know us well. Orrr a huge shock to my mom who thought I was announcing I was pregnant. I’m not. Sorry mom. Here’s a little Q&A to help you deal.

WHAT!? You guys got another cat out-of-the-blue? Who are you people?
It wasn’t quite out-of-the-blue. But I know, I know. We didn’t tell any of you about our secret adoption plan because we wanted to keep it under wraps in case something happened. I was convinced worried that if we told the world we were adopting her, the powers that be would deny our application. Yes deny us, as in the two law-abiding citizens, who own a home, have good jobs, go to bed at 9:30 every night, and who recently spent a small fortune trying to cure our late feline of cancer. Happens ALL the time.

Keeping it a secret was soooo incredibly hard! I wanted to blurt it out at least 400 different times at the Superbowl party:

“Touchdownnnnn RAVENS!”

“Woo-hoo!”

“OH MY GOD, WE’RE GETTING ANOTHER CAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT!”

But we stayed strong :)

I didn’t even know you were looking for a cat. How did you find her?
Wellll, we weren’t seriously looking. I mean, I scoured PetFinder, Craigslist and every Humane Society within a 200 mile radius on a daily basis, but we kept saying it would be best to adopt after we got back from vacation. We’ve noticed that Bear has been extremely sad and lonely since Buddy died (ok, maybe we’re just sad and lonely for him), and had been tossing around the idea of getting him another play-mate. But Bear is an Alpha-Male, meaning unless we got a young female cat, he was probably going to beat the crap out of whoever we brought home and/or start peeing all over our house. And we’re not big fans of pee.

One day during my daily search, I came across Rose (name from shelter). I was immediately drawn to her because she had similar coloring to Buddy. I included her in my daily cat-digest email to Liam, which always contained phrases like “Eeeeeekkkkkkkkkk!” or “kitttttttttttttttens!” or “please, please, please?” Surprisingly, Liam said we should go look at her. And even MORE surprisingly, I WAS the hesitant one.

“Shouldn’t we wait until after the cruise to adopt? We’re going to be gone for a week. What if…what if…what if…”

Liam just kept replying, “Doesn’t hurt to look.”

Wait, I just gotta ask. Are you sure you’re not pregnant?
Yes, I’m positive. No baby. Just a kitten.

Sigh…Ok…When did you get her?
Rose was up for adoption at the Pet Advantage via Franklin County Humane Society, and on Saturday we paid her a visit. Remember seeing my check-in on Foursquare, friends? It was for her—not to “give my pet the edge.” Muhaaahaaa. When we walked over to her cage, there was another couple checking her out. Our hearts sank. And then we noticed the woman’s GINORMOUS baby-bump. Yep, she was about to pop that child out any day and told us they were literally “just looking because we have this (circles around belly) to worry about first.” Mom, maybe THAT was the pregnancy you were sensing.

We went over to Rose’s cage and took a look at her. She was ADORABLE. Sandy in color, big ears, petite body, pink nose…basically the perfect cat recipe. An employee came over and asked if we wanted to open the cage. Umm, duh. She immediately came over to us, sniffed us, and then reached out for us like she wanted to be picked up! My heart broke a little when the employee said she was still recovering from her spay surgery and couldn’t be held…

Liam was especially smitten with her and kept saying, “She’s probably not going to be here when we get back from the cruise! I think we should just get her.” Even though I was still slightly apprehensive, I said OK, and we started the application process.

While I filled out paperwork, Liam chatted with the cashier. “She’s such a sweet cat,” the woman told us.

“Yeah, she seems like it.” Liam said back. “I think she’ll make a good companion for our other cat.”

“Oh absolutely,” the woman told us. “She loves to cuddle, too.”

AND THEN, YOU GUYS, SHE SAID SOMETHING THAT MADE ME KNOW IT WAS DESTINY:

“And the thing about her is that she loves to climb up on people’s shoulders!”

Liam and I turned to each other and gasped. “Our other cat Buddy used to do the same thing!” we told her.

Then Liam told her all about Buddy. He told her about how chatty Buddy was, how he loved to ride on people’s shoulders and cuddle, how he ate human food, even about his bent, crooked tail.

Then the woman said, “SHE has a crooked tail, too! You probably didn’t notice it when she was lying down.” We hadn’t, but it sort of sealed the deal.

So what, are you trying to just replace Buddy?!
Nope. Not possible. Buddy was one of a kind and there will never be another cat like him. We’re just both taking some comfort in knowing Rose has some of his crazy traits.

Ok, so that was Saturday. When did you bring her home?
Unfortunately for us, we sort of picked the absolute worst day to start the application process. The shelter was already closed by the time we saw her on Saturday, and they were also closed Sunday & Monday. So we had to wait until TUESDAY to even hear if were approved or not. It was during this time my conspiracy-denial theory started. Did I mention it was killing me to not talk about this with anyone?! Cause it was. they finally called today and said we were approved and we took her home tonight!!

I thought you guys were gonna get a dog? What happened to that plan?
We still plan to! Probably in the spring or summer. But for now we’re focusing on our favorite new leading lady. :)

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