Saturday, March 31, 2012


So yesterday, I realized that it was a year since the moment I shaved my head in honor of all the beautiful women who go through cancer treatment every year. Last January, I decided that if I reached my goal for Relay For Life, I would shave it all off. So on March 30, 2011, I received the last donation that set me over my goal. First thing I did was make a call to the salon down the road from Riverfront. That afternoon after classes, I shaved it all off. In a $20 haircut (totally more than I expected) I cut off over 8 inches of hair.

March 30, 2011: Right after I cut it all off.
I was really curious with how it would grow in over the year. I said I was going to do a comparison picture a year later. But over the year, it was interesting seeing it all grow in slowly. Yes, it had it's awkward stages, but for the most part, it was interesting embracing the changing lengths.

In our society, women are known for their long hair. So when one loses her hair, she feels like less of a woman. Having to deal with these self esteem issues while also dealing with issues from serious diseases can cause insurmountable amount of pain. There are some women who embrace the hair loss beautifully and will go without anything on their heads, or wear head scarves. Many women will buy wigs. There is no shame in wearing a wig, it allows you to not be viewed as much as someone dealing with a disease. Any woman who goes through the fight of her life, no matter if she passes or not, is a hero in my eyes.

I shaved my head for these women. The fighters. The ones who go everyday with trying to keep their lives together while dealing with serious illnesses. And I would do it again. Every year actually, if it would help one woman feel better about herself!

Taken on April 6, 2011.

May 28th, 2011
May 15th, 2011

June 25th, 2011

June 7th, 2011

July 14th, 2011
July 20th, 2011
August 9th, 2011

August 18th, 2011

September 15th, 2011
October 3rd, 2011
November 1st, 2011
November 11th, 2011
December 16th, 2011
February 19th, 2012

March 17th, 2012

All we can say is that it's been an interesting year!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012


So, I know that many of you want a reaction and/or response to last Thursday's post. This is not the time for that. This is time for a happy post, as like I said, I'm moving on.

This weekend was wonderful!

Thursday night Tanisha, Abijah, their friend Matt, Cass and I went out to a Karaoke bar. None of us sang anything, but we were entertained by the more and more drunkened singing of our bar compatriots. IT was so entertaining. Many of the songs make me think of my childhood as many of them are old country songs! We have also learned that the DJ has a thing for Adele. For the first hour or so, it was always an Adele song between each of the karaoke songs.

Friday came with work, but after work Zac came over for some Rockband which ended with a conversation over coffee on my kitchen floor. Do not ask me why we ended up on the kitchen floor, we just did! After that, Tanisha, Jasmine (our RA) and I were off to Lapeer for The Blind Fish. If you've never been there and are in the area...GO! It is literally my. favorite. restaurant. I like to get the steak and crab legs surf and turf. I eat the crab legs in the restaurant and usually take the whole steak and most of my potato side home with me to eat for lunch the next day! This time I also tried the stuffed mushrooms. Super amazing!

We met up with our friend Cody there for dinner. We all call him grandpa because he tends to go to bed early, but we love that man! I've known him since I was about 4 years old, we grew up together (oh Hadley/Murphy)! It was nice catching up with him though, since he's been oober busy being all Mr. paramedic and stuff. Saving lives, makes me proud!

After that, we were back to the apartment where Abijah and her friend Matt came over. We played some more Rockband, watched a few hours of 1000 Ways to Die while playing Mad Gab and then played a little You Don't Know Jack before I was like...sleeeepppppp!

Saturday morning came and I got up for the day I've been waiting for now for several months. Back in January, Katrina and Jessica decided they were going to celebrate their birthday by going to see a show at the Machine Shop. I had never been there before. So the weekend between their birthdays, Pop Evil was coming so it was decided. Kevin got our tickets awhile back so it was the waiting that was killing me!
This is what happens when you show the sisters the cartoon/kid noises that my camera makes. Oh the hilarity!

I went to Lapeer in the early afternoon to hang with Katrina, who was home. We played some Euchre and Hoffa came over to join us. We tried to go to Blondies for ice cream...but they were closed at 3 on a Saturday. So we went out to Past Tense for ice cream. Back to trina's where we continued our Euchre and Cody came to join us.

Hoffa really liked his ice cream :)

At about 4:30, we were off to Brian's for dinner. the group of us: Katrina, Erin, Colleen, Hoffa, Zac, Jessica, Cody, Sarah, Boesler, Baby Ben and I had a wonderful dinner in the corner with many laughs. We were probably the rowdiest bunch in there. The poor waitress had to deal with us, but she did a WONDERFUL job!
Look at Baby Ben, he is the cutest thing EVER!

After that we were off to the Machine Shop for the show. I was excited as I had never been to a show at the Shop. We got there early and were partying out to the music they had playing. Someone from Banana 101.5 asked us if they could take our picture.
This was right on Banana 101.5's Facebook page! We are such an awesome group!

All the bands were amazing. I was especially happy with Finding Clyde's new sound. I love it! Pop Evil was actually taping us for a TV show, which rocks! They also had the former UM Football captain with them so it was a party night. So much fun was had, and at the end of the night, I caught one of their guitar pics! Nothing like a free souvenir.
Me and the bestie. I love this girl!

We had planned to go to Tim Horton's after, but in the end, we just all went home. It took until yesterday morning for my ears to officially stop ringing and my hearing to return. I'll probably pay for that when I get older. But it was such a fun night!

Sunday came work and homework. Boo! But overall, the weekend was such a win!

Coming Attractions!

Planned for the next few weeks are:

  • I get to finally see The Hunger Games on Friday (After payday!) with Tanisha. I read the books oober fast, and well I can't wait to see it. I've heard wonderful things!
  • Sunday I'm heading out to Lansing for some shenanigans with Molly!
  • Hoffa is finally making his first Flint debut next Tuesday night. I can't wait to spend more time with that boy!
  • I have my band concert next Wednesday. I am actually just ready for it to be over with.
  • Next Thursday, Zac, Hoffa and I are heading down to Oakland to see Guida. I haven't see Guida in awhile now, it'll be nice to catch up.
  • And, Easter at Kevin's! Woot!
  • We also throw in a Pink Party/Moving Out Party into the mix by the end of the month, but I'm sure more things will come up between then!

1. Valentine- Martina McBride
2. Who Says You Can't Go Home- Bon Jovi/Jennifer Nettles
3. Rush- Aly & AJ
4. Headstrong- Trapt
5. Perfect- Simple Plan
6. Sweet Home Alabama- Lynyrd Skynyrd
7. The Anthem- Good Charlotte
8. Meant to Live- Switchfoot

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Promises, Promises

Promises. Promises are big things. For some people, they aren't seen as important, but when I make a promise, I find a way to follow through. Promises are important.

Which is why I am going to start this post out with one of the biggest promises I've made in a very long time. I knew that something was going on, because Kevin was dropping hints. (Sorry honey, you just can't keep a secret) And then there's the fact that I'm just really good at finding things out without even finding things out. ANYWAY, last week at Kevin's birthday, he was all like, "Do you want me to tell you or do you want me to wait?" I said wait...but he told me anyway.

He had bought me a promise ring. I had reblogged something on Tumblr a long time ago with a picture of a simple ring made out of silver wire with a knot. Some girl was bashing it's meaning, and well I thought it was a cute idea at the time. For "young" relationships. I guess Kevin thought it was perfect as well, and tracked it down and bought it. But on his birthday (which was 2 days before our 3 month anniversary), he was still waiting for it to show up. So he asked me anyway (I think the alcohol played a role in why this happened that night.) He said that he promised forever, that he would, down the road, have a better job where he could buy me a real ring, and we could get married and have kids and spend the rest of our lives together.

And I said yes.

Now before you think that we are moving too fast, I want you to be reminded: I've known AND been friends with Kevin for over 2 years now. The fact that we weren't dating is still really a mystery to the both of us. It just didn't happen. But I trust him, I share everything with him, and he knows my faults. Yes, we both have some learning to do, but that comes with time.

And it's just a promise ring. A small token that I can wear to show that I am loved by someone else and that eventually, down the road, we will be together. This is a promise I intend to keep for the rest of my life.

Simple, and perfect.

And then the caged bird sings

I'm not going to say that I didn't freak out for a few the other day. I did. Majorly. It wasn't second thoughts, but more negative thoughts that were creeping in. My brain decided to remind me that the last time I let someone in this far, well I lost them. I'll never forget Sam. That is true. That boy got me through so much that summer that I don't think anyone will ever understand. So my brain was thinking, 'what if you lose Kevin too?' and I freaked out. I went for a drive. Listened to old music. Cried. And thought of my mother and how I wished she was here to talk to about all this and express how happy I am. And I cried more.

And it put me in this kind of funk for the past couple days. The only thing that has slowly been getting me out of the funk is my new decision. One to let myself be happy. This is where this caged bird will sing a song of sorrow and anguish.

I realized last night that the darkness that I've fought for years are't thoughts and memories. They are ideas. These ideas were planted in my head by the people who are supposed to love me the most. My family. Yup, it's time to get out all these things that have been in my head. The "truths" that have been told to me that have kept me locked up all these years. These thoughts in my head have kept me under your control, even when you're not a big part of my life.

You're going to be a failure and end up like your father. First of all, fuck you. My father was a smart and wonderful man. But he was depressed and when you are depressed you tend to lose interest in life. He didn't work because he got laid off and then was depressed. My father wasn't a failure, everyone around him failed to get him the help he needed. My father was a smart man, smarter than I'll probably ever be. And I would like to see you tell me that I'm a failure. When I was 18 years old, I moved out on my own and though I struggled, I have put together a life that is wonderful in it's own way. It's a thing of beauty really. I have friends that love me. I am going to college and getting a degree. I have a job. I am living in a nice apartment complex. My life is not a failure. Yes, I struggle. WHO THE HELL DOESN'T AT TIMES? It's coming out the other end that makes you succeed. And I'm going to succeed without your help (I mean, you haven't helped at all anyway).

You are a fat bitch. Yes, to this day, these words still had control over my mind. When I looked in the mirror, I didn't see a beautiful person. I saw the flaws. It's a miracle I didn't turn to starving myself which is basically what I did in "the guardian's" house. I didn't see myself as beautiful. But you know what, to those people who still think I'm fat and ugly. Shut your fucking mouth. Everyone is beautiful in their own way, no matter how big, small, fat, skinny, tall, short, black, white, tan, they are. I am beautiful.

Your mother was a bad mother. Oh, this is one of my favorites that I've kept my mouth shut about for way too long. My mother was not a bad mother. Oh, much the opposite. You are bad family members. I know you didn't approve of my father because he wasn'y a rich, business owner. I know that you were embarrassed when he shot Linda and plastered our family on the papers across the state. I know you tried to quietly get rid of my mother so that you "could raise us better." Never knew I knew that little tidbit did you? Oh, deny away. Some people know how to drive with cut brake lines. Then you ignored my mother. When she needed money, you refused. She had to borrow from her friends and later her awesome boss. My mother had fucking cancer. She was taking care of two children by herself. And you gave her a shitty stake truck that didn't work anyway. The woman needed to drive to work since you weren't helping her out. Then when she was too sick, you left her in the care of her 14 year old daughter. What kind of brothers and sisters are you? You didn't offer to help. When you told ME that I wasn't taking care of her correctly (oh I remember ALL THOSE conversations and how much it hurt because I was doing my best as a 14 fucking year old. I wasn't a professional caregiver.) And then you wouldn't even offer to come over and help. You never even brought over a meal to help out. What kind of family are you? I know my mother had a lot of pride, but that shouldn't even stop you. Who took care of her children when she was too sick to? Her best friend. And then when it came time to make arrangements for my mother's funeral and where Josh and I were supposed to go, you left this one person out of the mix entirely. You told her "not to come down because Cathy won't even know you're here anyway." Who the fuck tells someone's best friend not to come see their best friend on her deathbed? Who the fuck doesn't let her say goodbye? My mother wasn't the bad person, you all are.

And then there's the fact that you attempted to tarnish Linda's name with me. Oh, you tried real hard to not only convince me that my mother was a bad mother, but that her best friend was a liar and someone that I shouldn't trust. Like I said before, who was the person who took care of Josh and I when mom was sick all the time? Her. Who was the person who was between my father and the gun when he tried to take my brother and I on the April day? Her and her husband at the time, Matt. It wasn't you standing in front of the barrel of that shot gun, attempting to talk my father down. We didn't go to your house to seek refuge when my father got angry the night before. You weren't one of the first people to hold me or my brother on the day of our birth's. You are not going to tarnish the relationship of someone who, other than my mother, has been a part of my life since the moment I entered this world. You aren't going to take away the relationship with the woman that we spent our Easters, Thanksgivings, and Christmases with. We didn't spend them with you until she moved up north. I was supposed to live with her when my mother passed. But no, you stuck your faces in what my mother had planned and took her weakened condition to your advantage to convince her to sign papers to change all the plans she had  laid out.

Because you thought it wasn't too late to change me. So when I resisted, you told me that my mother was a horrible person. You attempted to change me to be under your power. You planted seeds. You thought you could turn me into someone that would make the family proud. Change her while she's young, convince her that everything that happened in her childhood was wrong. Nope, it never happened. Yes, for several years, I allowed myself to be under your control, but I renounce it. All those negative feelings, trying to make you happy with my decisions. I am done with that. I am defiant. Where have you been these past few years when I've been struggling? Where have you been when I spent a month living off of peanut butter and jelly and ramen because it was the only thing I could afford? Why did you take me off your health insurance so that I can't go see a doctor to get checked up and make sure something doesn't happen? You know, my biggest fear is something serious will happen and I won't have the money to pay for the hospital bills.

You think my career choice is horrible. Yup, you think because I am this "broken" individual, that I'll be a horrible psychologist. You thought Music Education was horrible. The only thing you liked was Nursing. So when I moved out and changed it all around, I saw the eye rolls. I'm not fucking stupid. I may have made it seem that I didn't notice these little cues, but I did. I saw you roll your eyes as I took food at the table. I saw the looks you gave me every time I took a fucking bite of food. I saw it all. You can't hide things from me. If there's anything I learned about myself, it's that I'm just really perceptive. I can pick up on moods, I can pick up on personalities, and I can change my behavior depending on the person in the room. And I think. I know, you always thought that I just let life pass by without thinking about it. That my mind was full of emptiness. That everything you ever said went in one ear and out the other. I wish that it had. I wouldn't be writing half of this. But at the same time, I'm glad it didn't. Why? Because unnoticed to you, I found out the family secrets. The ones you never planned on telling me. All the lies. You said I am a liar, yup I had my moments. But so are you. You all are liars. Omission is a lie, just so you know. And you thought it would all be kept quiet. One thing about our family, it never is quiet. I'm sure that this post will be read by almost all the aunties and several cousins before I get off work this morning. I know this. And you will either react, or stay silent. Or you'll ignore it. But in the end, I don't think my career choice is horrible. I think it's perfect. Ask my friends. Who do they come to when they need someone to listen? Me. And who will listen for hours without saying a word? Me. And who helps them when they are down? Me. I am a keeper of secrets. I have many secrets about all of my friends I shall never share. But in the end, I'm helping. That is why I'll make a good psychologist.

You say I don't have street smarts. You say that all my smarts are from the books I read. You say that I won't make it in this world because I have no way of getting myself through "the streets" so to say. Well, if there's anything I've learned, it's that I have more street smarts than you expected. I can obviously travel with the punches and come out on top. If anything, you all gave me most of those punches. And I was bruised but they have made me stronger. New flesh has grown in, tougher than before. I haven't moved home yet. I'm obviously still alive. I am making decisions that most 21 year olds don't make because they have families that care for them. They get to go home on weekends. Their families send them care packages, call them up for a chat, save a bed at home for them to sleep in during summer vacation. I don't have that. I don't have a place to call home. I live on my own. I make decisions on how to live. I can't call up my family when I'm low on cash and they send some more. It doesn't happen that way. I've survived over a year without a cent from that trust fund because I don't want to hear the lecture about the money in there. I can understand a lecture if I was like, "give me $200 so I can buy a new MP3 player." No, I ask him for money for rent. I don't even ask for food money. I ask for rent money. Money for I can live and not be homeless. Why is it so hard to get my money so that I can live?

A lie's a lie, no matter who it comes from. Yup, and as I said, a lie by omission is a lie all the same. Y'all are famous for that. Look at my father's death. Actually, want to know my favorite part of this whole thing? Uncle Dave told me my father was dead in December 2007. I was a senior in high school. Classes were about to be done before break and he told me on the way to school. How awesome is that? "Oh, your father passed away. Now go to school." He told me this in 2007. I grieved. I moved on. I didn't question him about funeral arrangements or anything. But it was a lie. So, when my father was actually dying in 2009, y'all held a little pow-wow and tried to figure out what to do. You left my father on life support when I was 18, and could have pulled the plug. NO ONE deserves to die the way my father did. On life support in a home. And then you did the most disrespectful thing ever. You left him there when he did die. You left him in Wayne County Morgue when he passed away in March of 2009. Not December 2007. One lie down. So you all decided that our guardians were the best people to tell us. Aunt Linda told my brother, but you think Uncle Dave is going to go back on the lie he told me in high school, call me up and actually tell me when my father died? You trusted him to do that? You shouldn't have. So I went on 2 more years, struggling through life without any of your help, when my father's family comes into the picture and tries to remedy the situation. Yes, I was sad my father died. But I was more hurt about the fact that no one fucking told me the truth. He was my father. I am his flesh and bone. You all spent 2 years deciding that it wasn't the time to tell me. Actually, you all thought I knew. Aunt Linda said she didn't find out until a few months before I did. Which I found out was a lie because she was one of the ones who got the paper WHEN he died. You all waited. I want to tell you one thing, as a future grief counselor, there is never a good time to tell someone their parent has passed away. Never. You just gotta do it. Pull off the band-aid. When it finally was torn from my heart, it took some flesh with it. I was more upset that I never knew and that my father was so disrespected. No one let his brothers and sisters know. They could have rid of it quietly and the lie could have continued. But you left him. No one, no matter what the hell they do in their life, should be left in a fucking morgue for 2 years before getting a pauper's funeral paid for by the state. What kind of people are you?

And the caged bird is flying away.

I understand what this all means. I know that it could possibly burn some bridges. These bridges were pretty rickety in the first place. But in the end, I don't want to keep relationships like this in my life. it's time for me to be happy. It's time for me to surround myself by the people who love me and don't say horrible things to my face (or behind my back). I know that things are said about me all the time, when I'm not around. Hell, I've even heard of Uncle Steve sticking up for me. Uncle Steve, another family member who is kinda the "shame" of our family. He isn't rich. But he's happy. You all kinda write him off as crazy. Call him a drunkard. Whatever. He's the only family member who has ever truly stuck up for me with no need for anything in return. He's the only family member who would tell me to come by and have some dinner when I was struggling. With his small means, him and Aunt Sue kept me fed during hard times, and sent me home with leftovers and roasts from their freezer. They kept me alive.

So, if there are some bridges burned, I will accept that. It's time to find the people who love me for me, and who will sit me down and not deny me the things I need to know. I am no longer a child. I have seen and dealt with more than many of you really have. I don't have parents. I lost my parents when I was a teenager. I don't have a place to call home.

I know, all of this is going to shame you. It will anger you. It will make you sad. You may say something to me about it. You may ignore it. You may write me off. But all I ask for is an actual sincere apology. I mean sincere, not the "oh I'm so sorry" bullshit. I want you to mean it. And the truth. I know the truth has always been a shaky subject when it comes to me, but I am not the person I was in high school. I wish you all would learn that (thought I doubt you will). If you want to write me off, send me away from the family for revealing the secrets, so fucking be it. Just remember, my generation of cousin's are doing things our way. Molly is doing things her way (and I know you pity her). We aren't under your control. I don't want you to pity me. I want you to accept me as the person I am, the strong woman that has made it on her own without you.  And when I actually get my doctorate and become Dr. Amelia, none of it will be because of you. I did it on my own terms, with my own decisions and no help from any of you whatsoever.

As my good friend told me, I am now a Honey Badger. If you don't know what that means, here's the link to the video. I no longer give a fuck. Judge me all you want, I'll be sitting back here smiling. You no longer control me. None of you. I will no longer let the negative thoughts and ideas rule my life. It just isn't worth the energy to be sad. Today, I conquer the darkness you forced me into.

Maybe it's time to step back and see how you treat people.

I'm as free as a bird now. And this bird you cannot change.

1. The Anthem- Good Charlotte
2. Dance Inside- The All-American Rejects
3. Just a Dream- Carrie Underwood
4. Wherever You Will Go- The Calling
5. Numb/Encore- Linkin Park/Jay-Z
6. Over My Head (Cable Car)- The Fray
7. Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)- Dixie Chicks
8. Perfect- Simple Plan
9. Dare You To Move- Switchfoot
10. Love Remains The Same- Gavin Rossdale
11. Your Guardian Angel- The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
12. Up Against The Wall- Boyslikegirls
13. Never Too Late- Three Days Grace
14. One Step Closer- Linkin Park
15. Miss Murder- AFI
16. Wasted- Carrie Underwood
17. You're Crashing But You're No Wave- Fall Out Boy

Thursday, March 15, 2012

"Secrets" to Happiness

A question that I receive often is: How can you always be such an upbeat, optimistic person? This is seen as happiness. To say I'm not happy with life, and that I don't want to spread that happiness to the world would be a lie, I am quite a happy person. And it truly isn't as hard as it seems.

In conversation with a good friend yesterday, we brought it down to a decision. You can decide to be happy. Overall, you can decide to just be happy. It's the decisions that you make in your life in general that allow you to make the large decision to be happy. 

But I didn't wake up one morning and decide to be happy. No, it was more of a subconscious effort on my part. I started to smile more. I found things that interested me. I surrounded myself with people who make me laugh and smile often, and when tears cloud my eyes, they listen patiently and help me make it through until the sun shines once more. These friends that I have, the ones that in essence, I chose to put there, are some of the main reason I am happy. I say I chose them because if I didn't see that they were amazing people, if I didn't realize that they were good, strong individuals, then I would have chosen to remove them from my life. There are friends I once had, that I no longer have...because they just weren't the kind of people that I wanted and needed to surround myself with. There are also people in my life, that didn't make much of an impact in it whatsoever a year ago. An afterthought. Someone I knew from the past. 

I know, it seems selfish, but at the same time, that is human nature. We are all selfish, and that's okay. No one is pure at heart, there is something in their life that they are "selfish" about. Mine is who I surround myself with. These people help make me happy. They bring joy into my life. These friends are the family I have chosen for myself.

"For the first time you can open up your eyes, and see the world without your sorrow. No one knows the pain you left behind. And all the peace you could never find, is waiting there to hold and keep you. Welcome to the first day of your life, just open up your eyes." Open Up Your Eyes- Daughtry

And love. Oh my, love. Love is such an interesting topic because it comes in different forms. The form of love I have for some of my family members is different to the love I have for Kevin which is different to the love I have for my friends. Heck, there are different kinds and degrees of love I have for each of my friends. Spread love. Tell people they look nice. Smile. Laugh! I think my purpose here on Earth is just to spread the love I have for everything. I have a love for life. Every morning when I awake and feel the air moving in and out of my lungs, I place my hand over my heart for a second and feel it beat. Then I thank God for another day on this planet. And I spread some love. I feel as if people are drawn to me just because of the fact that I give off love and joy. It's not that hard to give off positive energy, you just have to find it within yourself. If you don't love yourself, then you won't be able to love others. Find yourself. I spent a while finding myself, my true self, and well, I can't be happier. I am not the same person I was in high school. I am not the same person I was in 2009 with Sam, and I am not the same person I was a year ago. But I have found myself. I am happy with myself. And I can spread the love I have for everything.

But that isn't all that supplies my happiness. It may be a big part, but it isn't everything. There are the decisions I make almost everyday in my life. We all have good and bad parts of the day, no matter how big or small. We all get yelled at by our boss, we all have days where we are tired, where we are cranky, where we lock our keys in our car, where we make mistakes. We all make mistakes. Another thing that is human nature. It's learning from these mistakes, admitting them, apologizing where needed and moving on that makes someone strong...and happy. Yes, I say that now. Because once you get that monkey off your back, once you no longer have negative feelings about something you did in the past, a mistake, you are happier. You move on and find more joy in your life with less worries. And then when I have those bad moments in my life, I make the decision to find the best in every situation. Yes, my boss yells at me, but at the end of the day, I'm going to go home and spend time with my family. Move past that moment, and find something positive to focus your mind on, you'll be happier for it! 

I realized how well I do this a couple weekends ago. I was sitting in my car up in Birch Run, waiting for my friends Abijah and Tanisha to show up, and had my keys in the ignition, but not in all the way. So when I got out, my car's alarm that tells me something didn't go off. So I left my keys in the ignition and locked them in there. I didn't realize it until I was done with my meal, and ended up having to call a towing service to break into my car for me. And I laughed. I laughed! Why? For many, that would tick them off, ruin their day. But I laughed, at myself. You have to have a sense of humor about yourself. I am not a God, I am only human. And letting small things like that ruin my day would be no good. I had had lunch with some of my close friends, the food was good, the talk was even better. Why ruin that with a simple mistake (that cost me $30, but was okay.) I could laugh at myself because it can just happen to anyone. I didn't let it ruin the fact that I was still going to see some of my friends from camp. No, that simple locking the keys in the car and having to wait a half hour for a tow service to break in was not going to ruin my day.

And I do that everyday. When something goes wrong, I find something positive to focus on, even if it means laughing at myself. Being able to laugh at yourself is such a great tool...because we all make mistakes and instead of denying them, laughing at yourself allows you to acknowledge them and move on.

"It's my life and it's no or never. I ain't gonna live forever. I just want to live while I'm alive. My heart is like an open highway. Like Frankie said, I did it my way. I just want to live while I'm alive. It's my life." It's My Life- Bon Jovi

Last thing that's thrown in this mix of being happy, is admitting that you don't know everything. As human beings, we make decisions on the known. Why? Because we fear the unknown. We don't like gray areas. We don't like going into something without knowing how the end is going to come out. We want to at least believe that whatever we are trying to achieve, whatever decision that we making, that we will be successful. We want to feel in control of the situation. But we don't know everything. And you know what, that is okay. I admitted a long time ago to myself, that I don't know everything. Yes, as an adolescent, I learned this fact early. But, I don't ward my life on the known, which for me isn't as much as someone older than me. No, I go into the unknown. I make leaps of faith. Why? Because I learn from them. If they fail, they fail. It's a mistake, and remember what I said about making mistakes? I laugh at myself, I apologize to those who I may need to and I move on. But there's that chance that it's going to be successful, and just as if it was a failure, I learn from it. Why? Because it was unknown territory. If you don't make decisions that have gray area, if you just lead your life by what you don't learn. You don't grow. You stagnate. And we all know that stagnated water starts to reek after a few weeks.

Last night, Zac shared with me a wonderful article that all got these gears grinding. It was from a player of Magic (a game that I have watched, but have not played). And he mentioned several of these things. We have to make leaps into the unknown to learn new things. We have to admit that we don't know everything, and that's okay! It was quite enlightening. But one of the things things that really hit me is when he compared life to a game. We are all playing a game in essence. But we are all playing a different game. Don't be quick to judge others, learn from them, get to know them and grow

" What you don't have, you don't need it now. What you don't know, you can feel it somehow." Beautiful Day- U2 

And be happy. It's a lot easier than it seems. Stop focusing on the negative. When negative emotions come into your life, find a positive emotion to change it to, even if you have to focus on something that hasn't happened yet (but has the possibility to!) I will admit this right here, I have been free of my antidepressants for over a month now. I just got to the point where I didn't feel the need to take them again, and I got rid of them. Yes, I have mornings where I don't want to get out of bed, have no motivation at all. But then I remember that I'm thankful for these breaths and the sheer willpower of that fact rises me from my bed and gets me going on my day. Depression can be beat, it takes a lot of time, and I've spent over 2 years on antidepressants to find the strength and willpower to make it out of the darkness on my own. And I'm winning. Yes, I have bad days. We all do. But the love I have, the friends I surround myself with, the decisions I make in my life, finding the light in each situation, laughing at myself...these help move me out of the dark place that depression attempted to put me.

It's an ongoing journey. Remember when I had the rant on journeys? Well, this is another one I'm still living and breathing. We all have journeys. Don't fear them. Let the gray areas happen. LEARN, my word live, learn and grow!

You'll be a much better person because of it. And happier. This, this is "my" key to happiness.

Happiness is just outside my window. Would it crash blowing 80-miles an hour? Or is happiness a little more like knocking on your door, and you just let it in. Happiness- The Fray

....And now I have the 21st birthday of my boyfriend to celebrate. And celebrate we shall. Oh life, you make everything so so so worthwhile!

Music that I'm in Love With Right Now
1. First of the Year (Equinox)- Skrillex
2. Raise Your Weapon (Noisia Remix)- Deadmau5
3. The Dance- Garth Brooks
4. Open Up Your Eyes- Daughtry
5. Happiness- The Fray
6. Dig- Incubus
7. No Light, No Light- Florence + The Machine
8. Eulogy- Ben Kenney
9. Dreaming With a Broken Heart- John Mayer
10. Bangarand (ft. Sirah)- Skrillex

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Adventures in Cooking: Amelia's Really Awesome (and cheap!) Stew

So, I am a college student (DUH!) and there's nothing like a home cooked meal. My mother taught me from a young age how to cook food, and how to cook well. (And there were other influences, like Aunt Linney, who taught me many things in the kitchen!) So, living away from home, you'd expect as a normal college kid, for me to eat convenience foods.

Yes, I do at times. But they just don't make me feel as good (it has been shown that convenience foods make can actually make you feel sluggish because of the amount of complex carbohydrates that your body has to digest afterwards). And we all know just how wonderful a home-cooked meal really is.

So I cook a lot of things from scratch and make up some recipes along the way. I find it fun to put some music on and dice, slice and cook up things in the kitchen. Therapeutic actually. (A lot of times, I do it while drinking some green tea!) Though fresh ingredients are more expensive, I still find a way, with my part-time job and bills, to be able to buy them over the boxed meals. If you look in my freezer, there aren't any frozen pizzas, TV Dinners, or microwave snacks that are mine (I sometimes get pot pies because they are quick and easy, but that's about it).

Recently, my Aunt Jane gave me a crockpot cookbook that my grandmother had given my mother (there's a short inscription on the inside that says "Cathy, love Mother.") I was touched beyond belief. It's like passing it down to the next generation. And I recently refound (I know, not a word, deal with it!) my love for crockpot cooking when I made a recipe for crockpot lasagna that I had found on Pinterest. So, I was looking through this cookbook and it gave me some ideas and got the juices flowing.

This is where I came up with Amelia's Really Awesome (and Cheap!) Stew

My roommate Mindu recently moved out, and left a lot of random food items in our cupboards that she no longer wishes to have (since she didn't want to move them all the way to Boston). So, as the only person in my room that actually cooks, I decided that my new goal is to figure out what to do with these random food items. So, this was my first rendezvous is making up a real recipe.


1 lb ground beef chuck
1 8oz can tomato sauce
1 small can Cream of Mushroom Soup
2 small onions (I used sweet), diced
6 small red potatoes (peeled or not, your preference), diced
1 normal size bag frozen mixed vegetables
1 cup water
Preferred seasonings


1. Brown the ground chuck in a skillet on the stove. During this time, dice the potatoes and onions.
2. Grease your crockpot and put a layer of potatoes (3 diced potatoes), then a layer of mixed vegetables (half of the bag), then a layer of onion (1 onion).
3. After the beef is fully cooked, layer that on top of the layer of onion.
4. Repeat the layers of potatoes, vegetables, and onions on top of the beef.
5. In a separate bowl, combine the water, cream of mushroom soup and water. Whisk until it has a consistent texture.
6. Pour over the layers, making sure that all areas are covered. The liquid will go down between the vegetables.
7. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours.
8. Stir well and serve!


  • I prepared the layers the day before and stored them in the crockpot lining in the refrigerator over night. When on got up, I made the liquid mixture, poured it over and turned it on before leaving for work.
  • I put seasonings (I used a mixture of Garlic & Herb and "Savory" seasoning...I think they are both McCormick that I have in the cupboard) on the potato layers to add some more flavor. You'll want to season it to your taste, as the cream of mushroom/tomato sauce is kinda bland in flavor.
  • This was prepared in a 4 quart crockpot, if yours is bigger, you may need to double the recipe.
  • I didn't have biscuits, but this would be wonderful served on top of biscuits!!

This is a relatively cheap and easy take on normal beef stew. Prep time was about 30 minutes and it's done by the time you come home. In the time you allow it to cool, you'll have time to throw some biscuits in the oven!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

The White Board of DOOM...I mean Awesomeness

So, I was given a wonderful idea from a family friend the other night. See, we have this white board that has been in my apartment for the past 2 years, and every month we start anew. On this white board, we put on things that are said and done in our apartment over the course of the month, and it is signed by the people who joined us in our apartment that month.

It had humble beginnings. When I bought the board, I had planned for it to be a place to leave notes for each other (my roommates Mindu and Tanisha) and to put up what we needed to buy at the store if one of us was making a trip. But rather quickly, it evolved into something that we put our memories on and at the end of the month (and then many months later) it could be looked at and we could remember the memories. So this morning, I am going to take a trip down memory lane and share with you the boards up to now and some of my favorite memories...and then I have decided that every month, I shall share the board and the memories that come with it, so that down the road, I can look back and see the amazing times I had in college and this apartment that changed my life.


Humble beginnings are humble. It all started with this board. Notice there is still a shopping list with sugar (because you always need sugar...I swear!)

But this also has notes from Abijah and Natasha when they stopped over, a countdown to when we would see Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows Part 1 in November and a quote from an article I had to read for microbiology that made me laugh...a ton!

The "Meditation" part is from our roommate agreement that we made that year at about 3 am one morning. We all decided that if we were to get into a fight, we would climb on top of our closet thingys and meditate away the bad feelings. Oh...and this was also the start of the writing of Stephon's birthday in different ways.

October is of course my favorite month. Why? Oh's my birthday! Notice that the shopping list is on there, but a banana costume has been added. There is also a quote from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (but that would be cannibalism and that is frowned up in most societies.) We decided that Harry Potter is better than Tron after the rash of Tron commercials that we saw on television (I mean it was good...but Harry Potter was better.)

Another micro reference when talking about the bubonic plague in class ("I'm bringing the bubonic plague back. YEAH! The other sicknesses don't know how to act.")

And we had a fight over the sex of the pumpkins which is why by the end of the month, there was a whole pumpkin family on the board.

Also notice, Stephon's birthday is written very small-ly on the lower right corner. ;)

Notice that the shopping list is still there, but it only says food. Yeah, like I said, it regressed. We had some interesting things this month, a countdown until my 21st birthday was added, the countdown to HPDH1 was ended (since we saw it this month). Tanisha's hand was used for Tom the Turkey (and Stephon's birthday was written around his feathers. The "don't pee" part was first for me because we were testing out pee in micro lab and then for Mindu as she had to go get a pee test. Then I got this crazy cold and couldn't laugh because it felt like my lungs were coming out my mouth.

The "Alcohol panties" came from a trip over the see Molly. We had gone to Victoria's Secret and I had bought some underwear, and then took a bottle of Mike's Hard Lemonade home...that was in the end open and leaked all over my new underwear.

And we had to apologize to the board because we hadn't been writing much on it (compared to this year, we really didn't write much!)

December came and notice the shopping list is still hanging in there, I can't quite remember what month that left. We got rid of the countdown to my 21st birthday...I decided it was too far away. We added a countdown to HPDH2, Christmas and 2011. Luna visited and we put huge arrows to where we sit/live (our rooms) and what we did.

This was the month of the "unconscious button" because this was about the time that Tanisha would start our 1 am talks standing at our doors...where we didn't get to bed til 4 am because we always had awesome but ridiculous conversation. The unconscious button was our way of saying we were going to bed.

We named our poor special Christmas tree Latanya Humphrey and we said we would kill each other's toes as a threat.

And Stephon's birthday is still written on there!
Shopping list is still chilling. The Leo stare (from the famous Leonardo DiCaprio Meme's from Inception that are floating around the interwebz) began. "Do girls poop from their vagina" was a line from Meet The Fockers that Tanisha, Abijah and I went to see this month. The "You're motoring, what's your price for flight.." part is from the song "Sister Christian" that makes us laugh when we play Rockband 3 (which I had gotten for Christmas)

"I don't have a printer at home...Fuck you" is from a class I had and this woman made such a huge deal about not having a printer at home and my professor almost freaked out on her because she wouldn't drop it. Funniest, yet most annoying thing in class ever.

"WAT!" is my new way of saying what, because inside I really am a big black woman. We also created the IPod Mega which was a p.o.s. ipod with a key board, no internet, footbook and coldmail.

Oh and Sasha. Sasha needs an introduction. Mindu was looking through her things one night and found this naked barbie doll with the anatomical terms written on her parts. So we said Sasha was a whore, and we dressed her accordingly. We told her to make us a sandwich.

I think this was the last month of Stephon's birthday...since it was his birth month.

Shopping is still there. Tanisha added a countdown to her 21st birthday. We had 3 snowdays in a row so "ping pong" time was something we did when we were trapped in the building for those 3 days because of the 16 inches of snow we got during the Snowpocalypse. Mindu was starving, Tanisha was attempting to look for money.

Mindu also got really sick at this time and Tanisha and I became her parents (I would make her a lot of soup) so we wrote on the board her excuse for not going to work. ("Mindu's parents (Tanisha & Amelia) will not allow Mindu to work today due to her illness.")

"Bleezard...BLIZARD" comes from a recording Tanisha and I made of ourselves playing the original Oregon Trail where we hit blizzards, tried to kill certain people off and called squirells "little shits."

I also had an experience with the llama at camp this month and a freak out over pulled pork (where I sang Sister Christian while adding pulled pork in there.)

Shopping is gone (sad...) Katrina's mom came to visit me, fat Tuesday happened (paczki power) and Natasha had a little too much fun one night and left us all a personal note.

Sasha was causing issues when she lived on her "boat" that was on the back of our couch and fell on me in her sleep. 

You know what they say about April showers...Tanisha turned 21 (yay!) and this was our last month in 1104, the apartment that we moved into for the first year at Riverfront. We decided that Tanisha needed chocolate cake even though she didn't like chocolate cake (but she liked brownies). I wrote, "I can ride my bike w/no handlebars...NOT" after I bought the song on Rockband (and I can't literally ride a bike, true story)

I had some Naked Juice, and they made fun of me all month long about it. We told Tanisha to use the litter box after both bathrooms (for once) were full and she needed to go.

And the cheeseburger without cheese, yeah another ridiculous person that needs to be smacked.

After being away for 4 months, the board was BACK and in a new apartment (512). Mindu got some roses, and got a little tipsy and threw the rose at my head (trust me, it wasn't pleasant). I wrote about how I can't understand life at 5 am because that's when I started working these early morning shifts. I picked lots of things up with my toes ("toe skeelz").

Molly took a whole corner (not like we cared) and we decided that 17 inches was badddddd....I made a countdown for when Luna was supposed to come over because we missed her and we had some fun fun nights!

October...part 1
So we had 2 different boards for October, this was the first one that we had. Tanisha hurt Mindu, then denied it, so Mindu called her a liar. My birthday happened so there were lots of people in their not so sober stupors writing on the board (poooorrrr Kevin...).

"Where 'dem girls at" was from when we heard that David Guetta had died, then found out about 20 minutes later he wasn't dead...but I said that and we about died. (Say that around Abijah sometime and she'll tell you that you're going to Hell.)

And we had an issue figuring out when a shift was at 2-5am, and an argument ensued (a not serious argument of course, I don't think we ever got into a real fight!)

 October Part 2
Kevin thought he was marrying Abijah (yeah no...); Dejuan came to chill and Stephon was angry we erased his name from earlier in the month. Luna still wasn't coming over, Marita came and told us to go to a haunted house.

We thought the orange marker was yellow (it tried really hard) and I can't really remember the how ya like me I wrote "wat is this?" and someone used a smart-ass answer and said it's English.

And we ordered pizza in an Italian accent and talked about eating bacon and pepperonis and sausage.

Luna never came over (we forgave her and didn't kick her ass), we wrote November in 2 languages (french also) and Tanisha said we were learning. We had an argument over the pronunciation of my name. I was really craving turkey (see the mmm...)

I became an asparagus (which I was okay with) but not okay with the wrong pronunciation of my name. I went to Chicago with Molly and had adventures driving on the Loop and seeing random things around the city for Mindu's bridal shower. 

"I know you don't like nuts.." the things that fall out of our mouths and make us giggle. I think we were talking about eating peanuts and I didn't want any but Mindu offered anyway and said that.

We had a Christmas party this month so there's lots of signings and hilarious things. Abijah thought she lost her zippo, tore apart our apartment and then found it in her pocket("The zippos was in my sweatpants"). Mindu left for India for a month ("I love my roomies...I will miss you guys so much"). Finals week happened and I feel like Tanisha and I both had the plague ("Why do we always get sick when finals week comes up?")

Mindu drew a red tree and I just commented on how it was red and she got all testy about it (Like always) ("first red Christmas tree I've ever seen :) Not saying I don't like it." "Don't be jealous of my tree") I decided to never hurt Luna ("I think I'll never kick Luna's butt since me being sick was the reason why she didn't come over this weekend.") But she ended up coming over anyway at the Christmas party. 

Kevin said he was going to marry Abijah again (oh running jokes) and then the next day we started going out so I wrote "Not is I have any say in the matter." Kevin also gave us the wonderful pearl: "Coke just tastes weird now without rum in it."

Mindu came home from India, but then she saw the "'s a trap" and became worried. We had a party and we had a movie in and we were talking about hugs and the screams from her exorcism made us laugh ("hugs...she gets off on em...") We decided that hanging out was long as pants were involved (at least in Tanisha's room).  I came home from Molly's and went to bed, and woke up to an open bottle of vodka in my bed ("that awkward moment when you find an open bottle of vodka in your bed.") but I wasn't drinking it...I just forgot to put it away after I took it out of my bag on my bed.

There were several youtube videos mentioned that were hilarious, Manbungo-African Warrior and Grandma Rack City. From the same party mentioned earlier, we went on a late night trip to Taco Bell where I thought there was a cat in Abijah's car, we talked about Nick's private parts and we had to deal with a not so sober Kevin; "You hit me in the nipple;" "I'm just fuckin' with ya but seriously I'm gonna punch you in the dick.-Nick Dean"

Then there was the whole PIPA/SOPA, there was a blackout March and Tanisha and I freaked out because it meant not buying, downloading, going to see, etc. any books, movies, video games for the whole month of March. Well, there was SSX3, The Hunger Games, Sims 3 Showtime, etc. Well, I think Tanisha and I had a heartattack and asked if we preordered them now and paid for them now, if we could still have them ("what if we pay for them now")

I wrote the month in German, both because I love "learning" and it is also Kevin's heritage (and well, since it was Valentine's month, it was kinda on my mind.) Mindu drew the three of us and we decorated each other because we were awesome roomies. I went (with my friends of course) to many bars/clubs over the period of this month, and my drinking adventures gave me some awesome lines that were added. Like "I need you like a blind person needs a seeing eye dog." I said that to Molly at Necto on 2/4 when I realized that I had drunk a lot of alcohol and I would need her to help me up and down all the stairs to get out of the club. And the "I taste...NOTHING!" was said after a night at Jester's where Tanisha and I drank a ton, and we realized the last pitcher of cranberry vodka was made with Grey Goose and it was so smooth that it got us into too much trouble. Another adventure in drinking left us super (drunk) hungry at Mega where I ordered an omelete AND a salad...I ended up taking the whole omelete home, but it did leave me with lunch the next morning. ("Buying a Greek salad AND an omelete at the same time was the best decision of my life.")

I wrote out the song I sang for my fish when I had to flush them back in December (back story: I had gotten 26 fish as a white elephant gift from work and they had a in the end, I lost 22 of the 26. I still have 4 that are getting huge.) It goes like this: "Amazing grace, how sweet the sound. That saved a fish like you. You once were alive, but now you're dead. Float on little minnow, float on." Yup, I sang that for my fish as I flushed them into the Flint sewer system.

Mindu had a countdown to the day that she was going to move out forever, Tanisha turned it into 500 more days than it was. On her last night in Flint, Mindu went to the wine bar down the street with friends and came home really intoxicated ("my Indian rommate is highly intoxicated") and held onto Tanisha's door for dear life ("I'm gonna get back on the door"). This led to me writing a letter: "Mindu should not be allowed to have many glasses of wine signed: her mother" and ended with us making a plan to get her to bed ("pajama den a pee de a go to bed --> couch") On February 25th, Mindu moved out forever and left me with many emotions ("I just have so many emotions")

Yup, we have had some crazy awesome times together that I'll never forget. And I know many more will come in the future! If you read this, well thanks for joining me on memory lane!