Adopt, don’t shop

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I’ve been thinking about this for a while, and I hate to be that person, but I’m going to be that person. (Because I am that person.)

I think everyone needs to understand the importance of adopting a dog over buying a dog. Also, if you’re going to say you “adopted” a dog from a breeder, you didn’t. You bought a dog the same way you’d buy a handbag or a pair of Nikes. You didn’t have to look at a large room of dogs that are confused and wondering why they’re sitting in cages for weeks, months, or years.

You completely overlooked all of the dogs on death row.

See, there’s this thing called euthanasia and many shelters employ it, because they are overcrowded with these four-legged creatures. They’re overcrowded, because people breed their dogs.

“But Fido is so cute; EVERYONE will want him.”

Except everyone doesn’t want Fido. People end up charging less than they wanted, and sometimes they even give away puppies. Sometimes, it works out, and a puppy is adopted by a nice nuclear family, and they all live happily ever after.

But sometimes a sick, twisted individual gets his hands on a free dog, beats him with a baseball bat, burns his paws and throws him in a freezer thinking he’s dead.

Yes, that happened.

The puppy survived and has some permanent issues.

I know you’re going to argue, “so what if I paid $1200, it’s not that puppy’s fault that he was born to that breeder.”

Absolutely not your adorable puppy’s fault, but you’re perpetuating a problem.

Fido wouldn’t be $1200 if no one wanted him. Fido would be in a shelter, and Fido would be $300. You could adopt him there and support your local shelter and shelter puppies.

In case you think I’m just making this up and you feel judged.

  • 2 millions dogs are euthanized per year
  • 70 million stray cats are in the US
  • The cost of spaying or neutering your cat or dog is less than taking care of a kitten or a puppy for one year.
  • Homeless animals outnumber homeless people 5 to 1
  • If you think it’s cruel to neuter or spay your pet, imagine how cruel it’ll be when you have to put down her babies
  • Approximately 55% of dogs and puppies entering shelters are killed, based on reports from 1,038 facilities across America. Source: National Council on Pet Population Study and Policy – Shelter Statistics Survey

If you don’t believe me, please click the following links. These are the animals that you are technically letting die, because you decided you needed to have that purebred imported from North Carolina with the blue eyes.

http://nycdogs.urgentpodr.org

http://www.dogsindanger.com

https://www.facebook.com/PetsOnDeathRow/?fref=ts

https://www.facebook.com/Urgentdeathrowdogs/

https://www.facebook.com/Shelter-dogs-in-danger-556692771047036/

They are puppies. They are adults. They are innocent, and they are being killed.

If that’s still not getting to you, follow @Chl0ster on Instagram. Talk about a wake up call.

Shelter dogs are not bad dogs, either. You don’t just adopt a dog and then expect them to be perfect. When I first got Mogli, he growled and didn’t like to share his toys. I thought he had a mental problem. He also didn’t like eye contact and was very timid.

It turns out, Mogli is incredibly vocal, and loves to play. He shows all of his teeth when I ask him to go for a walk, because he’s smiling. Some dogs smile when they’re excited! He’s also terrified when I have hiccups. He doesn’t like the vacuum cleaner, but he’s come around to the hair dryer.

All dogs have their quirks—from a shelter or not.

Obedience training, playing with them, and taking care of them will ensure that you have a good, healthy dog. They’re not inherently bad, because they’re in a shelter. They’re behind bars, because no one wanted them. You can’t write off all dogs in a shelter, because that’s not fair. It’s definitely not a reason to buy from a breeder or to breed your own dog.

Mogli is my favorite dog ever, and he’s better than any other dog I’ve ever met. He’s a huge cuddly baby, he’s a protector, he’s got a crazy set of lungs, he’s a runner, he’s a lover, and we saved him from death row. Gloucester County is one of the biggest culprits of euthanizing dogs. I like to think that Mogli knows we saved him. I don’t know where he came from. I don’t know who abused him. I don’t know who starved him and didn’t love him. I don’t know any of his history.

But I do know that I get to write his future. I do know that he’s infinitely happier that I’m his mom.

My point isn’t to shame the people who bought a pet—we don’t always make the best choices. I just hope one person out there decides to visit a shelter. There’s no reason to buy a designer dog. Your pet isn’t superior, because you know his bloodline.

I get that you won’t love your bought dog less after reading this, but I hope it prevents you from buying another dog. I hope you go to your local shelter and take a gander. I hope you rescue a dog from death row.

Here are more facts:

http://www.americanhumane.org/animals/stop-animal-abuse/fact-sheets/animal-shelter-euthanasia.html

http://www.aspca.org/animal-homelessness/shelter-intake-and-surrender/pet-statistics

http://www.humanesociety.org/issues/pet_overpopulation/facts/pet_ownership_statistics.html

https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-animal-homelessness

http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/12-alarming-facts-about-pet-homelessness/

 

 

Happy birthday bby

Today is my best friend’s birthday (not my BEEF, Emily). I met one of the best people last year in a pretty peculiar way, but I’m incredibly happy that I did, and I’m extremely happy that I get to call him my boyfriend.

I’ve learned a lot about him and a lot from him in the last year.

Before I sound too cheesy and lovey, I’ll get right to the things I’ve learned from him.

1. Be nice. Sometimes people will be impolite. Sometimes they’ll be downright mean. They’ll be cruel and unfair, but that’s not a reflection of you, at all. Be the bigger person. Be the better person. Forgive and forget. At the end of the day, you don’t want to regret something you said or did. If you get down to the level of a twelve year old, do you really feel that great about yourself an hour later? A moment of smugness for putting someone in their place doesn’t solve anything. People won’t change because of you. They’re more likely to see reason through kindness. If they don’t, it was never your problem/battle to begin with. No matter what happens in your day, you should be nice. There’s never a reason to be anything but.

2. Try to see the good in people. Not everyone is terrible, and sometimes, people can really surprise you. Sometimes you can get so wrapped up in an idea of someone that you fail to see what’s actually there. Try to give people the benefit of the doubt. Not everyone is cut out to be your best friend, and that’s okay. You’re allowed to have some friends who don’t know every detail of your life. You’re allowed to talk about shallow things.

3. Say hello. There are billions of people in the world. You’re bound to meet some duds, but there are also some decent people in the world pool (see what I did there). People are noticeably happier when you smile and say something. If you can brighten just one person’s day, why wouldn’t you? Don’t get me wrong, I don’t always do this, but it’s something I’m working on.

4. Try new things. I don’t like to admit this, but most of the time I don’t like to go out and hang with people I don’t know. I always worry that we’ll have nothing to talk about. As an introvert, I value meaningful conversations. I don’t like sports talk. I don’t like weather talk. I don’t like news talk. Without fail, every time we end up somewhere, I hit it off with people, and Kevin is the one asking to leave (granted its 1am and time for bed). There are the occasional times when I do want to go home, but the track record of times I’m having a good time far surpasses the others.

This extends beyond social gatherings, too. I did my first 5k last year with Kevin. We trained together, but we slacked towards the end. When we did the race, Kevin didn’t let me stop. No matter how slow our pace got, we weren’t allowed to walk.

I notice this trend throughout our relationship. We try something we’re comfortable with, and then we push beyond what we think our limitations are. You’re a lot better than you think you are.

5. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Yes, it’s all small stuff. Traffic. Workouts and arguments. Messy hair. Sand in your shorts. Life is too short to get upset about things. (I say this, but it’s certainly something I have to remind myself of on the reg.)

6. Be patient. Wait. Obviously with the little things. Kevin never gets angry in traffic, where I lose my mind if someone doesn’t use a signal. Beyond even the small stuff, wait. Try to wait.

Your job will get better or you’ll find another one. Complain when warranted, but trust that it’ll get better.

Kevin took me ice skating for the first time in New York City, and it started to snow; it was perfect. I have a list of firsts that I’m glad I’ve never done with anyone else. I’ve always known that patience in life was a good virtue to have, but–as corny as it sounds–now I know that good things come with time. Trust that your patience with all of the idiosyncrasies in your life is worth it.

7. Let go. You can’t control anything. I’m very much still learning this. You can only control and take care of yourself. Eat healthy, exercise and maintain a healthy spiritual life. Just know that everything else is not yours to control.

8. Everything will be okay. Even the things that aren’t okay will someday be okay. Your attitude dictates how you’ll feel; however, one fact remains: everything turns out okay in the end. Sorry to spoil the ending. Even if things turn sour for me today or next week, I know that it’s not permanent. Kevin may not always be around. I may lose many things, by it’ll be okay. This is something I learned last year, but it’s true.

There are a ton of other things I’ve learned from Kevin, but this will have to suffice. I’m thankful that I get to spend two birthdays with this happy little clam. He’s the most positive person I’ve ever met, and the jelly to my peanut butter. I’m incredibly thankful that he was born today.

I love you, Kevin. I hope you have the happiest of birthdays, and that you only change for the better.

Secrets Revealed…

I’d like to share a secret that has changed my life. I’m pretty sure I shared it over a year ago, but it deserves its own post.

You know that film of white or yellow (or whatever color yours is) that sits on your tongue at the end of the day (and hey, let’s be honest, probably the morning, too)?

You don’t have to scrub it away with your brush – that’s disgusting.

You don’t even have to use those weird little bubble things on the back of your toothbrush head.

No.

There’s this invention, and it’s called the tongue scraper.

This (along with floss) is probably my very best friend in life.

When you’re done brushing your teeth, and you feel like your teeth are clean, but your mouth still feels funky from all that garlic and onion (and pizza and ice cream and and and) you ate (whoops!), you should use your handy, dandy tongue scraper.

You don’t press incredibly hard on your tongue or anything, and it doesn’t make you gag like a toothbrush can. It’s as simple as, oh I don’t know, scraping your tongue with said tongue scraper.

Bad breath? Gone.

Nasty film on your tongue? Long gone.

Great, clean mouth feeling? Check (make sure you floss and mouthwash, of course)!

I discovered the tongue scraper last year, and boy has my life never been more complete.

Don’t be alarmed if at first your tongue scraper has your nasty gunk all over it – that’s the point! That’s bacteria (and I really don’t know what else or care what else; it’s absolutely disgusting is what it is)!

Rinse it with warm water. You’ll probably have to use your fingers at first to get it all off; however, the more you do it (i.e.: every night), the less will be on there.

Of course, I hope you’re already flossing and using mouthwash regularly, because if you don’t floss, all that tasty raw fish in your sushi is sitting in between your teeth, having a dance party and plaque-ing up your teeth.

Please floss. I don’t want to write about the importance of flossing; I think we’re all old enough to know that’s not something you skip.

So, the next time you’re at the dentist, and they tell you, “wow, you have phenomenal teeth; it’s like I have nothing to clean,” just smile your dazzling, clean, white teeth, because you earned it.

Now, go get that tongue scraper!

note: they are like 7$ on Amazon (and you get two!), so you can share with someone you love or just someone who really needs it.

Spring Runs

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Several years ago, I started running to get into better shape. I was skinny fat—you know, where you’re thin but probably unhealthy and actually gross.

I started with a running program I found online, and I only ran in my backyard, because I was too embarrassed to run around the neighborhood. I could only do one lap around my yard without feeling out of breath and lame.

Within a couple of months, I was up to running 30 minutes at a time.

Me.

When people refer to me as “you’ve always been active,” I really laugh inside, because the most active thing I used to do was dance in my room by myself once or twice a month.

Of course, after I could run 30 minutes (close to three miles), I started to push it, because I have zero limits. “I can probably do 35 minutes,” I told myself that first semester at Rutgers. “38 minutes isn’t that much more than 35—I can probably do this.”

“You know what—I could probably run every day, because I’m pretty sure real runners run every day.”

Then one fateful day during my lunch break at school, I finished running about 3.5 miles.

That’s when I felt it.

My legs were on fire. Every step felt worse than the one before.

Ever since that day, I really haven’t been back to myself.

So, I do 2 – 6 miles a week (depending on my legs), and someday I’ll be up to 20 a week, but it’ll take time.

Spring is my absolute favorite running season, because of a few things.

  1. I love the smell of flowers. I smell hyacinth and roses and who knows what. I can’t describe how much I love the smell of flowers, and especially when I’m running and take a breath. ERMERGERD.
  2. I love the sun on my face, and the wind at the most random times. I love the warmth, and then I love the shade moments later. I run in a residential area, so I get the shade of tons of shade after an uphill run in the sun.
  3. I get to see people’s homes. Some people leave their front doors open. Others spend their afternoons gardening. I get to see it all, and I really like it.
  4. I get to see who lives where. I really don’t know anyone in my town, and I kind of like it that way. I like to think that there are probably really interesting characters, so when I see people, I create a story about their lives. So, there’s this one guy five blocks over, and in my story, he’s a doctor who’s looking for his soul mate, but every day, he’s pretty sure he isn’t going to find her. There’s a plot twist, though. His soul mate is a nurse on duty in a neighboring hospital. They’ll meet pretty soon, and I’ll probably get to wave at them on a future run.
  5. I get to see all of the flowers blooming. The smell is one thing, but have you seen my floral board on Pinterest? Yeah, today I found a field of dandelions and I almost stopped to pick one, but figured I’d leave it with its people.
  6. I feel like I’m getting somewhere. I turn down different roads all the time. I go to different places. I pass other runners. I like to explore my own town. I can’t wait until I’m elsewhere, I will explore that place so hard.
  7. I like to listen to important, upbeat songs that mean something. I mean, I love the other fun songs, but the treadmill and the road are so different. On the treadmill, I have a 144 BPM playlist that gets me through the mundane-ness of it all. On the road, I can listen to meaningful songs that make me want to go further. It’s just nice.
  8. My final reason is that I can do anything I really apply myself to. Being who I am, I never thought I’d be able to actually enjoy exercise, but I do. I know it sounds corny, but that “runner’s high” that people talk about is actually a thing. There comes a point (and I can only imagine it’s infinitely better when you’re logging 10-12 miles at a time) during my run where I get into a rhythm and nothing matters anymore. I’ve forgotten about the stressors at work. I’ve forgotten about the people who I didn’t matter enough to. I’ve forgotten about the jobs I didn’t get. I’ve forgotten about everything, and I’m just running to wherever I feel like going. It’s incredible when the sun hits my face at just the right time, when I smell the perfect flower, and when a gust of wind hits me and the beads of sweat dissipate.

So yeah, I may only be doing a couple of miles every other day, but they matter most.

Dear Forgiveness, I saved a plate for you. Quit milling around the yard and come inside.

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Forgiveness.

You’re supposed to forgive people.

Apparently.

Years ago, I read this book that said to forgive people, even if they don’t apologize.

The book goes on to say that if you don’t forgive people, you end up with pent up hostility and grudges for people who never think about you. It suggests that you reach out to them and let them know you forgive them, and blah blah blah.

I completely disagree with this idea.

First of all, I don’t think forgiveness really has anything to do with anyone but you. You’re not forgiving people for some karmic relief. You’re not forgiving people for social status. You’re certainly not forgiving people for a second chance to screw up your day.

Maybe it’s my pride, or maybe it’s because I genuinely never think about people who’ve seriously disappointed me, but I have never (and will never) reach out to anyone to say, “hey, I accept your non-apology, because I’m that good of a person.”

I’m really not that good of a person.

Or that stupid.

People really just don’t cross my mind unless someone brings them up.

There are only a few people who’ve seriously wronged/slighted me in my life. I was incredibly angry, and depending on how much I’ve loved them, I tried to keep myself in check, because I never wanted to bite my tongue later.

You can’t take back things you’ve said.

Ever.

So, I always say what I mean and mean what I say.

After I get it off my chest, I move on. Occasionally, especially those first few hours or days, I try to pinpoint where it all went south. I try to figure out what happened.

Then I let it go. I let it go, because I realize that the answers I’m looking for don’t exist. Sometimes people do terrible things, and that has nothing to do with me. Sometimes people mistakes, because they’re careless.

I really don’t care why people do what they do. It’s enough to know that they weren’t considerate. That’s enough for me.

So no, I don’t hold grudges or remain hostile towards people, because I’m not spending any time thinking of them. I realize that holding a grudge will only hurt me.

I really don’t have time for that.

I’d list all the ways I’m even too busy to be writing this, but it came up today, and I felt the need to explain via this post.

I do not, however, think you need to forgive people for anything; it is sufficient to live your life and forget them without harboring any negative feelings.

What I do to remedy the situation is forgive myself.

So, I trusted the wrong person. So, something blew up in my face.

So, it happened.

I can lament over it, or I can grow.

Not one to ever sit in self-pity, I set a goal and I work toward it.

I forgive myself by trying new things. I forgive myself by accepting the fact that bad things happen to everyone. I forgive myself by knowing to be a little more careful in the future. I forgive myself by having a good life. I forgive myself by giving new people new chances.

I forgive myself by trusting that even though there were a few bad experiences had, there are infinite better ones waiting for me.

Literally.

It can be hard, for sure, but it’s important.

No, I don’t forgive people, because they deserve it. I don’t even think about those people. I don’t walk around with a dark, heavy cloud of anger towards anyone. Being such a firm believer in karma, I know that everyone eventually gets what they deserve.

I’d rather pour my energy into the things and people I love (or will love).

If you let one bad thing ruin life for you, you’re no better than any of the people who wronged you.

I remember once, someone I loved deeply was wronged and I don’t think he ever got past it. It’s a shame, and I’m incredibly sorry for him, because he was one of my favorite people on this planet (if not entirely my favorite person).

Forgive yourself, because you’re better off.

Be You, Be Great

You should do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

This has always been my mantra, and I will take it to the grave.

I try to live my life to the fullest, but to the fullest for me.

For example, I’m completely okay with being in pajamas by seven on a weeknight (okay, or even five if I’m not at the gym). I work hard, I study hard, and I do everything that I want in a day.

When it comes to things I’ve wanted to do, I have a bucket list. I’ve done a lot of things I wanted to do, but I still have a few I’m working on. If I died tomorrow, I’d know that I did the things I could have done given my time here.

When it comes to things I’ve wanted to say, I’ve said them all.

There isn’t one person who doesn’t know what I needed them to know. Don’t get me wrong, not everything has been reciprocated. When I was 17, I told The One That Got Away how I felt. Of course, I realized (in time) that he wasn’t actually TOTGA.

Years later, I did it again (I’d like to say tactfully, but when you’re telling someone, “hey, I’ll love you for the rest of my life, because you’re you, and I don’t need that reciprocated. Just thank you for existing,” well, you can see how that might be not classy for a girl to say [but I really didn’t care. It needed to be said.]).

I think you should tell people everything you want to tell them, because you don’t know when you’re going to go. I just know that if I died tomorrow, the people who matter, the people who mattered, the people I love, they all know.

As for the things I’ve done and am doing, I’m more than happy.

My coworker told me today, “I’d be sad if I died this young, but I lived my life. I’m happy where I’d be going.”

I know that everyone has their own set of guidelines to live by, but I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t think mine were the best.

I think you should always be honest. I think you should always be compassionate. I think you should always be as good of a person as you can be.

For you.

Sometimes, it’s easy to forget and get caught up in other people, in other things, but it’s really not all of that. It’s just about being okay with you.

One thing that has always bothered me was insecurity in your own self. I get physical imperfections, and I’m all for bettering oneself, but I don’t like that guttural rejection of oneself.

If you’re unable to love yourself, you have to work on that. It’s the one thing that irritates me to the core. You should love yourself more than anything, because you’re all you have! You should be kind to yourself, and you should be happy with yourself.

Unless you’re a crappy person (you very well could be, and that sucks for you).

You should leave your house every day and know that you can handle whatever life throws at you. I can’t really explain this, but I’ve known a handful of people who search for external approval for validation.

Maybe my ego is too big, but I don’t think that’s it.

I’m well-aware of my shortcomings, but they do not (in any way) affect how I live my life or how I see myself.

For example, I’m atrocious at small talk. I’m the absolute worst person to try to talk to at a function if we’ve never met. I used to try to smile a lot and nod. I tried to make it easier for other people to feel less awkward not knowing someone at a social function.

Not so much anymore.

I mean, I’ll try to talk, but most likely, I’m too busy thinking about something else and wondering when this function is over.

Is that a shortcoming?

Heck yes!

Do you know how many people I never get to meet? TONS.

My soul mate probably saw me a thousand times but never approached me!

I believe in soul mates!

If that’s not a shortcoming, I don’t know what is.

Seriously speaking, though, I have a lot of shortcomings.

They do not dictate my life, though.

That doesn’t have any bearing on how I feel when I leave my house every morning. Every morning, I leave my house and look at the one bird on the telephone wires. I smile at him and I think, “today will be better.” Sometimes it is, and sometimes it’s the worst day ever.

Then there are the people who walk around with a heavy brick on their shoulders. I have no idea what makes them so insecure, but you can see it through everything they do. It follows them around like a nasty stench.

They try incredibly hard to please others, and they usually do a great job. It’s just that they’re never confident. They fake it, but—let’s be honest—we can see through it.

Anyway, before I get carried away on the fact that I absolutely cannot tolerate the weakness of them, I’ll stop.

I just mean to say that you should be 100% of everything you’re doing.

You should make that green smoothie, because you want that green smoothie and that should be enough.

You should tell the gas attendant that you don’t want to be topped off.

You should say no if you don’t want that second beer.

You should say, “I’m sorry, but I’m not comfortable,” if you’re not comfortable.

You should change your social group if they’re not what you want.

You don’t owe anyone on this earth anything. You owe it to yourself to be a good person for you.

It’s nice to do something kind for someone else. I completely condone that.

You should do things that feel right. You know when things feel right.

Too often, we’re busy making excuses for why right is too hard or too complicated.

Right is right is right.

Life may be shades of gray to many people, but it’s black and white to me.

You will always know when something is right or wrong.

Hey, if you are indecisive and make a mistake, own up to it and move on. People will forgive you when you screw up on accident. People aren’t all terrible (this is immense coming from me).

Own all of your mistakes. Own all of your rights. Own your life.

My accounting professor said, “if you think it might not be right, THEN IT’S WRONG.”

I say this now, in WordPress, because I’m not big on telling people things anymore.

We’re too old to be telling people what they already know.

None of this is new information.

Everyone knows how to be a good person. Everyone knows how to do the right thing. Everyone knows that what they put into the world will someday be given back to them in some variation.

This isn’t news.

If you go to your grave tomorrow, make sure you’ve done the important things.

Make sure you lived the life you wanted to live.

Make sure you’re whom you want to be.

How To Delete Manually Entered Indents (AKA Noob’s guide to publishing)

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I’m working on publishing my first e-book.

One thing I learned the hard way was First Line Indentation.

After a final edit of my novel, I anxiously updated my file to the platform.

Like any author/editor, I pressed preview before I pressed publish (actually, I think there are more steps before I hit publish, but as you can see, I got hung up here).

What was beautifully written in Word was a complete nightmare in preview.

I’m PRETTY sure that I didn’t indent half a page for 300 pages.

Except that I did.

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How could I have done this horrible thing?

It turns out, Word has some useful tools, and one of them eliminates the need for your ring-finger to stroke the TAB button SEVEN BAZILLION TIMES.

Would’ve been nice if that was taught at Rutgers. Thanks again, guys. Super.

So, I spent an hour reading about formatting BEFORE you write (this is great: Everyone Needs To Do This Now).

Unfortunately, when I sat down in all of my crazy-must-get-this-out writing ways two years ago, I banged out the thirty something chapters with my best friend: the TAB button.

For the past few hours, I have read tutorials on how to get rid of my manual indents. I read about Tab Stops (this is a function that’s buried in Word), and it seemed to work wonders.

Keyword: seemed.

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I re-uploaded about seven times and, without fail, it still indented.

That’s because the formatting is gone, but the damage I caused (hitting physical buttons) wasn’t forgotten by Word. See, when you do something stupid and expect it to go unnoticed, it rears its ugly head later (300 pages and nearly two years later). So, don’t do anything stupid.

Not one to give up, I used Google (page 3 of “how to get rid of manual tabs”).

No dice.

Finally, I did what any self-respecting person would do: I searched for add-ins. It’s the cheater’s way out, but it should work, and then I’ll delete whatever the heck I just installed on my computer. This is a Mac after all. It can’t get crazy viruses.

Of course, the virus writers (aka, my only beacon of hope at this point: [someone pretending to help me, but really just causing me an hour of detours]) knew that they would get nowhere with a writer’s Mac, and you know–never wrote the pseudo program.

ERGO, the only add-in worked on Windows.

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What good is complaining, though? If I can’t beat it, then I might as well get started on my long, flipping’ journey.

I resigned to manually delete all (1,333) indents.

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After half a page of deleting my tabs, I thought, “this cannot be a thing. I cannot be the Only Person who has ever written an entire book without proper formatting. Not every writer is a freakin’ Word Guru out the womb.”

They’re not. They knew something I didn’t. There’s an easy fix somewhere.

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Here it is:

Highlight your mistakes. Literally, highlight ONE indent that you want to get rid of.

Go to FIND.

Right-click and paste.

It looks blank, but have heart!

You’re halfway there.

In the replace section, you can do the best thing ever.

Nothing.

That’s right: leave that empty space blank.

Then press Replace ALL (you will lose all of your tabs). Probably best to go back and reread your work.

That’s how to do some damage control.

ron-moved

*A simple google search on First Line Indent will show you the basics. It’ll save you serious time.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I commend you. May you never have to deal with manually having to do ANYTHING that many times. If you do, you’re welcome. Simple solution, but hey, I was at a loss for a while there.

Don’t be a scumbag.

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Sexual harassment has always been kind of a gray area for me. I’m a woman and, like most women (whom I know), I loathe being viewed as fragile, dainty, or weak.

I think all women have dealt with some form of harassment, but there’s a line that can’t be crossed. It’s subjective.

Here’s my line. I’m pretty liberal on this, because I ignore 99% of what people say (men and women).

The 1% that makes me uncomfortable is what I’ll discuss.

At first, I thought about professional settings, but this spans all settings when you don’t know a woman (or man).

Under no circumstance should you ever come on strongly to anyone. For the love of God, you will make me reach for my pocketknife, and trust me, I will go for the eyes.

“Hey, good looking” is disturbing. If you follow up with “I’m doing about as good as you’re looking,” you’re a pathetic douchebag, and I hope your future wife miscarries forever. Forever.

No rational being wants your seed.

Actually, let me list things that are completely unacceptable:

1. Do not wink and give a dirty smile with too many teeth. It makes us vomit a little.
2. Do not say anything cheesy. We’re not in a bar, and it wouldn’t work for any self-respecting woman, either.
3. Do not say anything cheesy and expect us to fall all over ourselves.
4. Do not boldly ask us out anywhere (some women or men might find this bold, sexy, or something, but I am speaking for myself. I think you’re an arrogant shit and I want to spit on your face.) If you don’t know someone, the wise thing to do is have a conversation where you aren’t a cocky snob.
5. Do not shout at us. If we aren’t within earshot, we probably don’t want to be.
6. Do not whistle at us. We aren’t dogs.
7. Don’t be a douchebag.
8. Learn to take no for an answer. If someone says, “I’m not interested in you,” it doesn’t need to be followed up with “why? Do you have a boyfriend?” That’s completely irrelevant. We don’t like you. Believe it or not, not every woman pities your pathetic ego and goes on a date with you. Some of us (sadly, only so few) can say, “I do not like you as a person,” and move on.

There’s a defense for the above eight. Here’s what I’ve been told to justify some of this behavior.

1. You’re attractive, so you should just be glad someone notices you.
2. It could be worse. That guy could’ve said you were ugly and ignored you.
3. It’s a free country. Why are you so negative?
4. You could give the guy a chance. He’s really nice. I feel bad for him.

First of all, my goal in life is not to be noticed. If I wanted to be noticed, I’d wear gold spandex and tease all my hair. If I wanted to be noticed, I’d be noticed by everyone on the planet. My goal is not to be noticed.

Couldn’t dying in a fiery car wreck be worse? How about losing the love of your life to a terminal illness? I’m pretty sure I can think of a thousand other terrible things. Some guy calling me ugly is the least of my troubles. I had some loser throw donuts at me in high school. Literally. I was singled out and picked on every day by this scumbag. My life has gone on. My life will go on if someone calls me ugly or ignores me.

Yes, it’s a free country. If I happen to respond with, “knock it off. This is not okay,” I’m entitled to.

Take a note on this one: guys who complain about women ALWAYS screwing them over are all liars. Unless they are complete morons (LAWL on second thought), there are always three sides to every story. If a guy is persistently pushing the envelope on a girl even if she says no, he’s a scumbag and should be shit on by every girl every time, without a doubt. Forever. We all know “really nice guys” who aren’t. So, no, Mr. Persistent is a scumbag.

So yeah, don’t be a scumbag.

I’m not fragile, I’m not dainty, and I’m definitely not weak. I am fed up, though. Women aren’t cold hearted or stuck up bitches because we don’t blush at your pathetic plays for our attention. Learn to take no for an answer. If we like you, it’s obvious. If we don’t, MOST of us let you know.

If you’re a scumbag, you’re a scumbag. Sure, some guys aren’t scumbags. Some are actually decent. Maybe even great.

Here’s the thing about this free country: we don’t have to like you. We can coexist without flirting with you to soothe your extremely sensitive ego.

You’re welcome.

What Knitting Taught Me

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Standing alone in Michael’s one night in October, I felt something that I can’t really verbalize. I needed to do something different. I didn’t know what I was looking for, but I’m glad my eyes found the knitting section.

I didn’t think I’d be able to learn how to knit, and I figured I was probably wasting thirteen dollars on the knitting kit, but I decided to give it a whirl.

“Other people can knit. A lot of people can knit. I could knit if I tried if all those people can knit.”

That night, I sat on my bed and practiced casting on for about a half hour. The booklet taught me nothing.

Youtube saved me.

I spent the next two hours knitting. Upon closer inspection, I realized that it didn’t look right, so I undid all of my work and started again.

It took me about a week to finish my first mini, ugly, unusable scarf (can we even call that thing a scarf?).

I learned how to knit, though.

Since then, I’ve made nine scarves (not counting that terrible first try) and a Christmas Cape for Mogli.

I’m going to make three scarves this week as Christmas gifts, and then I’m going to start working on running headbands. I’d like to open an Easy store by the end of Q215 with customizable sizes and colors.

Aside from learning how to knit, I learned some lessons, too—especially in the beginning.

  1. Stay patient. When I first started out, I wanted to give up many times. I put the needles down and took a deep breath. Then I’d remember myself standing in Michael’s. I felt many pangs in my chest that first night, a lot of anger, but I got the hang of it. My first scarf (thing) was a disaster. I began working on my next scarf, and I had high hopes. I fought off the nagging feeling that I was going to screw it up, and I was patient. I made a lot of mistakes, and I had to undo a lot of rows to make it perfect. In the beginning, all the knitting looked boring. Then, I began the knitting and purling. I watched yarn become something. I watched my hands create a pattern. Once the first thirty rows were done (1/4 of the scarf/shawl), I marveled at my work. How did I do this? Was I going to really knit scarves?! I was excited. My patience wore thin often; I wanted the scarf to be done, already. I wanted to show off my great work.  I apply patience like this: I have experiences that I’ve turned into stories. When I wrote Love, Ava, it was written all over the place. I jumped from the beginning to the middle, to different countries, to different people. When I put it all together, it blended. I didn’t see it happening, but it did. On my trip to Colorado this year, I wrote 30 pages of my new novel. Again, I wrote all over the place. I started at the beginning. Then I jumped around, because that’s how my life is. I remember things at inopportune times. I have to get things out of my system. Patience. I won’t write this novel as quickly, because I’m busy knitting, but believe me, this might be my favorite story to date. Patience.
  2. Time Management. Unless you’re an expert knitter, you’re not cranking out a scarf an hour. I can do an infinity scarf in about four hours and a full size shawl/scarf in about eight. I love to write. I love to read. I love checking tumblr for quotes. I love to run. I love to eat. I have a full-time job, and I go to bed every night at 11. I have to sacrifice things to do what I want to do. If I have to make three scarves for Christmas, I have a lot of time to work with, but if I want to make someone a scarf for Friday, I have to manage my time. There is a quote that says something like “getting what you want isn’t hard. Figuring out what you’re willing to give up to get it is hard.” You can have whatever you want in the world. I truly believe that (outside of people and tangible items that belong to other people—but even those may be bought). I can write a novel by the end of January if I want to. I would quit knitting for the time being, and I’d spend every night after work writing. I could do it. Do I want to knit instead? Do I want to catch up on Grey’s Anatomy while knitting? How important is it that I finish this novel? (It’s actually extremely important. I want this idea out of my head and gone for good.) Time management. You choose what’s important in your life.
  3. Creativity is everywhere. Yes, I do a lot of creative things, and let’s be honest, I’m more than happy with the creative bone in my body. I’m not a good artist, I can’t paint to save my life. I’m no poet, and I lack the ability to be fluid in any serious form of dancing. I can be awkward to the point of tears, but I’m flippin’ creative where it matters (to me). Knitting is creative. I’m creating things! Tangible things! Not only books that people can relate to (some people), not songs that people find funny and relatable (oh, September song, thanks for existing). I’m making something you can wear! When I wrap my white infinity scarf around my neck, I feel warmer knowing I made this. I spent hours working on it.
  4. Not getting what you want can be a wonderful stroke of luck. I’ve tried to do certain things with yarn that just won’t happen. It’ll come undone, or it won’t be the way I’ve envisioned it. I wanted to make Mogli a sweater. I looked at the directions for measuring him. I had to measure the rows, I had to do a lot. It was more than I wanted to do. I know there are some things I’m incapable of. I could’ve followed the directions, but it wouldn’t have been the correct length. At the end of it, I would’ve been annoyed about wasting my time. I know myself enough. So, I decided to stop the knitting and tie it. It’s a cape, and let me tell you, he looks fancier than your dog. Yeah. I didn’t expect to make him a cape, but I did. I’ve wanted a LOT of things in my life. I’ve even thought that I needed a couple (wow, yeah, let’s not go there). At the time, I thought I was being punished, but in time, I discovered it was a blessing. Sometimes it’s taken me years to understand things, but I’ve understood them. I’m more than at peace with them—I’ve forgotten them. They taught me things, and that’s what’s important. Even now, as I sit here, I think of the things that I still can’t attain, and I have to believe (I do believe) there’s a good reason for why I don’t have certain things. It will take time, but I’ll look back someday and go, “dodged that bullet.”
  5. Move on. You can’t dwell on things. Can I go back to my first scarf, unravel it and start again? Sure, and I’d probably make something nicer, too. I’m not going to do it, though. It taught me a lot. I poured my heart into that. I worked harder on that piece than I have on all of my scarves. That was the piece that decided whether or not I would continue to knit. Likewise, I can list things in my life that I could dwell on, but it wouldn’t change anything. I’m where I am, because of all of the things in my life. Truthfully, I’m not always happy with where I am, but I’m here, and I’m bettering myself every day. My goal isn’t to be better than anyone else, it’s to be better than the person I was yesterday. I’ll knit a new scarf. I’ll turn the page. I’ll start a new chapter. I can’t spend my life looking back longingly for something to change.
  6. Don’t rush anything. In knitting, you can sometimes get ahead of yourself and yank on the yarn too soon. You can miss a stitch. If you’re not careful, your work can unravel right before you, and there’s not much you can do, except start over. I read a quote about rushing things. It said you shouldn’t yank on a thread before it’s ready to go, because you’ll unravel everything. I read it over the summer, and I loved it. I thought I understood it, and maybe I did, but I genuinely understand it now. I apply this to my life often. There are times when I want to scream (and I never scream. I don’t think I’m capable of really raising my voice) with impatience, “why me?! Why cant this flippin’ work out for once in my life! WHY” I’ve done it before, too. With the right people (thank God), they’ve just looked at me and told me what I needed to hear, “it’s just not the time.” This has applied to me in more ways than I care to admit.

So, I’m glad I learned how to knit. If I can knit, you can knit, and if you have any inclination to do so, you should. You can do it while watching television (some animal shows on netflix are also my fav [in addition to GA]).

Anyway, I’m an unfinished sweater, and I have an incredibly long way to go.

Trust Timing

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In grade five, I moved for the first time. My best friend and I cried. We exchanged addresses and promised to write. We exchanged numbers and promised to call.

I spoke to her once since then. Years later (2007), I looked her up on facebook and we caught up. We never went back to being best friends. I check in on her life through photos, but we lack the desire to stay in touch.

When I was in grade nine, I had another best friend. We immediately clicked. We disliked everyone, watched the same reruns, and had similar goals.

Within two years, she made different friends, and I don’t really remember specifics. I was probably unhappy sharing my best friend, and we stopped speaking. I deleted her from social media, because I burn my bridges like a job.

Anyway, I’ve since seen her at my previous job, but I’ve changed and I treated her like any other customer: with a smile. I conveniently covered my name tag just in case she recognized me. I had (have) zero desire to rekindle a friendship.

These are examples of the first times I felt loss. I felt disconnected. I only tried to keep in touch with my neighbor, but even that proved futile. Sometimes you realize you’re only friends with people because you see them every day.

Since then, I’ve had many people enter and leave my life—more than I care to count.

Few people have ever stung when they left, though. I can count them on one hand (and a plethora of wasted wishes).

My struggle has always been with fate—with timing.

My pastor said that hindsight is 20/20. You can’t see what you’re learning until you’re past it. Sometimes not until you’re way past it.

There’s only been one friend that I ever missed. I’ll never forget how angry I felt when the friendship imploded. “We were supposed to be friends forever.”

How childish, right?

Long story short, she’s in my life now, and I’m thankful.

All of my friendships have been replaced by different people. I wrote about this concept before, and everyone that meant something to me then (save for one) is still in my life.

I have a small addition to my list, but they are deeply respected, and I’m thankful for them.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I shouldn’t focus so hard on things I can’t control. I can’t control what mistakes someone else will make. I can’t control whether someone will decide to enter or leave my life.

I grip so hard when I care. It’s taken me so long to figure out what I want, so when I feel like something is jeopardizing that, I grip harder.

There’s this quote I read, though (I love words), and it said something about the harder you hold on to something, the quicker it slips through your hands—like sand.

For example, my loving dog loves me. Mogli loves wrapping himself around me. He loves curling up at my neck. He loves falling asleep in my arms or across my stomach.

He loves doing it of his own accord.

There are times when I just want to hug him, though. I pull him closer, and he pulls away. No matter how hard I try, he doesn’t want to be held.

Similarly, I can’t hold on to something that doesn’t want to be held. I learned this over ten years ago.

My point is: the things that are meant to be in my life will find a way.

I should trust the timing of my life.

There’s almost a guarantee that what I currently want, I’ll never have. There’s also a guarantee that what I’ll someday have will be infinitely better for me than anything I can fathom now (provided I keep working hard).

While a part of me laments over the things I can’t have, another part of me rejoices.

The people I’ve replaced so far—people I thought (at the time) were okay people (yes, not great, just good enough) were replaced by amazing people.

I could list the people who matter to me most and they would knock anyone pre 2009 out of the park (save for one I met in 04—she’s in the list). The people pre 2009 don’t even exist anymore.

I may not always trust why things happen, but I do trust the timing of my life. I trust karma. I trust the universe. I trust God.

And I trust people.

I think you get what you put in, and it’s not right away, and it’s not always from the person you do it for, but you get back what you put in tenfold.

I just hope everyone realizes this, and lives their lives accordingly.

I would hate to hear bad news about someone that once mattered because of poor character or choices.