Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Letter to a Jackass!

This was found under my windshield wiper this morning when I left work and I have to say, I'm kind of pissed about it.  If anyone knows the twerp responsible for this, you can pass along my response.

Dear Jackass,

First of all, do not refer to me as "friend".  You are not lucky enough to be a friend of mine.  Considering what you do in your spare time, I'm guessing you have a hard time making friends.

You are right, though.  Someone did indeed vandalize my vehicle.  Litter on my windshield is disgusting.  I believe the perp is walking around downtown La Crosse looking like an idiot with nothing better to do than tag vehicles that don't agree with his/her politics.  Way to waste paper!

And, no, I am sorry honey, you are NOT a good samaritan.  A good samaritan is a compassionate person who unselfishly helps others.  In fact, it is a little odd that you would claim this title while vandalizing the vehicle of someone working less than a block away coaching people with disabilities in their place of employment so they are able to be more independent and provide a service to their community.  How exactly are you giving back?  I wish I had nothing better to do on a Tuesday morning than roam parking lots looking for vehicles with bumper stickers that opposed my political viewpoint.

Speaking of my political viewpoint -- it's mine.  Not yours.  I respectfully understand that we disagree.  Going door-to-door and counseling all of the people with Obama signs in their yard to spread your message would probably be more rewarding for you.  Oh, that's right.  You're a coward and would rather do it the anonymous route.

-- Not Your Friend

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Jennifer Livingston

I don't always go on blog rants, but this pissed me off just enough to do it.  First, read this article and take the time to watch the 4:20 video clip.

If your blood is not boiling, you probably have never struggled with your weight.  I challenge this moron that sent the e-mail to gain 100 pounds and try to lose it before he EVER criticizes another soul.  For many, if not all, obesity is just as much a choice that someone makes as being born with brown eyes is a choice.  Unfortunately, being a bully is a choice - and a poor one at that.  For someone to call out a complete stranger in such a horrendous way is cowardly and I hope to God he does not have the ability to reproduce.  I've come across the offspring this type creates and it's not pretty.  

To start, Jennifer's response was proof that she is a class act and, contrary to what the e-mail stated, she is indeed a role model - especially for young girls and women.  Success is not measured by a dress size or a number on a scale and having only people that fit a certain look in the public eye is ridiculous.  I commend her for taking it to the morning news and addressing it.  By doing this publicly, she wins.  Somewhere right now, the author of that e-mail is, I hope, sitting somewhere feeling mighty ashamed of himself.  This aired this morning on the local news and already tomorrow she is going to be making appearances on national television, including Good Morning America on ABC.

In this country, one third of children and adolescents are obese and 35.7% of adults are obese.  (http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/adult.html)  I bet there is not one person in that group that doesn't have a story to tell about being bullied.  It takes a special kind of asshole to think that a nasty e-mail is going to be the inspirational motivator that cures obesity.  For those of us who have struggled or are struggling with weight and body image issues, there are sometimes underlying issues that small minds like this guy can't even begin to comprehend.  

Thursday, August 16, 2012

My Amazing Backpack - Part II

I packed up my backpack last night with my laptop, along with some cords and cables and drove off to take care of some business.  When I pulled it out of the truck, I threw it over my shoulder and noticed it felt funny.  After looking over my shoulder, I noticed that the zipper split again and my laptop was dangling, about to fall out onto concrete.  (My laptop is in about the same shape as the backpack, by the way.)  So, I caught it and adjusted the zipper and was good to go.

Unfortunately, class starts on August 29th and it's time to consider the option of purchasing a new backpack.  With that, I need to emphasize the word "consider" because I've gone backpack shopping several times.  None of the backpacks seem to be able to measure up, though.

After browsing the shelves and back-to-school specials, I find myself reasoning that I don't need a new backpack.  This one can make it through 17 more credits, right?  Sure, I'll probably be spending a lot of time picking up books, pens, highlighters, and the laptop off the floor every time the zipper gives, but it's worth it.

Another thought is maybe buying an outer backpack to carry the backpack for me.  Is that cheating?

As I think about it, here are two photographs of my travels with the backpack:

The Backpack With Me in Rome, Italy

The Backpack resting in Cockscomb, Belize

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Planning is for Planners...

I, on the other hand, am more of a Change of Planner.  One day last week, I drove to three different McDonald's restaurants at 5 AM trying to hunt down an iced mocha.  Seriously, why are they cleaning their McCafe machines in the morning?  Luckily, the third time was the charm.  It was after my straw wrapper was on the floor and I was sucking the syrup from the top that I realized I may have finally found the appropriate career/degree for me: Addiction Studies.  With only 17 credits to complete a second degree, why not?  So, that what I'm tackling this fall.  Unless of course my mind is changed along the way.

In the meantime, I'm shooting things with my camera, banging on my guitar in empty coffee shops, caring for elderly people, and growing more elderly myself.  We're all growing elderly actually.  Some of us are just more advanced in the aging department, but don't you worry little ones - you'll catch up IF you're lucky.  When I'm not doing all of that, I'm mentally swearing at the heat and humidity that has embraced us this summer and gaining incredible amounts of muscle mass at Anytime Fitness.  I just never realized how squishy muscle was, which makes me wonder if I'm doing it wrong.

Brace Yourselves -- The Seventh Year Senior reclaims her spot in the classroom in 42 days!

Friday, June 1, 2012

What am I doing?

Do you ask yourself this question at all?  I sure do.  Lately, it's all the time.  Mostly it's in a baffled grunt and modified to, "Meliss-ugh!  What the hell are you doing?"

My most recent self-assessment occurred in a lounge at school.  I was supposed to be studying, but found myself listening to students talk about research and I decided I no longer liked what I was studying and wanted to, yes... you guessed it, change my "major"... again.

The whole teaching thing was a great idea for a few minutes, but here's what happened:  Melissa's applied for many jobs since graduating last year.  When I say many, I mean over a hundred.  I've gone to three interviews, had one phone interview, and received a small handful of e-mails saying I lacked experience.  The next logical step would be grad school, right?  The application didn't quite process and there I sat staring at yet another year of rejection letters and telling Grandpa the weather forecast and the television channel he's on.  I went into a bit of a panic and found the post-bac program and Ta-Da!  I had a plan for the fall, but didn't really analyze the long-term.  Science?  Biology?  Hmm...

So, I did a little more exploring.  I was only 21 credits away from having a double major in addiction studies.  I bet I could get some of those credits waived if I did a little reporting on my Facebook and Barnes and Noble addictions.  (As I type right now, I'm at Barnes and Noble with a separate browser open with Facebook feeds popping up.  That right there makes me head of the class, right?)

I would say, "Why didn't you look into this earlier?"  That would be pointless, though.  I was in a get-me-graduated mindset last year.  You don't ever question decisions made when you're in that mentality.

So, here I am.  At Barnes and Noble.  Blogging, on Facebook, and working on my book that I am pretty sure I could self-publish by the end of the year if I just continue along on my 'sabbatical' and re-visit the idea of graduate school.

Maybe now would be a good time to look into psychic readings?

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

My Amazing Backpack

If my backpack had hands, it would sign autographs.  It's not just a backpack anymore; it's an attachment to Melissa's shoulder, much like a child is an attachment to a hip.  It came into my possession when I was still in high school.  Looking at it, you would never guess that it's been to Alaska and back a few times, on float planes, on ferries, on jet boats, busses, hikes, and carried over 170 credits worth of college books.  

The zipper isn't quite reliable anymore, but I've figured out the trick to it.  The day I was walking down the hallway and I heard the unzipping before feeling the load on my back lighten up and heard all of my books crash to the floor was the day I thought I'd have to buy a new one.  That was three years ago.  The day this backpack dies is going to be like euthanizing my best friend.  Well, maybe not that extreme, but pretty damn close.  

This backpack has been my pillow on a few occasions.  Christmas break 2004, I curled up with it on the floor of the SEATAC airport during a layover in the middle of the night.  When I moved to Alaska, it rode shotgun.  When I moved back from Alaska, it rode shotgun.  All the rest of my belongings had to sit in the back, or worse yet, in the truck bed, but not the backpack.  Next to my camera and guitar, the backpack would be one of the first things I would grab in a fire.  

It's gone into the washing machine for a few emergency cleanings.  Once after an explosion of conditioner on a flight.  After returning from Belize it was caked in dirt, mud, and probably microscopic critters that fled the country on my back.  

The backpack came with me to Italy.  It came with me to Hayward and has been on countless pontoon rides holding my SPF 70 sunscreen and beach towel.  It was with me in 2006 in Sayner when I smashed my finger in the car door.  It carried my camera to the hospital when I went to meet my nephew Nolan for the first time.  It has come to gigs with me and carried cords, mics, my song binder, and set list.  

I think my backpack needs its own Facebook page and Twitter account.  It's THAT amazing!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

A Look Back at My Twenties

It's my last night of being a twenty-something.  Call me crazy, but I find this incredibly exciting.  Tomorrow will my mark my 30th year in this world.  How cool is that?  I've been watching friends and former classmates turn 30 for the last few months and completely understand why entering this next decade of our lives is somewhat terrifying.  Growing older is a scary thing.  So is the idea of Ben & Jerry's discontinuing Chunky Monkey or Half Baked, so it's important to keep things in perspective: Aging Is Not That Bad.

I've been reflecting on my twenties lately and was thinking about all the things I didn't do that I wanted to.  Well, I'm going to take this time to look back on all that I did accomplish in my twenties.

  • I earned two college degrees
  • I've had ten different addresses
  • Lived in 2 states / 4 different cities
  • Got a cellphone
  • Overcame a major issue with stage fright
  • Overcame an even more major issue with a 14-year eating disorder
  • Drove to Alaska (and back) twice
  • Learned to LOVE running!
  • Hitchhiked during a marathon
  • Learned sign language well enough to become an interpreter
  • Was maid of honor in my sister's wedding
  • Welcomed an awesome brother-in-law into the family
  • Welcomed three nephews and a niece into this world
  • Met up with some wonderful ladies in Las Vegas 
  • Saw Celine Dion at Caesar's Palace (a m a z i n g)
  • Was the designated driver for my 21st birthday
  • Wrote between 80-100 songs
  • Performed LOTS of gigs throughout Wisconsin, Illinois, Minnesota, and Iowa 
  • Was introduced to Lori McKenna's music on my birthday -- 10 years ago tomorrow!
  • Saw Lori McKenna in concert in Chicago 
  • Had dinner on top of the Space Needle -- Twice
  • Auditioned for American Idol -- Twice
  • Drove to Kanas City for one of the Idol auditions with two lesbians I found on Craigslist (saved a lot on gas... but... it was kind of awkward walking around with a girl with a mullet and a coonskin hat with antlers tattooed on her chest)  
  • Auditioned for America's Got Talent
  • Converted to Mac/Apple
  • Produced two CDs that are available on iTunes
  • Made $15.00 off of digital sales!  (See Above)
  • Started doing photography -- something I had no interest in until Age 26 
  • Traveled to Belize, Italy, Mexico, and Canada
  • Climbed Mount Etna 
  • Performed in a songwriting showcase in Nashville
  • Rode The Raging Bull a few times at Six Flags
  • Slammed into a parked car and totaled a Chevy Cavalier I had only had a few months
  • Became a Packer Backer
  • Began the "Craft Weekend" tradition
  • Added a few new scars to my collection
  • Still have the same guitar I've been playing since I bought it when I was 18 (hopefully that will stick with me through the next 30 years, too!)
  • Fell head over heels for sushi
  • Went on way too many blind dates
  • Chaperoned 2 youth mission trips -- St. Louis, MO and Grand Rapids, MI. 
  • Went to the top of The Gateway Arch 
  • Flew on float planes
  • Stood on the Mendenhall Glacier
  • Stayed at the creepiest motel in Spences Bridge, BC 
  • Have had 7 roommates
  • Have had 7 vehicles
  • Have had 1 speeding ticket -- also 10 years ago!
  • Got sucked into The Harry Potter series
  • Was introduced to Blogging
  • Was introduced to Facebook
  • Still have no clue #whatthisisallabout and don't care, either
  • Drove with my two little sisters back from Alaska when I moved home
  • Have one remaining grandparent - Grandpa Larry 
This is where I'm going to cut it off for the night.  I might have to add to it, though . . . 

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Fortune to Add to the Collection

"On the right track, means need to run even faster, or got run over."

There really is no explanation needed.  This was in the fortune cookie I had in my lunch today and thought it was blog-worthy.  This shall be one of my "Journey to 30" inspirational quotes, or ...whatever.  

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The 7th Year Senior Turns 30

So, a funny thing happened on the way to grad school.  I have spent the last ten months living across the street from a middle school.  Everyday, I see the kids at recess and miss working in schools.  To make a long and not-so-amusing story short, I've come to the realization that I belong in education.  SO, back to La Crosse I go to continue on with this education process.  The 7th Year Senior returns.  

With that, I'm turning 30 next week!  That's a big milestone, so I'm making it a month-long celebration.  A month of reflecting on how far I've come, a month of enjoying where I am at, and a month of looking forward to hopefully another 30 years.  Another 30 years of college... ?  Maybe.

Today was day 1 on my journey to 30.  Of course, I can't think of anywhere else I'd rather go everyday of my life than Barnes and Noble.  I was pretty excited when I saw this sketchbook, so I bought it, along with a set of pencils.  I'm not an artist by any means, but try to stop me.   

In high school, I took a few art classes and loved drawing.  I need to journal more, too.  Journaling is fun.  And, I do journal in sketchbooks.  It has been a little over two years now since I ditched lined pages when it comes to writing.  It's freedom at its finest.  

Speaking of high school, I have a list of goals I had for myself from my senior year.  There are quite a few things I didn't quite accomplish yet.  Published Author is one of them.  I will carry that one over into my thirties.  

AND. . . I am $15.37 richer today thanks to all the people that have digitally downloaded my music over these last two years.  Happy Birthday to ME!  I think I'll put it toward my next CD. With only about $1,984.63 more to go, I should be able to put something special together by the time I'm 102.  

Thursday, January 12, 2012

The GRfrickenE

GRE is said to stand for Graduate Record Examinations.  That's a bunch of bullshit.  It should stand for Gotta Remember Everything or Go dRink Elcohol.  In typical Melissa style, I have 34 days to gather three letters of recommendation, finish my CV, study/register/take the GRE, and finish the rest of the application process.  I'm making peace with the fact that I might be taking another year off before tackling any type of graduate work.  That's okay, right?

They say to prep you should read newspapers like The New York Times.  That shit is boring.  I read the Onion and Facebook status updates.  Tell me I'm not ready for grad school!

These tests don't analyze crap, actually.  Well, maybe they do - but I'm a lousy test-taker, so I like to tell myself they are useless methods of analyzing my true intelligence.  I mean, come on - these schools just want your money, so why do they make it so difficult to get in?  I don't mind jumping through hoops, but this is like belly flopping through hoops.

In the meantime, I should probably get myself a cup of coffee and a copy of the New York Times.  If I get a puppy, it will need something to piss on.