Be it ever so humble, there's no place like a presidential debate

Thursday, January 31, 2008 |

Ok-I think I have figured out why it is that as much as I like certain candidates when I see their speeches, or read their webpages, inevitably by the time it comes for a presidential election, I am thoroughly disgusted by all the candidates after seeing the debates. I can't stand people patting themselves on the back.

If I could just vote based on seeing a resume and getting an idea of where a candidate stands on the issues that would be great. I know we need debate just so we can find out when someone's ideas are impractical or that they don't deal well under pressure. And we're now a TV nation and to our detriment our leaders have to come over well as actors too. Unfortunately the process of rallying support and getting your party's nomination takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r. And we get to see the debates with the theme of pretty much every question being "Tell us why you're better than your opponent". So you literally get years of listening to them repeat the story of the time they spearheaded a campaign that saved the world's endangered snarkles and that the Minister of Magic called them the next Albus Dumbledore. Whoopty do!!

Ok- back to real world examples. Then we get the joy of seeing Hilary Clinton backtrack and say that she changed the world during her 8 years as the wife of the president......I guess she's hoping enough baby boomers now have alzheimers and can't remember her claims at the time that she wasn't doing anything major as the president's wife or overstepping her bounds as a person that NO ONE VOTED FOR. Either we were all right and she did all kinds of stuff that no one wanted her to do at the time and lied about it........or she's lying now and she never really did much besides try to really support for Bill's universal health care reform.....oh wait I mean HER universal health care wait??? We're back to square one. But that's OK- square one is me disliking Hilary and it doesn't really matter. All I need to know is she thinks she's empowering women by using her philandering husband to get to the top. Case closed thank you very much.

On the topic of self-aggrandization. I had the joy of reading through some resumes recently and my favorite person that I would never hire listed his accomplishments on his resume. Apparently he made "brilliant" changes to his company's internal email system. I think he used the word "amazing" in another part of the resume. WOW.

Where on earth do people come off calling themselves brilliant or influential or a genius on their resumes? Isn't that a designation that should come from an outside party. I mean maybe you can list under your accomplishments "Received title of The GOD of I.T. in 1997 from Wired magazine" or something. Then you don't need to call yourself an deity- someone else did it for you. But to call yourself brilliant? Do you think you can really put stuff like that on your resume and as long as you speak in third person no one can tell? ICK.

Ok- back to the topic of politicians. I feel bad for anyone in politics. I think the reason people seem to love people from outside politics is that they are more uncomfortable spouting out how great they are at every opportunity. If I had to walk around talking about how great I was for two full years I would be a different person. And imagine if you had gone through multiple campaigns over many years. You almost wouldn't even have time to do more amaaaazing things so you can talk about how amaaaazing you are. What a tragedy.

It's hard to see how a good person could ever survive entering into that lifestyle. I can see wanting to make change and do good, but living through the campaigning sounds like the worst torture I can imagine. I hate my own birthday parties. I can't even imagine the horror of going to a "Please Please Please Like Erica the Most" party every day. Heave. Shudder.

I'm glad it's them and not me. But right now it's hard for me to like them. And then it's hard to like myself for not wanting to participate in my own country's political process. AAHHHHHH!!

Then I just remind myself of how messed up other countries are and I can force myself to try to pick the candidate who ooogs me out the least. I have it way better off with these people than in a country where I get killed for trying to go vote. Or where the votes are super obviously tampered with. Or where I get no vote at all cause the military controls the country or a dictator or something.

SO God bless America and it's candidates and preserve them from believing their own hype.

Undercover Special Agents

Tuesday, January 29, 2008 |

Are you an unknowing member of the undiagnosed part of the world's mental health patients?

And if you recognize it?

I met someone......actually like 3.....wait...4 someones today in the course of my rotations that were very......lets say special. People who were so melodramatic and up then down, and mean to you....then your best friend. Accusing you of trying to kill them one moment and then begging you not to leave. Making crap up.

I have, of course, met many people like this in my lifetime and was diagnosing them myself looooong before I did my psych rotations at the state mental hospital. Most of the special people I meet are luckily not quite special enough to merit a stay at the state's holding facility for the extra special. But lucky me.....I feel like I am a magnet for the special attentions of the special. Oh the stories I could to tell about how the special just love to love me. Another day perhaps.

So anyways...all of the loverly people I met today got me to thinking. I wonder just how many of the people you see walking around at Walmart and waiting in line next to you are just one moment away from a complete breakdown.

How much of the seemingly harmless chit chat you engage in with complete strangers is 100% false but they love to lie so much that they even lie about dumb things because they can. I bet you probably 6 out of 10 people who tell me "I'm at the store today to pick up laundry detergent(soap,cake mix, cat litter) before my son visits this weekend" are lying about having a washer, or a cat, or a son. And they get a super secret high out of me having bought into the lie.....secret special agent mission completed!!! It's true - a lady you don't know and who doesn't care didn't catch on that you're really buying cat litter for your imaginary lemur Buster. SUCCESS!!

And another thing.....holy crap why would you get into a relationship with one of these people!! Does this require you to be special also? One of the incognito special agents I met today was getting used and abused by a verrry special wife. Who signs up for that? Or is he given some kind of drug that I have not yet studied in pharmacology ........that makes him crave special like I crave chocolate? Is he a hostage that was waiting for me to see the pleading in his eyes and call 1-800-THE-LOST and get his picture off that milk carton once and for all?

This also begs the question.....if people really were just hostages to bad love and could be rescued....why doesn't the national center for missing persons set up its headquarters at Six Flags where we know ALL the special couple are drawn like moths to a candle flame?

And here's the scariest question of all......maybe NO ONE KNOWS THEY'RE SPECIAL!!!!! AHHH! Maybe it's me and you and we are having blackouts during all the times we wandered into the mall and tried to start fights with clerks by making returns without receipts. And then turned to our secret special significant other(who we never knew even cared when we're conscious) and walked to the food court where we let them eat 3 slices of Sbarro pizza and get sauce all over their face without telling them .....and we cry and snot as they loudly and publicly tell us we're not good enough for them to have a baby with until we get a boob job and move to Tyler and pay off the kitchen remodel. And we apologize for being such a disappointment and say we'll try to do better. And when lunch is over we wander out of the mall separetely and .......the sun gets in our eyes and ....Huh? what? ....we come to ourselves and say..."Wow did my whole lunch hour pass just walking around in the mall? What a boring day. I better go reapply my makeup with my last five minutes before I have to be back at work- it always seems like my eyemakeup just disappears by lunchtime." And thus we are a part of the .....Doo Doo doo doo......Unknowing special agents.

Yikes. I better end now before I have nightmares.

Or ruin Sbarro pizza for everyone. That would be a crime.

Growing Old Together

Monday, January 28, 2008 |

Ok- this is a totally cheesy and probably preachy thought from a non-married person about being married. Just a warning so you can bail now......

The President and prophet of my church died last night and I have been thinking alot about him today and last night while trying to sleep. I was really tired last night (and right now) but I still stayed awake a while and just thought back on things I learned from him. I have to say that even on hearing of his death I didn't feel very sad because I know he's in heaven with his wife who died a few years ago. I really thought that his death would affect me more since he's like an institution in my church, but the reality is- I am SO glad he can be with his wife.

How amazing is it that of all the things I can think of about him my absolute favorite thing to remember is how cute he and his wife were? I remember being on my mission in Argentina and even in South America there were guys in their 20's(fellow missionaries) who had pictures of President Hinckley and his wife inside their scriptures or taped to folders or in frames -not to show people who were new to our church who our prophet was, but for their own personal use. To be able to look at that picture and feel that all was right with the world and that becoming like them was the ultimate goal they had in life. To grow old and be in your 90's walking down a street holding hands with your spouse -sunny smiles on your faces.

It also kind of puts a perspective for me on the stupid things I have heard recently from friends and acquaintances about relationships. Just today at school one of my older classmates (who I happen to know has been happily married for almost 30 years) suggested to one of my very christian friends that there is no need to get married to her boyfriend and that marriage is pointless. She defended herself but it's hard to stand your ground when everyone around you has such a worldly and selfish perspective about life and love. They all seem to be out for themselves and have a list of physical /monetary / status qualifications that will hopefully result in a relationship with a 5 yr shelf life if you're lucky. What on earth has this world done to itself? Who can honestly say they are better off with a bunch of relationships that last a few years(or months, days, minutes...) and have immediate gratification? Do you expect your last little fling in your 50's or 60's to really adore your wrinkles and old lady clothes(for men -insert santa belly and bald head into this argument) and conveniently stay with you till the end? Honestly? Part of the joy of sitting in the rockers is looking over to the person next to you and having memories of them being there when your kids were born, when your parents died, coming to the hospital when you got in the car accident, making you dinner when you were sick. Knowing that they were there for you and you were there for them. That's what gives the sense of contentment...not just having a warm body to pay the bills in your old age with their pension plan. People are meant to have a companion, a friend.......not a disposable accessory. (I'm sure I will write about my views of people having kids as accessories at a later time. Ug.)

I really hope my friend stays strong in her views that there is something better, far more precious that is worth waiting for. The decisions you make now affect your future so much. Pick the one with serious rocker potential. Not the one who your accountant recommends. Not Mr. Right-Now.

Ok my preaching is done. Can I get an Amen Hallelujah?

Ha. I knew the choir was listening.

Marshmallow Dreams

Tuesday, January 22, 2008 |

Ok- there was such a dearth(yes dearth) of decent TV on tonight that I watched American Idol while I ate dinner. And then as I sat there in my jammies it got colder and colder and colder. So I decided to make myself some Swiss Miss Milk Chocolate w/ marshmallows hot cocoa in my favorite oversized disney princess mug.

I have had some wierd cocoa recently- a world market dark chocolate cocoa- good but lacking that soothing quality, a mint cocoa someone gave my parents- pure nastiness, oooooh and worst of all some "homemade" cocoa someone else gave my parents-gag hack. I hate homemade cocoa that is just someone using up the nasty powdered milk from their food storage. Do you think I don't know? Do you think that if you can't gag it down that I will somehow? Do you think I didn't notice that it was like 1/8 the cocoa that was required to make it taste chocolately you cheapos? I mean the mix was white for Pete's sake??!! Moving on....

On the infamous trip to Target last week I got the good old standby swiss miss, but I hadn't had any yet.

Have you ever loved a cocoa so much that you wanted to to take a cocoa bath? Honestly it was like manna from heaven. Smooth, chocolatey, with those yummy little marshmallow crunchies that turn into foam if you wait too long.

Ok in all reality it would probably be gross to smell like chocolate.

But peeps- go treat yourself to a yummy cocoa- it's freaking freezing outside, but cocoa makes it all worth it. I promise.

Sorry....didn't get that memo


Sometimes I heart nursing school.

So I go in to the hospital this morning for orientation classes and I arrive like 10 minutes early in the location we are supposed to meet. Crickets. Tumbleweed.

I decide to go to a nearby classroom at the hospital on the off chance and TADA- there is my teacher and the other 4 students. And my teacher says "Erica we'd given up on you so we just came down." And I said, " gave up on me ?? Isn't our meeting time for the lobby in like 5 minutes? Why would you give up on me?"

And teacher says "I don't know, everyone else came already so I figured you weren't coming."

Ok- on what planet do you get to abandon someone because everyone else in the group decided to be anal-retentively early? (They are all carpooling from McKinney incidentally so they DID arrive early together- duh) And the saddest part- I WAS EARLY TOO!!

So I ask my classmates in a whisper "Did she send an email about the start time changing again or something?" A chorus of no's. Of course she didn't.

Then our teacher asks me"Erica do you have plans you can't change right after class?" So I say no- cause I don't. Stupid Stupid Stupid. So she says "You know that Pain management class I talked about attending today maybe as part of class? Well they are having it an hour after we are supposed to get out of class and it lasts til 4:30 so I'll count you in to stay since you don't have plans"

So all the smarties who actually read to the end of the memo said they had a prior committment right after class when she asked them. And I -who just read to get the meeting time- HA- didn't have any idea I needed to play uncooperative today.

I spent an extra 2 1/2 hrs at the hospital watching a web seminar on managing cancer breakthrough pain. And I got to cry and try to hide it from the 3 oncology nurses who were there with their callused hearts where they won't cry at a stupid video anymore. I was unprepared for cancer sob stories. It was baaaaad.

And I have had my eyes all watery from having been sick recently so it looked like I was crying really bad long before the tears were actually of sadness.


Lesson learned- read all your email or your teacher will make you cry.

Why I Can't Stand Hugo Chavez

Monday, January 21, 2008 |

A politically motivated blog. WOW. Brace yourself.

So I can't stand Hugo Chavez. El Presidente in Venezuela.

Why should we even care about anything involving the president of Venezuela? By all rights there are like a bajillion foreign countries that are bigger, have more powerful economies, etc and I honestly admit I have noooo clue who their leaders are.

But I know about Hugo Chavez because he is like the moron with short-man syndrome who drives the POS car with the loud engine he's so proud of. Like people who are in debt up to their ears and try to make you feel bad for not having as many material possessions. I have a million more analogies to describe Hugo Chavez, but that's not why I'm writing.

So here are some fast facts for why he annoys me:

He comes to our country and bashes it hardcore and openly-a luxury he allows no one to reciprocate. Heck- we can't even get visas to go to venezuela.

He sent politicians to Argentina to buy votes in their presidential elections and they got caught- and he's unapologetic about it

He pretty obviously tight with all of the guerilla armies in Colombia and plays like he's some grand peace negotiator to get hostages released but let's be realistic. He keeps threatening to cut off relations with the Columbian president and then when they finally get ONE hostage released who was raped,beaten and had her son stolen etc. out of an estimated 750 live hostages that one army alone is holding.....he asks Europe to take the guerilla armies off their lists of terrorist organizations because they're not really terrorists now and the only reason they were added to the lists was pressure from the US (Cause Europeans are sheep). WHAT?? Way to make an argument that's convincing.

Heres a new little Chavez-ism -Dairy Farmers in Venezuela are now treasonous if they try to export milk products because he wants them to sell it all for cheap(more supply than demand) within the country and just starve to death.

He recently tried to make constitutional amendments in Venezuela so that he could continue as their ruler with no term limits and have complete control of the national bank. He also threatened to cut off the TV stations if they tried to show any sort of exit polling or early results in the elections. He said if CNN did any broadcasting showing opposition having greater numbers -he would cut off oil supplies to the US. (shooting himself in the foot - they supply 15% of our crude oil- but guess what would happen to their economy if they didn't sell us their only major export? HE IS SUCH AN IDIOT)

He openly loves and idolizes Fidel Castro. This alone shows his unstable mind. Who with any sense of reason looks at CUBA and really wish my country were that successful.

AAAAAAAAAaaaaaaaaaaaAAAAAHHHHH!!!! Ok, I think I'll end now. I am losing my ability to express myself through spellable words.

Getting Hurt in Public


Ok- is there anything worse in life that public humiliation?

If you have that lovely eternal perspective on life you might say bad health, loss of income, bad things happening to loved ones etc. is SOOO much worse.

But let's all be immature for a moment and admit it. I HATE it when I do something people will be teasing me about possibly for the rest of my life. (Shout out to Elder P.!! We've all been there- just NEVER with that many people listening and in a religious setting- I feel for ya)

Are we the most anxious and at the mercy of our lesser selves when doing public speaking? Is that when we care the most about our cool factor?

I would argue that No......this is not the most instinctual moment of our social worries.

It is the moment when we get pushed off the trampoline, get a baseball in the thigh, get our hands slammed in a car door(all glorious moments in my life), get a volleyball spiked in our head(as I experienced this week). Out of all the moments in life for some idiotic reason we are most worried about other people's reaction when it is THEY who should rightly be more embarrassed for hurting us.

Why can't we just say "OWWWWW!!! You really hurt me.....I mean I'm not mad, but OWWWWW!!!"

Instead we keep stoically silent biting the inside of our lips, cursing up a storm inside our heads. We choke out the obligatory laugh..."I'm out of breath ...not because it hurts....but because its's so funny. These sobs are from me containing my glee. The tears running out of my eyes??? Can't you tell it's because of my joy about the money we'll make on america's funniest home videos if anyone caught that throw on tape?"

Why are we so embarrassed to be the ones that got hurt and not the ones with the horrifyingly bad aim/ bad luck ?

Or maybe I just pretend to be fine as a sort of golden rule morality. React unto others as you would have them react unto you. Maybe I'm just bitter because if I accidentally hit someone they inevitably cry like a girl or say "I'm fine.....can someone help me off the court to rest for a few minutes?" which means they will be driving to the hospital later. And I'll be getting dirty looks for the rest of the night from their friends and I'll be feeling guilty and, that's right, embarrassed.

Ever had those bizarre moments in life ...........when you hear you own voice on a tape and you sound like Elmo, or you see a picture of yourself on a night you thought you looked super hot- and people even complimented you - and in the picture you look like you might be missing a vital chromosome?

I wonder to myself sometimes about whether we ever can truly see ourselves from the outside in. If we can have an objective view. If people with really high self esteem have some sort of rose-colored vision where the "special you" pictures are melded into supermodel shots. Or if they just really are so ridiculously good-looking that they never have a heinous photo.

This is all leading to how I see myself....... and can I ever accept a compliment as a compliment and not a passive-agressive-shot at me. Anyways......moving on to one of the highlights of my week...

So I went to Supertarget with my sister this week (I should note that I had a raging cold, fever etc). I was feeling slightly better, so I was willing to make a desperate quick run to Tar-jay. So I pick up some medicine and snacks and head up to the front with my sister to pay. Mind you I had been forced to go to school every day sick as a dog - onsite in McKinney and Frisco at 7 am til 3 in the afternoon and I was BEAT DOWN. I also looked it. Swollen red nose. No makeup. Bags under my eyes from lack of sleep. Voice of Zhoul.

I reach the front of the line and the man at the check out( mid 30's dork) scans my meds and suddenly it sounds like a prisoner is escaping from cell block 9. He's all "WHAT THE HECK IS THIS BELL???" And then says "Oh...I'm sorry there's an age limit on those drugs." So I'm like....."uh wierd.....Ok here's my ID." So he takes the ID and sits there for like a full minute doing nothing. Seemingly waiting for something. Then he says...."I'm gonna have to call the pharmacy manager about the age limit." I am thoroughly confused at this point. I say "I'm over 18- what's the problem?" So he looks embarrased and we sit there for another 30 seconds and then he picks up the phone and says "I'm not sure about what the age limit is- I'll just call." At this point everyone else in the 10 items or less is fuming. So am I - I gave him my ID- I am not aware of any over 30 only items in the store unless it's Depends or Os-Cal. Geez!! My sister is like....."Umm I'll vouch for her being old enough if that helps" Still no response.

Then it dawns on me. So I say....uh sir.....I'm I'm also over 21. What age limit are you looking for?" And he hangs up the phone and he looks at me. He is astonished. He looks at my ID again. Then he says "Are you REALLY almost 30?? I'm so sorry I made you wait!" And my sister and I look at each other in complete shock that this man thought I was maybe over 18 but definitely not 21. Also he apparently can't read. And this guy then says "'re almost 30. I'm 38. " And hands me my receipt. I am now totally creeped out in addition to being in shock. I grab my bag and pretend to be busy in my purse while my sister checks out. But he keeps talking and digging himself in deeper. Then we RUN.

So back to my point. What the heck? I seriously get carded at least a few times year. For the past 2 or 3 yrs I never assumed they really thought I was too young. Just doing their duty as cashier. But maybe I was mistaken. What the crap with Target man??? Do I really look that young?? It wouldn't disturb me so much if I didn't get mistaken at dances for 20 and have everyone in nursing think I'm 19.

All I can say to these people is "Get your eyes checked!!! stat!!"
If this is the face of 20........Ok it's just not the face of 20- that's all there is to it.
And it's honestly not flattering. The Target dude was all "You should take this as a compliment!"
If I looked like I was 20 I had to look like the most worn out red-eyed awful 20 yr old ever. That's no compliment. Ug.

For some reason mistaking my age for one super younger is insulting to me. I freaking EARNED these past 9 years. I should look mature and sophisticated etc. Not baby-faced.
Now if you say you think i'm .....say 26 and up....and you're a guy ....suddenly i assume you're hitting on me. Not a bad thing to say at all.

What a contradiction. Anyways. Me getting mistaken as young always sends my sister into a rage. Which is actually pretty funny so even though I was offended- it was all worth it. Even better is when people come right out and say they don't believe i'm the older sister. Mwahahahaaa. Ok I guess I shouldn't relish the frustration of others - especially if I'm whining about my own.