“Sing along with me, sing-sing along with me”

Buzzfeed posted this article today, discussing Meghan Trainor’s recent music video for “Dear Future Husband.”  This just so happens to be the accompaniment to my upcoming swing performance:  I’m awfully familiar with the song.

In the video, Trainor channels her inner fifties housewife, cleaning, baking, etc., complete with perfectly winged eyeliner.

Very Cinderella-esque.  "A dream is a wish your heart makes....."

Very Cinderella-esque. “A dream is a wish your heart makes…..”

According to Buzzfeed, people are outraged over the decision, quoting lyrics from the song in their anti-feminist depictions of it.

“Take me on a date/ I deserve it, babe/ And don’t forget the flowers every anniversary/ ‘Cause if you treat me right/ I’ll be the perfect wife/ Buying groceries/Buy-buying what you need

How dare she stereotype women as having to buy the groceries???

Whoops, I enjoy grocery shopping.  I’d be willing to buy my future husband’s groceries.  Too bad, it’s obviously sexist.  This song will obviously set the women’s rights movement back sixty-some years.

But WAIT.  Let’s check out the full song, shall we?

Like the very next verse:

“You got that 9 to 5/ But baby, so do I/ So don’t be thinking I’ll be home and baking apple pies/ I never learned to cook/ But I can write a hook/ Sing along with me/ Sing-sing along with me”

So, basically, “don’t expect me to be a stereotypical housewife and do all of the cooking, because I have a job, too, and you’ll be disappointed.”  Hmm.

"Hey, I'm not gonna be an outdated expectation, k?"

“Hey, I’m not gonna be an outdated expectation, k?”

My personal favourite?  The last line of the song.

“Dear future husband, better love me right

Leaving listeners, like a conclusion in any writing, with the main idea.  “Dear guy I someday hope to marry, don’t treat me like crap.”  Sounds pretty twenty-first century to me.

If you ask me, we should focus our “very strong feelings” on real, actual problems.  Wage gap? Problem. World hunger? Problem.  Cancer? Problem.  Legitimate sexism/racism/geocentrism?  Problems.

Song lyrics out of context?  Not a problem.

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“Should have known right from the start you can’t predict the end….”

“They were young and independent, and they thought they had it planned;  should have known right from the start you can’t predict the end.” –Memories, Panic! at the Disco

(Seriously a great song that I 100% recommend you check out.  The whole album is pretty fantastic, really!)

It’s pretty much a fact that most people are unable to predict the future (If you’re psychic and want to volunteer your services, let me know because that’d be cool).  This causes lots and lots of anxiety over “what-if’s,” at least in my case.  But there’s a silver lining:  sometimes things turn out significantly better than you could ever have suspected!

I pretty much saw my life as a play-by-play when I was little.  I’d graduate high school, go to Penn State, go become a journalist, and live with a whole bunch of cats (and maybe some parakeets, if the cats were okay with it).

Then, exactly one year ago today, I got accepted to my dream school.

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Well, take a look at me now!

Now, this is far from everything that’s happened or everyone’s that’s influenced the last 365 days, but it’s a pretty great highlights reel.  I’m unbelievably thankful for everything I’ve experienced and the people I’ve experienced it with!

In this exact moment, you, dear reader, are a part of that.  I’m extremely grateful for this, and for you!

If you’d have asked me ten years ago “What do you want to be when you grow up?” I wouldn’t have dreamed I’d be where I am today (granted, I’ve still got some growing up to do!).  Nevertheless, I couldn’t be happier with the way it’s turned out!

My Life as an Adrian Monk

Some of this will probably sound arrogant, braggy;  it’s not meant to be.  Some of this will sound exaggerated;  it isn’t.

As I was growing up, my parents liked to joke that I was a thirty-year-old trapped in a child’s body.  They weren’t wrong.

I was the kid who wanted to do nothing more than read.  Greatschools.org lists some of the “best books for second-graders,” from Nim’s Island to Frog and Toad.  I remember walking into my second-grade classroom with Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, much to my teacher’s surprise.  By the time I reached high school, I’d fallen in love with the classics.  Even now, I’m rather atypical:  how many nineteen-year-olds enthuse about Tolstoy?

In turn, I skipped out on some of the stepping-stones.  I wasn’t interested in riding a bike or learning to swim— now considered basic skills learned years ago.  I didn’t read the books or watch the shows aimed at my age level— now I can’t contribute to enthusiastic “do you remember ______?” with many of my peers.  I’m slowly catching up on some.  For example, it was only about two years ago when I first read The Velveteen Rabbit.  I still haven’t gotten around to learning to swim or to ride a bike.  All in due time, I suppose.

I’ve loved and still love animals far more than most people.  These were my closest friends growing up.

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Why?  Animals weren’t immature or confused by things I’d say.  They were sweet and cuddly;  this sentiment’s stuck with me over the years.

Aside from my pets, adults and older students became my favourite people to spend time with.  Even now, I’m amazed by the contacts I’ve kept from my hometown:  while my college friends go off to meet up with their high school companions, I’m meeting up with former teachers and friends who’ve long since left college for the real world.  I think this is why I’m shocked when I hear people explain that they haven’t talked to their parents in weeks.  I talk to my mom, my grandparents, or my dad several times a day:  I’ve always been closer to them psychologically than to those I went to school with.

Aren't we cute?

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Aren’t we cute?

My mom’s told me stories of comments I’d made from a very young age, words “wise beyond my years.”  My dad spent years prompting me to go outside and run around, “enjoy life.”  While other parents were coaxing their kids to come in and do their homework, mine worried I wasn’t enjoying my childhood.

I distinctly remember certain moments of this “maturity,” as others have termed it— I prefer the terms “empathy” or “sentiment, “in most cases.  I remember not wanting to get out of bed after Mom had tucked me in— she’d taken the time and effort to cover me up, slide Zoboomafoo under the blankets, I couldn’t bear ruining it.

Nowadays, he's still hanging around!

Nowadays, he’s still hanging around!

I remember my peers coloring on their notebooks and folders, scribbling mindlessly on their books.  I remember being appalled that they could ruin what their parents or whoever had gotten for them.

I remember reading poetry, Shakespeare, and understanding it on an almost instinctual level.  This “instinct” can be troublesome, especially in school.  Take Latin, for example.  As we translate a passage, we analyze the tense, form, etc. for each word before attempting a full translation.  My problem in doing so is that I look at the words and, assuming I’m familiar with the vocabulary, I understand.

The same happens in my history courses, in most courses, really.  I understand something too easily, then struggle to get my thoughts on the same level as my classmates, where the professor is teaching.

In turn for personal maturity and humanities-based talents, I’m relatively hopeless in STEM classes, so there’s a balance.  I don’t claim any “special” status for understanding things, I don’t pretend to know everything.

At the same time, I recognize it as, as Adrian Monk would say….

I didn’t miss out on childhood, I’ve never had a lonely, miserable life.  I’ve been perfectly happy amid big books and Murder, She Wrote.  I didn’t spend high school swooning over boys and drinking in the woods, I studied and got involved, and enjoyed myself.  Even so, I’m not perfect— I’m different.  Society doesn’t like different, whatever claims of diversity they assert.  I don’t feel the need to fit in, but the alternative becomes a roadblock.

Buzzfeed and its comrades like to write articles about “Introverts” and their wanting to stay inside and be anti-social.  It’s a cause that’s recently been championed, recognizing that it’s okay to not always be the stereotypical extrovert.  But no one fits these molds perfectly.  Sure, I self-identify as an introvert most of the time.  Yet my friends can testify that I won’t shut up when I don’t want to. I’m content with silence, but I still like to talk. I’m fine with performing in front of thousands, but I panic at the thought of a phone call.  I love books and have anxiety that can sometimes be utterly crippling, but I also love to meet new people, travel the world and experience things that are just outside of my preconceived comfort zone, like dance classes quickly became (read more about that experience here!).

I see things logically, but with empathy.  I feel other people’s emotions and adjust my own in response.  I understand concepts, but can’t tell you why.  I know the answer, the definition, but I can’t describe it adequately.

It’s a gift, and a curse.

“The sea is wide, and I cannot swim o’er….”

“I wish I was in Carrickfergus, where the castle looks out to sea.  I would swim over the deepest ocean for my love to be with me, but the sea is wide and I cannot swim over, nor have I the wings to fly.  I wish I had a handsome boatman to ferry me over, my love and I.”  Carrickfergus

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

My mom’s family comes primarily from Wales (with a whole bunch of others, including a bit o’ Irish), my father’s from Italy and Czechoslovakia.  Regardless, my family’s always cherished that bit of Irish, so St. Paddy’s Day is close to our heart.

One of the most prominent manifestations of this interest is an interest in the music, passed down through several generations.

Many years ago, we discovered Celtic Woman.

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And soon after, we found Celtic Thunder.

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Our interest grew to the point of adoration, and we went to see the latter in Wilkes-Barre, PA (yet somehow have no pictures of this adventure, much to my dismay).  We followed them more closely than the girls, through countless changes, especially in members.  We’ve got a special fondness for the originals, and kept track of those that went out on their own:  Paul’s solo endeavors, Damian’s US-based Glee term, Ryan’s ill-health, and George’s tragic loss.  Through the ups and downs, we’ve loved them.

Someday, I’ll celebrate this holiday in the country that’s famous for it.  Tonight, I’ll be celebrating at a Pub/Restaurant with some friends, but in the meantime, let’s enjoy some music, shall we?

“I can’t drive, I’m a goose!”

In honor of our last day of break (and my Disney obsession), my friend and I went to see Disney’s live-action Cinderella.  

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I must say, I was impressed!

I’ve had a slight, unprovoked resentment toward Cinderella for a long time.  When I was very little, there was a general tendency to promote her to the blonde little girl who liked the color blue.  I was more of a Belle fan (whose movie, on a related note, I’m totally psyched for!) and subsequently hated this push.

Later, my little sister was a MAJOR Cinderella fan.

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This was only taken down a week ago.

That contributed to the dislike also.

Nevertheless, the trailer looked quite good, and Frozen Fever was tempting.  Thus, we arrived at the theatre!

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The conclusion?  It was fantastic.  (Spoilers may occur in the near future).

I was a little unsure about it at first.  Ella’s mother’s mantra “Have courage and be kind,” seemed a little corny, admittedly, and I didn’t like the girl playing young Ella at first.  But, if nothing else, Richard Madden was quite attractive as the prince, so that was nice.

The movie didn’t line up perfectly with the original.  Cate Blanchett’s Evil Stepmother was gorgeous, for one.  Most notably, Ella and Prince Charming aka Kit meet prior to the ball- a welcome, though surprising change from the appearance-based love at first sight of the animation.  Check out the below link for a professional comparison!

The portion I was most concerned about, though, was the dress change (side note, Helena Bonham Carter’s Fairy Godmother was pretty great).  It’s known to be Walt’s favourite piece of animation, so I was anxious to see if they’d do it justice…. I think he’d be proud.

Books are Best.

If you’ve been following TO&E, you’ve probably caught on to how much I like books.  (Hint: The answer is “A Lot.”)

So, early on in the year, I decided to start the 2015 Reading Challenge!

2015 Reading Challenge

Click & zoom in if needed!

For me, this translates to:

  • War and Peace- Leo Tolstoy
  • Anna Karenina- Leo Tolstoy
  • Breakfast at Tiffany’s- Truman Capote
  • Binary Star- Sarah Gerard
  • 1984- George Orwell
  • Midnight Meanders- Annika Jensen [a personal friend of mine!]
  • The Hobbit- JRR Tolkien
  • The Next Thing On My List- Jill Smolinski
  • Emma- Jane Austen
  • Thinner- Stephen King
  • Lolita- Vladimir Nabokov
  • The Short Stories of F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Memoirs of a Geisha- Arthur Golden
  • Royal Affairs- Leslie Carroll
  • The Thomas Berryman Number- James Patterson
  • The Longest Ride- Nicholas Sparks
  • The Things They Carried- Tim O’Brien
  • Profiles in Courage- John F. Kennedy
  • The Diary of a Young Girl- Anne Frank
  • The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap- Paulette Mahurin
  • Gone Girl- Gillian Flynn
  • The Turn of the Screw- Henry James
  • Dubliners- James Joyce
  • Mary, Bloody Mary- Carolyn Meyer
  • Tender is the Night- F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • Orange is the New Black- Piper Kerman
  • The Fool’s Girl- Celia Rees
  • North and South- John Jakes
  • Bridget Jones’ Diary- Helen Fielding
  • The War of the Roses- Alsion Weir
  • Mr. Darcy, Vampyre- Amanda Grange
  • The Mortal Instruments- Cassandra Clare
  • Gregor the Overlander- Suzanne Collins
  • Wuthering Heights- Emily Brontë
  • Divergent- Veronica Roth
  • Just Listen- Sarah Dessen
  • The Color Purple- Alice Walker
  • A Child Called It- David Pelzer
  • The Night Circus- Erin Morgenstern
  • Gettysburg- CM Butzer
  • As I Lay Dying- William Faulkner
  • Broken Promises- Elizabeth Cobbs Hoffman
  • The Farmer’s Hotel- John O’Hara
  • Detective Story- Imre Kertesz
  • The Christmas Shoes- Donna VanLiere
  • The Red Pony- John Steinbeck
  • The Pillowman- Martin McDonagh
  • Beloved- Toni Morrison
  • Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell- Susanna Clarke
  • Madame Bovary- Gustave Flaubert

Bold books are finished, italicized are in progress-  I’m not quite as far as I’d like to be, but considering War and Peace (see this post for more on that endeavor!), it’s not tooooooo bad!  My reading should also pick up come summer, when only work gets in the way, as opposed to James McPherson and Gary Gallagher [note: I highly enjoy both of these writers under normal conditions- not so much when they’re assigned].

So yes, lots of books to come in the next 9 months, but it’ll be great! Anybody doing a challenge of their own, or have a review of any of the books that are part of mine?  Share your TO&E below!

“Someday, when we are wiser, when the world’s older, when we have learned….

“Someday, when we are wiser, when the world’s older, when we have learned…. I pray someday we may yet live to live and let live…. Someday life will be fairer, need will be rarer, greed will not pay. God speed, this bright millenium on its way, let it come, someday.” –Someday, The Hunchback of Notre Dame

How often in life do we say “Ah, I’ll do that someday…”? For me, it’s insanely common. Granted, it tends to be followed by “when I marry Prince Harry….” but that’s another story.

I mean, c'mon....

I mean, c’mon….

Regardless, the sentiment is the same.

I’ve long had a Pinterest board dedicated to this “Someday,” filled with ideas of shopping in Paris, adopting a shelter pet, and getting my Tiffany ring set (I never said these were all super-feasible dreams, did I?).  Recently, I discovered Bucketlist.org.

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It’s super user-friendly, utilizes categories quite similarly to WordPress, and has tons of suggestions.  Had I realized how much I want to feed a giraffe before? Nope!

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Need to remedy this ASAP!

Aside from giving me a bunch more “Somedays,” this sight’s been eye-opening in another way.  The word “privilege” is thrown around ceaselessly lately, and #blessed is hardly used unironically.  Yet, how privileged and blessed are we, really?  Seeing some of these goals that so many people have is humbling, really.

Tons of people take Disney trips for granted, and I’ve always felt a little inferior for never having been there myself.  But how about the people who include “Graduate high school” on their bucket list?  Sure, that could be attributed to students who just can’t wait to get out of there.  Otherwise?  How about someone who legitimately never had a chance to graduate?

Or “See Snow Fall?” I’ve posted repeatedly about how much I despise winter, but I didn’t do so considering all those people who’ve never experienced it.

My friend recently informed me that her boyfriend has never seen a kitten before.  What??

One of my favourite high school teachers once told me “Perspective is everything,” and it’s kind of my life motto.  In the case of “Someday,” it’s especially true.