Friday, August 14, 2009

Passing the Torch

Another summer has come to a close, and I'm gleefully awaiting the arrival of Kate. She's moving to a town not too far away from myself (only 2 hours! Weeee!), and will arrive in a week. This is a tremendous change for the both of us, since for the past six years the only way we could visit was by plane. The reason for this move is Kate has decided to move south to finish her college career, just as I have completed mine (sort of). I figure with all the work she put into keeping the site going while I was busting my butt in college, I ought to do what I can while she is indisposed.

Kate was right in her last blog post, a lot has happened. Since graduating I've been going non-stop, to New Orleans, Texas, Ireland, and soon I'll be visiting New Mexico and Arizona. As soon as all this is over, I really must get a job, I don't have a single cheap hobby...

Anyhow, I promise to have Ireland pictures and stories up soon (there were a few stories about relationships I heard along the way that I definitely want to share), but please bear with us: between Katy's move and my trips (not to mention my CASA case coming to a close soon), we're having a little trouble keeping everything balanced.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Breaking the Silence!

From Blissfully Single Kate's Log:

Well, it’s been a long while since I last posted, much has happened for both Ange and I.



My family and I packed up the car on the 7th of May and headed out to beautiful Hattiesburg, Mississippi to visit the school I intend to transfer to in the fall to finally get that degree. It was my first time in MS that I can remember. I’ve traveled across the states many times, but I don’t remember if since I was born my family ever passed through there. Hattiesburg is a great college town and while it has a lot of the major chain stores and a brand new mall, it also is not without its very cute southern charm.



A mistake I made was failing to take pictures while in Hattiesburg, but thankfully when I got to Hammond, Louisiana to visit with Ange and her family I remembered to use it profusely.



I enjoyed walking the campus of my new school and am looking forward to attending. It is a small campus and the professors I have met are all very nice, and seem like the sort to be attentive to your needs and to help you focus on getting through school. While I know I will be a rather old sophomore on the campus there, I am looking forward to my age being an advantage.

Upon arrival in Louisiana, much preperation was needed to get ready for Ange's graduation.
It was very exciting to attend Ange’s SLU graduation. I’ll leave it up to her to give the details on that, but needless to say I and her family were very proud and excited on that day.


While I was there visiting with her family, a few of us did a quick day trip down to New Orleans (which is always fun to do), and had beignet's at Café Du Monde. Then the day following as a graduation trip, we took off to New Braunfels, TX to spend a day at the Schlitterbahn water park, and then a day at San Antonio, TX.



It had been 19 years since I was last in San Antonio, and I fell in love with it all over again. I will describe in better length in blogs to come each individual trip along with pictures and a few things to remember when traveling to these individual locations.



If you can’t afford to travel abroad, always remember there is lots of amazing culture and things to see in whatever country you live in.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Travel advice

If you don't have a passport, go get one. Even if you don't have plans to go anywhere in the near future, just go get one. If you're sixteen or older when you apply, it's good for ten years, and the fee for getting it is only $75.

Otherwise, you may run the risk shelling out $208 to expedite your passport processing because you didn't have your passport handy.

It hurt, it really hurt. I just keep telling myself I'll get ten years out of it. Broken down, it comes to about $1.73 per month, which is reasonable (right?). Sigh...

Thursday, April 9, 2009

*crickets*

So, I guess I should post something, since Kate has been doing her level best to keep this place moving without me.

Isn't she cheerful? She posts about all the wonderful things you can do if you're single, the bright sides, and all that good stuff. Me? Not so much. See, I spend most of my time either talking to people at work, or eavesdropping on conversations going around me, and most of the time all I can think is How on earth do y'all stand to be around each other?

In the three years I've been in college, I've met one guy I had anything even remotely in common with, which is part of the reason I don't date*. I often wonder about people who date because they think they're supposed to. Meaning, people who are dating even though they know a relationship isn't going to be formed by any of these dates. Are they actually enjoying it? If yes, why? If no, why do they keep doing it?

Sorry, as you can see from this and my previous posts, dating culture fascinates and baffles me. I would love to have an opportunity to have a handful of habitual daters chronicle their lives for me: one month of business-as-usual, followed by one month of no dating. Just to see how they would react to the lifestyle change.

I think I may have had a point to all this, but it's the last day before spring break, and my train of thought derailed. Opinions? Thoughts? Explanations of what good dating has ever done for anyone?

*the other part is that I genuinely enjoy being single. As Kate points out, you can do a lot when you're not entangled in romantic relationships.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Happy GaPeR Day!

From Blissfully Single Kate's Log:
My brother and I a year ago celebrating Gaper day as ninjas!


Gaper Day!

While for everyone else it’s April fool’s day, for us mountain people it’s Gaper Day!
Featuring another blogger with a great explanation of the day and some videos:
http://www.angrysnowboarder.com/2009/03/gaper-day-fun.html
Unfortunatly this year my brother and I couldn't make it out to the slopes today since I became a victim of an evil dentist and am waiting to get it corrected.

Wish your fellow man a Happy Gaper day today!

Kate

Monday, March 23, 2009

Don't be a target, build that confidence!


From Blissfully Single Kate's log:


As a Single, there will be more individuals out there targeting you as someone to take advantage of. It’s a horrid fact but unfortunately true.

Someone on their own running their own business or just out living life are more likely targets for asset strippers, people tricking you into co-signing your property over to them, rapists, robbers, insecure abusive singles, to a million other things.

How to avoid this is up to you, for one, overcoming your own insecurities with your own singleness and with who you are. Becoming a confident individual makes you ten times less of a target, becoming more alert of your surroundings, securing yourself financially and getting out of debt as quickly as possible, and even just improving your nutritional health.

I write this blog with Ange for the purpose of preventing the things that have happened to me and others we know from happening to you.

The first and foremost thing to keep those from you, who desire to take advantage of you, is to boost your confidence. As my Karate instructor reminds us often, it’s the first impression you leave with someone that affects your future with that individual. Always greet each and every person you meet in a firm handshake and with an air of confidence (not arrogance) that shows them you are sure of yourself and know how to take care of yourself and that no one is going to take advantage of you. It’s amazing the message you send people when you greet them with a generous grip and confident smile as opposed to a weak handshake and timid eyes. It is so important that you find that inner happiness in your singleness and not let it bring you down, because from the way you walk to the way you greet others determines for others whether you are a good target for their evil intentions or not.

Improving ones nutrition and some self defense classes may be all that is needed to gain such confidence, but it may take more than just those two things to help you pick yourself up.
Maybe you need to attack your debt, or it’s possible you are still struggling with the emotions of having bad relationships and people who have been taking advantage of you already.

Now is the time to become confident and to stop taking the abuse. Now is the time to find the happiness in who you are and take your passions and make them your priority. Boost yourself with a shot of confidence and take a break from the dating world. Take some personal time out and stop worrying about whether you will get married or not. Leave the worrying up to tomorrow and take on today with a new outlook on life. Stop letting people think you’re insecure and unhappy with who you are and what you have in life. Stop making yourself a target for others.

The world paints singles as insecure enough already, we don’t need to add to the hype by actually being insecure.

Singleness does not equal loneliness!

Note: New Side bars to right of column, for nutritional advice and getting out of debt from Kate.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pop culture and Singles!

From Blissfully Single Kate's log:

Singleness is only “hard” if you think it is and allow the world to tell you how you should think.

Few films and shows out there actually condone being totally single and not putting yourself on the meat market as so many shows out there encourage.

I am always on the search for a message from any film nowadays that does not condone single men and women dating perpetually and giving their heart out over and over again till pretty much they believe that is all life is about, and that no one person can be happy for a minute without having to be with someone in some capacity or other.

Uptown Girls is a movie that few may realize has probably one of the strongest messages in teaching single girls and guys to stand on their own two feet and stop depending on a relationship to supply them with all the things they think they need emotionally in life. I recommend it for those still struggling to let go of depending on having some kind of relationship to make them feel significant or emotionally satisfied.

There are singles of all ages, but the brainwashing of society starts young. While I like to target all ages, I realize that to catch the attention of the younger ages, I must intentionally speak to them in particular.

While young single girls and guys may think “oh I have it all going for me and I don’t have to learn about being happy single, because I won’t be single for much longer” are certainly walking a dangerous path of thoughts.

There are those of us, who need to get out of the down trodden thoughts society has injected into us since the beginning of our dating years. We have a greater challenge to overcome such thoughts because of the extent of the exposure we have suffered from such a mind set of pop culture in comparison to those who are just now stepping off into such a civilization for the first time.

Being single is not bad, it’s not evil, it’s not wrong, and it by no means says anything about us. Let us determine what speaks for us, not some status that the world has labeled as “OLD MAID”, “Lonely single”, or any other negative connotation that would imply there is something wrong with us.

Rarely do people see a “single” as someone other than someone with a need to be dating or married. What about our character, our talents, our amazing minds? They just go by the way side; because they become attributes and reasons for someone to date us for, rather than attributes that can achieve great things. Let us do great things, and marry that special person when love comes our way or not. The more time you spend in actually achieving great and wonderful things, the less time you have to worry about if you will meet the love of your life or not. How many times have you heard a friend tell someone they should be dating someone based on all the attributes they both have and how they would fit based on that?

While it’s not wrong to find someone with a great mind to date or marry, it just should not be pursued like a hunt for the perfect costume come Halloween.

If finding a love partner for the rest of your life is your only goal in life and if you feel that you are nothing without that, than you have sold yourself short, and will continue down a path of negative thoughts about yourself and those around you. I want you to be happy as an individual and for you to find the success that embracing a single life has to offer before dating again or getting married.

Challenge yourself to find new goals new passions or maybe emphasize the ones you have already over the goal of finding someone to be in a relationship with. Even if the goal is just finding yourself!

If you don’t have friends to surround you, then go out there and find some, if you don’t have family to surround you then find friends willing to be like family.
Singleness does not equal loneliness!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Singles Must Learn Self Defense!

From blissfully single Kate’s log:
The video is of a basic kata in shorin-ryu karate



For years I had wanted to learn some form of self defense and to have more assurance that if ever in a dangerous situation that I could get out of it.

I have now finally taken up some Karate classes offered at my local community center, a type of Shorin ryu that comes out of Okinawa. The sensei who teaches the class is so far very good, and has a patient demeanor. Some very interesting but very good points he made the other night made me realize some very important things.

While many agree that women, especially women living on their own should learn some form of self defense, few understand the importance of guys learning self defense in today’s very crazy world.

People don’t just attack women now days, but also men. It may be hard to think about, but it happens, and Singles especially should be learning how to defend themselves. It’s important to remember that not all attackers travel alone and most likely there will be someone who is bigger than you and or more skilled in harming you than you are at protecting yourself.

Most any form of Karate teaches you how to use your body as a mechanical tool rather than brute force to protect yourself, because not everyone has massive muscle. It teaches you how to overcome anyone of any size no matter your amount of muscle or lack thereof.

I encourage you to find a good instructor that teaches a good form of practical self defense in your area. It’s always best to do a little research on what style might be best for you, and of course finding someone you can afford.
For those of you in the Colorado Springs area, my instructor’s link’s are below and all his qualifications. If you are interested just let him know that Blissfully Single Kate sent you his way, he will give you the first 2 weeks of lessons completely free.

Kyoshi Jeff Ader, PhD 7th Degree Black Belt: Phone # (719) 232-1882
Email: kyoshi@allokinawakarate.com
http://allokinawakarate.com
http://www.selfgrowth.com/experts/jeff_ader.html
http://www.kenshin-kan.com/seniorinstructors.html
http://www.kitterykenshinkan.com/06photo.html

Angela also takes a course in self defense called Krav Maga: http://singlebliss.blogspot.com/2009/02/getting-in-gear.html

Knowing self-defense is something everyone should be concerned with. No one has the right to hurt you, ever.
~ Michael Janich~

Self-defense is the clearest of all laws, and for this reason: lawyers didn't make it
~ Douglas William Jerrold~

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Lessons for all!


Not just gold-diggers. The CrankyProf ranted about a girl in one of her classes, one of those girls who's working hard on her MRS degree. Living where I do, I honestly have never met someone in that particular degree program; my college has too many non-traditional students working two jobs to support themselves and/or family for that sort of nonsense to take root. CrankyProf offered a short list of things the silly girl ought to be doing instead, and I wanted to expand on it a little bit:

-Learn to handle your own finances/Live within your means and budget.
-Learn how to do (most) of your own car maintenance.
-Find something you love to do for yourself and by yourself.

Now, I'm sure the girl in question pictures herself as an 'Orange County' housewife, not an actual housewife (you know, one who realizes it's a job), but she needs to understand mastering the list above is essential to being a good housewife. Running a household requires budgeting; your husband is not always going to be around to fix the car (and there may be times when you can't afford to pay someone else to fix it); and he doesn't exist to provide your entertainment, so get a hobby (and the pool boy doesn't count).

This is all academic anyway, because a girl who thinks playing dumb is cool definitely needs to be single for a while yet. Neither Kate nor I would ever put ourselves in a position to be taken advantage of; we work hard, read often, and do everything we can to insure we're on equal footing with people we may come in contact with. I can't do most of the maintainance on my car (or even some of it), but I'm sure I could learn.

Trust me girly-girl, I know women who were abandoned by their husbands once the kids left home (or even before), and left them with nothing; it'll happen to you too, so get an education, and some self-confidence while you're at it. Like it says on our sidebar, we're not anti-marriage, we just don't think you can be happily married until after you've learned to be happily single.

PSA

In light of the near-frantic call I received from Kate this evening, I thought I'd let everyone know that we opted to not spend Mardi Gras in New Orleans this weekend, and thus were no where near the parade route when the shootings occurred. You may return to your regularly scheduled internet reading.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Traveling somewhere?


The adventurous spirit craves and desires the experiences traveling to new and un-marked territory can give it.

As a seasoned traveler, I cannot say there is anything better than a trip to the unknown with the feeling of freedom it offers. Catching a plane to Valetta, taking the train to Vienna, seeing new towns and cities like Lima and Pisco, stepping onto the streets you’ve only ever read about in books in Venice, admiring your favorite artist's original paintings in the Albertina, sipping a cup of coffee in the square of Zagreb, taking a stroll on the beach in Almunecar.

It all sounds so romantic, but one little mistake could make it all not so grand.
Travel for singles can be fun, but without the right precautions it can turn into their worst nightmare.

While single men run into less dangers than a single female would traveling, it's important to remember that almost anyone who is not alert and aware of their surroundings can be taken advantage of in some form or other.

For the most part I have always been very alert and cautious in all my travels, and made decisions that in several cases prevented terrible things from happening. However, I also made some mistakes that made some of my trips not so fun, and even a bit dangerous.
A valuable lesson I learned the hard way taught me that while it seems like a good idea to go with friends who are originally from the country you are traveling to, it's never a good idea to travel with them when you don’t know them as well as you think you did (making you trust them entirely too much), and it's best not to depend on their reassurances of the hospitality of their family. You are better off making all the plans yourself and insuring that you can get fed properly and taken care of at all times on your own.


Never take anyone’s word for granted and never expect them to hold to any of their words, always prepare for the worst. While sometimes, people go above and beyond and over take care of you while visiting, this is something you can never totally depend on. It's best to plan on buying all your meals out, and it's not a bad idea to insure a good hotel room at a hotel in a good part of town; this gives you more freedom, and you know exactly what kind of place you will be staying in ahead of time, rather than being unpleasantly surprised.

While my situation was not as extreme, because I did not stay as long with the family I visited, Jonathan McCullum’s story certainly drives this point home:
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,333173,00.html


Jonathan McCullum's parents said the exchange program should have warned
them that students placed with Coptic families would be subject to dietary
restrictions.



It's always important to know what sort of situation you are putting yourself in before you go, and always be sure to bring enough money to take care of yourself at all times.

If you choose to go on the cheap and do it backpack style, it's more than likely that you will have been mentally preparing yourself for it, and will not be expecting the safest place or cleanest places to stay. It's very important that you are mentally and emotionally prepared ahead of time for where you will be staying. If you are not completely aware and ready, than you will come unprepared. This is why, again, it is never a good idea to depend upon the word of anyone whom you might stay with. Also, if you put yourself in a situation where you go with a friend who already has friends and family from the place you intend to visit, they will expect you to hang out with them and their friends, and will most likely not want to go see sites or museums. Its very dangerous to visit sites by yourself, and you can’t assume anyone hosting you to also want to see the things they grew up around. I speak from experience, and while some hosts are very kind and offer to accompany you on such trips, you can never always depend on that.

This is where having someone who is a close friend or family member that has also never traveled there can be a great benefit. When you want to see new things, its always so much more enjoyable to share it with people who are just as curious and excited about the sites as you are.
There is so much I could go on about, about all the trips I have taken and the lessons of traveling I have learned.

Safety is first and foremost the thing that you should think about when taking a trip abroad.
One particular subject and issue I have tried to keep myself well informed about is an issue few female travelers bother to think about, and should be alert and aware of its presence.
While some people may think the sex slave trade can’t touch them and will never be an issue for them, in reality it is a very serious problem, and ruins hundreds of lives every day.
Recently I had been researching how much of it goes on in our own country, even in our own home towns. I discovered something very shocking, I couldn’t believe it, right here in Colorado springs, and Denver.
http://www.colorado.edu/studentgroups/cusams/informed.html


This website also has videos of ads making people more aware of the issue around the world, and actual news interviews and documentaries of women who escaped it.
I was excited when they came out with the new movie “Taken,” because it gets the word out there and makes the public much more aware of what is going on, and that these things really do happen. I just hope more people take the film seriously than I have seen so far. One female film critic did not like the movie, and felt that it was mostly made up, and practically asked the question if the sex slave trade actually existed or not. I was horrified and shocked at the ignorance of someone who is supposed to be so “intelligent.” It's no wonder the monsters who run these trades get away with it so easily and so often.

I went to see “TAKEN” just a few days ago with my mom, we both very much enjoyed the film, and while we both agreed it had a few holes, it had a lot of good lessons to teach, and is something every single female should watch. As Angela said “It’s a movie about pretty much everything you are not supposed to do (while traveling).”
http://www.takenmovie.com/


It's ok to travel with friends and have fun, but one important rule, every person traveling outside of their home should obey is, to coin the phrase from “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,” when the villain (not yet revealed as the villain) says to Dr. Jones, “Don’t trust anyone”, and later when he’s turned on Dr. Jones, he reminds him that Dr. Jones did not take his advice when he told him “not to trust anyone” and is essentially now paying for it.

It's an easy rule to follow but hard to remember when you're having fun and getting way too comfortable with your surroundings. You're fine in your home town, not because home is always a safe place, but because you know who to stay away from and you already know the places and streets to avoid generally; but in a new place, you don’t know these things, and so you can never assume anything.
http://www.transitionsabroad.com/listings/travel/women/websiteswomenclubs.shtml
The article and web link below was a link I found when searching for traveling advice for women. I found that they had some fantastic advice to give and some very good points.

Cultural Concerns

Being immersed in a new culture can be an exciting, yet challenging,
experience. It is important to recognize that, as a woman, you may be treated
differently in each destination. Some countries view men and women as equals,
while others give women few rights. In 1980, the United Nations summed up the
differences between men and women throughout the world: Women, who comprise half
the world's population, do two-thirds of the world's work, earn one-tenth of the
world's income and own one-hundredth of the world's property. You can expect to
experience and observe this difference on your journey abroad.
As a woman,
you may be respected in one culture and harassed in another. You may be expected
to wear certain clothes, and you will be expected to obey certain laws. Being
aware of these differences prior to leaving can help ease your assimilation into
a culture.......
click link to read more
http://www.medexassist.com/Information-Resources/docs/Cultural_Health_and_Safety_Advice_for_Women.pdf

My favorite advice is given by Rick Steves
http://www.ricksteves.com/plan/tips/women_solo.htm
He pretty much covers it all from “eating out," "traveling smart,” “dealing with men” and “handling harassment.” He also gives advice that is helpful to single guys who want to travel on their own.

Traveling Alone Without Feeling Lonely
Here are some tips
on meeting people, eating out, and enjoying your evenings. (Note that these tips
are also helpful for men traveling alone.)……….

*Rick Steves*


There is so much advice out there from your fellow travelers, that traveling alone should be a piece of cake and very safe if you heed it.


It’s a great world out there and there should be no reason for you to hold back from seeing it.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Singles Awareness Day?? Or a day to be glad your a single?


From Blissfully single Kate’s log:


It seems a lot of singles dread this day of hearts and valentines, and while some have good arguments that it’s a stupid day, it’s the singles who cry on this day because they are single that I’m addressing. The day is full of commercialism and profit making, but if you let this day bother and upset you and you actually believe its “Singles Awareness Day (S.A.D)” than you probably feel generally upset about being single all year round and think you need to be in a relationship to make you happy. This blog is all about being happy as a single, and not letting the rest of the world dictate how you should feel about your status as a single.

For those who need to see the upside of V-day and all its advantages it has for Singles read Kate’s previous post about V-day:


Achieving a new sense and feel for the day most singles detest!


As for those of you who agree the day is bogus and just a scam to rake in extra money, and a silly excuse to put off love till that day for lazy lovers, than you will enjoy Angela’s post:

Valentines Day: a pinnacle of consumerism


Always remember one important thing, Singleness is not the definition of Loneliness!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Getting in gear

I really haven't taken advantage of the freedom being single affords me. Once I started college, I just let myself be consumed by it, putting my head in the books at the beginning of each semester and not looking up until finals week ended. Now that I'm in my final semester, and finally have a light course load, I actually have free time and a little extra money to do some fun stuff (and not-so-fun stuff).

The fun: I had my first Krav Maga class tonight, and lemme tell you, I am not in as good shape as I thought. Part of my New Year resolution was to not drive back and forth between work and classes (they're close enough I can walk, and it takes the same amount of time), and earlier today I noticed all that walking was starting to pay off. I don't know what I was thinking; the warm-up before the training whipped my butt. I was actually seeing spots at one point! Once we started training, though, I was able to really enjoy it. Kit and I (she started classes a couple weeks before I did) are going to Academy tomorrow to buy some wrist guards/gloves, because the punching is really hard on your fingers and wrists.

The not-so-fun: In other news, I was finally able to accept a CASA assignment! For those who don't know, a CASA volunteer is a Court Appointed Special Advocate who represents children in foster care. They're sort of like social workers, except CASAs only represent one child/sibling group at a time, and stay with them until their case is closed. They are also appointed by a judge, and do not work for the social services offices (which is good, since I pretty much despise what our nation's 'family services' branch has become). I became certified back in September, but for several reasons was unable to take on a case until now. I'm assigned to two sisters, and will meet them Tuesday!

It's exciting to be at a point where I can do things that matter to me, instead of things I need to do to get through the semester.

Volunteering is a very important issue to me. If something outrages you, or you think something needs fixing, don't ask someone else to do something about it; go do it yourself. I studied foster care abuses for about 8 years before I learned of CASA, and realized there was a small way I could help. I give 10% of every paycheck to charities I think will do the most good, most effectively (you can see several of them on my other blog, Literate Gypsy). On that note, I'll end this post with a challenge to singles: your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to find a place in your area where you can volunteer. Even if it's only for an hour a week, someone, somewhere needs your help.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Valentines Day: a pinnacle of consumerism



I can't tell if I'm posting this before or after Kate's Valentines Day post (stupid time zones!), but I just wanted to chime in with my own views on this day: I hate it. I know Kate says you don't have to and all that, but I think you really do, and not because of the relationships part of it. Pretty much the only holiday I like anymore is Thanksgiving, because advertisers really can't do much with it except push turkey and yams at you. It's also the only holiday we have about being grateful for what you have, as opposed to what you're hoping to get, or what you can get out of others. I think of Valentines Day as the pinnacle of consumerism, Hallmark's ode to useless garbage (except for those little heart-shaped, pastel-colored candies; those are good).

Also, there's a very good reason you should dislike Valentines Day from a relationship point of view: your 'someone special' is (presumably) someone special all year long. What better way to assuage your guilt of ignoring or taking for granted him/her the other 364 days of the year than by buying something that will be in the trash within a week? Actually, that has a touch of irony to it, though not in a good way.

Anyway, it's a day that should be ignored. Take your significant other on a picnic, or stay in and do something, whatever floats your boat, just remember that you ought to be doing it year-round, not on Valentines Day when you're being charged exorbitant prices for what ought to be common place for the two of you.

As a single, I'm free to completely ignore the day (except for when I'm laughing at people spending $50+ for flowers). There's a forum I'm active on, where a boy was complaining about not being able to stay in a relationship. Not just complaining, he actually seemed panicked about it. Everyone was busy comforting him, letting him know that eventually someone would come along, etc. I pointed out to him that being single isn't terrible, it's a wide open world where you never have to hear, "But why don't you want to spend time with me?" or, "Why don't you call when you say you are?" These seem like pretty big perks to me. Then again, I'm a twenty-two years-old curmudgeon, so take it for what it's worth.

Achieving a new sense and feel for the day most singles detest!



From blissfully single Kate's log:

As the dreaded day for most singles approaches, I realized I needed to think this one out. For a very long time I harbored relentless bitterness and hate for V-Day, in fact I joined every 'hate Valentines Day' group on Facebook a few years ago, only to later realize that no matter how many groups I joined, no one participated in them and I wasn’t going to get any kind of satisfaction from it.


Valentines Day has got to be probably one of the most depressing days on the calendar for most singles, so I realized I had to address it, because being happy as a single becomes very hard to do the closer the day approaches. I’d like to provide a little advice on how you can avoid all the miserable feelings that society tries to evoke in singles on that day and all the weeks leading up to it, and how to embrace the day and see why the day actually has a lot of positive things about it for singles.


For years I celebrated the day with my family as I grew up, as I got older I started to hate what the day represented, I started to resent its implications and its demands. Now I’m trying to embrace it, and have realized its potential, and the advantages the day brings to singles.

In my youth it was a fun activity to make things for each member of my family, but I started to lose that spirit once I reached my late teens, and than began hating the day profusely. I even hated it when I was in relationships, only because most all my relationships I was in during that time of year were long distance or some other issue. I realized later, that I just wanted to hide the fact that I wanted something from someone on that day, I wanted to be taken out, I wanted someone to give me flowers, but I was a rebel and had to prove to myself that I “did not care“ if no one did anything special for me on that day, and I know I was not alone in this mind set. I know of several singles who feel the same way, but try to hide it, and choose to hate the day rather than embrace it. The fact is, we are expected to hate it, and we are expected to only be happy with that holiday if we are in a relationship with someone, but society and its rules should never rule how we feel about any holiday, or our singleness.


The benefits of this day started to become more and more clear to me just in this past year. Valentines Day is a day that was originally created for “lovers”, but it has evolved into more of a day of just “love” period, and if we consider true love, it would probably throw out half the “lover’s” relationships out of the boat and celebrate the love parents have for their kids, and kids have for their parents and siblings have for each other, and close friends.


If you want to celebrate on that day, don’t think for one minute you have to do it with a date or have some sort of romantic time with someone. Take a single friend out for fun, or a family member and get them something if you want to. The best part of it is, you're not required to, and no one is expecting anything out of you when you're single. No demands, no expectations, only a time for you to get creative and brighten a few people’s day by showing them the day can be for everyone.


Think of all the wives or girlfriends who expect something big from their spouses or boyfriends, and how it could get messy if he fails to meet expectations, and in turn she really does have to get him a little something. Of course not all relationships are like that, but these are some benefits of being single that we should appreciate until we do find that special someone. As a single you are free from anyone expecting or demanding anything out of you. You have the choice to give as you please to those whom you love and appreciate in your life that are not expecting anything from you on that day.



Now, my favorite part of this day has created another holiday for me. Its only this time of year that they make an incredible amount of chocolates, with Valentines themed boxes, putting them in the category of “must get rid of” the day after. The 15th of February is in and of itself a holiday for me. All Valentines Day chocolates at Kmart and all over go 50%-75% off. I like to think how I was not required to purchase anyone anything for the day before at an exuberant price, because I was not tied to the requirements of the day, and can celebrate the great feeling of a sweet deal and enjoy all the chocolates I want the day after. This does not happen any other time of the year. I love the 15th and I always look forward to it, it helps with ignoring all the hype of having a date or a special someone on the 14th, because you now have turned the 15th into a holiday that most people don’t realize is way more fun to celebrate.


As a single, you are not tied to the requirements of the 14th, and you can even take time out to show your appreciation for family and friends. You can save some money, and indulge yourself and others in chocolate you can afford the following day, thanks to the hyped up holiday the day before. Don’t let the world tell you how you should feel on that day, or how you should feel any time of the year as a single. As Angela and I have pointed out many times, this blog is not against marriage, but for being happy while you are single, so that you can enjoy every aspect of life, and not worry if you will find someone special or not, because when you worry, then you close your eyes to so many wonderful things out there that you could be doing and achieving.



I hope you all have a Happy Valentines Day this year and that you can find a way of expressing your love for your family and friends on that day, and remember, singleness does not equal loneliness!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

boarding the slopes of life!


So much to do, and so much to say!

Blissfully Single Kate's Log:

As some of you know I am returning to school in the fall to pursue a degree in pre-law. I’ve been very anxious to get started and jump back into school. I don’t know how I will do, but I’m a little nervous about learning to speak the language of math all over again. Its been a couple years since I was in college and I’m a little scared but very excited about the whole thing.

What a better time to be a single than when you're going to college, you need the time and energy of a single person for one to just get through school and focus on your studies, and it’s a great time to make friends and branch out to new ideas and experiences. Even though I’m going to be “an old person” I will be staying in the dorms and living the exuberant life of a college student. The school is relatively small and for that I’m happy since it gives more of a small community feel and the professors are more attentive to their students in making sure they are actually learning. I also discovered that one of the professors who has been assigned to be my counselor does many trips with the students all over the world and from what I’ve heard it sounds like they are extremely fun trips at that.

Speaking of trips, my family and I enjoyed a very relaxing week on the sunny slopes of Breckenridge, CO where my family owns a time share making me a very privileged individual
:D

I used to be a big time skier but now have switched to the snowboard which I love and can’t stop. The snow was amazing and the sun was just perfect. I took some footage, but have been having issues with making it work. I had purchased a camera right before we left on the trip, but it only runs on QuickTime and I’m having trouble finding a program online for free that works well with converting the videos so they can run in windows movie maker. If anyone reading this knows of a program I could use for this purpose, please let me know, I will appreciate it greatly.

Well to continue with a short update on the trip, I had not been working out like I should before the trip, so needless to say I was quite sore for the first few days of the trip after many hours of boarding everyday.

I switched to the snowboard, because it is much easier on the knees and ankles. I have always had a lot of trouble with cramping in the legs and feet when I skied; so I switched to something that made the sport of cruising the slopes much more enjoyable for me, and that’s how it should be. Someday I will have to write a post on the dynamics of such a change and the character and karma on the slopes as a boarder and a skier. On the last day of the trip, we took a side trip over to the outlet mall and enjoyed some great sales while shopping.
I’ve had so many ideas on my mind for this blog and things that I thought would help encourage all the singles out there that are having trouble with being happy about being single. I would like to know the thoughts of singles out there who are having trouble being happy and to express it and let me know what sorts of questions they might have on how to embrace the life of being single. I would also love to hear from the singles out there who have realized they are living a happy life with being single and why.

As much as I enjoy writing my thoughts down, I just as equally love to hear the thoughts of others. So please feel free to post your comments.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Blog carnival


Kate and I were talking about this the other day, about how we both love the 'wrong' dogs: Staffordshire Terriers, Dobermans, etc. I've become more and more interested in the groups which rescue them, and the challenge of saving them from breed specific legislation (and the ignorance/bigotry that fuels it). To this end, we've decided to host a monthly blog carnival, focusing on BSL, no-kill shelters, rescue organizations, and the hypocritical organizations like PETA and the Humane Society who claim to support animal rights, but fail to support animal welfare. I'm aiming for the first one to be on Feb 16. If you want to submit a post, you can do so through this link; just click 'submit an article' and it will be sent to my e-mail address.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sumdood strikes at education

Sumdood (in concert with his cousins, Sumgai and Sumwon) has been running around telling studious, hardworking college students they can keep their scholarships, even though they have failed most of their courses and/or have failed to maintain a 2.0 GPA. It has been left to me to inform them that no, a .865 does not satisfy the TOPS requirements, nor is it good enough for the scholarship we gave them at the start of their college careers. I've had many a conversation that go like this:

Feckless Student: "Uh, so, like why is my housing scholarship gone?"
Me: "Name, please?"
FS: "John."
Me: "Full name and student ID?"*
FS: "John Doe."
Me: [searching records] "It's because you failed to meet the retainment requirements. They're in the middle of removing scholarships right now, if you refresh the screen you'll see the other half of your scholarship has been removed as well."**
FS: "...oh."

*Yes, I have to remind students to identify themselves. No one teaches phone etiquette anymore. No one teaches any other kind of etiquette either, but that's beside the point. "Hi, this is so-and-so, calling because of __________)." It's not. that. hard.
**Yes, I say it just like that. No, I don't care if I hurt their feelings. I'm dead inside.

Bummed

My laptop is riddled with viruses. My grandpa explained to me how to fix it, and I picked up the things needed to do it, but now I can't get it to load passed the 'welcome' screen that comes up while it's booting. *sigh* Oh, and the computer fix-it guy who was supposed to come out to the house to help, called the day he was coming over (after calling to let me know when he would be coming) to say the house is too far away for him to make a house call. I live less than 5 miles from campus; why did his company advertise at the university if it's too freaking far for them to drive?

Between moping over my laptop and the start of (my last!) semester, I just haven't felt very enthusiastic about blogging. Although, my new classes should give me plenty material.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Monday, January 5, 2009

Time!


From blissfully single Kate’s log:

Time, it’s a precious thing; we’re told this all the time. Certain individuals are wasting more time then they realize, and I’m about to address them. If you have not yet read the side bar titled “what we’re about,” you need to read it.

“What’s time wasting got to do with being happy single?” you might ask. I am a time waster, and I’m finally coming out to say so. How did I waste so much time? By being an unhappy single, rather than a happy one. I wasted months, in fact years. From one relationship to the next, everything in my life depended on the guy I was dating at the time. I wanted to mold my life around his, I wanted to change my passions of life and career path to fit a future with whomever I was serious with at the time. I never stopped to ask myself: What is it I really want to do?

When I started to finally ask myself this question, I realized, I hadn’t given myself the time to even know I wanted anything other than marriage and a family. It’s all I wanted out of life (I thought), and because I didn’t think maybe there are other things that can come first or instead, I lost a whole lot of time, because I wasn’t trying to just be happy as me, and achieving goals I might actually want to achieve.

People waste a lot of time wishing and waiting for someone to spend the rest of their life with, instead of just going out and doing what they want and letting marriage find them.
If you know you want to travel the world, then do it, if you want to start your own business, do it, if you want to be rich, then go out and figure out how to invest or whatever in order to do it. Why do you have to wait for someone to marry to do any of these? Of course when you need help you can always turn to a friend, or a family member. Singleness is not about being alone; it’s about not being romantically involved with someone.

Ladies: Obviously the world is not safe, and maybe you think I’m saying “travel by yourself,” but I’m not, I’m saying, do it with a friend, or a family member, and learn how to be a survivalist and learn self defense. If money is an issue, then why are you waiting to find a man with the money to spend on you so you can accomplish your goals, that’s not what getting married is for. Go out and earn the money and become successful yourself. You could see the world and much more in the time your waiting for that “Mr. Right,” who knows, you might just meet him on your travels or in your business endeavors, but that is not the reason you’re doing it. Get out there, enjoy life, don’t let being single hold you back from what you want.

Guys: I’m sure you waste less time than females do in waiting for that spouse, but don’t let it rule your happiness if you haven’t found that mate for life yet. Enjoy the freedom it gives you to not be tied to someone. You’ll find that confidence as an individual and not always looking for a girl, will attract more girls, but that’s not the purpose of why I’m saying become happy as a single. Why would you want to be unhappy in the time you could be enjoying the freedom of being single rather than having to take care of a family and all the responsibilities that come with that?

There are also the individuals who do anything and everything for the sole purpose of finding a spouse, and hunt other people like a hunter hunts wild game. Getting out and traveling is for your inner happiness and joy of seeing what you see, it’s not about doing it to ignore the beauty around you, because you were to focused on finding a spouse. Do what you enjoy because it’s truly pleasing for you. Don’t do bungee jumping because the guy or girl you’re attracted to does it, do it cause you actually wanted to do it, or don’t do it. You get the idea of what I’m saying.

I want to travel the world, so, instead of moping around wishing I wasn’t alone and crying because I’m not being asked out or because I think I’ll never find anyone to marry, I’m going to do what I want. If some guy out there decides he likes me for who I am and because we have so much in common, and if I’m attracted to him and he isn’t an idiot with silly notions, then I won’t turn him down if he asks me out, but I need to make sure I’m going out with him for all the right reasons, and not because I want someone who has a big pocket book and is willing to fund all my silly little fancies, or because I just am so desperate to be with someone.

If you can live by those rules, you’ll find that whomever you do marry (if you do) won’t be someone you’re eager to divorce in 3 years, because they turned out to be abusive or any other awful thing from a very long list of things that could happen.

Self-Taught

I hadn't meant to be confrontational right from the start. I write about things as they occur to me, so those were just the topics that came up. On to happier things!

I love to teach myself to do things. However, I don't seem to do well with the basics. Take calligraphy, for example. There's a foundational hand you're supposed to practice first. I just flipped through the beginner's guide until I found the alphabet I like the most and started copying letters. I seem to have a knack for making things difficult for myself, and it holds true for learning to sew my own clothes. Kit and I saw several patterns for pretty dresses we wanted, and the one I decided to make first (with assistance from Grandma) is, according to her, the most complex of all the patterns. Sorry for the blur, my camera doesn't do 'up close' very well:
Having fought with fabric, patterns, and the sewing machine, I can see why the art of sewing pretty much died out. I think I'll keep it up though, since I've gotten over the initial frustration of using the sewing machine. The kinds of clothes I like are expensive (Ann Taylor, Banana Republic), and even at outlet malls I can only afford to shop maybe once a year, during the big sales.



There isn't a zipper yet, which is why it looks so wide, the back is hanging open. It needs to be hemmed, too. I think the picture squishes it a bit, because it goes just passed my knees. Here's a close-up of the fabric:


One of the benefits of rejecting the 'going-out' lifestyle is I have a lot of free time on my hands. Since starting college, I've taught myself calligraphy, to quilt, and now I'm learning to sew. Obviously I like to keep my hands busy*! Anyway, this is how I spent the end of my Christmas break, up in an attic growling at that infernal contraption known as a feeder.

*insert Mom wailing, "Then why don't you clean?!"