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Assembling a “bucket list” for the St. Louis Bloggers Blog Carnival #7 apparently stimulates my mind.
Contemplating the list brought to mind three things:

One. What would I put on my list? (this is a given)

Two. How different would the contents of this list be only ten years ago?

Three. I have lived a lot in my 32 years. Even if I don’t accomplish all the things I would like put on a bucket list, I really can’t bitch much. I have done a lot and seen a lot…of course that doesn’t mean I don’t hope to do more.

Fortunately, I plan on kickin’ it (a)live for a long, long time. If I get hit by a bus tomorrow, it better back it up a couple of times because I am not going out that easy. Yeah, I still have a touch of the “indestructible youth” syndrome…or so it would seem.

I digress, don’t I always?

So, here is my bucket list:

  • sky dive
  • walk/hike the Great Wall (camping on it would be even better)
  • snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef
  • taking an African Safari
  • going to Iceland to visit the Phallic Museum, glaciers, swimming outdoors in a geothermally heated pools and whale watching.
  • learning to snowboard, not just doing it but doing it well
  • para-sailing and/or hang gliding
  • going to Alaska while it is daylight for 24 hours
  • sing in front of an audience, preferably getting paid to do it (technically I have done it many times, just not for a paycheck)
  • write a book and have it published
  • procreate
  • love me for me…unconditionally (it is the unconditional part that is giving me such difficulty)

Ten years ago, I would not have ’procreate’ on the list. I would have ‘live alone and be okay with it’, ‘be alone and not be lonely’, ‘learn to say “no”‘, ‘marry best friend’, ‘move out of St. Louis’, and ‘find my career niche’ added to the above list.

I hope to get to do all of the things on my list before kicking the bucket and I hope to add things to the list as I get older, and (preferably) wiser, and that I am continually able to complete those items as long as I am still taking in air.

When I think about everyone out there making their bucket lists, I really hope that these lists aren’t full of regrets or setting them up for regrets when they are old.  I hope everyone is capable of making these things happen and having full, fun lives.

I think I will share my outlook on life with all of you now, as it seems oddly appropriate. You will probably think I am crazier than you already think I am. But it gets me through the days…so here it is:

Life sucks sometimes. It is also the most incredibly amazing gift to be alive. Live hard, love hard, try not to hurt people along the way (including yourself). Remember everything, even the really sucky stuff because it is the sucky stuff that makes the good times even better. Don’t live in the past just because you remember it. Regret nothing, even if you would do it different if given another chance. Most important, never give up.

That’s all folks!

Which part of St. Louis is best? The City, The County, or The Beyond?

This is a difficult question to answer. I am a fan of specific parts of all of the above, each having its own allure (and turn offs, as well!), but I think my preference is the beyond.

The City: I hate the traffic. I hate trying to get to a specific location via 10 different streets that are all one way. I do love the City Museum and the interesting eateries. The arch is neat once, the zoo is okay (and free!), and Forest Park is always a good time.

The County: I hate the traffic in the county at least as much, if not more so, than the city. The shopping is great in the county, as everything is in relatively close proximity. I love the quiet and (if you have descent neighbors or a tall privacy fence) serenity of a backyard.

The Beyond: It is a long drive to get to most of the good places to visit; however, many locations can be a day trip. Some of my favorite places to drive to out in the great “beyond” St. Louis are: Elephant Rock State Park, Millstream Gardens, Meramec Caverns, Lake of the Ozarks (a weekend trip), any winery in Augusta, the winery in a cave in St. Genevieve, the home of the “throwed rolls” restaurant just the other side of Cape Girardeau, or any where along the Black River in Lesterville (which is crystal clear for anyone who’s never been or heard of it) floating in the river. I am certain there are many more interesting things in the “beyond”, but these are some of my fave’s.

I have been feeling pretty damn ungrateful lately so it’s time to consider all the things I have been taking for granted. Since it’s the Thanksgiving time of year, it seems appropriate to pull my head out of my ass and thank (insert preferred higher power here) for all the good things in my life.

I would like to begin by being thankful for NOT being a turkey. This is a really bad time of year for all the turkeys out there.

I am thankful for Chini, Guinness, Francois, Burrito and Pixel for their goodness, warm fuzzy vibes, and unconditional love.

I am thankful for waking up next to all my fuzzy babies every morning and having morning loving time before everyone starts bucking around all crazy to let me know how bad they have to pee.

I am thankful for every time Francois touches me with his paw as if to say “hey, I am right here”.

I am thankful that cybrhubby and I argue less than ever, we have less cumulative stress living here and it shows.

I am thankful for the opportunity to explore the world by living abroad and experiencing a lifestyle completely different from anything I’ve ever known.

I am thankful for a really good nights sleep when I am so fortunate to have one.

I am thankful for having friends to spend Thanksgiving with this year and for going home for Christmas a few weeks later to spend the holidays with family.

I am thankful for having a Dad that loves me like no one can.

I am thankful that I still have two Grandmothers in my life.

I am thankful for the time I had with my Grandfather before he died earlier this year, without that time I would have the burden of a much heavier heart.

I am thankful for not having been a Pilgrim, it is hard to appreciate arriving somewhere new and being cold and hungry…

I am more thankful that I am not an Indian who greeted the Pilgrims with a warm welcome of food only to be shot down because my “primitive” appearance was different and therefore frightening. And then humbly and graciously taken up on my offer for a kickass meal only to have my home and land stolen out from under me, not to mention my family and friends killed in order to take my land. Yeah, that would definitely be a bite in the ass…especially on a holiday (hehe).

Oh, hell, I am just thankful to be alive and well.

Happy Turkey Day, everyone in internut land!!

If anyone even cares.

I know there are many people living in HK that do enjoy the Halloween holiday, but there really isn’t much ado about it here. At least not comparably to how Halloween is celebrated in the U.S., which is my only comparison.

I miss all the spooky decor and all the costumes. Adult costumes may be available here, but they are not easy to locate. Even if I had a costume, I would have no where to wear it since we don’t have any children and most of the Halloween activities here revolve around fun for children. I suppose I am just a big kid, but missing Halloween is one of the top ten things I do NOT like about living in Hong Kong.

We went to Hong Kong Disneyland a week or so ago partly to see Halloween decor and even that was a bit disappointing to me. It was decorated, just not as much as I had expected.

Nothing here is really decorated, there are a few spiders and pumpkins but not much. I miss all the giant bags of candy, wearing my witch hat to work, suiting up all spooky to pass out candy to the kids, and on a good year a costume party.

Halloween just isn’t Halloween in Hong Kong and that is kind of a bummer.

These are photos from the Disneyland Halloween experience, which is about the extent of the decoration here. There will be children out Trick-or-Treating on Halloween and some fun activities at the common area of the Discovery Bay plaza but I won’t see it because I will be in Seoul, Korea not celebrating Halloween since there isn’t much of anything for me to do.

disney-halloween1.jpgdisney-halloween2.jpgdisney-halloween3.jpg

There were a grand total of 5 submissions in StL Bloggers Blog Carnival #2, which is fewer than the first but still a decent turnout. Thanks to everyone who submitted, I enjoyed being your hostess…

Mr. Bison shared with us his romantical journey that led to a fork in the road.

Kathy at Five Dollar Camera wasn’t sure she wanted to share some of her significant days, due to embarrassment. However, her first $80 paycheck made quite an impact in her life and may have even redirected the path she eventually took.

The infamous Karaoke Diva opened up her soul to all of us by sharing her top five most significant days. Ultimately, loss and fear are most prominent at this time. I wish her well and no worries on the road ahead…

John at Transylvanian Dutch considers three days in his life worthy of greatest significance. Although one is too depressing to delve into and one doesn’t compete – which leaves the diagnosis of a serious illness to be the most significant day in his life.

Lastly, there is my own entry at Cat and Muse where I take everyone along for a ride on the roller coaster of life.

Thanks again, everyone!

The winner of Blog Carnival #2 is Karaoke Diva…but I am not sending a packet of hot sauce all the way from Hong Kong so you will have to email the original host if you really want it. Actually, I wouldn’t know where to get a packet of hot sauce here anyway. We don’t have any Taco Bells…although I wish we did.

Blog Carnival #3 will be hosted by John at Transylvania Dutch, as he was the only volunteer…the topic is “apples” and he will be posting details.

I give you my entry to the St. Louis Bloggers Blog Carnival #2:

I am thinking of many significant days in my life in order to decide which is the most important day…

I think back to the days my grandma would walk me through the woods and point out every plant, flower and tree along the way telling me its name, its characteristics, and any medicinal/nutritional uses it may have. She would point out those that were poisonous so that I could identify what to stay away from and identify everything that was edible, if ever I should need to sustain life while lost in the woods. I think of these days and many others I spent with my grandma throughout my life and I think them all to be significant.

I think of my parents’ first divorce and the significance of that day my mom drove off with me in the car, leaving my dad on his knees in our driveway.
I think of all the days my dad drove across the entire state of Missouri to visit me while they were divorced. He would always go the extra mile, or 500 miles, to be with me.
I think of the day my parents got remarried to one another and how angry I was at both of them, even though I was only ten years old, for being so blind that they could not see the same miserable/angry lifestyle we were all about to settle into once again.
I think lastly of their second divorce and the day my dad left.  All these days changed me and my relationship with my parents, for better and for worse.

I think of two significant days in high school, separate days, but both with the same violent ending. Both days were a wake up call for me to the beginning of violence in schools. I witnessed two different people on two different days get beaten with baseball bats within an inch of dying. I don’t know the reason for either incident.  The first guy, I didn’t even know. I held his bleeding head in my lap, treated him for shock, and kept him talking until paramedics arrived…all the while his girlfriend was beating the crap out of me, she was terrified. I could actually see his brains. The second guy, I did know. My friends and I carried his limp, bloody body to a car and drove as fast as we could to the nearest hospital. Those two days scared me straight for a while and they taught me that I do well in bad situations, whether I want to or not.

I think of each day that all of my pets have come into my life.  Each of those days, too many to list, were so special and yet everyday I get to spend with their unconditional love is as significant as the first.

I think of my 21st birthday and getting shit-faced with my bestest friend, Heather, and a few other friends.  I felt the significance of being 21 years old and how “different” I felt…just moments before Heather slammed me with a pillow and yelled “Just pass out already, will you!?!”.  This was definitely pseudo-significance.

I think of the days I was able to spend in hospital with my grandpa just last year before he died.  Not the most ideal setting, but if not at hospital then we may have never connected the way we did right before his life ended.  When we announced that we were moving to Hong Kong to my family, my grandpa told me he couldn’t be more excited for me and sad at the same time. He told me he knew he wouldn’t see me again once we left for HK.  He died two weeks before we went home to visit this past spring, which made those days in hospital with him all the more significant.

I think of the day I married my best friend and how that one significant day led to several more…

I think of the day I boarded a plane with my two dogs and one cat, heading to Hong Kong to meet up with my husband after not seeing him for six weeks.
Then I think of the day I arrived and how sweet it was to be in his arms again.

There are so many more significant days flooding my mind with memories right now, but I cannot list them all…

After considering all these significant days, I think maybe today is the most important day of all my life.  Simply because it has given me the opportunity to explore all those meaningful moments and realize that I have had a very full life of good, bad and ugly. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Not to mention I am alive and well, that in itself is pretty significant.

Jul
31
Farming 101

This entry is part of StL Bloggers Blog Carnival #1

I was not unpopular in high school by any means. I had a lot of friends but I didn’t really fit into one ‘clique’ or another, it wasn’t my thing. I was a friend to anyone and everyone who treated me nice. Of course, it was high school so not everyone was able to be nice, that’s the nature of the beast. Oh, and I was a bit of a choir geek, too (and proud of it!). That being said, I never had expectations of being a Homecoming Queen nor did I ever expect to even get voted onto Homecoming Court.

So, you can imagine how shocked I was when my name was listed on the morning announcement of the Homecoming Court. For anyone requiring a visual, I was THIS shocked.

I should tell you that I went to a St. Charles County school surrounded by cornfields. Yes, I went to Orchard Farm High School. It isn’t very glamorous, but it isn’t like a had a lot of choice in the matter.  This is a very small school, it is set in a farming community and is literally surrounded by cornfields. During the peak of the crop, you really had a difficult time seeing the school. It wasn’t uncommon for students to take leave from the school year to help their families harvest their crop.

Back to my story…

I was utterly shocked by this announcement of my being voted onto Homecoming Court. I met up with my friends after class and they were excited and congratulating me, but I couldn’t shake the sensation that this was a set up. I stewed on this gut-feeling for days, weeks trying to figure out why I was chosen and not someone more suitable based on popularity. It was usually the really popular, clique-y girls that had the honor…so why me?

I must admit, I came to the conclusion that the entire scene from the movie Carrie was going to be reenacted and that pig blood would be dumped on my head in an attempt to ridicule me in front of the entire school. This was very dramatic of me. Not very logical, but very dramatic indeed. I seriously doubted that I would suddenly grasp hold of any hidden telekinetic power in that moment of sheer embarrassment, so I decided I wasn’t going. No sense in getting pig blood all over me when I won’t be able to hurl people across the room with my mind powers!

I expressed my concerns and my decision not to attend to my friend, Heather. She chuckled at the thought of this because, clearly, I was being ridiculous. She informed me that I am not unpopular, I fit in as well as anyone previously on court, only with a better sense of style than most, and that no one is going to dump pig blood on me. She also told me that I was voted in fair and square and she would know. She would know because her and several other friends of mine all set out on a mission to persuade the student body to vote for me.

Basically, in every classroom the day of the vote, I had a friend strong-arming people into voting for me. Now that is some good friends.

I am not sure this story has a point, but I will list a few things that could be the point and you, the reader, can decide for yourself:

  1. Seeing the movie Carrie really freaked me out.
  2. Strong-arming friends are the best kind of friends.
  3. All schools in small towns do not have access to pig blood, even if there is a pig farm across the road.
  4. Being a drama queen only adds unwanted stress to the life of a teenager.
  5. I probably just had stage fright.
  6. All of the above.

By the way, I did fulfill my duties to the Homecoming Court, although I was not crowned queen (no disappointment on my behalf, please, I never expected to win). I did, however, take style to the whole other level that night and I had a great time. Good times, I tell you!