Friday Fun: FAIL!!!!

All found via Fail Blog.  This one may be old news to some of you, but it’s new to me and I can’t stop looking at it.  😀

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Friday Fun: Masculine or Feminine?

Your result for The Bem Sex Role Inventory Test…

Androgynous

You scored high on both masculinity and femininity. You have a strong personality exhibiting characteristics of both traditional sex roles.

Take The Bem Sex Role Inventory Test at HelloQuizzy

Oooooooooooookayyyyyyyyy……..

(To be totally fair and completely honest, I totally stole this from Vesta44 at Big Fat Delicious.)

Friday Fun: Talk Like a Pirate Day

It be that time of year again, me mateys.  Today is September 19, and it be International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

From the FAQ on the official website:

Q. The big one: WHY?

A. Why not?

Talking like a pirate is fun. It’s really that simple. It adds a zest, a swagger, to your every day conversation. Do you need another reason?

Try it out. Let go, have a beer, burp in public. Say “Aarrr!!” Feels good, doesn’t it?

So grab yerself a beer, sit yer arse down, and have at it.

Savvy?

Friday Fun: Labor Day

I know most of my readers/commenters are Americans, and as Monday is Labor Day, I figured what better topic for a Friday Fun post than Labor Day itself?

Practically every American “celebrates” Labor Day in some shape or form; some go to barbecue parties (usually the last one of the season!), some just chill at home, and some plan in advance to take advantage of the holiday sales (what is it with Americans and our holiday sales anyway?).  But do you actually know what Labor Day is all about?  I have to admit my own ignorance – I was never really sure.  So I did some googling and came up with this:

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.

The first Labor Day holiday was celebrated on Tuesday, September 5, 1882, in New York City, in accordance with the plans of the Central Labor Union. The Central Labor Union held its second Labor Day holiday just a year later, on September 5, 1883.

In 1884 the first Monday in September was selected as the holiday, as originally proposed, and the Central Labor Union urged similar organizations in other cities to follow the example of New York and celebrate a “workingmen’s holiday” on that date. The idea spread with the growth of labor organizations, and in 1885 Labor Day was celebrated in many industrial centers of the country.

The form that the observance and celebration of Labor Day should take were outlined in the first proposal of the holiday — a street parade to exhibit to the public “the strength and esprit de corps of the trade and labor organizations” of the community, followed by a festival for the recreation and amusement of the workers and their families. This became the pattern for the celebrations of Labor Day. Speeches by prominent men and women were introduced later, as more emphasis was placed upon the economic and civic significance of the holiday. Still later, by a resolution of the American Federation of Labor convention of 1909, the Sunday preceding Labor Day was adopted as Labor Sunday and dedicated to the spiritual and educational aspects of the labor movement.

It is appropriate, therefore, that the nation pay tribute on Labor Day to the creator of so much of the nation’s strength, freedom, and leadership — the American worker.

I’ll save my thoughts on what that says about America and her materialism for another day (‘cuz, y’all, this is supposed to be a Friday FUN post!), but it’s definitely interesting to read all of that.

Growing up, Labor Day was always the last big family party of the summer.  Barring an unexpected special occasion (like a wedding or some such), my family probably wouldn’t get together like that again until Thanksgiving.  So for me, it was always something to look forward to.  My grandmother and I would start the day by cleaning the house and mowing the lawn if it needed it.  Then we’d get to chopping veggies and preparing dishes.  Barbecues in our family were usually quintessential American fare: burgers, hot dogs, sausages (here’s where our Polish ancestry showed through: sausages were always Polish and Bratwurst), and usually a few pieces of chicken.  Along with all the cold stuff: the potato salad, the coleslaw.  Chips and dip were on offer, of course, but so were chopped raw veggies (I was always partial to the cucumbers and sweet peppers myself).  Usually somebody would bring a dessert of some sort – maybe a fruit jello or a fruit salad.  My grandmother and I would usually make the main courses but everybody brought something to the party.  (Made it a hell of a lot easier on us, that’s for sure!)  Music would be played, children would play games in the (HUGE!!) backyard, and it would mainly be a relaxed day of food, conversation, and companionship.  I, of course, being younger, would inevitably have to field questions to the effect of: “So, you excited to be going back to school?”

Unfortunately, the older I got, the more scattered my family became (aunts and uncles moving to far corners of the country; people dying), and so the Labor Day family tradition became less and less of a tradition.  And now?  Hardly anybody in my family gets together for Labor Day anymore.  But I remember those Labor Days of my youth with a smile.

So… ya got any plans?  Parties?  Staying at home?  Shopping like mad wo/men?

Spill!  😀

Friday Fun: If I won the lottery, I would…..?

This is, of course, assuming it’s one of those huge multi-million jackpot lotteries.

If I won the lottery, the first thing I would do is get a cashier’s check for $500,000, get on a plane to Chicago, and when my grandmother opened the door, I would just hand it to her.  She’s been trying to sell the house for a couple of months now, and I have a problem with the idea of someone outside of our family owning in it (my grandfather built that house! Grandma designed it!  I grew up there!  My children started out their lives there!), so it would be a win-win situation all around.  Then I would go over to my childhood best friend’s parents’ house and hire them as property managers.  Hell, if S (the childhood best friend) and her husband wanted to live there, they could rent it!  (I don’t have a problem with other people LIVING in the house, just OWNING it. I didn’t say it was a rational emotion!)

I’d give my mother $100,000.  My stepfather died back in March, and while he did leave her a good amount in life insurance, she’s currently going to college and only working part-time as a tutor.  I’d be happy to help her be able to finish her degree without having to worry about money until well after she graduated.

I’d pay for my little sister R to hire a lawyer.  She’s currently going through some trauma concerning custody issues with her son.  She’s being railroaded by both her ex and the state, and is in quite a bind.  She needs professional guidance but can’t afford to get it herself, and I would be more than happy to help if I could.

I’d get all of our immigration paperwork sorted out, finally.  Actually, I’d probably have to do that FIRST, in order to be able to come BACK to the UK after surprising the hell out of my grandmother.  The only reason we haven’t gotten it all sorted out before is MONEY.  It costs money, just to have the government LOOK at your application.  Money is not something we have in abundance in this household.  So we’ve never done it.

I’d put trust funds away for all of my children.  Money they can use when they first go out on their own, or, if they so desire, to go back to the US.  I have explained to them that because of their nationalities (dual nationality in the case of the 2 youngest), they will have the choice between staying here or going back to the US when they’re old enough.

I would, of course, buy a house.  Or possibly have one built.  As much as I like the house we live in now, it’s not ideal.  The house itself needs work and the neighborhood leaves a lot to be desired.  Unfortunately, in our present financial condition, we didn’t have too many options when we were looking to move last year.  Not to mention the fact that we only had 6 weeks to find another place to live – that limits your options even more.  I do feel that, considering everything, we ended up lucky.  But if I won the lottery and had more money than I knew what to do with?  Oh yeah, we’d be movin’.  We’d probably leave most of the stuff we own and just take the sentimental items!  (At least that’s what Hubby’s always said.)

A lot of people would want to buy a car, but I’m not really sure that I’d want to.  Honestly, most of the time it’s simply unneccessary.  Sometimes it’d be nice to have a car, sure, but there are always taxis.  (And they’re not insanely expensive out here, either.  That helps.)  I have a feeling, though, that Hubby wouldn’t last a day or two without wanting to buy a car.  He’s the one that’s always complaining that we don’t have a car, whereas I don’t mind walking/riding the bus/taking taxis.  Especially now that Number One Daughter has a wheelchair.  It makes taking her out of the house a lot easier.  (She can walk, but she gets tired easily and then absolutely refuses to move anymore.  Believe me, trying to literally drag a 13 year old around is not easy.  The wheelchair makes it a win-win situation.  If she wants to walk, she can walk.  If she gets tired, she can go for a push instead.)

I’d get Hubby all the equipment he needs to set himself up as a professional photographer.  Hell, maybe even buy him a studio if that’s what he wants to do.

I’d start my own business – a yarn/craft store.  I already have an idea of what I’d sell and what I’d call it.  Winning the lottery would give me the capital I’d need to get it up and running.  And would allow for a cushion if the whole thing went belly-up.

I’d put a lot of money into savings/stocks/bonds/whatever – to earn interest and make more money.  If we win a multi-million ££/$$ jackpot, then we’re going to want this money to last the rest of our lives.

As you can see, I put a lot of thought into this.  Hubby and I actually do play the lottery every once in a while, usually when the jackpot is insanely big, and sometimes we get to daydreaming together.  While we don’t exactly hold our breaths expecting to actually WIN the lottery, the fact is, SOMEBODY’S going to win it, and it’ll never happen if we don’t buy a ticket!  🙂  So when we’ve got the cash to spare, we drop a couple quid on it.  Like the old McDonald’s commercials used to say…. “it could happen!”

Edited for hebetudinous troll Tara: bad at math tax?  What is a math tax?  Is the U.S. taxing you on mathetmatics classes now?  Do you have to pay the government a portion of your income for learning how to add?  Is there a Science tax?  A History tax?  A Social Studies tax? An English tax?  Should we start a fund?  Because you obviously need remedial English classes, and we wouldn’t want you to not be able to afford them.

Oh, and Britain doesn’t tax lottery winnings.  They’re viewed as gambling, which is also exempt from income tax.  Which works out well for me, I admit.

Friday Fun: Hidden Talents

Sing, sing a song....

Sing, sing a song....

I went out with my best friend again this week, and “made a fool of myself.”

I’m talking karaoke.

Now the truth is, I don’t make a fool of myself.  But that’s what I call it.  As in “should I make a fool of myself this week or not?” – which is usually what I ask my friends.  To which they reply “yes! Yes! Please!”

See, they never knew I could sing.  It’s not something I brag about or anything, but I’ve always had a pretty good voice.  Good enough that, at age 14, my aunt B literally begged me to sing at her wedding.  I could pick whatever song I wanted, she just wanted me up there singing for her.  (I ended up singing “Longer” by Dan Fogelberg.  It was a beautiful song, seemed appropriate to the wedding, and was something she would remember from her own teen years.)

But then, when they took me out for my birthday this past year, I’d had enough to drink that I felt courageous enough to get up and sing.  And I hate to sound like I’m full of myself or anything, but I totally blew them away.  That time, I sang Celine Dion’s version of “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now”.  (I love that song, mainly because it’s written by Jim Steinman, the guy who wrote most of Meatloaf‘s biggest hits… and Meatloaf is SO my boyfriend.)

I’ve done it a few times now, singing “You Oughta Know” and “Hand in my Pocket“, both by Alanis Morrissette.  Most of the time, when I sing, it’s just my friends that cheer for me.  Most of the other people that frequent that particular bar simply seem like they couldn’t give two shits about the people that are up there singing, regardless of who they are or how good (or bad!) they happen to be.

But two days ago, I surprised the hell out of myself, even.  I got up and sang Nickelback’s “How You Remind Me“.  And I had people cheering for me before I even finished the song.  When I was done, I received the biggest and best applause I’ve ever gotten since I started singing Karaoke 6 years ago.

So yeah… singing would be a hidden talent of mine.  It’s not something most people would even think of when they think of me.  But it’s “me” more than anybody would even guess.

Pink & Purple Ripple Afghan - Baby

Pink & Purple Ripple Afghan - Baby

A totally unrelated hidden talent of mine is my ability to crochet.  When people find out that I make things like this, they seem in total awe of my talent.  And honestly?  I think most people (except for maybe those that are really uncoordinated) would be able to do what I do, if they were taught how.  My late maternal grandmother taught me when I was 7, mostly to shut me up.  😉  She would crochet in the evenings, when all the housework is done (much as I do now), and I would sit and watch her and ask a million questions.  One day she sat me down with my own ball of yarn and a hook and I was off! She only taught me the most basic stitches, but I was able to make things from then on. A few times I thought I’d “discovered” a new stitch, only to find out it was simply a more advanced stitch than the ones my grandmother had taught me.

I will admit, though, that it’s only been in the past few years that I’ve learned to read a pattern.  Before?  I would look at it and it looked like a different language, even though I was supposed to know what all the abbreviations meant.  Then suddenly a few years ago, something in my brain just “clicked” and patterns started making sense to me.

But when my friends and family see what I’ve made, it always garners “oohs” and “aahs”.  Honestly, it doesn’t feel like something you have to have “talent” for, but since so many people seem in awe of it, I guess I have to lump it in there on my “Hidden Talents” page.

What are your hidden talents?  Do they seem like a big deal to you?  Do others stand in awe of the awesomeness that is you?  (And of course you’re awesome!) ???

Friday Fun: Re-Connecting With Old Friends

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🙂

I set up a profile on Classmates.com years ago, not too long after it was first up and running.  Honestly, I don’t check it all that often, and it’s sometimes 6 months to a year before I bother.  And I haven’t done much to my profile other than correcting the childrens’ ages when it needs it.

But even though I hardly ever touch it, it has enabled me to re-conncect with old friends.  There’s Jennifer, whom I was close to in junior high, and just the other day my Jessie contacted me.

Jessie and I were part of a larger group of friends in high school.  There were the two of us, Beth (who is also Number One Daughter’s godmother), Jenny, Lyssa, Brigid, Carol, and Sue (there were a lot of other girls [this was an all-girls Catholic high school] that we were all friendly with, but that was our “core group”).  Beth was my best best friend (think back to high school, and you’ll remember what that means 😉 ), but out of all the rest of them, I’d say Jessie was the one I was second closest to.  I think it might have had something to do with feeling like outsiders – Jessie was actually born in Italy, then moved to Mexico as a child, and then to the US as a teen (her father was some big wig at some company that moved him around the world).  So she was used to the outsider feeling.  I had just transferred to that school my junior year – after having already attended 3 different high schools.  So, while we never discussed it in that context, in looking back I can honestly say that feeling like outsiders probably had something to do with why we connected.

But now that I think about it, there was one other thing that we both shared that the others didn’t – at least not to the extent Jessie and I did.

We were both fat.

Beth and Jennifer were probably both in the “overweight” category, and the rest of them were all in the “normal” to downright “skinny” categories.  Jessie and I were the only two that could honestly be called fat.  I moreso than her, granted.  But yeah.  Both fat.

We were lucky, though.  For one thing, we weren’t the only fat girls in school.  And at that school?  I honestly can’t remember somebody being bullied or harassed simply because of their weight.  Not that it was never said, but the snide comments I do remember went something like “She’s _____ and ________ and ______…. oh, and she’s fat.”  It was always an afterthought, not someone’s principal reason for disliking somebody.

The two years I spent at that school were the happiest of what I consider my “childhood” – everything before the age of 18.  I had already gone through a lot of turmoil – abuse and the aftermath of that, depression, multiple suicide attempts, hospitalization, lived in a group home for troubled kids for a year and a half – and I had just come home for good a few months before starting at this school.  I had gotten a lot of counseling while living in that group home – both individual and “family” counseling with my grandmother – and I was finally feeling “right” for the first time in my life.

I really didn’t want to transfer schools.  I had been relatively happy at the school I had attended the year before, and just didn’t want to have to change again.  Four schools in less than three years?  Can you blame me for not wanting to change again?

But as much as I hated to admit it, it was a good school.  I was given chances I’m not sure I would have had at the previous school – such as taking honors (college level) classes (English and History).  The faculty – nuns included (well, most of them) were… well, nice is the only word I can think of right now.  Some of them were obviously more strict than others, but they were all approachable.  A good majority of the teachers there (at that time, anyway) were the kind of teachers that previous students would come back to visit… just because.

And, as you can see from what I wrote about my group of friends, I definitely did not have a shortage of them.  Yet another reason why I look back on those two years as the happiest I’d ever been as a minor.  I’ve always been able to make friends, but that was the first time I was ever part of such a large group.  (My grandmother wasn’t too happy about the phone bills, though! 😉 )

But, as often happens after high school, we kind of scattered after graduation.  Beth moved to California with her mother.  Jessie, Brigid, and Jenny went off to different colleges.  Lyssa and I had a bit of a falling-out and simply never spoke again.  Carol lived at home, but she lived all the way on the other side of Chicago and we just didn’t get the chance to see each other much.  Sue was put in a nursing home by her family (she was dyslexic and just a little slow, and I personally believe that putting her in a nursing home was a nasty, abusive move on her family’s part; but I saw them treat her like shit with my own eyes, and part of me really isn’t surprised).

I had a baby.  Number One Daughter.

While I know it’s normal for high school friends to drift apart after graduation, I know that my having had Number One Daughter contributed to that, too.  I was simply living a different kind of life than my friends were – they were working and/or going to college, and I was raising a baby and looking for work (it took me quite some time to find a job after having her, no doubt due to my lack of experience and age).  But I digress.

I don’t remember exactly when the last time I saw/spoke to/heard from Jessie was, but I know it was sometime in 1995.  Number One Daughter was a baby, and I had driven over to Jessie’s house to visit her and show Number One Daughter off.

Shortly after that, my life turned back into a roller coaster for a while, and I lost contact with all of my friends.

I had managed to get back in contact with Carol shortly before moving here to the UK, but I never did manage to find any of the others.

So after thirteen years, during which time I would periodically search for my friends and give up after having no luck, to have Jessie contact me out of the blue like that…

I screamed.  I mean literally.  Out loud.

The kids came running.  Obviously when they saw me bouncing in my chair, laughing like a madwoman, and saying “Ohmigod, ohmigod, ohmigod” over and over again, they just stood there and stared at me.  (Shiiiiiiiiiit… like they’re “normal.”  Hahahaha…HA!)

I haven’t gotten a chance to write her back yet, just because I’ve been busy the last couple of days, but I can’t tell you how happy I am that one of my best friends in the whole world (and yes, I still consider her that, even after 13 years of no contact) has kind of stumbled her way back into my life.  I just wish I could hug her in person.  🙂

Have you had an experience like that?  Please share… I’m on an emotional high this week, and I’d like to keep it going as long as possible.  🙂