I know it's a day late, but I had some medical problems and wan't able to post because of them.  I would like to take the chance to say thank you to all our active-duty, retired and past veterans.  Your service is what made this country what it is.  Thank you for your sacrifice on the battlefield and at home.  Just a really big thank you for everything.  Without your fighting I wouldn't be free to post this thank you to you.  My gratitude goes beyond words.
Just a little something about me.  I cry when I'm mad.  And not the good cry.  The ugly, babbling one.  

And I hate it.

Have you ever tried to argue your point while tripping on your own tongue.   While tears are streaming down your face and snot is dripping from your nose?  It's not pretty.  And it kinda distracts from the point you were trying to make about whatever you are mad about.  Or, if it happens to be an internet argument, it blurs the screen so you end up typing made up words that make you look like a fool.

Which makes things worse.  Which leads to more anger.  Which leads to more tears.

It'a pain in the ass is what it is.

The thing is, I'm not alone.  This much I know.  I have talked to a NUMBER of other ppl who suffer from this odd phenomena.  Namely, women.  Why it effects women more than men...well, no one knows.  There's a theory that it has to do with different hormones, but that doesn't make me feel any better.

So how has that led me to blog about it?  Writing does make me feel better.  Sitting down and concentrating on something else, while getting it out, is helpful.  And stops the tears.  But probably because it cools the anger. 

So, that being said, here's what happened.  I got in an argument on Facebook this morning, over a joke I made with a friend.  Normally I wouldn't let something like this affect me, but I have been depressed lately and uber-sensitive.  (Another thing I hate.)  I think the reason it affected me was because the person I was arguing with, knows me, knows my sense of humor, knows I don't always write/type things correctly and still put me on blast instead of asking me to clarify or ask whether or not I was being serious.  

No!  It's fucking Facebook!  If I'm hardly ever serious in real-life, why the fuck would I be serious on Facebook?  So to get reamed out by this person, who should know better, really pissed me off.  Enter the tears.  I tried to explain myself and retaliate, but the tears got in the way.  Which pissed me off more than the comment made by the friend.  Which may have been a good thing because it forced me to step away from my pc and come to the conclusion that maybe my friend was having a bad day themselves.  Maybe they are just as touchy as me right now.  

Doesn't mean I like crying when I'm mad any better.

So, instead of continuing the argument, I came here. To vent about these evil tears of Hell.

Xtended:  All is good and things have been figured out with the friend.  As I figured, it was a sensitive issue to that person.  Something I didn't know.  Doesn't change how I feel about crying when mad though.  I'll always hate that.
Merry Samhain (Halloween) to all the Minions out there.  Hope you have a happy and safe holiday!!!
So this is one of those things that has made the rounds on Facebook.  I thought it was better served here.  Feel free to copy and past it to your own profile (as the directions state).  

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it's because I want to know more about you. I look forward to see who responds. ( To write a note-just click on my notes on the left side...type out your list...type in names of people to tag below...and publish)

1. I talk to myself.  Out loud.  All.  The.  Time.  I have been caught, but I don't do it in front of ppl.  (No reason to confirm the craziness ppl already think exists.  They are right, just no need to confirm it.)

2. I think I'm dying.  Ever since my mom was diagnosed with stage-3 Endomitrial cancer, and finding out I have endomitriosis, the fact that I have no health insurance and can't get treatment leaves me fearing for my life every day.  I will continue to think I am slowly dying until I can get proper treatment and a doctor tells me I am fine.  (My mother's endo progressed to cancer due to lack of treatment.)

3. It is my goal to somehow live in the same state as Lil Miss again.  I feel like the world's worst mother living so far from her and I worry about her so much every day that I have a never ending knot in my belly.  (Either that or I have a tapeworm.)

4. If meat has ANY kind of pink (even pink-ish) in it, it is RAW and I will NOT eat it.  End of story!  (Cause it gives you tapeworms.)  (And then kills you.)

5. Even though I don't get along well with kids or animals, one of my biggest pet-peeves is the neglect or mistreatment of them.  I am not above reprimanding a parent or owner for being out of line or stupid with their kid/pet.

6.  I never know what to say about myself.  If someone asks a question about me I have no problem answering, but to just think of things to talk about concerning me is VERY difficult.  (This is why I don't do good at job interviews.)  I am having trouble with this, right now.  I can't think of a #7.  Something will come to me.

7. I once sang "I Saw Him Standing There" in the middle of a crowded mall, with 4 other girls, for a Crystal Pepsi. (I was really thirsty.)  Of the 5 of us, you could only hear myself and the 2 girls that I was friends with.  I don't even remember who the 2 other girls were.  I'm suprised I remember the Crystal Pepsi.

8. I miss Crystal Pepsi.

9. Because of my OCD, I cannot go into a book or yarn store without buying a book or ball of yarn.

10. My dream job would be to be to make movies or a TV show.  I am obsessed with movies and tv.  My second choice is to be a Crime Scene Investigator.  Even before the show came around.  I've accomplished neither.

11. I have no problem wearing tight fitting, skimpy, almost nothing clothes, but I won't go totally nude.  I would never make it as a stripper.

12. I'm afraid of the dark.  Although my rational brain tells me there is nothing there, my lesser brain says there are things under my bed, in my shower, in the closet and in any dark room.  To be more specific, Freddy Kruger lives under the bed waiting for a limb to fall over the side.  Godzilla lives in my shower and I have to keep the curtain closed.  I haven't identified the thing in the closet, but I have to keep the door closed to keep it at bay.  The thing in the closet comes out into the room if there are no lights on.  Light drives them all away.  This one of the main reasons I am awake at night and sleep during the day.  If I do sleep at night it is often with the lights on.  If you leave the shower curtain open, this happens...

Yep, I actually did this in my home. No, it is not Sharpie. If it were, I wouldn't be able to erase it and do something else.
13. I have more depression/anxiety and panic attacks than I let on.  I don't hide it, I just don't like to talk to ppl about it because I feel like I'm burdening them with it.  Even though talking about it helps.  It's a vicious catch 22.  (Also, if I talk about the panic attacks I tend to lose control of them and I get violent.  I have hurt ppl and myself.  I'm not proud of it, but I'm not ashamed either.)  

14. I always wanted to take dance lessons.  I LOVE dance.  I love witching it, I love doing it.  

15. I LOVE to sing, but I have a hard time doing it in front of a small audience.  Especially if I know the few ppl.  Large crowds and audiences are a totally different story.  The problem?  I don't think I sing well (although I'm told otherwise.  Pfftt, whatever) and large crowds full of strangers are easier because I don't care what ppl I don't know think of my singing.  Plus I probably will never see them again.  Small crowds of ppl I know will probably talk to me about it and I will have to see them again.  Alcohol is not a factor in either scenario.  

16.  I can't pee if any part of my body is moving.  If even my big toe twitches, I immediately stop and it crawls back up.  (I know, TMI, but I'm having a hard time coming up with things for this list.)  

17. I am not a physically affectionate person, but extremely emotionally needy in relationships.  

18. I'm extremely bipolar as far as my Facebook/Twitter posts and my actually emotions are concerned.  What I mean is, if I am depressed or upset, my posts tend to be happy and silly.  This is because I am trying to lift myself out of my bad mood and often being playful and having others return it helps me out of my funk.  On the other hand, if I am in a good mood, you are more likely to see me go off on a rant or say something offensive because I am more able to handle the criticism and arguments if I'm in a good frame of mind.

19. I choose my battles.  Many ppl have told me that I need to stand up for myself or that I'm a push-over.  If you really know me, you know that I have NO problem standing up for myself.  NONE!  I just don't always think it's worth getting into an argument or dealing with the negativity to let something happen or going along with something.  Or sometimes I don't care enough about the "thing" to fight for it.  But I will get fierce and put my foot DOWN when ppl try to push me around or for those things I believe.  I have NO problem speaking my mind, but sometimes it is better to keep it to myself.  Sometimes it's nothing more than strategy and allowing a person to hang themselves, or I am waiting for the big picture to unfold.  I'm calculated like that.

20. I have 8 tattoos and I want more.  (Butterfly w/ tribal on left calf, frog w/ tribal on right calf, wolf prints from ankle to hip on left leg, rose on right thigh, Celtic knit w/ tribal tramp-stamp, Mehndi half-sleeve on left upper arm, vampire bite on left forearm, pentacle and vines armband on right bicep.)

21. The best way to get ahold of me, sadly, is through Facebook or text message.  Being partially deaf, the phone and I are not friends.

22. Consistent noise bothers me.  Dogs barking, birds chirping, fingers tapping, clocks ticking, etc. will drive me absolutely fucking insane!!!  So does whistling.

23. My best friend has been my best friend for 31 years.  We love each other and hate each other like sisters and will probably grow old together.  Even through the distance.  She is one of the girls you could hear from #7.  (She stalks me and I allow it.)  

24.  I don't have a favorite food.

25. It took 4 days to come up with these 25 things.  (See #6)
Before we get started let me remind you that I am still doing "daily" movie reviews over on my Facebook page.  The reason for the quotations is that the posts aren't daily.  I'm watching a horror movie each day of October and then posting a review whenever I feel like it.  Although they are pretty daily.

Anyway, I've been doing a happy dance at random times throughout the night.  Why, you ask?  Well, the new season of The Walking Dead starts tonight.  YAY!!!  

(I had a post about tips for migraines that I was gonna write (that I will forget about by next week), but I got distracted by the extended preview for the upcoming season.)

I love this show.  I really don't know why, since half way through each season I just bitch about how it's dragging on and I wish something would happen.  It might be the love to hate issue.  I love to hate many of the characters and sit and wait for them to die.  But in the middle of it...ZOMBIES!  If you know anything about me you know that I'm into all that vampire, werewolf, zombie shit.  My ex gave me an article one time by some horror writer (I don't know who) that said, "If you love a certain genre, you have to support it, even if you don't like it.  This means buying the books, watching the movies and talking about it."  Those are words I have found very true.

While it may seem confusing to see where I stand on The Walking Dead, let me be clear.  I LOVE this show.  Every Sunday I get a thrill when the time comes that DJ sets his whatever aside and it's time to watch our DVR'ed show.  Usually it's right after it is done airing so that we can fast-forward through ALL the commercials, but sometimes we will pop that sucker on half way through because I get so antsy waiting that it's either watch the show or get beat in the head with a laptop.  I think DJ gives in and watches the show cause the beating scenario may just further the closed-head-injury without killing me and NO ONE wants that.

Where was I?  Oh, yeah.  I love the zombie make up.  I love that not everyone is running around with guns and they do know what knives and arrows are.  I love how the can all hide out in the woods or a farm.  You know, away from the populated areas where most of the residents now probably just want to eat your brains.  And last seasons finally ended with the chick (I know her name, but if you want it go digging for your own spoilers.  Ok, it's Michonne) pulling out a friggin sword.  Hecks yeah. That would be me.  I would totally rock out the kitana blade.

Another reason I love it?  There isn't really anything else in my preferred genre on tv.  There are plenty of Law & Orders, but, really, who isn't tired of all of those.  Then you have your crime mysteries (Bones, The Mentalist, CSIs, NCISs, Major Crimes, etc.).  While I like a number of those shows, they are EVERYWHERE.  The closes thing to the preternatural genre is Grimm and...well...I think I would rather go skydiving onto a bed of nails before I watch another episode of that lil piece of yuck.  (I gave it a shot, really I did.)

So there are 16 hours left until the premiere and in the meantime I will be doing my happy dances.  It's good cardio.  I suggest you do it to for whatever show you are happy is coming on.  (By the way, my happy dance looks a lot like tap dancing.  You know, if you put tap shoes on an epileptic and threw em in a small space.  I know, I can't believe I've never had a lesson either.)
So I figured I better write something since I have been neglecting you minions.  Sorry about that.  I was off with The Hamster of Doom making plans for world domination.  These things take time.  Really I spent my summer in MI and it felt really nice to get away from the internet so much that I prolonged coming back to it.  Not having to keep up with Facebook and Twitter and blogs and emails and comment responses was actually really nice, but it's time to come back.

So, if you didn't know, I have a yearly tradition.  Every October I watch at least one "horror" movie every day. The reason I use the quotation marks is because these movies are not all scary.  Some are comedies (Zombieland, Rocky Horror Picture Show), some are 60's-70's B-movies (any of the Hammer films), while some are psychological thrillers (American Psycho, Silence of the Lambs), some are cult classics (Evil Dead, The Exorcist), and some are just old-time goodies (Universal monster movies).

I decided that, to kick off my return, to share this past weeks viewings with you and give you my opinions on each of these.  I will also try to include and IMDB.com site links to these movies so you can look up more info on your own.  You can do this by clicking on the movie title.  Some movies may not have links, but I will do what I can to include them for the ones that do.  Also, most of these movies come from Netflix, but some come from my personal stash since one of the best gifts everyone gets me are those bargain box sets that contain like 50 movies on 4 disks and costs only $4.  I will, however, for you, Minions, try to keep the movies to easily available movies or stuff I see on T.V.  I make no promises though. (You could probably find all this stuff on Amazon also.

If you're looking for something to watch, something here might be up your alley.  On the other hand, if you were gonna watch one of these it might just save you the trouble.  So lets get started shall we?

WARNING:  This is a LONG post.  Feel free to skim, you won't hurt my feelings.

October 1: I started out the month with The Ghoul.  I am a Boris Karloff nut!  I love him.  He is my favorite actor and I have to start every October with one of his films.  For those of you who don't know who I am talking about, he's the guy who played Frankenstein's Monster in the old black and white Frankenstein.  This movie is another of those old black and whites that, by today's standards, isn't scary, but back when it was made would scare the crap out of the audience.  Karloff is a dying Egyptologist who has this jewel that is supposed to allow one of the Egyptian gods to come and cart him off to the afterlife.  (I honestly don't remember which god.  I think it was Anubis though.)  Anyway, when someone steals the jewel before the god can come to him, he reawakens in this life somewhat zombie-esque and horror ensues.  Pretty much if you're a fan of the old movie The Mummy (another Karloff classic, NOT the 1999 remake), this movie would be for you.

October 2:  Mad Monster Party?  (The question mark is part of the title not me forgetting the name of the movie.)  This is a good one for the kids or any fan of the stop action animated movies (like Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer).  This is another Boris Karloff, but in voice only.  The catch?  I never knew this existed.  I never even HEARD of it until it showed up on my recommended list on Netflix.  How I missed this little treasure is beyond me, but seeing how I've never seen it on T.V. I'm guessing it didn't do so well.  Anyway, this is a Halloween special about a Dr. Frankenstein inviting  all our favorite monsters to a party so he can elect his successor.  Among the attendees are Dracula, the Wolf-Man, the Invisible Man, Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde and a couple others.  The movie is basically all the monster vying for the position of his successor.  It's a cute little thing that is basically safe for all ages.  
October 3:  Tucker & Dale vs. Evil.  Holy fucking shit!  Where do I start with this one.  I guess I will start by saying I really did not have high hopes for this movie.  On a 5-star rating on Netflix, it averaged a whole 1-star.  Just the name alone screams low-budget B-movie, but since I am a glutton for those crap-fest slasher flix, I popped it on and sat back.  I had no intention of giving it my full attention, but the movie commanded it. While I won't say it is a great movie it was WAY better than I thought it was going to be.  Pretty much the only reason I even gave it a try is because Alan Tudyk (of Firefly fame) stars in it.  I figured he was hard up for money and just took a project to make due.  What starts out as your typical "group of collage age kids go camping in the woods where there was once a series of murders" type movie quickly turns and you don't really see it coming.  Let me state something now.  This is a comedy, not a slasher flick.  That fact just makes the movie that much better.  While it's not chalk full of gut-wrenching belly laughs (though there are a few) it is a silly little movie that will lift your spirits if you are having a bad day.  I commend the writers and actors on their ability to keep this movie light and silly without turning it into one of those "so stupid it's funny" movies and bringing a new twist to the slasher movie genre.   Personally, I gave it a 4-star rating on Netflix, but I can see how this could be one of those "love it or hate it" movies.
October 4: The Comedy of Terrors.  This is a Vincent Price diddy and it is exactly what it claims to be.  A comedy.  It was actually nice to see Mr. Price in a role that wasn't as dark as we are all accustom to, while still staying within the horror genre.  Mr. Price and his sidekick are undertakers who haven't been getting any business.  As the bills pile up, Price decides to create their own clients by killing ppl and stepping in to take the business of burying the dead.  The first one goes well, until they don't get paid for their services, which, is why they did it in the first place.  So, if at first you don't succeed, try, try again, right?  Well upon going for their second victim/client the man just Will.  Not.  Die.  The movie mostly consists of the hyjinxs that ensue in keeping this victim dead.  The movie is a bit dated, but cute non-the less.  I would not, however, recommend letting young children watch simply for the fact of how the characters talk to and berate each other.  Older kids shouldn't be a problem.  I have a 12-year old and I would let her watch this, but I wouldn't if I had a 6-year old.
October 5:  The Omen.  What do I say about this?  It's The Omen for crying out loud.  That original film that made you never want to have kids.  The place where the term "demon spawn" came from.  If you don't know The Omen, have never experienced Damien and don't know the fear of raising the Antichrist, get off my site. But not before clicking the link and educating yourself.
October 6:  This day I actually have 2 movies.  First up is Remains.  I will tell you what I know of this movie.  It starts off looking good.  What I thought was just another B-movie, seemed to have a decent budget and had a good quality cinimatography.  I quickly learned it was because they sunk all their budget on the cameras and neglected the writing, acting and everything else that makes a good movie.  A bunch of ppl, who just so happen to be in rooms with no windows, survive the zombie apocalypse.  Mind you, this apocalypse comes in the form of a big ball of flame that looks similar to the nuclear blast the fried Sarah Connor, but somehow all the buildings are still standing and the only thing that happens is it turns everyone exposed into zombies.  It doesn't sear their flesh off, that stays to rot away later.  Anyway it's up to the survivor who where getting busy in a storage room, and some guy who got locked in a broom closet, to go out and find other survivors.  I can't tell you any more than that.  I stopped paying attention cause my brain started to melt.  This was after only 10 minutes.  I left it on to run in the background while I did more interesting things, like counting how many hairs are on my toes, and this thing just kept going.  It was like it was never going to end.  I can't tell you who made it, what happened or anything, but every time I gave it even 1/8 of my attention I felt my brain trying to come out my ear and had an over-powering urge to shoot myself in the face so I would quit looking.

Second up was Blessed.  I had to do something to wipe my brain clean and since this film stars Heather Graham I was hoping it would do the trick.  Ms. Graham, and the dude who played Mark Antony in Rome, are having trouble conceiving a child and go to docs for help.  They get preggers and all kids of creepy stuff happens.  We've seen these types of movies before.  It wasn't a BAD movie, per se, but it wasn't anything to write home about.  It was right on par with all the other pregnancy horror movies out there.  It did help me get over Remains though.

October 7:  Albert Fish: In Sin He Found Salvation.  This was a docu-drama.  In case you don't know what that is, it's a documentary where they intersplice real footage with dramatizations.  This is the normal format for The History Channel.  If you know anything about me, you should know, I LOVE my serial killers.  I don't know why, I'm just twisted like that.  I can't get enough.  Around this time of year is great for me because they play all the creepy fact-filled stuff on The History Channel that I just eat up.  Although this came to me via Netflix it was along the same lines and I really kind liked it.  Was it awsomely great? No.  But it was no better or worse that the stuff they put on cable T.V.  The difference being that there is swearing.  So right there, it's not for kids.  I honestly wouldn't even let Lil Miss watch this now.  The reason?  If you know anything about Albert Fish it's that his atrocities were carried out on children.  He killed them and ate them.  he was the original Hannibal the Cannibal.  This Italian-made movie is a good delve into the oddity of this particular mad.  Although I was disappointed that the focus was on only his first victim, it also goes into about a bunch of the strange shit he did to himself.  If you are interested in serial killers I would recommend this, but don't expect a full accounting of his crimes since the focus is of the man, himself, and what it was that led to him finally taking that step into murder.

So, there you go, Minions.  Sorry this was such a long post.  If you are still with me, good for you (and thank you).  Seeing how this did take a lot of space I decided that this is what I am going to do:  Since I often watch multiple movies each day, I will post my reviews, as they come, on my Facebook page so you don't have to read all this stuff.  I will work through the week to write a review on one movie each day, but I will try to keep it a bit shorter.  I think maybe taking so much time off might have been a bad idea if when I come back I end up pumping out book-long posts.  Anyway, thanks for reading and hope to see you next week and on Facebook through the week.  And yes, I'm sure the posting will start today (since I'm watching a movie now as well as taping 3).
So I figured I should probably check-in and let you all know that I made it through the first plane ride without dying in a fiery ball of flame.  However I did snap a picture that I thought you would all like that I want to share and state that NO first-time flyer wants to see.
Yes, Minions, that is indeed a Beer truck the KING of Beers, no less) at the head of the plane.   You know, where the pilots sit.   Which pulled up almost exactly 5 minutes after I made my first "hope the piolts are sober" joke. I told myself that the service door for the airport just HAPPENED to be there, but it did no good since I was the only one saying it.

I would also like to take this time for...umm...anything right now.  I have currently been awake for 29 hours.  My insomnia decided to rear it's head and I'm starting to see things out of the corner of my eyes (that aren't really there).  So I figured it would give me something to do to come on here, check-in, and share my pic with you all.  

Surprisingly, I see that after taking a month off, and not having a post since June, I'm still getting approximately 30 ppl to the site per day (some return day-to-day, so it's not like 30 different ppl each day) and have gotten some new comments to older posts.  (Not that I'm really paying attention to the numbers.  My analytics page comes up first and has the link to get to this page, where I can post for you.)

Anyway, thank you to those of you have stuck around and understand that I am out of town and spending time with Lil Miss.  I promise I will be back, unfortunately it may not be until the end of August.  I will try to check-in again before then, but I make no promises.

Until then, enjoy my pic and pray I see a Pepsi truck, instead, on the way home.
Not going to be on much today or tomorrow.  Packing and flying.  But in case I don't make it I want to leave you with a how-to on how to play Zombie Bath Salts.  (This is mine and D.J.'s new favorite game.  Ok, it's at least mine.)

Players: 2-?

One person is the victim and one person is the "zombie" who smoked bath salts.  Zombie person growls and roars and "attacks" (I jump on D.j.) and precedes to "eat" the victims face.  (PRETEND is the key word.  Unless you really did take bath salts, but that turns this into a news cast and not a game.)  The person playing the victim gives a half-assed struggle and then "dies".  You know your victim is dead when his/her tongue pokes out the right side of the mouth.  If the tongue poke out the left, your victim is playing possum.  Keep chomping.  If you have other ppl playing they can be the police.  They will PRETEND to shoot and tazer the person playing zombie.  Unfortunatly, the zombie will not go down and may even go after new "victims".

So there you have it.  That is how you play Zombie Bath Salts.  And yes, on a daily basis we play this.  Often I start playing without telling D.J.  It's more realistic that way.  And we don't play with cops so there is no one there to taze me.  So, yeah, D.J. is always fucked and dies.  Although, last night we played Troll Epsom Salts.  It's similar to ZBS but I PRETENDED to smoke Epsom salt instead and started slobbering and hunched down close to the ground.  I tried asking for a toll for the bridge, but seeing how D.J. is broke (cause I spent all his money on a plane ticket)  he was fucked again.  And, yes, he died.

So today is Father's Day, and it got me thinking about my parents.  Since I didn't write a post on Mother's Day I figured today would be a good time to combine the two and honor both parents at once.

Really what has me thinking today is my upbringing.  I will not say I had the GREATEST PARENTS OF ALL TIME!!!  Nor will I profess a Brady-like childhood.  Honestly, I don't feel like my parents really did a whole lot of the actual raising of me.  They were there to make sure I didn't die, but when it came to the actual parenting, they were a bit lacking.  

In my very early years they were there and did a fairly decent job.  At least, of what I can remember.  I remember my mom soothing back my hair as I spilled my guts into a bucket every time I had the flu.  I remember her giving my popsicles when I was teething.  I remember my dad taking me to see The Empire Strikes back (just him and myself) for my 5th birthday because it was the ONLY thing I wanted for that birthday.  And when I was older I DO remember my dad showing up, sober, for high-school drama plays and choral concerts.  At least, the ones I told him about.

But somewhere in there, I'm not sure when it happened, my mom found drugs and my father found liquor.  And then the hard ships began and my parents fell off their pedestals.

But here's the thing...for all the shit that they put me through, both directly and indirectly, I would not change a thing.  Not.  One.  Fucking.  Thing.  

You know how you sometimes sit around and talk with your friends or whoever and that question comes up, "If you could go back and do it over, and make changes, would you?"  My answer is always a resounding, NO.  See, if I were to do that, I wouldn't be the person I am today.  And I rather like me.  Without all the crap, I would have never learned the tools to take on the things that occur out in "the real world" and make it through.

Today I am a very independent, opinionated, intelligent, strong person.  (Ok, feeling a little less intelligent every time I need to use that spell-check, but hey, I said intelligent, not perfect.)  

When I was in high-school my friend Brian said a single sentence to me that has stuck with me to this day.  "You are the strongest person I know."  I don't know if that is still true to this day.  I highly doubt it.  But, at the time, it was a truth.  Also, at the time, I thought he was absolutely nuts.  I didn't believe it.  I mean, me?  Really?  How the hell was I so strong?  We were talking about a girl who, at the best of times, thought she was losing her mind (my panic-attacks had yet to be diagnosed), would go through horrific boughts of depression, would cry at the drop of a dime and ran from every thing she didn't like.  How was I all that strong?

It took years and perspective to realize that Brian was right.  I am strong.  Over the years I would tell ppl about various things that had happened in my life and was more often than not given a response of, "How are you still here?  I would not have been able to handle that.  I would have probably killed myself by now."  The truth is, suicide wasn't just not an option, it had never even occurred to me.   I mean, I had (and still have) a curiosity about death and what happens when we die, but never to the extent of wanting to find out.  Actually, dying is one of my biggest phobias.

It took me a while to figure out that I was able to get through it all because of my childhood.  Because of the things I had been through.  Because of the personality traits I learned from my parents.  Because of the stick-to-your-guns, stand up for yourself, take no shit way I learned from my mom.  Because of the cool, calculated, pick your battles way that I learned from my dad.  Because of having to see first hand what happens when you make wrong choices, they taught me how to make right ones.  They taught me how to deal with my problems and that there is always something worse.  (I know that last sentance sounds bad, but really it's not.)

Because of that, NO, I would not change it for the world.  I would do it all over again.  If I did, my mom and dad would never have taken me to the hospital.  That act alone resulted in doctors diagnosing my closed-head-injury, clinical depression and the resulting panic attacks.  I would never have known the joy of bowling (before the drugs, my mom was a semi-pro bowler).  Without my dad I would never know how annoying, and funny, a tiny music box outside your bedroom door can be.  Without them both I wouldn't know how to enjoy the little things in life.

So to both of my parents, on this Father's Day, I say thank you.  Thank you for turning me into the person I am.  Thank you for the good, the bad and the in-between.  Thank you for it all.
My first experience with the ocean was not a good one.  I was in Salem, Massachusetts and it was a nasty, smelly, disgusting sight (and smell).  The water was gray and dingy with dead rotting fish floating all over.  NOT the ocean of the movies.  And definitely NOT someplace you would want to go swimming.  Needless to say, I was severly disappointed.  

I am sure this is not how all ocean views are in the north.  First off, I WAS in a harbor.  Second, it is a fishing town.  Third, There were way to many boats in such a small area and may have accounted for the gray look due to shadows and such.

My point being, I don't really have a clue if this will help anyone going into those waters.  But I am sure that there are some very nice ocean beaches in the north, so it may help after all.  But growing up and living in a state where the ocean is not present, and I was surrounded by fresh water, my first experience (as well as my second, third and sixth) swimming in the ocean was quite different from those of fresh water. The ocean in The Gulf of Mexico was VERY different from that in Salem.  It is blue and clean and straight out of a movie.  It is beautiful and inviting. And it looks like this:

The Gulf of Mexico
If you are like me, and have never swam in the ocean, or in my case The Gulf of Mexico (which IS the ocean since it's fed with ocean water), than this may help you.

Let's begin:

1)  Shave the day before.  The ocean is made out of salt water.  This means that if you are going to go into the water after shaving you will feel a dozen fish nipping at your skin.  (If you have ever swam in the waters in MI this is a familliar feeling since the fish are apparently very hungry for human flesh.)  Once you scoot back and get out of the water you will realize that the nipping fish feeling has come with you.  The reason is this... there are no fish.  The saltwater is attacking your freshly shaved skin.  It may take you a few seconds of looking down at yourself for your brain to make the connection, but it will get there.  After coming out of the water this feeling will go away after about a minute, but will come back as soon as you go back into the water.  Avoid it by shaving the night before and giving your skin time to heal a bit.

2)  Don't swim with open cuts.  Remember how I said that thing about the ocean being made of salt water?  Yeah.  If you do this, this feeling will NOT go away like it does in #1.  It will dull down, but immediately upon entering the water, it will feel like the area with the cut (or scrape or whatever) was set on FIRE!!!  Even if you get out of the water, it doesn't go away.  You will need to flush this area with fresh water, but even that won't take it completely away.  Why?  Apparently the salt in the ocean is made out of glue and sticks to the parts of you that hurt the most.  The ocean is evil and likes to see you in pain.   That's why it so pretty, so it can lure you in.  However, I'm pretty sure the water will burn away any infection, so there is a plus side.  Right?

3)  Keep your mouth shut!  I don't mean be quiet, I mean, literally, keep you fucking mouth shut!  The last thing you want to do is swallow a mouth full of that seaweed laced water.  Just trust me on this one.  Although the waves aren't very big, they are very strong.  If you get hit with one (which you will) it's sort of like being in the mosh pit at a death metal concert.  Depending on how big you are (or in my case, small) it may just knock you on your ass.  When that happens the water will explode around you and if your mouth is open it will go down your throat.  If you have ever had a sore throat and had to gargle salt water...times that taste by 100 and you might begin to get an idea of what it's like to taste the ocean.  Maybe.

4)  Plug your nose.  You don't have to do this constantly, but when you see one of those waves baring down on you, plug your nose.  The only thing worse than swallowing ocean water is inhaling it.  It will, however, clear out your sinuses.  Forever.  Unfortunately, it will burn like you just shoved the sun up your nose and lodged it into your brain.  And no amount of blowing will make it stop.  If you are real adventurous, you can do like I did and snort some fresh (bottled) water and this will at least make the tears stop.  Maybe.

5)  There is nothing you can do about the sand.  No matter how hard you try the sand will get EVERYWHERE.  Even fresh water beaches have this problem.  Remember how I said the sand was made out of glue?  Yeah.  Even if you dry off and wipe the sand off or go in one of those shower things and rinse off the sand will find you.  Oh, did I mention that not only is it made of glue, but sand is also derived of ninjas?  The shit is stealthy as all hell!  You will see no sand anywhere on you, but lo and behold, when you pull up in your driveway and look down at your floorboards of your car they will be coated in sand.  For weeks after you will be vacuuming sand out of your living room carpet, sweeping it from your kitchen, brushing it out of your bed and watching it fall from your hair.  And all after not seeing a grain of it anywhere on yourself.

6)  Use sunscreen.  I cannot stress this enough.  Even if the sun is behind some clouds you will still burn.  And I suggest you get some of that waterproof kind.  And reapply. reapply, reapply.  The sun down here is not the same as in the north.  The sun in the north is a weak, pantywaste of a star.  Here it is only about 1 mile above the surface of the earth and will fry you in a matter of minutes.  If you find yourself smelling like a side of bacon, it's time to reapply.  Or go inside.  One of those.

7)  Don't freak out.  If you sit down to go to the bathroom, don't freak when you wipe and it comes away as a slimy green substance.  This will happen.  Much like the sand, the water is full of seaweed that you can't always see.  And also like the sand, this stuff gets everywhere.  Up in all the cracks, in your hair, even in your ears.  When you get home, take a shower.  Don't freak when you see a lot of green booger-like stuff running down the drain.  I can only conclude that seaweed is invisible while on the body and once it attaches itself it multiplies at an exponential rate.

I'm sure there are other tips I could give you, but, for now, these are the most important ones and I wanted to share them so you won;t make the same mistakes I did.  And still do.  That's right, I have made all of these mistakes.  I have shaved before going to the beach and flipped out when I thought something was eating my legs.  I jumped into the water and then jumped out when I thought my toe (that I had cut a week before) was going to fall off.  I got knocked on my ass and carried half-way down the beach by a wave I wasn't expecting to be so strong and swallowed about a gallon of saltwater.  I had the runs for the rest of the week.  I inhaled the water up my nose and then had to snort a whole bottle of water just to get a tiny bit of relief.  To this day I have sand in my car from my first visit.  That was 3 years ago.  I can't get rid of it no matter how often I vacuum my car.  It always LOOKS like it goes away, but then it comes back.  I wore sunscreen, but forgot to reapply.  Needless to say, air hurt my skin.  We won't talk about how my clothes felt.  And if you have ever been a girl you can appreciate wiping and seeing a green jelly come out of an area that should never produce anything green.  

Hopefully you will all find this helpful and not make the same mistakes I did.  Cause that's what I'm here for.  To help through sharing my experiences.  No matter how humiliating.