Thursday, July 29, 2010

"talk" radio, other b.s.

The mainstream media is biased - that is what everyone says.

Especially when it tells you what you don't want to hear.

I understand why people think it, and even believe it, but all the same it's insulting.

Do not count me among the Mark Bellings and Jessica McBrides of this world, opining unapologetically to anyone who will bend an ear.

Ask Mr. Belling or any of his ilk what code of ethics he adheres to. He will probably laugh. He answers to no one. He is an entertainer. He spins marvelous yarns, part fact and part fiction, but extremely hard to unravel.

This is my code.

"Members of the Society of Professional Journalists believe that public enlightenment is the forerunner of justice and the foundation of democracy. The duty of the journalist is to further those ends by seeking truth and providing a fair and comprehensive account of events and issues. Conscientious journalists from all media and specialties strive to serve the public with thoroughness and honesty. Professional integrity is the cornerstone of a journalist's credibility. Members of the Society share a dedication to ethical behavior and adopt this code to declare the Society's principles and standards of practice."

This is a job I don't take lightly.

Talk Radio "personalities," bloggers, columnists serve a different purpose. Don't confuse the news-gatherers with the news-ponderers.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The singer

Karen is a women I met one night in a bar.

It was Karen's 50th birthday.

A lot of people I know don't celebrate birthdays. But every birthday has been special for Karen, since she was diagnosed with breast cancer nearly three years ago. She's a breast cancer 'survivor,' she told me.

Karen was looking every bit the part of birthday girl in a zebra print halter dress when we met.

While she was waiting for her turn at the karaoke mic, she bore to me the tragedies of her life.

Before she was diagnosed with cancer, her brother and father had also been diagnosed. Her father died when she started chemotherapy. Her son, just a teenager, also had problems: spinal muscular atrophy.

"You have to have faith," she told me with conviction.

It was hard to imagine her sick and undergoing the draining chemotherapy treatments as she stood before me, vibrating with life. Her skin was sun-bronzed and blue eyes twinkling.

We continued to talk: I had no where to go and she had things to say.

She told me she liked singing -- always has.

Afraid to seem impolite for not contributing to the conversation, I finally spoke.

"I do too," I told her, "Just preferably in my shower."

She laughed, sending her wavy chin-length hair bouncing with cartoonish liveliness.

I was pretty sure Karen was of the opinion everyone should karaoke — especially those who had never done it before.

She's done it many times.

"And sung in weddings," she said.

Her voice is her gift, she told me. Her God-given gift. In that it was a gift from God, she felt duty-bound to share it.

I tried to imagine such a thought coming from any place other than the tummy of a hungry ego — but she seemed genuine.

I write for a living, which is, theoretically speaking, my "God given gift" but I certainly don't feel duty-bound to share it; or that it would be a disservice to mankind if I did not write articles about school board meetings and karaoke competitions.

"You never know when you are going to do something that could touch another person," she told me. "You could inspire people."

Why I dumped Facebook

This article was published after I dumped Facebook, but it very nicely articulates the behaviors that I want to avoid.

WASHINGTON: Americans are increasingly obsessed with Facebook and many young women check their page even before using the bathroom in the morning, according to a poll.

Thirty-four per cent of the women aged 18 to 34 surveyed by Lightspeed Research for Oxygen Media said checking Facebook was the first thing they did in the morning, even before washing their face or brushing their teeth.

Twenty-per cent admitted they sneak a peek at Facebook during the night while 26 per cent said they get up in the middle of the night to read text messages.

Thirty-nine per cent of the 1,605 social media users aged 18 to 54 surveyed for Oxygen Media, a service of entertainment giant NBC Universal, in May and June described themselves as "Facebook addicts."

Fifty-seven per cent of the women aged 18 to 34 said they talk to people online more than face-to-face and 31 per cent said they feel more confident about their online persona than their real life one.

Sixty-three per cent of the young women said they use Facebook as a career networking tool, but 42 per cent said they did not think there was anything wrong with posting photos of themselves visibly intoxicated.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010


i love you my little blog, but i predict you will be disappearing in the near future.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Because everyone likes it when I write about personal stuff like drugs

Not everyone believes in mental illness.

Anxiety, depression, paranoia -- these are merely the makings of the human mind.

Take deep breathes, try yoga, just "think positive".

"Suck it up, Sally!"

But it's really not that simple.

As someone whose been dealing with this over the past 10+ years, I've experienced the benefits and the drawbacks of getting medicated. But most of the time I took it for granted and led a life that has been even-keeled and successful enough.

Weaning off the medication (I'm on month two of 30 mgs now) made me reflect on what life can be like without it.

It's true that medication alone, is not the answer. There are other considerations.

If you are a person who can't deal with a lot of stress, getting into a high stress career would, naturally, not be the best option for you. Pursuing that lifestyle, an otherwise chemically-balanced person might find that they "need" medication to deal with it.

So the stressful world that we as humans have created is much to blame for the pharmaceutical windfall resulting from the sale of anti-stress and anxiety medications.

The same is true for anti-depressants.

But don't tell me they aren't needed -- that chemical imbalances are an imagined phenomenon.

Really? Then maybe hormonal imbalances aren't real either? Ever hear of PMS? I think there are a lot of women (and men) who would disagree that hormonal imbalances have no impact on a person's ability to function.

I have a deep desire to be med-free. But that desire might not be enough to ever make it happen -- lest I live my life with a magnified and unyielding version of PMS.

I believe there are things I can do to make it possible for me to manage my stress and depression -- improving my coping skills, exercising more (the natural way to produce endorphins) and refraining from lifestyle choices that could compromise my ability to manage stress and depression. In that case, my stress and depression would largely dictate my life.

Or I can compromise. Try to do what I can and supplement my efforts with an appropriate but not excessive amount of medication.

But unless you've truly experienced real depression, a deep, sometimes life-ending despair with no clear origin, you'd best not make broad generalizations.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Y is a very good question

I ventured over to one of the two local YMCAs today to see what they have to offer. The last time I'd visited a Y was when I was in fifth or sixth grade so it's been a while.

A discounted membership at the Y is one of the few perks my employer affords so I thought I better at least check it out. It would be about $16/month cheaper than my current gym membership.

Meeting me at the check in desk was a very nice woman named Sheila. She gave me an abbreviated tour of the facility. I told her I didn't have children, so she need not educate me about all of the kid-friendly amenities the Y offers.

As we navigated the maze of gyms, studios, and locker rooms, I imagine my disdain was palpable as I bore witness to as assortment of conduct violations -- a pint-sized Y-member darting down a hallway, dripping chlorinated water all over the floors, some t'ween members assaulting a vending machine in a lobby area -- surely this was not civilized society.

I shuddered.

Picking up on my discomfort, the kind woman said:

"Perhaps you'd be interested in the other location," she said. "It's adult only."

I'll check that one out tomorrow.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

making a dent

• Make appointments
1. Physical
2. Dentist
3. Vision - could be spend-y, need more contacts AND glasses

• Investigate possibility of loan deferment

• Assess cord collections - what can be pitched?

• Sell books

• Drop off laptop with TWO so he can rebuild/fix

• Clean up photo collection

• Get used to the idea that this summer I need to go to the home of TBM & TWO to address any of my belongings that are lingering there.

After completing these tasks I can feel thoroughly accomplished and streamlined.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

the list

• Make appointments
1. OBGYN for annual
2. Physical
3. Dentist
4. Vision - could be spend-y, need more contacts AND glasses
5. Veterinarian - for Ella, not for me

• Investigate possibility of loan deferment

• !! Finish assignment ON A DEADLINE!

• !! Start thinking about wine fundraiser for orchestra. ON A DEADLINE!

• Sort papers

• Sell futon

• Collect gently used and infrequently worn clothes for Goodwill

• Assess cord collections - what can be pitched?

• Sell books

• Drop off laptop with TWO so he can rebuild/fix

• Clean up photo collection

• Get used to the idea that this summer I need to go to the home of TBM & TWO to address any of my belongings that are lingering there.

After completing these tasks I can feel thoroughly accomplished and streamlined.

state of mind

sad dark dreary blah sleep apathy weather drain zap drip sun wine effort absent sleep sleep tasteless broke mentally physically gray roots age stranded stuck landlocked opposite of inspire withdraw hibernate disenchanted broke broke broke dependent stifle no focus meh love dog love family love friends leave me alone with my leaky ceiling and empty head everything a blur no courage to disappear empty empty empty bright flowers and blue oceans so blue and sun are calling hard to function independently of societal chains don't want leave sleep candy chocolate godiva yum

Monday, February 15, 2010

Atlas Shrugged

I recently started reading "Atlas Shrugged" by Ayn Rand. It's a book that comes highly recommended, but I have stayed away from it because I prefer not to have my "pleasure reading" injected with an author's veiled philosophical and/or political view.

But here I go.

Wish me luck.

Friday, February 12, 2010

A new experience

I just ate a Mediterranean dish from my grocer's freezer and it was tasty.

It contained a nine-grain orzo with beans, sautéed onions, diced tomatoes, and savory spinach packed with 12 grams of fiber. Topped with a cinnamon sauce, sweet apples, fontina cheese, and cranberries.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

"Say What You Need to Say..."

Disclaimer: The following content may not be suitable for all audiences. (John Mayer fans).

When something is wrong in the world, people often blame the media. I propose, we all blame John Mayer.

Poor misunderstood John Mayer.

John Mayer recently apologized at one of his concerts for some (stupid) stuff he said that appeared in a Playboy article.

(No disrespect to "Heff" but I am pretty sure the bulk of the people who read what John Mayer said read it "second-hand" - like me - somewhere on the Internet.)

This is par for the course for Mr. Mayer - who likes the taste of his foot better than I like the taste of heavily frosted birthday cake.

Seriously, though, some of my friends like John Mayer (Trish) and I would have liked him too if he would only open his pie hole to deliver sweet little melodies.

When he first came out on "my" music scene (which, admittedly lags somewhat behind the rest of the world's) he was singing a song called "Real World."

I really liked it. I found him to be a clever wordsmith, a talented guitarist and in sum a musician with a lot of potential. (BTW, a ringing endorsement from me and a dollar will get you a double cheeseburger at McDonald's)

His conquests with some of my favorite leading ladies weren't a huge distraction from his music.

He went after the pretty petite brunettes first - Vanessa Carlton (a talented musician in her own right) and Jennifer Love Hewitt (supposedly his song "Your Body is a Wonderland" is about her. Talk about Too Much Information.)

His mouth, however, did become a distraction.

John Mayer's media interviews are what have secured his spot on the Asshole Hall of Fame.

His most recent interview in Playboy (where he talks WAY too explicitly about his ex Jessica Simpson and my favorite little pillar of strength and his most recent ex, Jennifer Aniston) is just more of the same.

The unapologetic (until recently) blunt, tell-it-like-it-is, casanova persona that he's taken on, in what he later admitted was an effort to be clever, has only made him look class-less; when at least musically, he WAS a class act.

Ironically, Hallmark uses one of his songs "Say" in it's commercials, so apparently they are able to separate the man from the music.

I on the other hand, think "Saying" is something John Mayer should do less of. He has recently vowed to cease talking to the press.

Truth be told, If he had never spoken to the press in the first place, I would probably have some of his CDs/MP3s, or gone to a concert.

But don't blame "the media" for your trouble, John Mayer.

You only have your own pie hole to thank.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

GI Tract Day 1

Fell off the wagon around 8 p.m. Felt like crap.

I think I am getting a cold and this is no time to worry about a flat belly. I need fluids, and fruits and orange juice and hot chocolate.

Sorry GI Tract. You may have to wait until spring or summer to try to be happy. I am not convinced that ginger root/cucumber/lemon/mint water and starving are the way to a happier GI TRACT.

But I will try to punish you less with caffeine and diet coke. I promise.

I went the whole day only drinking one.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Whatever floats your bloat

Charmed is my favorite TV show; perhaps favorite TV show of all time. The series ended in 2006 after an 8-year run. Its about three modern witches - beautiful intelligent empowered females who (rarely to never cook and) save the world from demons, warlocks, and other evil on an almost daily basis.

Needless to say, (besides the never cooking thing) the lovely ladies of Charmed and I don't have a lot in common - or at least we didn't - until yesterday.

I am in the process of trying to learn and understand cooking and healthy eating. The first step in my process is learning about my GI Tract and doing a four day anti-bloat diet. Since I (imagine or )perceive myself to feel constantly bloated, I thought this would be a nice way to start.

The four day anti-bloat diet is not something one would try to sustain for long periods for several reasons 1) it's extremely boring; 2) it is somewhat calorically deficient.

Anyway, the menu items for the four-days were not items I had on hand. Things like ginger root, hard-pressed cold flaxseed oil, cheese... you get the picture. I felt like I was collecting ingredients for a potion like my Charmed friends.

I went to Pick 'n Save after work (10 p.m. - ish) with my four day grocery list (provided by my book). The items were listed by categories ("Produce," "Herbs and Spices," etc.) for my shopping ease.

But for someone who is familiar with only a few aisles of the enormous new Pick 'n Save (candy, soda and cereal) the task was daunting; it took about an hour.

Because the night staff is not all that knowledgeable beyond how to run their registers, my trip turned out to be an extremely dull scavenger hunt. The raisins were particularly evasive as were the "dried plums" which I later figured out were actually PRUNES.

I still have a few items left to collect, but I should be in business for Day 1 of a healthier GI Tract tomorrow. Wish me luck in my quest to vanquish bloat!

Get a Grip

People like to laugh at me because I don't know how to cook.

I don't care.

Not usually. And not a lot if I do.

And why should I? I am a single woman and the world is rife with businesses waiting to take my money and give me food in a quick and convenient way. I never set out to be Martha Stewart and all evidence suggests I've been successful in achieving the opposite.

I don't know where to hang things in my house, or what combinations of fabrics and colors and candles and shelving are appropriate in a given space. I don't know tricks to get stains out of clothes, or clever things to do with towels. I don't know the names of the pots/pans and other "cooking" receptacles in my house, what quantity of anything they hold, how to use them, if they have teflon or why that matters.

This is my life and for better or worse I just don't give a damn about these things, but at the same time... I crave them.

I love when my mom sews for me and hems my pants; I admire her home - the way it's painted and decorated by her own hand; I always look forward to a dinner invitation, or Christmas or holidays. When I am at her house, (provided no one is mad at anyone else) I am comfortable. I am happy. I am secure.

My Mom (and Dad - yes he lives there too and helps out with stuff) has made a real home.

I, on the other hand, have made - at best - a VERY nice, and quite expansive storage space and - at worst - a domed and carpeted dumping ground. Even my dog can't tell the difference between taking a shit outside or in the house. Sometimes I feel like it doesn't make a difference.

I have excuses for the reasons why I do what I do, and some of them actually make sense otherwise I couldn't pull off such an existence for so long. "I won't be living here that long;" "I need the money for other things," "I am only one person, spending a lot of time cooking and a lot of money on food is a waste." "Nothing I own 'goes' together."

But in the last three months I have begun to see that I cannot sustain the weird, disjointed existence that has been the new norm. I also see that it would be beneficial for me to take some steps toward personal responsibility. You are happy to roll in the mud, if you are a pig. But if one day you are rolling around in the mud and you realize you aren't actually a pig - you probably want to get out of the mud.

And that is where I am at.

Except my mud is kind of like quick-sand.

The good news is, I think I've FINALLY grasped a rope and may be able to pull myself out before I turn 29.

Sure the rope might slip out of my hands a few times before I finally get my feet on solid ground, but at least I got a hand on it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

health 'issues'

A medical organization in town has organized a women's health "issues" clinic to take place over a four week period during the doldrums of winter. The topics of the different "clinics" (which will occur in hour-long sessions) were selected by a PR team, lead by a director with questionable motives.

The "issues" that will be discussed over the four week period include urinary incontinence, heart disease, obesity, and ... cosmetic surgery? Yes. cosmetic surgery.

I understand how "body dismorphic disorder" could be a health issue - a mental health issue, or breast cancer - a legitimate health concern, but cosmetic surgery?

"Is it time for a fresh look?" the flyer asks. "This lecture offers a brief look at the history of facial rejuvenation and the evolution of state-of-the-art treatments, both surgical and non-surgical."


I don't doubt that it is not fun - and not just in the ways it changes your appearance. I've seen its affects on those I love and soon enough I will feel it myself. However, let's not pretend that it is a 'disease' to be included in a clinic addressing real health issues. Cosmetic surgery is just that - cosmetic.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I Love This "Word"

Augean stable

Monday, January 18, 2010

Better than resolutions

Things I'd like to happen in my life this year but probably won't...

10. Dramatically reduce my consumption of diet Pepsi/Diet Coke products.

9. Do so much Yoga that I decide NEXT year I should teach a class.

8. Receive an encore for my debut performance in a karaoke bar.

7. Get engaged and start planning my wedding.

6. Make a new friend.

5. Make a difference in my community.

4. Find a satisfying AND high paying job.

3. Learn to play the guitar.

2. Wear skirts more often.

1. Visit Paris.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Know what your Pick'n

A shiny new Pick 'n Save has opened in WB. It is wonderful. I have heard rumors about Pick 'n Saves that have bountiful salad, fruit and soup bars and now there is one less than five minutes away from work. Sorry Subway. I HEART the new Pick 'n Save and it's fabulous amenities. What is really nice about this salad and fruit bar is that located near the stainless steel buffet style counters is a comprehensive list of the available items and their origins. I know what state (or foreign country) that the food comes from. I'm fed and informed. Excellent. Five stars to the new PNS!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Note to world

Dear Western World,

We have needed your help for a long time now.

We've long been an impoverished country, one of the world's poorest and least developed.

Thanks for finally noticing us.

Too bad it took an earthquake to get your attention.



P.S. Good luck with that whole Iraq/Afghanistan thing.

Sensitivity is overrated

Someone recently told me that I am "very" sensitive. I am not disputing the observation. In fact, I am writing about it, which can only mean one thing: it's true.

But just to be sure I got a second opinion from an old friend.

Me: Am I too sensitive?

OF: Well, let me put it this way: on a scale of 0 to 10, 5 being normal, you are a 7.

Me: A seven? That doesn't sound so bad.

OF: It's not if it's a scale of awesomeness that goes up to 7.

Unfortunately, he wasn't talking about a scale of awesomeness and a 7 was no good: it was two points higher than would would be considered "normal." And in psychological matters you REALLY want to strive for "normal" otherwise you get put on medication (oh, har har, I already am!) or institutionalized.

But, thanks to the tireless efforts of the worlds psychologists I have learned that I am "normal." I just have a "highly sensitive personality," which requires a little more maintenance to keep from going crazy.

I have a love/hate relationship with psychologists (and all others with a psych- attached to their professions) because 1) They have an answer for everything and 2) THEY HAVE AN ANSWER FOR EVERYTHING.

I really like answers, and being "diagnosed" as manic, anxious, depressed, or whatever, helps a person get an answer so they can accept the situation, adapt accordingly, and move on to (hopefully) have a full-ish life.

But with all of these "answers," people seem more like designer coffees than human beings. Some are black and some (like me) have one cup of cream and two shots of espresso.

I'd rather think life is simple. You order your coffee, you sit down, you drink it.

But in this life you sit down with the black coffee you THINK you ordered and find out there is all this other stuff in it. The "psych" people let you know what is actually IN your coffee and tell you not to be alarmed - it's OK, you just might need a Lactaid to drink it.

I guess I do feel better knowing some aspect of the medical community believes I don't need to be institutionalized - that being highly sensitive is an acceptable state of being that just needs to be managed.

That's the best you can hope for when you can't return the coffee.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Good Bye to Good Reads

Growing up, I loved reading books - especially fiction. I could get swept away in a book and the hours would disappear. After high school, and (coincidentally?) around the time I started to take an interest in news writing, my interest in reading fiction (and writing it for catharsis) slowly diminished.

Writing with a purpose (news/non-fiction) to inform, seemed infinitely more important and more noble a cause than writing fiction. In turn, reading non-fiction or news publications, seemed a far more worthy investment of time.

I miss the days when I could pick up any old book, read it, and derive some enjoyment. I would get books from garage sales by no-name authors and hide away in my room and disappear into the pages.

Even though I still don't care for fiction books, I still enjoy going to book stores. Yesterday I stopped at Barnes and Noble. I wandered into the Fiction & Literature section, where if nothing else I knew I would find the old classic works for fiction, whose presence brings me comfort.

I picked up a few random books and read several back covers before realizing I had been audibly scoffing.

We are living in an age when anyone can do anything; "expertise" isn't determined by education, or skill, but merely the availability of the necessary equipment. Digital cameras have made more stay-at-home moms than I can count into amateur photographers charging people for their services; blogs have made people with opinions into "authoritative" sources of news.

While the book industry is harder to penetrate - even the determined novice can self-publish with a little bit of cash, and end up in a well-respected bookstore with a few friends behind the counter.

The reality is, we are living in a fast-food world. And while I am a fast food fan, I am not fond of a society that functions that way. Everything is prepared quickly, then consumed and trashed just as fast. Quality is an endangered species.

The day is gone when a book will stand on it's merits alone; it has to have commercial and retail value - what will reach the most people and make the most money in related merchandise? Here is your book deal.

The resulting tragedy is a ridiculous amount of similarly shaded stories with slight variations in titles.

Flipping through the books on the shelves is disappointingly similar to channel surfing, except more time is invested before you realize what you've chosen is tripe. The only bonus is the absence of commercials breaks.

I know I need to read, however. If I don't read, my mind will languish and my writing skills will stagnate. But if books are food for the brain, Barnes & Noble is a huge vending machine stocked with candies and chips.

2010 Resolutions

K) Read William Faulkner.

R) Write about anything of my choosing for 10 minutes every day.

I) Exercise often and enjoy it.

S) Eat more vegetables.

T) Spend less money.

E) Learn about nutrition.

N) Conquer fear of kitchen.

J) Use time wisely.

A) Be a better dog owner.

N2) Volunteer.

E2) Stress less.

*I have denoted resolutions with letters for tracking purposes.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Just in case you were wondering...

The absence of prescription drug coverage at my new job (for the time being) made me think it might be a good idea to try to wean myself off the anti-depressant without medical supervision. It was a bad idea. I got some headache sometimes, but mostly my hormones were all out of whack - it was like never-ending PMS - everything made me cry. My grandma told me she had a similar experience when once TAKING anti-depressants - so it clearly varies from person to person.

I don't want to be dependent on drugs forever if I don't need to be, and I am hopeful that (after my nice health insurance benefits kick in) I will be able to try again - but in a more responsible way.

Consider that a resolution!

2009 Resolutions

I've often - in my 28 years - engaged in the ritual of writing New Year's resolutions. Blogs make it possible to not only write the resolutions, but to track your progress (or lack thereof).

Last year I was easy on myself, resolving nothing specific and leaving no yard stick by which to measure my success.

Goals are important, but so is follow-through.

Some people micromanage their goals - in fact, self help gurus will recommend the practice (in no-uncertain terms). Lists, journals, diaries, logs, all different words for the documentation that will keep you on track.

I've done this. I will likely do it again. But this year, I did nothing.

So how do I conduct my yearly audit? Perhaps in lessons learned and clever quotations..

"Money isn't everything" - "Mother"
I took a job this year that pays significantly less than the job I held previously. I had several reason for taking this job - money wasn't one of them. The promise of professional growth and potential career advancement lured me away from a bad situation. Like a mirage in the desert, upon first sight these promises seemed very real - then eventually faded away. But I don't regret my decision. Lesson learned: Money isn't everything - but it is something.

"Of all the 36 alternatives, running is always best." - Chinese Proverb
I ran my first 5K this year. For most of my life I characterized myself as the anti-runner. Sweating, heavy breathing, head bobbing around like a bobble-head doll - these are things I detest. But every once in a while, something tells me to do something I've never done before for the express purpose of doing it. It usually happens when I've been riding the defeatist wave for too long and serves as a reminder that I am capable of many things - including the unexpected and even those I deem myself incapable of. Lesson learned: I may not be able to do everything, but I can do many things.

"I eat like a vulture. Unfortunately the resemblance doesn't end there." - Groucho Marx
I managed to keep off the weight I lost last year. It's fluctuated a little bit, but I am still around 150-153 on most days. I am not allowed to weigh myself again until the end of January though. Damn Christmas cookies. Lesson learned: Self-disciplin won't kill you - but Christmas comes only once each year.

"The weight of the world is love. Under the burden of solitude, under the burden of dissatisfaction." - Allen Ginsberg
My little sister married her Mexican soul-mate. That was her milestone for the year really, but I became a sister-in-law and confirmed my psychic ability. (I knew she would end up with her husband). Lesson learned: Love knows no borders. (And I am comfortable giving a toast when most of my audience doesn't understand English.)

"Moo." - Cow
I am pretty sure I am lactose intolerant. An unfortunate state of affairs I assure you, as I love cheese. Lesson learned: Soy milk, skim milk, 2 percent, fat free, it all tastes the same when you pour it on cereal so go with what doesn't result in stomach discomfort. But if you are dipping oreo cookies or eating a slice of chocolate cake, only cow milk will do!