I’m going to feel Deprived if my Husband doesn’t Cook

Pot roast

Pot roast (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m going to feel deprived if my husband doesn’t cook.  In my head is this fantasy that I have, and I just laughed as I wrote that, because in this fantasy my (future) husband likes to cook.  Steak.  Mashed potatoes.  Chicken.  Pot roast.  Tacos.  You get my drift.  Oh, but my future husband doesn’t mind baking, either.  Chocolate cake.  Brownies.  Cookies.  Banana nut Muffins.  I laugh to myself again.  You are probably laughing at me, too.  Or, perhaps you are outraged.  Actually, that is kind of the mood I am in.   I feel like pushing the envelope a bit.  I’m not outraged, but actually I just want to set gender expectations on their head.

So I was just eating dinner tonight and thinking about how I feel like a “bad” female, because honestly I don’t really like to cook.  I was always too busy reading to help my Mom in the kitchen, and she would have to push and prod me.  So, I really don’t know how to cook.  That is part of the problem.  Also, I hate dishes.  But, I have a dish washer now, so you ask what is my excuse?  Truth be told, my Mom even recently subscribed me to Rachel Ray’s magazine, but I find myself flipping through it thinking that certain foods look good, but then I stumble at the action point where I need to go out and buy the needed ingredients to make the meal.  My observation is that if you don’t have basic ingredients to start with, then your grocery bill can burst your budget and be a major detriment into your foray into cooking.

I fear my future husband will feel deprived with my lack of domesticity.  Here is what “gets me.”  Women are expected to work full-time.  Be thin (and I must say that the older I become, the harder that is, especially with the genetic predisposition of the women in my family).  Be beautiful.  Be sweet.  Love children.  Do the bulk (if not all) of the cleaning in your home.  And, finally, be a domestic “goddess.”  But what happens when you don’t wear the red polka-dot apron and make an amazing pot roast?

Society likes to play it both ways.  Women need to work outside the home, but they need to shine in the home sphere, too.  If you don’t, then you deprive your husband (thus goes the logic).  Your husband deserves a good home cooked meal.  And why would a woman want to “waste” a college education if she decides she wants to raise her children and stay at home?  Is that not a noble profession, or does she have to be climbing the corporate or academic ladder to get applauded?  I think many women get burned out running from full-time work to PTA meetings to kid’s soccer practice, and trying to be home in time to make a five course meal may be an unfair burden that society places on women.  Women can juggle many things successfully, but I think fairness and equality is a standard to be obtained in both the work and home sphere.  Why can’t husbands cook, too?  While I definitely will not feel deprived if my future husband doesn’t cook (FYI, I was just stirring the pot), I do hope that my husband will at least like to grill out, or he will enjoy cooking with me as we learn to cook together.  A girl can dream.

 

Semi-Random Musings from my World Again

I have wanted to write a blog for quite some time, but blog topics come and go and my interest waxes and wanes as my life keeps on jetting along.  It feels like I blink and then three more months go by.  At this rate, Christmas will be here before I know it.

I wanted to set tonight aside to write a blog, because it seems like if I don’t make it a priority, then it will never happen.  You know how it goes- you get off work late, your sister calls, you need to stop by the ATM, you send a text or two, and then you hop on Facebook and time seems to warp speed forward and you wonder where it went?  Yes, that is my night so far.

So, in honor of semi-random musings from my world (again), here is this blog.

1.  I entered a poem that is very personal to me into a poetry contest on www.poemhunter.com. It is perhaps my favorite poem that I have ever written.  It is about regret, a topic that I am sure that many people can identify with.  Perhaps running a close second in terms of my favorite poems that I have penned is “Shy Girl.”  Both poems are special to me, and it was a challenge to decide which one to enter in the poetry contest, since only one entry is allowed per poet.  I have posted poems on www.poemhunter.com for over a year now, and I am excited that they are having a poetry contest and will have online voting once the entry deadline passes.  I would love to win the $1,000 grand prize, especially with my less than prosperous financial situation, however of vastly greater importance than the financial blessing is the validation that I would feel as a poet if my poetry was selected for one of the top prize spots.  I know it is a long shot to win a contest like that, but if you don’t aim for the stars, then you never know.

Image representing Facebook as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

2.  I got on Facebook FINALLY.  If you know me, then you may know some of my issues with Facebook, but I have largely made my peace with it overall.  I still don’t think it substitutes for real live friend face time, but I do think it is pretty amazing to form a bridge with people in your life and potentially even around the world.  Honestly, I can get distracted by just the news feeds alone from my friends, and it is nice that I have recently connected with some of my family on Facebook, too.   I am hoping to reconnect more with old friends and also enrich my newer friendships.  I especially like Facebook for getting to see status comments and pictures that people share, but mainly I like how you can keep up with your friends lives and with things that you would not know.  I almost feel like I have been living the life of a hermit, but I have finally come out of the cave.  I do think social connection is good (but I highly value in person time), and I am trying to figure out a balance with my Facebook time and my real-life time.

Image representing Netflix as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

3.  I decided to try the free Netflix one month trial at the end of May, after having it recommended by several people and figuring out that I could responsibly budget it in.  When my free trial was over, I decided to continue on with a paid subscription to stream it, especially since I don’t have cable.   I like it, especially the amount of movies of different genres and tv shows you can choose from.  I am kind of a nostalgia girl, and I like how there are classic tv shows, like Knight Rider and MacGyver, on Netflix.  I also find my self watching a good number of ABC family type movies, or movies that my friends probably would not be as thrilled to watch with me (Santa Paws, anyone?  I know, I know- it is not Christmas, but I felt like watching a cute and uplifting Christmas/dog movie).  Netflix seems behind the times with new movies, and I have owned some new movies for months by the time they get to Netflix, but Redbox fills in the gaps for a cheap rental in the meantime.

4. I wish you didn’t have to request a receipt at a restaurant or coffee shop when you pay like you request a food item. This is a pet peeve of mine.  I went to a local coffee shop recently, and I was disappointed when I paid with a credit card and then I got moved on down the line to the next customer but was not given a receipt.  I used to record to the penny the discretionary money that I spent, and I was highly disciplined with my budget.  I had even cut up most of my credit cards during a financial class that I took. I have loosened up a lot with my budget these days, and I am using credit cards more, but I will note that it definitely hurts more to pay money in cash than to swipe a credit card when the amount is in the double digits.  I think wise financial stewardship is important.

Do You?

Do you believe in love?
Do you believe in marriage?
Do you think there is only one right person for you or many possibilities?
Have you ever had your heart broken?
What inspires you?
What are your dreams?
What places do you want to travel to in the future?
What do you want to do with your life?
What are your thoughts on God?
What are your spiritual beliefs?
What causes do you believe most strongly in?
What are your talents and strengths?
What are your spiritual gifts?
What do you like best about yourself?
What would you change about yourself?
What do you struggle with?
Do you consider yourself an optimist or a pessimist?
Do you believe in second chances?
What things make you angry?
Are you more task-oriented or people-oriented?
What is your family like?
Are you more comfortable with kids or pets?
What do you like to do for fun?
Do you always run early or late?
What genres of movies and types of books do you like best?
Who are your role models?
What is your preferred method of communication?
What is your primary love language?

Author’s note: I published this yesterday on my poemhunter poet page. It may not be poetry in a pure sense, but I was inspired to write a list of questions that seem especially helpful to ask in a romantic context. Some of these questions are also good for getting to know friends and family on a deeper level. Feel free to use and share these questions! 🙂

Sad and Interesting is the Order of the Day

Days can be thematic sometimes. Today, sad and interesting appeared to be the order of the day. It was a long day, and I got home after 9 pm. As I was parking, I was inspired by a new song that I heard on the radio on my favorite radio station, Air1. It was by Britt Nicole, who I find very inspiring and talented. (Side note: I actually got to volunteer at her concert with radio promotions for Air1 Radio several years ago when she performed a concert in my area). Well, I loved her new song with Lecrae, and I was inspired to get on Myspace, which I don’t do much at all these days, but I still like it for the music and for reminiscing. Anyways, I was stopped by “the new myspace”, saying not only had myspace changed, but that my current browser was not supported to login. All I wanted to do was add the song to my profile as #1 song, but I had to go through the steps to get a new browser to meet my goal. So, I added Mozilla Firefox as a browser, which truth be told, I should have done ages ago, since I hear it is an excellent browser. Funny how when you can’t do something you want to do that takes “two seconds”, it is quite annoying to be slowed down with technical delays. Anybody else agree?

So, after getting my new browser, I tried to login and got stopped by the “new myspace.” Of course, I had to agree to the privacy policies, video policy, and other various policies before proceeding. I also noticed that it APPEARS that unless you are a MEMBER of myspace (i.e. the NEW myspace, not the classic myspace), you CANNOT listen to music! You can only search for music. Why would anyone want to search for music but not listen to it? Sometimes I used to listen to music in my old myspace player without logging in. This probably sounds funny, but I would listen to my playlist when I didn’t realy care or need to login, and when I didn’t care to be tracked for every song I played. Anyways, so, unless I am missing something, it appears the new myspace is EXCLUSIVE for members ONLY to listen to music, which I find sad and, well, exclusionary. I like music being free and for the people. And, don’t quote me on this without double-checking, but I believe that when I tried to check out Spotify app for music numerous months ago (which my friend raved about), I couldn’t login in because I don’t have a Facebook account. I don’t think that is very fair.

I am a person who does not like to sign something or click accept when I have not read something, especially when terms say that I have read terms, etcetera. Granted, I don’t like reading 40 page terms verbatim, but I try to pay attention to privacy policies and rules. But, I got tired of reading and really ONLY WANTED ONE SONG. It is already late, so I decided to table the new myspace for another day and make sure I am reading when I am less tired. Here is the super sad other thing that I want to comment on- when I was clicking about how the new myspace is different than the classic myspace, it said some things will not carry over in the new experience- things like blogs and comments. That makes me so sad! I always considered my old myspace like a digital record or journal as part of my life- so many happy memories are tied up there, plus blogs that I never saved that were before I was on wordpress. I think I also lost some of my poetry which I may have only had a digital copy of, which of course, I did not save. It is too late now, but I wish I knew more about archiving and stuff that seems taught more in librarian circles. Sometimes it feels like I a babe in the woods, but it is sad once it is too late to do things maybe you should have done, but didn’t think something would be totally taken away from you. I was never warned by myspace by e-mail with the changes, and I knew there was a newer version, but I didn’t use it a ton recently. Still, I don’t think they promoted the switch with a deadline, and I don’t think they publicized what people would lose until it was lost. Maybe I am wrong, and I not trying to speak something untrue, but with so much of our identities wrapped up in the digital realm, I wonder how many people would be upset if their Facebook profile got wiped out, or how would they feel if Linked In pulled the plug? We are all vulnerable.

Once I decided to pass on the new myspace (for tonight anyway), I got on Air1 Radio (www.air1.com) to stream the mixology live. Of course, I got distracted by their home page with “trending now” news headlines. Here is the one that caught my eye. It is about new Lego figurines being more grumpy than in previous years. I think that is interesting, but sort of sad. Here is the article:

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/06/11/18904238-do-legos-need-anger-management-figurines-grumpier-than-ever-study-says?lite

Also, an article I was reading earlier in the day was in the Chronicle of Higher Education about privacy, law, and government. It was highly thought-provoking and troubling. If you are interested in privacy laws, logical arguments, or freedom, then I definitely recommend it. It fits my theme of the day- sad, yet interesting.

http://chronicle.com/article/Why-Privacy-Matters-Even-if/127461/

Ghetto shoes: Is Duct tape considered Fashionable? (Inspiration for a Better Cause)

Today was one of those days. When you decide you want to go for a walk on your morning 15 minute break to get needed exercise and enjoy a non-rainy day, but then your shoe decides to come apart at the seams, literally, completely detaching from its base. I must comment that I have lost two pairs of my favorite dress shoes in the last 10 months, so to now lose this third pair of shoes, a comfy Montego Bay Club pair of sandals, is making me wonder why I am so prone to shoe “catastrophe?”

In order to be resourceful at work and last through the day, I first tried to repair my shoe using packing tape and velcro sticky fasteners (that seemed past their prime), but those solutions did not last more than a few minutes, and unfortunately my morning walk got postponed. My third solution was duct tape, but since the base and side of my shoe were very slick, the shoe did not bond well with the duct tape. Thus, duct tape was not the solution that I had hoped for. But at least the duct tape helped my shoe limp along until my lunch break, when I resigned myself to racing home to get a different pair of shoes. Honestly, I wasn’t sure that my shoe would last through the day, and I didn’t want to “push my luck” when I had to more mobile at work later in the day. Also, I wasn’t too keen on wearing my “ghetto shoes” to a meeting with an Associate Dean and co-workers that I had in the afternoon.

I wonder if duct tape is considered fashionable? Here is a picture for you to decide.

My Poor Shoe on its "last legs" (a.k.a. Duct Tape to the rescue!) (photo by Julie A. )Smith)

My Poor Shoe on its “last legs” (a.k.a. Duct Tape to the rescue!) (photo by Julie A. Smith)

The one really good thing was that the whole situation made me think about deeper issues than just the loss of my shoe and embarrassment of my duct tape solution. It made me think of all the children around the world who do not have even ONE pair of shoes to wear. Besides being unsafe if children walk without shoes through briars, stumble upon broken glass, or encounter other sharp objects, I am sure that being without shoes is also a health risk in terms of hygiene. No child or adult should be deprived of clothing or shoes, as well as basic necessities of life such as water, food, or shelter. It is sad the basic necessities, as well as luxuries, that many of us in developed nations take for granted. When is the last time you had to wonder if you had shoes to wear or if your water was unclean?

I was blessed to go on a short-term mission trip to Haiti when I graduated from college, and it forever changed me. I worked as a teacher’s aide in a second grade classroom at a Christian school. While in Haiti, I saw poverty like I never had before, and it opened my eyes to the wealth and privilege that I had in the United States of America. It made me want to help, and while sometimes it seems that I can’t do as much as I’d like due to my limited resources and finances, I am confident that every bit helps. Today, when I thought of children without shoes, it made me think of Tom’s shoes, a business that cares to help needy children get shoes, as well as charities like Shoes for Orphan Souls.

Check out these links if you are interested and can give to help needy kids get shoes:
http://www.toms.com/easterncongo/l?cid=ps_usbrand&gclid=CI_d5e6h07cCFe1AMgodz24ACQ

http://www.shoesfororphansouls.org/

The Almost Never-ending Story, Literally (Tax Return Lessons 101)

Am  I the only person in the world who has never heard of “Tax Literals” before?  I am a literal person, but I think that title leaves something to be desired.  Here is the chronological breakdown of my tax time saga (a.k.a. Tax Return Lessons 101):

1. I decide to again do my taxes myself this year. Perhaps I am still scarred from my bad experience at H&R Block several years ago, and how they misquoted me the amount that I would pay as a single person with a very easy return.

Form 1040A, 2005

Form 1040A, 2005 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

2. I gather my tax forms from the library, do a rough draft of my 1040A form, and get delayed in finding and printing the amount of interest I paid on qualified student loan payments.  I speculate about the IRS updating tax codes to be more fair to the tax payer.  I think it is 100% unfair that the 1098-E is not furnished by mail to individuals if the lender doesn’t receive interest payments of $600 or more in a year.  Plus, why is the Earned Income Credit (EIC) for people who work so vastly different for single people vs. people with children?  A single person doing a 1040A for 2012 must make less than $13, 980 (per 1040A, line 22, adjusted gross income or AGI), but a person having one child living with her or him can make an AGI of less than $36, 920.  (Note: this is actually just step 1 to pass to see if a person qualifies for the Earned Income Credit).  Why the disparity?  It seems the American tax code greatly favors people with children over single people on multiple levels.

3.  I file online using free fillable forms.  They are essentially the electronic version of paper federal tax forms, but they can enable you to get a much faster refund since you electronically file.

4.  I dislike how some of the free fillable forms are counterintuitive.  You can’t actually add your W-2’s when clicking on the upper tab to add forms, because you must click step 2 to do that.  In addition, (from what I can tell), you can’t move to step two by clicking “done with form” at the bottom of your 1040A, you have to click on the top “step 2” to go to step 2.  This seems illogical to me, because if you are done with a form, then you should be able to click “done” and move on to the next step.  Plus, am I the only one who noticed how when a person types in her information on her W-2’s and uses the tab key, then it will jump numbers and not be perfectly chronological around the 12-20 fields?  I don’t like that filling out the W-2 seems to work backwards and out-of-order.

5.  I am happy to have my refund submitted electronically to the IRS after time spent surfing FAQs to answer e-file questions using free fillable forms.

English: Speech balloons. Question and Answer....

English: Speech balloons. Question and Answer. Icon for FAQ or Help. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

6.  What?!!!  My refund was rejected?  I have e-filed my own taxes for around 5 years, and that has never happened.  Here is part of the e-mail to tell me of my refund rejection: “To see a list of the most common reasons for a rejected return go to http://www.irs.gov/uac/Common-Free-File-Fillable-Forms-Problems   You will need to fix the issue in your return and e-file again. If you are unable to fix the issue you will have to print the return and file by mail.” (E-mail from customer_service@freefilefillableforms.com)

7.  Thus begins my search for why my refund was rejected.  I realize how”Tax Literals” seem to be at the root of my rejection problem. Essentially, tax literal problems are caused by putting something into the small grey box areas on the tax return that does not belong. A person has to be instructed to place information in those areas.  Utilizing the link sent to me in my rejection e-mail about common tax problems, I link to the IRS website and find a helpful link, the FAQ document for Tax Literals.  However, I notice this IRONIC line about tax literal information on the official IRS government website.  (Note: editing done to bold typographic error).

“In the example above, the rejection was caused by using an incorrect state abbreviation on Form W2-G and yopu would look on that form to correct the information.” (http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-utl/2012_4f_faqs.pdf)  (Free File Fillabe Forms FAQS and Limitations, February 28, 2013).

8.  I realize that line 7 (wages, etcetera) was where my mistake was made, so I fix the error and re-submit my tax return.

9.  Yay!  My return was accepted!  Is this the never-ending story, or what?  Finally, my tax return saga is over!

The Positivity of Pooh and a Personality Profile

Have you ever wanted to write, various ideas would pop into your head, but then your motivation would lag?  Has your real life ever encroached on your creative side, stifling it with endless “to do” lists and practical matters so your writer’s inspirations get the boot?  Yeah, me too.  In the last 6 weeks, I have had many blog ideas excite me: a post about my enthusiasm for a class that I am taking online in March, a post exploring my musical side by writing a cd review for my favorite new cd, and a blog post about my recent birthday this past Monday.  However, my inspiration did not transfer from pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard.  My rough working title for my birthday reflections post (“Another one bites the dust and Valentine’s Day looms on the horizon”) seemed too negative about my getting another year older (a.k.a. another year bit the dust) and about  facing another Valentine’s Day as a single in a couple’s world.

Which leads me to today.  Some of the blog ideas mentioned above I may write in the future, but for now I am glad to at least be writing something.  Sickness and personal discouragement, as well as an onslaught of problems and financial issues have been my reality these last few months.  Actually, a surprising topic fueled my desire to write and inspired this blog post:  Winnie the Pooh, the classic children’s book and show.  While I am a kid at heart, this inspiration is likely tied to the time that I perused my local library at Christmas time searching for all my favorite Christmas movies.  My favorites were all checked out : “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” (animated version), “Rudolph” (I love the island of misfit toys, Rudolph is cute, and it’s important to find your identity and to not be afraid to be different), and “Mickey’s Christmas Carol”.  So, my confession is that I ended up renting “Winnie the Pooh: a Very Merry Pooh Year.”  Please don’t judge me.  Yes, I realize that I may secretly be five-years-old.  Sometimes that idea seems far better than being an adult, in my opinion (re: kids get to play and adults pay bills and deal with car repairs).

A Very Merry Pooh Year

A Very Merry Pooh Year (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why am I writing about Christmas movies in February, you ask?  The peak time for  Christmas related blog posts are over, you say?  Perhaps, but I am leading up to my inspiration.  There is no time limit on inspiration.  My inspiration is the positivity of Pooh.   My mind keeps wandering to three of the primary characters in the Winnie the Pooh books and movies:  Winnie the Pooh, Eeyore, and Tigger.  I think most people fall into the personality types that these three main characters represent.

1. Pooh– He is very loyal and stable.  He is the glue that holds things together, a leader, and he has many friends.  Sometimes he can have laser sharp focus (a.k.a. “where is my honey”?), but he is one of the best friends that you can ask for.  His disposition is sunny and positive.  Pooh is who I want to be and who I am most of the time, (although I also have a fondness for Tigger), but sometimes life’s hardships and disappointments can bring out my Eeyore side.

2. Eeyore- He is sad and discouraged.  He sees life in black or shades of gray.  The glass is ALWAYS half-empty for Eeyore.  “Woe is me” could be his motto.  This type of person can take a toll on others that they are around because they are constantly being negative and wallowing in the mud, so to speak. This can be emotonally tiring for their friends and family, and may feeling draining and like a deficit in the relationship. Often Eeyore people are creative souls who are talented with art, theatre, or writing. They can struggle with depression or discouragement, and the darkness and pain of life can be challenging for them to deal with in a positive way.

3. Tigger– He is bouncy and fun!  Tigger loves life and life is full of possibility.  He is the epitome of sunshine and joy.  He is so full of energy that he bounces literally.  People like Tigger are full of vigor, but at times can seem easily distracted or intensely focused.  A Tigger person is very fun to be around.  However, Tigger people can move fast literally, but others who want to walk beside them may find themselves being left behind. Tigger people can also have ideas that are progressive and forward-thnking. While I have elements of Tigger in my personality, and certain friends and activities bring out Tigger’s vitality and the Tigger side of me, I am more like Winnie the Pooh overall.

Which Pooh character are you most like?  Feel free to add your thoughts!  Feedback is appreciated with my unofficial Pooh personality profile.

Also, if you like personality profiles, here is a really FUN synopsis of Dr. Gary Smalley’s and Dr. John Trent’s animal personality profile (Lion-Otter-Golden Retriever-Beaver). My friend Melissa who is in the counseling and ministry field first told me about this personality profile assessment last fall, and it has been enlightening for me personally and with my friendships. Check it out!
http://weirdblog.wordpress.com/2007/02/22/personality-types-lion-beaver-otter-and-golden-retriever/

Here is a second link that is a great in-depth blog about the golden retriever personality type:
http://charactertherapist.blogspot.com/2010/01/t3-golden-retrieverphlegmatic.html

The Tigger Movie, a film based on the Disney a...

The Tigger Movie, a film based on the Disney adaptation of Tigger. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Disney's adaptation of Stephen Slesinger, Inc....

Cover of Winnie the Pooh and Friends