I’m OK. You’re OK. But not as OK as me.

Due to the number of people I interact with on a day-to-day basis, the following topic has been on my mind very frequently: I don’t like most people.

Now, before you get all riled up about what a sad and lonely person I must be, let me set the record straight: I have many good friends, people I care about and enjoy spending time with, and who I think feel the same way about me. My social calendar is just fine, and my life is not devoid of love or meaning.

That being said, I don’t really like most people I come into contact with each day. I don’t dislike them, but I don’t particularly like them, either. I can’t imagine hanging out with them, or wanting to be their friend on Facebook, or really even sustaining a mildly interesting conversation with them. I honestly would rather avoid them altogether. Maybe I have prudent and discriminating taste in friends. Or maybe I’m an ass.

A few days ago, though, I had an epiphany. There must be people who feel the same way about me! “WHAT!?!,” I thought to myself, “How could anyone not like me?”

It is true, though. I probably interact with several people each day who don’t really care for me. Not because I’m a bad person (I’m not), or because I stink (I have excellent hygiene, thank you), or because I’m obnoxiously loud (I’m actually rather soft-spoken). It’s just because we have wildly dissimilar interests, beliefs, senses of humor, world outlooks, choice of books, clothing styles, or whatever. It could be ANYTHING! Or nothing! When I meet someone I don’t like, I have to remind myself that they very well may not like me either, and there’s very little I can do about it. Sure, I can be polite and attentive, but good manners don’t instantly forge a bond of friendship. All I can do is try my best to get through the encounter with grace and professionalism, and not get upset that we’re not BFFs or that his/her voice grates on my last nerve. It’ll be over soon and I can go home to the one who truly understands me and never annoys me — my dog.

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5 reasons to bring your own bags to the grocery store

1. You won’t have to add to the giant wad of plastic bags you already have.

2. Love your planet! You won’t be adding waste to the landfill, or pouring more money into the oil industry — it take petroleum to manufacture plastic and to power the trucks that deliver the bags!

3. You just look like a really cool, eco-friendly granola girl/guy, which is very attractive to people you want to find you attractive. Green is the new black.

4. Bring a non-wafer-thin-plastic bag and you’re less likely to have rips and tears that allow your groceries to escape and run rampant around your car at every turn.

5. Some of those reusable bags you buy at the store, or canvas bags, have long handles. If you shop at Harris Teeter, you can sling those handles over your shoulder, leaving you two hands free to enjoy the complimentary sugar cookies. Mmm, sugar cookies….

Using, without being, a technological tool.

Without a doubt, technological fluency can boost your credentials and desirablility in the job market. Employers are increasingly looking for people with computer skills, whether they be word processing, programing, spreadsheet/database creation, graphic design, or the myriad of other technological subdivisions in which one can specialize.

However, in the absence of a little attention and plain ol’ common sense, your use of technology can quickly turn around and bite you in the ass.

For example, say you’re in the market for a job, and you’ve just sent out resumes to several enticing prospects. Unfortunately, the day you left your phone at home was the day several potential employers chose to call you, requesting an interview. Luckily, they left messages. Unluckily, rather than hearing a tasteful greeting on your voicemail, their first impression of you was one of the following:

  • “WAZZZUUUUUUUUP!” followed by ten seconds of silence before the beep.
  • Your roommate accompanying you on guitar while you sing your rendition of “Hey hey, we’re the Monkees” with the new lyrics of “We’re spanking our monkeys.”
  • A belch.
  • A ring-back tone, most likely a rapper asking where his bitches be.

Looks like you might have to keep donating plasma to make rent.

Ok, a few weeks later you’ve grown-up-ized your voicemail greeting and sent out a fresh batch of resumes. Somewhere, a hiring manager is looking it over, and thinking to him/herself, “This looks like a promising candidate. I’ll send off an email to see if they can come interview next week.” Their eyes travel up the page to the letterhead, seeking your email address, and they see….. jagerbomb69@email.com.

Email addresses are free, in case you were wondering. There is no excuse to give out a vulgar, immature, or otherwise inappropriate email address to potential employers or collegues. You can keep your funny email address to use with friends, but swing by Gmail and pick out something more mature or professional to use on job applications. Your name, or first initial and last name, or last name plus a number, or something similar makes a professional and easy-to-remember email address. With many email providers, you can even get the mail from all your addresses delivered to one inbox, so you don’t forget to check one of them.

Little details like these can be the difference between looking like a candidate for supervisor, and looking like you need adult supervision.

Pet Ownership

There are few things that can add as much fun and joy to your life as a pet. But pet ownership comes with a lot of responsibility, too. When you bring an animal home, you’re making a commitment to provide for all of the physical, mental, and emotional needs of another living creature. This is not something to be entered into lightly.

First of all, you need to assess your lifestyle to determine what type of pet is best for you. If you’re rarely at home, work very long shifts, or never have time to go for a walk, a dog is probably not the pet for you. You’ll probably be better off with a cat, or perhaps some nice fish. I’m not saying these animals don’t need quality time, too. But if you have to work late, they can poop inside without it being a crisis.

On the other hand, if you really enjoy the outdoors, go for hikes on the weekend, swim in the lake, take a walk every day after dinner (or plan to start doing these things), a dog might make a great companion. (Our dog is a little guy, but as you can see in the video below, he has a ton of energy. He needs a long walk or run in the park every day to prevent wall-climbing craziness. He’s great to take on hikes, though!) Just know that when you get a new puppy, they rarely come housebroken. It might be a good idea to make sure your schedule the first week or so allows you to either work from home, or return home periodically to let the little one outside.

Once you’ve decided on a species, its good to think about personality. If you want a dog, but aren’t a really active type of person, you probably need a laid back, dare I say lazy, dog. A high-energy dog that isn’t given an outlet for that energy (ie. exercise) will have to get it out some other way, usually in the form of chewing, barking, or other behaviors that can disrupt your household. If you want an exercise buddy to run, swim, or hike with you, though, you’ll want to look for a pooch with some pep. Visit your local animal shelter or Humane Society, volunteer to walk some dogs, and you’ll get to know which personality suits your own.

Make sure your sound is on to watch the video!

The next rule for pet ownership is: BE PREPARED! Do your homework on your pet. Go to the library and check out a big stack of books on puppy training, cats, gerbils, lizards, or whatever furry/scaly being you’re adding to your family. Then read the books, talk to other pet owners, find some websites with recommendations. Know what you’ll need to have the first day you bring your pet home. Know how to house-train them, decide if you want to crate-train, find out when to get which shots. Does your city or county require your dog to have a license? What food is best? If you’re away all day, does your new puppy have access to the outdoors through a pet door or a friend stopping by?

My final rule for being a good pet owner is: have fun! Spend time w/ your new little buddy, and not just by lavishing hugs and treats on them. Dogs especially have fun walking or running with you, playing fetch or tug, and even training! We’re training our dog, Arthur, with the Sit Means Sit method, and he LOVES it! (Check out our trainer’s blog.) He enjoys the challenges of learning new things, and is visibly excited when we praise him for doing so well. Plus it gives him an outlet for his seemingly-bottomless supply of energy! Cats will have fun playing with balls or catnip toys, or dangle-from-a-stick toys. You can even train your fish to do tricks!

Ultimately, having a pet is a privilage, not a right. We are privilaged to get to live, work, and play with these wonderful animals, each with their own unique personality. They give us love, devotion, and a warm cuddle (except for the fish, hopefully), and in return we have a responsibility to provide them with exercise, discipline, and affection (to quote Cesar Milan), and a balanced life.

Please share your stories or comments of your relationship with your pet(s)!

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Breakfast on-the-go, No.1

You’ve gotta eat something… it might as well be good! Living on a budget, you quickly learn that it just isn’t feasible to eat out three times a day, but there isn’t always time to cook a full meal, if you can cook at all! While your cooking skills may range anywhere from “master chef” to “barely able to make ice,” everyone needs basic recipes and cooking tips, especially now that you’re out in the real world, and your time is becoming more and more precious.

My rough attempts at food photography — I’m a musician, not a photographer!

Let’s start with breakfast. It really is the most important meal of the day, because it sets the tone for the day. Sure, you can just have a diet Coke and some cookies, or skip it altogether, but are you really functioning at your best after that sort of meal? Personally, cramming in a bunch of sugar just leads to a crash later on, turning yours truly into a raging bitch. I’ve found that the best way to make sure I get a decent breakfast is to prepare something on Sunday that will last me through the week, like a quiche. Then just pop a slice in the toaster oven and go! Here is my recipe, which is easily customized to suite your tastes. Just add what you like! Have it for breakfast each morning, or make it for brunch on a special occasion!

My quiche here has broccoli, spinach, carrots, lentils, and an Italian blend of cheeses. Yum!

My quiche here has broccoli, spinach, carrots, lentils, and an Italian blend of cheeses. Yum!

Crustless Veggie Quiche

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup baking mix (like Bisquick, but I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup shredded cheese of your choice
  • Lots of veggies (broccoli, zucchini, onion, carrot, tomato, sweet potato, etc), chopped to bite-sized pieces
  • Herbs or spices to taste (garlic powder, basil, ground black pepper are good ones.

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Spray a 9″ pie plate with cooking oil.
2. Pile vegetables into pie plate, until it is about 3/4 full. Top with the cheese.
3. Combine eggs, baking mix, milk, and spices in a blender or food processor. Blend on high for about 15 seconds, or until well-mixed and a little frothy. Gently pour over veggie and cheese mixture.
4. Bake for about 25 minutes, or until just starting to brown on top.
5. Cool for 5 minutes before serving. Let cool completely before refrigerating.

Crap! I’m a grown-up!

Welcome to my brand-new blog! Thanks for stopping by!

I recently finished graduate school after being in school since… well, since kindergarten, really! I’ve lived on my own since age 19, had plenty of jobs, paid rent and utilities, etc etc. I thought I was an adult. I suppose legally I was. This past year, though, I have found myself floundering around in the so-called “real” world. I am, in fact, finally a grown-up, and an ill-prepared one at that.

It turns out that the college life is nothing like the one after college.

This blog is my attempt to share what I’ve learned with others in a similar situation. I’ll discuss food, finances, pets, relationships, and probably a lot of seemingly random stuff. I have learned so much it makes my brain feel bloated, but I’m made aware every day that I still have a very long way to go. So please, use my tips if you like, share yours with me, and hopefully we’ll all transition into grown-up-hood a little more smoothly and a little more wisely.