A Banjo Fool – #IST646 Final Project

The end is near!

The end of this class that is. Today I finished my FINAL PROJECT!!!

I can honestly say that this project was a labor of love! There were many mishaps, miscommunications, and missed nights of sleep. But it’s as done as it will ever be!

My Final Project is titled “A Banjo Fool.” This story is about how I wanted to surprise my Dad and do something special for him. I decided to learn the banjo. This video is my journey, and mishaps, of learning the banjo.

Enjoy!

(P.S. Make sure to watch all the way till the end! There is a surprise after the credits ūüėÄ )

Things Single People Are Tired Of Hearing

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Or maybe it’s just me who’s tired of hearing these things…

So I am single. I have been single for 2 years now. My last relationship was terrible: he forced me to do things, he would be very rough and harsh with me, he stole my money, and he cheated on me. Due to that experience I have been very hesitant to date again. Ok, I’ll admit it, I’m terrified of dating again. I’m actually really fine with being single. I prefer being alone in all honesty (this is possibly because every relationship I’ve been in has ended very badly).
I have the wonderful blessing (and I mean it truthfully as a blessing) of seeing most of my close friends get engaged, get married, and be in a happy and healthy relationship with their spouse (this is not sarcasm, I really am happy for my friends). But after awhile, it can be very daunting to see that out of all your friends, you and a few others, are the only ones still single. I think something must click in a married friends brain – I’m not entirely sure as I have never been married. Said friend suddenly feels the need to help their single friends become as happy as they are in their married relationship. Because clearly being single is the same thing as being depressed and unhappy.
I can guarantee you that being single DOES NOT equal unhappiness. I am honestly happier now than I have ever been in any relationship I’ve ever had.
Now I really do love my friends and family and appreciate their thoughtfulness when they constantly want to set me up, ask me what’s wrong, tell me to date again – it means that they love me and care about me. But seriously guys, stop. No really, stop. STOP. Just stop. I’m fine. Completely and totally fine.

Please stop doing or saying these things:

Comparing your “relationship problems” to my “single problems” – YES I know that couples have a plethora of problems because they have to coexist with one another on a daily basis. BUT that does not mean that your problems are worse than mine. You need to stop diminishing every single persons problems like they are miniscule to yours. That’s not how the world works. Everyone is equally screwed up and has an equal amount of problems.

“You don’t know pain till you’ve had your heart broken by someone.” – Ummmmm… I have had my heart broken. Twice. And it sucked. Just because I’m single doesn’t mean I’ve NEVER been in a relationship. And even if someone single HAS NEVER been in a dating relationship that doesn’t mean that they’ve never had their heart broken. A person’s heart can break over any relationship, person, circumstance, etc… It is NOT solely based on whether they have had boyfriend or girlfriend.

“Your sister is going to get married before you.” – I am aware of this. You don’t need to remind me. She is smarter, funnier, prettier, skinnier and much much MUCH nicer than I am.

“Make sure you find someone in college, it’s almost impossible to find someone after you graduate.” – Bull crap. This is utter and complete bull crap. College is not the only way to find someone to marry (You will hear this constantly if you go to a religious college). There are THOUSANDS of ways to meet people outside of school. Here a just a few: through your friends, church, community, work, volunteering, parties, parks, restaurants, just walking up to strangers and saying HI…

Please stop assuming that I don’t want to be single. – I currently like being single. Now I can’t speak for everyone, but I like being alone right now. My last few relationships were crap and I don’t feel like diving in again.

“Just be patient the right person will come along.” – Oh good thinking, I almost rushed out and married the first person I saw. Thank goodness you told me to be patient.

Married people, please stop saying you wish you were single. – If you wish you were single, then don’t complain about it, be single. There is this fun little invention called divorce that 50% of married couples do. If you hate your marriage so much then get a divorce, if you don’t then stop complaining about it and do something.

“What is wrong with you?” – A lot of things, just ask my mother.

“Don’t you want to get married?” – I don’t know ok!!!! Maybe!!! It’s not a HUGE priority right now. I really want to wear a fancy dress and have a party all about me. So basically I just want a wedding…

“I don’t get why you are still single, you are smart/good looking/funny/employed/etc..” – I know, I’m shocked too. Men should be flocking to me from all the world. I’m such a catch.

“There are plenty of fish in the sea!” – That’s great, except I don’t want a fish I want a man. This is a stupid saying and I’d love to smack whoever invented it.

“Have you tried internet dating?” – Yes and it was a terrible experience. I know so many people have success stories from it, but lets be real here folks… It’s creepy. I went on a lot of creepy dates last summer from online dating (Christian Mingle) and I met some very creepy, odd, clingy, scary people.

“It’ll happen when you least expect it.” – I’m consistently unobservant of my surroundings, so I actually believe this one. It’s just annoying to hear constantly because than you are trying not to expect the unexpected and that makes the unexpected expected.

“Don’t you ever get lonely?” – Yes. I suffer from crippling loneliness at times. But that is why I have friends.

“Aren’t you worried that you won’t be able to have kids?” – No. I’m not even sure I want kids. If I end up having a desperate need for children, I can adopt as a single parent.

“You’re just too picky!” – I’d rather be alone and too picky, then to settle and end up with a psychopath.

“You’re gonna end up as a crazy cat lady!” – Nope, I don’t like cats that much. I’ll be the fun old dog lady.

“It’s the bouquet toss, you better get out there!” – This happens to me literally, and I mean LITERALLY, at every wedding I go to or I am in. EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. And I’ve never caught the bouquet. It is brutal out there during a bouquet toss. And then what happens if I do catch it? Besides possibly being tackled by one of the bridesmaids… Does some mystical wedding magic descend down onto me and make it so that I SHALL BE MARRIED NEXT. Are all available men then notified that I HAVE to be married next and that it is their duty to find me, woo me, and marry me?

“I have someone I’d like you to meet!” – Suuuuure ya do. I’m sure they’re great too. Here’s a rule of thumb for this one, if you yourself wouldn’t date them and marry them, then don’t set your friend up with them.

“You’re not trying hard enough.” – You’re probably right on this one. I’m notoriously lazy when it comes to seeking out potential partners. Totally not a go getter.

“I’M ENGAGED!!!!!!!” – Great. I’m so excited. Can’t wait. What color dress should I wear?

Christmas

Those reindeer eyes are kind of terrifying.

Those reindeer eyes are kind of terrifying.

Let’s talk about Christmas since I skipped blogging about it.

Christmas in my family is always 50/50. You never really know what you’re going to get. And I’m not just talking presents. You would think that with all this good cheer, and present giving, and whatnot that everyone would be happy. That is not the case. Lets be honest, that is never really the case.

Now I have 3 Christmases. 1 with my Mom’s side of the family the Saturday before Christmas, 1 with my family Christmas morning, and 1 with my Dad’s side of the family Christmas afternoon. I used to have 5 Christmases at one point and that was just overwhelming. There is such a thing as too much family time.

I’ll start with the 1st Christmas celebration with my Mom’s side of the family (I had to work on the day of it this year so I missed a bit of it but it was still quite eventful). We all meet at my Aunt S and Uncle A’s house. It is usually EXTREMELY hot in the house because of their fireplace. I always end up sitting in front of it somehow. I sweat for the entire day basically. We have¬†big “linner” meal (lunch/dinner) and then we play some games, eat dessert, and then open presents. Now it is tradition that between dinner and dessert that my Uncle A and Uncle P get mostly drunk. It’s tradition and at their age now it’s just plain old adorable. My Uncle P gets very giggly. My Aunts and my Mom and my Cousin make a TON of amazing food that is wonderful. My Aunt T makes the best mashed potatoes ever. Do not argue with me. They are the best. There is so much butter in them that at any point there is a real risk of heart failure, but it’s worth it. Present time has gotten shorter each year, since now we basically all just get each other money and gift cards. We don’t like to mince around with lists and what not. It’s just “Here’s some cash. Have fun with it. I love you. Merry Christmas.” And I am fine with that. My 2nd cousins (all boys) will watch TV or play video games. Well they used to. Now they are older and they make me feel much older. One of my 2nd cousins even brought his girlfriend this year. Nothing makes you feel old and alone than your 2nd cousin who is almost half your age bringing a date to Christmas while you play with the dog. There is always, as I like to call it, a “highlight” of the day. Usually it’s something one of my Uncles does whilst tipsy (like the one year they did shots of jalapeno juice) but this year it was my new 2nd cousin. He is just a few months old and is the cutest baby on earth! It was my delight to basically ignore my entire family and just play with him.

My 2nd Christmas celebration is my family Christmas. Every year it starts later and later in the day. We used to have everything unwrapped by 7am. This year most of us didn’t even come downstairs till 9am. We have the same schedule for every year though, we turn “A Christmas Story” on in the background (since it plays for 24 FREAKIN HOURS STRAIGHT), my sister and I open our stockings first. My Mother will wrap every single individual present in the stocking. Mine always has candy in the bottom, my sister (the vegetarian) gets healthy stuff at the bottom (probably grain or seeds or something else equally distasteful to me). My parents will then open their stockings to each other. They are usually FULL of candy. Christmas is a big candy holiday in our house (honestly every holiday is big on candy… we just really like candy). The pets will then open their presents. Yes we are those people. We get our pets several presents and wrap them (I only buy for the dog though, I have no interest in spending my money on the devil cat). Then my mom passes presents out to everyone and we all kind of take turns unwrapping and watching each other unwrap. I don’t know if other families do this, I don’t even know if my family realizes that they do this, but I noticed it this year – after¬†anything we unwrap, any present, stocking stuffer, anything – we will say thank you. Thank you to whomever bought it for us. Every. Single. Present. My sister and I must say ‘thank you’ to our parents at least 50 times during the unwrapping process (I guess we are just super polite people). After all the unwrapping, the paper is thrown away, presents are placed in rooms, I will gorge myself on Reeses Peanut Butter Christmas Trees while everyone else actually eats breakfast food. Then we start making food to take over to my Grandparents house.

My 3rd Christmas is with my Dad’s side of the family at my Grandparents house. The 1st tradition is that my family is always late. We live the closest to my Grandparents and every year we are late. And because we are late, the lunch is never on time (I assume most of the Harvey side of the family resents us for that, though they’ve never vocalized it). Whilst my Aunts and Mother finish preparing the food (and¬†trying to make my Grandma get out of the kitchen)¬†my cousins and I (we are all girls on this side of the family) set the table, pour the water, and put the food out. We all sit down and have a lovely meal, just kidding, it never works out that way. As stated before in my Thanksgiving post, family dinners on the Harvey side of the family consist of a copious dodge and weave of words, stories, questions, and insults. We cousins usually stick together, unless we need to attack our siblings. Someone always comments on which of us is¬†dating or aren’t. My Uncle¬†D usually says something inappropriate¬†without even realizing what he’s saying, my Uncle B will be condescending about something, my Grandma will spill something on herself, my Grandpa will spill something on the table, and someone will make a mean¬†joke about how my Grandpa and Aunt P’s hands shake a lot (I’ll be honest, it’s usually me). Many of the traditions stated in the Thanksgiving post carry on at Christmas. ¬†After dinner we all just kind of sit around. Sometimes we have to wait for other relatives who didn’t come for dinner and just came for desserts and presents (lets be honest, dessert and presents are the best part… of family togetherness of course). Some years we eat dessert first, other years we open presents first. Honestly, it all just really depends on how full we all are. Sad but true. This year I got to be “Santa” – basically the person in charge of passing out presents- I have a system I adhere to. One present, per person, per round. That way there is a nice spread, everyone starts and finishes at the same time, and we all can watch with joy. Basically it’s the perfect system and I should be “Santa” every year. After presents there is lots of sitting, card game playing, watching TV, and napping.

After a few hours my family heads back home. We usually watch a movie, nap some more, watch “A Christmas Story” for the 100th time that day, and eat candy (ok, so just I eat candy).

And then I go back to work the next day.

Merry Late Christmas guys!

It's a Christmas Moose.

It’s a Christmas Moose.

Something Great For Me

I am feeling discouraged.

I feel like there is something great out there for me and I’m missing out. I don’t know how to get to it, where it is, or what it is. But I want it. I need it to happen to me.

Well, don’t I sound selfish… I’m not saying I think society/the universe/God owes me anything. They don’t. I know that I am among the most undeserving people on this planet scrounging around for a blessing or something great.

But it would be really nice if it happened to me.

I’m 24. I’m single. I was salutatorian in high school. I graduated with a 4 year degree from an academically challenging college with an above average GPA. I am a hard worker. I am nice. I am funny. I am loyal. I am dramatic. I love helping people. I am willing to work, to move, to learn new things, to be out of my comfort zone.

So why am I alone. With a semi-ok part time job. Living with my parents. With no social life to speak of. In the middle of no where.

Why have none of the Library Directors, from the 20+ jobs I applied to in NYC, responded to me? Why can’t I move out? Why do most of my friends ignore me on a daily basis? Why has one of my best friends in the whole world started treating me like trash? Why is it that when your college friends get married they forget you exist? Why does my mother put so much freakin pressure on me about not being married? Why do I have such a fragile relationship with my parents? Why do my sister and I only get along when we are not in the same city?

Why am I unhappy?

Why do I feel like there is more out there for me, right at my fingertips, and I keep missing it?

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I know so many people have it worse. I know these are construed as ‘first world problems’ or ‘whining’ or ‘being selfish’ – but may I remind you, I’m just listing the questions I have right now. You have no idea about anything in my life. You don’t know how I was raised, my childhood, or any of the awful things I’ve experienced. So you can stop judging me now.

I almost feel like I’m disappointed in myself. Like I could have done so much better. I look back and I see the mistakes I’ve made. And I know I wish I could go back and change all of them but that ends up making me feel more discouraged. Because I can’t fix them. They happened. It’s done. I have to deal with what my life is now.

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I knew who I wanted to be, what I wanted to do, where I wanted to go.

But I’m not that person. I didn’t end up doing what I wanted. And I am definitely not where I wanted to be.

I feel like my future is right at my fingertips. I just have to make a decision and go with it. But I am so terrified that I may make the wrong choice. I have a terrible track record for choices. I usually make ABSOLUTELY TERRIBLE CHOICES. I never listen to advice from my friends and family. And even though I usually plan things out and do pros and cons and what not – I still end up making a spur of the moment decision. I can’t even trust myself to do the right/smart thing anymore. I’ve screwed up too many times.

But my future is right there. Staring me in the face. I can feel it. I just can’t see it. And people put so much pressure on your future. Like it’s the Holy Promised Land that we are all striving to visit before we die.

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But what if we are already in our future? What if this is it? What you are doing right now, where you are, who you are. This is it. This is your future. What if it’s already started? What if you missed out on that Holy Promised Land.

What if I’m stuck like this forever?

I have two choices staring me in the face right now. One is easy and one is terrifying.

I could just move out in February like I planned – right down the street from where I work. And that’s it.

Or I could move to NYC. Completely start over. And be anything I want to be.

What if I can’t make a choice?

What if I make the wrong one?

Bronchitis In Amish Country

As many of you know, I have been sick. I went to see my doctor on Thursday morning and I found out that it wasn’t allergies, or a cold, or even a sinus infection. I have bronchitis.

When I get sick. I get whiny. When I get really sick… I get so whiny that people want to punch me in the face (just ask my best friend, I’m really surprised she hasn’t killed me yet).

Now I had Friday-Sunday off. I should have been able to relax, heal, sleep, feel better, overdose on NyQuil. But no. I had plans.

I went to Amish Country. Lancaster, PA to be exact. With my mother. There was no relaxing. None. Nada. Zilch.

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This would be a good time to point out that I am actually scared of Amish people. I don’t know why. I just am.

Now every year my parents go to Lancaster for their anniversary. Unfortunately, my Dad’s sub at work quit so he has to work 6 days a week and can’t take any days off. Therefore he could not go on this trip. So I got to go on my parents’ anniversary trip with my mother. It’s times like this where I swear my life could be a terrible sitcom. Just terrible.

Mom’s not so good on the driving – so I drove. Mom loves antiquing – we did a lot of antique shopping. Mom loves soft pretzels – well so do I so there wasn’t a problem there. Mom loves primitive crafts – we stopped at 5 stores (on top of the 6 antique places we went to… in just one day). Mom has bad arthritis – I had to carry every single multiple purchase. Mom loves Celine Dion – we listened to a lot of Celine Dion. Mom loves Amish people – we had to wake up at 7am on a Friday to go on an Amish bus tour with elderly people and this random family from Brooklyn with small child that sucked on his seat and licked the window.

Lets not forget though, that I have bronchitis. Lots of coughing, lots of nose blowing, lots of meds, lots of headaches… etc…

My ¬†mother and I don’t always get along. Because we are REALLY similar (which is surprising, since I’ve tried my whole life not to be like my parents). We can fight. And pick on each other. My mother also forgets that I have very modern tastes. So antiquing… Looking at old stuff that people have for sale, that’s dirty, and you don’t know who owned it… Kind of grosses me out.

And why do you have to be quiet in antique shops? When did that become a rule? Just because it’s mostly old ladies and quiet women does not mean that I HAVE TO BE QUIET! I am loud. So I cough loud. And I clear my throat loud. And if I’m made to be antique shopping by my mother, GOSH DARN IT, I will be loud! So don’t look at me funny, or sigh, or glare, or stare, or what not. You old ladies can stuff it! I will be loud in antique shops! Or you can just throw me out!

And why do Amish people ask for tips so much? Yes I know, everything you bake/cook is delicious, and due to your weird belief system you have weird/odd jobs. But if I buy your dang soft pretzel, don’t stare at your tip jar. I’m not gonna put anything in it. If I bought a soft pretzel from a vendor at a baseball game I wouldn’t tip him. You and your soft pretzel making talents are not special to me. I will eat almost any soft pretzel. How dare you try to make me feel guilty about NOT tipping you.

Why do antique shops always have a plethora of horrifyingly creepy dolls that are ALWAYS missing some sort of body part or all of their clothing? Who is going to buy that? What kind of sick freak goes to each antique shop looking for that type of doll? They should be arrested.

Why do all Amish children wave at you when you drive past? I felt like I was in a freakin parade. Stop it. I don’t like strangers and you and your black monotone colored clothes made me sad and uncomfortable and you make me think a lot about how I would live without an iPhone. I don’t like those thoughts. I love my iPhone.

Why do Amish children never wear shoes? Do they have shoes? Don’t their feet get dirty? What if you stepped on a bee!!!!???

Fun times.

I ate a lot of soft pretzels.

I Am Pathetic… and Selfish

So I just wanted to share how pathetic and selfish I am.

As most of you know… I am sick!

Currently I cannot smell or taste anything. And this makes me miserable because I love food… A lot.

So here comes the sad/pathetic/selfish/crazy part:

I had amazing leftover Chinese food in the fridge from Thursday night. And I knew that if I left it in the fridge for one more night that someone else (my dad) was going to eat it. So even though I can’t taste or smell anything… I ate it. I didn’t even enjoy it. But just the thought of someone else (my own father) enjoying it didn’t seem fair to me. So I ate it. And I didn’t taste any of it.

I’m a bad person.

Hey guys, guess what!

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Yeah. I know.

Here are some fun facts about people who live with their parents:

  • Usually between the ages of 18-31
  • 36% of Americans live with their parents
  • People usually live with their parents for the first 5 years after college
  • Most parents do not charge rent
  • Most kids are free loaders – I AM NOT.

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I moved out after I graduated from college. I lived in SC on my own – like an adult! But then some bad stuff happened and it ended up being safer for me to move back home to NY and live with my parents.

I have a full-time job. I clean. I do chores. I do some of the grocery shopping. And I pay my parents rent/bills/student loan money every month! Usually around $300.

And trust me, I have tried to move out. Several times. But every time all my plans/roommates/apartments fall through. And I’m stuck staying at home.

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It will never become a cool thing. But it has become almost the norm. Most of my friends from college (the ones who aren’t married) live with their parents still. And honestly it’s not too bad. My dad doesn’t seem to mind me having around. My mom and I… can get along sometimes. And it’s not like I’m spoiled. I’ve never been spoiled a day in my life.

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So this is how I live my life. I’ve been back at home for almost 1 1/2 years. I’ve tried to move out (again) 4 different times. Here’s hoping try #5 really sticks.