Pinterest Successes

I joined Pinterest about 5 years ago, and it’s not an overstatement to say it’s impacted nearly every area of my life. Recipes, exercise, style, attitude, nearly every program or display I’ve done at the library, every party I’ve planned – you name it, Pinterest has been there for me.

Don’t get me wrong, there’s definitely been some fails along the way, but I wanted to sift through all of the weirdness and the moments of good intentions with zero follow through, and focus on the successes. To start with, I’m just doing a general overview of my favorite things to come out of the site, and then maybe I’ll do a few posts just about cleaning tips or cooking or something, yeah? Cool. Let’s go.

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Home Life

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I can’t remember if I got this from Pinterest or just the Interwebs in general, but if you invite the president to your wedding, you’ll get a letter back congratulating you on your marriage. Same goes for Micky and Minnie!

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After my bridal shower, I wasn’t sure what to do with all the cards. But then I made them into a book! Since then, I’ve also seen these amazing cut-out wall art pieces, too.

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Popsicle stick date night ideas. They’re color coded by expensiveness and level of preparation/involvement (a few hours vs. a weekend away). There are great date ideas here, but you can also find approximately 1,000 more to add in as you see fit. Also, you can usually get colored popsicle sticks at Dollar Tree so you don’t have to worry about painting anything.

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DIY Scratch Tickets for significant others (or just friends, whatever). These are so super cute and fun, and the mix of Dawn + paint + white crayon does actually work perfectly. This is  great printable for Valentine’s day but if you’re even half-way handy with Publisher, you can also make these work for anyone and anything.

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These probably seem like obvious tips, and I guess they are. But this really was one of my first big Pin-spirational moments and really helped me get my linen closet/medicine area together and it’s made a big difference.

Also, once your linen closet is no longer a disaster area, go and buy a large clear glass container and throw a bunch of trial size toiletries in it and you’ll end up with this beautiful bundle to offer your guests:

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Bonus: gives you a reason to buy mini things (which, if you’re like me, is one of the greatest ways you can waste your money).

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And then one day, I read this article about how couponing doesn’t have to suck, and my life changed. Suddenly I’m one of those ladies who gets $30 worth of stuff for $2. What, what!

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Here are my other tips for couponing:

  • Download Favado and then one or two store-specific apps (like CVS)
  • Know that these items can basically always be gotten for free or at a drastically reduced cost: toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, feminine hygiene products, diapers, laundry or dish detergent, and pain relievers
  • Find a coupon database that you like (I love Money Saving Mom even though I feel extremely mid-western matronly by association)
  • Organize your coupons by date, and store them in a way that makes you happy. For me, that is a Lisa Frank folder.
  • Don’t be afraid to wait it out a bit so you can stack up the deals.
  • Try to go at non-peak hours so you’re not *that* person making everyone wait in line forever, please.
  • Be super pleasant to the cashiers, always. In the worst case scenario, you’ve been a good person. In the best case scenario, you’ve been a good person *and* sometimes they’ll let you use an expired coupon or use one early or give you some secret discount you didn’t even know about.

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Dollar Tree gives me life, truly. But there are definitely some things to pass on while there. Here’s a pretty decent guide of What To Buy and What to Avoid at dollar stores.

Arts/Crafts

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Trinket dishes. You could shell out like $20 for one at Urban Outfitters or Anthropologie, or you could get a cheapo plastic animal at the Dollar Tree or Target and some thrifted plates at Savers for maybe $2-3. The choice is yours. I gave a few as gifts, and made mine with a stegosaurus and it holds my pins and bracelets and is basically my new BFF.

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Scrabble coasters. This was one of my first Pinterest crafts, and they were a resounding success. Get the Scrabble tiles at Savers (they’ll likely have many games to choose from), then hot glue the pieces together and adhere it to cut out sheets of cork. Shellac with modpodge and enjoy!

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White on white DIY wall art. Wooden letters super glued (or hot glued, your choice) onto white canvas and then coat them with white spray paint. These phrases were a little twee for me, so we went with “As You Wish” from the Princess Bride instead.

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Apples (and/or lemons or berries – I even used potatoes to make watermelon shapes) acrylic paint, a few cheap paintbrushes and a few cheap canvas bags off Amazon. I use mine every week for grocery shopping, and they make me happy every time I look at them.

And finally, I highly suggest you keep a wardrobe inspiration board, and a board for quotes, and a board for things you want but don’t need.

  • Wear Me Out has literally been a turning point in my life in terms of cultivating outfits I love and feel good in, as well as avoiding expensive impulse buys.
  • Words, Words, Words one has given me loads of inspiration, reassurance, and chances to reflect.
  • I Want Something That I Want is great for anytime someone asks what you want for your birthday or Christmas, or if you simply want to Treat Yo Self.

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A Review of My Teen Years, Through the Lens of Livejournal

From January 2004 and August 2009, I wrote nearly 600 entries between two primary Livejournal accounts, and basically every single one can be reduced to just the following:

“I have nothing to say, but I’m gonna write something anyway [because it took me so long to log on with dial up that I might as well take advantage]. Today, I ate a lot of food – specifically, [this food.] I am also not-so-humble-bragging about how well I’m doing on every test and in every class ever, but I AM STILL SO STRESSED about failing. I’m angry with my mother, and I love [random boy of the day/week]. I am pretending to be an airhead because I think it will make more people like me, even though in the same entry I am quoting a poem by T.E. Lawrence. Endless “*hehehehehehehe*s.”
Currently listening to: Any number of terrible pop-“folk”/pop-“punk”/pop-“alt” songs.

Mood: Quixotic, even though I never knew what it meant.

However, here are some clutch quotes, moments, or observations:
  • I once used the phrase “will just die” if this happens, unironically
  • I got a 97 on my first midterm exam sophomore year of high school, which was in World Geography, but then immediately professed to not knowing where Iraq or Iran were. Lol?

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  • I had a weird crush on my biology teacher that lasted for WAY too long
  • I apparently had a crush on a guy named Henry? I don’t even remember ever knowing anyone named Henry. And who the hell was this guy Tom I was so stoked to be sitting with during Astronomy? Apparently I was really psyched to be going to some guy named Andy’s birthday party, but the only Andy’s I remember now are ones who would have  *never* invited me to their birthday party…
  • Ah, sweet memories of having Driver’s Ed with a dude I had a crush on at the time and would eventually have a mediocre one night stand with, 11 years later.
  • I was arguably equally obsessed with two boys named Jesse whom I had very different relationships with (one I thought of as the Dawson to my Joey, and the other I thought of as my very own Jared Leto brought down to play in my high school’s screamo band) and often shared stories about them without specifying which one, which is very confusing upon re-reading.
  • In hindsight, it is not nearly as surprising that I ended up dating the boy I did senior year cause I can see now that we clearly liked each other for months leading up to it, even though at the time I was oblivious.
  • I had a very definite crush on a dude who’s brother I ended up hooking up with later. Whoops. Forgot about that. Tacky.
  • Who the hell is “this Russian named Igor” I knew in college, and why was I going out with him?
  • Aw. Sad emo Emily “hasn’t got a heart to break.”
  • Crushing on Jon Stewart since 04, baby!

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  • It’s like I didn’t know that people were reading this thing, for all the trash talk (both casual and crazily intense) I threw out on it.
  • Reading about some of my encounters with friends, crushes, etc. is like an out of body experience because I genuinely have NO memory of ever doing like half of them, and the other half then suddenly all come flooding back in to drown me in shame
  • I literally started incorporating the phrase “so fetch” into my regular vocabulary the same day I saw Mean Girls in theaters
  • I do not ever remember being the type of girl to write “I am so sick of the drama!!” or “No one’s even gonna comment on this so who cares” which is the equivalent of kids posting an Instagram pic now with the caption “Deleting later,” which annoys me. You’re just fishing for compliments, child, and that’s not cute.
  • I ONCE CRIED IN THE CAFETERIA?? Oh, sorry, make that at least two crying-in-public jags. Wow. And I thought I had avoided those til college!
  • God was once #1 on my list of “What I couldn’t live without.”
  • I was equally excited to receive Ravi Shankar’s Three Ragas for Christmas as I was to receive Time Well Wasted by Brad Paisley, and Eminem’s Greatest Hits…
  • I was already anti Creed by 2004, thankfully, which is still too late in the game by many people’s standards but you do not understand how much I loved Scott Stapp back in the day. And I don’t understand it either. So this was a big accomplishment.
  • I at one point listed Kanye West as my favorite rapper. Ew.
Good Lord, teenage Emily. Take so many chill pills, PLEASE, because you are a manic mess. Take some deep breaths and know that the golden era of wireless internet and smart phones is coming, and soon your life will be filled with videos of baby animals, and a whole world of Nutella based breakfast recipes will be open to you, and you’ll be able to watch all cycles of America’s Next Top Model on your phone while sitting on the toilet.
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Don’t be so judgmental about people’s habits and appearance, but do be more discerning in who you choose to be friends with. You’re going to get very lucky in terms of meeting amazing people who will become lifelong friends but shouldn’t let that make you lazy in terms of honing your character assessment skills. You are smarter than you think but also way dumber and immature, too. College will be 90% awful but you’ll get through it. Know that a) many of the guys you liked in high school actually did like you back already, or would have if you’d just had any confidence in yourself at all, and b) mostly they were not worth liking in the first place. Open your damn eyes. Also please stop hooking up with your guy friends; it’s literally never a good idea. Everything prior to October 2007 was just practice for the real thing, and you shouldn’t judge those boys too harshly for not knowing how to handle your crazy (but also you shouldn’t let them walk all over your feelings either). You will have a first great love and it will eventually end, you’ll have a bad love that lasts for too long but ends with you figuring out how to start actually loving yourself, and then you will meet the love of your life shortly after that because you’ll finally be ready to appreciate him. Stop being a competitive biotch with other girls over things that don’t matter and just embrace feminism ASAP, please, because other women are cool and you’re going to have a life full of wonderful, inspiring, radical women to remind you of that fact every day, and because all the dudes in your life will benefit from feminism, too.
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Every major thing you’re going to do, you should do, even the “bad” stuff; I wouldn’t have you change a thing because it’s going to help get you to a better place even if it feels like a mistake at the time or looks like one in hindsight. It can be a mistake but still be a good one to have made because that’s how you learn. Except for over plucking your eyebrows – you really shouldn’t have done that. You should, however, stop saying (or specifically, writing) everything that comes into your head because you’re a mean little thing sometimes and that’s not a good look, nor is it helpful to anyone. The Internet will be full of people spouting every opinion they’ve ever had; you don’t need to be one of them.
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It will all get worse before it gets better, but it will get better. Friday will come, the semester will end, you’ll lose the weight but more importantly you’ll learn to accept your body and face the way they are when taken care of properly, you’ll have a career that fulfills you, and a husband who loves you, and cats that use you as a body heat and food dispenser. Just have your fun, don’t drive stoned, and wait.
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Two-Thousand and Sixteen – and Beyond

So, since there’s only a few more hours left until 2016 begins, I decided to whip up a quick retrospective on the past year, including some of my favorite pieces of literature and entertainment. If you’re interested, scroll on! If you’re not interested, then I’m not even sure how you ended up on this post in the first place.

2015 lessons and discoveries

  • Don’t follow unnecessary trends and just dress in a way that feels equal parts authentic and comfortable and fun; accept the fact that you can love how someone else looks and not have it either work for your particular face or body, or maybe you just don’t have the time/interest/energy/inclination to replicate it (ie: all those damned beautiful hair styles I see on all y’all and will never actually do myself).
  • I’m truly horrible at remembering names and need to work on it
  • Social anxiety is a totally real and potentially totally crippling thing, and is also something I need to take care of
  • My political views align more with Bernie than Hillary; if you aren’t sure who you’re voting for, check out this quiz, but then make sure to do your own reading and research and stay current after that; people and things can change rapidly and drastically)
  • I know many, many more racist (or at least racially insensitive) people than I expected – same for people who don’t fully grasp the concept of gender equality, the direct impact of lax gun laws on gun violence, and the problematic distribution of wealth and lack of decent healthcare in the US.
  • I have been exceptionally blessed with remarkable and strong women mentors and male friends
  • The second year of marriage is better than the first ❤

2015 favorite shows (that I watched this year, obviously not only those that came out this year)

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  • Hart of Dixie
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
  • The West Wing
  • Garfunkel and Oates
  • Friday Night Lights
  • A Young Doctor’s Notebook
  • Psych
  • Comedy Bang Bang
  • Scream Queens

2015 favorite books (mostly grouped together in the categories of Memoirs, Young Adult, Non Fiction, and Thrillers/Mysteries):

  1. One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories, by B.J. Novak
  2. Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things, by Jenny Lawson
  3. Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny, by Holly Madison
  4. Why Not Me?, by Mindy Kaling
  5. Neil Patrick Harris: Choose Your Own Autobiography, by Neil Patrick Harris
  6. My Life in France, by Julia Child, Alex Prud’Homme
  7. Yes Please, by Amy Poehler
  8. Girl Last Seen, by Heather Anastasiu and Anne Greenwood Brown
  9. Complicit, by Stephanie Kuehn
  10. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before (To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, #1), by Jenny Han
  11. Free for All: Oddballs, Geeks, and Gangstas in the Public Library, by Don Borcher
  12. The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, by Michael Pollan
  13. The Things They Carried, by Tim O’Brien
  14. Selfish, Shallow, and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on The Decision Not To Have Kids, by Meghan Daum (Editor)
  15. Sharp Objects, by Gillian Flynn
  16. Before I Go to Sleep, by S.J. Watson
  17. Room, by Emma Donoghue
  18. The Girl on the Train, by Paula Hawkins
  19. The Cuckoo’s Calling (Cormoran Strike #1), by Robert Galbraith (Pseudonym for J.K. Rowling)

And of course, I couldn’t call myself a real millennial with a blog if I didn’t also share my requisite list of my goals for the upcoming new year (and well beyond it, in some cases, cause ain’t nobody got time to go to Disney World AND wine country and buy a home and play laser tag all in one year! At least, not me!). So here they are! What are yours?

  • Go hiking and camping
  • Take a cooking class
  • Take dancing lessons
  • Attend a paint night
  • Visit wine country
  • Finally visit to Disney World
  • Go white water rafting
  • Play laser tag
  • Play paint ball – if you are part of a team and have room for two more, or if you would like to create a team with Joseph and me, please let me know because there’s this amazing looking adventure park in Mystic but their minimum is 8 people in a group.
  • Zip line (either at Fields of Fire listed above, and/or someplace more exotic)
  • Visit a gun range
  • Attend a talk show (preferably Stephen Colbert’s Late Show, but the Daily Show would also be rad, or Ellen if we were out that way)
  • Become an extra in a TV show or movie at least once
  • Participate in a themed half-marathon (zombies and/or mud, or the Color Run? If you have any recommendations, holler!)
  • Go to the Newport Folk Festival (if you’re going, too, let me know!)
  • Learn more about home ownership and continue down that path
  • Buy locally as frequently as we can afford
  • Volunteer more of my time and donate more to charity

Happy New Year to all y’all, biotches!

GSLIS WTF GTFO: Courses They Should Actually Offer in Library School

Unbelievably, I’m fast approaching my one-year anniversary of working at Mt. Pleasant Library and I love it here, but every single day I am reminded multiple times a day of just how little graduate school prepared me for literally anything I do as a librarian. And considering the fact that pursuing my MLS (is it even an MLS? Is it an MLIS? I don’t even know) took two years and a boatload of money, that’s a damn shame.

Fortunately, there are a bunch of amazing blogs and boards out there to help supplement and subdue the shock of entering a profession very in debt and very unprepared (like Achieve Every Goal Always Forever in Three Easy Steps and Letters to a Young Librarian).

However, I am not yet at the point where I can provide such wisdom. Someday, maybe! But for now, I can mostly just provide sarcasm. So if I were to become the new head of URI’s GSLIS program, these are the courses I would want to be offered.

Actual Reading Interests of Children I: Legos, Princesses, Spongebob, and Pokemon

Actual Reading Interests of Children II: Just Buy Every Single Diary of a Wimpy Kid Read-Alike You Can Find

Actual Reading Interests of Young Adults I: Angst, Angst, Distopian Angst.

Actual Reading Interests of Young Adults II: No, the Fault In Our Stars is Checked Out and There Is a 2 Month Waiting List for It and Everything Else Written By John Green, But Here Are Some Similar Titles You Might Enjoy Instead.

Reader’s Advisory Skills 101:

Excerpts from course *
Scenario 1
Librarian: “Do you like to read?”
Kid: “Yes.”
Librarian: “Great! What’s something you’ve read recently that you enjoyed, and what did you like about it?”

Scenario 2
Librarian: “Do you like to read?”
Kid: “No.”
Librarian: “No worries! What’s something you like to do for fun?”

*
This is actually the whole course.

Reader’s Advisory Skills 102, Following Up: “Did you like it? Oh, it sucked? That’s okay, I didn’t write it so I’m not offended, just tell me what you didn’t like about it and we’ll find you something less lame.”

Reader’s Advisory Skills 103, Online Resources: Goodreads, Pinterest, and Amazon are a Gift from The Universe And You Should Praise Them As Such Every Damn Day

Youth Culture 101, Linguistics: How to Tell if a Teen is Secretly Cursing You Out

Youth Culture 102, Relevant References: Know Your Viral Vines and Popular Youtube Channels

Youth Culture 103, Computer Games: How To Help Your Computer Recover if Roblox, Halo, or Minecraft Cause It to Crash

Sweatin’ to the Oldies: Making the Most out of the Stupid Summer Reading Theme a Bunch of Old People Picked Out for You and Your Kids

That’s Very Pinteresting: Inspiration and DIY Ideas for Programming, Decor, Displays, and Collection Development Because Why Reinvent the Wheel?

Budgeting 101: Swallowing Your Pride and Crushing Your Dreams In One Fell Swoop

Pushing the Envelope: When That Envelope Is Full of Pennies and That’s Your Programming Budget for the Year

Getting Blood from a Stone: Once You’ve Recovered and Are Done Bawling About Your Budget, Learn How to Ball on a Budget and Become Really Well Known at your Local Dollar Tree

Guilting People Into Generosity 101: “It’s For the Children.”

Supplies and Demanding Children: You Will Literally Always Need More Gluesticks and Construction Paper

3D Printing A Seed Library, and Other Ridiculous Concepts and Contraptions That You Will Read About In Professional Publications But Will Never Be Attainable or Applicable @ Your Library Given Your Budget and Patrons’ Needs

Professional Attire: The Best Cardigans for You and Where To Buy Them Cheaply, En Masse

Dealing with Pubescent Patrons: How to Gently But Firmly Stave Off the Advances of a Twelve Year Old Boy Trying to Convince You To Leave Your Husband Because You Know He Is Probably Just Practicing to Ask Out A Girl His Own Age And You Don’t Want to Crush His Confidence But Also Ew.

Dealing with Difficult Coworkers: Being an Asshole Isn’t In Your Job Description Either Yet You Still Do That Every Day

Dealing with Difficult Coworkers II: You Are Clearly Miserable Because You Picked The Wrong Profession and I Feel Sorry For You

Dealing with Difficult Union Representatives: Don’t.

Stacks Survivalism: How to Breathe Through Your Mouth when Dealing with Mouth Breathers Who Have No Sense of Personal Hygiene or Personal Space

Dealing With Parents Who Care Too Much: Gifted Children Are Actually a Curse

Spanish for Librarians: There Is No Subtitle for This. You Really Just Ought to Learn Spanish. Why Are They Not Teaching Spanish. I Will Never Need To Learn How To Code a MARC Record But I Need to Speak Spanish Every Day But Can’t. Just Kidding, This Turned Into a Subtitle.

In closing, you can expect me to be running the GSLIS program at URI real soon.

Facebook Feminism (F)rant

So in response to this Huffington Post piece about how Kaley Cuoco Doesn’t Consider Herself A Feminist, I would just like to say the following:

So many mixed feelings about this. In the first place, it makes me so mad when prominent/famous people don’t use their role in the world as effectively as they could and make uninformed statements instead. But, then I’m also kind of glad that she feels that she hasn’t faced much inequality, because that’s a good life to have led, and I personally feel similarly as well. But I’ve been lucky, and I know that, and you should be a feminist not just for your sake but for the sake of all of the other women out there who are not so lucky. And men, too. Also, like her, I genuinely enjoy cooking for my husband and doing all sorts of “housewifey” things as well; they give me a great sense of personal satisfaction and pleasure. HOWEVER, enjoying being a housewife and being a feminist are not mutually exclusive – ACTUALLY, they are intricately linked, as the reason why you’re even being allowed to speak about whether or not you “enjoy” it is BECAUSE of feminism since otherwise it would be your default role and it wouldn’t matter whether you liked it or not. ALSO the whole point of feminism is being able to do whatever the fuck you want to do, whether that’s working outside the home, inside the home, or both. Or neither, I guess, for some lucky ladies. But on behalf of Britney Spears and myself, I think you should just work, bitch.

Oh, AND I really hate articles that lead with stupid statements like “Don’t call Kaley Cuoco a feminist.” Nowhere does she state that she doesn’t want to be called one, just that she doesn’t think of herself as one, so the author is already negatively leading the reader against the concept of feminism from the start. AWESOME.

No Babies, No Problems

I don’t want to have children. I’ve known since forever. You can ask anyone.

This is not because I had a horrible childhood, because I didn’t. This does not mean that I don’t love my husband, because I do. This doesn’t in any way undermine the respect I have for the many truly awesome people I’ve met all throughout my life who have a gift for being parents and have shared that gift by raising radical kids who become (or I’m sure will become) amazing people.

This also doesn’t mean that I hate children as a group, and I hope it goes without saying that I would never inflict harm upon any of them, and I would probably go out of my way to save them if the situation called for it. Actually, I do go out of my way on a pretty regular basis to do all kinds of stuff for them because I’m a children’s librarian now, and let’s be totally clear – I love my job, and I completely adore these kids. But enjoying the company of kids and the role that I can play in their lives and wanting to be a mother are two connected but not synonymous things.

For what it’s worth, I think it’s absurd that at 26, I could end up with an unplanned pregnancy and have almost universal support for it, or I can decide at this same age to not have a baby and the overwhelming response from practically everyone is that a) I’ll change my mind and b) it’s their business to tell me so, as if they’ve ever spent a second inside my head. It’s my most frequently experienced and most adamantly despised form of sexism because it assumes that as a woman, I am simply a ticking time-bomb, waiting to blow up into a baby-making factory, regardless of what sort of actual person I really am and what sort of goals I have. It states that at 26, I don’t know enough about myself to make an informed decision about my future but I do have enough viable eggs left to create a whole new person, so let’s just roll with that. Before I was married, it was because I hadn’t met the right guy yet. Now that I’m married, most people hinge their guesses about my childless status upon whether my husband wants them or not. Newsflash: it’s a joint decision, but ultimately more mine than his because my body would be the vessel for the kid.

Honestly, having spent my whole life inside my head, I can tell you that it is far, far more likely that if I did have a baby, I would probably change my mind about that decision about a hundred times a day at least but guess what – there’s no socially-acceptable way of getting off that train once it’s really started rolling. However, deciding not to have a baby allows me the luxury of changing my mind whenever I want, basically, because there’s this thing called Adoption, and considering how happy I am to have saved the little fluffy lives of my fur babies through the same process, I think it’s a pretty safe bet that I would be equally pleased with that scenario. That said, however, there are still plenty of reasons out there why children are not for me, whatever method of delivery they arrive by.

Pregnancy – Absolutely nothing about this process appeals to me at all whatsoever. Oh, there’s an semi-alien being floating around inside me and making me have to pee even more often than I already do and causing more frequent and more horrible mood swings than I already have and draining me of nutrients and sucking calcium out of my bones? And “eating for two” actually means only a couple of glasses of low-fat milk and a handful of sunflower seeds or a tuna sandwich? Shenanigans! And you can try to dress it up with pleasant sounding words, but that “glow” is mostly sweat because your body and your hormones are out of control. None for me, thanks.

Childbirth – As much as the thought of being pregnant does not appeal to me, childbirth scares the shit out of me. Literally, because why on earth would I want to splay my legs for hours and excrete all kinds of bodily fluids and solids in front of loved ones and strangers alike just so I can either a) be in incredibly intense pain while my vagina tears apart or b) be in a drug-induced daze while my vagina tears apart? And then I get rewarded with a screaming purple potato of my very own to take home and who will never sleep through the night again for several months or years. WHERE DO I SIGN UP.

Infancy – As alluded to above, I don’t find newborns cute. Sorry I’m not sorry. Until they’re about 6 months to a year old (oh, sorry, 12 months, because everything has to be measured in months, right?), I really don’t dig them. They’re sometimes a weird color, their hair patterns are unpredictable, they excrete gross things at awkward times, they have no knee caps, there’s a soft spot IN that head that they can’t hold up themselves, they are literally the most selfish beings that are pooping/peeing machines that eat, sleep, and cry and basically nothing else. Shrieks and cries go straight through me; it doesn’t stir any maternal instincts, it just makes my uterus shrivel and my head hurt. And then even after they get out of the initial alien potato looking stage and move into the realm of cute, they’re still not really good at most things besides being cute and being loud, and you know what’s really good at being really cute but not loud and also doesn’t cost thousands upon thousands of dollars? Cats. Dogs. Friends. The Internet.

Babyhood and Childhood – Okay so yes, there are cool things going on developmentally with kids during this time – they’re learning, they’re growing, they can wear adorable shoes, and they’re becoming tiny little people, but let’s not underestimate the extent to which I tend to dislike most people (regardless of their tininess). Also once they’re walking and talking, there’s so much more potential for chaos.

I am, both at my core and on the surface, a total control freak – and kids present way, way too many opportunities for things to go wicked wrong. Let’s say I get lucky and manage to produce a child with no health problems (and I would be very lucky indeed) – the world is a traumatic death trap and you can’t be there with your kid every second of every day (nor would I want to be). This, therefore, requires a certain amount (ie: a LOT) of trust in others and learning to trust in just letting things play out as they’re meant to, and I hate that. Statistically, really no one escapes unscathed, so basically it’s just a waiting game until something happens. There’s creeps waiting around every corner, there’s drunk drivers plowing onto sidewalks, there are bullies at school, there are miserable teachers and overenthusiastic coaches, there are diseases coming back from near eradication (thanks, Anti-Vacs!), and there’s nothing you can do to guarantee that it won’t get to your kid. Except not have one.

Also, I can witness and play a part in the development of so many awesome, awesome kids just fine as their librarian or as an auntie but then pass them right back over when they start to scream or need something gross taken care of and feel no guilt over shirking my parental responsibility because I have none. That sounds like a tremendously better deal to me.

Teenager Years – Let’s also pretend for a minute that I have a healthy kid and they get through their childhood with minimal emotional scarring – here come the teenage years, ready and raring to go and chock-full of shit! Except now the problems your kid is facing are your legal and ethical responsibility to fix but generally not going to be ones that you necessarily made them face because so much of their time is going to be spent away from you and trying to do their “own” thing. Oh, also, there’s a good chance that they’ll think you’re stupid and actively rebel against you and hate your guts but still need money and rides to go waste time on relationships that are awful and trends that are stupid. Hooray! That sounds so fun!

Freedom to invest your finances and time into other pursuits – This is probably the most broadly applicable and therefore often cited reason in other peoples’ arguments against procreation, but it bears repeating with specifics for my life, I think.

The time argument is this, for me: I already don’t feel that I have enough time to devote to the things I genuinely want to do (which, granted, is mostly do Pinterest-inspired crafts and pet the cats and binge on Netflix and pumpkin pie…when seasonally appropriate). I work full-time and live an hour away from my job, and there’s always something that has to be done before or after work (appointments, phone calls, meetings, grocery shopping, housework), so adding a kid into the mix of all this sounds like a disaster waiting to feel neglected. On Tuesdays, I get home at 10pm and then have to be back at work at 9:30 the next day – where is a kid going to factor into that turnaround time? They’re not. I also work weekends days and nights, for that matter. So the option is to quit my job(s) or scale back my hours considerably and in either case probably grow to resent the kid on some unhealthy and unwarranted level, or keep on going full-time and play only a tiny role in their lives, and then what’s the point in even having them if you can barely spend time with them and they end up being raised by a varied array of others (familial and/or paid)?

The money argument is also really straightforward for me. As of last year, the average cost per kid in the US is approximately $241,080. With that money, I could do any number of things for myself, loved ones, and strangers in need, and still have leftover for fun, frivolous stuff.

You can give birth to and mother other things besides children – this is a paraphrased quote from an interview with Jennifer Aniston (the mother of all non-mothers) and I love it because it’s so true. I am still just starting out in my career and frankly my life as well, and I feel I’ve already figuratively given birth to so many little miracles that I find incredibly fulfilling and rewarding. They are all big projects and little victories and I’m pleased and proud of all of them, just as I’m disappointed in other areas of my life as well, but none of them (good or bad) will leave a permanent mark upon the earth because that’s not my style. If motherhood is made up of caring about other people and other things more than yourself, then I’ve mothered more people and animals and things that I can count.

I guess I have some “selfish” reasons for not wanting to have children, but most of my actual reasons are overwhelmingly selfless. Ultimately, I care more about the future of this unborn, unwanted child and more for the future of the earth (which is full of people I probably wouldn’t like most of if I met) than I do about catering to my own animalistic, biological urges. Which, ironically, would probably make me a pretty decent mother.

It’s not selfish to not want to have children. It’s selfish to not want to be a parent and have them anyway. It’s selfish to create a life when you won’t even be around for most of it. It’s selfish (and stupid) to create a whole person just to keep up with what other people think you should be doing. It’s selfish to burden someone else with the pursuit of your own sense of fulfillment.

Unapologetically, I’m more than enough on my own. If I do ever “change my mind” somewhere down the line, it’s 3000% not your business and I have a variety of ways to act upon that change. Most likely, it would be by way of adopting a child who needs a home more than my unfertilized eggs do, especially since my uterus is already cozy enough for them and they move out every month anyway and that’s more than enough drama for me.

Mischief Managed

Another year, another list of my favorite haunts and spooky attractions I’ll be visiting with Joseph and frands in the coming weeks, arranged in order of opening weekends for your convenience (and mine)! This time around, I’ve added a bunch of other options with less guts and more glitz, like film festivals, cider mills, and masquerade balls, as well as 5Ks and obstacle courses, and a link to a pretty comprehensive list of pumpkin patches and corn mazes. Also, there’s a poll at the end of the post where you can vote for your favorites or write in different ones I may have missed! Enjoy!

Scary Acres RI
Where? 2150 Scituate Avenue, Hope (West Cranston), Rhode Island 02831
When? September 19th – October 26th
Time? Friday – Sunday, Dusk til 10pm
Cost? $20, $30 for VIP
* [[UPDATED]] We went last weekend, and I give it a B+. You definitely get a lot of bang for your buck because the whole adventure takes about an hour, and there was a hayride we were not anticipating so that was a nice surprise. Their sets were incredibly impressive and their actors were great, and the corn maze was just as unsettling for me as I anticipated because it is HUGE and there’s ample opportunity to go down dead ends and get completely turned around. The only things I really didn’t like were an over-abundance of nausea-inducing strobe lights, and that literally the last few steps of our trek through the maze were ruined by some asshole actor wielding a chainsaw who kept smacking me in the legs with it and when I told her to knock it off (because, you know, she’s not supposed to fucking touch anyone), she started going “wah, wah” and fake crying at me. Congratulations, you suck.

Factory of Terror
Where? 3 Bridal Ave, West Warwick, RI 02893
When? September 19th – November 1st
Time? 8pm – 11pm in September, and after that it all gets really complicated but basically 7pm – 9:30pm are your safest bets.
Cost? Tickets are $18 in September and $20 in October, $35 for VIP, and $36 for Double Admission to the West Warwick and Fall River locations, so if you’re interested in going to both, I would highly recommend snatching that up.
Coupon? Here’s a West Warwick coupon!
* [[UPDATED]] We went last weekend, right after Scary Acres and it was not as great as I wanted it to be, owing in large part to the fact that they sent us in as the last two people in a group of eight, which is just way too many at once. By the time we got in a room, all the scares had already set off the people ahead of us, so there were virtually no surprises left. Also, for it being set in an literal old factory and therefore already having probably the best makings of a haunted attraction I can imagine, the sets were indistinct (I don’t remember there being anything actually resembling a Ghost Cemetery, Psycho Alley, Dracula’s Hideaway, Black Out, or Asylum of Screaming Souls) and not nearly as extensive as we were lead to believe they would be. The Zombie Shoot Out was terribly unsatisfying as well. Overall, it was shoddy. Final grade: C+.

Field of Screams
Where? 179 Plain Meeting House Rd., West Greenwich, RI 02817
When? September 26th – November 1st
Time? 6:30pm – 10pm (9pm on Sundays)
Cost? $20 (but there are special rates for groups, and for birthday boys and girls!)
* This has three attractions (Dungeon of Doom, Dead River Haunted Hayride, and 4D Cirque du Souls) for a great price, and there’s a Scary Bird Special going on right now to “Buy 2, Get 2 Free” which makes it even more of a bargain. We may or may not go this year for personal reasons, but it’s a solid haunt that I wouldn’t dissuade anyone else from going to.

Haunted LabyrinthWorkshop of Horror
Where? 804 Dyer Avenue, Cranston, RI 02920
When? September 26th – October 31st
Time? Friday – Sunday, 7pm – 10pm, $10
Coupon? Sign up for the coupon here!
* In its 30th year, the Haunted Labyrinth is the longest running haunted house in New England, and my personal favorite three years running. They are a non-profit city youth center, and I am always blown away by their themes, production, and acting. I went to 6 different haunted houses last year and actually ended up going back to Haunted Labyrinth a second time later on in the season and I still got scared just waiting in line and anticipating what was coming next. Loved it, love it, will probably always love it, highly recommend it to anyone and everyone.

Trails to Terrorthe Farm of Dr. Moreau Haunted Hayride and the Forest of Fear Walk-Thru
Where? 4235 Tower Hill Rd, Wakefield, RI 02879
When? September 26th – November 1st
Time? 7pm – 10pm
Cost? $13 for the Haunted Hayride OR Walk Thru, or $20 for both attractions, and $30 for VIP
Coupon? Available here for Opening Weekend and Family Day.
* I have no idea how or why I never end up at this one, but I swear I will go this year and update this post immediately upon returning – assuming I survive, that is! Mwa-ha-ha! Just kidding…or am I? Okay, that’s the end.
…or is it?

Unpleasant Acres
Where? 187 Pleasant St in Rehoboth, MA 02769
When? September 26 – October 26th (maybe?)
Time? 7pm – 10pm
Cost? $20? There is no website besides Facebook currently and it doesn’t specify admission cost there, and I can’t remember what we paid last year. Anyway, I digress.
* A mediocre hayride and walk-through maze experience. It’s not a bad haunt if you’re already in the area, I just wouldn’t make it a destination in and of itself. It has an after taste of a knock-off brand is the best way I can describe it. I did fall out of my tractor seat at one point, but I think the scariest part was just finding it because our GPS couldn’t figure out where it was so my friends and I ended up parking in a random mowed corn field and wandering around briefly looking for a signal/sign of life. On the plus side, once we did find it, there were goats to pet!

Spooky World New England
Where? 1000 New London ave, Cranston, RI 02920
When? September 26th – November 1st
Time? 7pm – ?
Cost? $23 on weekdays, $25 on weekends, add $10 for VIP status.
Coupons? Student discounts available, BOGO Free on Opening Weekend, and there’s a Customer Appreciation Weekend going on October 3rd and 4th where they’ll be selling general/VIP tickets for $15/$25, respectively. Also, be on the lookout for $5 coupons at Dunkins.
* Featuring a 3D Festival of Fear, the Devil’s Playground corn maze, and a black-out/glowstick-lit Darkness Falls
Maybe they’ll run things differently this year, but I won’t be there to see it. I hated Spooky World. Last year was their first year in Rhode Island, and it was (for us) a total disaster. The tickets were absurdly expensive, the lines were astronomical even with VIP access, and they let too many people in at once so the scares and the actors didn’t really have time to reset themselves before another group came along, so there were few surprises. One surprise that was entirely unwelcome, however, was this unannounced and impossibly long and tight compression tunnel that would probably induce a genuine panic attack for anyone with even a touch of claustrophobia. Also, an actor most definitely touched my hair and arms, which is a total no-no. The corn maze was pretty decent, but even so – pass.

Dark Manor
Where? 25 Main St., Versailles, CT 06383
When? October 3rd – November 1st
Time? 6:30pm – midnight (most nights)
Cost? $22, but they have free ticket contests every night and two Camp Out contests, if that sort of thing is your bag, baby.
* Totally worth the drive for anyone further from the border of CT than I am (and that’s basically everyone since I can walk across the state line from my house…and see Russia from my window). This was my first haunted house experience, and is still my second favorite (after Haunted Labyrinth). Last year, a spider dropped down on me from above and I fell straight to the ground, which proves two things. One, this place is awesome – and two, I will probably not survive in the wild.

Haunted Hill
Where? 4092 Diamond Hill Rd., Cumberland, RI 02864
When? October 3rd – November 1st
Time? 7pm – 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays, 7pm – 9pm on Sundays
Cost? $15, or $25 for a Speed Pass
Note: “October 31st will be a special Midnight Massacre from 8pm-12am. Price $20 and includes all night admission to the attraction. Also includes Block Party from 11pm-12am with raffles and giveaways, plus a Meet and Greet with all the characters as well as plenty of great photo opportunities.”
* Vaguely poor reviews have kept me from making the trek up to Cumberland, but as I mentioned last year, this is a pretty long-running haunt so they must be doing something right, and maybe they’ve since changed what they were doing wrong.

Fear Town (normally the Seekonk Speedway)
Where? 1710 Fall River Avenue, Seekonk, MA 02771
When? October 3rd – November 1st
Time? 7pm – 10pm
Cost? $14
* This is the first time I’ve heard about it, so I know nothing other than what’s on the website, but it sounds promising!

Fear at Fort Adams (formerly Fortress of Nightmares)
Where? 90 Fort Adams Dr., Newport, Rhode Island 02840
When? October 10th, 11th, 17th, 18th, 24th-26th
Time? 6pm – 10pm (or maybe 7pm – 10pm – the site lists both start times)
Cost? $15, which includes both attractions – a “high-startle” underground Tunnels of Terror and a more low-key and historic Haunted Officers Quarters. Airsoft and a midway are also available.
* I haven’t been because I only found out about it last year, and I’m a native Rhode Islander so Newport is “fah” but I like that they offer historical and modern frights so that might actually compel me to cross the bridge this year. If you go (or have gone) and would recommend it, holler!

Less Ooze and AHH!, More Oohs and Aahs

Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular
Where? 1000 Elmwood Ave., Providence, RI 02907 (Roger Williams Park Zoo)
When? October 2nd – November 2nd
Time? 6pm – 11pm (last admission at 10pm)
Cost? For adults, weekend tickets are $16, and weekday tickets are $12.
* Not actually a haunted house or spooky walk-through, obviously, but always worth going! This year will feature 26 different themes from A to Z (D is for Dinosaurs, F is for Fantasy, and so on) and end with the Laughing Tree. Just avoid going on the weekends – if you’ll pardon the expression, it’s a zoo. Tuesday might be your best night to go if you want to avoid crowds and save $2 your ticket if you’re a AAA member, too.

Zombie Night 2014
Where? In and around Downtown Providence
When/time/cost? October 18th, 7pm – 2am
* Featuring “boolesque” and dranks. Must be 21+

Rhode Island International Horror Film Festival
Where? In and around Providence
When/time/cost? October 20th – 26th, times and prices vary according to event
* Featuring costume parties and H.P. Lovecraft walking tours!

Haunted Providence
Where? 21 Atwells Avenue, Providence, RI 02903
When? October 25th, 10am – 11:30pm
* Psychic readings and presentations, silence auctions to benefit cancer research, and a “Elegant Goth” themed Witch’s Masquerade Ba

Mysterium – The Eternal Masquerade
Where? Providence Public Library: 150 Empire St., Providence RI 02903
When? October 31st at 7:30pm
* A Halloween benefit for PPL. Prohibitively expensive for this librarian at $125 a pop, but sure to be fierce and fabulous.

Chifferobe’s Cirque de Ville III – at Aurora
Where? 276 Westminster St., Providence, RI 02903
When? October 31st – doors open at 8pm, show is at 9:30pm
Cost? $35
* What’s sure to be a jam-packed performance featuring Mr. Dead Guy (“Philadelphia’s goriest ventriloquist”), traditional sideshow performers, accordionists, tap dancers, and tarot card readers.

If PYO pumpkins and amazing corn mazes are more your thing, check out Pumpkin Patches and More!

Also, I cannot recommend visiting Clyde’s Cider Mill in Pawcatuck, CT enough. It’s the oldest steam-powered mill in the US, it’s open every day until December, it has cider-making demonstrations on the weekends, and fresh, soft cinnamon-sugar doughnuts, hot cider, cold cider, hard cider, plus syrups, jams, and butters to purchase – everything you could ever want for fall, really.

And last but not least, for all you fitness freaks, find some additional motivation and…

Run for Your Lives!

Demon Run and themed obstacle course
Where? 4092 Diamond Hill Rd., Cumberland, RI 02864
When? Saturday, October 25th
Time? First run at 9am, last at 1pm
Cost? $50 to register before October 20th, $60 after that
* All proceeds go to Cumberland’s Park and Recreation Youth Programs

Providence Monster Dash – a 5K walk/run, featuring zombies
When? Sunday, October 26th at 11am
Cost? $28 to register before September 30th, $29 after that, and $35 day of

Now, what do you all think? Weigh in here and let me know which place(s) you like best on this list, or write in your own! Happy Halloween, darlings!