Innate Fears

Fear is an interesting monster. Some fears are learned from traumatic events from one’s past. Other fears are ones that grow into existence from somewhere deep within the mind.

As any parent knows, kids tend to grow out of their fears as they grow up.  I am no longer afraid of the dark. I’ve concurred that phobia, so long as I don’t think about aliens, ghosts, or the fact that the universe is inconceivably large..a universe in which anything is possible and one in which I have no control over my tiny miniscule existence. (Great, I won’t be able to get that one out of my head tonight)

Some fears are logic-ed to death.  Through logic, I realized that I’m not afriad of strangers anymore! I just really don’t care for people. See? Voila!

And then there are some fears that don’t come into fruition until we are faced with a new experience.

How about a ‘for example’?

For example: I’m afraid of sting rays.  I didn’t know that. Who really knows about their personal feelings about a sting ray? Have you ever truly interacted with one of these creepy-brothers-of-the-deep?

The Boy took me to Kemah Boardwalk on Saturday. This adventure involved feeding sting rays. Allow me to show you in picture form.

This is the Kemah Boardwalk sign. The Boy and I took a minor roadtrip so that I could visit Kemah!


Once at Kemah, we dodged seagull poo and made our way to the sting rays.

Now The Boy failed to mention that we were going to feed the sting rays, causing a mild swarm of scary swimmers.  I also need to make a confession. I didn’t know that I didn’t know what a sting ray was. I’m not sure what I thought they were, but certainly not what I interacted with.

The tank was shallow, the sting rays were plentiful, and my adrenaline was pumping

So at this point, The Boy spent ten minutes trying to convince me to stick my hand in the tank to feed the creatures.  I wasn’t having it. These things were sliding up the sides, opening their gill things and eeeekkk.  There was no way I was going to lose a hand.

Not buying it. At this point, The Boy was pointing out that four year olds were gleefully feeding the sting ray. I reminded him that I had more meat on my body for the sting rays to consume.

Now academically, I knew I was safe.  No one would intentionally set up an attraction that encouraged patrons to feed a creature if the creature was apt to maim.  That’s simple logic.  Funny thing about academic knowledge and reality….. the very real feeling of unadulterated fear definitely trumps that which I know to be true.

Long story short…

"Nom nom nom," says Sting Ray. This is my hand being gummed by a sting ray. This is also the point where I shrieked like a girl.

Now in most tales, our protagonist overcomes her fear and becomes a better person because of the experience.  And like most things here on Dinosaurs and Cheese, that just isn’t the case.

Okay, maybe I made my peace with the sting ray. Or perhaps I was just happy to be out of fish and leaving the tank.


Sharks suck too.

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Imaginary Conversations

“And don’t make me get out of this car and show you what ‘good manners’ looks like!” I threaten as I shoot him my most menacing look.

In reality, I have spectacular conversations in my head.  I stand up for myself. I’m assertive. Cool, calm, and powerful. I tell them how it should be.

My latest imaginary conversation was with a woman who had perfectly coiffed hair and an overly priced SUV.  On my commute home, I have to turn right near our house.  This lane becomes congested during rush hour and causes a fairly long line. 

Each day, as I sit and wait, I see cars that pull out of the right lane, move to the front via the left lane and then wedge themselves back into the right lane near the intersection.

I will remind you of a kindergarten law that I know stands true today.

No cutsies.

And so I spend my time edging carefully forward so as to avoid leaving enough space for a car to weasel in. I pull close to the line so they can’t do that move-my-front-end-in-make-you-let-me-go-ahead-of-you trick.

But my favorite time is when I’m a few cars beforethe light and I see a driver pull up next to me in an attempt to wiggle into a better spot. And I slowly, deliberately look over at her, ever so cooly take off my sunglasses, and with power in my voice, I tell her, “Your time is not more important than mine. I did the respectable thing and waited my turn. You think you deserve to be before me? You deserve nothing. Now you take that sorry excuse for a status symbol, turn left and think about what a waste of a person you truly are.”

In reality, I keep my head straight and imagine all the things I would say, if I were tougher and lived in a state that didn’t allow handguns.

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Warehouse Chinese Food?

I need to preface this article by saying that I absolutely adore Chinese takeout. There’s something truly fulfilling with having my food in a little white box while sitting on the couch. Since The Boy and I always eat at the table, Chinese is often times an enjoyable break from being civil (because, you know, The Boy and I are so very proper!).

We got a flier for a new Chinese place. Yippee!  Of the options we had, this was the cheapest one, so I was totally in.  We call, muddle through the language barrier, wait our ‘ten minute’  (I have a theory that if we ordered half a cow, it would still only take ten minute to cook) and venture out to pick it up.

And as we turn on the road, I start to get concerned.  Now I must tell you, dear reader, that the area that this place was located is in a fairly factory-based area.  I tried to argue with The Boy that perhaps we should not order, but he insisted and won.  And as we turned onto the street, I was reminded that this was his idea. 

Even moreso, I was reminded that it was his idea when we turned into the driveway and found a row of storage containers. No joke. Storage containers.  And in one of those storage containers, someone had opened a “Chinese diner”. 

This is our Chinese Warehouse

The Boy went in to get the food, but decided that I had to see the inside.  It truly was nothing more than a big empy room.  I don’t know how they cooked the food. I don’t know…I don’t ask questions.

Our Little Chinese Palace

And yet, after seeing all of this, we still decided to eat it!  Ordinarially I don’t condone eating food from storage units, but this one smelled particularly yummy. So when we got home, we set out with total confidence that we would be juuuuustttt finnneee.

Feeling brave!

And ultimately, the warehouse Chinese was AWESOME!  It tasted wonderful and was the right price.  It’s also been a few hours, so I feel confident that we won’t be getting sick. :)

Next weekend, we’re going to find a Greek restaurant in a back alley.

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The Parents are Coming, The Parents are Coming!

Watch out now!  We have 3 parents in one home for the next 4 days! Eeep :)

I have to admit that I’ve spent a lot of time peering into corners of the house and scrubbing stains from The Boy’s former bachelor pad digs. Really, I want things to look nice and be comfortable.

Which brings me to my greatest frustration- Everyone I live with is so darn hairy!  I have a pug who sheds, without fail, at least 25% of her bodyweight each day.  I have a boyfriend who sheds, without fail, at least 25% of his bodyweight each day. 

I sweep.

They shed.

I Swiffer.

They shed.

I keep the lights off in the living room so I can’t see the hair.

They…well… I don’t know if they shed. That’s my only resolution. But I assume they continue to shed.

Perhaps I can start a new trend in America, where I provide slippers for my guests before they enter my home. They do that in Japan as part of their culture. I can do it in Houston as a way for everyone to keep the fur off their socks.  Eh eh?

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We made it!

This past weekened was The Boy’s 27th birthday. I am happy to report that we survived. By ‘we’, I mean me.

This weekend was dedicated to The Boy. I have to say that a lot of our life is centered around The Boy’s thoughtfulness. He spends a lot of time wondering what would make me happy or what would be better for us. 

So this weekend was all about him.  It started with pizza before a hockey game on Friday and a large vat of chili cheese fries once we got to the arena. I didn’t say a word and encouraged him to get the heart-cloggers.

Saturday included Taco Bell, yardwork (which The Boy has been slave-driving through), and my total surrender of the t.v remote.

Sunday was actually The Boy’s birthday, so we definitely kicked it up a notch. He woke up to cinnamon rolls in bed.  Then we went to play glow-in-the-dark mini golf (on a side note: I loathe mini golf. Stupid tiny ball and stupid little club and stupidly designed hole. It’s frustrating and grrrr! Of course, The Boy loves it and spends a lot of time finding mini golf courses wherever he is.).  We also watched Battle for Los Angeles, which keyed in on my fiundamental fear of aliens. The movie theatre was one of those awesome ones where you can order food. Of course, The Boy got popcorn and pizza (another Top 5 favorite thing for him).  Later that evening we watched :mumbles: Jackass 3 and ate more pizza. 

Last night we were talking about his weekend (which he thinks we should continue forever) and he tried to say (with a straight face), “This weekend wasn’t too bad for you.”  But he knew it was a lie and couldn’t get through the statement without giggling. Thank goodness  birthdays are only once a year :)

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Danger, danger

Books are dangerous. They don’t tell you that. I’m a book pusher. I encourage habits that can turn dangerous.   Perhaps I need to reevaluate my moral standing.

I just read, Born to Run.  If you haven’t heard of this book yet- 1. Hello, welcome back from underneath that rock. 2. Go find it!

As a result of this book, The Boy and I have started researching running styles and discussing our running goals. Running goals? Crap. 

I’ve even gone as far as looking up ways to implement the Tarahumara Indians’ diet into our lifestyle.  The Boy laughed when I suggested we plant their corn in the backyard. Okay, fine, I may be known for going a bit overboard.

(I have to tell you that when I suggested to The Boy that we stop eating as much meat, that it actually felt as if the earth had ceased to move. Apparently one thing I’m not going to mess with is his ability to indulge in flesh.)

So tonight was our first jog using a new style. The running style was designed to eliminate the risk of running injuries.   Perhaps it will take time because tonight my calves are screaming.

Dangerous, dangerous books.

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Shrove Day

I love Lent.

 Okay, I’m not Catholic.  I’ve never been Catholic. (And no, this isn’t a typical 20-something crisis of faith. I was never raised Catholic)

So my love of Lent doesn’t make a lot of sense. But it’s there. It’s been a love of mine for years upon years (well as many ‘upon years’ as a 25 year old can have) and one that has not abated despite my lack of formal church going.

Thinking about it though, I think it has to go back to the idea of appreciating the small things in life.  That’s a standard that I always try to keep in my mind.  I know that if one can find joy in the life’s simple joys, then one will always find happiness.  But often times appreciating means that people must first recognize what is around them.

 And that’s where Lent comes in to play.  By giving up something you enjoy, you learn to appreciate it more once it comes back.  Does your teen truly understand the power of a text message until they no longer receive any for forty days?  Can you truly appreciate the inter-connective-ness that Facebook provides until you stay logged off through Easter?

 Without the religious aspect, I can still truly appreciate the power that Lent provides.  A person learns the act of sacrifice, albeit a small one.  But once that sacrifice is provided again, then a person has a greater appreciation for it.

 So goodbye candies and sweets. I shall rid myself of my sugar desire, by not allowing another fruitfully sweet Skittle to pass by my lips and await the chew of my $4,000 teeth-circa-1996-orthodontia-rate (yeah right, like my mother lets me forget how much she paid for these teeth. That is a totally different story though.)

Joyfully give up something folks. See your sweet-return in 40 days!

{P.S- The Boy asked me what I’ve assigned him to give up for Lent. I shall pretend to be insulted. Sheeesh, what does he think of me? :)  }

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Money Mess-ups

The Boy is notoriously noted for being spectacular.  Really. In fact, he rarely messes up. It’s rather annoying for his mess-up-more-than-average girlfriend.

So this weekend, The Boy miscalculated on some money things. Okay, fine.  There was nothing big, but sometimes Mr. Perfecto tale-spins and these occasions have to be noted.

It started with Taco Bell.  I changed my order to save some money and that way we could share a pop.  Well, The Boy ordered his combo order and we ended up spending more money than normal. Grr. 

 Then we went to Walmart to get potting soil.  On his insistance, we grabbed a bag that he was certain was $1.78…. it wasn’t.  Then I should have known something was going on when he didn’t end up giving the cashier the coupons we used.  Obviously he was off his game. 

Then we were off to get mulch.  Lowe’s ended up having some mulch that we thought was well priced.  So we got a few bags. Then we went to Home Depot, where The Boy discovered that he was off his game once again and we found a better deal on mulch.So then we got even more mulch.  

But the coup de grace was when I came home today to find a mound of mulch half the height of me in our driveway.  I swear it, he’s become obsessed.  So after buying two different store’s brands, he ended up going to some mulch place off the side of the road to get 900 billion pounds of black mulch to hang out in our driveway.

He later admits that he didn’t need to get as much mulch delivered and it would have been cheaper to get half the amount.  Not to mention we have 10 bags of  store-bought mulch and two cubic acres (ok, yards) of mulch to spread out. Ugh!

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Time Warp

Whoa boy, Life has hit a fast forward button and all of a sudden :bam: here I am.  Where has the time gone?  I think of you, dear Dinosaur and Cheese reader(s). I imagine all the things I want to write about, all the amazing words that I want to string together into a series that opens eyes and elicit laughs. 

But then I get home and my mushy brain shuts down for the night. Hell and roads and intentions and whatnot, ya know?

I’ll leave you with this tonight- I petted a pig. I’ve never done that before. Have you?  Chances are, if you have, it’s probably odd to you that it took nearly 26 years for me to experience, tactilely, a pig. I really did grow up in a city.

In any case, I went to the rodeo (which will certainly be its own post soon), and The Boy brow-beat me into touching a pig.  I’m a bit of a rule follower and there weren’t any signs saying that I was allowed to touch the animals.  I didn’t want to get yelled at.

But I chanced it, after The Boy threatened to find the owner of the animal so that I could personally be introduced to the pig.  I thought possibly just touching the darn thing would far less embarrassing. 

Gotta tell you, not the way I expected. But then again, what in life ever ends up the way you expect?

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A great gift

I’ve been given a wonderful gift in life. I’ve had the opportunity to be a volunteer for MDA. 

The week is tiring and spectacular. Take kids ranging in age from kiddos to eighteen, given them the freedom to be away from their parents, and put them in cabins with young counselors. The week gives freedoms that most kids/teens with a disability aren’t able to get.

As a counselor (especially when it’s your first year and you’re young), you really learn to appreciate all that your life has given you.  Our campers are tough and spirited.  And because once you go, you tend to be hooked- we are all able to develop some amazing friendships over the years.

Recently though, we lost one of our members.  As is our MDA way, we got ahold of one another through any way possible.  Someone who has been around long enough knows the tone in the voices of our friends. We know the intro by heart, “I don’t know if you’ve heard, but I’ve got some sad news.”  And you intake a breath and wait to hear which friend has gone on.

Our buddy Louie passed away a few days ago.  When I think about Louie, a smile creeps to my face.  For any person out there that believes that just because a person has a disability, they lose their personality…well brother, you didn’t know Lou.  He was a true blue guy- through and through :)

When I got to know Louie, I was 15.  So Louie did not disappoint in the typical teenage boy department. He was hysterical with his wildly inapppropriate humor.  And Louie charmed me with insisting that I looked like Julia Stiles. In fact, that became the name he called me.

Louie had a special way that could make the world look to him and wait for him to speak. I know that when everyone gets together and Louie’s name is brought up, there will be story after story to tell.  It was hard for a person not to know Louie.  He had a presence about him that drew people to him. He had power. He will sorely be missed.

Ryan, myself, and Louie :)

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