Archive for May, 2011

Memorial Day

I get strange looks from people for many things. I wear Star Trek shirts, talk to myself in parking lots while searching for my car and my favorite holiday is Memorial Day. Somehow, people feel the need to judge my favorite holiday. Many people find it strange and perhaps slightly morbid. I have decided to put forth my reasons for loving Memorial Day.

I am fiercely patriotic. My roommate once remarked how odd it was that I would rant for hours about the failures of the Government, yet cry during the National Anthem during football games. My patriotism stems from my love of history. My dad loved it and passed that to me. I even took that love to college and now have a degree with a history minor attached. That being said, I know how fragile the American nation is, and how great it can be. I know about the events that created this nation; how close the USA came in the past to disintegrating. A lot of the time, the breaking of our nation was avoided by ordinary American citizens who did extraordinary things. Soldiers did not go into battle to become heroes. They did not do it to garner thanks. Young men and women went into battle, and still go into battle, because they believe in what America stands for in this world. They have the deepest love for our country and they prove it.

The least I can do is show my profound thanks to those men and women. I acknowledge how good I have it living today in the USA. I know how hard people had to fight for my way of life. I am eternally grateful and I appreciate the opportunity to show it. I do love the USA and I’m glad that I have the chance to love America. That, in a nutshell, is why Memorial Day is my favorite holiday.

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Pets

I follow a blog that is written by a television producer/writer. I first began following him because he wrote about Stargate, the show he worked on, which I loved. I got behind the scenes pictures and anecdotes that fueled my obsession with the franchise. Obviously, the man has a life and I read about that as well. Aside from very nice meals out (oh, to have money) he wrote about his dogs. All four of them. Now, the adorable pictures and stories of the dogs make me smile. A recent post discussed how dog people can be seen as crazy. He wrote about what he does for his dogs and it was a nice post.

I do not have dogs. Currently, in my living situation, we have the two family cats and my sister’s younger cat. I think that I am a cat person out of laziness. You get all the love of a dog without the work. Plus, cats apparently lower blood pressure.

However, I had dogs when I was younger. I remember begging my parents for a dog. Finally, when I was in 2nd grade, I got one. She was a mutt that we got from a friend’s neighbor for 20 bucks. I named her Katelyn, after a friend I had who moved away. For three years, Katy was an awesome friend. My sister and I weren’t the most responsible pet owners, but my parents made up for it. I loved playing with her, both inside and outside. She was about 3 years old when she died. She had a habit of wandering away. We didn’t have a fenced in yard and she left my dad, sister and I in the back yard and crossed the road in front of our house. My mom saw her across the street in the woods when she got the mail. She called Katy and, for maybe the first time ever, the dog came when she was called. I can still hear the yelp when she was hit by a truck. My mom started yelling for my dad and the three of us left what we were doing and ran to the front of the house. I recall looking and seeing a red truck further down the road. Then I turned and saw Katy lying in the ditch. My dad told my sister and I to go inside, get blankets and the car keys. I remember racing back outside with those items to find my dad in the ditch, attempting to pick up Katy to take her to the vet. She growled and whined, but eventually we had her in the car. Three hours later the vet called us and said that Katy had died.

A couple of months later, we got a new puppy, Minnie. Minnie was a beagle/something mix that was free. She was just as awesome. I still missed Katy, but Minnie was fun. She would play soccer with me. She lived for five years until we had to put her down. She had gotten fat and strangely old. She was only five, yet burnt her nose on the fireplace glass because she couldn’t see. In the last year she just laid around and looked sad. The vet told us she had some degenerative disease, making her older than she was. In a sense, we had a 15-year-old dog, not a 5-year-old.

Since Minnie, we have only had cats. I think I want to get a dog again in the future, but I’m not sure. Cats are easier and mine stay inside, so they can’t get hit by a car. Plus, my sister’s cat plays fetch like a dog and is generally very puppy like. Maybe the solution is to only have cats like Artemis, the best of both worlds.

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Regret and guilt

You know the saying excuses are like noses, everyone’s got one? I think a similar thing goes along with regret. Everyone has something in their life that they regret. It isn’t necessarily a big thing, most of us only have small regrets. As time goes on, the regrets get smaller. For instance, as I graduated high school not at the top of my class, I regretted slacking off and not doing homework assignments. Now, as I graduate college, I couldn’t tell you where in my class I was in high school. Somewhere in the 60-70 range I believe. The difference is that I don’t look back and regret not doing better in high school. People may glance at the GPA on my resume, but it’s not that big of an issue.

The problem is having regrets that stay with you and turn into guilt. If you want a silly example, I once kicked my dog. I was about nine and didn’t know how to properly express anger. I recall feeling immediately guilty and hugging my dog in apology. I still get a twinge of guilt when I think about the incident. Clearly, I still regret kicking my dog 12 years ago.

I am graduating college on Saturday. I have regrets, but none have turned into guilt yet. Recent events with some (former) friends top my list of regrets. I am completely responsible for burning those bridges. Honestly, though, I didn’t see our friendship lasting past the summer, if that. We were just too different from each other. I regret my actions, but I didn’t do things cavalierly. Everything I did and said I believed in, at least at the time. So maybe I don’t regret my actions. Maybe I regret what I lost as a result of my actions. I don’t really regret much in college, looking back now. I never went out and partied, but I’m too introverted and legal-minded to get involved in that scene. There were some classes I could have tried harder in, but that is becoming like the high school scenario. Besides, I did learn from skipping class freshman year. I learned that my grade will be lower than I expect, even if I know the material. I don’t regret getting involved in my extra curricular activities. As much as RHA frustrated me, I have way more good memories than bad. That was really the only thing I got involved in, and I don’t regret not doing more.

Thankfully for myself, regret is different from guilt over past actions. If everything I regretted I also felt guilty about I don’t think I’d be able to function. Guilt, I think, stems from regret when you realize that you never have a chance to change things. I can always go back to college and get better grades, so I don’t feel guilty. My dog died, so I never have another chance to show her my love.

In the end, there are things that can be done with regret and guilt. You can wallow in them and it will consume your life. The other option is to take all you regret and guilt, accept it, and move on. I am a huge fan of quotes. Clearly, famous people, singers and poets will always be smarter than me. Anyway, one quote is from the musical Rent: forget regret or life is yours to miss. The second is a song, with which I will end this post.

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