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Sam Dobson Writes: September 2012

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Staging a Bail

I went out with Blake and a few guy friends the other night for Mexican food and beer. I've always enjoyed hanging out with guys, particularly because of the conversation. I think it's the anthropologist in me, studying a foreign culture. What they have to say is crude, and yet it's entertaining. We started discussing one of the guys sexcapades, specifically a romantic encounter in which he was not particularly proud of. He described waking up after a night of excessively heavy drinking and rolling over to find a homely woman in his bed.

Before I continue on with the story, I must declare that I am not supporting the piggish behavior the opposite sex frequently emulates. I am simply giving you a rare glimpse into the thoughts of a typical promiscuous man. Back to the story, our antagonist wakes up with a less than desirable woman in his bed. As he expressed the sickness he felt in the pit of his stomach, I listened intently and silently scolded myself for even showing interest (which may be construed as encouragement). Being completely inexperienced in the one-night-stand department, I interjected with "what did you do?" His response: "stage a bail".

Completely baffled yet curious, I asked him to elaborate. He explained that "staging a bail" is when you immediately make up some sort of excuse as to why you have to leave and subsequently so does your unwanted bed buddy. He even gave me a genius example, "I have to take my sick mom some soup". If the regretted sleeping partner is so naive that she takes you for your word, you now look like the sympathetic, caring guy who takes care of his momma. Bullshit, but brilliant!

I know all of the ladies reading this are gagging with disgust, but I urge you to be honest with yourselves. Without having to confess out loud, think of all those times you woke up in some guy's bed wishing you had just gone home when your best friend offered you a way out. Didn't you make up some sort of half-ass excuse as you pulled on your party clothes from the night before and slipped out the front door? That's what I thought! The few of you who somehow avoided the sloppy partying years with one-night-stands aren't missing anything.

Anyways, this whole "staging a bail" story got me thinking about being single and dating and how rough it really is. You never know if the hot guy at the other end of the bar is prince charming or just some asshole trying to get in your pants. That's why it's a good idea to politely refuse that last tequila shot. The more we drink, the more our inhibitions fade away. Don't get me wrong, a drink or two is a great way to take the edge off and liven up your personality, but getting plastered will lead you into some jerk's bed. You don't want to be his morning regret and your only morning regret should be too many calories in your vodka cranberry. Trust the anthropologist taking notes, it's not pretty being the subject of some guy's "staging a bail" story.

Don't shoot the messenger.

Sam
(the anthropologist)

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Kicking the Habit

I stopped biting my nails. Knock on wood that I don't start again. It's been about three weeks. This is a huge feat for me. I've been biting my nails for longer than I can remember. I'm one of those people who bites their nails so much, it's painful for other people to simply look at them. I can't tell you how many times I've turned red in the face with embarrassment when in mid-conversation someone practically yells "oh my god! look at your little nails!" I can't wait to never hear those words again.

This habit was so ingrained in me that half the time I didn't even realize I was biting my nails until a family member or friend annoyingly smacked at my hand. I can't tell you how frustrating that is! It's not like I want to bite my nails, but I sure as hell don't need anyone trying to rid me of the habit using abuse. Okay, that's a little over dramatic, but seriously, smacking at my hand while I bite my nails only makes me want to punch you in the face and then bite them some more to calm my nerves. Hitting at me doesn't encourage me to stop biting them at all.

Two incidents finally pushed me to break the bad habit. The first happened last Thanksgiving. My best friend got engaged while she ran the Turkey Trot marathon. Her fiance had told reporters of his plan and their engagement made headlines. Unaware that she would be having close ups of her hands all over the local newspapers, my friend was in desperate need of a manicure. Her best friends made sure to point this out to her and we all laughed about it. My mother's response: "that's why you need to stop biting your nails". Point taken. When I finally get a beautiful rock put on my left ring finger, it would be nice to get "oohs and ahhs" instead of "ew, your nails!"

The second incident occurred just a month ago when I was in Florida with my boyfriend and my family. Somehow, my brother, my boyfriend and I got on the topic of nails. Don't ask me why. The boys were both in agreement that french manicures are "sexy". I looked down at my own stubby fingers with their nonexistent nails and thought "this sucks". My nails are the complete opposite of french manicured. I started thinking about what my hands must look like to my boyfriend when he holds my hand. For some reason, the french manicure comments really bummed me out and I resolved that I would put that "No Bite" polish to good use. Three weeks later, my nail beds are healing and I'm accidentally scratching myself.

It's funny how bad habits can become such a big part of who we are. I had bitten, unpolished finger nails for so long, now it seems strange to have it any other way. However, bad habits are labeled bad for a reason. Drinking and using drugs turn into deadly addictions. Eating crap leads to obesity and serious health problems. Cigarettes kill those who smoke them and those who breath around them. Nail biting has serious consequences too. It's gross to think about all the things we touch on a day to day basis. I guess that's why I religiously use hand sanitizer. After watching the movie Contagion, I turned to Blake and warned him that if something like that were to ever happen I'd be the first to die thanks to my bad habit. Now that I've seemingly kicked nail biting, maybe I'll have a fighting chance.

It might be time to break your bad habits. You'll have better odds of outrunning zombies or surviving deadly diseases.


Willingly yours,
Sam

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Friday, September 14, 2012

Reinventing Date Night

Champagne Friday! Here's something to cheers to:

After the honeymoon phase of your relationship has passed and you both settle down into your daily routine, excitement is replaced with comfort for the most part. Of course, we still get excited in our long term relationship, but that constant butterfly feeling has flown away. In order to keep your relationship fresh and exciting, you probably need to put a little effort into it. That's okay. It doesn't mean that you and your beau aren't meant to be, it just means you are human and have gotten comfortable and your beau has now become your other half.

When Blake and I feel like there have been one too many couch-movie nights, we come up with a date night that gives us a little excitement among the monotony of daily life. These date nights aren't hugely over thought, they are simple and fun. It's just a little something unusual to enjoy together. These date nights are perfect for when you start feeling like an old, boring couple. The best part for me, Blake is just as enthusiastic about them as I am. Lucky girl, I am.

Yesterday it was apparent that the boyfriend wasn't having such a good day at work. I was working the early shift and would be off by three, leaving me the rest of the afternoon to do whatever I please. I decided that I had plenty of time to clean house and pull off a quick, easy date night. After cleaning the house, I set the living room up like a restaurant, complete with love songs and candles. While I bobbed my head to some of my favorite tunes, I made a three course meal. When Blake got home, the table was set and the food was just about ready.

You guys are probably thinking "what's so special about dinner?" Well, once we sat down to start on the salad, I whipped out a list I had made. This list consisted of a bunch of questions we were both to answer during dinner. It was fun and we even got to learn some new things about each other. Some of the answers were so ridiculous, we couldn't stop laughing and I almost spit up my wine. It turned a normal Thursday night into a somewhat romantic date.

I have decided to type the questions up, nice and neat, and share them with you. You don't have to use them the same way I did. Got a long car drive coming up? Whip out the questions for some entertainment. You could also modify the questions so they would work better for a first or second date. Two years in, we already know all the basics about each other so I stuck to more imaginative questions.

Read my post More Questions For Date Night or for even more unique and cheap date night ideas, read my post 10 Unique At Home Date Ideas.



Enjoy and have a wonderful date night on me!

Romantically yours,
Sam

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Monday, September 10, 2012

Yoga for Poor People

Good Morning!

Hope you all aren't contemplating punching your boss in the face and making a run for it because it's Monday. Don't worry, you'll get through it. I believe in you! I'm full of energy this morning. Aside from not having to work today, (don't get envious, tomorrow is my Monday and I work through the upcoming weekend) I started my day off with some yoga to really wake me up and get me going. I'm not totally new to yoga, I have dabbled with it in the past, but it has been a long time. 

I haven't been feeling all that healthy lately and upon stepping on a scale I discovered that this is the heaviest I've been in my two year relationship with Blake. Aside from being more careful about what kinds of food and how much of it I'm putting into my mouth, I decided that I needed a new workout routine. Who am I kidding, I've barely worked out even thirty minutes this entire summer! It's been too freaking hot to even take the dogs on a walk. Okay, okay, excuses aren't going to get me any where. I got lazy in the summer heat. There, I admit it! Anyways, a lot of my friends have been getting back into yoga and I have been having a bit of back pain and discomfort lately. Yoga seemed like the obvious choice. (Click here for tips to surviving a heated yoga class.)

I started looking into yoga studios about a month ago and found them bountiful. There is even a very highly rated yoga place two blocks from my house. What could be better!?! My excitement was soon deflated because I realized that yoga is an expensive work out. The average single yoga class is around $17. That may not seem like a lot, but imagine if my goal was to go every day. That would be $119 per week! Now, most yoga places offer unlimited monthly packages that usually range just under $200. I will admit, comparatively to the single class price this is a very good deal for someone who could afford it. I would love to join a yoga studio, but I'm the girl who haggled her gym down to $12 a month!

Cheap Yoga


Being too poor at the moment to commit that kind of money to my workout, I turned to the next best thing. I got on amazon and researched the top rated yoga videos that would not only be for a beginner, but also focus on weight loss. After carefully reading all the information about each top rated video, I finally choose one that had a total of two hundred and forty minutes of twelve different routines. What's even better, it cost me $13 with shipping. I figure the material on this particular yoga video will keep me occupied for at least two months or so. I'd say that's worth it, if all those amazon reviewers don't let me down and this video really does a good job of stretching me out and toning my thunder thighs. 

The estimated arrival date for my new yoga workout is Wednesday, but I was eager to start now. I got the obviously, brilliant idea of seeing what the World Wide Web had to offer, more specifically YouTube. First thing I did this morning after I let the dogs out to go potty and fed them breakfast was to power on my laptop and dust off my old yoga mat. Sure enough, there are tons of professional-quality yoga videos on YouTube. There are plenty to choose from: morning routines, flexibility routines, weight loss routines, beginner, intermediate, etc. I picked videos that didn't look like they were shot in someones living room or backyard. I found plenty of videos with a particular instructor who I googled and discovered that she was in fact a young, but very highly rated yoga instructor. 

I did two short routines under the instruction of Tara Stiles and a few minutes into it thought "Holy shit, I am out of shape". Not only did I loose almost all of the flexibility I seemed to effortlessly have as a teenager, but my muscles have also lost some serious strength. It's embarrassing to put your body to the test and see where you really stand health-wise. Experienced yogis do the most difficult poses with ease and I strain myself doing the plank pose. Hello Sam, this is your WAKE UP CALL! Either way, this quick yet challenging morning yoga session has reaffirmed my conviction to dedicate my body to yoga. I'm in desperate need of strength, flexibility, and an overall healthier body. I'm ready to yoga-it-up everyday in order to get there. I'd love to hear about all of your yoga experiences and tips! 

*Tip- If you have $30 or so to spend on your fitness routine, check out Groupon.com and Livingsocial.com. They always have deals on local fitness classes, especially yoga. Most deals are a month unlimited for about $30. Once you've exasperated your thirty days, hop back online to find another deal at a different yoga studio. Genius!

Until next time,
Sam

Oh, I almost forgot.....Namaste.

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Friday, September 7, 2012

Mind Your Children

Good Morning and Happy Champagne Friday Everyone!

I hope you had a good work week, or if not good, at least uneventful. Mine has been nice and calm. Now that summer is over and the kids are back to school, vacations are limited and our seasonal business has slowed down quite a bit. It's a welcomed relief after what has been a chaotic and nonstop summer. Nevertheless, I did find a little time to take a vacation.

As I mentioned in my last post, I went to Disney World in Florida. Not exactly your lounging on the beach with margarita in hand kind of vacation, but it was a lot of fun. My family goes every couple of years and this year worked out to be an adult only trip, meaning no fussy kids and no waiting hours on end to meet Mickey or ride It's a Small World over and over again. This was my first trip to Disney World and I could hardly wait for everything, except the plane ride.

Like most scaredy-cats, I don't like to fly. In fact, I sometimes get anxiety about it, especially when there is some sort of delay. But I always suck it up and get my butt on that giant death capsule to get where I am going. The only thing that can make a flight worse for someone who is already so nervous they can't stop biting their nails is a screaming baby or toddler. Anyone who flies at least once every couple of years has had the honor of sitting near a relentless child.

I don't want to come off as one of those childless women who thinks she can raise her future children better (although I kind of do, a little bit), I've just seen enough good parenting to know when someone else isn't doing their job diligence. I've been around plenty of babies and have grown a pretty solid tolerance for the array of noises they can make, but a human being stuck inside a skinny airplane can only take so much. It would only make wicked sense that on our one hour flight from Orange County to Phoenix there would be nothing but the comforting noise of the engines working properly, but we were not so lucky on our four and half hour flight from Phoenix to Orlando.

The thing about crying babies on a plane is that they usually sneak up on you, so you haven't really prepared yourself for it. While getting on the plane, stowing your carry-on, and getting situated, the baby is silent and you don't even realize it's there. After take-off, the baby discards it's well-behaved disguise and the screaming commences. This is exactly what happened on our flight to Orlando, only multiply that by two. Yes, sitting one row behind us on the adjacent side was a single mother, no older than late twenties, and her adorable and unwavering crying twins, no older than two years.

When the screaming had continued on past an hour, my initial reaction was not simply annoyance, but anger. I turned around awkwardly in my seat to get a good look at the culprits only to see the mother completely ignoring one of her little girls. As she held one on her lap, she let the other scream and scream without so much as a comforting word. Now I felt terrible for this little girl. It went on for so long that a woman two rows up, with two teenage kids of her own, went to the neglecting mother and asked if she wanted help. You would think that a stranger coming over to help you with your tantrum-throwing child would be a wake-up call to be a better parent, but instead the mother accepted the help. The other woman sat in the seat next to the mother while lifting the ignored child onto her lap. The poor toddler immediately stopped crying. All she wanted was to be comforted! After a while, the woman got up and went back to her own kids and the little girl started crying again. The crying again escalated to screaming and the woman again got up to help. It went on like this for the entire flight.

Fast forward to yesterday while I'm browsing through Yahoo News, I come across an article about two new parents from San Francisco that had to fly to Washington DC with their three month old twins. The couple was so nervous about how the twins would handle the flight and did not want to annoy other passengers with nonstop crying. So, they made "apology bags" filled with candy, ear plugs, and a note "from the twins". Although the twins didn't make a sound during the five hour flight, the other passengers were grateful for the parents consideration.


This story restored my faith in the parents of America. This Champagne Friday, I will be toasting not only to these parents but to considerate parents everywhere! You are not only saving the sanity of the people around you, but you are also saving your children. Being ignored and left to cry for long periods of time (especially in public) can't do anything good for the kid's self esteem and well being. It's just bad parenting, and quite frankly it's mean.

Cheers to attentive parents!

Sam

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Beauty of Technology

Hello My Long Lost Readers!

I have to apologize for being MIA for the past two weeks. First week, I went on vacation. Disney World! Second week, the boyfriend had a minor surgery and I played half ass nurse. I say half ass because I was in and out of work all week and when I was around to help, he insisted on not needing any. Typical man. Needless to say, things have been a bit stressful lately. So much so, that the highlight of my week has been the discovery of Skype. Most of you are probably thinking, "Have you been living under a rock?"

Two of my friends from high school have just moved to Europe to start their own amazing adventures. One is teaching in Spain, the other is learning in London. I'm eighty percent happy for them and twenty percent jealous. My friend in Spain introduced me to Skype as an easy and, quite frankly, freaking awesome way to stay connected. Although I have known Skype existed, I had never actually used it. Now, I have no idea why I wouldn't utilize it.

It's technology like the ability to video chat that reminds me of how intelligent we are. I know Skype isn't some miraculous break-through technology, but it is a sort of basic, yet life changing kind of technology. We can visibly communicate with someone on the other side of the planet in real time. It's almost surreal. Aside from chatting with friends thousands of miles away from home, I also plan on using Skype to stay connected with those family members who despite being close in distance, I don't see as often as I'd like. For example, my sister and my two beautiful nieces live about 45 minutes up the freeway, but because I am often working weekends I don't get to see them enough. And when I actually do make it to a family function, my baby niece barely recognizes me (sad face).

When my oldest niece, now almost six years old (where does the time go?!?), was a toddler, my sister and brother-in-law were kind enough to let me live with them for a short period of time. For eight months Sage and I were roomies. When I got back on my feet, Sage walked around the apartment asking where Auntie Sam had gone. Break my heart! Ever since then, I have felt that Sage and I have had a special bond. She never forgot about me or felt shy around me. I don't want the littlest niece to hide behind my sister's butt every time I visit; bursting through the front door to give me a hug is more like it.

The solution to this unfortunate future relationship with my youngest niece is to use Skype for all it's worth. Until I get a normal nine to five job with weekends and national holidays off, I will make my sister dust off that Skype account so I can video chat with her and the girls on any night of the week. Maybe Skype sessions can make up for lacking visits and my nieces will feel closer to me. That's the beauty of technology, it prevails where we fail.

Tech-savvy,
Sam

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