Tag Archives: psychology

Valentine’s: No More! [Anti-Valentine’s #9]

13 Feb

I have written about how I loathe V-Day many, many years in a row now.  And honestly, if I haven’t convinced you the contrived holiday is a terrible thing by now, I’m just not going to.  I have approached the problem from every angle I can think of.  And with all sincerity, I tried to find a fresh one this year.  Which is why I only started writing this post on the 11th.  I just can’t think of new reasons not to participate.  So I’ll just reiterate points I’ve probably made before.  With an emphasis on non-participation.


YOU CAN’T ESCAPE IT.  As you know, my dear readers, I am not a fan of Valentine’s day—to say the least.  But it’s not the kind of “holiday” that can go ignored.  It’s thrown in your face.  Advertsements for chocolate, chocolate-covered strawberries, and jewlry are suddenly inescapable.  And I don’t even have television stations or listen to radio.  Still-pervasive.  Going into the stores—forget about it!  Pink and red are poking my eyes out.  Facebook—the zoos?? Have already started contests for couples.  And the resturants are gearing up for a big income night.  Even at work, they decorated the building with hearts—one with my name on it.  And you can’t say—don’t do that without looking like a total douche-bag.  I wish I could rip my heart off the door though!  Ugh, and the talk.  Everybody will talk about the big day.  The showing off about plans already starts.  Or the sad-sacks (because that’s the camp everyone else gets lumped into) whine about not having plans.


I didn’t know this before, but even the boys will take desperation dates in order to take advantage of lonely, stigmatized women.  They want the easy sex-opportunity:  Information courtesy of the boys at work. . .  And you can’t just say you don’t believe in the day, or try to ignore it, because you are then lumped into the bitter at being a sad-sack group.  Which isn’t right and it isn’t accurate.


It’s also awkward at work, because people suddenly ask you candidly about your relationship status.  For private people, people with complicated situations, or prople trying to have discretion (read—gays in Utah) this topic is frought with danger.  It’s rude not to answer.  It’s sketchy to be vaugue.  But sharing could yield judgment or consequences.  So there’s that. . .


Now let me try to find some sort of statistics of people that believe in or participate in Valentine’s day to see what everyone else feels.

Valentines Day Statistics

Statistic Verification
Source: Retail Advertising and Marketing Associatio, Valentine’s Day Consumer Intentions and Actions Survey
Research Date: January 24th, 2016
Valentine’s Day Statistics Data
Average annual Valentine’s Day spending $13,290,000,000
Number of Valentine’s Day cards exchanged annually 180 Million
Average number of roses produced for Valentine’s Day 198,000,000
Percent of Valentine’s Day cards bought by women 85 %
Percent of all flowers purchased by men 73 %
Percent of women who send themselves flowers on Valentine’s Day 14 %
Amount the average consumer spends on Valentine’s Day $116.21
Percent of consumers who celebrate Valentine’s Day 61.8 %
Percent of women who would end their relationship if they didn’t get something for Valentines day. 53 %
Average number of children conceived on Valentine’s day 11,000
Gifts Most Often Given on Valentines Day (Allowing for multiple gifts given) Data
Candy 47.5 %
Flowers 34.3 %
Cards 52.1 %
Jewelry 17.3 %
Dining / Eating Out 34.6 %
Clothing 14.4 %
Gift Cards 12.6 %
Other Gifts 11.2 %
Valentine Related Business Statistics
Number of locations producing chocolate and cocoa products 1,233
Number of people employed by the these establishments 38,794
Revenue of domestically cut flowers $403 Million
Number of florists nationwide 24,600
Number of people employed by florists 123,600
Number of jewelry stores in the U.S. 27,484
Annual revenue from jewelry stores $2.2 Billion
Relationship Statistics
Ratio of single men in their 20’s to single women in their 20’s 1.2 to 1
Ratio of sinlgle men 65 or older to single women 65 or older 0.33 to 1
Number of dating service establishments nationwide 904
Average number of marriages annually 2.16 million

Women’s Day Blog Posts

8 Mar

Here is a list of posts that I was moved by today:














And PS, right now I’m watching GI Jane which is very on-the-nose today, but I’m totally loving it, and totally infuriated/inspired by it.


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Merry Christmas, Grandpa George!

21 Dec

I always think of my Grandpa George during this time of year.  As a child, I always got just the right trinket from Grandpa George.  Unlike my Aunts, who gave me awkward, age-inappropriate gifts, and my maternal grandma who sometimes would remember, and sometimes even included a card and return address to tip us off who sent whatever it was–he always knew just what I wanted.  I had no idea until after he died that my parents were behind his gifts.  He always sent money, and if he didn’t (I still have no idea if he always remembered) my parents would buy something in his name.  Being so far away from family–that meant a lot to me, and sticks with me still today.

Hopefully, my writing will convey my true intent–I love my grandpa even though I knew there was something about him. . .  I don’t want to come across as spoiled, or hateful, or evil, but maybe this will.  That’s not my meaning at all though–just know that.

Laurel's pics 196

You probably remember every other summer we visited extended family in Montana, which included my only living Grandpa.  Instead of looking forward to this, I dreaded it, hated it, and feared it.  Then felt guilty for feeling those things.  There was something about my grandpa I found unsettling.  I’m not sure what it was exactly.  He was always kind, but sort of in his own world too.  Sometimes in the middle of a visit he would just resume his television show and be largely oblivious that we were still there.  He (and his various houses and apartments) smelled a little funny, and his hands shook.  I didn’t know what (if anything) was wrong, but even though there was family-love between us, I didn’t want to hang around him very long.  It still makes me feel terribly guilty.  But I was just a little kid, so cut me a little slack.

My grandpa never called me by my proper name.  I don’t think he had true dementia, but he always got my dad’s (his oldest son) identity wrong at first too.  Granted, he did not see us often.  When my Dad entered his house (room at the assisted-living in later years), Grandpa George would go through the list of his own brothers, then my uncle, before finally guessing my dad’s name.  Anyway, for whatever reason, Grandpa could never really get my name right either.  He would settle upon some L-name or other, usually Laurie, Laurel's pics 050never Laurel, my given name.  But despite this chronic mistake I never doubted his love or adoration.  My grandpa relished me, anyone could see that.  Despite getting my name wrong, I always knew he cared.  Still, to this day I do not get upset if people mis-label, mis-pronounce, or otherwise mistake my name.  I figure if my own grandpa couldn’t ever get it, and I couldn’t say it until I was three years old, it can’t be all that important to be a stickler over it.  It’s one of the few things I’m NOT a stickler about, funny enough.

A large part of the dread I felt was just not knowing.  I had heard snippets that my Grandpa had tried to enter the military, but was refused based on some or other mental issue.  The diagnosis was never made clear to me.  I also heard that he was made to cook for all the farm workers even as just a little guy, and his brothers (maybe his father too) beat him pretty badly on a regular basis.  The poor man had also been through the Laurel's pics 195horrors of shock therapy, which made him fearful for the rest of his life.  But back in those days you were just “crazy” so I don’t know what prompted this.

I heard that he was a big drinker, and my aunt tells stories of him taking her and her younger brother to the bar and making them sit outside on a bench (in cold Montana) while he would get wasted for hours.  And a few times my dad would go in with the intent of our family visiting my Grandpa, but he would be drinking, so we would leave, without me seeing him.  Also his hands shook.  He was incontinent for awhile, and later my grandpa was diagnosed with diabetes.  Again, I was never privy to his medical conditions, so instead of compassion, I felt weary towards him.  Today, I wish I had some diagnosis to attach to my Grandpa George.  I’m glad mental health has come so far from just “crazy” or “dirty secret” too.  I think with education comes understanding–and that unlocks many doors.  Not to mention gives a clearer picture of hereditary genetic conditions.  I find it very scary that some undiagnosed mental illness runs through my family, that I am susceptible to get.  But this post is not really about me–so that’s a topic for another day.

My memories, aside from the thoughtful gifts, are of visiting Grandpa in the summers.  He would immediately want a ride.  Usually we went to the store.  At that time, in that small Montana community, all the containers seemed to be made of glass.  I was always on edge while my grandpa’s trembling hands would reach out, knocking the glass ketchup bottles in proximity, to grasp one.  It made me very nervous and I worried he would topple all the bottles to the floor, spewing red ketchup everywhere.  Shopping with Grandpa was very nerve-wracking.

Once, my friend Crystal and I danced with Grandpa George at the home.  He was very happy when Laurel's pics 508he was dancing, and you could tell in his day he probably danced a lot.  Maybe my love of music comes from him, because I guess he was also very proficient at playing the accordion and was in a band for a time.

I also remember Grandpa telling my dad that he liked the retirement home, because “A women–she bathes me, Jim.”  Even old dudes still have testosterone I suppose.  Anyway, the comment still makes me laugh when I think of it.  I’m glad my Grandpa was well taken care of and happy at the end.

So Grandpa George, even though I didn’t know you well, and didn’t understand you–I love you.  I hope you’re having a happy holiday season in heaven 🙂

Batman is Cursed

27 Jul

I debated posting this one–I don’t have a lot to say about it, haven’t really kept up with the news about it (especially the victims), and it may be a little too cheeky for good taste.  And yet I think this is a tragic event that deserves mention.  So in order to acknowledge this as close to the event as possible, I’ll jot something down before spending an overabundance of time researching it.  [Most of my time is spent frantically trying to finish reading and outlining my anatomy text before school starts.  And I have just one more (long, long, long) chapter to go!!!!!!!]

There are a lot of reasons I think the Batman franchise is cursed, but I am going to discuss my take on James Holmes’ shooting rampage at the midnight showing.

-Don’t get down on Colorado too much.  I just know there will be many comparisons to the Columbine shootings, but violence can occur anywhere.  And this guy came from California.

-Also, we need to remember that it does no good to be fearful of public places.  Avoiding theaters is not going to accomplish anything.

-The point is–damaged people can be anybody anywhere.  This guy had a degree and looked to have a future.  And yet, something went terribly wrong.

-As an aside from my thoughts on the murderer:  A lot of the news sources are specifying that one of the victims was 6 years old.  As if the older murdered people are any less tragic.  Life is life, people.  PS–who takes their elementary-aged kid to a midnight movie showing???

-It is difficult NOT to blame the parents.  And if his mother was so certain something like this could happen, well, she should have done something to prevent it.

-I also think the parents should have been paying more attention, monitoring activities (and bedrooms), regulating behavior, and generally communicating more with the Columbine Shooters.    Parental involvement (and school activities) does a lot to curtail this stuff.

-I hate what Holmes did.  I think it sucks and it was preventable and it never, ever should have happened.  And I am not making any excuses for him–he should suffer for what he did.


-Don’t be too quick to condemn this 24 year old neuroscience graduate.  Any one of us could snap and do something extreme.  When people get desperate enough-they are capable of anything.  And undiagnosed mental illness, untreated depression, or just overwhelm could have contributed.

-I think we need to have periodic screenings for mental health.  There MUST have been some sign that James was about to lose it.  His mother didn’t seem surprised at all.  And healthcare and prescriptions need to be affordable so people having trouble can turn to those resources.  It is partially society’s fault for ignoring this stuff when it’s treatable.

-That said, once a person does snap, they need to face appropriate consequences.  I hope James Holmes does.  And I’m glad he didn’t take the coward’s way out like most and commit suicide.


25 Jul

I am about to put some facts that people will not like into my own words.  NOT lazy at all-go me!  I garnered these facts from a peer-reviewed study complete with references.  So don’t argue with me–go to the researchers of these studies and give them the ear-ful.  Even if you don’t wanna b!t(h me out for disagreeing with the hype, check out this research–it is chalk-full of interesting factoids and stats about Ciliac’s and Gluten-Free Diets.


Now that I’ve gone through the disclaimer, on to the fun stuff:  This gluten-free trend mystifies me.  I honestly do not understand where it came from, why it is such a thing now, and who it benefits.  It seems very difficult (and unnecessary in most cases) to erase all traces of gluten from a diet–and. . .  Why?  Gluten adversely affects those with Cialiacs Disease.  That’s what I gather.  And that disease, has been found in less the 1% of the population.

There is a (costly) diagnostic test for Cilia’s Disease, and I am pretty certain a lot of people demanding high maintenance food accommodations–have not been diagnosed with Ciliac’s.  Mean age of onset is 35-ish in females and 40 in males.  So why are parents making school districts go gluten-free?  Also, testing for the disease is a question, because symptoms are varied, fleeting, or entirely absent.

I suspect a few things about this trend:

1:  high-maintenance and pretentious people love getting accommodated.  Who cares if you do not actually have real (pervasive) symptoms, have never been diagnosed with Ciliac’s Disease, or even knew about this gluten free stuff before reading the internet this year.  Gluten-free demands attention, special treatment, and it’s a medical concern!

2:  Food establishments are going to capitalize on trends.  If people are talking about it, demanding it, and paying more for it–restaurants and other food sellers are going to advertise and offer it for sure.  What do they care if the trend makes SENSE or not?

3:  Someone, somewhere is putting this gluten-free stuff out there.  They are selling books, writing diet tips, and jotting things down on the internet in the hopes of making money off the idea.

There–I said it.  I think people with Ciliac’s Disease already know what they have to do to avoid symptoms.  And being a lifelong problem, they have known for a long time.  By making this gluten-free issue a trend, we are trivializing their health concerns and making ourselves look like asses in the process.  Give.  Me.  A.  Break.

Girl 27

11 Jul

MGM wanted to wine and dine their sales associates.  Invited them to L.A. and Mr. Mayer is quoted as saying “Anything you want.”  They got extras to a ranch under false pretenses–a movie call requiring western wear.  It turned out to be a party for the sales people.  With something like 1.5 cases of scotch per person.  This was a very thought-provoking documentary about a 17 year old extra (dancer), Patricia Douglas, who accused an MGM sales-rep at the party of raping her.  She had been a virgin.  Not that it would have been any less terrible (or true) if she had been sexually active.

In the 1930’s (and before) there was no sex education from parents or school.  No one talked about sex, pregnancy, or especially rape.  Rape was never even mentioned in the movies–it was avoided.  As such, rape could not occur.  When women accused it, they were stigmatized (as they are today) There was also no recourse or help when it did occur.  Like the “perfect” 1950’s, which I’ve discussed on my blog before, where things aren’t discussed, it doesn’t mean the perfect image portrayed is a true one.  The unpretty is just hidden.  And keeping secrets makes ugly, problems.  People can’t keep those sorts of things under wraps without facing consequences at some point or withering away internally.  Not talking about sex or rape, doesn’t mean sex won’t occur and rape won’t happen.  It just leaves people ignorant about sexuality and sweeps rape under the closet door with everything else unpleasant.

Along with ignorance and secrets so prevalent in that era, the institutionalized cover-up contributed to Douglas’ misery and decline.  It was the studio movie era so MGM was king.  MGM was the biggest employer in L.A.  This means they controlled police, politicians, and the majority of the public.  To cover the bad publicity, they got the doctor to give Douglas a douche PRIOR to an examination–essientially erasing all evidence.  The one witness changed his story–then got a lifetime (nicer) job at MGM.  When the case went federal, Douglas’ lawyer didn’t show up (3x) to the landmark–1st–federal trial.  Suddenly, Douglas’ mother, the minor’s custodian, came into money.  She had furs, a stable of horses, and cash–and dropped her daughter’s case.  Makes you wonder. . .

The film covers the subsequent trial (then lack of one), cover-up, and lifelong ramifications.  It is true, abuse and mal-adaptive behavior continues from one generation to the next.  Though she lived into her 80’s Douglas had died long before that.  Long term affects of the rape and the cover-up of it:  Douglas could not love or trust men, and became, in her own words, “frigid” sexually.  She never mentioned any of this to her daughter or grandchildren, but was cold toward them.  Douglas became home-bound and obese.  The only things she ever did were watch MTV all night and sleep all day.  Douglas lived with her mother, but treated her poorly.  The rift, ignorance, and pattern of abuse spans generations.

What else can you say, but rape ruins lives?  The documentary will stay with me.  I suggest you watch it too.

PS: Greta vanSustern is a total lesbian–married to a man or not.

P.S.S:  Film based on, “It Happened One Night. . . At MGM.

My Favorite Months

28 Dec

July- Independence day right into my birthday.  Always hot with super long days.  No school.  What’s not to love?!

June-School is over by this time, the weather is usually warm, and there is the whole summer to look forward to!

September-It’s still warm, and the days are still long.  It’s not so stifling or humid as in summer, but school is back in session.  Now the beautiful fall colors begin to appear and the fall festivals (and beer) begin.

August-Everything awesome about summer and long, warm days is still around–but there is the impending doom that fall is on its way.  Also, the school shopping gets out of control annoying.

October-The last remnants of warm weather and long days occur.  Fall colors are still around.  Also, this is the greatest month for brews and festivals (and Halloween)!

May-Flowers start to bloom, finally the rain of spring is beginning to clear up.  There is the hope of the end of school and hot weather.

March-Winter is oficially over, and baby animals are born.

April-Instead of super-short days and snow.  There is lots and lots of rain and mud.

November-The beginning of winter.  The snow isn’t horrible yet though, and the days are not as short as they’re going to get yet.

January-At least New Years is a time for evaluation and new beginnings.  Other than that, not much to speak of.

December-Short, dark days, snow and cold.  Christmas and holidays take over the world.  Ugly consumerism, over-spending, and work is to be done in preparation of a holiday most people have lost the true meaning of.

February-Terrible month of short days.  The weather is the coldest yet, because you feel like winter should be on it’s way out.  Everything is dark–Valentine’s day especially.  What a charade and pathetic excuse to drum up superficial love ties and spend money.

Creeped Out

15 Jun

Yesterday was my mate Cool’s birthday.  She turned 32.











Today, I had the realization that I met Mary when she was 32.











The shared-ages creeped me out severely!

Superficial Overview of “Requiem for a Dream” Part I

21 Apr

The movie is an aesthetic and unflinching look at addiction.  As an avid viewer of “Intervention” I thought I would be desensitized my the material in the film–not so.  Though the word “heroin” is never explicitly mentioned, the implicit consequences of its use is pervasive in the film.  The artistic cutting of the scenes with help from the tasteful instrumental soundtrack lends a dramatic and edgy truth to the four characters portrayed.  The syncopation of both the jerky scenes, illusions of being right opn the action, and irregular melodies of the music focuses the viewer’s perceptions right on the drugs.  Instead of preaching about the deleterious effects of drugs the film leaves this message unuttered.  The tacit “drugs are bad” message is effective because of just that fact–it is implied and evident.

A brief (and superficial) overview of main characters:

The son steals his mother’s beloved television (repeatedly) to pawn for drug money.  The primary motivation is satisfying his constant (selfish) craving for drugs.  His only true long-term aspiration seems to be making a big score to get a lot of money.  He engages in a plot to get more drugs, the machinations to buy his lonely mother a TV, and a vague scheme to become close to his girlfriend.

The mother is lonely despite being shown sunbathing in front of the apartment building with the close-knit community of other aging gals.  She constantly watches a motivational infomercial on TV and wishes to get on TV.  Her main plan is to fit into a red dress–but she must lose weight to achieve this end.  She finds a doctor to prescribe diet pills after a chance mention of a friend who lost weight this way when she was sidewalk sunbathing.

Like our main character, the best friend is a wholly devoted sybarite–interested mostly in the next fix.  He regularly reminisces about his own mother’s love, while getting more and more invloved in the business of the drug underworld.  He is caught up in the drama on the streets and ends up in jail temporarily.

The girlfriend’s parents have masses of money, yet she langors into addiction with the rest instead of whole-heartdly pursuing her garment business.  It seems she is seeking out some mercurial entertainment in her relationship with the main character–and with drugs.  Her capricious behavior quickly pushes her towards using her sexuality to garner drugs.

These four are a phalanx of desperation at the end of the movie.  The last scene is one of the most powerful in all of film–the director is obviously an expert.  Being somewhat of a connoisseur of addiction media, devouring television, documentary, and blockbuster films as well as real life news articles, I was still left just sick to my stomach from this film.  It is one of my favorite movies, yet it just makes me feel (for lack of better word) icky after I’ve taken it in.