Frank’s 100th Post Extravaganza!

Dino image:

Well, holy crap. Welcome, All Ye Friends of Frank, to the 100th Post Extravaganza.

What will this extravaganza entail, you ask?

That’s an excellent question. And I’m going to be really honest with you, [insert your name here], I don’t really know. I’m going to make it up as I go.

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Reach Out and Spurn Someone

I’ve read a number of blogs lately with the theme of not being afraid to reach out when you need someone. These posts typically include lines like, “We may have never met, but if you feel like you’ve got no where else to go, please talk to me” or “I’m always here.” Pretty standard stuff.

This is, I assume, at least in part because the social media circles with which I have affiliated myself over the past year have seen a number of suicides recently, which has everyone shaken up. Oddly enough, this is the second community I’ve belonged to in the past year that has seen an unusually high number of suicides. The town where I live saw three of them in 6 months — all teenagers. The students rallied for some kind of support group. The administration largely ignored them.

Imagine that. One group of people reaches out for another, and is promptly bitten in the hand.

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…And Now Ahead

In my last post, I spent some time looking back and reflecting on someone I used to be. This time, I want to look ahead and think about someone I want to become. Some of this may sound hypocritical now, but I hope I can work that out in time.

There are a few reasons why I’m not sure that having my own kids someday is in the cards for me. This isn’t really the forum on which I wish to discuss that, but suffice it to say that I would like to have my own family with my own children. Tonight I really got to thinking about what kind of parent I would like to be, and even though I’ve been mulling over it for about four hours now, I’m not totally sure it’s completely fleshed out. Then again, how can one ever know these things so far in advance? At any rate, this may not be so well-constructed.

First and foremost, I never ever ever want to belittle my children and give them any reason to doubt themselves. I never want to tell them that they’re worthless or that they’ll never amount to anything (or make them feel as such). I never want to cause them to sit around wondering where they went wrong in life and what they did to deserve my wrath. I want to support them and let them know that even if I don’t always agree with them, I trust them (this, of course, goes to a point; if they’re doing something dangerous, that’s another set of rules) and their decisions. I want them to know that their happiness is what matters most. I also don’t want to discourage them from ever thinking that they can’t be anything at all that they want to be. If they spend their entire childhoods pursuing a dream and then suddenly decide to change it, I will not be disappointed in them. I will not consider them failures for changing their minds. I will consider them brave for wanting to do something new. Continue reading

The Brother

When I was little, I always wanted a big brother. I think it was something I hoped would give me some kind of protection from the teasing; however, the closest thing I had was a handful of male cousins who were older than me, and only one of whom I was close to. He was a year ahead of me in school, and when my friends went through their bad boy stages, they all had crushes on him. He was nice to me, but he was something of a rebel. He could be scary when he wanted to be, but he wasn’t really protective the way I imagined an older brother would be. The one exception was when I was in 8th grade and mustered up the courage to let my friend tell this boy in band that I liked him. That boy replied by saying that he didn’t care, he didn’t like me, and that I was fat. After that, my cousin could be found staring this guy down, making threats in his general direction, and, one time, “accidentally” causing him to fall down the stairs. Whoops.

In the winter of third grade, my mom told my sister and me that she was going to have a baby in the summer. After two girls, my parents were certain that baby #3 would be a girl too. Girly things were purchased or taken out of storage. A pink dress accompanied them to the hospital. I was promised my own room because the baby would room with my sister. It was one of the perks of being the oldest. I remember waking up ridiculously early in the morning on the day my mother was scheduled to have the baby (I had to be born as a C-section, meaning that my sister and baby #3 were too). I was so excited. They took me to my Grandma’s house where my sister had spent the night and we waited. And we waited. And we waited some more. Somewhere just before lunch time, my dad called to tell us that we did not, in fact, have a sister. We had a brother (a brother who would remain nameless for a day or two because they weren’t really prepared with boy names). I started crying immediately. For all these years, I’ve been thinking that I started crying because I wasn’t going to get my own room now, and I’m certain that was part of it. But I think part of me was also just so happy to finally be able to say “I have a brother.” It’s almost 18 years later, and it still sounds somewhat foreign on my tongue. I still get a little kick out of saying “I have a brother.” I knew he would never be the older brother who would stick up for me, but I was still just happy to have him. I spent a lot of time taking care of him when he was little. I didn’t have a choice. My sister was 7 when he was born (I was almost 10) and both of my parents worked. By the time I was 12, I was home alone quite frequently with Mr. Terrible Twos.  Continue reading

The Invincibility Complex

Like most teenagers, I had a mouth on me. I got myself into trouble by making sarcastic comments at my mother and other family members in evil tones (there’s a difference, see. Now I make sarcastic comments at her, but I say them in a joking tone and so she doesn’t want to smack me that way).  Also like most teenagers, I found myself grounded frequently with no use of the phone, computer, or television. In a shocking move, I was also pretty moody.

Where I differed from most teenagers was that instead of feeling like I was invincible, I always felt the exact opposite. I always felt like danger was lurking just around the corner and something really bad would happen to me if I didn’t work hard enough to keep it away. I think that perhaps the fact that my life as a teenager wasn’t quite as carefree as most of my peers’ had something to do with it. Then again, it also could have been a lot worse.  Continue reading

Angels and Saints

You know those dates that, for whatever reason, just seem to stick in your head, giving you pause for even just a second during the day? On June 6 each year, I always think about graduating from high school. On May 15, I always think about graduating from college. They’re like personal anniversaries. For the past four years, every February 7th, I have thought about my grandmother. Continue reading

Agriculture. Yeah.

A few weeks ago while looking for something else, I found a box full of really old photo albums in the tiny storage area behind my parents’ bed. Being one who loves to look at old pictures, I took the box downstairs and began going through it. In one of the albums, there were a lot of pictures of farm animals and the like, and my parents were quick to point out that those pictures were from the last time they went to the Pennsylvania State Farm Show – back in 1977. Having grown up on a farm, my mom always enjoys this kind of stuff, so she decided she wanted to go this year to…. relive the good old days? I have no idea. Continue reading