Thursday, June 24, 2010

Am I a Hallmarker?

...I sure hope so.

I've always had a thing for greeting cards. Ask my first boyfriend - I think I gave him close to 100 cards in the almost four years we dated. I'm good with the tearjerkers (especially with my mom) and I just have an overall love for cards.

I recently realized I say the phrase, "I need to do that before I die..." about 10 times a week, no exaggeration. I realized that maybe it was time to start writing these things down. Call it a bucket list (although some people prefer the title 'list of really cool things i want to do') or whatever you want, but I started writing mine out. I'm up to about 50 but the first one I wrote down was "Have a card published by Hallmark."

I've always wanted this and any of my close friends know this. It wasn't until last week when I stumbled upon a little website called when I realized I might have a serious shot at this.

On that site, they host different contests throughout the year (almost every month there is a different topic that you can submit a card for) and then they choose a selection of cards to be sold on their website. if your card is chosen, you get $250! From there, they narrow it down even more and choose another select group of cards to actually physically be sold in the store.

Needless to say, I HAVE to submit. Entries for the current contest opened on June 7th and the deadline is June 28th (next Monday). Since I found out about it so late in the game, I have been cramming to try to come up with some card ideas that are good enough to submit. I have a few ideas that I'm really excited about and will officially be submitting my first card(s) to Hallmark this evening!!!

I'm just grateful that Hallmark has these contests that give people like me (who don't want to up and move to Kansas City, MO to be close to the Hallmark HQ) a shot at actually crossing one of the biggest things off of my 'bucket list.'

I've already warned a few people that if my card is chosen (whether it be online AND in-store or just simply online) I'm pretty positive I'm going to cry like a baby. Well, cry like a baby and buy hundreds of my card.

Even if I don't get chosen, I'm still very excited about the opportunity. and if nothing else, at least these contests will help me gain some experience and build up a little collection for myself.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Happy National Lobster Day!

Happy National Lobster Day!!!! Who knew? 6/15 is National Lobster Day and I can't help but think of my two best friends, Liz and Nicole. This picture was taken on Nicole's 21st birthday in Atlantic City - an awesome night none of us will ever forget.

I had plans to hang out with my friends Kayleigh and Brianna this Friday and then I was going to head down to South Jersey Saturday morning. A change of plans popped up when I talked to Nicole, who now lives in Ohio, and she told me she would be home in South Jersey this weekend. She’s driving home to surprise her family for Father’s Day and her dad’s birthday. She’s doing family things (her dad’s birthday party) Saturday night and Sunday but will be free Friday night if I wanted to hang out. I felt bad cancelling my plans with Kay and Bri but they understood immediately.

Liz now lives outside of Baltimore, MD and Nicole by Cincinnati, OH. I’ve known these two since 1999 and I’m so lucky to still call them my best friends 11 years later. Although we don’t get to see each other nearly as much as we’d like, we clearly jumped at the opportunity to all get together this Friday. We don’t even have big plans – it’s very possible that we’ll end up sitting in Nicole’s backyard with some drinks, just hanging out like old times – and the best part is that we all love that idea. We don’t need to go out and spend all this money, the most important thing is that we’re actually going to get to spend some time together.

Let me explain the lobster reference for anyone who may not know. Before we all left for college in 2004, I became very scared/nervous/anxious about all of my friendships. I had a very strong friendship circle all throughout high school and I was not ready to lose that as we all went off to college. I’ve always been obsessed with the TV show, Friends, and I remember watching it one night when “The One With The Prom Video” came on. I had seen it before, but it never really struck me. There’s a part where Phoebe is explaining to Ross that Rachel is his lobster. Here’s how it goes:

Phoebe: Hang in there, it's gonna happen.
Ross: What? Okay, now how do you know that?
Phoebe: Because she's your lobster.
Chandler: Oh, she's goin' somewhere.
Phoebe: Come on, you guys. It's a known fact that lobsters fall in love and mate for life. You know what? You can actually see old lobster couples walkin' around their tank, you know, holding claws like...

At the very end of the episode, Rachel kisses Ross and Phoebe yells “He’s her lobster!”

This might sound lame to some people but it immediately reminded me of my group of friends. Although we’re not technically “mating,” I am definitely in love with them in a way. From then on, I called them my lobsters and it’s been our thing. Some people may have come and gone but it’s always been the three of us, and from the looks of it, it always will be. No distance (NJ vs. OH vs. MD) can break us.

So, you see, it’s quite fitting that today is National Lobster Day since I will be seeing both of my lobsters this Friday. =)

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

I really am a Fortunate Fool

It's been almost 9 months since I've last updated this blog but I needed a place to write down what I'm feeling, and I figured this was a good a place as any. I'd be surprised if anyone will even ever see this but that's no big deal.

I've had my dog Jinx since I was seven. My little brother was only 4 and I distinctly remember the day we picked him out from his litter at the shelter. I remember asking my mom if we could have all of his brothers and sisters. I remember bringing him home and running over to Adrian's house to show him off. I remember how well he got along with our old dog, Scruffy, at the time. I remember how protective Jinx used to get of me when he was younger whenever my dad would hug and/or tickle me. I remember the night we had to put Scruffy to sleep and how rambunctious he was while we were trying to get a picture of everyone before she passed. I remember crying when I moved out of my parents’ house - not because I was sad to leave my family but more because I was sad to leave Jinx. I remember all of my friends poking fun at how old Jinx was, but secretly loving him. I remember his wretched breath that he got way back when and even the Vet said there was nothing we could do about it. I remember getting teary-eyed every time I visited Atco for a weekend and had to make the trek back up to Clifton. I will remember each and every one of those things forever.

17 years later, I still love that dog like he is my little brother (sorry, Ry, but it’s true). I went home this past weekend and my family had somewhat of an intervention with me. I heard things like, “Jinx is getting so old, Shan,” “He’s in so much pain,” “We really need to start thinking about putting him down,” etc. etc. We’ve had the conversation before. My entire family is scared to bring it up to me because they all know how much I love him. I respect them for that, really. Because it means they get it. They know how much I love him and they know I don’t want to hear it but they know it’s for the best. And deep down, so do I. So before I left my parents this past weekend, we agreed that we would put him to sleep the next weekend I’d be home, which will be June 19th for Father’s Day weekend.

As I drove back to Clifton, I cried and thought about Jinx and about how hard 6/19 will be for not only me, but my entire family. But by the time I arrived in Clifton, I had pretty much accepted it and come to terms with the fact that we would be putting my best friend of 17 years to sleep. That being said, it was the last thing I wanted to think about. I figured I had two whole weeks to not think about it. Not worry about it. Not cry about it.

Until Tuesday night. I was hanging out at two of my best friends’ apartment – Cristin and Colleen's. We were having a good time. My phone rang and we even joked around that my “I want you to want me” ringtone was an inappropriate one to have for my dad calling me. And then I picked up the phone. And heard my dad crying. And I knew.

Jinx was outside and all of a sudden his front legs wouldn’t work. He’s had bad arthritis for years and I guess it finally got too bad. My parents made the executive decision to put him to sleep last night and my dad was calling to see if there was anything I wanted him to bury with Jinx. I was too upset to even think of anything but my mom did tell me she saved his collar for me. I think what upset me the most is that I had all intentions of seeing him one more time before this happened. Everything does happen for a reason, and I suppose it’s probably for the best that I didn’t have to see him like that.

I’m actually really glad I was with two of my closest friends when I found out because they were amazing. I felt silly crying so hard about a dog, but they didn’t care. In all reality, when I take a look at it, my friends are really very amazing. From Cristin giving me her stuffed animal, Donuts, to cuddle with, to Colleen snuggling up beside me, to the Dunkin Donuts breakfast Cristin bought me this morning and left on my desk, to the cupcake that Kelly gave me because she feels sad for me, to Computer Mark coming to talk to me, to Chris telling me he understands, to my boyfriend making me laugh even when all I wanted to do is cry, to the friend who completely understands that the last thing I feel like doing tonight is going out to dinner, to the countless texts and emails and facebook posts I’ve gotten from friends – old and new, those I talk to all the time and even those I don’t. I really am lucky.

And I’m not sure if I’m overreacting or what but all I do know is that Jinx has been a massive part of my life since before I can remember. I’ve been dreading 6/19 because I didn’t want to go home and face the reality that we had to put him to sleep. I’m still dreading 6/19 but now for a different reason. I don’t want to go home and face a house that doesn’t have him in it.

However, when I look back at the past 17 years, I know I just need to remember all of the good times. It really does feel like a member of my family has died, and in all reality, he has. Looking back, this is just another perfect example of why I even named this blog what I did. I suppose I really am a Fortunate Fool. Thank you, Jinx, for 17 amazing years.

I think my mom said it best when she updated her facebook status this morning to say: I guess you don't really own a dog, you rent them, and you have to be thankful that you had a long lease. RIP Jinx!! Thank you for making our lives full!!!