ChaCha's Blog

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Adventures of a Non-Traditional (read: old) College Student

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I’m 29 10/12 (which can be reduced to 29 5/6) and I have never felt so damn old. Actually, I feel like a fraud even using the term “old” in reference to myself. But as a 30-year-old mother and college junior, whose primary company is an almost-2-year-old and a bunch of 18- to 20-year-olds who are spreading their wings for the first time, I can’t help it!

Some of my classmates (who are theoretically my peers) were born the year that OJ Simpson’s white Bronco flooded our TV screens. That is part of my conscious memory. Some of these people have no idea what life was like before 24 hour television programming. I had a conversation with an 18-year-old who had no idea that TV had ever ended. She just could not conceptualize the idea that programming would stop at a certain time. I had to reword it 3 times to get her to understand what I was saying.

Me: “The TV used to end.”
Her: “Yeah, like there were no good shows on.”
Me: “No, like the TV shows were over. There weren’t anymore on at a certain point.”
Her: “I know what you’re saying: All the good shows had ended and it was just like reruns.”
Me: “No, the actual TV stopped showing programming at a certain time. You know the colored bars? Have you ever seen those? At a certain time at night, it would switch to the bars. There was no 24 hour programming.”
Her: “Ohhhh!”

And she’s not an ignorant person. She’s actually very bright and knowledgeable, especially for her age, but there is at least a generation between us that is difficult to bridge.

Another thing I’ve noticed about this generation is that they have grown up in a world of technology as a tool for self-promotion. As a result, they put little value in different viewpoints or different opinions. I still remember the good ol’ days when being different was prized and we tried to express our individuality in various ways and respect the weirdness in others (to a certain degree, anyway).

On the positive side, though, I don’t have to read a book or online lesson to know who Monica Lewinski is, or to understand the impact of the internet on society, or know what three-way calling was, or understand how a cassette tape or vinyl record worked. They might be small advantages but I’ll take ’em!


What I Remember

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In response to a Facebook friend’s post:

I remember looking up at the sky, too, and seeing nothing but beautiful blue and a few white puffy clouds. I remember it was such a beautiful day outside and strangers talked to each other as if they were old friends. I remember the sky was beautiful. The air was still.

Driving in my car, I remember no road rage, no speeding, nobody swooping in front of me, or vice versa. I remember feeling like modern America had been transported back a few centuries but with all the conveniences today. I remember wanting to be a member of society and not just an inhabitant.

And then I remember calling Blue Cross Blue Shield of Florida to see if I needed to come into work that evening. At work, the corporate email that was sent out read, “You can do your part by being available to the 5.3 million Americans that we serve.” Laughable.

Written by chachacharlene

September 11, 2011 at 3:03 pm

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Bad Dreams

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I think the Columbine shooting is to blame for this recurring nightmare of being hunted by gunmen. I think I was in 9th or 10th grade when the Columbine shooting happened. I don’t remember the exact date, or even that it had a profound effect on me, but I definitely remember that these nightmares occurred after that.

I have a similar nightmare about seeing a bomb being dropped out of a plane. I think it’s why I hate air shows (Blue Angels, etc). I don’t go to air shows and marvel over the rate of speed or the coordination of the runs, I think about the true reason those planes exist. When I see them twirling around the sky, looping and diving, people cheering them on, I feel sick. War is not a game, nor is it a team sport! I understand, unfortunately, the necessity to have such machines and weapons but to cheer over machines which are used to kill? It’s just so barbaric. What if they brought the actual bombs instead of the planes that drop them? Would you cheer then? I would be physically sick. I’m sure I would vomit.

The funny thing about war is that the winners get to write the history books. Do you ever remember reading anywhere, at any time, about the winner of a war being wrong or admitting fault? When have you ever heard, “Well, you know that war? We never should have won it. We really were wrong.” No! It doesn’t happen! Each side has their justification.

And the innocent civilians who die? “Casualties of war.” Casualties? What kind of word is casualty, even? The stolen lives of INNOCENT people, casual? No, not according to my compass.

The more people I meet, places I go, and books I read, the more I realize that people are just people, and we are much more alike than we are different. That is not to say that there aren’t “bad” people because there are but to generalize whole cultures, races, nations of people as enemies, as expendable? You can’t just do that.

My Aunt Ena (really, my great aunt; she was my grandfather’s sister) lived during WWII. She was only a teenager during The Greenock Blitz, a Nazi air strike against the town because of its shipyards. The Nazis bombed the whole town at random. My Aunt Ena and Uncle Eddie used to tell stories about that time. As one of the stories goes, when the bombing stopped, my Uncle Eddie used to sneak out of his house and run to where he could see my Aunt Ena’s building, just to make sure it was still standing. Can you imagine living in such an environment? My aunt and uncle might have been in someone’s enemy territory but they were just innocent kids.

That innocent kid in some country that we are bombing could just as easily be my own if circumstances were different. For me, civilian casualties will never be acceptable.

Life is sacred.

Written by chachacharlene

July 16, 2011 at 12:39 pm

Baby Green Steps

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Taking baby steps toward being more environmentally conscious/less wasteful. This is what I’ve accomplished so far:

1. Take my own cup to Starbucks. It’s glass with a plastic lid that clamps down. I always get compliments on it. $6 from Marshall’s/HomeGoods. With the $.10 cup discount, it will pay for itself in about 60 days (for those of you who are strictly concerned with the finances of it). I bought one for me and one for J. We’ve both dropped them and they are still holding up!

2. Taking my own bags to the grocery store. Is anyone else completely nauseated by the amount of plastic bags you accumulate?! Target has to be the worst, too. They’ll put 2 items in a bag. Come on! I’ve heard some people like to make their own reusable shopping bags which makes remembering to bring them easier. Something to think about.

3. Flushable/biodegradable/compostable diaper inserts. If you read up on diapers, plastic disposable diapers occupy a considerable portion of landfills! I’ve heard that cloth isn’t that much better if you’re going by environmental standards (I guess they are figuring with the carbon footprint it takes to produce and wash them? Not sure). Something that can be flushed or, better yet, composted in my own back yard? That’s pretty awesome.

4. Composting. Really, I haven’t made this change yet. I’m still waiting for Jeremy to put my compost bin together. I guess I should put my big girl panties on and assemble it myself. In the meantime there are containers of decomposing veggies already waiting to be reincarnated into black gold!

5. Using environmentally friendly/homemade cleaners. Hey, all of that stuff ends up in the river. It’s a full cycle. The sewage treatment cannot filter out the chemical agents. Also, if you use softsoap/antibacterial soaps, you should read up on the dangers of triclosan, which is currently under review by the FDA. For washing your hands, simple soap and water does the job! No need for a surgical scrub, people! (

6. I am vehemently opposed to using chemical pesticides/fertilizers on my lawn (or anywhere else for that matter). I want my kids/dogs/self to be able to be able to play in the yard without having to worry about the potential threat of toxins entering our bodies.

7. Reuse! One of the things I’ve found to reuse is baby food jars! I use them to start seeds, rinse Paisley, keep little things in, etc.

Those are just a few of the things I’ve started to do. I really want to do more but I think taking manageable baby steps will lead to lasting habits.





Written by chachacharlene

June 18, 2011 at 8:31 pm

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Family Friday

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I can’t believe that I live just one half of a mile (maybe less) from the ocean and yet a trip to the beach is rare. Tonight, we had my mom, Darryl and the girls over for dinner. Afterwards we walked down to the beach. It was already around 8pm, so the weather was perfect! The poor dogs haven’t been to the beach in forever! Delta and Boo were desperately in need of a bath, anyway, so a trip to the sand was a great call. We all had a blast.

Darryl brought a kite that I bought him as a gift for Christmas (I think). It fell to the sand at one point. Boo broke loose and began to attack it. It was hilarious and refreshing to see Boo with such energy!

Even Paisley had a blast. I’m not sure whether it was the breeze coming off the ocean tickling her, or the excitement of the dogs running around, but she was making all sorts of happy sounds!

I think she sees the dogs as giant teddy bears or living cartoon characters. Nothing cracks her up like the dogs. I don’t usually let her touch them for a few reasons. First of all, they go out and eat/roll in god knows what and, being in the teething phase, Paisley’s hands are always in her mouth. I like to try to avoid exposing my child to something that could make her seriously ill. Secondly, the dogs aren’t completely comfortable with this weird, tiny creature that has completely taken over the house and our lives; so I like to spare them while I still can. Once in a while, though, I let her interact with them and touch them. I think it’s her favorite thing on the planet. She squeals with excitement!

Destiny and Gabby had a blast, too. A week or two ago, I had them plant cilantro and basil seeds in baby food jars. I’m quite surprised at how much they enjoy caring for them. After they water their seedlings, they always want to go look at the tomato and pepper plants in my little garden. I’m thinking we need to plant some more food items now that I have this free (yet unskilled) labor!

The girls loved the beach, too. I let them take Boo and Kittie running through the water (Delta isn’t as familiar/comfortable with the beach, so she stayed with us). They got soaked. Gabby walked home like she’d peed herself. I kept making fun of her but it didn’t seem to bother her as much as I would’ve liked 😉

My goal is to have more days like today: simple and fun.





Written by chachacharlene

June 11, 2011 at 5:06 am

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A whole year?

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I can’t believe I started this blog over a year ago and I never used it! I really wish I had been blogging all this time because my life is so much different now! I started this before I was even pregnant and now my baby is 4 months old! Crazy! I find that when I blog I become more observant and more analytical. So, I’m going to start blogging again. I don’t really have anything specific to talk about, so I’ll just make this a journal-style entry.

Paisley has been sick for a few days with RSV/Bronchiolitis. I’ve gone nuts. The doctor was telling me about the virus and said something like this, “There’s a point where they might not make it because the wheezing/difficulty breathing and coughing are too exhausting for them, particularly if they are premature, small, etc, (which Paisley is NOT) and we just don’t know what the point is. Sometimes they continue to get worse for up to 6 or 7 days before they start to get better.  In the hospital all we can do is put them in an oxygen tent and give them IV fluids until their body fights it off.” OK, “might not make it” was the most horrific thing she could have said to me. So I went home and put her under a cool mist humidifier, bought eucalyptus and peppermint oils to put in the vaporizer to help her breathe. Then, the next day she was still wheezing. I called the dr’s office  and mentioned how I was disturbed by the “might not make it” line. When we went in the dr apologized to me and said that what she meant was “might need to go to the hospital.” She apologized profusely and assured me that she would never let

her get even close to that point. They must think I’m an absolute nutcase. They are right.

I wonder if parenting does this to everyone or if I’m in the minority. This is why I say I’m one and done! I just can’t even think about anything being wrong with her. I know that’s no way to live–constantly worrying. So I’m really trying to manage it.

I will be making a conscious effort to not make this a total baby/parenting blog. But since, OBVIOUSLY, being a mother now takes up my entire life it’s going to make its way in. Deal with it.

Current TV favorites: Modern Family, Teen Mom 2, 30 Rock, The Office
Current Hobbies: bike rides, buying/shopping for bikes, learning how to fix them & reselling them, Yelping
Current Favorite Bike: Marin Eldridge with slicks
Current Classes: Public Speaking, Earth/Space Science @ FSCJ

Fuel Economy: Infinity MPG

Now that I’ve started, I feel like I have a million topics to write about. Ending this now before it gets too long-winded.

Check back soon.


Written by chachacharlene

February 24, 2011 at 5:08 am

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Hello world!

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Blogging used to be a big part of my life. It was a wonderful outlet and I really enjoyed it but lately it has all turned inward and only sometimes comes out in short status update bursts on Facebook and Twitter. I’m ready to share my emotional outbursts, strong opinions and ridiculous ideas with the blog-reading world again. Let’s see how much trouble I can get into this time around!

Written by chachacharlene

December 30, 2009 at 1:48 am

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