S-E-X

Let’s talk about sex.  Here’s a story from a woman at work that I heard during our holiday party yesterday:

My kids aren’t allowed to say “sex” or “sexy” or any of that.  But they’ll find it in games — I don’t know why, it’s always the games — and they’ll come running, “Mommy! Mommy! This game has a bad word in it!  Should we take the card out?” […]  And then [child] the other day was like, “Mom, what does S-E-X mean?” and I was like Oh, crap! “It means like whether you’re a boy or a girl.”  [Co-worker asks how old child is.]  He’s 8.  Seems a little young to know about all of that.

It is not my place to tell you what to teach your child and when to do it, but you’d better believe I am going to judge.  This poor child is going to be sexually mature within the next decade, and he will have spent at least the first decade of his life thinking that “sex” and all things associated with it are bad and forbidden like other (actually) bad words.  Talk about baggage.  In some part of his mind, that’s going to stick with him for decades.

There are definitely things you are slowly initiated into over time, like your knowledge of sex.  My family was one in which your questions were answered.  Anatomically, with hand-drawn diagrams of various organs that could take over the dinner table, food half-forgotten.  I really appreciate that in retrospect.  Sex was what brought about babies.  I could understand that.  I could understand the body parts I had and the body parts male bodies had and how they worked together, which at least made sense logically, although it did seem a little sketchy where motivation was concerned.

I do remember, though, one Christmas when one of my cousins was in town and she was telling a story and stopped suddenly and was like, “Wait, do your kids know about sex?” to my mom.  And my mom answered, “Yes, but they think we’ve only done it three times.”

My mind was blown.

The idea that people would have sex to have sex and not for babies was confusing.  And I had previously believed all sex lead to a baby, so I was not sure why I only had two siblings if my parents had had sex more than three times.

I remember the “Joy of Sex” books on one of our bookcases, although I’m not sure I ever pulled them out.  I remember trying to look up “oral sex” in the dictionary with a friend because I had a puberty/sex book that mentioned but did not explain it.  I remember totally wanting to avoid the topic completely for most of my teens because I knew I wasn’t thinking about sex in the same way as everything had informed me I would (spoiler alert: totally gay).

Everyone has a different journey growing up and learning about sex.  But I really feel for that 8-year-old, who either doesn’t know how to pronounce S-E-X as a word or feels so much shame around it that it must be spelled.  Puberty is going to hit that kid hard.

25 by 25: Completion

Today is my 25th birthday. I would like to report that I completed by 25 by 25 list.  Here is a post giving evidence to that fact.

A few reminders about this: not everything happened in the last year.  This list is half a bucket list for my 24th year, half a bucket list for my first quarter-century of life.  Additionally, the list changed a little throughout the year, especially in the last six months as it became apparent that some things would be impossible.  I never replaced a task with something I had already done, so I think that’s legal.

1. Go streaking

This happened senior year of high school.  We were having a senior marching band girls sleepover.  We may or may not have wound up naked on the marching band field, performing our show (singing, no instruments).

The singular almost-proof picture

The singular almost-proof picture

 

2. Go skinny dipping

Eh, this one is almost a freebie.  This has happened a couple of times.  I’m convinced it’s inevitable when you spend large amounts of time next to and on a lake.

 

3. See Pacific ocean

When I wrote this list, I was in a job I didn’t like and I intended to stay in that job until the summer, quit, take a month long road trip that would involve a train to Seattle, a leg down the coast, and coming back up Route 66.  That was how I was going to see the Pacific ocean.  Instead, in October, I quit my job.  A week or two into unemployment, I had a new offer, so I took an impulse trip to visit my friend Gwen in Vancouver in my remaining unemployed time.  Vancouver happens to be on the West coast.

Not the ocean, but from the same trip

Not the ocean, but from the same trip

Recently, my dad informed me that I had already seen the Pacific ocean on a vacation we took when I was in 4th grade.

 

4. Take a road trip

In a desperate attempt to cram everything in prior to today given a lack of time off, I decided to make Labor Day weekend a Road Trip weekend.  My dad came with me, and it was awesome.  We went out to the Badlands and Rushmore and the Black Hills.

In the Badlands

In the Badlands

 

5. Get a cat

I guess I had two cats when I wrote this list, but one of them was very new to me.  And the other one is my heart cat.

Seriously, how can you resist?

Seriously, how can you resist?

 

6. Lose the v card

Check! (2010, for those who question whether it was a this-year goal.)

 

7. Learn to wakeboard

Wakeboarding is my absolute favorite thing to do in the world.  There is no way it could not be on this list.

Tearing it up

Tearing it up

 

8. Learn to drive

Yeah, I did that.  I just remember the whole process being painful.  Explicitly, I remember driving to the lake with the whole family in the car one night in the pouring rain and having a stubborn match with the parental whose side of the family is known for stubbornness.  First, I wanted to quit and the parental wanted me to keep going.  Then eventually with much yelling and crying and stuff, the parental wanted me to quit and I wanted to keep going.  I don’t really remember the details.  I just remember being relieved when I was switched out of the driver’s seat.  Plus, like, I learned to drive, so water under the bridge, you know?

Me and Ted, my car

Me and Ted, my car

 

9. Go to casino

I went to the casino in like late winter/early spring, and I came back with a return of 110%.  How?  I played a slot machine until I won, no matter how small, and quit.  It was great.  I won like a buck on the ten I put in.

Winnings voucher!

Winnings voucher!

 

10. Go to valley fair

Valley Fair is the Six Flags of Minnesota, since apparently it is not cool enough to have its own Six Flags like every other part of the country.  I went with my friend Emily this summer.  It was fine and stuff.  Average theme park.

Cats should be allowed at theme parks.

 

11. Go to concert

Prior to this year, I had never been to a non-classical concert.  My friend Jen and I went to see The Backstreet Boys.  Which always should have been my first concert.  Just maybe 12-14 years ago.

We were instructed to "Scream like you're 15 again!"

We were instructed to “Scream like you’re 15 again!”

 

12. Make french silk pie

My friend Brian and I made a french silk pie when I visited him in March(?).  It was disgusting.  I will never be using that recipe ever again.

All pie except that pie. That pie we made was gross.

 

13. Go berry picking, make jam

This was a thing I did right before my 24th birthday, so it practically counted, right?

Yummy yummy

Yummy yummy

 

14. Buzz head

Again, technically I did this just before my 24th birthday, but my 24th year involved actually living with that buzzed head and all the growing out phases following that.

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15. Go to (college) homecoming

My first year out of undergrad, I missed it so badly that it was too painful to go back to campus until the spring, and even then, the few times I did go down there, I mostly met up with friends in town rather than actually hang around campus.  So for my 25 by 25, I made it a goal to go to the formal Homecoming Weekend.  It was a lot of fun.  I enjoyed being on campus in a new, graduated adult role.

Um Ya Ya!

Um Ya Ya!

 

16. Go to Mount Rushmore

This happened on my road trip with my dad.  Admittedly, it determined the location goal of said road trip.  Anyway, Rushmore’s pretty cool.

Four heads?  I think it needs a fifth.

Four heads? I think it needs a fifth.

 

17. Get published

I have been published twice.

Once, in middle school, I submitted an article about a friend of mine for New Moon magazine’s (link: https://www.newmoon.com/magazine/) Beautiful Girls issue.  It was selected.  This has been a huge embarrassment both then and ever since because 1) they did not keep a single word of what I actually wrote and 2) I was soooo crushing on this friend and had no idea, but I knew then that it wasn’t normal, so it was weird then, and it’s weird now because it’s one of my cringe-worthy early gayball stories.

The second time I was published was in the Electronic Journal of Linear Algebra.  You can read (or try to, anyway) that article here:

MY MATHEMATICAL CONTRIBUTION TO THE WORLD

 So FYI, I am a published mathematician.  For now and forever.

 

18. Finish quilt

I finished my t-shirt quilt in junior(?) year of college.  It was a huge endeavor.  It took me many years.  I am very proud of it.  Somehow, despite the 42 squares on this quilt, I still have too many t-shirts.

No bed has these proportions

No bed has these proportions

 

19. Play ukelele

I bought a ukelele this year and learned to play it.  I love it.  I have tried to have skype jam sessions with two people now.  Those are less successful than the ukelele in general.

Ukelele involves singing. Cats are not invited.

 

20. Wildcard – anything you’ve never done before

I have no idea what I intended for this.  Here are some things I did for the first time this year: go to a Dakota, take ownership for a database, join Instagram, tweet, run a 5K without walking, buy a bridesmaid’s dress, use a 3D printer, hire a house-sitter, and break a bone.

Radial neck fracture.  And a busted up face.

Radial neck fracture. And a busted up face.

 

21. Visit Megan

I visited Megan on a whim in April and then again this summer after her surgery.  Both times we got Brahm’s.  I have concluded that the presence of Brahm’s is Texas’s greatest redeeming factor.

Brahm's, bitches

Brahm’s, bitches

 

22. Go to Europe

Did this prior to this year.  I went to London in high school with band, and then studied abroad in Budapest in college.  I also visited Prague and Amsterdam on the study abroad trip.

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23. Do a shot

I had never done a shot prior to this year.  DO NOT MOCK ME.  There is nothing wrong with not being stupid.  Anyway, I had some purple thing the same night I went to the casino with Jen.  It was fine.  Nobody died.  I see no reason to avoid or repeat the experience.

This is what I drank.

This is what I drank.

 

24. Make a real live used webpage

I think this was a late addition, because that job I started in November was doing web development.  And I wanted to be useful enough on the team that I was actually developing web stuff.  My first application got released sometime this spring.  Unfortunately, it is behind a login that y’all don’t have access to, so I can’t show it off.

Workin’ hard. Look at that 25-year-old maturity.

 

25. Ride a motorcycle

My friend Jen (boy, she was quite the accomplice for this list) said she would take me on her motorcycle.  It was terrifying.  And exciting.  Mostly terrifying.  I think I prefer jet skis — same effect, lower risks.

Riding into year 25!

Riding into year 25!

Fundraising Failure

In my last semester of undergrad, getting all excited to get out of there, I had all these wild ideas about everything I was going to do with my new found time (yeah, right) and freedom.

I was going to:

  • Continue with my math research just for funsies
  • Actually date
  • Get back into swimming
  • Be a regular yoga-er
  • Make meal plans and cook and just generally eat awesomely
  • Get my cat back from my parents
  • Read a ton, join a book group (or three)
  • Stop picking (google “dermatillomania”)
  • Stay in super close touch will all of my college friends
  • Volunteer regularly
  • Travel a bunch
  • Become a runner

Some of these things I have accomplished, some I am working on.  Some are hopeless, at least for the time being.  Something I find really funny: in your senior year, all sorts of people ask you what you’re going to do with all the free time you’ll have once you graduate.  I would like to know: was that a joke?  They never asked it like a joke, but there is way more free time in college than out of it.  Like just take naps, for example.  There was time to NAP in college.  Now that is just a mystical word reserved for a Sunday afternoon approximately once every six months.  Seriously.  This is not funny.  I want my heightened hopes back.  And my randomly timed snoozes.

 

Anyway, you will notice that many of my items involve being more active.  And I have done pretty well on that part, overall.  One thing I also promised myself was that if I followed through with the more active stuff, I was not going to ask people for money all the time.  A lot of rides and runs and triathons involve fundraising, and I decided I was only going to ask people for money once a year.  One event.  Everything else, I’d register, make a small donation, and call it quits.  No bombardment.  So my one thing is the MN AIDS Walk, like it has been for the past several years.  Check it out: http://mnaidswalk.org/kelseylied

 

Then I started working for a non-profit — Be The Match (bethematch.org).  And we have a 5k.  And I’m going to do it.  And true to my promise, I made my fundraising goal low enough that if I didn’t get any support, I’d just make the donation myself.  But I do want to consider at least putting this out there, not actually for your wallet’s sake, but to raise awareness about the company and what we do.  If you’re young enough, you should seriously consider getting on the registry (see the link above).  If you’re older, you might consider making a donation…  possibly through my 5k participation…  just a suggestion…  Be The Match Walk+Run

 

So there you have it.  I broke my rule.  Now if only I could nap that disappointment off.

Where I’ve Been

Besides becoming increasingly unreliable in the blog-o-sphere (and, accordingly, maybe providing myself inadequate as a librarian — librarians love blogging, far more than normal people), I have been:

 

river

 

  • Losing mercilessly to my parents on FitBit
  • Preparing for these guys to come talk at my school in October
  • Getting my two cats better acquainted by pulling them both into a giant cat hug on a regular basis
  • Fighting the fly infestation in my apartment
  • Turning 24
  • Coping with the fact that 24 is like a way more mature feeling number than 23
  • Sleeping like there’s no morning, rather than living like there’s no tomorrow
  • Watching Orange is the New Black
  • Feeling approximately 12 again from the extent to which The Bone Season is pulling me in
  • Checking off every 15 minutes at work to make it through the day
  • Learning the difference between dependent and independent variables for at least the 6th time in my education
  • Forgetting to call everybody back
  • Going outside
  • Riding my bike after dark while being decked out in lights and reflectors to the point that I am the brightest thing on the road

…and starting squabbles between my parents by texting them pictures of baby bunnies:

 

Me: (with picture of baby bunny) Look what I found

Dad: Kill it!  Kill it with fire!

Mom: Robert! That is exactly the kind of comment that makese me not want to spend the weekend with you

Quitting Time!

In 4 days, I will have been at my current (first real adult) job for 1 year.

 

And just when I was thinking that maybe my plan would be to make it the second year, then go gain some library experience, Compliance announces that they’re cutting off “access to personal web email on a Company-owned laptop or desktop device.”

 

Booooooooo.

 

Not cool, man.  Also, it’s not clear if I will still be able to get to Google Calendar.

 

Ok, so this is just my initial reaction, and I know smart phones change a lot, and also, my reaction is totally Millenial.  Which is not to say baby boomers and those in-between are not equally irritated about the change, but the extent to which I feel that this is my life being infringed upon is informed by (1) the technical environment in which I was raised and (2) the stereotypical values of my generation, including autonomy and emphasis on personal life.

 

Which is to say: Email is integral to my life, as I’m sure it is to most of yours.  Almost all of my money is handled online, with email being a big part of that.  My legal notifications are through email (taxes, dmv, etc).  Heck, even my “prescription ready” notifications are emailed to me.  It sounds dramatic, but there are actual ramifications to limiting and censoring internet access.  And this isn’t even questionable content — it’s limiting basic communication that people are expected to have.  We talk about this a lot in school — free internet, including access to email, is a huge reason that libraries are increasingly important, especially as more moves online.  People need access to that method of communication to live their lives equitibly.  Limiting internet access is limiting access to basic services.

 

So I’m irked.  Because even if they mean well, for the best interests of the company, it’s censorship.  And we already tolerate a fair bit of censorship for the company — social media, suggestive content, etc.  Those things make some more sense, and probably are not going to impact your life to the same extent.  But without email, my life — possibly my financial capability, my legal status, even my health — is actually impacted.

 

This is the world in which we live, and as it is a new world, we can decide what we will tolerate and where right and wrong lie.

 

P.S.  It is also bogus that I can’t check my email, but I will still be able to write a blog.  Just saying.

 

P.P.S.  Mom, relax.  I’m not making an rash decisions.  I’m just evaluating my belief system as a young adult in the world.

 

 

Here’s to a Year

I graduated college (undergrad) a year ago this weekend.  And it has been a HUGE year.  My life is not so incredibly unpredictable, but here are the things I may have not believed and/or been skeptical about a year ago:

  • I have lived in three places in the last year, and living by myself is by far the best solution.
  • I can survive a month without internet and still be a (somewhat unreliable) blogger.
  • I have a blog!  …I used to be firmly opposed to this concept.
  • I own: a bed, a bedroom set, a futon, a table, a full set of pots and pans, a kitchen aid mixer, and a CAR.  As well as insurance plans protecting all of the above.
  • It’s okay to work a job you hate to make longer term plans work out.  Similarly, you don’t have to give up all of yourself to do so.  Just your soul.
  • Running is something that feels good.
  • I can legit get legally married in this state, as well as over ten others.
  • Internet dating is not always super sketchy.  But it is terribly time-consuming.  But it’s also a great place to find book clubs.
  • Fruit is better than chocolate.  Almost.
  • I am in grad school, and I’m not sure if it’s a life plan or a hobby or something in between, and that’s okay.
  • I only see my friends once or twice a month, rather than at every meal, and we’re okay.  Similarly, there are other friends I haven’t seen in months, and we’re still tight.  The internet makes a hell of a difference.
  • Action figures have a purpose that is not frowned upon: desk toys.
  • Not wearing jeans every day, will, in fact, kill me.  Luckily, there’s always some point in the day to pull them out.
  • All baked goods can be made in a pie pan.
  • Smart phones are useful.  Still annoying, but useful.
  • I need a larger filing box.  But also, doing my own taxes was not hard.  Budgeting, however, can be difficult.
  • There is never enough time.  This one is funny because when you graduate, everybody’s like, “Think of all the time you’re going to have!  Yeah, you’ll work, but then you’ll have these evenings and weekends just to do whatever you want!”  They were crazy.  If they don’t have enough time, why would my life be any different?
  • You can legit ask a waiter for the wine “closest to juice” — it may not be the fanciest way to go about ordering wine, but it is sincerely effective.
  • People think you are just a generic “twenty-something.”  Your face does not brand you as “super young” the way freshmen are branded in school.
  • Sleeping past seven is sleeping in.  Even on the weekends.
  • Coffee is not always disgusting.  And tea, in fact, is pleasant.