Boo your friends for Halloween

Why stop at April Fool’s Day when you can enjoy all of October?

Yesterday, we were booed for the first time this year. No, we didn’t get booed off stage from a performance; we were tricked by some close friends! They made candied apples and left them on our front porch table, then knocked and quickly drove away. They even left a sign that informed us that we had been “Booed!” by them!

If you’ve never booed anyone—or been booed before—for Halloween, this is a great time to get started. You can Boo! any way you want, whether it’s by using a sweet surprise like this example or playing practical jokes on your friends. I absolutely love practical jokes—everyone hates me during April Fool’s—and really enjoy going that route for sure.

A fun place to start your Booing process is Five Below, a new store that we checked out recently. Everything is $5 and below, and though you can find many of the items even cheaper at other stores, the place has a really great section of practical joke stuff. We bought an egg that’s shaped like a bouncy ball, but when you throw it, it looks like a splattered egg all over the floor. It’s really cool, economical, and a great joke that won’t hurt anyone (not even a chicken!). They have lots of other classics, too, from trick gum to whoopee cushions. They also have lots of Halloween stuff in now.

Another wonderful place to check out great Boo ideas is Ellen Degeneres’s show. The woman knows how to play a practical joke, and many of them are scary! Click here for some favorites. Even if you decide that you don’t want to pull off any pranks of your own, you will laugh so hard from just watching these that it will be worth it!

To Boo everyone, you could go out in public wearing a costume for the day. That would be a lot of fun, especially if it’s scary—though I don’t recommend doing this around children. You could always be something funny, too, like Gumby or an animal or something. Be sure to stay in character!

Another thing you can do is something that we recently did, which is buying a fake arm from the Dollar Store and adhering it to your trunk as if a body is trapped inside. Ours came with blood on it, but you can opt for it or not, of course.

Friends are Like Bras

Close to your heart and there for support.

I have some amazingly fantastic friends. I am nearing the end of my undergraduate education (51 days until I graduate wooo-hooo!) and have therefore been considering what to do afterwards. My first thought was law school, but after finding out that because of previous academic mistakes the likelihood of gaining acceptance to a decent school, sans a Stay-Puft Marshmallowman-sized miracle, would not exist. In the midst of this research, I read an article about a young man who graduated from high school on the East Coast then and proceeded to skip the American version of his undergraduate degree to obtain a law degree from Oxford; law school in most countries outside the U.S. is in the form of an undergraduate degree, although you can obtain post-graduate certification in most subjects. I knew then what I was destined to do: go abroad.

I’ve always known that I was a “worldly person” and it would not be likely that I would stay in the Midwest, but never did I think I would be able to attend school abroad! While I’ve decided to find a way to circumvent law school and still pursue a career in the same field, it does not take away from the pure glee I felt from the onset of my search.

That glee became indescribable on October 20, 2011 when I received my acceptance to Liverpool Hope University in Liverpool, England. They are six hours ahead of my time zone, so the e-mail actually arrived at 3:49 a.m., even though I did not read it until 7:00 a.m. As you can probably imagine, I was bouncing off the walls….that was until I told my mother. My grand announcement was followed by silence, a question from me about a congratulatory comment to break my mother’s shock, and a comment from her indicating that she was worried about my finances (and still no “congratulations”). Needless to say, this was not what I expected.

I reacted with tears and anger, and my friends and family with unwavering support and love. I also learned I was not the only one who had less-than-expected responses from family members when making big announcements. A friend of mine announced that she was joining the Army ROTC program and her mother reacted badly, but eventually came around. The same can be said about friends who have gotten engaged to “less-than-worthy” partners according to their parents, career moves, relocations, choices in college, parenting, etc. While the initial reaction may not be what you expected, eventually “they” come around.

That’s why I’m so grateful for having the friends I do. I have friends who are older and in their forties and some who are much younger than I am. One thing transcends all of their age brackets: they all have lessons to teach and we all have lessons to learn from them. We need to listen to and heed the advice of our friends because they are our support system when we cannot stand, or are disappointed by our family. In my case, I regard many of my friends as family which makes taking their advice even more important.

Life is a learning experience from the time we are born until the time we die. We will all have great and terrible experiences, but the key is in the way we handle them and who we learn from. If our friends are held close, the experiences we have with them and the things we learn from them will be the most significant insights into who we are and what we want.

Personally, my friends have helped me realize that I need to stop fighting for the acceptance of my mother and start accepting myself and doing what I want to do, not what will make her proud. It is for that reason that I am going to England. I have my friends to thank for helping me make that decision and come to that realization. Their support and love is unrelenting and unending and I will never be able to thank them enough for all they have done for me; and I hope many of you feel the same way. We all learn, but the best lessons learned are those we learn about ourselves through other’s eyes. With that, I say Cheerie-Ohs and see you next time, Planeteers!

“Lean on Me” because “I’ll Be There”

Friends, Family, and Suicide

I have always been the person my friends come to for advice. I have always been the mother of my group. I have always been the wise one full of faith, love, information, positivity, and support. That status changed recently, but only from my perspective.

A woman who is essentially my sister lost her ex-husband about two weeks ago. He took his own life and left behind four children, one yet to set foot on the earth. When I heard the news, I had no idea how to react. That was new for me.

I knew I needed to be there for her, but how was I supposed to alleviate her pain if I could not subdue my own. Granted, my pain was vastly different from hers. My heart was broken and I hurt because I lost someone I knew for over a decade, but also because my best friend lost the love of her life and because my nieces and nephew lost their father.

I knew that pain-the one of growing up without a father. My father was in and out of prison my whole life and I never had a chance to meet him prior to his death in 2004. I would never wish that upon anyone, especially children who cannot understand death quite clearly-but who does even as an adult?

I found a way to support her-I was there. I was just there for her. That was the best I could do and it was more the sufficient for her. I continuously tried to find ways to make things better and even researched ways that I could be a better friend in her time of need-that is where I went wrong. I didn’t need to be a better friend; I just needed to be a friend.

I needed to show her support, love, and dedication. I just needed to continue doing the things I had been doing for the latter half of my life and throughout my friendship with her. That is the advice I would give to anyone-just be there.

Recently stories about teen suicides have been in regrettable and unacceptable abundance. It has been of such concern in the LGBT community that many people with notable names such as President Obama, Senator and current Secretary of State Hilary Clinton, singer Ke$ha, actor Tom Hanks, Actress Anne Hathaway, singer Lady Gaga, comedian Stephen Colbert, style guru Tim Gunn have contributed to the site www.itgetsbetter.org. It is, at it's core, a suicide prevention website. This site allows not just celebrities but perfect, normal strangers to give support to people they do not know and probably never will.

That’s the key and that is what is most important-caring and just being there. Befriend a stranger or someone in need and see what a difference that makes. Whether you have a friend in doubt, in pain, in mourning, or experiencing indecision-JUST BE THERE. It makes a world of difference for you and them.

 

Here are some links I thought might be helpful for anyone coping with a loved one’s suicide:

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/suicide/MH00048

http://www.afsp.org/index.cfm?page_id=fed822a2-d88d-4dbd-6e1b55d56c229a75

http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/tips-to-help-survivors-cope-with-suicide-loss

 

Here is a link if you, or someone you know, has suicidal thoughts:

http://helpguide.org/mental/suicide_help.htm

http://www.healingfromdepression.com/suicidal.htm