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Adding my list of 10 5 to the rampant “randomness” across the blog-o-sphere is a fun exercise in restraint, since most of mine are random memories of events that  have made me who I am today.

  • My sketchy intro to scary movies… at age 7!

When my parents had some office party to attend, shortly after moving the family to California from Canada, they hired a couple of neighborhood girls we didn’t know, as babysitters. I don’t remember anything about them other than they let my 4 year-old little sister and my 7 year-old self stay up late and watch some black-and-white horror movie, while they raided the pantry and ate all the chocolate my paternal grandmother sent from Germany that Christmas.

While the devoured chocolate was saddening, it was the monsters that continued to haunt me in my dreams and nightmares for years to come. If ever a teacher assigned a creative writing paper, the extremely vivid images always made their way into my storytelling, as though I was trying to purge myself of their very presence by exposing them to the light of day, as often as possible.

It wasn’t until I happened to catch an evening news broadcast, several years later, that announced the “colorization” of a film called, “Night of the Living Dead” and they showed a side-by-side clip in both black-and-white, and color, that I put the pieces of my nightmares together, and was finally free of their tyranny.

  • I still LOVE scary movies, just not gory movies…

For some reason, that episode had little impact on my intense love of being frightened. Some of my favorite scary films are psychological in their nature, leaving much to the imagination…And I have an unbelievably active imagination!

One in particular, though, The Ring, had me terrified for months due to the horrifying realization, during the sequence when Samara climbs through the television screen, that our television was big enough to accommodate her. I would wake in a sweat, imagining her standing next to my side of the bed, just waiting for me to open my eyes. I never did. I just waited for exhaustion to pull me back into slumber…or daylight, whichever came first.

  • My most memorable German lesson took place after playing futball in the mud.

My parents thought It would be educational for my sister and I to travel to Germany the summer before I started high school. Kris was 12 and I was 15. We were so excited to spend time with our father’s family, who all still live in Germany today.

Since our aunt Monika (my namesake) worked during the day, she signed us up for the same day-camp her son, our older cousin, Nico, was working as a camp counselor. We joined the game in the middle of the day, when it started to rain, which made for a fun game of  mud soccer, but left us filthy.

As everyone made their way off the field, some of the girls waved us over to a building and said, “douschen?” Now I was a bit of a late bloomer, and while I more-or-less knew what that word meant in English, I had yet to take classes in German. My sister and I were very confused, to say the least.

(Little did we know, my dad had given specific instructions to his family, that even though they had been taking English classes since Kindergarten, and were perfectly fluent, they were to speak no English to us whatsoever. Period. Thanks, Dad!)

Luckily, the girls had pity on us, and explained that “douschen” is the German word for “shower,” but what a shocking first impression of Germany (and those risque German girls) we had!

  • When I turned 18, I joined the Army.

I was looking for adventure, an interesting  job, travel, job security and, much to my parents’ dismay, thought I’d found it in the Army. I had taken the ASVAB in high school and done well, so the local recruiters kept calling and “selling it” to me until I finally made an appointment to talk to one in person. Talk about “adventure”…

Little did I know that this particular recruiter was less than honorable and told me a lot of half-truths to get his commission. Ultimately, his sales pitch worked and I signed up on a Friday to be flown off to Fort Jackson, SC the following Thursday. (They are efficient, if nothing else!)

It was a culture shock, to be sure. Beside the 4:30am wake-up calls, there were 45 girls in a platoon and the odds of several girls experiencing their “monthly visitor” at the same time were high. (This fact was especially chilling when we got to the point in our training where we were handling “live” weapons and certain girls, known for their “instability,” were also handling loaded M-16 rifles in the barracks.)

*Actually, this story should be a post unto itself. I could go on for pages and pages about my 5-week-long experience in Boot Camp, but will save the bulk of that for another time…*

Very long story, short, it turned out I was a “conscientious objector” (otherwise known as a pacifist) at the time, and the recruiter had glossed over that part of the interview in a very deceptive manner, so I had to work my way out of the training based on a fact the should have kept me out in the first place.

It was very difficult and I was made a bad example of, lest any other soldier think this was their ticket out, too. I was humiliated, ridiculed, disciplined physically, and financially, and given the lowliest duties until such time as they figured out a way to expel me. When they finally did, they sent me home on a bus. From South Carolina to California. It took 5 days, which were some of the longest I can remember, but I was never happier to see my parents in my entire life.

  • Validation from an unlikely source…my grade-school teacher…

As a short addendum to my abridged Army tale, I went to visit my favorite teacher, Mrs. Judy Newhoff, from 5th (and 6th) grade several months after my stint in the Army. I was happy to see her as it had been at least a decade since the previous visit, and as she asked about my life after her class, I shared my experience in the Army, half-expecting to be chastised for not attending college right away, which was the line I’d been fed by my parents ever since my return from training.

Instead, she encouraged me for taking time to figure out who I was, and gave me the highest honor by “wishing that her kids had done that kind of exploring before diving in to college.” From what she told me, it seemed her kids had both gone to college directly after high school and had changed their majors so many times, it felt like a waste of time, and money.

Her words still make me feel validated and a lot less like the failure, that by all appearances, I was, riding home alone on that bus, a mere 5 weeks into training. Thank you, Mrs. Newhoff!

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I hope I have not bored you to tears with my lengthy entries, since my 5 are longer than some entire blog posts!  I have a few more stories to tell, of more recent traumatic entertaining events, that I will share in time…Thanks for reading! =]

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Blogs I’d love to see randomness from, in alphabetical order:

Black Nail Polish and Lip Gloss

Dr. Frankenpolish

The Edge of Sanity

Felineliza

Iceomatic’s Nails

Kronicles of a Konad-er

Lackoholic

MisaMasa

Nevertoomuchglitter

Preposterously’s Nail Blog

Pretty Perfect Beauty

Similar Addiction

The Polish Addict

Vampy Varnish

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5 Comments

  1. I love your stories Monica! And I’m happy to hear that you wasn’t as fond of weapons as you may have wanted to be. :D xoxo

    • Other than the whole “not wanting to kill people with guns” issue, I was an excellent soldier.
      (I could make my bed in my sleep (and often did) and they literally could bounce a coin off the coverlet.)

      Right up until the moment when we had to point our weapons at human-shaped targets, I was having the time of my life.

      My 3 male drill sergeants were completely surprised when I told them I needed to leave, and because I had never given them any trouble, they acted as my advocates when it came time to confront other (very) skeptical people in their chain-of-command. (I was called a “liar” and much worse…)

  2. Hey love reading randomness :) I will have to draft something together too, just for you!

  3. Oh my goodness, I can’t stop laughing at your army story… not that it was all that funny to you at the time, but I have these visions of a whole platoon of PMS’ing homesick girls with loaded weapons! Oh who’d have THOUGHT? They should have immediately sent you into battle with the Taliban!!!! Great post, Monica – I SO enjoy your writing style and superior wit! Keep up the good work!

  4. Hey I tagged you in my 7 random things :) Have a look!


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