10 Things 90s Kids Will Have To Explain To Their Children

1. Topanga was at some point in human history considered not only a legitimate first name for a human being, but the kind of name that would inspire in malleable teenage boys a life-long infatuation. Topanga, in our day, was leading lady name-material. Topanga (pronounced Tah-payne-ga, for those who will have only ever seen in it written down) is the name of the quintessential girl-next-door who will live, along with Feeney, in our hearts forever.

2. At some point, we carried around little plastic eggs with tiny screens on them — in these screens lived our hearts, our pets, our raison d’etre, our very own Tamagotchi. We loved them, we listened to their tiny electronic screams of malnourishment, and we occasionally forgot to pick up their poop for long enough that they died a tortured, poop-filled death. They were perhaps our first foray into the life-consuming world of electronics and self-absorption, later to be fully manifested by Facebook.

3. The black Power Ranger was black and the yellow Power Ranger was Asian because…we were so completely ahead of our time and beyond the capacity to even think in terms of something as inconsequential as race that… uh… I don’t know. Casting directors were racist in the nineties.

4. Long before he was spending his days foisting his mediocre children on us, Will Smith was actually the perfect human specimen. He also undoubtedly holds some world record for saving the world the most times while simultaneously delivering flawless catchphrases and giving cool guy nods to the camera. The Men In Black rap song, at the time, was created and received by the public without the slightest trace of irony. Really. He was that good.

5. In some inevitable shift of the time-space continuum in which James Cameron continues to rob humanity of all that is good and sacred in this world, Fern Gully will be known as that movie that ripped off Avatar. It will be up to us to crusade for what is right. It is up to us to explain that Fern Gully was not only a predecessor to Avatar, but far better, in that it contained both Tim Curry as a singing pile of molasses and Robin Williams rapping about animal testing in the pharmaceutical industry. (As a side note, if you have not recently listened to the full lyrics of the “Batty Rap,” I recommend you do, as they are horrifying.)

6. A neighborhood boy who completely disregards your family and puts a ladder directly under the teenage girl’s window to climb up at his discretion is not only acceptable, it’s charming. It’s the kind of stuff that would make said family take the ladder boy under their wing and into their heart. The nineties were a simpler time, one where we didn’t have to worry about things like breaking and entering. Clarissa today would have steel bars on the inside of her window and her father would continually remind her that the next-door boy with his ladder and his touchy hands have no place in his household.

7. Though on the surface, they are the exact same thing in every conceivable way, whether you liked The Backstreet Boys or N*SYNC said more about your character than all of the terrible macaroni art you could ever make for your child psychologist. Essentially, liking *NSYNC meant you liked Justin Timberlake, as he was clearly the Seabiscuit in that race from the get-go. You even liked him with his terrible, icy-blond mini-fro. Liking the Backstreet Boys gave you a bit more of a cultured palate, as there was no clear Diana in those Supremes. Nick was kind of the wholesome, if northern-Florida-redneck safe choice (save for his humiliating younger brother, Aaron). Brian was the shy, sensitive type. AJ was the hottt, dangerous meth addict. Kevin Richardson was mute with sexy, sculpted facial hair. No one liked Howie. Choosing between the two groups was like choosing between two beloved children, but once that line was crossed–there was no going back.

8. “I wanna really really really wanna zig a zig ahh,” has a meaning, and all true nineties kids know it, but we must never share it. Like the Illuminati, it must remain between us, the keyholders. With great power comes great responsibility.

9. Lisa Frank is not the name of a woman, it is the name of a movement, a culture, a way of living. It is a theory, a concept, a belief in something greater than yourself. It is the belief that all girls are entitled to dolphins covered with rainbows, jewel-encrusted frogs, and unicorns in acid-trip colors hugging each other. It is the ideology that no notebook is complete until it literally hurts your eyes to look at from so much color saturation. It is the hope that no school supply, no matter how insignificant, will be left un-bedazzled. It is the knowledge that your eraser cap, and that of your granddaughter’s, and her granddaughter’s after her, will not be some boring little nub–it will be a diamond covered with butterflies in a rainbow of colors. It is the dream of a better tomorrow.

10. Incredibly depressing women in Indiana covered in cats and glass figurines they buy at The Hallmark Store used to troll the web 1.0 to invest thousands of dollars in tiny stuffed animals filled with plastic beans. That happened. Beanie Babies were not just significant, they were the first example most of us had of envy, greed, and wrath. If someone messed up that little heart-shaped Ty tag, so help you God, that was the end of whatever contact you had with that monster of a human being. That tag-less Beanie Baby was now trash, and you had to deal with the consequence. It was at that moment, that de-valued Beanie Baby moment, that most of us accepted the truth… we’ll never have nice things.

Via  http://thoughtcatalog.com

Viva Las Vegas

**NOTE: I didn’t realize this didn’t post while in flight…..so, you know, better late than never right?**

I do have to say, in flight internet may just be the most awesome thing in the world right now. Seriously, I may be easily amused, but it’s fantastic. I’m currently hovering somewhere over the cornfields of the Midwest, en route from MSP to sunny, glittery Las Vegas. It’s really sad that it takes a 2.75 hour plane ride to get time to add a new post.

Eh, it happens.

They say what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas….sweet baby Jesus, I hope that’s true. I don’t want to come home with a tattoo, a criminal record or, God forbid, a new last name. My only goal for this trip is to come back bronzed and to not once think about work. This past week has been insane and I’ve had to break up what seems like a million fights between the 5 crazy boys I watch over. I’m beginning to feel a lot more like a corrections officer than a YCW. It’s gotten to the point where I’m 99% sure the vast majority of the Elkhart County Sheriff’s Dept. know me on a first name basis……

My job has really been a humbling experience over the past year. I realize exactly how lucky and blessed I am to have been given the life that I have. I have parents that have been happily married for 25 years and who have never touched a drug in their lives. Sure, they have been known to throw back a few longnecks every once in a blue moon and my mother smokes like a chimney when she’s stressed out (I’ve begged her and my dad both to stop…..the ignore me), but it’s nothing that interfered with them being good parents. Hell, they’re AMAZING parents. The kids I work with often come from broken homes where their parents are addicted to drugs, drink profusely, have no idea who their baby daddy is, or who are out of the picture entirely. I grew up not worrying about where my next meal was going to come from, and these kids often grew up without much of anything at all.

Sometimes, all kids like my residents need are a little attention and someone who proves they even remotely care. Is it all sunshine and butterflies? Hell no. 9 times out of 10 I feel like I’m in Hotel California….I checked in when I liked, but I can never leave….ever….ever ever ever ever.

I don’t want to stay at Bashor for the rest of my life. I literally would go insane and probably jump off a bridge.

However, I’m thankful to have not only a job, but one in my field……and to have this 10 day break to paradise.

Deep Down, I’m Still the Pink Ranger

As I sit here sipping my Venti 8-pump, nonfat, no water chai latte at Starbucks, I can’t help but think about what the next few weeks are going to bring. Lots of life changes for both me and the ones in my life I love most. It seems like only yesterday I was a stupid, naive 18 year old drama queen preparing to graduate high school. Now I’m a 23 year old driven, ambitious post-graduate who can’t seem to figure out exactly what I want to do with my life, only that I want it to be something big. I’ve been lucky enough to have the same people by my side for most of my life, and life as they know it is changing just as quickly.

In 2 weeks, my best friend of almost 18 years will be getting married. Words cannot describe how thrilled I am that she is going to be marrying the perfect guy for her, even though I’m sure he probably drives her absolutely batty sometimes. Most people would assume that being friends with someone since age 5 would automatically warrant the Maid of Honor/Best Man title, but I was beyond honored when she asked me to stand beside her as she said her vows. It’s strange to think back over the past 18 years & everything we’ve been through now that we’re both adults and starting our “real” lives.

Tabby and I became friends on the first day of Kindergarten. I was in my Power Rangers obsession phase (as was the vast majority of my peers) and flat out told my teacher I wanted to be the Pink Ranger when I grew up. Unfortunately for me, everyone else wanted to be the Pink Ranger at recess….but Tabby agreed to be the Yellow Ranger so I could be the Pink. From that moment on, we were best friends. For the next 3 years, we were together all the time and I vividly remember the time she got a nosebleed and I thought she was dying—-I freaked the hell out. When we were in 2nd grade, Tabby’s parents got a divorce and she moved to a different school. I don’t remember many details about this time except for the fact that my best friend wasn’t at West Noble anymore and I was all alone. We still hung out on weekends and for birthday parties, but it just wasn’t the same without her. Our Junior year, Tabby moved back to West Noble and that first day was the happiest day of my high school career. We had our fights, but nothing that couldn’t be fixed after some brief separation—after all, we were just emotional teenagers.

**Sidenote**
I just looked up to see if anyone was going into the Sbux bathroom, and this high school girl in here with her boyfriend assumed I was looking at him and is now awkwardly hanging all over the poor kid. Like I said, to be 18 & stupid again…

Anyway, I really just have been wondering where time went. One minute we’re 18 year old giggling girls going dancing at Lake Tippy Dance Hall on the weekends and the next one of us is a perfectionist college grad and the other is almost there AND getting married. She knows what she wants to do as-a-matter-of-fact: Social Studies teacher. Me? I want to be a professor/lawyer/actress/showband vocalist/trophy wife/racehorse owner/social worker/violinist/Disney princess.

I had an interview last week with the Elkhart County Probation Department, and it went well. I was one of seven people chosen to interview out of an applicant pool of 55+…..not to mention the youngest by at least 10-15 years. Was I scared shitless? You betcha, but I still gave it my all and made sure that they knew, despite my age and experience (or lack thereof), that I was the girl for them.

I believe that 90% of the world’s population aren’t bad people, they just make bad choices. That 10% consists of people like Adolf Hitler, John Wayne Gacy, Charles Manson, David Berkowitz, Timothy McVeigh, etc. Alexander Pope said “To err is human; to forgive, divine.” Everyone makes mistakes, whether we admit it or not. My goal in life is to make people understand that they’re not completely screwed over failures just because they made one or two (or fifty) mistakes AND to help them learn from these mistakes so they can become functioning members of society again.

Essentially, that’s what I’m doing now. As a YCW, I help the children and teens at Bashor Children’s Home to work on their treatment so they can live a normal, productive, and crime free life once they leave our campus. Unfortunately, sometimes they wind up back on the wrong side of the tracks, but I still try my hardest every single day I’m there.

I’ve made plenty of mistakes in my life ranging from bad romantic choices to drinking WAY too much. After my grandpa died, I drowned my sorrows with a pool of ex-boyfriends and copious amounts of alcohol. I just wanted to feel wanted so the void that he left would be temporarily filled. Unfortunately, when the next morning rolled around I was left with nothing but fuzzy memories and a killer hangover. I wasn’t an alcoholic; I didn’t need alcohol to function. I did, however, choose to drink more than I should simply so I could cut loose and be who I thought everyone wanted me to be. Bad choices. I’ve made them, you’ve made them, our parents made them, and I’m sure even our preachers have made them. You live, you learn, you let go. I still miss my grandfather terribly every single day, but I learned that filling the hole won’t make things better in the long run—-making him proud by being a successful woman like he wanted me to be is the way to go.

Will I still occasionally drink way too much and make terrible decisions? Probably. Hey, I’m still young and it happens, but I now have these kids to think about. They see me as a role model and I try to set the best example for them possible. I’m completely focused on my job right now because, until recently, I didn’t realize how much I loved it. Sure, it may not give me much time for anything else, but I’m making a difference in the lives of children who society has turned its back on…and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

However, inside of this philanthropic optimist youth care worker—I’m still the Pink Ranger

I am a TRUE 90s Child

I got this from a friend on Facebook and couldn’t help but post 🙂

Just because you were born in 1996 doesn’t mean you’re a 90’s kid. … It’s not like you could remember the original Simpsons – I am sorry but four years of the 90s just wont cut it.

You’re a 90s kid if, you remember watching…
-Kenan and Kel
-Doug
-Pinky and the Brain
-AAAAAAAH Real Monsters!
-Rocko’s Modern Life
-Animaniacs
-Courage the Cowardly Dog
-Hey Arnold
-Clarissa Explains it All
-The Simpsons
-The Fresh Prince of Bel air
-Nickelodeon Slime Time
-Family Feud

You’ve ever ended a sentence with the word PSYCHE!
You just cant resist finishing this: “In west Philadelphia born and raised…

You remember:
-Step by Step
-Family Matters
-Dinosaurs
-Boy Meets World

You remember when it was actually worth getting up early on a Saturday to watch cartoons.

When everything was settled by:

-rock paper scissors or
-bubble gum bubble gum in a dish

When kickball was something you did everyday!! and you played on the monkey bars and knew at least one kid who broke their arm falling off of it…

You used to listen to the radio all day long just to record your FAVORITE song of ALL time on a tape.

You remember when Super Nintendo became popular.

You always wanted to send in a tape to Americas Funniest Home Videos . . . but never taped anything funny.

You remember watching:
-The Magic School Bus
-Wishbone
-Reading Rainbow
-Ghostwriter on PBS

You remember when Yo-Yos were cool.

And you played with Gak, Silly Putty and Sticky Tack that you stole from the teachers walls.

You remember eating Warheads and Smarties

You remember watching:
-The 1st Batman
-Aladdin
-Ninja Turtles
-Ghost Busters
-X-Men

You remember Ring Pops!!!

If you remember when every thing was “da BOMB!”

You remember boom boxes vs. CD players

You had at least one Tamagotchi, GigaPet, or Nano and brought it everywhere u went

You watched the original cartoons of
-Rugrats
-Wild Thornberrys
-Power Rangers (with the Green ranger)
-Rocket Power
-Transformers

All your school supplies were Lisa Frank or Five Star brand

If you collected:
-Beanie Babies
-Pokemon cards (the original 150)
-Coins with the states on them
-Carebears
-Silver dollars, which were cool to have

Everyone watched the WB

If you even know what an original Walkman is..

You know the Macarena by heart

“Talk to the hand”. . .enough said.

You went to McDonald’s to play in the play place

Before the MySpace/Facebook/Twitter frenzy…

Before the Internet & text messaging…

Before Sidekicks & iPods …

Before PlayStation3 or X-BOX 360…

Before Spongebob…

When light up sneakers were cool and you had spiral spring shoelaces

When you rented VHS tapes, not DVDs

When gas was $1.

When we recorded stuff on VCR

You had slap bracelets!

You actually played outside until it was dark!

Way back-before we realized all this would eventually disappear…

I Experienced Childhood—-And Lived to Tell My Story

I’ve seen numerous articles floating about Facebook, MSN, and various sites about parents freaking the hell out because they think there’s lead in their kid’s Juicy Juice or because they could potentially be watching gay puppets on PBS. Seriously? You seriously think EVERYTHING is bad for your children? Let me tell you a little story…..

I grew up in the boondocks. I ate cookie dough directly out of the bowl WITH raw eggs in it. We raised our own chickens, but even if we didn’t use those eggs I still ate more cookies unbaked than I did when they came out of the oven. I watched MAYBE an hour of TV a day. I played outside, cross-stitched with my grandma, or enjoyed playing with vintage Barbie dolls that once belonged to my aunts. If I got hurt, I was told to rub some dirt in it or given a bandaid and sent back out to play. Simple as that. I didn’t carry Germ-X in my pocket or clipped to my overalls, there wasn’t nutritional information on the bottom of my Happy Meal, and I still managed to make it to see adulthood.

When I did watch TV, it was usually Power Rangers, Lambchop, Sesame Street, Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood or, on occasion, even Masterpiece Theatre on PBS. When I was a kid, we saw our favorite characters for exactly what they were: dinosaurs, puppets, and monsters. The Cookie Monster sang “C is for Cookie, it’s good enough for me” and nommed the hell out of some chocolate chip cookies. It wasn’t “C is for cookie…..which is an ok snack every once in a while” I grew up with the Cookie Monster, NOT the Veggie Monster and I still beat childhood obesity. Bert & Ernie were roommates. They slept in the same room and were best friends—and now that makes them gay? I’m all about teaching the wee ones of the newest generations about equality from an early age, but really? Gay muppets? It’s absurd that someone would even make that connection. By “protecting” today’s children (aka making Bert & Ernie neighbors, making the Veggie Monster, etc), you’re ruining our childhoods. Seriously, I turned out to be a college educated member of society even with the “gay” puppets and copious amounts of cookies. And you know what? I ALSO know all the words to “The Song That Never Ends”……and I swear to holy heaven the next person to ruin my childhood will hear it until their ears bleed.

My parents sheltered me from the blatant dangers around me–fire, electrical outlets, anything that could be run into a fence, poisons, strangers, etc, but they didn’t make me the Blonde in the Plastic Bubble. I was a normal, active kid complete with scraped knees and lopsided pigtails. I learned what to do and what not to do based not only on what my parents taught me was right vs wrong, but also from trial and error. This lasted beyond my childhood and even carried with me into my adult life. Trial and Error is how I figured out my alcohol tolerance, my ability to run on very little sleep, and even sex. *insert awkward turtle*

My point is, I didn’t have crazy protection from my parents. They didn’t monitor what I ate so closely that I thought I was fat by kindergarten They let me play outside without wrapping me in bubble wrap. Most importantly, they let me just be a kid. I dug up worms in my back yard, ran through the sprinkler in my front yard without worrying about what potential predators were on the block, and discovered first hand that the scissors that “only cut paper” also cut hair…..once again, I learned from experience. I had more fun with a refrigerator box and a bucket o’ markers than I did with video games. I was allowed to be a kid and experience the world around me with only the extent of my imagination as a boundary. Sure, my parents and grandparents made sure I was safe, but I wasn’t stared at 100% of the time from the kitchen window.

Children nowadays are not only being programmed to be woosies, but have NO idea what wonders are in the world around them. Why? Because they’re not allowed to explore it. They’re either plopped down in front of an Xbox or victims of overprotective parents. Kids need to be kids. They need to get dirty,scrape up their knees, eat junkfood until they puke and learn to make their own mistakes. These mistakes aren’t major ones, but they need to learn that gum in the hair=emergency haircut and that sharing your 96 box of crayons or anything else is the best way to make friends.

I vow to protect my children from the evils of this world, but I swear on my life I will not prevent them from being kids. They’ll get scraped knees, potentially break bones and will get their hearts broken by friends and significant others, but that’s a part of growing up—it’s a part of life. My childhood helped shape me into the person I am today, 5 year old imagination and all. I just wish that people would realize that their kids need to be allowed to act as such and not be treated like mini-adults being forced to grow up too fast. Childhood vanishes so quickly the way it is, there’s no need to rush it.

Let them play, let them grow, and let them eat all the Cookie Monster cookies their little tummies can handle. I was allowed to, and I lived to tell my story.