Monday, September 30, 2013

Can I Take That House Off Your Hands?

Today's challenge topic: What would you do if you you won the lottery?

Much like most people, I would use my winnings (assuming they are large) to pay off all of my debt, buy some things I want, like a new car and a fancy blender, and I would most definitely take some much-needed time off work. But in the instance that I was to come upon a large sum of money, there are a couple of key things I would absolutely do...

Travel. As you've read in prior blogs, I want to go places, see things, do things. I don't want to spend the rest of my life in Oregon. I would find someone to split my traveling fund with and I'd hit the road. Or the airport. Or probably both. Money being no object, I would take a long trip through Europe, stopping each and every country you could think of, doing all the touristy things and staying in fancy hotels instead of the bug-ridden hostels Jenny and I are accustomed to. I'd drive cross country in my new car, stopping to visit family and friends, and also seeing the dorky Americana I've never seen, like Yellowstone, the Redwoods, Crater Lake, Mount Rushmore, and Niagra Falls. I'd be on vacation for a long time if I was to win the lottery.

And when I came home from my trek around the globe, I'd take a wad of cash and walk right up to Grandma Whitmore's house - the one on Monroe. I'd offer cash to whoever was living there because I am in love with that house. It isn't on the best road, so maybe if it was possible, I'd relocate the whole house, but that's just a total pipe dream. I love the house not only because of my memories in it, but because I find it beautiful.

When we were little kids, the whole main floor had this awful red carpet in it. I didn't know any different, but looking at photos now its like, Grandma what were you thinking with that hideous (and scratchy on your knees, by the way) carpeting? There were built ins in the living room on either side of the fireplace, with a huge mirror above the fireplace where you could watch yourself "perform" on the big piano in the living room. The basement was terrifying, the laundry chute was so fun, the closets were amazing, and the bathroom was tiny. In Diane's bedroom was the best part of the entire house: a built in desk. I will never not want a built in desk, I loved it. I love built ins; I think they are the best part of any old house, and part of the reason I want an old house.

Just a couple of years ago, the could who had bought the house from Grandma Whitmore put the house on the market. I called Grandma and asked her to go look at it with me; she told the couple I wasn't able to buy it but really wanted to see what they had done inside. I was so grateul when they invited us over to take a look. I picked Grandma up one morning and we headed over. I was really glad to see that most of the house had been left as it had been - down to the pencil sharpener at the bottom of the basement steps. All of the original little details were there, which I was thrilled to see. They had bumped the kitchen out onto the covered patio to add a little breakfast nook, and they'd turned Grandma's bedroom into a family/tv room (that part I didn't like). But everything else was just as I remembered it. What really made me fall in love with the house all over again was the flooring - they had torn out the red carpet and underneath was beautiful, original wood floors. So pretty!

Going to walk through her old house was a really good moment for me to share with Grandma Whitmore away from the chaos of where she lives now. My dad's family has continued to fall to drama and with that has come a big gap between myself and the majority of them. I am not emotionally sound enough to hang out in the midst of it all without stating my opinions, but my opinions aren't really welcome, so its hard to sit in the midst of it all. So having that time where I could get Grandma out of the house and all to myself for an hour was really great.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Can I Stop Collecting Collisions??

The closest I come to having a collection is that I currently own 4 blenders - one for my office, one mini one for smoothies to go, one for home, and one that I just bought at a yard sale for Stacey. I by no means intend to collect blenders, I just have to have one on me at all times because I eat blended breakfast and lunch on a daily basis, so while I am wandering instead of living in one space, that means many blenders. As soon as I am settled into my next apartment and my next office, one blender will become stationary in my office, one in my kitchen. And the to-go one will get placed in a cabinet. And I just have to give the one to Stacey. So, its not like I pick up old blenders and add them to my hoard. Blenders just seem to happen to me.

Today's Challenge: What do you collect?
Let's be honest...I move a lot and spend far too much time being homeless to have a collection of anything. If it doesn't fit in a suitcase, I probably don't need it.

I have a few sentimental items from my grandparents or from when I was a kid, but they all fit in a small toy box, and other than that, I don't really tend to hang on to things. When my clothes are too big or too small, I don't pretend that they'll ever fit again, I just toss them. I don't keep shoes that are uncomfortable or don't go with anything or that I never wear. Clutter gives me anxiety, and people with collections that start out innocently enough tend to be the ones who end up on Hoarding: Buried Alive. Which, while being one of my favorite shows, always makes me get up and donate something to Goodwill. I don't like things all over the place. I love books, but I don't like the look of a big, full bookcase, so I hide my books in cloth bins in one of those IKEA cube shelf things. I do the same with movies.

Actually, now that I think about it...perhaps I collect IKEA cube shelf things. I have several - one in my closet for shoes, scarves, and wallets (I don't hang on to purses very often, but I do have a small bin of wallets and clutches), one that will go in the guest bedroom for toys and games, and a third that I use as a TV stand (because then I can hide my DVDs in cubes). I could probably use an IKEA cube shelf in every closet of my house, and it would make me feel like an organized, clutter-free, happy person. I like to be organized. I like lists. I have a filing box for all that paperwork that you're supposed to keep til you die, and it is organized alphabetically as well as by year, and I purge it on occassion as needed. I don't like chaos, I think everything has a place, and that place is where it should be.

This may be why I have no desire to live with a man or a child, ever. They just make messes. And then they clean it up wrong.

I know what you're all thinking...speaking of messes, Veronica, look at your car! And it is 100% true, my car is a mess. Disaster zone really. It is always messy and always has been. I've always had a very messy car. Its like the one place that doesn't fit in my freaky-organized brain. My bathroom is often messy, but it is still organized into bins and baskets; I just don't give myself enough time in the morning to put anything back into the bins and baskets. My kitchen cabinets are organized, my bedroom closet is organized by sleeve length, color, and frequency of wear...yes, seriously. I organize movies by how often I watch them, shoes by how often I wear them, books on the shelf by both height and genre. I have issues. I am a compulsive organizer. But my car? Nah, my car is just a dumping ground for anything without a category. Oh this doesn't have a sensible spot in my apartment, I will just leave it in the car. One day I will probably get in a car wreck (because, as we all know, I collect those, too) and get decapitated by something that flies out of the back seat.

Did I just decide that of all things to collect, I collect car accidents?? Crap!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Mmmm, Smells Like Grandma's Kitchen

As everyone who knows me is well aware, I hate cooking. I suck at it. I don't like it, I hate making a mess in my kitchen, and I just don't even like food. So why work so hard to have it?

My blog challenge for Saturday is to post my favorite recipe.

You may think that I'd have a hard time writing about a recipe when most things I cook require a crock pot or no cooking at all. But really, it is quite simple. My favorite thing to make is something I don't even like to eat: Grandma Stacey's ginger snap cookies.

Yes you read that correctly. I hate ginger snaps. And Grandma's are expecially snappy, which makes me hate them even more. I don't like cookies that make your face twist, nor do I like cookies that are crunchy. I like soft cookies, like chocolate chip or sugar cookies. But whenever I am missing my grandparents, I bake ginger snaps. They smell like the house on Kelvin Street. Baking them makes me remember being little and sitting on the kitchen heat vent with grandma, in my jammies, laughing with her. When I miss her, I bake, and always in my jammies. I turn on music, turn up the heat in my apartment, and remember how much fun she was.

Grandma's ginger snap recipe is not a secret; she followed Betty Crocker's recipe. But her ginger snaps do have a secret ingredient: extra, extra ginger. The real recipe calls for something like 2 teapoons of ginger for a batch. Grandma's recipe adds 4 tablespoons to that! So much snap!

I think we all do some strange things when we are missing someone who is no longer with us. I bake cookies that I truly hate. And then I give them away, because I won't eat them. It works out though, because my friends like the cookies, I don't get the calories, and I am able to satisfy the need to think about my grandparents.

Embracing Change...Even When it isn't Easy

Today's blog challenge: What are you looking forward to?
As most of my blog readers are aware, today is our last official work day at our properties. I still have to come in on Sunday to complete my month end and deposit any last minute invoices, and we will be here most of the day on Monday to acclimate the new ownership group and new on site staff to the property, but really, this is it. My office is bare, as I have loaded my belongings into office boxes that are loaded into my car. My desk is empty, the building is organized and ready to go. I have submitted report after report, am currently loading my work life onto a jump drive, and by the end of today I will really have nothing else to accomplish here. Part of me is sad to be moving on...I have an amazing support group here in Vancouver, as well as the best staff I think I could possibly ask for. I also have been blessed with an incredible owner.
While I am sad to be leaving the place I have called home this year, I am very excited about my next opportunity with the company. After a lot of frustration and stress over not having a position available that was right for me, I found one early last week. I will be moving from Washington, where I know the Landlord-Tenant law like the back of my hand, to Oregon, where nothing makes sense. I will be the property manager at two small properties - Cascade Woods and Brackney Estates - with a 131 unit count between the two. I have my new apartment all picked out and am moving in on November 10th. Its exactly what I want - ground floor, right outside my office, with a slider patio door for Juno to sit in, and several upgrades for me to enjoy. I was asked for a 12 month committment and was also told that the ownership group was considering adding some properties to the Riverstone portfolio, which gives me some promotion opportunities before that 12 months is it sounds like I have no danger of settling in just to discover they're selling the damn thing.
I am really, really looking forward to living in Beaverton. I know, I know, no one says that. Driving on highway 26, and even within Beaverton, is a bitch. But I will be living on site, so that will not really matter. And my new property is only a mile from Stacey's house, which I love! Since college, when we were roommates in Monmouth, I have not lived within 30 minutes of Stacey, which makes it hard to hang out. Its like, if I want to see her and Blake, I have to commit to a whole day to make it worth the drive. This way, I will be able to pick up Blake from day care to come over and play, have Stace and Juli over for girls' night after the boys are all in bed, etc. I am just really excited to be close to them out there. Stace and I drove Blake through the property last weekend and he was excited to see Auntie's new house. I will be living in a two bedroom instead of a one bedroom, so for the first time I will have guest space, which is awesome for all of my friends who live in Vancouver and like drinking wine with dinner. I bought a queen bed for my second bedroom already, so I have room for sleepovers.
Outside of work, where I am just looking forward to change, growth, and opportunity, I am also looking forward to whatever else is coming next for me. As a challenge to myself, I am really focusing right now on embracing change as it comes, as well as to pay attention to myself and insure that I am being completely honest with myself and with other people. Two things that sound so easy, right?
Embrace change as it comes: I am a planner. Always have been. I make lists every day. At the end of each list, I mentally write, "write tomorrow's list." I never leave work without writing the next day's to-do list and cleaning up my desk. Otherwise I would get home and just think about remembering all the stuff I have to do tomorrow. When it comes to big changes, I tend to stress and worry. I am really trying to pay attention to my responses to change. Why does everything have to stress me out? I should be able to look at a new property and be excited about my new office, new staff, new residents, and new challenges...and so my focus is on looking at the positive sides of things changing. Am I sad to be moving away from the amazing friends I have made in the past 12 months that all live in Vancouver? Yes. But we are no longer in high school, so I don't have to rely on physical closeness to maintain my friendships. I have wine, I have a guest room. My friends will visit. I'm not moving to Mars.
Always be honest: I am not a liar by any means. I don't mean this at literal face value. What I mean is, I have never been super great at expressing my true feelings about something to someone...this may actually be surprising to some people reading this, because I do tend to vocalize what I think. But while I may say what I think, state my opinion, and argue my "side" of an issue, I am less vocal about my feelings. I was born a Whitmore, and one of our genetic traits seems to be, when someone hurts you, be mad. I am guilty of this and have been my whole life. When I am really sad, I express anger, and that's seriously not healthy. I would be a much more put together person if I was better at recognizing what feeling my anger is taking over, and acknowleding that feeling. So right now I am focusing on taking the moment to stop, think, and ask myself what is really going through my heart when my head says I am pissed off. And it already feels better. I feel less wound up, and I feel closer to my friends because I feel better able to express myself. By focusing on getting past the feeling of anger, I am finding that I am just more able to communicate in general. Is it scary? Sometimes. But at least now I know that when someone hurts my feelings once, and I've told them so, if they repeat their behavior, they've deliberately hurt me because they understand what they're doing.
I have a lot to look forward to right now, and a lot of change coming my way. I am incredibly grateful for the people in my life who are currently supporting me as I am thrown continuous curve balls. I have an amazing support system with family and friends, and I think I am headed into another awesome place. Close to Stace, close to Blakey, a new job, another new apartment, stronger, healthier relationships, and amazing friends. Things are good great, and I will continue to look forward, never look backwards.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Because Adults Can Have Tantrums Too...

Today's Challenge: What is the meaning behind your blog name?
When I decided to start keeping a blog, I had the idea that I would post twice a week: one rave about something that was making me happy, or something in general that I enjoyed; and one rant about something that annoyed me or made me mad. I thought it would be a fun easy way to keep myself in the habit of writing at least twice a week.
It was actually Kattie who came up with my blog name, but as soon as she said it I knew it was awesome. We were chatting about the idea of my blog and she suggested "grown up tantrums," because really...that's what a rant is, a temper tantrum about something incredibly stupid. And so the name of my blog became: Grown Up Tantrums.
I learned quickly that it was much more fun to rant than it was to rave, by the way. And the people who read my blog tend to agree that they're more entertaining to read as well.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

I'm Getting Hangry

These past few weeks have been incredibly crazy at work, and I find that the more I work like this, the worse I eat...usually. I have been doing really well this time and even did a cleanse while clocking 75+ hours per week! But as I sit here at my desk, past closing time, for the umteenth night in a row, I find it very unfair that tonight's blog challenge topic guessed 10 favorite foods. Bah!

This blog is ironically quite timely, as I was just chatting with a boy (and a handsome one, at that) about my lack of interest in trying new foods. Somehow...probably because he's handsome...I was talked into going out for Vietnamese food. What? Was I wasted when I said ok? I hate trying new food! I am also not into going out to eat on dates. Probably because I hate food, I hate tasting new food, and when you add those elements to, say, a first date...its a recipe for disaster (hehe, I didn't even make that pun deliberately). So anyways, I have agreed to eat at a Vietnamese restaurant even though I could go my whole life without eating Vietnamese food, and perhaps I will like it, but that doesn't mean I really have any desire to try it and find out.

I should preface this list  with one important detail. I don't love food. I have never been one to branch out too far from a few staples. I don't cook well, nor do I enjoy cooking. I eat because in order for me to not die, I have to eat...but I don't eat for pleasure like so many people do. I simply eat because I get hangry if I don't consume at least 1,100 calories in a day (Karen, hush about my caloric intake). Food isn't fun for me, its necessity. It was actually very challenging for me to even think of ten things I like to eat. But here they are, in no particular order.

1. Grandma Stacey's teriyaki chicken wings.
2. Tillamook vanilla ice cream with raspberries.
3. Chips and Guacamole.
4. Jamba Juice Peach Perfection smoothie.
5. Campbell's chicken noodle soup. There is nothing better on a sick day. Or a sad day.
6. Mom's "taco crap."
7. Air-popped popcorn with butter & salt.
8. Cheese tortellini with alfredo sauce and broccoli.
9. Pepperoni & pineapple pizza with alfredo sauce, cold.
10. Double stuffed Oreos. Also known as Crack Cookies...because you have to eat a whole sleeve at a time, and that is NOT ok.

After thinking about this list and what my favorite foods are, I realize that many of them that make the list are very simple, and that mostly they are comfort foods. Most of the items on this list, I don't even eat anymore...which is probably why they are on my list of top ten favorite foods, because I miss them still. I could eat popcorn every night while I watch tv. I don't. But I would love to. I could eat cold pizza every morning for breakfast. But I do when my hangover is incurable.

I also realized that my list of favorite foods could easily belong to a five year old. Oreos, pizza and ice cream. Perfect.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Dear Diary...I Love Boys

Why do I write?
That's like asking me why I breathe in and out. I write because I have to. And if you're not a writer, that may not make any sense to you at all. But if you are a writer, you know that the urge to put pen to paper (or in this case, finger to keyboard) is a basic need, like food or water. For me, writing is very therapeutic and draws an emotional response. I write when I am happy, I write when I am sad. When I am angry, I write a lot of very mean things that I thankfully am smart enough to delete without sending. Writing is soothing, healing, relaxing, and just makes me feel better.

I have always, since I was able to write, kept a diary or a journal. My first diary was small and blue, with white hearts and one of those little locks. The paper inside was multicolor pastel. I wrote in it often, and I will never forget the day my little brother read it. I. Was. Mortified. Because in grade school, you write all sorts of embarrassing things like, what you did at recess or what color your headband was that day. In any case, I do remember that Tony and his friend David actually got in some deep shit for reading it, so I hope it was worth it.
I had several journals between 7th and 9th that time in my life, where everything was so dramatic and upsetting, I would write pages and pages each night, and I went through many, many journals in those 3 years. A few years ago I finally purged them to the recycling, but not before reading them...oh my God, I was boy crazy! I don't think I've ever been as in love with boys as I was in 7th grade. I love this boy. I love that boy. I danced with an 8th grader at the school dance, I held hands with so-and-so...and oh man, did I do a lot of kissing as a freshman! My mom should be happy to hear that I was not having sex with any of these kids, but I sure kissed them all! And then came home and wrote 5 pages about how it was the most-amazing-kiss-of-my-whole-life.
Even in high school and on into college, I kept journals. They were less intense, less action-packed, and contained more real thoughts than gossip, but I wrote in them regularly and reading back through them, I could definitely read into when I started to grow up, take on my own self and begin to care more about other things than kissing boys.
Writing has truly provided me with a great deal of self-imposed therapy, as it has allowed me to vent, learn, react, and grow during some of the most traumatic and some of the greatest moments in my life. If I can't say something out loud, I can certainly always write it down.
My ex-boyfriend was killed in a car crash last year, and I have continued to write him Facebook messages. There is a chance that someone out there has his password and is reading them, but I don't care, because for me, these messages are serving their purpose. I am able to communicate a level of grief through writing him a message that I was unable to express in words. Zach wasn't a very good boyfriend. He had a serious drinking problem, he didn't have a job, and he was seeing someone else at the same time he was with me. But in spite of these things, which I know made him a pretty crappy boyfriend, he was one of the most genuinely amazing people I've ever been with. He made me laugh, made my days better, always had something hilarious to say. He was energetic and fun, and he could keep up with my get-up-and-go, extroverted personality. We had a great time together. When we broke up and I started dating Kalib, and my grandparents died, I was really mean to Zach. I said some mean things about the choices he was making, and because of this, we were soon no longer friends on Facebook. It is a difficult thing, apologizing for what you know you did wrong, while grieving, while knowing your apologies will go unheard. And yet, out there in the void of Facebook message land, is a very heartfelt, very sincere, very caring apology to Zach for the way I acted during a period of grief in my own world. I didn't need to be mean to him, even though things did not end all that well, and something came of writing that apology to the man who deserved it, even though it was never read.
I was honored with the responsibility of writing eulogies for both of my mom's parents. This was both so easy, and so hard, and has gone down as one of my greatest accomplishments. My grandma passed away in October, and my uncle asked my mom if I would do the eulogy. My mom talked to me about it, then told my uncle that I would write it, but by no means would I be the one to read it. I cannot hold myself together at a funeral, and I was devastated at the loss of my grandma. There was just no way I was going to stand at a podium and read anything to anyone. But I was deeply moved to have been asked to write it. I worked harder than I have ever worked on anything. And it was perfect. Every word had meaning, and my cousin read it, and everyone in my family appreciated the stories, the words, the emotion. It felt so good to be the one person in my family that was able to put my grandma into written words - we could all talk about her for hours, but they had asked me to write it. So through my grief, I was also very grateful and very proud.
When my grandpa died just a few months later, I was not only asked to write a euology for him, but I told my mom I was reading it. Everyone - myself included - was surprised, and I don't think any of us thought I would get through it. My cousin Alan was instructed to come take over if when I fell apart at the podium. I spent all of my time working on writing exactly what I wanted to say, listening to my grandpa's friends tell me stories about growing up with him, and putting his personality into the words I was writing. And then I read them. Out loud. At a funeral, in a church, in front of everyone. And there was something even more powerful to me about being the voice reading the words I had written, and was so proud of myself.
Being able to write, and write well, has helped me through some very hard times - death, breakups, an abusive boyfriend, fights, estranged family - because my ability to put everything I am feeling onto paper prevents me from exploding. Writing gives me a release in a place where I would otherwise have no alternative but to fight. I can sit at my desk and write out all of the reasons I am hurt or angry, and then turn around and have a much more constructive conversatio with a friend or a boyfriend. I am proud of myself when I write something that people read and my blog a few days ago about women and their bodies.
I took on this 31 day blog challenge because with as busy as my life has been lately, I needed a structured way to force myself back into this space, this space right here where I have no distration. Nothing but a good song, a keyboard, and my own thoughts. I needed something to make me make time when I felt I had none. And look, here I am, only 11 of 31 days to go, and I have not missed a day apparently, I do have the time. And so, I will continue to make the time, because writing is not only what I do, it is who I am.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Your Eyes Are Like a Canvas

I feel like after my post yesterday, which actually got 6 shares (!!!), I need to say something else totally enlightening and smart, but alas, my topic for today is: what's in my makeup bag? And I don't feel anything exceptionally profound coming on...

And yet, after mentioning in yesterday's blog that I love my eyes, at least this entry is timely.

Like I said, I do like my eyes. And people who do my eye makeup for me (when I'm in weddings, or in Vegas) always comment on how big my eyes are...from the actual size of my eyes, to the distance between my brows and my eyelids. I've never really noticed my eyebrows being apparently higher on my head than anyone else's, but it has been an alarming number of people who've been applying eye shadow to my face and commenting on how much room they have to apply it. Hmmm...ok??

Perhaps because of this, I have a ton of eye shadows in my makeup case. I don't stick with one color that I know looks good, I prefer to have an array of options...some end up being disastrous, and some become staples. Since I have so many colors, I have just as many shadow brushes...otherwise shit gets mixed up and you've got a mess on your hands.

Aside from eye shadow, my makeup bag consists of a liquid foundation and an expensive concealer (most of my makeup is dirt-ass cheap) because I have some serious genetically dark circles under my eyes, and I have to cover that right up. There's also bronzer so I don't look like a ghost, and a few different mascaras...some that lengthen, some that plump, some that won't wash off for those events that make me weddings. Oh man, can I cry at a wedding...

The makeup I don't have much of is lip color. I have small, thin lips...and I tend to think lip color makes them look littler, so I tend to stray away from much of it unless I am trying to be fancy. Plus, I like to kiss boys, and leaving lipstick on their face is gross. So I figure, if I'm not wearing lipstick, I am always prepared for some smooching!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

How to Get a Thigh Gap and Take Over the World

Ok, simply posting a video and refusing to blog on the topic of the day, I am ultimately failing at my daily blog challenge.

I am also then guilty of simply reading the topic on a surface level: What's your best physical feature?

The obvious answer here would be eyes, smile, earlobes, boobs, legs, ass, etc. Any girl, when asked what their best physical feature is, assumes that's what they are being asked. And I am no different. I sat here thinking about this post topic for a couple of days, trying to decide what is the best of all of my equally amazing physical attributes (kidding). And now that Stacey called me out on avoiding the topic altogether, I have been forced to really think more about it. I went to Pinterest to look for a quote or photo to get me started, as I was really struggling to think of a jumping off point.

And then I realized, as I typed in "body image" and hit search, that everything in my results was weight-loss based. How to lose weight. How to burn more calories. How to drop ten pounds and improve your body image. And then, there it was, the cherry on top of the how-to-develop-an-eating-disorder-in-just-ten-steps: How to get a thigh gap.

A what?!?
What the fuck is a thigh gap??

Upon further investigation, I learned that apparently, a thigh gap - also known as your thighs not touching together up near your lady biz - is, like, all the rage and what all the girls are after these days. Now, correct me if I am wrong (but I'm not wrong, so don't correct me), but I believe it is scientifically impossible to get yourself a gap between the thighs without being just flat-out born with wide hips. It does not matter how skinny fat, or muscular your legs genetically have space between your thighs, or you don't. And if you don''re not going to develop anything other than anorexia trying to create that space.

I was floored. Literally. And don't get me wrong, I am very aware of my own body image and the insecurities I suffer based on that. But I am also not so over-the-top obsessed that I think I can just squat and starve my way to a gap between my is just never going to happen!

So here I am, unable to come up with what I like better, my teeth or my ears, and I get this fucking media hyped message of, I am just plain fat and ugly because my left thigh touches my right thigh. Jesus. What the fuck is wrong with society that we believe a woman can alter her fucking bone structure in order to appear thinner?! Is this seriously real? I may have a hard time looking at myself naked and deciding which part of my body is the "hottest" or the "best" (I can give you the numbers to a couple of people who would definitely say my boobs, lol), but I am definitely not looking at the mirror thinking...dammit, my thighs tough, I'm skipping dinner tonight.

I have a long history of following one stupid crash diet after another, and it has only been this year - since meeting my friend Kattie - that I have started making healthy diet and lifestyle changes, such as eating organic produce, limiting meats and dairy, never skipping a meal, etc. And the results are coming with those changes in a way that will be long-lasting, so I can be patient. I am old enough now to recognize that I will never be a tall skinny bean pole with legs for days and collarbones that jut out from my shoulders. I will also never be an NBA basketball player like I wanted to be when I was five years old. I have learned that as long as I am healthy, I will be sexy, and I am embracing that change in my mentality. But, that said, can you believe I took a BMI test recently that suggested my "ideal" body weight is only 103 pounds? Yep, 103. I weighed 103 in 8th grade, before I became a woman and started having a period and growing boobs, and have not weighed 103 since then. Thank you, BMI calculator, for suggesting I need to lose about twice the number of pounds I believe I need to lose. Fuck that.

The images, articles, photos, blogs, and especially the media, that bombard women on a minute-by-minute basis is truly enough to send any woman, even the mentally healthy, into a talespin over how fat her ass is or how many different sets of crunches she should to if she wants to be pretty. It is truly insane. How many of us looked at Miley Cyrus, naked, in her Wrecking Ball video and commented on her body instead of the fact that she is obviously starving for attention in all the wrong ways? She's too thin, but her ass is saggy. Her boobs are too small. Her hair looks like shit. Her belly is flabby. Ok, yea maybe some of that is true, but you know what Miley does have? A fucking thigh gap. And that shit is just her lucky-ass natural genetically wide hip bone structure. Damn her and her awesome pelvic bones!

What it comes down to is, women need to calm the fuck down about what we look like. Yes, we should work out and eat healthy, but not so that we can get too skinny or stay too hungry. We should not be trying to fit into the mold the world thinks we should be in...all five foot ten, 105 pounds of it...if you're 6 feet tall with legs for days, good for you. Own it. Wear flats and still look tall. I will attempt to maintain healthy jealousy. If you're a chick and you're a powerhouse, with an 8 pack and bigger biceps than your boyfriend, awesome. Rock that. Wear booty shorts and make even us straight girls drool over the washboard you call a stomach. If you're short, great. Buy heels when you need a tall day, and embrace that you can get away with wearing a lot of tee shirts as mini dresses. The only people truly judging women on their weight or the shape of our bodies, is us.

Need proof? I have continued to have guys try to have sex with me whether I was a size 2 or a size 12. At no point, at my lightest, my heaviest, or anywhere in between, have I stopped being attractive to men. So apparently, men don't really care what cup size I wear at the moment, as long as I have two boobs, nor do they care if I have a bit of a belly in the moment, as long as I still have skin. And there has definitely never, ever in the history of me having an ass, been a time when a guy has said, yea, too bad your ass fills out your jeans like that. And by saying all of this, I am not attempting to say that my body image lies in the hands of a man. BUT, I can prove my point that only women give a shit about being stick thin, because guys tend to enjoy women and want to have sex with them, just because they're women.

Oh, and for the record, I would consider my eyes and my bum among the best of my physical features...just so we don't all still think I skipped the blog topic. I love my eyes, I really do. They're big. People who do my makeup always comment on the amount of space between my eyelid and my brow...apparently it is fun to put makeup on such a big canvas. I like that my eyes are more than one color, and that they change color with the weather. Weird, yes. And my bum, well, that's just how I get the attention of the people standing behind me instead of the people looking me in the face, lol. I'm kidding. But I have always supported girls with junk in their trunk, because I have junk of my own and I actually prefer it that way. Nobody's gonna regret my bony ass sitting on their lap, and I can fill out a good pair of jeans, so I'm happy with that.

Now, I wonder if I could borrow my dad's chainsaw to take a couple centimeters off the inside of my thigh bone so I could have a thigh gap??

You're So Vain...

Today's Challenge is to Discuss My Best Physical Feature.

Hate this topic. So, I will just say...I'm awesome. That's all.


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Not All Who Wander Are Lost


I have been lucky enough to have taken some amazing trips in my adult life, and have come across some incredible people along the way. The need to travel seems to be permanently engrained in me; I don't think I will ever outgrow the desire to see other countries and experience new things. This makes me think that I have chosen the wrong career - one that doesn't pay well enough to support a travel habit, and one that does not require travel as part of a job...but that is another blog in itself. Today's focus is on the places I have been and the places I want to go next.

My first significant travel experience was in 2004, when Stacey and I took spring break to go visit DeLaina in Fairbanks, Alaska. We flew to Seattle and then to Fairbanks, where we spent the week living in the dorms with our younger cousin. We had a great time and saw several important Alaskan sights - specifically Chena hot springs, where we swam in the dead cold in bathtub-hot water, then camped in a frigid cabin with DeLaina and her friends, and the World Championship ice sculptures, where we wandered through the bitter cold in total awe of these enormous ice structures. I remember thinking they were just so amazingly huge and bold, but also very serene. In a word, awesome.

Alaska was my first disastrous flight as well, from Stace getting put on stand by, to experiencing the worst turbulence I have ever experienced...we were both fairly certain that after flying to Alaska and back, we would die on the puddle jump home from Seattle. But it was on this trip to Alaska, while we were getting lot using the city bus, while we were meeting DeLaina's friends, and while we were experiencing a new adventure, that I fell completely in love with the possibility of life away from home. I had unleashed my travel bug, and by the time I was home from my big trip to Alaska, I'd planned ten more trips in my head.

Fast forward a couple more years of college and countless hours of waiting tables for cash shoved into a piggy bank, and I was ready for my next big trip. In December, 2006, my best friend Jenny, her friend Nicole, and I embarked on a 4 week backpacking trip in Australia. This was the opportunity, and the trip, of a lifetime. I had never worked so hard to save money, and we purchased plane tickets that would cross us over the international date line and into another world. It was a grand adventure, and Jenny - who has proven to be the best travel buddy out there - and I had the same plans to do everything and see everything. We were in Australia, when would we ever be here again? Despite talks of going out, bar-hopping and club scenes that had taken place in the months before we left, when it came right down to it, we had no desire to spend money on food or booze, and basically did one big touristy activity every day that wore us out and wiped our wallets clean...we only went out drinking once in the whole 4 weeks, and we were all just fine with that. We did all we could do in Australia. Our flight took us from Portland to LA, then to Brisbane I believe, and a quick flight north to Cairns, where our week in the Australian rainforest began. In Cairns, we had the opportunity to skydive from 14,000 feet onto the beach, with miles of ocean and an eternity of sky around us. Skydiving. It was beautiful, mesmerizing, terrifying, and horrifying all at once, and I still wonder whether or not I have the draw to repeat it. In any case, it was a first time experience worth having, and certainly under such a gorgeous backdrop. Also while in Cairns, we took an all-day snorkeling cruise, where we spent hours getting the shit burnt out of us, along with swimming with the fishes.

At this point in our lives, Jenny and I had no desire to spend money on food, sleep, or travel, so we did these things in the most ghetto, cost-effective way we could - by skipping breakfast, and then eating 1/2 of a Subway foot-long sandwich each for lunch and dinner. $5 for food per day isn't really something you can beat...besides, we stayed in some hostels with bathrooms so nasty, you'd prefer to skip a meal than have to pee there. To get from Cairns to our next destination on the Gold Coast, we took the train. For about 16 hours. Just long enough to watch a lady beat her daughter with a brush. Awesome. We stayed in another condo in Gold Coast, where we ventured to the Steve Irwin Zoo and got to watch a crocodile feeding, feed an elephant, and hold a koala bear. All very cool. This is also where we spent the one rainy day of the trip, where we watched TV in the condo and did some shopping. We celebrated Christmas together here, exchanged local gifts, and then spent a horrible day/night in the train station before sleeping on the bench in the entrance of the local police station...all while waiting for our bus from here to Sydney at 6am the next morning.

Sydney was a whole other vacation. We went from mostly mellow times with a few adventures to back-to-back tourist fun all day every day. We toured the Sydney Opera House and fell so in love that we bought tickets to a show the next night and saw an Italian opera there. We watched New Years Eve fireworks in the park over the Sydney Harbour Bridge. And then we climbed the bridge at 6am one morning. We went to another Zoo, drank Absinthe (illegal in the US at the time), stayed at a vineyard, got massages, and enjoyed a fancy meal with our in-case-of-emergency-call-this-guy person. You'd never think you would need the phone number to your friend's mom's doctor's sister's uncle...but we did! We were stranded over New Years and we had to call this person - a total stranger - to please pick us up, let us crash out on your front porch, take us to the train in the morning. It ended up being one of the most fun parts of the trip! We got to see a part of Sydney we would not have otherwise seen, took a hike, and learned what a $45 cocktail tasted like. So fun!

Being in Australia with my best friend for a month further proved that I was a jet-setter, that I wanted nothing more than to see everything there was. Jenny and I would sit at our favorite Chinese food place and map out dream destinations, make plans to save money and go somewhere else, anywhere else. We just needed to be on the go!

Following our long, expensive, exhausting, life-changing trip to Australia, Jenny and I, and another one of her friends (this one much shittier than Nicole, lol) took off for just shy of 2 weeks to hit the east coast. We weren't ready to dole out the cash for another out-of-America trip just yet, but we had the itch and had to go somewhere. At this point, I was working for the Hilton, so we were able to book awesome rooms at super cheap employee rates, which only fell through once (I had actually quit my job just before we left, and one hotel called my boss to confirm employment...damn her). For this trip, we flew into Baltimore to visit Washington DC, which was one of the coolest places I've been. It is a place so full if history and things to learn, see and experience. We went to Arlington National Cemetery where we watched the changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, which was jaw-dropping to see, visited all of the memorials, walked by the White House, shopped, dined, just took it all in. We spent Halloween in DC, which was a night to never forget. People there go crazy for Halloween...and so did we.

After a few days in DC, we rented a car and drove through all those baby states from there to Boston, where we stayed for a mere 2 days - long enough to check out a couple local pubs and leave Jenny's friend with her grandparents before returning the rental and hopping on a bus to New York City! Jenny and I had a blast in NYC...we met up with 2 of my friends there, so it was a 4some for the long weekend We played in FAO Schwartz, ate at food carts, shopped, got tattoos, took a carriage ride and went ice skating in Central Park, and sucked up all that NYC had to experience. I loved it there. I don't think I'd live there, but I could definitely vacation there again; it was just so busy!

I have also been fortunate enough to have traveled some with my job at Old Chicago. I became part of the training team for the sole purpose of traveling, and on the 2 openings I did, I did get to see 2 pretty decent spots - Albany, New York (which, in all honesty, I hated) and Oklahoma City, which I really surprisingly loved. What I hated about Albany was more work-related drama, but that made it hard to get out and have fun. I don't really even remember much of it, other than the inside of the worst Old Chicago opening to ever take place. Oklahoma though, that was another story. I took my day off to tour the bombing memorial, which I thought was really beautiful and well done, and spent the majority of the rest of my days...well, inside a Best Western or an Old Chicago. But I met a lot of really cool people, and by being part of an opening, we got to spend a lot of time in Denver with the other trainers, specifically over New Years. In Denver (my favorite place in the United States), I have seen two NFL football games, my favorite bar, a great Zoo, and some of the best parties I've ever been to.
There was also the Christmas I took my brother to Dallas, TX for a Cowboys-Giants game, where we learned that everything...malls, burgers, beers, and airports...really are bigger in Texas. And a million times I have been able to go to Phoenix. And my recent 30th birthday in Las Vegas after going for the 1st time last Labor Day on...well technically on a 3rd date with a guy, lol. Jenny and I have driven to Boise to go on a camping trip and hang out with girlfriends. My friend Brittany and I once drove to Denver on almost a total whim...and that turned out to be one of the best trips of my life. I just love to go places. By car, plane, boat, helicopter, I don't care.
There is something about planning a vacation that makes me truly happy. It gives me something to focus on, a monetary goal, a timeline to time off, and something to look forward to. I love being able to even take a 3 day weekend down to visit Jenny in Phoenix, or even solo weekends to the beach. I just love being away from home, away from the daily grind. I suppose this has morphed a bit into my desire to have a career that requires me to travel, but that is what I want. I want to go places, I want my office to be a laptop, not a chair bolted to the floor. Maybe I'll stop pinning dream destinations to Pinterest and find that job one of these never know what the future holds, but I can assure you, mine holds a lot more of the world that I cannot wait to get out and experience.
Jenny and me at the Washington Zoo in DC

14,000 feet of pure, life-flashing-before-your-eyes fun!

Not fluffy. Stinky.

Nicole, me, our new friend Luke, and our instructors

Bridge Climb. One of my favorite parts of the trip


Back in Time

Today's blog simply asks for an old photo. I like that. Because I don't really have time for anything else right now...
Kindergarten Class Photo

First Grade...and with a broken collar bone, still looking cute!

Me and my little bro


Birthday Fun


Swimming with Carolyn

High School dance

Family time

Sun River