Thursday, October 31, 2013

Bah, Humbug and Happy Halloween

Q: Why can't witches have babies?
A: Because ghosts have Hollow-weenies!
Bad joke? I thought it was funny.

Today is Halloween, and other than my excitement to join Stacey & Tyler for Blake's first legit Trick-or-Treating, I am just not feeling the holiday spirit this year. I think it has something to do with not having a place of my own to pass out candy at, and not feeling the major party vibe at all, and just feeling blah about the whole thing. I am, however, LOVING all the pictures of everyone's adorable babies in costumes on Facebook today.

Halloween is usually the kick off to the holiday season for me, since next comes Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve, and I tend to get pretty excited for it all. I love the busy hustle and bustle of the winter holiday season; it helps get me through the winter rainy-day blues by always providing a holiday event or party to look forward to, even when the weather sucks and I want to just hide under the covers at home. I enjoy the extra time spent with my family, the busy days, the loud dinners, and all of the traditions that come with the holiday season.

Probably my favorite fall tradition is going to the pumpkin patch at Sauvie's Island. When we were little, our entire family would go, and it was usually followed up with a BBQ at Grandma Stacey's house. Even when most of us were too old for it, we all still went and had a great day together in the rain and the mud. In the past couple of years, as my cousins have started to have babies of their own, we've been going in smaller batches and not always at the same time or to the same patch, but I was still really glad to get to take Blake this past weekend to pick out his pumpkin. After trying to sneak out with one far too large, we were able to reign him in to one small enough to carry himself, as that is the Stacey Family Pumpkin Patch Rule: carry it your damn self.

In the last few years, my mom's family has stopped having our big Thanksgiving dinner each year and have started a bi-annual dinner instead, as with over 60 people, the dinner tends to be a ton of work and a large expense. I won't complain too much about it, because I am not the one that the work load or expense falls on, but I won't pretend to like it either. I hate it. On the "off" years (this year is an off year), I feel like Thanksgiving isn't really coming. I'm single, I don't have kids or in-laws, so without my big family holidays, I tend to just feel like it won't be much of a holiday. But until I have a house and table that sits 60+ and a budget to cook 10 turkeys, I can't complain. And there is my dad's family as well, but being brutally honest, I hate spending holidays with them anymore. Several years ago, my dad's siblings had a few ridiculous fights leading to my big loud happy family basically splitting apart, and now most of them don't talk to each other. The last couple of Thanksgiving dinners at my aunt's house have just left me feeling sad - we all fit at one table last year; that has NEVER happened at any family dinner I've attended in the 30 years I've been alive. And I hated it. I like my family dinners loud and fun like they used to be. Unfortunately that will never happen, as my dad's family hates each other and is far too proud/stubborn/full of ass holes to ever mend the fences.

This Thanksgiving, I think I will opt to cook dinner with Kattie and some friends who's families are out of town. Watching football and drinking beers with friends over dinner sounds like a relaxing new tradition that could definitely work for me.

Will I stop by at Barbara's to see my grandma and my parents? Probably. But will I stay to hang out and be reminded of why I can't stand being around my dad's siblings? Probably not. I have spent the better part of ten years trying to stay neutral, trying to be supportive of all of my family and to maintain my relationships with everyone, but what I have learned is, that's not what they want. They want to be mad, they want to hate each other, and they want to not give a shit what affect their petty crap has on the rest of us. So unfortunately, it just is what it is: a small dining room table where only 8 of us share a meal instead of 38 of us.

Christmas, on the other hand...I love Christmas. I love taking kids to look at Christmas lights, I love to get my own Christmas tree. I love to get out all of Grandma Stacey's ornaments, her tree topper, some of her lights, and think of her while I listen to Christmas music, drink wine, and decorate my place. Last year, in my little condo, I got my own tree an put up a stocking for me and a little one for Juno, and even though I think Mark was the only person to see the tree, I was just so happy for it. It was mine. I paid for it, I bought the stand, I bought the ornaments. I decorated it, I wrapped presents and spent weeks chasing Juno out from under it. It was perfect. And I am excited to do the same in another new apartment this year. I have a fireplace even for stocking hanging, which is amazing.

2 years ago, my mom and I started a new Christmas morning tradition that involves mimosas for breakfast. That will happen again this year. And every year.

My mom's family doesn't cancel every other Christmas, so even though we're skipping the Thanksgiving feast, we do get to have Christmas together, where we draw names and exchange gifts, where we get to see babies be excited about first Christmastime things. I love it.

My dad's family, or what's left of it, will likely do Christmas as well, and that for some reason doesn't upset me the way Thanksgiving does, so I'll go and I'll have fun with the few people I still call my Whitmore family. It won't be as loud or as crazy as it once was, but I will have a beer and still enjoy myself.

I was just talking with someone last night about how New Year's just isn't the same big thing it was when I was 21, when all that mattered about it was being wasted. I've spent the last couple of years with small groups of family, and it has been fun, mellow, and a great way to ring in another year. Last year was spent playing cards at Kitty and Stu's, and the year prior was spent dancing in Stacey and Tyler's living room. Both fun, neither too wild. I like to make silly resolutions, take a shot or kiss a boy at midnight, and move forward into another year of growing happier and healthier, but there is something about New Year's Eve that also just kinda kicks a single lady in the ass. So there's that.

The best part about the holiday season is staying busy and making memories with the people I love, and regardless of what traditions are started, changed, skipped over, or ended completely, I love having the memories that I do of the holidays with my family. I may be feeling a little Scroogey lately, but I think getting into my apartment next week, where I can decorate, unpack, and settle into a place to call mine, will help immensely to shake that grumpiness. And if nothing else, my fall and Christmas deocrations will force me to cheer up. Afterall, they were Grandma's, and they're beautiful.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

I Hate Self Check-Out

Maybe it is because I have worked in customer service since I was 15 years old. Maybe it is because I crave interaction with people, not machines. Maybe it is because I believe people just deserve to have a job option. Whatever the case may be, I hate - no, I loathe - self checkout at stores. Hate it. I would rather wait in line for ten minutes than rush through the self checkout, because I just hate the whole concept so much.

There is nothing quite as annoying as standing in a long line at Safeway on a Friday evening to have my produce rung up by the one cashier in the store who is actually behind a cash register, while simultaneously watching 5 cashiers stand around staring at the four open self checkout lanes. Guess what, Safeway, nobody wants to weigh, scan, and look up the codes to the vegetables in the self checkout lane when you employ all of these people who have the damn things memorized!

This weekend, on our way to the pumpkin patch, Stace and I stopped at Albertons so I could grab a Pepsi and a croissant to share with Blake (I didn't share the soda, don't worry). I ran in, grabbed a fresh croissant from the deli, and headed to the checkout lane. To my surprise (and annoyance), there was not a single register open, just the self checkout lanes. I saw maybe six employees at the front of the store, shooting the shit, none of them helping anyone. Myself, as well as the girl at the lane across from me, who had grabbed a warm bagel at the same time I'd picked up my croissant, rang up our drinks and then kinda looked around, looked at each other, and stood the fuck do I ring up a pastry on the self checkout lane? Fresh croissants don't have a barcode. Looking around, not one of the six available shit-shooting cashiers seemed to give a shit, so I shrugged and said, "eh, fuck it." Both me and the bagel girl paid for a soda and left the store.

Yes, I stole a croissant.

And I don't even feel bad about it. Fuck you, Albertson's, for your shitty customer service and for not having one single damn lane open so I could pay a human for my breakfast. And fuck you for taunting me with six employees and 15 checkout lanes, all of which are doing nothing but sitting there. I'll take this croissant just to prove a point: self checkout fucking sucks.

Recently at Fred Meyer, a clerk told me that I had to use the self checkout because he was stocking a shelf nearby. He was too busy to stop. Umm, ok, keep up the great customer service, Freddy's. So here I was, at the self checkout, getting a repeated error message for not bagging my shit properly. Fuck you, Fred Meyer, I scanned my shit and I put it in the bag...your machine is not working. So I wait for the guy who was too busy to stop to come over and assist the machine. He tells me that my item doesn't weigh enough for the bag to be able to tell that I had put anything in it.

Me: Well, its in there, its just eye liner.
Guy who was too busy to stop: Well it doesn't weigh enough.
Me: Well, I don't know what to tell you then.
Guy who was too busy to stop: The machine can't tell you bagged it, you need something heavier.
Me: I am only buying makeup, none of it is heavy.
Guy who was too busy to stop: long awkward stare.
Me: This is why I hate self checkout. You could have rang up my eyeliner ten times by now.
Guy who was too busy to stop: I can just override it I guess.
Guy who was too busy to stop: More awkward staring.

Seriously, fuck off. Your machine can't tell my shit is in the bag, because it is a machine. Stop trying to cut payroll wages by making me use a bull shit machine to ring up my fucking eyeliner.

It is not my job to go to the store and fight with a machine to pay for what I am buying. Fred Meyer can certainly pay a few people a measly ten bucks an hour to say hi, make conversation, I dunno, provide some customer service, to the people who are spending our money here. They're lucky I didn't just walk out of the damn store with my makeup.

I fucking hate self fucking checkout. I am not a grocery clerk. I don't want to be a grocery clerk. I want to go to the store and chat with someone while they punch in codes, weigh my veggies, scan my tampons, and ask how my day was. I want to stand at the register and be annoyed by the person standing in my bubble behind me. I want to have some human interaction when I drop $100 on produce, for crying out loud.

And if some giant conglomerate cannot provide me with some satisfactory service when I shop, I will just continue to steal my fucking croissant when I go to Albertson's, because apparently my 75 cents isn't that big of a deal - take it out of someone's wage and have them stock shelves instead of ringing up my eyeliner.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

I Know My Body!

^^Watch this starting at 5 minutes, 36 seconds in^^

The big "thing" to do right now seems to be a primal or caveman type diet. And that's great. It seems ideal - I mean really, who doesn't want to be dieting and still get to eat bacon every day? The idea behind these primal diets is basically to eat what people ate when they were hunting their own food - veggies and meats. A diet where you're not tracking fat calories, but you've essentially cut out carbs from grains and pastas.And most importantly, you get to eat bacon.


I have tried several dietary lifestyle changes in the past year to two years, and I have learned a ton about my body and what it needs and wants. I have also learned a lot about bio-individuality, which essentially means, we are all different, and what works for you may not work for me.

I will use my cousin Karen as an example because I know she has a thick skin, and I know she always means well when she tells me what to do. It annoys me more than anything when I mention that I am doing a cleanse, or switching to organic meats, or eliminating certain food items from my diet...and someone tells me I am wrong. I have a lot of friends who like to jump all over me for removing bread from my diet. Well guess what, bread is my body's enemy, not its friend. Karen mostly likes to harp on me about my caloric intake. She thinks I don't eat enough. And she may be right, I don't really know. I don't count calories, and when I used to, I was usually under my reccomended intake for the day. But here's the thing...I don't necessarily agree with the reccomendations about what I should eat or weigh. For example, my BMI calculator thing suggested that I was significantly overweight, at Thor and Danielle's wedding, when I was the thinnest I'd been since high school. The "reccomendation" was that I weigh no more than 104 pounds. At the wedding, I weighed about 118, and looking back at photos, I should probably have not lost those last 5 pounds...I looked the healthiest at Stacey's wedding, when I was at about 125. But on my BMI test, 125 was considered just shy of needless to say, I don't tend to trust whatever mad scientist came up with that one.

And the same goes for calories...I eat every day, usually all 3 meals, I snack, and I don't go to bed hungry. And yet, some chart somewhere says I am eating about 300 too few calories. Well, I don't necessarily agree with that. I eat until I am full, and that's enough for me. I am not going to force feed myself extra to meet a suggestion made by someone, somewhere, who doesn't know me.

While I do agree that the basic key point to any weight loss or weight maintenance program is, calories in versus calories out, I have learned that there is more to it. It does matter where your calories "in" are coming from. Myself for example? My body cannot handle red meat in the amount that these primal diets suggest. If I eat a burger patty - without a bun, mind you - I gain, like, 3 pounds. Red meat also makes me sick to my stomach. So while I enjoy some bacon as a treat on Christmas morning with my parents, I cannot commit to that much meat. Both because I don't like it, and because I don't want to get fat.

In the past 12 months, I have learned that success for me looks like a smoothie for breakfast and a smoothie for lunch, with salad and chicken for dinner, and some healthy fat snacks in between, such as an avocado or some nuts. That's just what works for me. Just like I don't appreciate being told that I'm wrong, I am not suggesting that those of you on primal, caveman, paleo diets are wrong. If it works for your body, keep going with it! But I want people to understand that not everyone's body is the same. It is extremely disheartening to post a photo of a delicious, green, organic plate of veggies that you cooked for dinner and have six people comment about how you need a steak or chicken thigh to make it a meal. No I don't. Plenty of people don't eat meat at all, and before you jump all over me about it, perhaps you should ask if I am getting my protein and iron in other which I could tell you yes, I am.

I recently had a physical at my doctor's office, and surprise, surprise, she said all of my tests came back great, my blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugars were all normal and at no risk of anything. Everything was fine. And from my genetic history, the fact that there was nothing wrong means I am doing something very right. She asked about my diet and workout routine, we talked about it, and she said I was doing things right. So for all of you (not just you, Karen, lol) who can't seem to get off my case about how I eat like a bird or don't get enough protein or don't eat enough bacon or bread or fat or sugar...please stop it, and let me do my thing. Afterall, I know my body. You don't live in it, I do.

Could be worse, you know...I could be striving for a thigh gap.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fresh Ink

When I was 19, totally on a whim, I drove up to Vancouver to Dark Star Tattoo and got a tattoo. It was my second, and I picked it out of a wall of flash minutes before I had it inked on my body for life.


First, no tattoo should be picked off of a wall. A tattoo should be - at least in my opinion - more of an internal expression than that.

Second, you should never get a tattoo without checking out someone's work from someone else.

As you may have guessed, the tattoo I ended up with was, while drawn decently, not all that great. It was a crescent moon, with 2 small stars, on the side of my calf, with initials under the stars for 2 good friends I'd lost in high school. At first, I did like this tattoo, but as it healed, it was just sorta, blah. No shading, heavy lines...and the moon was backwards! I have always wanted to cover it, but didn't really know what I would want to replace it with. Cover ups can be spendy, plus they have to be quite large, and so I went for what, 10 years, with this blah tattoo on my leg that I didn't really like.

After my property sold last month, I have had a bit of extra money and decided it was time for a cover up. I reached out to friends for tattoo artist referrals and talked to a few before actually deciding on Travis from Tron City over on Canyon Road. I went in for my consulation with almost no solid ideas, just a bunch of "would this work" type scenarios, for him to sort through. Tattoo artists amaze me, seriously. He asked me a series of questions about colors I like, shapes I prefer, my personality, etc...and then came up with an idea I absolutely loved in about 15 minutes. He traced the existing design and promised to work his magic before my appointment the following week, and I left. Since I was there on a good referral from a regular client of his, he didn't take a deposit or anything.

Monday rolled around and I was still not quite sure what I was going to end up with. I just don't picture a piece of art the way an artist does...he'd said, blah blah blah, bird, rose, blah blah...and that's all I had in my head. When I got to the shop, though, he had a beautiful stencil ready, and I just loved it. We talked about how it was going to cover the moon and the stars, what colors he'd use, and positioning, and he got started.

I tell you, this was the fastest tattoo, ever. It takes up my whole calf and still only took 90 minutes, I couldn't believe it.

Long story short, I am in love with the work he did. It is big, bold, colorful, and best of all, it is exactly what I was after!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

My Blinks Are Taking Too Long

I could learn to love football... :)

I may not know much about sports (okay, well I basically know nothing about sports), but I seriously enjoy sports when they are live. I don't have the interest - or the attention span - to sit in front of a TV all day long on Sunday watching football, nor do I care to watch baseball or basketball on TV all evening, but when a game is happening live in front of you, it really is different. It is somehow more exciting when it is so noisy and with so many people...

I have been to several NFL games in the past - My brother and I flew to Dallas for the Cowboys/Giants game a couple years ago, I saw a Broncos/Vikings game while on a trip to Denver with some of the Old Chicago trainers, and I saw the Seahawks/Giants play like 2 years ago with Kalib and one of his friends. I enjoy live football. I need the person I'm with to keep me in the game as far as what exactly is happening, because I really don't know the game all that well, but I enjoy the noise, the fresh air, the crowd, and seeing the game play out live instead of in my living room. I've also been to Blazer games and a few Seattle Mariners games, and I find those fun as well. I recently went to my first Timbers game, and that was like the most fun sporting event, EVER.

Maybe its the beer...I do love spending $10 on a Coors Light, afterall.

Anyways, so I went to my first college football game this weekend, and I had such a great time. Not only had I never been to a college game, but I had never tailgated either. I had so. much. fun! I went with Jeremy to the Ducks game; it was a late game, so I drug my ass out of bed in Beaverton at like 10am, got my shit ready, and picked him up at about noon (an hour before he actually wanted to leave, because apparently women are always making him late). We met up with his coworker and some friends of theirs and headed down to Eugene; we made it there by about 3:00, despite Jeremy bitching about my slow ass driving the entire the time we took the Eugene exit, I was ready to drop him off and go home (no, not really). We parked, cracked beers, and hung out...met up with a few more of his friends throughout the day, had more beers, a yellow Jello shot (dee-lish), and headed into the stadium just in time for the game to start.

The weather was amazing, super warm and sunny, and I think it was almost halftime before I was cold enough for my jacket...awesome! Of course, once I was cold enough for my jacket, I also needed my hat, gloves, and in reality also needed Jeremy's jacket. BUT I stayed strong and did not make him be cold so I could wear two coats. I'm far too strong for that nonsense.

The game was seriously so loud. It was crazy. I loved it. It is hard for me to get into the yelling and chanting since I struggle to follow the game and don't want to yell the wrong thing, but eventually I figured it out and had a great time trying to be loud enough to fuck up the Cougars...apparently I can help do that by screaming loud, did you know that?

Anyway, as was expected, the Ducks took a huge lead in the 4th quarter, at which point I learned the definition of garbage ball, and we headed out from the staudium with just over 5 minutes left of the game. Not that it made any difference getting out of the parking lot...I think we waited an hour just to get to a road. We picked up some tacos, ate, gassed up my car, and headed up a loooooong, late, dark, foggy I-5 north towards Portland. Thank God Jeremy was awake, because I was getting pretty dangerously tired by the time we hit Wilsonville. At one point, I was talking just to hear a voice, and I do recall telling him my "blinks are taking a really long time," at which moment he sat up and turned on the air conditioning so I would be "less comfy." We made it back to his house and thankfully I was able to crash there instead of trying to drive myself from Clackamas to Beaverton, or I would be writing this blog from the Other Side.

Needless to say, after a really fun, really warm, really sunny day of drinking and meeting new people, followed by an evening of laughing, dancing (yes, I was dancing...isn't that always the case), and watching the Ducks, I am addicted. Can I go again next weekend please??



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Its Not Easy Being Green

I have always considered myself a relatively stable person, as well as a pretty easy-going girl. I don't have a lot of crazy-person tendencies, and generally I am the girl who comes down on other girls for the dumb shit they do. I don't Facebook/Twitter/MySpace/Text stalk my boyfriends, and I don't really care all that much about who they are friends with and what gets posted or texted. Mostly because in my relationships, I tend to be pretty secure. If you're going to cheat on me, you're a fucking ass hat, so I may as well not waste the time or energy being jealous or insecure about it; if you're a cheater, I know I am better off without you anyways. And I know that I am a pretty good girlfriend in most aspects, so I don't have reason to be all weird about some other girl treating you better than I do...unless she cooks for you, I suppose, cause I can't do that.

That said, I have to admit, I tend to be quite jealous at times. Not raging lunatic jealous, but small twinges of buttons that are easily pushed by certain things. I think jealousy is my vice, and I would love to delve further into it with a therapist sometime. Because I don't think it is super healthy to  be jealous when you have no reason to be. As someone who is pretty emotionally level in most regards, I find it interesting that I tend to suffer from the little green monster crawling all over me at times.

I have been working very hard on myself, and on becoming the best possible version of me in the last year, so I've done some reading on what makes people jealous, and most of what I have read blames jealous feelings on insecurities or lack of trust. And I guess to me that just doesn't seem like the right answer. Like I said, I am fairly secure in my relationships. I suppose you could argue that when I am casually dating someone, I may be less secure, and that makes some sense, because it is true that I don't like being in limbo...but I don't find myself any more jealous while in the dating phase, or any less jealous in a commited relationship. It is a pretty consistent feeling of slightly jealous, regardless of my relationship status with an individual. So weird!


I asked my mom recently if she thought jealousy was genetic, because after 30+ years of being with my dad, my mom is still jealous. So maybe it is all my mom's fault, right?

In any case, I would love to gain some perspective and do some further soul searching on this, because I know jealousy is an annoying trait, and it is something in myself that drives me crazy. I should be able to embrace something new and exciting for what it is and not deal with any envy over anything stupid during that time. See? I have said time and time again, everyone needs therapy, and there is always a reason to go!


Friday, October 18, 2013

I Carry Your Heart with Me (I Carry it in my Heart)

My Grandma Stacey was one of the best people in the world. She was strong and could do anything the boys could do. She was funny and made dirty jokes with us kids. She was fun and young at heart, and could sled down a hill with the best of us, laughing the whole way. She was beautiful and wonderful, and everything about her was to be enjoyed and celebrated. When she passed away in 2009, my uncle asked my mom if I would write her eulogy. I was truly honored, as I have written before. However, I was also a nervous wreck. Here I was, grieving the death of one of the best people in the world, trying to write about why she was one of the best people in the world.

Prompt: What's the hardest thing you've ever had to write and why?

As I do fairly often, to get my brain working, I began with a quote. I picked one I liked by EE Cummings; I carry your heart with me, I carry it in my heart. It seemed fitting, and honestly as I was browsing Google for a quote, it stuck out to me, so I went with it. I sat at the computer and typed page after page after page of memories of life with Grandma Stacey. Her humor. Her charm. Her wit. The way she took care of us, the way she let us eat cookies whenever we wanted. I typed and cried, and none of it was organized or good, and all of it was beautiful.

I sent an email to my family, asking them to send me their favorite moments with Grandma. What did they remember? What made them happy? What would they want to hear someone read in a church on a day meant to say goodbye? The emails I received back were as beautiful to read and made me cry as hard as anything I'd already written.

When it came time to make these jumbles of stories, memories, and moments into a well-organized, actual piece of writing, with complete thoughts and sentences, and with exactly the voice I wanted it to have when my cousin read it, I had a moment (or a few) where I laid in bed and thought, no way, I can't do this. Shit. What did I agree to do? How am I supposed to take the memories and stories from my entire family and write them in a way that everyone in the room will connect with? Nope, I can't do that!

Eventually, I was able to sit back at the computer and get my sentences out. I don't think in my whole life I have ever spent so much time, energy or thought on anything. I wrote, cried, and edited for days. By the time it was finished, every single word had a purpose. Every word was written with love, every sentence with everything I had. I was so, very proud of myself for what I wrote.

On the day of my grandma's funeral, I sat in the church with Stacey and Tyler, and listened to my cousin Joseph read every word. And as I listened, I looked around at my family, and especially at my mom, her siblings, and my grandpa, and was so happy to see them smiling at parts. I was so glad that what I wrote was able to bring some smiles on a very hard, very sad day. So while writing the euology for my grandma was the hardest I have ever worked to write anything in my life, I was so grateful for that opportunity and was very proud of myself for being able to put so much of her awesoemness into written word.

Birthday Week, Birthday Week!!

I love birthdays. I have never understood people who want to pretend their birthday isn't happening. No matter how old you are, I think your birthday is worth celebrating. You made it another year, you're more than likely another 365 days smarter, better looking, and more awesome, so what's not to celebrate?! I have always loved birthdays, whether they be mine, a family member's, or a friend's. I just love them. I like to get presents, I love to give presents, and I enjoy the whole concept of celebrating another year of life with the people who like you the best.

Earlier this year, Rachel and I developed what we like to call Birthday Week. Basically what it means is, your day is just not enough time to celebrate you and your awesomeness. We think you need a week. The entire week leading up to your big day should be all about you and celebrating your life - because we're all just SO happy you were born! We even made up a chant. And a dance. We danced the birthday week dance in the parking lot at the airport (yes, really), and at several stores and restaurants, and we taught it to other people. This birthday week thing is for real.

I had my first birthday week this summer, with my friends joining me in Las Vegas for 4 days of fun, after I spent 3 days in Arizona, basking in sunshine and cocktails. It was amazing. Celebrating your own week? Yes please! Rachel and I spread the birthday week chant and dance all weekend; we taught it to the other girls, we did it in the pool, and it was witnessed in more than one casino.

Today is my friend Jeremy's birthday, and I got to experience giving someone else a birthday week when they least expected it. Day one of birthday week, before he even knew what birthday week was, Jeremy came home from work to a half rack on his front porch. Who wouldn't love that, I tell ya?! You people who don't love your birthday just have never had anyone celebrate you the right way.

Birthday week doesn't have to be expensive, like a trip to Vegas...I did Jeremy's birthday week for about 50 bucks, and he got a present every day. I didn't go to the store and think oh hey, today I'll buy a jersey, tomorrow I'll buy a hoodie...uh, no. I did like $5 a day items that were still really fun. Half the fun of getting a gift every day is not knowing when its coming or where it'll be. Some days I left it on the porch during a work shift, other days I came over to hang out and arrived with gift in tow. Birthday week doesn't have to be a big, money-sucking event; the point is to make sure someone knows you've spent 7 days thinking about them and their birthday, and how happy you are that they are on the world to be celebrated.

Anyways, so last night was the conclusion of birthday week for Jeremy, and before I would give him the last of his gift-a-day bags, I made him do the birthday week dance...after drinking a bottle of wine. This made birthday week a hit for me as well, because seriously who doesn't want to see your guy friends do a ridiculous dance in the living room for presents? We were sitting on the couch, talking about his general birthday awesomeness, and he said, I think I'm gonna pay it forward...birthday week is pretty cool.

And that, my dear friends, is how birthday week will become tradition.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Nothing to Fear but Fear Itself

Fear is a normal and healthy feeling. Everyone is afraid of something. On a trivial level, I am afraid of monkeys, spiders, and bees. I also have some worries about drowning. Water makes me nervous because I am not a strong swimmer. I wouldn't call it a real fear, but I am afraid enough of it to make sure and always remember that water is in control, I'm not. Everyone knows the story of why I am afraid of monkeys, and that is a legit, lifelong fear. Hate monkeys. So much. On a bit deeper scale, I am also scared of embracing someone for just who they are, only to have it backfire in my face when I learn that they are someone not to be trusted. But I think, as I said, that fear is normal. You are scared of things based on past experiences. I am scared of monkeys because of a traumatic zoo experience as a child. I am afraid of bees because one stung me once and, well, it hurt like a bitch. And I am afraid of giving more than I am getting, because that's how a lot of my relationships have gone. None of this is anything but regular; fear stems from experience, it is part of who we are. 

Prompt: Have you ever been genuinely afraid for your physical safety?

Despite having had a boyfriend who controlled me with the threat of physical harm, for the most part, our fights didn't escalate to that. I knew when to shut up and when to walk away, and on a few occasions, when to lock myself in a bedroom. But there was one time in my relationship that I do recall being actually afraid that I was going to be hurt. 

It was before we bought our house, so it was not too far into our relationship. Kalib, Rylie and I were at home, and for whatever reason, Kalib and I were arguing about something. Probably because he was an ass hole and we were always arguing about something. Kalib was sitting on the couch in the living room, and I was in the kitchen, and we were bickering. Rylie was only four at the time, and she was running around the apartment playing. Probably trying to get her dad to pay attention to her. I feel like this was around Christmas time, so we were most likely arguing about me *gasp* wanting to spend time with my family...oh, the horror! Anyway, so I don't remember a lot of the specifics, but what I do remember is that I walked out of the kitchen, through the dining room, and was headed down the hallway, and Kalib threw the lid to a Tupperware bowl at me. Now, I don't know if any of you have ever been hit in the face with a hard plastic lid, but you'd think it wouldn't hurt that bad. Wrong. When a plastic Tupperware lid hits you in the face, it hurts. Bad. It makes your eyes sting and your cheek hurt, and then it gives you a black eye. And then the scariest part is having to think of a way to explian that. But that's not a fear of physical safety, that's a fear of getting caught by someone who won't let it go that you're showing up to things with a black eye.

What I remember the most about this experience was feeling guilty, as though I had somehow brought this on myself or given myself the shiner. I remember very specifically Kalib saying that he would kick me out if the red mark on my cheek became a bruise. And I remember very specifically hiding what did turn into a big bruise, even from him, because at that time I was honestly afraid of what he would do if he saw it.

What the fuck. Even typing this story makes me just shake my head. What a manipulative ass face to have the ability to instill guilt in the person you just hit in the face. And to do all of that in front of Rylie. What a dick.

This day was the most scared I ever was in my relationship. There were other incidents towards the end, most of them circling around Thor or Stacey's weddings, which were bigger blow outs that ended more physically than this, but that's the one that really scared me the most.

In any case, what I have taken away from this moment specifically in my shitty relationship, is that if ever I find myself in any sort of fear from someone new, I am out the door. Immediately. No hesitation. And I know girls say that all the time, but I have really followed through with my red flags and gut instincts in the past two years. I don't put up with shit from people anymore, and the minute something happens or is even said that alarms me, I am done.

Don't fuck with me. I'm stronger than you may think.


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Sugar Coated Bull Shit

I think most of my friends and family are aware, I don't eat to enjoy food. I eat because it is a necessity of life. I don't like food prep or cooking, I don't like trying new foods or new restaurants. I am a picky eater. Always have been. My kitchen stays clean because I blend breakfast and lunch and eat salad for dinner. I don't branch out much from there. My grocery bill rarely fluctuates because I always buy the same brand of the same item, and I occassionally have a coupon or add beer to the cart. Outside of that, I don't stray from the path.

Last night, I went to dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant with Jeremy. I. Was. Nervous. As nervous as I was when Kattie made me eat sushi - but I went with it, because its Jeremy's birthday week, so it was really up to him what he wanted to eat. Damn birthday week! Anyways, similiar to the sushi experience, I really enjoyed the Pho! We had these yummy spring roll things with rice paper and veggies, and lots of sprouts (I love sprouts), and then I had some super good chicken noodle. I hated to admit that it was good, and I did have to ask for a fork because I am not into slurping soup & noodles with chopsticks, but I really enjoyed the food, and the company.

This blog isn't about food, but the story is a good example of my experience of branching out and being better about focusing on trying things I haven't in the past. I have spent the last few months really focused on embracing honesty and being true to myself, as well as being honest with other people about how their actions are making me feel. Even more recently, I have been very aware of the information I take in from other people, and how their honesty (or lack there of) makes me feel, as well as how I choose to respond.

Prompt: Can you tell when people are telling the truth? Can you tell when they are lying?

I used to suck at talking about feelings. Suck. Which may have contributed to my earlier post about not having a good relationship track record I suppose. Since the ending of both of my more serious adult relationships in the past couple years, I have really worked through my inability to just say how I feel, and as I've written about in previous blogs, have really gotten around that. But my mom raised this question last week:

"I think where you struggled was your ability to see when the other person was not upfront. Either through conscience of unconscience choices of their own. I think you have explored being honest to yourself. Have you explored your ability to see when others are not honest with you?"

Nice timing, mom. While it has become much easier for me to be upfront about my feelings, I think I am also improving on the ability to see through when someone isn't being honest with me. In my current situation, I am finding that honesty begets honesty, and that the more open and up front I am, the more open the other person gets as well. Which makes sense. How much easier is it to say, for example, that you have feelings for someone, once they have admitted that they have them for you? Logical enough.

What I am also learning is that when someone isn't honest with me, I don't have to accept that. I am allowed to question someone's words or actions, and I am allowed to call people out when I know they are not being honest with me. Has it led to some harder conversations? Of course. But am I in a better, more emotionally available, stable place because of those conversations? Absolutely.

It is not up to me to make someone tell me the truth or tell me what they think or how they feel. Your words, your truth, are your own responsibility. It is, however, up to me to make a conscious choice as to what I will do, how I will react, when I am faced with dishonesty. Sometimes, it leads to productive conversation; other times it leads to the end of something you thought was great. And as long as I come out of it happy and healthy in the long haul, that's what is important.

So You're Saying You Wanna Break Up?


Let me preface this by admitting, I don't know shit about love. I don't know shit about relationships, boyfriends, girlfriends, or being mutually happy with another person. I know that I like someone, and then they tend to not like me back...or they like me and I don't like them. I also have a bad habit of being attracted to guys who are unavailable for a relationship. So long story short, I am not the best relationship role model out there. And that's fine.

Prompt: What do people consistently ask for your advice on?

My friends come to me for relationship advice. All the time. And as they are sitting in front of me asking what to do about their relationship, I find myself thinking, well you must want to break up, or you'd be asking someone else anyone else but me right now. I am pretty much the last person I would expect my friends to ask for relationship advice. Not because I hate men or because I am an idiot, but because I have a horrible track record in relationships!

I give amazing advice on how to deal with a break up, how to mend your sad heart, or how to move on from someone. I can talk for hours about the wonders of counseling and have great words of wisdom on coping after a partner abuses you. But as far as how to get past a fight and still be together, or how to maintain a healthy relationship, I am not the first person I'd go to.

And yet, my friends continue to call me for advice about their relationship problems. So apparently my advice is ok, or I assume someone would probably say something. I tend to just be super honest with my feelings - if I think you're being mistreated, I will tell you, I won't surgar coat anything. I don't want to see my friends in miserable relationships because they think that is what they deserve or because they are comfortable, so I am blunt. Nice, but blunt.

I have, on numerous occassions, had the following conversation:

Her: He's doing X, Y, Z. What should I do?
Me: Uhhh, dump him, he's an idiot. Obiously.

I guess maybe that's why my friends come to me for the advice in the first place. Because they know from me, they are getting the real deal. I don't gotta lie to kick it.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

So You Wana Talk Dirty...

This blog topic isn't really on the writing prompt list, but after my post last night about the joys of sexting, I have had more than one person email me (or leave a comment) asking for the skinny on texting dirty. So apparently I should be teaching classes on the subject. Do you have to have a teaching license for that, or could I just do a workshop out of the back of my car? I bet people would show up...

*Note, before I go any further: This blog plays into some pretty shallow gender stereotypes. I understand that not all men are horny machines and not all women are not. Stop judging and just enjoy the read for what it is - a lesson in making your partner think about you naked all day while he's at work. Sheesh, people.

So, a long time, years back, when I was too young to care...I read an article somewhere - probably in Cosmo - about phone sex, and how men and women communicate so differently that it can be a challenge to be successful with phone sex for couples. And I have totally seen this be true with my friends. And obviously I know that men and women don't communicate the same way, because women are just so much smarter so much more verbal than men. The article talked about how women tend to care about "the scene" of a dirty conversation, such as where you are, what you're wearing, what the weather is like...while men are more focused on the sexual act taking place. So basically, what I read was, guys just want you to get to the point when you're having phone sex, while women need to get their engines revved. Essentially, the communication breakdown between men and women regarding sex also applies to phone sex: men need to take some more time to turn a woman on, and women need to think a bit more aggressively and a bit less about the dishes in the sink.

As I have discussed with some of my girlfriends over wine, beer, chick flicks, I am not big on phone sex. I am far too giggly to be on the phone with a guy while I...take care of business. Plus, I get distracted by the tv, or your mom calls on the other line, or my phone dies. Awkward. I am, however, into...would you call it text sex I guess? I can appreciate dirty talk in the bedroom and over the phone...hell you could send me a handwritten letter and I'd be into it. One thing I like about texting dirty is that it can last all day, which is great for women because, as we all know, we can take some time to warm up. I love when I can spend the day off and on texting and know that I have said all the right things to be ready to have sex the moment I walk in the door from work. This is a skill I have taught more than one of my friends - you're welcome, ladies who I will not call out right now.

Anyways, so what makes me a better sexter than you? I think like a man. I know, that sounds stupid. I don't natually think like a man. I think like a woman, and I have the sex drive of a woman...I need the warmup most of the time, but I have definitely trained myself to use the texting as a means of foreplay throughout my day, and I am telling you people, it works. But you have to send your guy sexts that are actually going to push his buttons, not just yours. Like I read in that article, don't text him about what color the sheets are in the imaginary bedroom scene you're painting, and don't offer any details a mile long about the color, fabric, thread count of your lacey jammies. Your guy does not care. What he wants to know is, how wet he makes you when he kisses your neck, and what crotchless item you can't wait to feel his tongue through. Oh, and he absolutely wants you to take an hour worth of texts to explain just exactly the new blow job trick you learned in this month's Men's Health magazine. But he doesn't care what toothpaste you used before you pulled his boxers off with your teeth.

Did you know you can actually need about 14 pages of text to describe a blow job? I think it takes longer to properly describe a blow job via text than it does to actually give a blow job...

Now here is the kicker. You can be a total cock tease if you can't live up to your sexts. And that's bad. If you spend all day sending dirty messages, or even more enticing, photos, to your guy throughout the work day and then complain about laundry or grocery shopping when you get home, that's an epic fail. In fact, if you spend all day talking about sex with your men and then complain about laundry and grocery shopping when you get home, you are an epic fail. If you're going to spend the day turning on your man and giving him written reasons to have to hide a boner from his boss, you better be planning to follow through on that when you get home from work. So don't sext if you're too tired or if you have a headache. Lame-o.

And don't sext something to your man that you won't actually be willing to try in the bedroom. Red flag. Cock tease. If you know your man's fantasy is a threesome (gross) and you would never, over your dead body, go there, don't text that you would, or you may come home to find some slut in your bed waiting to ravish you. Take your sexting down a safe path to things that he fantasizes about that you are, in fact, willing to do. Perhaps your boyfriend/husband/man guy friend you casually have sex with has a specific thing he loves to do that isn't necessarily your favorite? Are you willing to go there tonight? Good, spend the next 6 hours talking about how you can't wait to go there.

Let's recap...
When is not an appropriate time to sext:
1. When you have a headache (if you use that as an excuse to not have sex).
2. When you're too tired (if you use that as an excuse to not have sex).
3. When you're on your period (if you use that as an excuse to not have sex).
4.  If you have an excuse for why you won't have sex tonight.
5. That is all.

When is an appropriate time to sext:
1. When you're out of town.
2. When he's out of town.
3. When he's in a meeting at work.
4. When he's at a late dinner with his boss. Or his mom. Or better yet, his Grandma.
5. All the time. Every day.

The beauty of sexting is that, unlike phone sex, you can take all day to walk through one imaginary setting, because you will inevitably get sidetracked. Afterall, you should be at work, you horny freaks. And waiting 30 minutes for the rest of your message that ended with, "and then I would take my tongue and..." will seriously leave your dude on an emotional rollercoaster all day. You can find pleasure in that you are driving him crazy and seriously distracting him, and you can also look forward to getting laid after work. Before you do the laundry, or the dishes, or the grocery shopping.

You should also be prepared to have your world rocked before you get to come home and shower, so do yourself a favor...tomorrow, before you spend the day sexting with your man, take the extra 10 minutes to shave your legs, and wear sexy panties to work. And then send a photo of them to your man with a message about how you just can't wait to do it on the dining room table.

This concludes our first lesson in how to sext like a professional. For any of you ladies who get laid tonight, you are welcome. And for any of you men who get a picture of your woman's cleavage at lunch today, you are even more welcome.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Go. Be Good at Something. Even if its Porn.

When I graduated high school and started college, I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to be "when I grew up." I knew I loved books, and I knew I was a talented writer. I was confident in my ability to write a great essay, to read a book from cover to cover in one night and then stay awake to write about it. I toyed with the idea of teaching, but I think you have to have some serious drive for that, and I didn't. I went to college leaning towards wanting to study Library Science and to become a children's librarian. What ended up happening was, my dad got cancer, and I fell so behind in one term that by the time I was caught up and he was healthy, I just wanted the fuck out of school. So I graduated with a degree in Arts and Letters, which is Portland State's uppity way of saying, writing. I knew I could write, I knew I was good at it, and I knew that writing is beneficial to any career I would end up with. Besides, I still didn't really know what I wanted to "be," other than, done. with. college.

I have a job now that I am good at. I don't hate it and it will likely be my career long term (or at least until I find a sugar daddy who lets me lounge in my jammies in a window seat with hot chocolate and a notebook). You know that scene in The Notebook, where he builds her a painting nook in the house, upstairs in the quiet, where the sun comes in, and she sits there with coffee, naked, painting? Replace the coffee with a smoothie and the easle with something to write on, and that's my pure bliss. Where is Noah from The Notebook when I need my dream fulfilled?

Post Topic: What are you freakishly good at?

1. Kissing.
2. Sexting.
3. Making my friends feel better.

Kissing. Ok, I know, everyone says they're a good kisser. But sometimes they are lying. I know because I have kissed a few boys in my lifetime, and many of them who claimed to be the best kisser, actually just plain suck at kissing. You know you're bad at kissing when the person you are kissing is content to kiss forever. That sounds backwards, but its totally true. If you are good at kissing, the person you are kissing will soon want to not be just kissing, if you know what I'm know you're kissing a good kisser when your body is reacting to simply the kiss. I can't explain it I guess, but you shouldn't ever just be like, oh hey we're kissing. This is where I would like to write, I know I'm a good kisser because every boy I kiss wants to have sex with me. LOL. But that sounds seriously not right. And maybe I don't even kiss as good as I think I do. But what I do know is, when I kiss a boy, I pack a punch. So there's that. If you want further explanation, you'll have to smooch me I guess...

Sexting. The next time someone asks me what kind of writing I want to do, I'm going to have to say I a going to start writing erotica. I can seriously write a dirty text. I have had more than one girlfriend ask me to forward them messages I've sent so that they can practice their sexting. Is this something to brag about on a public forum? Eh, probably not. But you're good at what you're good at. And I am good at making texting dirty when it needs to be done. College tuition money well spent. How am I using my college writing degree? Writing dirty 140-character-at-a-time messages, duh. Oh you thought I'd write the next great American novel? Nah, not my style...sorry mom.

Making my friends feel better. I have recently decided that I should no longer be a property manager. I should be a therapist. I have several friends going through some upsetting shit lately, and I seem to be the sounding board...and don't get me wrong, I am by no means bothered by that. I am lucky enough to have seen a therapist and to have taken a lot of big lessons away from it, and if I can save my friends the copay by regurgetating the information I learned, then its a win, right? In all seriousness, what I am good at when dealing with friends needing someone to talk to, is that I can appreciate when someone does or does not want advice. Sometimes people come to you just because they need to vent, and when that's the case, I know not to offer any gems from therapy, but just to let them be mad or upset or sad. And then other times, when a person is asking me what I think or what they should do, I know I can offer some advice or another perspective that maybe they haven't considered. I think the most important thing you can offer your friends is legit, true support. It isn't support if there is judgement behind it. It isn't support if there is anything behind it other than loving support. What my friends decide to do with their lives is up to them; the best I can be for them is a sounding board and moral support - and the best I can do for them is support them in their choices.

I Don't Need a Rescue

Call me crazy, but I don't believe I have the power to save anyone but myself. Nor do I believe I can be saved by another person.

Today's prompt: Do you like to be saved? Or do you like to do the saving?

Maybe I live in a dream world, and maybe part of the reason I am still single is that I don't buy into that garbage. I don't need to be saved. Neither does the man I want to be with...

I think you can only be truly ready for a relationship with someone new when you are no longer in need of being saved, or rescued, or validated. You have to be strong enough to have already mended your own heart, to have already let go of your own resentment and heartache, and to have already come out a better and stronger person. Until you reach that point, I don't believe you're ready for your next successful relationship with someone new.

There have been times in my life where I have been ready for a relationship, and there have been times where I have been severely damaged, where the last thing I was even considering was a boyfriend. At no point have I felt like I needed some guy to swoop in and save me from my broken heart, from my current situation, from anything really. I am lucky to have had parents who raised me to be an independant thinker, and to be a woman who knows the value of being able to take care of myself. I don't need to be with someone to be happy or to be satisfied. I don't need to be rescued, saved, or taken care of. Don't get me wrong - I know the value of being with someone who supports, loves, and embraces me when I need to be picked up. That's not the same. Do I need to be supported? Yes. Do I need to be picked up off the floor sometimes? Yes, of course. But do I need Prince Charming to save me from the universe? No, I got that handled.

The same goes both ways. Can I offer support? Yes. Can I pick my partner up sometimes? Yep. But am I out to rescue a broken heart? Absolutely not.

I have, surprisingly, reached the point where I am open to a new relationship. I am not carrying around baggage with me, nor do I have any leftover resentment toward the male gender as a whole. I am not going out with an agenda of meeting a husband or trying to find a baby's daddy by any means, but for the first time in a long time, I can say I am honestly open and ready for someone new. That is, of course, assuming he does not need to be rescued. I may not need Prince Charming, but I am also not a Princess Charming.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Kissing Frogs

How does that old saying go? The best way to get over someone is to get under someone else? Do people really buy into that? Does it really work? Is it possible that while you attempt to get over someone, you can just help your heart along by casually being, as the saying goes, under another person?

I hate that this is misspelled!!

Today's prompt: What's your recipe for recuperating from extreme heartbreak?

I don't believe in the mend your heart by pacifying it with another person method, but that's not to say I never did. At some point in my 21-25 year old life, that philosophy made perfect sense to me. I'm not thinking about him if I am occupied by someone else, so what other logic is there?

Of course, I am no longer operating in the brain of a 21-25 year old, and I have learned in time that putting a band-aid over a wound does not heal anything, even though it may make you feel better for a quick minute. A broken heart cannot really be healed with anything but time and distance, and that's simply what it takes to get back on track.

It seems that with the ever-present social media, it is so much harder to maintain the distance you need to get over someone, because how many mutual friends do you have on Facebook? I remember when I broke up with Kalib and he had a huge temper tantrum because I was friends with his friend Jonas on Facebook, so Kalib was able to see all the fun I was having without him in my life, and it was upsetting him. Not that I care, but there is an example. I was lucky enough in my last relationship that Mark didn't have a Facebook, so once we broke up, it was a simple matter of not emailing him, which is much easier when his friends and family aren't popping up in my news feed every day.

But I am getting a little off track. In the instance of a broken heart, my recipe for staying in one piece is to journal. A lot. When I am hurting, nothing makes me feel better than laying in bed with a good book or a journal to write in, and a sad chick flick. PS I Love You is one of my go-to sad Veronica movies. If I am watching that tear-jerker, you know I am in a sad state.

This topic is also another excellent place for me to insert a plug on how much I love therapy. It seems like when you're sad over a break up, you find so many things just flat out wrong with you to justify why someone broke up with you. It couldn't possibly be because it just wasn't right, it has to be because you are too fat or too skinny, too short or too tall, too dumb, too smart, etc. etc. The thing with therapy is, it helps keep you out of that mentally dark place, where you are loathing who you are, and it lets you explore the real reasons your relationship didn't work out. Truth be told, you are the right height, weight, size, and of the right intelligence and popularity, but sometimes, it just isn't the right relationship. And that's ok. All that means is, you were meant for someone else. Gotta kiss some frogs to get that prince, ladies.

Most recently, I have learned that its ok to be 100% honest, both with yourself and with the person you're involved with. It is ok to say, you know what, I love spending time with you, but I am not quite all put back together and I need to go slow. It is better to be honest from the get-go than to give someone false hope of something that you're not ready for. And if you are being honest as things progress and as time goes on, then maybe eventually you'll be ready. Or maybe you won't be, and that's ok too. We tend to want answers, want things to be black and white and without any gray, want to know exactly what is happening and to make sure it fits in our timeline. And that's just illogical. Everything happens at its own pace for a reason, trying to rush things or force them to slow down is what contributes to it not working out. I have fairly recently learned that some of the best things in life happen at their own time, when its the right moment, not necessarily right when I want them to.

If it makes me happy, then it isn't wrong. If it makes sense, go for it. If it makes your heart hurt, stop it. Always be honest to your own heart and your own soul, express your honest feelings to the people involved with your heart, and know that in the end, the heart is a very resillient piece of machinery. And you will be just fine.