The Tale of a Tattoo

It was 12:30pm when I walked in the tattoo place. Not 12:30am giggling with a group of friends high on herd mentality and ready to get matching tattoos of hearts, or something we saw on Pinterest. I was by myself and probably a little dazed from long nights of crying and very little sleep.

So I felt like a total lame-o.

I wasn’t scared of the pain. It couldn’t be any worse than what I was going through so fucking bring it, I figured. I walked in expecting to get weird looks from disaffected tattoo artists who were already regretting their decision to open at noon. At 3am while I was rereading The Sandman this all seemed like a great idea. Now, I just felt like a cliché. The girl behind the counter had perfect winged eyeliner, like PERFECT. That shit is hard to get right so I was already distracted.

“How are ya? What can I help you with?”

She was really cheerful.

Ok this might work.

I realized I couldn’t just say, “Oh, I want a tattoo.” Of course you want one, you wouldn’t be here otherwise. Use your words, Angelle.

“I want to get a quote tattooed on my collar bone…today…if it’s possible.”

“Sure!”

Whoa ok…my last one was a bit more involved so I guess it took longer. The artist had to draft it, I came back a few days later, said it looked great, and got it tattooed about two days later. It was a process. This was all happening a bit fast. Was it fast? This was fast. What?

“What’s the quote?”

“Oh, um it’s….” All of a sudden everything was dumb. I was dumb. My puffy vest with leggings and boots was dumb. Why didn’t I just walk in here with a latte from Starbucks after brunching with my besties? This was dumb.

“Do you want to write it down?”

“Yes…sure. That would be good.”

At this point the poor girl probably thought I was getting “YOLO” tattooed on me forever. Who would be this awkward if they were getting something cool done? I wrote the quote on the paper very carefully so it was legible, “Omnia mutantur, nihil interit”. A grizzly looking guy came up and said that he would be taking care of my tattoo today. Wait, not perfect eyeliner chick? Ok, deep breath. He seemed a little nuts and maybe still drunk from the night before. It’s fine, I thought. True artists are eccentric. That’s how they LIVE. Would you look at Jackson Pollock and say, “Hey man, this is a bit intense, maybe therapy and AA?” No, you wouldn’t.

He took the paper from me, frowned, and then handed it back.

“You sure this is all spelled correctly? ”

“Yeah I just checked online to make sure, but it’s right.”

“Ok cause I don’t read French.”

“Um…it’s Latin, but yeah I made sure it’s right.”

“Ok cool, cause I never learned French.”

It was clear we were going to have to agree to disagree on this.

I looked around as the shop filled with eager tattoo seekers. It was only 1, but it seemed like everyone in the city decided they wanted a tattoo today as well. So maybe I wasn’t such a lame-o after all. One girl was getting her nipple pierced and brought two of her friends with her. While I perused fonts they chatted excitedly about her piercing. The poor girl looked like she was going to pass out from nervousness. There were only two artists and one piercer on duty and someone had to work the desk. This turned out to be my grizzled, possibly inebriated, artist. As he checked people in, filled out paperwork,  and drafted my tattoo, I sat and thought about all the events that led me here on this cold Saturday.

My insomnia and I were getting reacquainted after the events of the past month and a half. It was 3am and I decided to reread The Sandman by Neil Gaiman. If Stephen King is the guy whispering scary stories in your ear in the dark, Neil Gaiman is the one sitting in the corner weaving fairy tales about what is lurking under your bed. My loyalty to King is unwavering, but sometimes there is a warmth missing from his stories that I crave. Gaiman is magic. The guy who makes you feel like it’s storytime at the library all over again. The Sandman is his only graphic novel, it’s perfect, and a novel in the true sense of the word. It also has lovely artwork to look at as a bonus. The story takes you into the world of The Dream King, his family, and his journeys. Gaiman uses the quote, “omnia mutantur, nihil interit” (lifted from Ovid’s Metamorphoses), in one of the stories to illustrate how the passage of time changes things, but nothing is truly lost. Just different.

Anyone who has experienced a profound loss can relate to the idea that we hope that person is not really gone from our lives. Whether it’s the passing of a beloved family member or of someone close to you, parting ways with someone you love, or just dealing with the ebb and flow of life in general. People come and go. In their absence we change, but we never forget them. Or the way you felt. A smell, a tv show, a joke, brings you right back. “Omnia mutantur, nihil interit. Everything changes, nothing perishes.”

“Anhell! So does this look good?”

Crazy Tattoo Artist Guy shook me out of my thoughts. I decided not to correct his pronunciation of my name. I looked at his draft and it all came together. It looked great. He led me in the back, stenciled the quote just underneath my collar bone and asked what I thought.

“It looks…really amazing.”

He left me alone for a minute while he got his station ready and I stared at what would be my new ink. Ok you can see it, so I’ll be spending the next forever translating the quote for everyone, but whatever. I was surprised how well it fit. This didn’t feel like a decision made in the throes of a melodramatic breakdown, it felt right.

I sat in the chair and he started to burn the quote into my skin.

“Does it hurt? You ok?”

“Not any more than what I’ve gone through in the last month. I’m good.”

When he was done I felt lighter. Crazy Maybe Just Hungover Now Tattoo Artist gave me instructions on proper tattoo care and offered me a free ice scraper with the tattoo place’s logo on it.

“You’ll pay $7 for one of these babies at the gas station, but we have ‘em for free!”

A smile on my face, I accepted my tattoo swag, tipped the man for his services, and walked out.

I left changed,
but still the same.

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Guest Posts, Updates, and More, Oh My!

I’m back.

You might not have even known I was gone.

Or maybe there was a cat ear-shaped hole in your heart where you missed my face.

After being away for awhile, I have the awesome privilege of guest posting for Miss Aussa Lorens over at Hacker. Ninja. Hooker. Spy. She was my first WordPress friend over a year ago and now I’m so happy she’s found a big audience who loves her as much as I do. Check her out!

So here’s what’s been happening…

-I got a new car. It’s lovely and gets me from point A to point B. It’s silver, shiny, has wheels, and goes fast. This is the extent of my car knowledge. You know you’re a grown up when the insurance guy who is setting up your account congratulates you on your new car and you say, “Yeah if I was 22 I’d be over the moon, but right now it’s just one more thing to pay for.” Watch out guys, I’m not turning into my mom; I’m slowly morphing into my dad. Next thing you know I’ll be mowing the lawn, fixing breaking things around the house, and calling you with early morning weather reports.

-I got a new wallet. This may not seem significant at all to you, but then you never saw my old one. One morning I was paying for breakfast in the cafeteria at work and a lady remarked,

"GURL, that wallet has seen some DAYS!"

“GURL, that wallet has seen some DAYS!”

Yes indeed it did. It saw six years of them. I bought it when I worked at Anthropologie and it was perfect. Many moons later the outside coating was flaking off like wallet dandruff and I would hide it in my purse when I would pay for things, but what could ever replace a wallet that gave me the best years of its life?

Robots and spaceships obviously.

Robots and spaceships obviously.

-I got a new tattoo which will be the subject of an upcoming post, but since this one is harder to hide than my first one, I’m still getting used to it.

teasers

teasers

-I fell in love. That kind that melts your heart and pours magic into your soul. Then it ended. So I cancelled Christmas and got addicted to Parks and Recreation. Yes, I cancelled Christmas. I’m surprised too, because I love me some holiday cheer. This year my family graciously put up with my Scroogey temper while I’m sure secretly hoped I’d be visited by three ghosts on Christmas Eve who would teach me the true meaning of the holiday.

I didn’t, so they gave me an awesome new purse to put my new wallet in and that helped a bit.

I will be posting here once a week for the time being and maybe more as time passes. I’m excited to read more, write more, and to visit all of your lovely little spaces as much as I can.

It’s nice to be back, cats and kittens!
A

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Heartbreak

Why????

Why????

We all have a close personal relationship with getting our hearts broken.

Wait…let me rephrase that…

We all have a close personal relationship with getting our hearts ripped out of our chests, put back in lopsided with some gum stuck to it, then sown back up by a homeless dude outside of Safeway who, “took some classes on it once.”

Maybe you’re one of the lucky ones who saw it coming. Your partner is unhappy most of the time. You’ve taken to watching movies on Netflix in complete silence. You probably hate each other and are just waiting for one of you to say, “I’m so unhappy with you that I may barf…from all the unhappiness.”

Or maybe you didn’t know, one minute you and your sweet babboo are frolicking in a field of wildflowers like an erectile dysfunction commercial and the next you’re laying on your bathroom floor sobbing so hard you think you pulled a muscle.

I’ve had more heartbreaks than I can count. I used to be terrible at them and demand explanations, which you just shouldn’t do. Ever. More than likely the person doing the breaking up is not going to tell you anyway or it turns into some free association game where they say cryptic things like:

“There were these penguins and all I could think was, I’m too young to wear a tux.”

Then you’re left to decipher the reason through other cryptic messages and it turns into a break up with The Da Vinci Code and much like the end of that book, did you really NEED to know why?

Over the years, I’ve gotten much better at dealing with break ups. When I was 25 and we were all still new to the cell phone phenomenon there would be long threads of texts rehashing the same drama. I once said to some dear friends, “All of us are some psycho to someone out there.” Let me be the first to say that I abused the privilege of being able to directly contact a boy who messed with my heart. It was mostly a lot of voicemails left at 3am after lots of wine or vodka.

“Hey, hey YOU. Yeah, I’m better than this ya know? Better…(slurry something about my dress or shoes). *friend yells ‘YOU’RE DRUNK HANG UP!’* YOU’RE drunk! *offside* DOES ANYONE HERE THINK I’M PRETTY? Everyone here says I’m super pretty and you’re missing OUT. MISSING. OUUUUUTTT.”

After I stopped doing that I became the master at conveying my feelings through email. So much better than calling or texting after two shots of Jameson, or so I thought, until the one night I may or may not have quoted a song from Glee in the throes of a melodramatic tirade. I bowed out of the email after that.

Since then my heartbreaks tend to be less Real World and more Downton Abbey. There’s lots of crying on my bed in a heap of blankets wearing the largest sweater I own. I fortunately (or unfortunately) fall on the side of not being able to eat while I’m heartbroken so I try to choke down toast and do my best to look human so my coworkers don’t think I have Ebola. I know that there is a large percentage of people who lean to the other side and believe me this side isn’t any better. Especially when people are walking up to your desk like you’re in the middle of arranging your glass animals and they don’t want to disturb you lest you move too quickly and dissolve into a cloud of dust and melancholy. The recovery time has also diminished slightly where I could be crying along to “Almost Lover” by A Fine Frenzy one day and the next dancing in my undies to Kesha.

It has happened to all of us and each time makes us stronger and teaches us that we’re here to live our lives, to be sad, to be happy, to take risks, to take care of each other, and to fall in soul crushing, exquisite love as many times as we can.

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15 Books

“Jessica Lahey: English teachers tend to fall into one of two camps when it comes to literacy: Those who believe we should let students read anything they want so they will be more likely to engage with books, and those who believe teachers should push kids to read more challenging texts in order to expose them to new vocabulary, genres, and ideas. Where would you pitch your tent?

Stephen King: You don’t want to leave them in despair, which is why it’s such a horrible idea to try teaching Moby-Dick or Dubliners to high school juniors. Even the bright ones lose heart. But it’s good to make them reach a little. They’ve got to see there are brighter literary worlds than Twilight. Reading good fiction is like making the jump from masturbation to sex.”

-Excerpt from “How Stephen King Teaches Writing” by Jessica Lahey, The Atlantic, Sept 9, 2014

My friend says I can’t come to her house to hang out tomorrow night until I’ve done the “15 BOOKS THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE” Facebook challenge.

At least it’s not ice water.

I’m supposed to not think about it and just write them down feverishly, tag some people on Facebook I probably haven’t talked to in ages, then run along with my merry self. Sort of like if I came to your house and threw books at you as soon as you opened the door and I ran screaming into the night. My book selections deserve more thought than that. If they’ve changed my life, then they have earned a permanent place on my bookshelf. It was not a challenge to be taken lightly and without a great deal of thought….

So without further ado…

15 BOOKS THAT HAVE CHANGED MY LIFE (BECAUSE KATE FORCED ME TO DO IT):

1). The Island of the Blue Dolphins: When I was little Reading Rainbow was all the rage. Levar Burton was mesmerizing.

This is probably exactly how I would react.

This is probably exactly how I would react.

I hear there is a project to bring it back to TV and gosh that would be amazing and yes, I would totally watch it.

I remember sitting in my usual spot to watch Levar and various children give me their book recommendations, when they mentioned a book about a girl surviving on an island all alone. It was based on a true story. There were dolphins. I was 6 or 7 and IN. Truth is, I can’t remember much about the story line, but I do remember being so completely in love with this book that it was all I could talk about for years after.

2) The Witches: I still have my original copy of this fantastic book that my mom bought when I was 7. I read it cover to cover. Then read it again. Any woman who had an itch on her head and shifted about uncomfortably in her shoes was OBVIOUSLY a witch. I had to be careful.

3). Superfudge: When I was 9 I entered a contest where you picked your favorite passage from a book and read it aloud. I made it to the finals with my stirring rendition of an excerpt from Anne of Green Gables. It was passionate, moving, and so utterly melodramatic it fucking HURT. Then I watched as a small pixie-ish girl walked up to the podium and read a passage from Superfudge by Judy Blume. She was hilarious and won the contest. A few months later, after getting over my crushing defeat, I read Superfudge and laughed my head off. This was my first lesson in, “Just Make ‘Em Laugh, Angelle”.

4). Anne of Green Gables: All I ever wanted was long flowing red hair I could put in two braids. I also wanted to not be the tallest girl in my class who was reading well above her grade level, but we can’t have it all. I fell in love with this book, this world, this ANNE. Such a plain name for such a vivid character.

Megan Follows as Anne. This movie was my JAM.

Megan Follows as Anne. This movie was my JAM.

5). Are You There, God? It’s Me Margaret: Disclaimer: Are you a dude? You may skip to the next selection if you wish ;) This book appeared in my life around the time my body started to look different. Puberty was weird and awkward. I was already wearing a bra and dealing with the jealousy of the other girls and the curiosity of the boys. This book was confusing and comforting all the same time. What was a pad? Why was it attached to a belt? Do people care how big your boobs are? Do I care? Wait…THEY GET BIGGER?

6). Go Ask Alice: Where “Are You There, God? It’s Me Margaret” was confusing, “Go Ask Alice” was straight up terrifying. Drugs are bad, mmmkay? This was also around the time the D.A.R.E. program had made it to my school and we regularly had police officers coming in to explain the dangers of taking drugs. DEATH! UNWANTED PREGNANCIES! SEX WITHOUT YOUR CONSENT! BAD FRIENDS! JAIL! Calm down, officer, I’m eleven and live on a military base in Germany. In the middle of nowhere. I’m pretty sure I’m safe…FOR NOW!

7). Pet Sematary: I am an admitted scaredy cat. I slept with a light on until just recently. I’m not going to tell you when “just recently” was, but a bad bout of insomnia will make you cave to your natural circadian rhythms being interrupted by a light shining in your face all night. I don’t know what prompted me to pick up a Stephen King book at 12 years old. Maybe I felt like I’d read everything I was interested in at the library? Maybe I wandered into the horror/supernatural section, who really knows, but this is when my literary love affair with King began. It’s also when I became waaay respectful of sacred Native American burial grounds. Just don’t mess with them. Ever.

8). Sherlock Holmes Mysteries: I was 13 and I was in love. Real love…not the chase him around the playground and send notes in class love, it was the sighing, falling on your bed clutching your heart because GOD IT HURT kind of love.

I did a lot of that.
I still do a lot of that…
but I digress.

His name was Sherlock. He was arrogant, snarky, intelligent, and my perfect man. My heart jumped when he would read people by their clothing and body language. I felt lightheaded and woozy when he would solve the crime. He wasn’t real, a bit of a wanker, and also a drug addict, but *le sigh* he was everything.

Mmmmm yes....

Mmmmm yes….

9). Spring Moon: First day of Freshman high school English, we were given this book to read. I had no idea what to expect. I’m including it in this list, because out of every book we read throughout high school, this one ALWAYS gets a shout out. ALWAYS. Hashtag: GoldenLilies

10). Interview with the Vampire: By this point in my young life, I’d already been exposed to sex in literature. King has a bunch of it, Spring Moon had some scandalous scenes that made us all laugh, but Anne Rice introduced me to a new kind of sex. The kind that was different from the terrifying and sometimes even hilarious scenarios illustrated by other books. It was dark, it made me feel things, it wasn’t always between just a man and a woman, it was FASCINATING. I couldn’t read enough of her books. Then I discovered her Sleeping Beauty trilogy and…holy crap. My 14 year old brain exploded with all of this new information about sex and how it happens. Anne Rice is single handedly responsible for some of my most inventive and satisfying sexual fantasies. I think she’d be very happy to hear that. (honorable mention to the VC Andrews classic “Flowers in the Attic” that I read on loan from a friend since it was way too scandalous to have in our school library. Talk about mind blowing.)

11). Anything by Shakespeare: These plays were all a part of my continuing quest to bring the paintings of Alphonse Mucha to life. I’m still like that to this day and it’s still fucking EXHAUSTING.

ugh...me...being insufferable...as usual.

ugh…me…being insufferable…as usual.

I can recite lines from Romeo and Juliet if you want.
Anyone?
Anyone?

12). Power of Myth: Joseph Campbell taught me that there is more to life than standing on a stage and reciting lines. He taught me that we are all made of stories that have built on each other from the beginning of time. That love is complicated and a hard thing to define. That at 17, my life could be whatever I wanted it to be. Acting didn’t have to define me, nor did the melodrama that accompanied it. Campbell ignited my interest in where these stories came from. How were they told and passed down generation after generation? How did they shape cultures? Who told them before they were written down? No one person or book has had such a profound effect on who I would later become. Storytellers fascinate me and rather than reciting their words, I wanted to be one.

13). Siddhartha: By nature I’m a bit of a worrier, until recently I had a horrible fear of flying that led to a not so horrible love of Jameson. In moderation, of course. Now, after flying all over for two years, I’m the annoying person who falls asleep on take off and doesn’t wake up until we’ve landed. Siddhartha was my first exposure to Eastern religion that wasn’t watching The Golden Child for the 30th time. It opened me up to new ways of thinking about the world and embracing meditation and contemplation as a way to deal with stress of every day living. My friend Kenny is a Buddhist and one of the calmest, gentlest souls I’ve ever known. There may be something to all of this. I always recommend this book to people who are every bit as lost in life as I was the first time I picked it up.

14). The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay: There was a time in my life when literally every single person I knew was either in the middle of reading this book, or had just finished it. I couldn’t walk down the street in DC without seeing someone reading a copy. I would wake up and see it sitting on the nightstand of the guy I was dating. Since everyone was doing it, obviously I was going to do something else. Until a rainy Paris day in November of 2008 dawned gloomy and cold. Sick of watching The Simpsons in French, AGAIN, I went for a walk to the bookstore Shakespeare and Co. across the street from Notre Dame. There are never more perfect bookstores than those in Paris and there I found Kavalier & Clay. It sat right on the top of a stack of books, politely asking to be read. I did. I loved it completely. Every time I look at my copy I think of those cold days I spent in Paris reading Neil Gaiman, Elizabeth Kostova, and countless other authors to warm that spot of loneliness I felt. It was one of the most amazing times of my life.

15). The Night Circus: Finally we come to The Night Circus. Books have taught me many things over the years, but none have told a love story quite like this. Normally my books are filled with Sci-Fi, horror, gore, vampires, dystopian societies…etc. The story of competing magicians, Marco & Celia, absolutely melted my heart. I may or may not go back occasionally and read my favorite parts. If this book has taught me anything, it’s that even though you may think that part of you is jaded and gone, it isn’t.

“Someone needs to tell those tales. When the battles are fought and won and lost, when the pirates find their treasures and the dragons eat their foes for breakfast with a nice cup of Lapsang souchong, someone needs to tell their bits of overlapping narrative. There’s magic in that. It’s in the listener, and for each and every ear it will be different, and it will affect them in ways they can never predict. From the mundane to the profound. You may tell a tale that takes up residence in someone’s soul, becomes their blood and self and purpose. That tale will move them and drive them and who knows what they might do because of it, because of your words. That is your role, your gift. Your sister may be able to see the future, but you yourself can shape it, boy. Do not forget that… there are many kinds of magic, after all.”
― Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus

Honorable Mentions:
Christopher Pike: For when I graduated from Fear Street and Goosebumps
The Sandman: For your first jump into graphic novels. This one by Neil Gaiman is PERFECT.

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Parenting 101

I think it was when we had just walked in and the twins started throwing gravel in the air like confetti, while the principal tried to explain the schedule for the Back to School Picnic, that I realized this outing was going to be “rocky”.

Pun intended.

My sister had to work, so I was asked to accompany my mom and my twin nieces to the picnic so they could see their new school and meet their teacher. They’re 4 and I was more than happy to spend a day with the girls as they are getting to an age where they have opinions,

“NO, DEE DEE, we’ve already seen this My Little Pony!”
“NO, DEE DEE, I want to wear THE PURPLE ONE!”

We’ve made it through a Sunday together with no bloodshed and only a few crocodile tears, so I figured we were ready to be out in public where if I said, “Hey, you’re being awful, quit it.” They would. They would quit it.

Nope.
Nope.
Nope.

As the principal explained that the parents would be visiting in shifts, I watched as the twins threw gravel in the air, at each other, at a poor unsuspecting car that someone had parked on the school grounds. They were close enough that I could see them, but far enough away that a “Girls, behave!” in a small voice would not have sufficed. This was a yelling moment, a moment where you scream, “DON’T YOU DARE THROW THOSE ROCKS! THAT IS A DEFINITE NO!” I couldn’t do that while this lovely lady was telling me the picnic schedule so instead my eyes got very big as I waited for the wailing of a small child who had fallen victim to the twins’ rock throwing extravaganza, to come drifting across the courtyard. Finally I was able to break away, grab the rocks out of their hands and try to explain to them that rocks live on the ground and hurt when thrown at people.

I pointed them in the direction of the playground on the far side of the courtyard. One stayed close and all of a sudden the other was off like a shot. In my life I have babysat for many, many children. I’ve even watched a few of my friends’ kids. I have never, and I mean NEVER, seen a child run like this little girl can run. It’s absolutely terrifying and fascinating to watch. She starts out fast, but if you even look like you’re ready to grab her to stay close she hits overdrive and good luck catching Cheetara, because she’s running so fast she’s actually in the future now. People keep throwing out words like, “soccer” and “track star”. I keep throwing out words like, “superhero?” and “STOP!”

So she took off and I’d been awake since 4am and did not know I had signed up to run track at 5pm. She made it to the playground where I managed to grab her arm and was met with, “YOU’RE HURTING MY BONES!” screamed into my face as I tried to explain why you should stop running when someone says to stop. I would like to say it was a civil conversation where my grievances were heard, motions were passed to refrain from running away, and we adjourned with a hug, some tears, and cheesy Full House music.

Nope.

After squirming around while I tried to explain that I was losing patience with her, she took off for the slides. I let her go with a sigh and hoped that we would all get through this without losing our minds.

We made it through the principal’s short presentation in the library while the girls played a little too loudly in the background. They were actually shushed by a parent. Um, this is a school correct? Where kids play? You shush, shushy lady. They’re playing nicely and not murdering each other, or your kid, so chill out. Finally we were let go to see the classroom where they would learn to be proper young ladies. Their teacher gave her presentation while the girls proceeded to play with everything in arm’s reach. When she got to the part about “nap time”, I may have laughed. Out loud.

“The children are expected to stay on their mats and not run around the room.”
“Ok.”
“They get used to it and like the down time.”
“I’m sure they do. I hope they do. Please Jesus I hope so.”

It’s a Catholic school; I wanted her to appreciate the religious reference.

We left the classroom to join the picnic outside where with each passing minute, one seemed to running faster, and the other just seemed to have gone deaf with all the good my, “No”, “I said NO, get over here!”, and “PUT THAT DOWN!” were doing. We ate and as I had been threatening Running Twin with, “If you keep this up we are LEAVING!” for the last two hours, the picnic actually being over never crossed her mind. So now we were really leaving, because it was over, and she thought it was because she was being a demon. Cue the full on mental breakdown of a 4 year old. I had to physically pick her up while she screamed bloody murder and escort her out of the festivities.

I managed to get her to the car without selling her and she didn’t want to sit in her seat. I quietly explained that we were all tired and the other twin climbed right in, Running Twin refused. So I changed tactics,

“Do you need to hug for a bit?”

She opened her arms, nodded her head, and we hugged it out on the curb while my mom and Calm Twin waited in the car. We talked and hugged and when she was ready we went back home and got ready for bed.

Parents, I get it. Sometimes you think us singles with our wine, our bullshit dating stories, and our ability to pick up and go anywhere we want, whenever we want, that we don’t get it.

We get it.
We GET IT.

We get it so much that sometimes we opt out of contributing to the population. Sometimes we are complete assholes about kids. Then other times a little girl who just needs to run it out, puts her arms around your neck and asks if she can see the cows on the way home So you head home and hope the cows are out so one day she turns to you and says, “Hey, Dee Dee, remember the picnic? And after we saw the cows??”

Your heart melts a little bit and you realize that this parenting thing might not be so bad after all.

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On Birthdays and Busted Butts

I’m going to be 35 at the end of the month.

The other day I sat in a moderately cushy chair. The air came out of the cushion, went through my flabby inner thighs, and made an enormous fart noise.

In a room with about 4 dudes.

Since I’m a sophisticated lady person, I proceeded to laugh so hard I almost farted for real. It was then I realized, maybe it’s time to buckle down and get serious about getting in shape. For real this time. Not low impact yoga where they give you a massage at the end and wave their lavender scented hands over your face and tell you to breathe deeply. I wanted to go to a class where I would leave sweaty and unable to form coherent sentences.

Enter: Kickboxing

I watch a lot of movies. I’m also a single girl who has the upper arm strength of a tiny kitten.

um...scuse me...I will boop your nose so hard. I'm trying to get by.

um…scuse me…I will boop your nose so hard. I’m trying to get by.

Inspired by Buffy, Black Widow, Wonder Woman, and countless other badass females who I do not in any way identify with on TV (except for that time Buffy had to kill Angel and haven’t we all been there? Breaking up is hard.) I decided I wanted to learn how to defend myself should a person (or vampire) try to grab me on the street. So, I googled kickboxing and found that there is a gym devoted to all styles of boxing and self defense about 10 minutes from my house. That Saturday I put on my workout gear and prepared to join the Real Housewives of Rockville at kickboxing.

I was wrong.
So wrong.

I’m not really used to frequenting actual gyms where people know how to use the equipment. I’m more accustomed to hotel gyms where it’s just me at 8 on a Friday night wondering if this episode of Castle will be interesting enough to make me forget my lungs are trying to break free from my chest. The front desk people were incredibly friendly and since I was very early for the class, had me sit until they were ready to check me in and “wrap my hands”.

Whatever that meant.

I waited and realized that the gym was the exact temperature of what it must be like to hang out inside of an igloo. However, undeterred by the frigid air I hoped a grizzled old man in a fedora would notice me and call me “kid”.

“We could make millions, kid. You stick with me, kid. Come on, kid. I’ll show ya around.”

Instead the coach walked by, asked if I was cold, then proceeded to tell his guys to move their bags so I could sit down. I was only in the gym ten minutes and already being treated like I was going to get the “vapors” and “always depended on the kindness of strangers”. Before I knew it, class was about to start and a girl came over, wrapped my hands in a bandagey sort of stuff, shoved two boxing gloves at me, and pushed me in the direction of class where a bunch of girls who looked barely old enough to drink at a bar legally were standing. Where were all the women my age who are also scared of dying alone and having their faces eaten by a cat? Or just had a baby and want to fit into a sexy dress for their high school reunion? Apparently, they go to a different class and I was stuck with a bunch of 20 year olds who I’m almost positive mainlined 30 Red Bulls each before they walked in.

I chose a punching bag and put my vitamin water and kind bar underneath it as a devastatingly handsome man told us to start running laps. Ok, handsome man, I can do this running thing. I’ve done it before. So I ran.

and ran.
and ran.
and ran.

We did some other stuff while we were running, but I don’t remember what as my brain couldn’t function beyond thinking,

“Why did you think it was a good idea to eat right before this torture? Why? Did you honestly think that would end well?”

After what felt like an eternity circling the gym, we all went to our punching bags where we then did push ups, squats, and crunches. Meanwhile, my stomach decided whether or not it was going to keep my lunch or have everyone look at it on the gym floor. I watched through my haze of nausea as two bouncy 22 year olds flirted with the teacher as he walked over to me.

Handsome and now Adorably Concerned Teacher: “Are you ok? Do you need to sit out for a minute?”
Me, reswallowing the veggie chik’n nugget I ate an hour ago: “I’m fine. Yeah I’m going to sit for a second.”

I sat out for about 10 minutes while my stomach settled and then jumped back in for punching and kicking combinations. Punching stuff felt awesome. I had a full on fight with that punching bag and I’m pretty sure I won. Just as it was getting fun, class ended. Instead of hobbling back to my car, I decided to stay for the self defense course where I learned proper fighting stance and defensive maneuvers while house music played in the background like I was in Blade.

I finished the class on a wave of endorphins and signed up for a year membership to learn how to properly kick someone’s ass who has THE AUDACITY to mess with me.

Sunday morning dawned bright and shiny. Any movement I made, aside from the flutter of my eyelids, hurt and made me slightly nauseous. I had scheduled brunch with a friend so it was of the utmost importance to drag myself out of bed for a bloody mary. I briefly wondered if I should roll into my closet and hope some clothes just stick to me. I made it to brunch though. I’m not sure how. I think I blocked it out.

By Tuesday I was feeling significantly better after two days of walking like I had crapped my pants. That afternoon I was feeling bold enough to goof off with one of my coworkers. Just as I’m reenacting the punchline, my leg goes too far forward and next thing I know, I’m in the fetal position clutching my butt in pain.

I spent the rest of the week on large doses of Ibuprofen. There was even an important meeting where I couldn’t control the volume of my voice and said things out loud instead of in my head.

That was fun.

So as I reach my mid-thirties, I’m reminded to take it slow and not try to slay vampires my first week.

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It’s a Long and sort of Awkward Story….

Hey cats and kittens!

I’ve brought my big bag of shenanigans over to Long Awkward Pause for a guest post! Please give my Bucket List and LAP some love today. I’ve turned off comments here so feel free to comment over there.

xo,
A

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