Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Beauty of Being Cold

I went for a drive yesterday. I had a doctor's appointment that let out with over 3 hours until my dance class. So I decided to drive the surface streets from BFE 'burbs across town. During rush hour. (Hello, my name is Queen of Road Rage. Nice to meet you...) And I was okay with it because I didn't have anywhere to BE. I could just drive and take my time and not be frustrated by the jackwagons driving like, well, jackwagons. And as I was driving, I passed several metroparks and I was struck with the overwhelming urge to walk. So the next park that I passed, I pulled in. I drove around for a bit before I found the spot where I wanted to walk. What I really wanted was to get deep into the woods and the quiet and the nature and the solitude. Buuuuuuut, being in the 'burbs of the 'bus, my options were limited. So I found a cute little bridge and decided that would be my starting point. I put on my crazy cat lady hat, buttoned up my coat and I was off.

It was just...right. The crunch of the snow under my boots. The rustle of the wind through the trees. The nip of cold air along my cheeks. I walked for about a mile, just as the sun was thinking about setting, and in the middle of my walk, I came to a river. I stood there for a few minutes savoring the gurgle of the water and watching the geese play. Then I kept walking. Not fast. Not to GO anywhere. Not for my health (Sidebar: I crossed paths with a guy a few times running and he looked MISERABLE. It's cold out playa. Way too cold for all that running business. But Yak Trax Jackson was working on his fitness, so I can't be mad. That is ded-i-ca-tion!). Wait, I take that back. It was for my health. My mental health.

My cute little bridge. Yak Trax Jackson was hanging out in the trees across the way.
The overwhelming urge to get out in nature was (I think), my mind telling me to slow down and stop worrying about everyone else's shit. Just take some time to be quiet. I also think my body needed to reset itself. You know I'm the Cold Averse Queen. I get home, the pants come off and I basically swan dive into the cozy heated blanket on the couch. But yesterday, I got to be cold. And it was what I needed.

I realized that if I'm in the nature, I'm not going to freeze to death. My body got to make itself warm instead of relying on external electric temperature regulators. So being cold and quiet and alone gave me some mental clarity. When I got back in the car, I didn't turn the heat on. I turned the radio off and just drove. The radio was too much aural stimulation. The heat would have kept me from fully experiencing the tingling in my skin as I came in from the cold. And as I drove back into the city, I was totally relaxed and my mind was quiet. I was almost completely silent (a few fuck words may have eked out. Jackwagons, I tell ya!).

Eventually I turned the heat on to its lowest setting, turned the radio on to a quiet volume and just gently let my normal car ride come back. But I don't think I want that to be my norm. Perhaps I just need to be cold to get to my quiet.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

31, Let's Have Some Fun!

Hi friends! It's been about a month since I last wrote, but what a month it's been! There have been tons of things going on, like ya know, getting married, going on a honeymoon, quitting my job and getting a new one. And I'll be 31 in 3 days! So even though I have lots of things to say, I'll get to those later. But right now, I want to see just how on track I am with my life, according to newly birthdayed 29 year old me. Now, this list was technically full of things that I wanted to do before I turned 30. Technically. However, since last year was a pretty shitty birthday month, I'm giving myself a mulligan and seeing how much I accomplished, since I still am 30. Based on the answers in red, I've done some things and not done some things. But in the end, life was lived and the past 2 years have had a little bit of the good, the bad and the ugly, and 31 will be a new and better year of life :-)

1.     Dance on a bar. True story, I’ve never Coyote Uglied it up. I feel like I missed out on some coming of age ritual in college. Son of a bitch! Still haven't done it!
2.     Learn to thread and use my sewing machine.
3.     Make myself pants that fit like a dream so that I don’t feel like a giant, misshapen lump when I try to go pants shopping. See above
4.     Go surfing. No surfing. But I did go snorkeling. Both start with "S" and happen in the water. I'll count it!
5.     Perform on stage. I did one of the monologues in the Vagina Monologues earlier this year (the one I did was “My Angry Vagina.” Really, did you think it would be anything but that one?), and it was AWESOME and I can’t wait to perform again! Yup. Date 2 Remember and dance recital.
6.     Have an amazing vegetable garden. Last summer's garden wasn't the worst. This summer's garden definitely was. There's always next year?
7.     Learn how to snowboard to the point that I can do jumps and whatnot without falling and breaking myself. Didn't go snowboarding once this year. Went once last year and someone stole my damn board. I think snowboarding just isn't my thing...
8.     Buy myself a new (to me) car…I’m thinking a Mazda 3, a Mini Cooper or a Fiat. Hmm, this is an interesting small car thing I’m into. But can’t you just see me ripping around corners and driving like a bat out of hell in a little nugget of a car like these?? This is postponed. The job sitch wasn't the best in the past 2 years.
9.     Take a trip abroad…Australia, Sri Lanka, Japan, you know places where I know folks :-D St. John is kind of abroad...I mean, I did have to go through customs to get on the plane. It counts.
10. Lollapalooza Nope.
11. Warrior Dash in under 45 minutes Didn't do Warrior Dash again. But I did do the Colorpalooza in under 45 minutes. Wait a minute! Since it has "palooza" in it, can I use that to partially count for Lolla? No? Okay.
12. Yup, I’m gonna just suck it up and go for it…complete either a half marathon or a sprint triathlon. If I’m feeling super saucy, maybe even both! Negatory, Ghost Rider. But I'm still on board for a triathlon. I have been swimming a lot recently and I even got goggles and a swim cap, and a new bike. And I've taken up running again. I'm getting there before 32.
13. Dye my hair. Nothing too cray-cray (a girl’s still gotta work ya know!), but maybe some red streaks? Done. All my reds and golds and browns have done wonders :-)
14. Get another tattoo. I’m thinking a dragon to match my phoenix. Well, this has been the most successful one. I did, in fact, get a dragon tattoo. And a signature. And a song lyric. And a poem. Mama has only love for the ink! I think my next one will be a partial sleeve...
15. Learn at least one graphic design program. Yup. As evidenced by our glorious wedding invitations!
16. Throw awesome themed dinner parties. They aren't always themed, but the awesome does come into play. I think the next Sunday Dinner will be a potluck and we'll actually get to the firepit this time!
17. Start playing the cello again. I got it fixed. And I have played several of the songs that I have music for. But I don't do it regularly. I will though!
18. Take ballet classes. I'll do you one better. Pole dance classes. And I have another recital coming up in about 6 weeks. Giggity giggity!
19. Get married. 11 years is quite a long courtship, and I love the beau <3. Oh, that happened. And it was GLORIOUS!
20. Climb a mountain. It doesn’t have to be anything extraordinary or require mountain climbing equipment, but it does have to be at least a challenging hike! Yeah honeymoon, killing like 8 birds with one stone!
21. Create a strong group of friends that actually gets together on a regular basis. This is an interesting one. I think with the creation of Sunday Dinners, we've had a rotating group of friends get together. But throughout the course of wedding planning, I've had the pleasure of reconnecting with some of my best ladyloves, and it has been so refreshing to have that group in my life on a regular basis again!
22. Be in one of the Columbus magazines, CBus, Columbus Style, Capital Style, you know, any of those publications that start with C… Sure thing. At this point it's just been pictures in Columbus Alive a few times, but I'm still holding out for getting in one of the wedding mags :-)
23. Go on a rustic camping trip. Pitching tents, building fires, pooping in holes, bathing in streams, the whole shebang! No camping trip yet. But we did get a tent for a wedding present, so I think we'll get there this year!
24. Create something that I can sell. I think I’m a pretty creative person, I just need to find what I’m passionate about making. This hasn't happened yet, but I've been thinking more and more about starting my own business, and I think it's going to happen sooner rather than later!
25. Build a second bathroom and/or update the first bathroom. Uh uh. But it's in the plans for the end of the year, with some of our wedding money. And honey, we need it!
26. Stop biting my damn nails! Still a chronic nail biter. But I did start getting more regular gel manicures, so it helps A LOT!
27. Read the Bible, Koran and Torah. No, I am not religious. But I do want to be well informed about what makes people feel justified to do such crazy ass things in the name of religion. Not even a little bit.
28. Create several really good dessert recipes. I think I did that last summer. I cooked all of just about nothing this year. Sad face.
29. Referring to #6: Can things and make pickled veggies. Refer to #6.
30. Earn a sweet ass nickname. People call me random things, but it would be AWESOME to have a universally known nickname. Or a theme song. I’d be okay with a theme song… I don't think I have a nickname. Unless there's one floating around that I don't know about. If I do, please tell me. Even if it's bad!


Sunday, August 25, 2013

Bittersweet Symphony

Today has some bittersweet things going on. It marks an anniversary and a final countdown (which I totally just sang in my head. If you've got it stuck in yours now, you're welcome.)

The bitter: This morning I woke up weepy. Like opened my eyes and there were tears. And I'm like "What the hell right now?!?" But my body is like a fricking alarm clock of emotion. I go to bed fine and when I wake up, boom, there it is. I haven't been sleeping well the past few weeks because I have a lot going on in my life right now. When I go to sleep, I have details running through my mind. **You know how when you go running or biking, those weird ass clouds of gnats that are just all of a sudden in your face and you can't avoid them because they're just there, flying around in a jumbled mess and they get all in your nose and eyes? The gnats are so teense individually that you can't even see them, but when they get together, and in your face, you get all flaily armed, like a cat playing with a laser beam.** I wake up at 4 a.m. with details flitting around like those damned gnats (But also to pee. Because that's what happens when you pound a glass of water right before you go to sleep. I should really rethink that aspect of my nightly routine...)

But anyway. I'm clearly stalling for time here because I know the closer I get to the subject at hand, the more likely I am to get weepy all over again. But if you know me, you know I'm a crier. We've all accepted it and we're moving on. This morning I woke up weepy. Like opened my eyes and there were tears. I told myself yesterday that today would just be another day in the life. Today is Gary's one year deathiversary. I wrote about it, but I'm not going to do it again. Where I was then is a very different place than where I am now and the way I figure it, I've been managing for the past year. Why wouldn't today be just another day? Rationally, that's where I am, but my heart clearly did not get that memo, hence the weepy wakeup. So today is for Gary. I'm gonna go for a bike ride. I'm going to have some greasy spoon diner breakfast. I'm gonna wear my hair big and crazy and curly. I need to do some stuff in Adobe. And I'm gonna sit around and shoot the shit with the people who mean the most to me and some Jack Daniels and it will be a good day.

This was a good day too. Gary and I road tripping from Ohio to California.

We like silhouettes and shadows :-)
The sweet: So, remember the aforementioned detail gnats that make my brain all flaily and wake me up in the middle of the night? They are all wedding details. *I still need to print menu cards*We have to redo the seating chart*Shit, can we afford this?*We have A LOT of stuff to take to the venue*Gotta get all the vendors on the same page*Mother Nature, I don't see rain in the forecast. Thanks. Let's keep it that way*Vows. Oh hell, I gotta write my vows* WHAT WERE WE THINKING? We live in Ohio and we have an outdoor venue without a tent*I'm gonna have to pee eventually. How do I manage that in my dress?!?*Veil. Oh hell, I have to make my veil*Is it gonna be too hot? Am I going to sweat to death in my dress?*Gotta remember to eat. Don't want to be hangry at my own wedding*I hope my hair doesn't choose that day to be ultra rebellious*I'm going to cry. I won't have pockets. I will need tissues. I hope I don't get raccoon eyes or a snotty face.*

You can see how these things might wake one up in the middle of the night. But it's okay. Because in one week, the end result is going to be that I get to marry the man of my dreams. The stress and the sleepless nights and the laughter and frustration and tears, it's all leading up to next Sunday. So we're on the final countdown of being a single lady (Oh, now you get to have both songs in your head. You're double welcome). So today is for me. I'm gonna go for a bike ride. I'm going to my favorite diner for breakfast where I can relax with a cup of coffee and read some Game of Thrones. I'm going to wear my hair big and crazy and curly because that's just what it likes to do. I'm going to reformat my menu cards and table numbers in Adobe so I can squash those mental gnats. And I'm gonna hang out with my mom and my sisters and Danny and Jack and it will be a good day.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Tap Dancing Nekkid Down the Street

You ever have a moment when you're just frazzled? Like "Holy shit, I have to be someplace by 6:30, and I have to stop at the grocery store, and I have to load up the car, and I have to pick up my sister, and I have to be all the way on the other side of town by 6:30, and dammit, what possessed me to answer my phone at 5:02, as I was shutting down my computer? That always leads to at least a 10 minute conversation! Shit, I'm never gonna make it by 6:30!" (I was still a few minutes late, but such is my life. I was actually a lot close to being on time than I thought I would be!)

So, as all these thoughts were swirling through the old noggin, I was walking into the grocery store (to get some snackums for a lovely ladies night of drinks, snacks, chubby baby cheeks, laughter and wedding craftiness. That's another post for another time ;-) and I'm relatively sure that I had a crinkly, intense look on my face and I am almost 100% certain that I was talking to myself. But in spite of my crazy lady persona, another woman was walking out the door and said a very simple sentence: "You look really pretty today!"

Now I had never met this woman before, and I'll most likely never see her again (or if I do, I won't recognize her, because I was so far into my frazzle that I couldn't pick her out if she went tap dancing nekkid down the street), but that one simple, unexpected compliment put me in a totally different headspace.

This morning I went to yoga and breakfast with my buddy Ru again (Apparently we have deep conversations. I guess that's what sunshiney yoga'll do to ya!) and we got to talking about how, as a society, we have stopped having connections with people. **This came about because we were sitting outside the North Market, where they have picnic tables that can easily seat 8 people. A guy walked by and seemed exasperated because there were people sitting at each table, but none of them were even close to full. Hell, he could have sat at our table. We were the only 2 sitting there, and while I know that we were two stone cold foxes in our workout gear, we clearly make awesome dining companions!

But when's the last time you actually spoke to a stranger? Do you text people for 2 hours to get the same information that could have been ferreted out with a 3 minute phone convo? When you're by yourself in public, do you bury yourself in the latest igaldroidberry gadget and have no clue what's going on around you, or even do it as a deterrent to keep strangers from talking to you? Guilty. Let's change that! The next time you see someone wearing a fly ass pair of shoes or you hear someone with a great laugh, tell them! You never know who you'll be breaking out of their frazzled brain cage :-)

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Pole Position

Yesterday, I had the great pleasure of going to yoga and breakfast with my good good buddy Ru. We faced our dogs downward and let our eagles fly high and then we walked to get some brekkie before I had to go to work. It was nice to just chat and catch up with each other. One thing that we talked about was pole dancing. I've been taking pole dance classes since January and performed in a recital in May. Ru came to see the recital (Yup. I'm an adult in a dance recital. Don't be mad.), and I've been trying to talk her into taking classes too, but her schedule hasn't allowed it. We talked about how much stronger I've gotten, how much more comfortable I am with myself, the fact that I have new bruises every week (which I think is flippin awesome) and how being sexy is okay...nay a good thing.

First of all, no, I'm not a stripper. And if I was, so what? But I started taking these classes as a fitness option that I had never had before. And let me tell you, these classes are a doozy! When I first started, my upper body strength was just about to the point where I could bench press the bar. The. End. I can now climb a 12 foot pole and touch the ceiling. I can hold my entire body off the ground with just my hands and arms and pull myself into a pike or a tuck. I can invert myself and hold my body upside down, 2 feet off the ground using just my inner thighs. Um, what?

During the recital in May
When I first started, being intentionally sexy was weird. Because let's face it, we all have our body hang ups. But the nature of pole dancing is inherently sensual, and if it's something that you want to do, you just have to woman up and love that t-shirt! You learn to be comfortable with yourself and to be fully supportive of the other women in class, who cheer you on along the way as well. Right now, I'm the biggest person in my class, and I struggle with inversions. I mean, for real, have you seen this wagon that I'm draggin?? It's HARD to get all this ass over my head! But when I finally got it, those ladies cheered me over my hurdle and up the pole. (I may or may not have promptly fallen on my head, but I was over a mat, so who cares! I got upside down!)

The biggest thing that I have gotten out of my pole dance journey is a way to get out of my own head. As I mentioned before, I struggle with certain poses and moves, just because of how my body is shaped. But it's more than that. If I try something a few times and I can't get it, I won't get it because my mind is discouraged. But I keep trying and eventually it just happens. At some point, all of my muscles and joints get their shit together and make sense of what I was trying to do and actually do it, and I break through that mental barrier. Even if I don't get it the next time, I've already done it, so clearly I can do it again. At this point, it's just a setback, not a failure. I feel like Harry Potter when he makes a Patronus for the first time because he knew he had done it in the futurepast and it wasn't a mental block for him anymore.

Layout in May. I'm WAAAAAAAY stronger now!
I've found a hobby that I am truly passionate about. Not only do I see a physical transformation, but I can tell there's been a mental transformation as well. I look stronger and I feel stronger and I have the strength to mentally push through anything that's blocking me (because, let's be honest, if I can convince myself that my abs and biceps are strong enough to lift this junk in the trunk 5 feet in the air, what the hell CAN'T I do?!?). I have been sick, come to pole class. Driven like a bat out of hell from Philly to make it to pole class. I've fallen on my head, mashed the tops of my feet up so that they are purple and swollen, gotten all sorts of bruises in really strange places, banged up my ankles, cracked the shit out of my knees and tailbone, achieved some gnarly pole burn and worked so hard that my fingers wouldn't bend all the way and my arms were like overcooked noodles. But I love it. I can't imagine going a week without it. Pole dancing has made me a better person, and every time I have a new bruise, I show off that war wound with pride!

So lady friends, yoga is lovely for getting into a good mental place, but if you are looking for something a little more...sassy, try out pole dancing. Anyone can do it, regardless of why you *think* you can't. "I'm not sexy!" Bullshit. You're a tiger, ready to pounce. "I'm too big!" Cockamamie. It's about the mental just as much as the physical and you will be amazed at what you can do when you tell yourself that you can. "I'm not in good enough shape to wear short shorts and a sports bra in class!" Preposterous. You gotta start somewhere, right? Otherwise why work out? Also, after a few months, you'll be strutting around, guns ablazin' like this gal. "I'm not strong enough to climb the pole!" Well shit, NO ONE is strong enough to climb the pole when they first start. You can be fucking He-Man, but you gotta start from the bottom to make it to the top. You use muscles that you didn't even know existed. Your skin starts to act like those rubber jar openers that stick to the metal to give you a grip. You will eventually hang in a beautiful pose using only your ARMPIT AND THE SKIN UNDER YOUR RIBS. That shit don't come easily.

Any more excuses? I didn't think so. If you're in Columbus, my vote is to check out Studio Rouge, but hey, I'm biased ;-)

Friday, August 9, 2013

Things Have Been a Little...Hectic, Shall We Say?

Well friends, it's been a while. Like, a long while. And I'm sorry for that, but I'll be better, promise :-) So, here's the happs...
I got a promotion at work. I'm now the wedding specialist for the hotel. Except for the fact that we are so incredibly short staffed that I can't really focus on selling weddings because I have to deal with everything else coming into the office.
Had an awesome (mostly) ladies road trip to Savannah for my cousin's college graduation (Hold the phone. College? What?)
I've eaten a ton of delicious num nums at new places around town.
Oh, and I'm getting married. Next month. In 24 days, to be exact. Um. So that's cool.

There's a lot of DIYness going on. For example, our sweet-ass save the dates and invites. Centerpieces being made by my future mother in law. All the flowers, except my bouquet, will be made by yours truly and bridal party. Name cards and table placement, this guy. My veil, I'm all over it. Our altar/chuppah/non-denominational ceremony backdrop (Whatever you want to call it, we're building it. The boy tore apart a barn to get the materials. Not even shitting you.) The menu for dinner was developed by the boy (Sodexho, we don't need your damn preconceived notions of what we should eat at our wedding. We do what we want.). Wedding website. I did it. You should check it out.

There will be various other fun deets that are just kind of out of the ordinary and I could not be more excited, but I want some things to be a surprise for the guests, so there shan't be any pictures until later. So, Adventures in Domesticating is truly becoming houseWIFEy.'s gonna take a while to get used to that, but I'm totally up for the challenge. ;-)

Here's my wedding/event tip of the day...when you send out invitations, number your RSVP cards. The boy could not understand why the hell I was writing tiny numbers on the back of the cards and corresponding them with my Excel master list of names, addresses, meals, gifts, table numbers, what-have-yous. Let me tell you why. I'm still waiting on 20 RSVP cards (even though the due date was a week ago, but I'm not letting it stress me out...yet. But please believe I will be badgering people in the next week. Honey badger don't give a shit.). Of the cards that I have received, I'd say a good 20 didn't have names written in. So, in order to save yourself a crazy frenzy of trying to figure out who you need to chuck a plate of beef at during, just number them shits.

TTFN lovelies! It's bedtime and I get one last night of bed all to myself while the boy is off getting his man card stamped in Vegas for his bachelor party. And don't worry, it won't be 7 months until we chat again :-)

Monday, January 7, 2013

3 Simple Truths

Truth: The economy is kind of a shit.
Truth: There are lots of people out there who don't have jobs.
Truth: I am grateful to have a job with benefits.

In truth, I am grateful to have a job. I'm just not the happiest with it. Granted there are things about it that work my nerves, but in general, I like my co-workers, especially since a certain someone left a few months ago. However, I am just goddamn unhappy there. I wanted this job to learn more about the hospitality/event planning industry and everyone said that getting into a hotel is the best way to go. Here's my problem (and I occasionally feel like a jerkbag for feeling this way, but then I get over it): I'm intelligent. I'm well educated. I've supervised a staff of 20. I'm creative. I like to think about things. I always want to learn more. I work quickly and efficiently. I currently order office supplies. And answer phones. And purge files that are almost as old as I am. I make signs from a template. People throw a stack of piddly bullshit busy work in my inbox and I'm done with it in a half hour. I'm not learning anything.

See the disconnect? So yes, I am grateful to have a job, but I need more. I know there are some people out there who would be ecstatic to have a job that allows them to sit at a desk for 8 hours a day, lunch included, and have some pretty easy responsibilities. That's just not for me. I've asked for more responsibility. I've asked for projects, but there's nowhere for me to go, nothing for me to aspire to, no opportunity for upward movement.

 No, I'm not going to shoot myself in the foot like I did the last time and leave without another job on the horizon. But I've been sort of looking, which is turning into looking in earnest, because I'm having a hell of a time staying pleasant. If you know me at all, you know that my body language SCREAMS everything I'm feeling. I know that I look bored. Posture is terrible, sloopy droopy face, you know the drill. I'm sure that part of this has to do with my usual (self-diagnosed) SAD, compounded by the fact that my office is windowless and never at a moderate temperature.

Until I've got something new in the works, I have to keep myself entertained in other ways...which, starting next Monday, will include pole dance classes!! So, I might be slogging along in soul crushing drudgery for 8 hours a day, but dammit, I'm gonna have legit Xena Warrior Princess arms and abs!