Mt. Nokogiri and Nihonji Temple

A few weekends ago we decided to take a little day trip to Chiba to check out Mt. Nokogiri and Nihon-ji Tenbodai Temple grounds. With the Holidays fast approaching and the chaos that comes with them, I’ve been just sitting on the hundreds of pictures we took and writing a sentence or two between trips to the mall, hanging decorations and lines at the post office.

Anyway, our day trip started off with a short walk to Yokosuka-chuo train station to hitch a ride to Kurihama port where we took a 45 minute ride on the Tokyowan Ferry that runs pretty much hourly. Right around ¥2500 got us round trip walk on tickets over to Boso Peninsula, Chiba. Well worth it. It was a overcast and somewhat foggy morning but the views were still pretty and a nice way to spend part of the journey.

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A 15 minute walk got us to the Nokogiriyama rope way. ¥500 gets you a oneway ticket in a little car suspended from a series of cables to the top of the mountain and ¥930 will get you a round trip up and down. Since we planned to not just take in the lookouts at the top of the ropeway of Mt. Nokogiri and head down but, to continue on and hike around the temple grounds, we forked over a whooping ¥1000 for two one way tickets and joined the queue for the suspended journey. It’s the easiest way to get up and I would imagine beautiful in full on fall with the leaves turning or in the throughs of spring when it’s at it’s lushest green. Be warned, they FILL the cable car and you’ll find yourself standing shoulder to shoulder. Still for the low price and the quick trip up you still get a great view and an easy ride.fullsizeoutput_1d5

Once you reach the top you are treated to a beautiful view of Tokyo Bay and the Chiba Valley. You’ll also get your ankles batted at by the resident cat colony that lords over the vending machine area staking claim to the picnic tables whether you like it or not. Take your chances with offering them innocent pet. You have a about a 50/50 chance of being met with purrs or slaps and hissing. So basically they are normal jerk face cats. I pet every last dirty one and had no regrets.fullsizeoutput_1d6fullsizeoutput_1d7fullsizeoutput_1dafullsizeoutput_1d9

But wait, there’s MORE! That’s right, more look out points with amazing sights. If you’re feeling like glute workout and want to get to the true peak, you can climb a flight of stone stairs on the “hike to hell” for  a spectacular view of the bay and valley. If it’s a clear day, you’ll get to see Mt Fuji looming over the bay. On a really clear day you might even catch a glimpse of the Tokyo Skytree. Unfortunately for us, it was a bit hazy the day we visited but, the vistas were not disappointing. It’s here that you’ll get a chance to take in Jigoku Nozoki or “View of Hell” which is probably the most famous view on the Mountain. You can clamor up a steep rock wall to find your self walking down a stone stair case to a small cliff that juts out over the valley. It’s railed off but, if you have issues with heights the rail won’t matter to you. It offers stunning views and pretty sweet photo opportunities especially if you have a willing partner to remain over by the summit of the stairs to get a sweet pic of you out on the cliff. This area of the peak offers a complete 360 degree view. If you’re disappointed with it at this point, just go home, you obviously can don’t get nature and views.

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Heres were you can decided to head back down on the ropeway or wind your way through the grounds of the Nihonji Temple. The ¥600 per person to get in is well worth it. You can easily spend at least a few hours or more exploring the grounds. While it’s an easy hike, it’s still a work out. To see everything, be prepared to walk up and down and up and down several series of cut stone stairs and slopes. Like hundred of stairs. It’s well worth it for all that you get to see.fullsizeoutput_1e0

Since we were at the top thanks to the rope way we worked our way down. The mountain got its unique saw-tooth shape from years of quarrying which begins to show as you enter the trail. It has been a Buddhist site for over 1300 years so it should be no surprise that the first sight you come upon as you start your descent is 30-meter tall Buddhist Hyaku-Shaku Kannon of the Goddess of Mercy. Carved in 1966 into a stone cliff, it is dedicated to those who died in WWII. The Kannon is also worshiped as a protector of transportation due to its protected location surrounded by rocks.fullsizeoutput_1dd

As you wind your way around the paths, up and down slopes and stairs you find hundreds of groupings of small stone carved rakan or disciples known as the 1500 arhat. These are mortals who have attained enlightenment, and each has a unique facial expression and demeanor. They are perched along the cliffs in nooks and on ledges of the winding paths of the mountain slope. The 1500 statues vary in size and shape, with many beheaded, the unfortunate result of the anti-Buddhist Haibutsu Kishaku movement that came after the Meiji Restoration. During this time many Buddhist sites were attacked and damaged.fullsizeoutput_1edfullsizeoutput_1e1fullsizeoutput_1f0fullsizeoutput_1eefullsizeoutput_1e7fullsizeoutput_1e8fullsizeoutput_1ecfullsizeoutput_1ebfullsizeoutput_1f1fullsizeoutput_1f3fullsizeoutput_215

The statues here were not spared in the violence, but their bodies remain, some with repaired heads and some without adding to the uniqueness of each though The scars still visible but time and nature softening the edges and coving dome with a down moss bandage. The trails leading to the individual groupings often lead to dead ends so, don’t be surprised when you need to back track to the main trail. Keep an eye out for the “mind your head” signs on the low tunnel like passageways as you go. fullsizeoutput_1f4fullsizeoutput_1f5fullsizeoutput_1f6fullsizeoutput_1f7fullsizeoutput_1fdfullsizeoutput_1fcfullsizeoutput_1fafullsizeoutput_1fbfullsizeoutput_1f8

I was obsessed with the 1500 arhat. We took over hundred pictures of them and could have easily taken a few hundred more.

As you start to approach the bottom of the mountain you come upon the Ishidaibutsu, the largest cliff-carved Buddha in Japan. To say it’s imposing is a bit of an understatement. Carve din 1783, 1000 years after the temple was founded. As the healing Buddha, he holds a container of medicine in his hand and is is said that “if you bathe in the radiance of the emerald contained in it, your illness will be healed”. fullsizeoutput_200fullsizeoutput_201fullsizeoutput_205fullsizeoutput_210fullsizeoutput_207fullsizeoutput_208

To the right of the Ishidaibutsu is a small picnic area that was perfect for a short rest as well a peak at a spectacular view from the tables.fullsizeoutput_209

Once we were done taking in the majesty of the great Ishidaibutsu, we headed down the final section of the trail to the temple its self. The oldest place of worship in the Kanto region, Nihonji Temple is a Soto Buddhist temple built over 1300 years ago in 725 CE. CE as in AD. Wrap your brains around that history folks. The temple was originally a monastery and was home to well-known figures such as Roben, the founder of Todai-ji in Nara and Kukai, the founder of Shingon. Having changed from the Hosso Sect to Tendai and now Soto Zen, the temple has been abandoned and revived multiple times throughout the ages. With the anti-Buddhist movement leading to attacks and damage as well as fires after an earthquake in 1939, the temple has undergone restoration for most of its existence.fullsizeoutput_20a

The walk continues to wind down the rest of the mountain, down stairs, over stone bridges, through the dense wooded forrest, leading you past the back parking lot and depositing you on the opposite side of the mountain you started on.fullsizeoutput_216fullsizeoutput_217

From here you have 3 choices: Hike your ass back up the way you just came, over and around the mountain. At this point I’m willing to bet you’ve had your fill of stairs and slopes. This leaves you with the other 2 options. You can take a 10 minute walk to the left and catch a bus that will take about 15 minutes to hustle you to the ferry. Or you can follow GPS and go right and walk around the base of the mountain back to the ferry. We chose the latter of those last two. BE WARNED! There are several tunnels that do not have operational sidewalks nor were the berms ample. We found ourselves timing our jogs through the tunnels between traffic flows occasionally flattening ourselves, laughing, along the sooty wall as a truck or kei car sped by unaware of our perilous presence. A few of the tunnels had walkways outside along the cliffs to the bay but, most were closed for apparent repairs. We braved on such sidewalk and found it led to a dead end which then forced us to hop in the window/barrier halfway through the tunnel and jog the rest of the way battling traffic anyway. Basically, I’d recommend taking the bus around the mountain or sucking it up and back tracking through the temple grounds back the way you came. Regardless, the 45 minute ferry ride back across the bay was a welcome rest before walking back to the train station then ultimately walking back home. 10 out of 10 would recommend. 10 out of 10 would go back during a different season for a different view of the scenery.fullsizeoutput_20bfullsizeoutput_20c

 

Today Was That Day

IMG_0976You were a little wiggling ball of wiry hair with a wet nose and tongue when I got you on a cold February morning. I didn’t need a dog and I sure as hell shouldn’t have gotten one. I was 22, in college, working 2 jobs and living in a garage apartment with a less than stellar boyfriend. I knew I didn’t have a lot of time but, I wanted you, I needed you. I needed something to love and to love me back and you were it. I loved you from the moment I saw you with your black floppy ears and your wonderful puppy breath.

IMG_0970You’ve had many names; Roxy. Roxanne. Rox. Puppers. Pooper. Poo-poo. Stinky Butt.  You answered to them all, tail wagging and with a twinkle in your mischievous eyes.

You spent days and nights curled up, wedged between me and the back of my chair while I was hunched over my drafting table working endlessly on drawings and projects. You were content to lay next to me on the floor while I spent countless hours making models and sample boards. The one summer I took two architecture studio classes and didn’t get to sleep for almost 10 weeks straight, you kept me company during my sleep deprived stupor. When those classes finally ended and I had time off to relax, I slept for 32 hour straight, you never left my side watching over my near comatose body.

I had a late night project playlist that included “Roxanne” by the Police. Every time that song would come on, you would wake up and stare from me to my my laptop speakers, tilting your adorable little head back and forth confused why the warm humming box on the table was singing at you like I usually did. I never failed to make me laugh. I wish cell phones had cameras for pictures and videos back then because I would have taken thousands of your adorable little face when that song came on.

You weren’t always wonderful, you were just as much a little shit in your youth. You liked to run and you were so fast! I would be going out to get the mail or to put something in my car and as I opened the door you would be flying down the stairs and bounding out before I could scream your name. More than once I chased you down the driveway and back (and down and back and down…) petrified with fear that one day you’d dart across the quiet dead end street when a neighbor happened to be driving by and hit you. They never did but it didn’t stop me from sobbing as I made the long walk home with you trapped in my arms licking my face happy as can be from your high speed adventure.

You went with me everywhere. If I was running up to the gas station at 1am you wanted to come and I happily took you. One night I realized that I had forgotten to lock the door so after putting you and my purse in the car, I ran back to lock it. Much to my chagrin when I returned to my car I found you happily standing on the lock door button watching me wagging your little stumpy tail in anticipation of going for a ride. It was a chilly 1 am and my keys and cell phone were in the now locked car with you. I had to swallow my pride and bang on the neighbor’s door to call mom and pops to bring me a spare set of keys. I sat for close to 45 minutes outside the car watching you watch me in wonder. Just as pops pulled up our long driveway you jumped back over the center counsel to the back seat stepping on the lock door button again thus unlocking the doors; something I had been trying to get you to do for 30 minutes before I had called for help and then again for 30 minutes after calling for help before giving up and waiting the last 15 more minutes for help to come. Pops laughed and went back home. You were just so pleased with yourself I couldn’t be mad.

When that not so stellar boyfriend we lived with became a world class asshole you were there listening and cowering as we screamed at each other and when the dust settled you crept out to me and laid with me ever my protector while I cried at the mess I found myself in. More than once we fell asleep together, my face buried in your tear soaked fur. When the time finally came that I left, it was because of you and my fear that the asshole would take you or hurt you just to spite me. You were too sweet and innocent and deserved more than that little shit hole apartment filled with anger and fear.

You never met a person or other animal that you didn’t love except your archenemies, the chipmunks. You had a terrible habit of peeing on certain people’s laps that you loved a little extra and yet, they loved you back and held you regardless, knowing they could walk away with pee cover pants. You were just too lovable to deny.

Everyone said your breed were bad with kids and forget about babies. But not you. You loved babies. Loved. You would lay with your head on their carrier just staring at them. If they were on a blanket on the ground, you had to be near them, slowly creeping closer until at least you nose touched them, happy to just be near. And when those babies turned into fur grabbing ear pulling, drag you around the house in a giggling head lock toddlers, you never snapped or hid, you took it and you always happily went back for more.

IMG_0973You were stinky. You had an over active anal glad that without warning would release and fill a room with a noxious haze that rivaled the smell of a skunk spray. You knew it and inevitably would slink off embarrassed and afraid of the bath you knew was coming. Just saying the words “stinky butt” made to dart to hide in the basement. And as noxious and gross as it was, we loved you. How could we not?

And when we subjected you to a needy, annoying orphan kitten, you took that too. You let him follow you around and nuzzle into you for comfort. Your face said, “Please make it go away” but, you tolerated it because you were just too good. When he got bigger, you loved him. You’d chase each other around the house tumbling and rolling. You never hurt him even though there were plenty of times you took a hard swipe to the face from a claw that left you yelping. You never held it against him and even in your elderly years a decade of not seeing each other, you remembered him and still loved him.

You snuggled under covers all the way to my feet. Inevitably you would get hot and would crawl out panting to breathe hot stinking breath on me while sharing my pillow. I didn’t kick you out of the bed though.

You would chase a tennis ball until you collapsed and swim the length of the pond and back until so exhausted we had to force you to stop for fear of you drowning. The swimming was weird because what terrier like swimming?

IMG_0974When I was too poor to afford grooming, you suffered my DIY clipper cuts with minimal struggle. You never barked, snapped or ran, even if I nicked an ear flap or tail top. You accepted your fate with the saddest pleading face and when I was done you zoomed around the yard with your tail tucked down practically flying over the grass.

You loved Christmas. You were a little weirdo that KNEW what gifts were yours under the tree and would constantly try and steal them to open them. We would have to hide your little wrapped toys and treats in a closet until it was Christmas Eve night and time for you to open them. When we would set them on the ground for you, you would tear into the paper with reckless abandon much like a 6 year old child. After the paper was shredded and discarded you would prance around the room making sure to show everyone your new thing before moving to the next. Maybe we were the weirdos for buying presents and wrapping them for a dog but, you loved it. You loved it as much as the kids did. Your weird human like joy at Christmas presents brought joy to us.

IMG_0977You were with me when I had to move almost 3,000 miles away for a job. You quietly sat in the back seat wedged between suitcases and bins for 5 days while we drove in a haphazard path across the United States. You barked at prairie dogs and escaped from a hotel room in Billings to run laps around the NO PETS ALLOWED hotel before finally running back in the room panting, pleased with yourself as always.

When you didn’t adjust well to city living it broke my heart. You lost weight and hair. You chewed your paws bloody. You were sensitive and had issues most likely for the fucked up situation I had you in when I brought you home as a baby. The small fenced yard and loud street noises made you a mess. For over a year I tried diet changes and doggie anti-depressants but nothing helped. I sent you home to mom and pops for a visit and was told I wasn’t getting you back based on the sad sight you were. So you lived on five acres with them but I always missed you. I’m pretty sure the asshole cat did as well.

Mom and pops got not one but TWO tiny yappy Mexican dogs that you immediately mothered like they were your own little puppies. You played with a one pound puppy ever so gently, letting the tiny terror hang from your jowls while you laid on the floor as to be low enough for them to attack. You herded them to the house when they strayed too far and barked at them if they didn’t listen. You had more patience with those two than the humans did.

When, unbeknownst to anyone, you had a abscessed tooth that started to hurt when you ate, you were a badass and hooked a nail behind it and cleanly ripped it out, root and all and went right back to chewing your bone. It freaked out mom and pops but, it didn’t phase you. You were a little spitfire who didn’t let a stinking tooth come between her and her treats.

Over the years you were a landmark that meant home; a furry, happy, silly face to welcome me at the door with wiggles of joy and sloppy kisses every time I would visit. You always remembered me, jumping and whining joyous hellos. The years passed and your glossy black ears and eye patches started to show more white than black. Your eyes got cloudy and rheumy but, you still ran like the wind and thought you could jump from the top step without missing a beat.

DSC_0006The last few times I was home, your white muzzle was obvious. You struggled to get moving after sleeping; limping for the first several steps while you worked your arthritic joints back into functioning. There was no more jumping from the top step or zoomies around the yard. You were deaf and probably mostly blind. And I cried at the sight. I cried because I knew this day was coming. The day that I would get a call from mom saying, “Roxy isn’t with us anymore.” That day was today.

You gave me almost 17 years of unconditional love, hilarious memories and pure joy.    My heart is broken knowing that you aren’t in this world anymore and I wasn’t there to hold you as you left it. When I come home you won’t be there excited to see me and my heart will break all over again. I will always love you and miss you. Home is forever changed with your absence. I hope they have munk-munks in doggie heaven for you to chase forever and all the treats you can eat Pooper.

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Bullshit

I’ve been binge watching “Parenthood” for several days now. It mostly makes me laugh with relatable situations with crazy family and kids being assholes. The usual. But the last few episodes got a little too relatable. One of the fucking characters goes and gets damn breast cancer. Like, what the shit. So suddenly my mind numbing binge watching become s a freaking trial of emotional strength because I can not escape the topic. What the shit. It is October after all so everything is pink and “feel your tats”.

I hit the 3 year mark since my diagnosis this September and it’s been 2.25 years since any treatment. Yet here I am getting all emotional watching some fictional character on some stupid TV show go through some fake treatment. And I hate that it makes me this way. I hate that it makes me remember my own bullshit. I hate that there are so many scenes that I can’t stop myself from saying, out loud, “That’s not how it is. That’s wrong.” There was one episode where the character’s mother-in-law comes to help her around the house and it reminds me of all my family and friends that wanted (and most did) come over to help and it made me just as frustrated as it was making this character, because when you’re sick you want to do what you can yourself. To try and be as “normal” as possible. Thinking of that time makes me feel bad because I was shitty to people back then. I was shitty to people who just wanted to help because I was angry and wanted things to just go back to normal and they were anything but normal. I’m pretty sure my husband only survived because he’s quiet and waited for me to ask for help rather than just do things for me. Well, with the exception of offering to go get me cheeseburgers or go to the store to get me pie.

It just sucks. I don’t want to be emotional about it. I don’t want to have to get emo over some bullshit TV show episode or song. I don’t want to remember this bullshit and feel bad because I look bad and feel selfish because I didn’t worry about anyone else around me’s feelings. I didn’t have the fortitude to give a shit about how my bullshit toxic tits were screwing up life for everyone around me. I want to distance my self from it. For it to be my past that I sometimes forget even happened. Even as I sit here and watch more episodes about bullshit breast cancer and type this, my stupid husband must feel my emo rising and and has continued to crack jokes about the cat and some song and anything other than the bullshit on the TV.  Yet, here I sit, drinking wine, still watching this TV bullshit feeling all emo. Tying to ignore the stupid emotions rising. Trying to not feel shitty about some cancer bullshit that pretty much will always be bullshit, my bullshit.

The Sailor’s Shoulder Hurts

Sailor: I got my flu shot today. My should hurts and it’s hot **starts rubbing his shoulder**

Me: That’s a bummer.

Sailor: **Groans**

Me: Oh stop.

Sailor: I might become an anti-vaxer, this sucks.

Me: Well, it’s been a good run. Guess we’ll have to get divorced now because I can’t accept that.

Sailor: I AM GOING TO HAVE AUTISM NOW!

Me: You’re seriously making me angry. Stop.

Sailor: You don’t know! Prove it! You can’t! Don’t come at me with your science and facts either. LIES!

Me: People actually believe that shit that you’re saying you know.

Sailor: Well, people are dumb.

#shitthesailorsays

Sit Down and Listen

Young men and men in general have not been held accountable by the same standards as women. Period. End of story. You can scoff and joke at the #metoo movement but then, you’re just part of the problem. I’m not going to argue with anyone about it. Don’t try and defend the Brock Turners of the world to me. I will not listen any longer about how they are just boys being boys. Don’t tell me that it was unfair that he had to be a register sex offender for a few minutes of ass. Just stop. The news today reporting assaults, rape and abuse and the perpetrators walking away with slap on the hand and a stern, “Don’t do that again” sickens me. Women coming forward, finally trying to find justice for being violated are being shamed, called a liar or an attention seeker. They are questioned on why they didn’t say something back then if that is really what happened… FEAR. Obviously, that’s why.  This cannot continue. So, sit down and listen for a bit. Here’s a few little ditties that I’d like to call, me fucking too.

I was 7 years old when I learned the hard way that boys “can’t help themselves”. I went to a catholic grade school from kindergarten through 4th grade. From 1st grade on, you wore regulated uniforms. Girls in jumper style skirts or plain skirts depending on your grade and boys in slacks all wearing white button down shirts. I’m not sure who started it or how it started but one friday, the boys in the older grades started flipping up girls skirts over their heads yelling “FRIDAY FLIP UP DAY!” then running away laughing and slapping high fives with their nitwit friends. It only happened outside, before school started, recess or walking home after. It didn’t take long for the younger boys to start emulating their older counter parts. That’s how things work, the younger ones look up to their older brother, cousins, friends siblings etc and want to be as cool as them and follow along. Every Friday if you were a girl and not in the safety of the halls, under the watchful eyes of the nuns and teachers, you had to be vigilant about watching your surroundings and holding your skirt down or you ran the risk of every one around you seeing you underwear when some asshole sunk up on you to flip your skirt as high as he could get it before you shrieked and awkwardly slapped it back down.

The first time it happened to me was at recess and I ran to the closest proctor on the playground and told her. She told the boy to stop it and that was it. It happened several more times over the next couple of weeks. It was embarrassing and the adults I told on the playground literally just kindly told the little shits to “cut it out.” It was mortifying as a little girl to have the entire school see your underwear. Lesson 1: Girls’ embarrassment and public humiliation didn’t warrant a boy getting in real trouble. Seriously, what in the fresh hell?

At recess one day some poor dip-shit flipped up my skirt for the last time. Sadly it was one of the nerdier kids that was usually quiet and avoided getting sucked into the melee that most the other boys participated. Unfortunately for him, my fiery little self had had enough of the embarrassment. I spun around and kicked not caring who or what I connected with and screamed “STOP IT!” Sadly for the little jerk, it was his balls that caught the brunt of my hard toed saddle shoe. He doubled over on the blacktop groaning and crying. A proctor came over and physically dragged me aside and asked me why I would do that. Then promptly dragged my ass to the principal’s office. I was forced to apologize to the boy. I complained that it wasn’t fair. That all the boys kept flipping up my skirt and they didn’t have to apologize. I was told, “The boys were not physically hurting you. You attacked that boy. It’s completely different.” Lesson 2: My complete emotional hurt and embarrassment did not warrant a boy getting reprimanded and it was not equal to his physical hurt. Ok. I understood violence was never the answer. I accepted that but, I still didn’t understand how the boys were not getting in trouble for exposing us. Like, my little seven year old brain even understood that it was wrong. I was like, “Hey, I feel like I’m being attacked too so…. What the fuck gives adults?”

All the girls banned together and decided to wear our gym uniform shorts under our skirts. But they looked bulky and occasionally showed when we were sitting. We didn’t care, they hid our underwear. But the nuns were having none of that. It was a breech of school uniform. If they allowed that then, how long before we tried wearing colored socks and random sweatshirts? We were made to take them off and wear our uniform “appropriately”. Lesson 3: My comfort was not as important as being dressed “appropriately”. Utter bullshit but, fine.

The skirt flipping continued but, the next little asshat that flipped up my skirt? I retaliated by walking up behind him when he wasn’t paying attention a few minutes later and yanking his pants down exposing his little tighty-whities to the the playground and yelled “HOW DO YOU LIKE IT?” as I ran away laughing and my friends all cheering for finally having some small bit of vindication. Again, he cried and a proctor dragged me to the principal.  I was lectured on how inappropriate my actions were. How a proper young lady doesn’t behave that way. That it was very upsetting to little Johnny Snotface… Blah. Blah Blah. Lesson 4: Boys feelings were more important than girls. Girls had to behave better than boys. Girls had to just deal with the boys acting like little assholes. I cried. I snot-running-down-my-lip-hiccuping cried. Not because I was afraid of that evil Nun we had as a principal (I mean, I was) but, because I was so frustrated. My seven year old self could not understand how this bitch was lecturing me about that little asshat’s feelings when for over a month I had been begging to have MY feelings of exactly the same thing taken seriously. I remember saying “It’s not fair,” over and over.

From that point on, every Friday, all of us girls started wearing our little backpacks really low on our back. It acted as a barrier so that your skirt had to really be pulled hard to show your butt. It usually bought us just enough time to slap out skirts back down. At recess we played along the wall never turning our backs to the playground for fear of letting our guard down long enough to let those little vultures attack. Eventually, Friday Flip Up Day went away. I don’t remember the boys getting in trouble. Maybe some of them did eventually. Maybe the boys in the older grades got in more trouble. I have no idea but, it’s popularity wound down and finally stopped. Even when we noticed it had stopped, it took us young girls weeks to trust that it wasn’t a ploy for us to drop our guard. I was seven years old and for what I am sure was only 3 or 4 months I literally acted like I was battling guerrilla warfare at school to protect my underpants because, boys will be boys.

I was 12 or 13 when I realized that boys were disgusting pervs that thought they could get away with anything. We had moved just a couple years before this to a rural suburb. I was attending a nice public school that was mostly filled with kids from pretty wealthy families. Most adults would equate this to being better, safer, and above average. Whatever. I was sitting in my English class in the back row writing or working on something when the fucker sitting next to me whispered my name. I looked over to him pointing at his dick which he was methodically pulsing up and down using just his pelvic muscles. “It’s doing push ups. Ha ha ha…” He was so proud of himself. I made a gross grimace and went back to my work. 2 more times he whispered my name and I ignored him. I didn’t want to see what he was doing to up the ante to try and shock me. I know how this works. I wasn’t buying into his stupid dick game. Finally, on his third attempt to get my attention, I said in a loud I-want-everyone-to-hear whisper, “I don’t give a shit about your fucking tiny dick!” The teacher literally yelled my name and told me to go into the hall. I did begrudgingly. She met me out there and asked what was the problem. I, for whatever reason was embarrassed. I had no control over that little assholes actions yet I was the one embarrassed. But, I told her. Explicitly. I could tell she was confused on why the hell some little shit would choose to do that in public in an afternoon english class by the look on her face. She shook her head and said, “Just ignore him. He won’t keep doing it if you don’t react.” To which I told her I HAD been ignoring him and he had continued to bug me until I said what I said… Her answer to the problem? Go get your things and you can sit out here in the hall to finish your work so he can’t bother you. Yes, rather than approach the fucking perv that was actually causing the issue and have the difficult discussion with a young boy about inappropriate sexual behaviors in class, I got to sit on the floor in the hall, like I was being punished to finish my work. He was never even approached or talked to by that teacher or any other one. He continued to do shit like that all through middle school and high school. Good job.

I was 16 when I realized for sure that boys thought they would never have repercussions to their vile moments… and they were right. I had walked into my Social Studies class early. There were maybe 4 people already in the room and at their desks. The teacher was not in the room. There was a big sign on the board telling us to pick up several handouts laid out on the back table. I set my stuff down at my desk and walked to the back to get my papers. As I was leaning over the table collecting them, unbeknownst to me a boy in my class, the tallest largest one in our grade if I remember correctly, walked up behind me and slapped me on my ass and said, “What up Raymer, nice ass.” He slapped me so hard that my hips hit the table edge and I almost hit my head on the back wall had I not caught myself with both hands on the wall. I spun around and hissed, “Don’t you ever fucking touch me.” And stormed out of the room. Looking back, I wish I had punched that fucker but, in the moment, I knew I’d be in trouble for lashing out physically. I had already learned that lesson almost 10 years prior. I left because I started to cry. The hit had HURT. I went in the girls bathroom and stood in the stall trying to see my ass cheek with tears rolling down my face. When I finally went back to class, I was close to 10 minutes late. My teacher didn’t say anything but, a few minutes into silently reading she stopped by my desk and whispered, “Are you OK?” I nodded trying not to cry in class. She asked if I wanted a pass to the rest room trying to give me an out to collect myself. I said no. She looked concerned the entire class anytime I caught her looking at me. I sat slouched over leaning to one side because my butt cheek still hurt. I should have told her. I didn’t. He was a varsity football player and and I think basketball player and honestly, I didn’t think telling anyone would really change the fact that my fucking ass hurt. I knew at most what would happen was he’d be told to apologize, which would not be sincere and is nothing really. After that, I would be targeted as a bitch that will narc on anything. I didn’t need to deal with those repercussions and being made miserable for the rest of the long year. By the time I got home that day, when I looked in the mirror at my butt cheek, there was a dark purple bruise roughly in the shape of a hand. It lasted over a week. I lived for a week with some assholes uninvited hand print on my ass and never said a word because I knew, nothing would happen to him and that I would be punished for it in the long run. Let that fucking sink in.

When I was 17, I learned a harsh reality about being in the wrong place at the wrong time. I drove two friends to a house party. I’m was not a fan of house parties in High School. I just always felt out of place and didn’t have much fun but, they wanted to go and I didn’t feel like staying home so I went and I drove. Everyone was wasted; drunk, high and/or doing whippets. I enjoyed none of the above and plus I was driving so, even if I had a penchant for getting stoned or drinking  Mad Dog 20/20 and Boone’s, I wouldn’t have. The party was in a huge fancy house so, I quietly disappeared to snoop and see of the other half lived; an excuse to avoid all the drunk idiots. I didn’t know that while I looked at family photos on the wall in one of 7 bedrooms, that I would be stumbled upon by a very drunk boy that was older and liked to get black out drunk. Apparently he had “always found me cute” which he slurred in what I’m sure he thought was a seductive manner as he leaned one hand against the wall. I was immediately uncomfortable. I went to walk away and he leaned his other arm on the other side of me. I have never felt more trapped and legitimately terrified. He was close to twice my size, so fucking drunk he could barely function and had me trapped. I froze and flattened against the wall so hard that I knocked a few pictures down with my head. Just as he leaned in to my turned head for some horrible attempt at a (gag) kiss, a male friend of mine burst in the door looking for the very dude that had me prisoner. That moment of distraction that made him turn was opening enough that I ducked under his grasp and practically ran out the door. As I rushed passed my would be assailant, he reached out to me and snagged part of my shirt and it tore at the sleeve seam. I kept power walking right on out of the room. He could have torn the sleeve clean off and I wouldn’t have stopped. I vaguely remember hearing, “Raymer….?” from my drunk clueless friend as I picked up speed down the hall and down the stairs. I spent maybe 5 minutes finding my friends and telling them I was leaving. They didn’t want to leave but, I said it’ wasn’t up for discussion. They never asked me what was wrong. They barely looked at me other than to be irritated that I wanted to leave less than an hour into being there. I told them if they needed a ride home just to call my house but, I was leaving. They chose to stay and I left. I drove around for almost 2 hours trying to get my mind right. There were no tears. Just that panicked numb tingle you get when you narrowly escape rear ending someone or missing a step walking down stairs. That rush of fear based adrenaline that makes your skin prickle and your fingertips go numb. I needed that to go away before I went home. I didn’t want my mother asking me how my night was, why I was home so early or seeing my face and asking what was wrong. I was embarrassed and ashamed. If my fiend hadn’t walked in what would have happened? Was I being dramatic? But, if I was just over reacting why did I feel sick still? How had I let myself get in a sketchy situation like that? I don’t drink. I don’t do drugs. I hardly ever even went to parties and yet, here I was driving around random country roads taking deep breaths and replaying the 5 minutes in that room over in my head. I stopped hanging out with those two friends after that. I avoided my would be assailant but once, shortly after that night, I ran into him. He said hello like nothing. I asked if he remembered the last time he saw me at so-and-so’s party and he just said, “No.” It made me feel sick all over again. He didn’t even remember something that had been making me feel ill for days. I avoided him everyday possible for the remainder of my high school time. I never told anyone about those 5 minutes in that room until years later with a new college friend driving around on those same country roads trading snippets of shitty stories that helped make us into the neurotic people we had become. She reassured me I wasn’t over reacting and that she knew first hand what that feels like.

I have more stories. These few just happen to be ones that stuck out to me. Ones that I still remember clearly and always will. But, I was a lucky one. All my cases were minor altercations and one narrow miss. Unlike a friend in high school who I worked with. She sought me out during a lull on a Sunday when we were both working the same shift. She confided in me that she had lost her virginity the night before at a party. To an upperclassman. A much lusted after upperclassman. She said it kind of sucked. That she has a couple drinks and kind of didn’t really want to go that far but, you know it happened and she didn’t think he was that cute anymore… I didn’t understand. He was so hot and the way she was talking… I was confused. Looking back on it now, I’m pretty sure he coerced her or even forced her and she didn’t know how to say it and I was too young and dumb to read between the line and understand.

Or a college friend who during her first year  went to a bar with a group of friends and after only 1 beer and a couple sips of the 2nd doesn’t remember anything else other than waking up feeling terrible in a strange bed nude from the waist down and sore. Apparently a supposed guy friend had “helped” her home but really, he helped her to his home and then took advantage of her… blacked out possibly even roofied. She didn’t report it. She was afraid and ashamed. She had a beer so who would believe that she wasn’t willing. Plus she didn’t remember anything so… She went home and took a scaling hot shower and scrubbed her body until her skin was raw.

I can go on. Other girls I was friends with in high school and college had conversations eluding to boys that pushed them too far. That did things that made them uncomfortable. Took things farther than they wanted. Hurt them. That were harassed and physically smacked, pinched, poked and groped in hallways and stairwells. Like me, none of them ever came right out and said it. Not to us, their friends and definitely not to adults or police.

We were afraid.

We were ashamed.

We were embarrassed.

We didn’t think anyone would care.

We didn’t think anyone would do anything for us.

It needs to stop.

Ladies, I hear you. I see you. I believe you. Because #metoo.

It’s Raining On Demo Day

Some days are awesome, filled with adventure and excitement for whats to come. Today is not one of those days. This morning I woke up to a headache. Not a bad one, just one of those subtle throbs that’s juuuuust enough to make you want to pull the covers over your head and remain in the cocoon of your bed… indefinitely. But, I didn’t. I can’t be that big of a slacker ass loser. I have to at least pretend to be productive since I still don’t have a job. 4 months without a paycheck, but who’s keeping track, right? My bank, that’s who is keeping fucking track.

After I’ve made a cup of coffee I sat down to check all my emails and to look over the job sites that I visit every 2 or 3 days to check for new listings that I might be at least qualified for. Low and below I’ve been informed that while my “self evaluation showed that I met minimum qualifications required, I was not referred to the hiring manager” for an Administrative Assistant job that I applied for. So I guess that a decade of experience in Strategic Planning and Project Management isn’t enough for me to get an admin job with the Federal Government. Perhaps if I get my MBA, they one day will let me answer a phone but lets be realistic, probably not.

As I forcefully sent that email notification to the trash my fitness tracker beeped at me and told me it was time to stand up. I actually said out load to my wrist, “I will fucking murder you.” in a menacing tone. Literally I felt murdery. Yes, that’s a real word, because I say it is. This tune was what inside my brain sounded like:

Then my sweet, annoying, demanding, drooling cat kept crawling on me. Meowing at me. Forcefully head-butting my hands as I tried to type through job searches, rubbing saliva covered jowls on my forearms. Bless his heart for wanting to show his murdery (still a real word, don’t even argue with me today) mom attention. Not wanting to be a dick to an innocent geriatric cat, I figured I should probably sit at the kitchen table like a fucking adult to type rather than slouched in the corner of the couch anyway, and moved. The. Cat. Followed. Me. He sat at my feet, meowing. Then that didn’t work he stood on his hind end with his front paws on my thighs meowing.  Then he jumped on my lap, lost balance, clawed the hell out of me and fell. So I had to pull another chair over right next to mine so he cold sit by me. And because I am murdery (fight me about that word, I dare you) today, I’m irritated by his love. Which makes me feel bad, because who gets mad about an innocent animal loving them?

puddy
Exhibit A – Furry jerk insisting on being next to me at all times, except with the Sailor is home, then I am dead to him.

So, I’m sitting at the table with my stupid loving cat finally situated and I have no interest in looking for a job because that’s just going to depress me further. So, I open the blinds to the little balcony and see that it’s grey and rainy, which makes me happy and also explains my mild head throb. I friggen love this kind of weather. Expecting to get blasted by a humid inferno, I tentatively cracked the balcony door to find, it’s almost cool outside so, I leave the door cracked. But, the sound of cars driving on wet pavement, the slight smell of ozone and the grey sky makes me think of home and now I’m weepy and battling homesickness.

Just as I’ve almost given into getting back in bed and reading my book for the entire day, my phone buzzes. I have a notification from my menstrual tracker app. Side note: Listen, I can’t take oral BC anymore thanks to the Big C, which used to be my way of knowing when Aunt Flow’s train was due to arrive.  Once that went bye bye, I could never remember to write down when to expect to be surfing the crimson wave again so I could always be prepared and not taken by surprise in public. So, I downloaded the Flo app and wa-la, my phone just tells me like it does with everything else in my life. Anyway, Flo sends me a notification that sometime in the next 24 hours or so, my uterus will begin to violently tear down it’s own walls, pissed-off that it has decorated a womb-nursery for a spawn only to be told, “Not this time buddy,” and it will all go to waste yet again.

And it all becomes clear to me. This isn’t me being murdery, this is my uterus being a angry that I haven’t gone forth and been fruitful, wasting all her work on redecorating for the hope of a cellular minion taking up shop there. She’s beginning her hormonal temper tantrum in preparation of demo’ing my internal nursery. Now I know I can just eat a bag of Salt and Vinegar Chips and a few (dozen) donuts and I’ll feel better. You’d think after 15 years of this happening every fucking month I’d have a clue by now.

Archie’s Dad Likes Throw Pillows Apparently

I’m trying to watch Riverdale on Netflix but, I’m struggling. Not because of the plot or acting. Those are fine and intriguing enough. It’s because a house that consists of a single man who runs a construction company, his teenage son and his teenage sons best friend has throw pillows. I’m sorry, I don’t care if his wife literally left less than 48 hours ago, the first thing to get tossed would be throw pillows. I have never met a straight man that doesn’t mind throw pillows. For example, please see My Throw Pillows