I was a Horse Girl

I have always love animals. All of them. Lizards? Cool mini dinosaurs. Snakes? Awesome danger noodles. Deer? Scared skinny puppies with antlers. Horses, giant doofy dogs. I was the kid that would sit for hours in the neighbors back field quietly watching fawns with their mother in the hopes of them ignoring me and coming closer. It worked. I was thrilled.

My earliest childhood was spent in the small suburbs of Cleveland. The only animals I saw on the regular were our two smelly but lovable Labs (OK one was an asshole who bit the neighbor’s kid but, the dog had effed up ears and a thyroid problem and we told the girl to not touch her because she was sensitive but, she did anyway so really, she kinda asked for it) and the occasional the neighbor’s cat and her seemingly endless litters of kittens. Our house was 900 square feet at best and our back yard was roughly the length of a 76′ Blazer and a 74′ Chevy Pickup Truck parked nose to tale and width of a 84′ aluminum swing set. I knew it wasn’t adequate for anything but the two lumbering dogs we currently had but, I asked for a pony for my birthday and Christmas every year anyway. I vaguely remember for what I think might have been a gift for my 5th or 6th birthday driving for what seemed like forever to a dusty horse farm to get to sit on a pony while a girl led me around for like 30 minutes. It was 30 minutes of pure unadulterated joy for me. On the ride home, my snarky ass sister grumbled that she was so glad she rode 2 hours to watch me sit on a pony and get led around in the heat for a half hour just like at the fair. I didn’t care. I was hooked. That 30 minutes of slow plodding around in a circle didn’t quench my thirst for riding it fed the fire.

When I was nine, my parents bought their first any only home in what my sister hatefully referred to as, “middle of nowhere”. I had to agree. It was a small ranch that was built in the late 60’s and still had all the original wallpaper and appliances but, it sat on 5 acres most of which were wooded or swampy and when the wind was right it smelled like cow shit from the dairy farm less than a mile away behind our property. We were culture shocked to say the least. There were no side walks and instead of places being blocks away they were miles, plural. My shock didn’t last long though. We had been there maybe a month when I realized, “Hey, there are HORSE farms all over this place,” and started with incessant pleading to take me to at least to try and ride. It took almost a year before they caved and asked around where they could take me for lessons. Big mistake, HUGE.

I was ten when I walked into that small ten stall barn and smelled the mix of conditioned leather, molasses, manure and horse sweat to have my first lesson. They fitted me with a helmet covered in black velvet and handed me the reins of a a small Morgan cross pony name Lady and had me walk her to the ring. My mother stood just outside the rail watching and knew from the stupid grin that stretched across my face that it was over. I was hooked and there was no going back. That first lesson I remember completely. There were 3 other kids most younger than me and apparently had plenty more experience but, I was a sponge that only had to be told once how or what to do. The woman that would become my trainer told my mom after the hour was up that I was a natural. That I had kept up with the other students that had been riding for months at that point. She told my mother the minimal gear I would need to comfortably ride and they made arrangements for me to come once a week every week for an hour group lesson with another group of kids closer to my age and a little more advanced in their skills to push me a little harder than the group I rode with that day. I could have died from happiness.

We went the next day to get me appropriate boots. I saw the look on my mother’s face when she looked around the small tack shop my trainer had recommended and the pricing of all the equipment. Even then, I knew we weren’t rich. I knew that riding boots, even the cheap rubber ones that cost $100 were a lot for my parents. But I was 10 years old and selfish like most children are at that age and WANTED this, bad. And I got it.

Weeks passed and I went from walking and trotting to cantering and jumping small cross poles in record time. In less than a year I was jumping small oxers, competing in beginners walk trot shows winning ribbons, doing hunter paces, and my trainer even took me on a few fox hunts. My parents paid for it how ever they could. Even they recognized that not only did it fill me with joy but, I was diligent. I worked hard at it and I was good because of it.

Once a week wasn’t enough though. I wanted more. I begged my parents to buy me a horse or pay for more lessons a week. As much as they would have loved too, we just really could not afford it so, my mother approached my trainer who was also the owner of the barn, and asked how I could EARN extra riding time. My trainer seeing my love and want to do whatever it took to get on a horse as often as possible seized that opportunity and said I could work around the barn for extra time. So my entire weekends were spent dropped off at dawn where I worked all morning and afternoon cleaning tack, scrubbing water buckets, throwing hay, sweeping floors, grooming school ponies and tacking them up for beginners lessons, teaching beginners how to groom and tack before their lessons started, mucking stalls, feeding, turning out, I even spent days working at a summer camp where she owned ponies… you name it eventually I worked my way up to doing it. And sometime before dinner, my trainer Sandy, would tell me what school horse or if I was lucky one of her personal horses could use a ride and tell me to have at it. For one bliss filled hour I got to lope around a ring on that horse. By the time I was in middle school, I was a fixture there at that place.

Sandy was an eccentric lady. She was harsh. She never sugar coated anything, ever. She didn’t hand out praise often and when she did, it was well earned. She made me a rider. She often bought horses in with the sole purpose of getting them in a little better shape to sell them. Some of them she bought just because how they looked; like they had potential. I was usually the guinea pig she plopped on them to see what they were like. Some were beautiful fluid beasts that weren’t at the barn long. Others bucked me around the ring until I was told “Just jump off!!” and dove into the sand to tuck and roll away. Each one made me a better rider capable of adjusting to different sizes, temperaments, and paces.

There was one horse, a mare named Stacy, that I remember riding so clearly. She had just come into the barn a week or so before and no one had ridden her yet. She was given time to adjust and relax in her new surroundings. She was a lithe dark bay mare thoroughbred that was meant to be a race house but just didn’t have the mentality for it. She was sweet and calm with big doe eyes and long delicate legs. It was summer time and I spent at least 5 days a week at the barn all day long. That afternoon after I had done all my daily tasks, Sandy told me to groom and tack her up to ride her and she was going to see what she could do. Sandy ended up giving me a free hour long lesson as she put this new mare though her paces. At one point she asked me to lengthen her stride trotting and moments later shouted out “Beautiful!” I beamed. Coming from that lady she might as well told me I was perfection on a horse. When my mom picked me up later that night, Sandy told her about me riding Stacy and how she was not an easy ride but, how I had made he look easy. She told my mom if I kept riding like that, I could be a serious contender in the Hunter Show ring. I could have skipped home across clouds. I rode Stacy every lesson after that for a month. Then one morning I was told someone was coming that afternoon to look at her. I groomed her to shine and cleaned my tack to match. I rode her for the woman that showed up later and must have impressed her because she bought the mare that same day. I wish I could say I wasn’t sad, but I was. It was a lesson though I had already learned ten times over though with previous ponies and horses. There would be others. I often asked my parents to buy this one or that one for me when I knew they weren’t expensive but, the answer was always no and I was OK with that. I still got to ride and really, that was all that mattered to me.

There was one time that I came almost close to getting my own horse. I was 12 and a girl I took lessons with’s parent’s were looking for a horse to buy her. Sandy brought in the flashy chestnut paint with 2 blue eyes. His show name was some french word that I can’t remember but, his barn name was Champ. I fucking LOVED this horse even though I didn’t get to ride him but once.

We were at a small unrated show at the local large farm. I was showing grudgingly in walk trot cross poles on a school pony that was for sale even though in my lessons I was jumping courses up to 3′ but, shows were exponentially more expensive above walk trot classes so there I remained. Plus, I was essentially helping to sell the pony I was one but, I didn’t care. What really mattered to me was that I was just there, riding. I didn’t need to compete and win ribbons to validate myself. I was there for the love of it. The girl, Katie, that had been looking at buying Champ, was a sweet freckle faced red head that was 2 or 3 years younger than me that I genuinely liked. We took lessons together and were friendly in big sister, little sister kind of way. This was a show she was bringing Champ to to test out how he was in that setting. Her parents buying him was all but a done deal… Until she got on him in that big arena with all the people and loud noises and lights. His nostrils flared, his eyes went wide and with a snort, they were off. Katie panicked and fell right off over his hind end. I was on my easy peasy schooling pony already and galloped off to catch the runaway riderless horse that I loved.

As I trotted back over with Champ in tow, I heard Sandy tell the now sobbing Katie she had to get back on. Katie refused. She, and her parents were done with Champ, I could tell. I was crestfallen. Gone were my hopes of riding him for Sandy in between Katie’s lessons to keep him fit and ready for her. Gone was my secret hope that I’d be the one they’d ask to ride him while they went on their many vacations.

Then oddly, Sandy sighed, knowing what I also knew and also not wanted to appear harsh in public (she would have forced the girl on the horse in private, she was ruthless in the ring at home) and said, “Christan, swap saddles. Katie is riding Suzy-Q. She needs to get back on and she doesn’t want to ride Champ so, you are. Gleefully, right there in the practice ring, I swapped our saddles and got Katie up comfortably on my steady, boring school pony. I held onto Champ while Sandy had Katie trot around a few times to calm her nerves, quiet her crying and get her confidence back. She had ridden Suzy countless times before and knew the pony well. Her relief at the familiarity was visible.

Meanwhile, Sandy turned her attention to me while Katie stood to the side on snoozing Suzy with her parents and mine. I hopped on Champ and the minute I was in the saddle, this horse had my heart. Nostrils flared, eyes wide, we were off before I had my foot in the second stirrup. I smiled like a manic because I loved a horse that loved to run. If they were a lazy mule that I had to constantly urge on, I was bored. I like the wind in my face. It was like flying. It took me less than half the ring to take him in hand and get him to a nice even canter, snorting with each stride. Sandy had me doing ground work; circles with lead changes, serpentines and transitions. Then she had me try a few small jumps. Then she raised them. Then she had me do a short course. Then she raised them again. And again. It was easy for me. I did this practically every day on a different horse everyday. This time there were just a bunch of people around and the ring was bigger. I didn’t know it at the time but, all the people in the practice ring had stopped to watch the scrawny blond child with big glasses ride the shit out of that flashy spooked horse. I was just doing what I loved.

My mother actually saw a patient from the doctor she worked for at that show. Her name was Helen and she was a small fun lady with short spiky hair whose stocky horse’s name ironically was Suzy. She was chatting with my mom when all this went down. Later my mother told her that she said she couldn’t believe how I rode that horse. My mom laughed and said, “Yeah, she’s never been on him before now. She likes the crazy ones.” My mom had no idea how impressed that lady was.

I rode Champ that day in walk/trot/cross poles, because that’s what Katie and I had both signed up for. He was already lathered for our extensive warm up when I walked him into the ring still snorting and twitchy. Keeping him at a trot after cantering balls to the wall around a course that I later found out was 3′-6″ tall mostly was… a challenge but, I did it. I was given a 4th place ribbon. When the woman that was announcing and presenting the ribbons handed me mine she quietly said, “You, my dear, need to ride that guy in a course with much bigger jumps next time and you’ll take the blue for sure”.

I knew better than to ask my parents to buy me Champ. We couldn’t afford that kind of cost upfront let alone the month cost of keeping him even if I worked to help pay for it. Several people approached my trainer that day asking about Champ. One was my father. Even he loved that crazy eyed spooky beast. Sandy gave him first chance to buy and offered him a smoking deal because she liked me, he still had to ultimately say no though. Someone else bought him. They never even rode him, their decision, I was told, mainly based on seeing me ride him that day. My heart broke a little more and I never saw him again. My mom told me later how my dad had contemplated trying to buy him for me. That meant enough.

I went to different trainers. Changed disciplines from the even beauty of Hunters to  faced paced, break-neck turns of the Jumper circuit. I rode some crazy horses and eventually found a quarter horse named Beastly AKA Beast to lease my junior year of high school. He had grown fat and out of shape, almost sway backed, since his owner had gone to college. She loved that horse and I don’t think she really wanted to let someone else ride him but, she knew he needed the exercise and she needed someone to help off set his cost of living while she was at college. I loved that horse. I hope she knows I loved him like he was my own. He was unfaltering. You could throw a kick ball at his trotting legs and he didn’t even bat an eyelash as the rubber ball careened around him. He liked soda and would try and steal my bottle of Mountain Dew from my hand to drink them. He would eat anything. I was standing by his temp stall at a horse show once after competing eating a snack bar hotdog not paying attention and he stole it right out of my hand and ate it like some kind of weird cannibal horse. We started slow, taking our time working off his chubby belly and strengthening his back muscles back up to make sure he was fit for jumping and the strain of it. By the time he was back in fighting condition, he had learned my weaknesses and exploited them mercilessly. If he was done with me being in charge he’d wait until just the right moment and duck he shoulder and stop just short of a jump or turn sending me sailing over his head if I wasn’t paying close enough attention. My trainer Stef started calling me crash. Beast taught me to how fall without getting hurt. Sometimes when he sensed that I was just a little too comfortable, he’d take off at breakneck speed just to keep me on my toes. I rode him exclusively for almost 2 years before I left for college. His owner ultimately ended up selling him to at really sweet woman at our barn. She bought him for her husband to occasionally take on trail rides with her. I was told he was well loved buy his new owners. Trails were always where Beast really shined brightest. I think it was a perfect and happy ending to his career really.

After that, riding fell to the wayside for me. College took precedence. Then I dropped out. I didn’t know what the hell I was doing or what I wanted to do. My last trainer who was only a few years older than me, had become my friend while she taught me and remained so. When she heard I was back home and some shiftless lay about trying to figure out life, she told me the trainer she was now a rider for needed a groom and I got the job. I spent almost a year physically toiling aways for that man. I didn’t particularly like him but, I loved my friend who was the pro-rider for him, I loved the 30 some horses I took care of and I even really liked the owners of the horses. But, I was grossly under paid and I got burnt out physically.  I enrolled at a small remote branch of a local university and quit shortly after. That was my last real time spent around horses. Riding, while it was my passion and true love for years, is expensive. Hunting on horse back used to be known as the sport of Kings. I’d like to think it’s because every little thing you need to do it cost a small fortune. I have missed it everyday since the last time I sat on a horse. I remember all my experiences so fondly, even the bad ones. Sometimes especially the bad ones. Like when I my first trainer had trusted me, a 13 year old girl, to do some of the turn outs while she was gone for a few days in the summer with the understanding I would ride X, Y and Z horse only those days as payment for my help. During a summer rain storm when the barn adult barn had wasn’t there, I was trying to bring in a horse that I was NOT supposed to handle but, because a tree branch had knocked down a portion of fence of the pasture he was in I had to. The sweet boy was so good for me as I brought him across the parking lot until a tarp covering straw broke loose and flapped in his face and he literally yanked my arm out of the socket. He walked quietly to his stall while I sobbed holding his lead with one hand as my left hung oddly sagging at my side. The there was only one other girl there to ride her horse who was a year older than me. She started crying when I made her yank my arm back into place. It was a terrible idea and I almost passed out and may have heaved a little. I then threatened t kick her ass if she told anyone. I was afraid my mother would let me go to the barn alone anymore and my trainer wouldn’t trust me do do anything with her horses without her being around. I was young and stupid and my left should still occasionally clicks and pops funny to this day. I have no regrets. Not so fun fact, my first trainer when on to MURDER her husband. The last I had heard she was in prison for it. She plead self defense but, apparently lost the case and was convicted. I tried doing a search online for details and couldn’t find any so, I don’t know if it’s true or not. It had been over a decade and a half since I had been to her farm so I was far removed at that point.

About 3 years ago, I went with a friend to take her little daughter to her riding lesson in Virginia. As I walked in the barn and that familiar leather, cedar, sweat and manure smell hit me, it was like coming home. Tears streamed down my face as I laughed and apologized. I tried to explain but, it’s hard to put into words that feeling to someone that hasn’t had it. The young girls working there gave me knowing looks though as they directed the 5 year olds to which pony would be theirs that morning. I knew I had missed it but, until that moment I hadn’t realized how much. Maybe one day when I don’t have the debt I do from school and have a little extra cash, i’ll buy a failed track horse to just be a fun project that I lope around fields for fun with. Nothing could make me smile more than that idea.

I could write a novel on my experience riding. The joy it brought me. The sense of accomplishment and confidence it instilled in me. I was a gawky, scrawny, nerdy child with braces and glasses that could barely dribble a basket ball and couldn’t run a race successfully if my life depended on it but, if you put me on any horse, I could ride the hell out of it no matter what kind of wild eyed beast or flea bitten nag it might be. If you put me on a horse, I sat a little taller and felt more pride than I had ever felt before or since for that matter. For those brief moments in my life, astride an animal easily ten times my size, I was in charge and a force to be reckoned with.

God, I miss everything about it.


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?

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

And That Brings Us to Today

It’s been a hot second since I’ve posted a new little ditty on here. Lets catch you up to speed on where we are at.

My domain expired. I had a friend helping me with the set up of this pointless endeavor and he had a new adorable wee bebe so we both spaced and some other person, for some god unknown reason, snatched it up and posted it for sale for $1500. I tracked down the new owner and contacted them via email explaining what the site previously was and how it came to expire. I heard nothing back from them. I’m not rich so I threw a tantrum and considered all my options for renaming this bitch. When I finally decided on a replacement, I went to buy the new domain but, bitterly I decided to see what the current asking price was for my old site. Miraculously it was back down to $14.99. Blessed be! I’d like to think my email to the owner had something to do with it. Most likely he realized that I wasn’t Neil Offerman (LOVE LOVE LOVE if only I was so lucky to be a fraction of the awesomeness of that genius of a man) promoting his book Paddle Your Own Canoe but, some whack-a-do that likes to overshare about her stupidity and cancer treatments. So I bought it back. Then tried to restore my old posts to find that I couldn’t but, I had some back ups that I was able to copy and paste into new posts (No, the “My First Brazilian Wax” post is still lost; sorry folks). So here we are.

The Sailor returned from Deployment. He was unscathed and sassy as ever. He even made it home for Christmas 2016 by the hair on his chiny chin chin.

I’m officially cancer free. Put that in your pipe and smoke it Satan.

Once I was declared cancer free I searched for a typical 9-5 job again. I was unsuccessful. Thanks Hampton Roads area. So I took a job with Starbucks to at least not have to work strictly evenings as a waitress.bartender. Not so surprisingly, I love the dang job. I goof off all day with people half my age and drink all the lattes I can handle on my breaks. Though, I’m not kidding about kids half my age. Just the other day I found a partner working at my store from another local store was BORN the fucking year I graduated high school. I literally could be his mom. And I died a little inside. I’m the oldest person at my store. I’ve even got 2 years on my boss. They call my grandma. I’m not even mad about it.

My hair is almost chin length. It grew back darker. Like a light brown. Wasn’t a fan. So I dyed it myself and turned it orange. My lovely friend and hair stylist fixed it and dyed it a pretty platinum blonde. I’m harkening my youth. It’s Christan’s color circa 1999. I’m a fan for now.

The Sailor got sent down to Texas for Hurricane Harvey Relief… Then the US Virgin Islands for Hurricane Irma… Then Puerto Rico for Hurricane Maria. He was gone for over 90 days. It was like a mini deployment. He missed our planned vacation (which is why we RARELY plan anything and just decide one day to hit the road and go on an adventure) and the laundry he returned with was some of the funkiest to date. I was not a fan of the entire situation but, I had basic amenities like clean water and power so I kept my bitching to myself and took my time off to drive up to visit family in Ohio for a week. It wasn’t Disney World like we had planned but, hey, whaddaya gon do right?

The Sailor got new orders. Konnichiwa bitches, we’re moving to Japan. June 2018 we’ll be packing the cats up and headed west. Way west. We had hoped to get back to the Pacific Northwest but, fuck it, the Navy overshot by several thousand miles. But, again, whaddaya gonna do, right? I’m looking forward to copious amounts of Sushi and Ramen going in my gob but dreading shipping the cats and driving on the other side of the road.

When The Sailor got his written new orders he was A.) In The Virgin Islands and B.) noticed my name was spelled wrong. I had 60 days to get my oversees pre-screening completed and I was on my own. Let me tell you, YOU NEED ALL 60 DAMN DAYS. I couldn’t get the Navy to fix the misspelling of my name in 60 days as hard as I tried. I finagled getting the screening done anyway. I did find out though that the Sailor had been TRYING to get it fixed since February of 2016 when he first noticed it. 4 months. It took 4 more months of me losing my shit in various Naval Offices and my husband faxing paper work that he had to sign from the ship off the shore of Puerto Rico and finally when he arrived back home and started to follow up at my constant badgering about it. Then they put me on medical hold be cause, cancer. Always fucking cancer. Apparently the Navy gets nervous sending people with the C word (even if previously with the big C) overseas. So they wouldn’t issues updated written orders until I was medically cleared. Which I got after my Oncologist jumped through a couple paperwork hoops for me and I followed up every other week. It was a whole thing that drove me to the brink of insanity. Had my blog been up and working at the time this paragraph would be several posts and the word fuck in all its forms would occur much more liberally.

We took an extra week off before our Ohio Christmas trip to hit up Disney World since we missed out planned fall trip. It was amazing. But crowded. And the lines were epic compared to when we go during off season times. And they don’t do military discounts from Mid-November to like Mid January so it was hella expensive. And I was actually really overwhelmed a lot of the time because of all the people. And when I finally had to pick a souvenir for myself I fucking wigged out and gave up and said, “I don’t need anything!” before storming out of the billionth place we walked through for the millionth time because I had a fucking panic attack in the over crowded, over stocked gift store. I cried. The Sailor took me to a Sunglass Hut that was on the way out and bought me a pair of fancy, polarized, folding Ray Bans before we left Disney Springs. As we walked out, he patted my arm and said, “Now you have your souvenir babe.” The Sailor likes to fix things for me, quietly and without much fanfare. He’s good like that.

Our friends got orders to Italy. I’m super jealous. Don’t get me wrong, Japan is going to be an awesome 3 year adventure but, FUCKING ITALY! Think of the wine and pasta those bitches are going to have at their fingertips.

I found out my cholesterol has doubled in the last year. I’m assuming it’s the spike in whole milk lattes that I’ve started to ingest multiple times a day at my job at the Bucks. I’ve started using Nonfat milk grudgingly. I tried Almond milk but, I just couldn’t. That stuff is gross yo.

The Sailor has developed a serious obsession with watches. Like really fancy expensive fucking watches. Meanwhile I bought a bodycon black mini skirt for $5 at Charlotte Russe for work and wondered if it would be cheaper to buy fabric and make one (it’s not). We can all tell who the truly frugal one is versus Champagne Dreams and Caviar Wishes.

The battery in the Prius finally died. 11 years old,  and it finally gave in. The replacement was like $300. It’s located in the back buried in a corner under the spare tire space. The Sailor got to wear a head lamp and sit in the squished hatchback in our dark parking garage to finagle the old one out and new one in. I just stood there and watched. Occasionally I handed him things so technically, I helped.

Tonight I made Tatertot Casserole for dinner. Because nothing says low cholesterol like ground beef sautéed in cream of celery then baked under a layer of tatertots and melted cheddar. Yolo bitchados.

And that pretty much brings you up to now give or take give or take a few barefoot-cat-puke episodes, a couple mini nervous break downs over minor occurrences and one major melt down when my Student Loans jacked back up to their pre-cancer-reduced monthly payment amounts. Fucking student loans. They ruin everything, am I right?

I Went Camping (Original Post 08/25/16)

Last week I spent a few hours here and there preparing. I got all the equipment out of storage. I checked everything was in working order. I planned meals and shopped for provisions. I organized and made lists and packed. I took 3 slow days off from work and prepared to spend them camping. 2 days and 2 nights in the rolling mountains of Shenandoah, solo. I wanted to spend some quiet time away from home surrounded by trees and scenic vistas. I wanted to lay in a hammock and read endlessly while listening to the wind in the leaves of the trees around me. I wanted to do it before my next surgery and before the threat of cold nights were peppered with the possibility of snow. Mostly, I wanted to go because it’s something the Sailor and I usually do together and I miss him. You see, he’s deployed right now for 7 long months. We have about 4.5 left to go. He’s somewhere over on the other side of the world camping out on a hot African beach or floating around in some foreign sea and I’m here in Virginia and it sucks. I thought maybe a little short foray into the mountains “like normal” might make it feel more “normal” even with him gone but, it didn’t. Making a fire at night didn’t hold the fun and excitement it should have because his pyro ass wasn’t the one making it. Sitting next to the orange glow didn’t warm my soul like it usually does because there wasn’t another chair next to me staring at it.  So I laid in my hammock read books warmed by the sun and rocked by the breeze. I knit and colored. At dark, I stared at the fire eating sandwiches. And when I laid down in my tent I looked up at the same stars that hopefull he got to look at 8 hours earlier and let myself be sad knowing that missing his stupid face is OK. And driving 4 hours away to to escape all his things in the little apartment we share together to cope with it is ok too.

My Not So Secret Life as an Introvert (Original Post 01/28/16)

Most people can’t imagine that I am an introvert. I have a loud voice that carries across a crowed room. I am someone that will yell “OY! EVERYONE QUIET DOWN A MINUTE,” when someone at a gathering or meeting is trying unsuccessfully to get everyone to pipe the fuck down and pay attention. I have no problems telling ridiculous jokes in mixed company and I have no shame in dropping the word fuck in every day conversation. The problem is getting me out of the house.

I am an extroverted introvert. I know that sounds like a bunch of hooey but, it’s for real. When I am home, it’s the best thing ever. Wearing comfy sweat pants and over sized tees and having access to my favorite juice at any time, it’s awesome. Laying on my couch and binge watching Downton Abbey on Amazon Video nonstop with the occasional bowl of ice cream drowned in chocolate syrup and melted peanut butter. Nothing sounds more perfect. Me, cocooned in a fuzzy blanket, watching TV in a medium grade sugar induced coma.

Most of my friends don’t understand this. They assume that I want to be surrounded with chatter and socialization; to be a social butterfly as they perceive me. But that is not me. It hasn’t been me since I was… I don’t even know, 2001? 2000? I can’t even remember honestly because I have never been that into hanging out and doing shit. I enjoy doing what I want comfortably in my own home. Alone most of the time. I could go days without social interaction other than going to the grocery store and spending 4 minutes talking to the cashier ringing my groceries.

I hit the jack pot with The Sailor. He’s calm, quiet and shares my affinity for hunkering down at home. We can sit in the living room side by side reading or watching a movie content in each other’s presence. We can drive in the car silent listening to the radio and not feel compelled to fill the time with chatter unless we have something important to talk about. He accepts both sides of me; the hermit that would rather forgo pants for a night in a dimly lit room watching movies than getting dressed up and made up to go mingle in a crowd of people 95% of which I barely know if at all as well as the loud mouth goof that likes to make people laugh.

So you see, when I decline an invite to go to a party or out for a girls night, it’s not that I don’t like you or your company, it’s just that the thought of putting on pants and doing my make up let alone getting off the couch is simply too overwhelming to me at the time. It’s me, not you. Don’t think I won’t ever accept. I will, eventually. You should also know that I’ll never lie to you when I decline. I’ll alway be honest. If I simply don’t feel like it, I’ll tell you as such. No lame excuses from me. Try not to take that personal either.

So there you have it. I rarely want to leave my funk hole of home but, when I do, I have no problem socializing and bringing laughter to the room. And when I do leave my house I promise to wear pants.

Marry a Man (Original Post 01/09/16)

Marry a man that will hold you tight when days are rough.

Marry a man that will carry you to the bathroom when your legs fail you.

Marry a man that recognizes when you are sad and asks you what is wrong.

Marry a man that doesn’t mind tears and snot on his shoulder.

Marry a man that reassures you that you’re the one no matter what.

Marry a man that can make you laugh even when you absolutely don’t want to.

Marry a man that holds your hand in the darkest hours and tells you there is a light.

Marry a man that finds entertainment in the very presence of you, even if that’s at 2 am in the ER.

Marry a man that means it when he says “For better or worse, in sickness and in health”.

Marry a man that will watch 10 hours of Downton Abbey with you and never complain.

Marry a man that wouldn’t dream of letting you face a single doctors visit alone.

Marry a man that buys you a candy bar everytime he stops for gas.

Marry a man that would drive over an hour round trip alone just to get you a food craving when there is nothing else you want to eat.

Marry a man that will get you a drink from the kitchen 20 times a day even when you’re not sick.

Marry a man that loves your pets as much as he loves you.

Marry a man that loves you enough to buy you hemroid cream.

Marry a man that will drive you at 12am to get ice cream.

Marry a man that will rub your aching legs without you having to ask.

Marry a man that tells you you’re cute even when you lose your hair.

Marry a man will clean the litter box for you.

Marry a man that wants you to be happy above all else.

Marry a man that you want to be happy above all else.

A Brave New Generation (Original Post 05/26/15)

My generation is weird. I can’t think of a better description; simple and straight to the point – WEIRD. We live in a strange no man’s land somewhere between Gen X’s damn the man cool grunge ways and Millennials tech savvy computer driven worlds. Some people call us Gen Y but really, let’s admit it, we made that shit up in a weak attempt to fit in. And Gen Y isn’t even that creative. We deserve a better designation though I can’t think of one that would pass as acceptable. It’s like we are the silent always ready to please middle child of the generations.

Think about it, we are the last ones to say we used a library card catalogue to find our “Choose Your Own Adventure” books but, also have navigated the computer catalogue system searching for the latest Anne Rice novel so we could imagine a dreamy vampire Brad Pitt seeking us out in the shadows.  Heck, we remember going to the library to use actual books to research papers as well as scouring the internet for legit citations. We remember the awe of the first home computers and saving digital files but we can tell you how to load a typewriter tape and make manual type corrections. We can tell you tales of committing numerous phone numbers to memory, hand dialing them in to the phone mounted to the wall of our kitchen to see if someone wanted to go ride their bike to see a movie but, we can also tell you how to program a recording on your cell phone to become a ringtone. And bless our middle child hearts, we know what life was like before social media. Back when if you took a picture, you made damn sure it was a worthwhile memory that you didn’t want to forget because each one cost you precious earned money for the film and the developing. Then again, we also know what our friend from 3rd grade, now 35 years old, had for brunch on Sunday thanks to Instagram.

Thankfully we were lucky enough to learn to navigate those shark infested waters as relative adults. I mean, I didn’t even have MySpace until I was in my 20’s and Facebook I was closer to 30 and I’ll leave it at that. We didn’t have to worry about some bullshit whiney post complaining about one thing or another coming back in 8 years to bite us in the ass and eliminating us from getting a job we applied for. Or worse, getting us fired from a job we already had. I mean, when you are 16 and you type “I’m stoned as fuck and I don’t caaaaaaarrrrrreeeeeezzzzzz” Do you really think about being 22 and applying for your first internship at a law firm? Or better yet being 38 and contemplating getting into politics? Heck no. You’re not thinking because you are 16 and dumb to begin with and now stoned on top of it.

We didn’t have to worry about super creeps trolling for young girls and boys to prey on by disguising themselves virtually as a same age love interest. Then proceeding to lure them to sneak out and hop a train or a bus to their “hometown” to meet where they are attacked or worse never heard from again. Don’t think it doesn’t happen. It does, and it’s scary. This, this chills me to my core. The internet helping predators find young people who are naive, looking for love and attention and exploiting it. My friend once worked with “To Catch A Predator” as a young 20-something posing as an underage girl. The things these pervs would type to her… It left me aghast at what she would talk about. Some things she just wanted to forget and I will never know.

We didn’t have to learn the harsh reality of cyber bullying. Once we made it through the gruelling days at school of being pushed into lockers or your head being bopped down into the drinking fountain while you stole a sip on the way to your next class, we were safe. Save for your evil older siblings and the occasional weekend run in with the trashy girl from the next block over that always seemed to be dating a boy several years older that somehow seemed to always catch you riding your bike around the block or walking to a friend’s house. Inevitably she would make her stupid grit stash boyfriend jump over your head or power lift your scrawny self over his head because you were skinny and nerdy and helpless… her name was Yvette and she was a bitch, I’ll never forget but, I digress…

Outside of school we had a relative safe haven. We got home and played our 8 bit Super Mario Brothers, climbed trees, rode bikes to the playground or just aimlessly walked/rode around the block and went about our kid lives for the most part. We didn’t log onto the internet to continue the barrage of insults and cruel jokes. Lets face it, the buffer of the internet rather than face to face has empowered a whole new league of hate filled shit mouthed brats. I have personally witnessed some of the evil and vile venom these little punk ass clowns have spewed at there peers and it’s horrifying. I walked away from my computer screen feeling like a worthless rat and I am am adult (well in theory I am at least). I couldn’t have handled it. It would have broke me in a way that is vile and sad. It practically brings me to tears thinking of the poor girls and boys as empathetic as I was at that age enduring that kind of blind hate and insults.

When you start to break it down, we are the last innocent generation. Oblivious to how hate filled and ugly the world could be on such a personal level. At the same time, we are adaptable in ways we never imagined as young’uns. We have changed with the times and rapidly at that. We know and appreciate the innocence and simplicity of our youth and can successfully deal with the in your face digital sensationalism that is our adult years.

I weep for current and the near future generations. They don’t know any better. They will never know or understand the freedom of not having a cell permanently affixed to their hand demanding immediate and constant attention. They will never know the anonymity that having a digital free life brings. They will always have information at their fingertips, immediately and in most cases whether they want it or not. Social and online news media will report world events before they happen and quietly slink away into the shadows when the fear mongering stories turn out to be less than a blip. That fear will stay with them and continue to be fed by each successive in your face breaking news story jammed down their eye sockets. The grass will always be greener in the Jones’ lawn proudly displayed all over Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. They will always strive to keep up with the next, to post the better picture, to get more likes and to have the most viewed life so much so that they will forget to enjoy it. Or worse yet, they will over look the unhappiness that those hundreds of “happy” pictures cover.

I shudder at the thought of where their bigger faster more better I hate you because you’re different generation will lead us and the next generations to come. We could turn out like the Jettson’s with Rosie pressing buttons to 3d print our hot family meal before we get in our flying car to go to the 4d cerebral movie venue or we could become Huxley’s “A Brave New World” limited by each other to such extremes that critical thinking and emotion is frowned upon just do what you’re told but here, here are limitless amounts of material things to play with and amuse yourselves for as short as you like, then just toss them. Like Dick and Sue next door. Just don’t start thinking for yourself or feeling and we will keep giving you more stuff.

Time is Marching On Across My Face and Ass (Original Post 02/10/15)

Aging is the worst. Plain and simple. Aging is an evil unrelenting bitch on wheels that shows no mercy. Power walking 3 miles results in 3 days of shin splints. Walking along the beach for a couple hours leaves me with charlie horse cramps in my calves later that night. Perky jubblies begin to migrate north and start to resemble panty hose with a tennis ball stuffed in the toes. Your once juicy booty goes soft like an overly ripe dimpled peach that’s flat on one side from sitting in the fruit bowl untouched or moved for too long. And your arms? At some point you go from waving with your hand to waving with your tricep or at least the sagging loose skin in the general area of your tricep.

Speaking of skin, let’s talk about the changes going on with the skin on your face. If you’re lucky, you had a parent that occasionally rubbed you down with zinc oxide in the summer. Or you’re like every other human born before 1985 and you have dark spots also lovingly called age spots by the beauty industry. Oh, and that crinkly skin at the corners of your eyes that your friends call “smile lines”… yeah, crows feet. That’s what those are. Named after the annoying cawing bird’s dirty feet. Fitting. Moving north to the forehead. Bet you never thought all that much about it in your teens and 20’s. It was just a part of you that you debated occasionally covering with bangs. Then suddenly it becomes rumble strips slowing you down before you crash into your hairline which is changing too by the way. Thinning or getting coarse maybe even frizzy. Regardless, it will eventually turn into something weird that you have no idea how to even handle. Speaking of hair, you have a witch hair now growing out of your chin. If you don’t, you’re under the age of 32 and it’s only a matter of time. You’re welcome for the warning.

And so it goes. Shit get’s loose, saggy, achey and dark. You can try and take preventive measures but just know, you are fighting a loosing battle. To quote Steel Magnolias, “Honey, time marches on and eventually you realize it is marchin’ across your face” and in my case, my ass as well.

Ripe Avocado (Original Post 02/12/15)

There are a few things in life that are true simple pleasures. It’s different for everyone but, they are small and simple things that bring you a moment of pure joy. Finding your avocado is perfectly ripe as you cut in and having the skin peel off in a big unbroken sheet. A warm maple bacon donut fresh from the oven. A perfect cup of coffee just hot enough to sip. Fresh figs right off the tree. A soft knit cap on a cold day. Putting warm sweat pants on straight from the dryer. A giant, full soaking tub that you can sink all the way to your nose in. The smell of fresh cut hay. Listening to a thunderstorm while lying cozy inside. You’re favorite movie coming on when you’re home sick. A perfect fresh cut peony. The mist from a waterfall. A long weekend. Finding $20 in a pair of pants you haven’t worn in a few weeks. A big cold glass of fresh squeezed limeade. Warm sticky toffee pudding. Comfortable silence. The sound of crashing waves. A good mani-pedi. 75 degrees and sunny. A scrubbed clean house that you didn’t have to scrub clean. Creating genuine belly laugh from someone you love. Getting mail that is not a bill or junk mail. Finishing a good book and being sad there isn’t more to read. Genuine surprises.

I need to remember these things when small insignificant things drive me to the brink of insanity. When inane things in life stress me to tears, I just need to find a nice ripe avocado.