What the H?

So earlier this week I was sitting, weirdly enough, in the waiting room at my gyno doctor’s office…scrolling through Facebook on my phone…and I see this article from Yahoo! Health:

Please Don’t Stick Herbs Up Your Vagina. Please.

What the actual fuck? Did I read that right?

I felt an odd mixture of horror and curiosity that I haven’t felt since Gwyneth told us all we should be steaming our lady bits if we wanted to be cool like her. (I’d link you to her blog post about all that, but it mysteriously disappeared after the entire universe laughed at the ridiculousness of it all). That’s okay. My vagina decided back then that it didn’t want to be cool like Gwyneth. I’m not in the habit of scalding the shit out of my girly parts even if Ironman’s girlfriend is telling me to do it.

To be fair, I’ll link you to this article about the famous vaginal steaming post. It’s the best I can do.

Anyway, I clicked on the Yahoo article. How could I not? I was not disappointed. I mean, I’m thankful that I was paying attention in school the day they told me not to mess with my vag’s eco-system, as it were, but for those of you who think differently…this article is awesome on multiple levels. When it comes to all the reasons why you shouldn’t put herbs up your vagina, Amy Rushlow (with Yahoo Health) puts it all together for us in an effing hysterical package.

Apparently, “vaginal detoxing” is actually a thing that some women are taking seriously. Like…they’re buying herbal tampons and shoving them up their vajayjays to get a good detox. For three days. THREE. DAYS.


My favorite part of the article was when she talks about where to buy these ridiculous things. Are you ready? Etsy. Yes! Etsy…the homemade crafting website. “Because when you want to buy something that goes up your vagina, the first person you think of is the guy who made that super-cool necklace for your aunt,” says Rushlow. LOL. I love this chick! (I clicked over to Twitter and followed her so fast.)

I read the damn thing twice while I was sitting in the waiting room, then I was called back to have my own lady bits inspected, giggling the entire time. But as I walked back to the exam room, I realized that these herbal tampons look like…tea bags. Don’t they?

Holy CRAP! Tea bags for the vag!!!

Okay, now this is exciting. If you’ve read my blog or followed me on Facebook for any length of time, you’re well aware that I’m a big fan of Downton Abbey. So now I’m thinking…vag…tea bags…tea…Downton…vag…tea….

Sometimes my mind is like a runaway train, honestly. And once it’s off the tracks there’s just no stopping the damn thing. Before I knew it, my imagination exploded with images of Lady Mary doing magazine ads for this remarkable breakthrough in feminine hygiene.

“I’m Lady Mary Crawley…and when I want to get the funk of a dead Turk’s peenie out of my vag, I turn to Mrs. Tiddlywink’s Detox Tea Bags.”

Poor Mr. Pamuk was no match for Lady Mary’s vag. Perhaps if she’d had a damn detox beforehand he’d still be alive!

Remember when Lady Mary made Anna go to the pharmacy to get a diaphragm so she could bump uglies with Tony Gillingham out of wedlock?

Pharmacy lady: “May I help you?”

Anna (embarrassed): “Yes, uh…I’d like…I’d like to get one of these please.”

(She hesitates a moment.)

Anna: “Oh, bullocks. Can I also get a dozen of the Cinnamon Cervix tea bags? Lady Mary’s whoring around again.”

I’m sure you’re all thinking what I’m thinking: I never would have survived back in the days when the working class couldn’t say what they thought. If I’d lived back then…with my mouth, I’d have ended up scrubbing underpants at the local whorehouse or something – and scrubbing my knuckles raw cleaning crotches all day just seems a waste of my talent.

And what about the Dowager’s naughty history with Russian Prince Kuragin?

Perhaps a little of “Lady Violet’s Echinacea and Olive Oil Downton Estate Vag Tea”…for when you need to add a little moisture back to that crusty, 80 year old hoo-hah. With a touch of Retinol to give your labia a rejuvinated, youthful appearance!

 photo dowager lol_zpssheedmut.jpg

And, of course, there’s the obvious seasonal blends we could play with:

  • Spring Fling – leaves an essence of clean laundry and freshly mowed grass
  • Summer Daze – perhaps something that smells like the ocean. Without the fish or…that might be weird.
  • Pumpkin Spice in the fall, y’all!
  • Holiday Hymen Surprise in December, maybe? I’m just thinking out loud…

It’s true that I haven’t had to suffer through a period since I had my evil bitch uterus sandblasted a year ago, but for you ladies who still have deal with that crap how about a nice Menstrual Mint?

There’s no limit to the money we can make with this scheme, ladies, really. Which one of you has the capital to invest? We should talk. Get me Downton creator Julian Fellowes on the phone. STAT!

I’ll be back later. I’ve been having trouble sleeping lately and I’m going to try my hand at mixing up a batch of Lavender Labia. I know I’m probably kidding myself, but at least my vagina will be well rested…

Royal Albert Old Country Roses Boxed Cup and Saucer

2016, here I come!

Yeah, I suck.

I keep thinking “Wow, it’s been a couple weeks since my last blog post…I need to get moving.” And then I think it again. And again. And again. Meanwhile, it’s nearly 2016 and the last thing I wrote was fucking Halloween? Really???

I’m sorry, guys. I need to do a better job at organizing myself.

I used to hate new years resolutions. A lot. It seemed to me that the best way to guarantee that I wouldn’t accomplish something was to make it a new years resolution so I could procrastinate the shit out of it. Something about losing 116 pounds has changed my perspective, though, and I now look at them like fun little challenges. I never get them all done, but I do get some of them done…and it gives me a little twinge of pride to check one off my list.

For example, two years ago I one of my resolutions was to get my Concealed Handgun License (CHL). It took me a few months to realize that I wasn’t ready for it yet. A traumatic experience I had when I was 15 years old was still hanging on and I couldn’t shake it yet, so I put it off for the year. This year, thanks to a women’s shooting group I found, I gradually felt ready to take it on – so, even though it wasn’t a resolution this year, I did it anyway. Kick ass!

I never know what I’m going to put on the list, and I try not to make most of them about weight loss or physical appearance. I try to make them things that are either fun or interesting or challenging…or all three. So here we go. Here’s my 2016 new years resolutions:

  1. Visit another country. Do y’all know how long I’ve wanted to go to Europe? And I have no excuse. I work in the travel industry, for goodness’ sake! What am I waiting for? Well, I don’t have a passport yet. I know, I know, I know. You can see why this is a goal.
  2. Buy a dining room table. It pains me to admit it, but I haven’t had a dining table and chairs for three years. My dining room looks like a staging area for the old tv show “Clean House”. I have boxes of crap in there that have no home. It’s the holidays, so that means there are four large rubber bins in there as well. I took all the ornaments and decorations out but I never put the bins back in the closet. They’re guarded by the two white wire deer that I always mean to put out on the lawn for Christmas, but I can never find the damn prongs that secure them into the ground…so they end up sprawled on the dining room floor like they’re napping. Or drunk. After the holidays are over, I’ll get everything back in the closet…but the pile of Crap That Has No Home will still remain. We need to stop eating around the coffee table like savages, yo.
  3. Have 18 inch calves. No, I’m not kidding. You may be wondering why this is a goal. Let me just say…I need to make exercise a consistent habit, but if I say that then I’ll psych myself out. I feel myself shrinking away from it and I’m tired of that shit. Meanwhile, I love boots in the fall and winter but my calves are still too big – even for the wide calf boots. If I make 18 inch calves my goal, I still have to make exercise a consistent habit but I don’t heap unwanted expectations on my hot mess head. This way, I’m just tantalized by the idea of wearing sexy boots. It’s a win-win.
  4. Decorate the damn bedroom. Seriously. My bedroom is so damn ugly. The walls are still an ugly chalky white. The curtains are left over from the devil condo in California. Our furniture is old and has Kirby tooth marks on part of it (when she was a hell raising puppy). It’s hideous and ugly, not restful and serene. And the worst part? Sometimes when HMH starts putting the moves on me, I look up and think “My God this is the ugliest room ever!” So now you know how ugly it is, because if it can distract me from sexy time it’s gotta be pretty hideous…am I right?
  5. Have my picture professionally taken. This one makes me cringe, but it’s necessary. I need some pics taken…for my “about me” page here and for the blog I never write about my fiction endeavors. Maybe if I get new pictures I’ll be inspired to finish that book, right? Seems legit.
  6. Publish something. Anything, damn it. My God!
  7. This one is scary and that’s why I picked it: learn to sing. Way back in my days at the dance studio, the King would require us to sing show tunes while we danced to them. For example, every year at the county fair we were required to perform an entire show of songs from Oklahoma – which is funny when I think about it now because Orange County, California is about as country as New York City…but with more Republicans. Anyway, I never felt like I measured up and I love to sing. I mean, I looooove to sing. So I don’t want to start a new career or anything, but it would be nice to be able to carry a tune and not be embarrassed. That’s all I’m after: non-embarrassed singing.
  8. Ride a rollercoaster. I think I’m going to need to head to the Queen Mother of all amusement parks for this one, peeps. Yes, I’m talking about my first ever place of employment: Disneyland, California. It’s a goal.
  9. Be able to do 100 crunches all at once. Yeah, I couldn’t get out of this without setting at least one exercise goal. That’s it. 100. Just reading that feels like I just signed up for an Ironman competition. Shit.

2016 resolutions

So that’s it, peeps. Those are my 2016 new years resolutions. Are you setting resolutions this year? If so, feel free to share in the comments below!

Tools4Wisdom Planner 2016 Calendar 4-in-1: Daily Weekly Monthly Yearly Organizer – Purpose Driven Goals Planning Book – Personal Life Progress Journal Notebook (8.5 x 11 / 200 Pages / Spiral)

The Day I Became a Believer in Things I Didn’t Want to Believe In

This story is not about weight loss or any of my usual topics…and there’s certainly not much humor in it, unless you think I’m being so ridiculous it’s laughable. And that’s entirely possible. I didn’t much believe in these things before this happened…I wouldn’t blame you for laughing. But the subject is very real, and very serious, to me even now…11 years later.

I once told HMH that I would never talk about this on my blog. I had a number of reasons, but mainly because I’m afraid of it happening again. I don’t know a lot about these things, but talking about them too much makes them real again in a way that makes me uncomfortable. And afraid.

In 2004, HMH and I had officially outgrown our one bedroom apartment in southern California. Two bedroom apartments were ridiculously priced (as is anything there, really) but we managed to find a two bedroom condo for rent that was very fairly priced. The neighborhood was decent and it was closer to work for me. We decided to go see it.

I remember feeling a bit awkward when I first walked into the place. The current renter was there with her young son and she kept staring at me as we walked around. Not like she was angry or suspicious or anything. Her expression was almost pleading. Once we were out of earshot upstairs, the owner explained to us that the current renter had asked to break her lease and he was trying to do the right thing and let her out of it…if he could find someone else to move in.

Well, the place looked fine to HMH and I. The bedroom was huge compared to our apartment. The second bedroom would make a nice office for us to share. A bathroom upstairs and one downstairs…and a cute little kitchen with a breakfast nook/dining room. The kitchen slider opened to a small courtyard and there was an enclosed garage behind that. Not a bad deal at all for the rent he was charging. It was a no-brainer for us. A little bit of paperwork and we were the new renters of 1200 square feet of shag carpet.

 photo Condo1_zpsgpghvlfm.jpg

We’d been in the condo for a few weeks the first time I saw it. I was downstairs in the living room, folding clothes on the couch when something moved. I saw it just out of the corner of my eye…on the left, high in the doorway of the downstairs bathroom. I didn’t know what it was, but something had been there and suddenly wasn’t. Weird.

It kept happening. Always in the same place. This picture shows the spot where it happened. (Pardon the mess, this was taken when we were packing up and moving to Texas…the house was a mess.)

 photo the bad spot_zpspuvbaepo.jpg

Although I continued to see it for months, I never said anything to HMH. I love him dearly and he’s a wonderful hubby…but sometimes he finds the WORST things to tease me about – and I didn’t want him to use this to tease me. Or worse: scare me!

I had never been a person who believed for certain that the paranormal existed. Sure, I’d had a few experiences as a child and in my teenage years, but the years have a way of washing those things away. Whatever this was that was happening, I kept thinking there was a logical explanation for it. A car passing by…or a plane overhead…or kids outside. Whenever I would see it, I would start looking around for the source. I made sure the lights weren’t flickering in the bathroom, the kitchen, and the dining room. I ruled out passing cars and planes. I ruled out people walking by. It happened during daylight and night time. There was no pattern to the time of day it happened. I investigated it over a period of months and I could never find any explanation as to what was causing it.

And then one night, when HMH went fishing with his buddies and I was home alone, things really got weird. I’d been home alone many, many times. But nothing like what I’m about to share had ever happened.

I was upstairs in the office at my desk, catching up on email. From my chair, I had a partial view of the upstairs hallway and the top of the stairs. This was 9 years ago, so we didn’t have Kirby and Dyson then. We had Kokopelli, a 40 pound Britney Spaniel with 100 pounds of attitude. When she would come upstairs I could see her out of the corner of my eye. She usually came straight to me to tell me she needed to go out…and if I didn’t get up immediately there was usually a very unpleasant surprise waiting for me.

As I sat at my desk, I saw a shadow on the stairs out of the corner of my eye. I assumed it was the dog. It was low to the ground…and bigger than the shadow I’d been seeing in the bathroom doorway downstairs. But instead of the dog rushing up to me, I got…nothing. No dog.

After about 20 seconds, I got up and went into the upstairs hallway…thinking she was drinking out of the toilet in the master bathroom again. She wasn’t. I went to the bedroom doorway, thinking she’d gone in there. She hadn’t. There was no way she could have passed me either. I stood there for a minute wondering where she’d gone. Although I didn’t see how it was possible, I started going downstairs to see how she got by me so fast. Halfway down the stairs, I stopped in my tracks. She’d been on the couch the whole time: belly up, legs in the air, completely asleep.

She had not been the reason for that shadow. We had three cats at the time: Squeak, Sarah, and Caesar. Squeak & Sarah were sleeping on the love seat downstairs…and Caesar was asleep under the stairs. After I’d taken note of where they all were, a chilling thought occurred to me: what the hell did I see coming up the stairs then?

The hair on the back of my neck was standing up straight and I all but ran down the remaining stairs. HMH wouldn’t be home for several hours, but I decided to sit down there and wait for him. I went to the kitchen and turned on the oven to preheat it, got myself a soda, and plopped on the couch for a while. I had the tv playing an episode of “Friends”, my favorite. That would bring me back to a happy, lighthearted mood. I had all the fur persons with me…I was ok. I forced myself to think of something else. I decided to catch up on my magazine reading for a while…and then I noticed Sarah.

Our gray tabby cat, Sarah, was by far the smartest of the cats. She’s a cat’s cat. She was sitting in the downstairs hallway, staring up at the exact spot where the shadow appeared. She was sitting at ATTENTION. I called her name a couple of times and she didn’t even flick an ear…she just sat there like a little soldier and stared at the highest point in the doorway. Creepy…very creepy.

“Friends” was over. I flipped thru the listings on the DVR and found the pilot for the tv show LOST, which had just aired that week. I’d never seen the show…but it looked great, so I started watching. Probably not the best choice.

About 20 minutes into the show, I noticed the dog looking down the hallway and I thought she was looking thru the sliding glass door in the dining room and could see HMH coming up to the door. But he wasn’t home yet…and I realized she was looking too high for it to be HMH. Then she started looking at “the spot” with a frightened look on her face. She hung her head as if she was in trouble, got down from the love seat, and moved toward the stairs really slow…like she was being scolded. I didn’t see anything out of place, but she sure was afraid of something.

Have you ever seen a dog who was being scolded for doing something naughty? They hang their heads, thump their tail, and have that pitiful, shamed look? That’s exactly what she was doing…and she kept her eye on that spot at the top of the bathroom door frame the whole time.

I started getting creeped out again, but I kept my cool. I called her name and tried to be consoling, telling her to come to me. Normally when she’s scared, hurt, hungry, or…anything…she’d come right to me. She looked at me like she was thinking about it. I know she wanted to. Then she looked back at the spot, hung her head and high tailed it up the stairs. I tried calling her repeatedly, but she refused to come back down. That was the point where I got really scared.

Kokopelli had never done that before. There was something wrong. The vibe in the house had changed. I didn’t feel safe anywhere. Caesar and Squeak still hadn’t reacted to anything, but Sarah and Kokopelli had me on edge. I sat there on the couch until HMH came home, afraid to go to the kitchen because I had to walk thru that spot. I was freezing because the air conditioning was up too high, but I was too frightened by the shadow on the stairs earlier…and the thermostat was up there. I stayed where I was and watched LOST…which only served to scare me MORE. By the time HMH came home, I was a nervous wreck.

He walked in to find the oven still on, every light on in the house, the air conditioning going full blast, and his very freaked out wife curled up on the couch. He could tell right away that something was wrong. I knew I finally had to tell him.

I mentally prepared myself to be laughed at. Any normal person wouldn’t want to have to say what I was going to say. I mean…c’mon! Every time I thought about what I was going to say, it just seemed ridiculous. I was still certain there was a logical explanation for all this that I just hadn’t connected with. I kept telling myself it was nothing.

I honestly wasn’t sure what his reaction would be, but I didn’t expect the one I got. I sat him down in the living room and said, “Honey…have you ever been sitting down here watching tv or something and then you think you see a shadow out of the corner of your eye…right there in the hallway?”

I waited for the laughter to start. And the teasing. But he didn’t. He was very serious. He nodded and said, “You’ve seen it too?”

That’s when I bolted for the effing door. I needed to get out of the house and away from that spot downstairs, so I made him go outside with me so we could talk about it. I felt so uneasy in the living room. He explained he’d thought he saw something a couple of times but he didn’t want to scare me so he hadn’t said anything. We agreed that we didn’t even know if there was anything to this other than completely logical causes…but we agreed that it was pretty creepy. HMH tried to console me by saying that if we did have some kind of presence in our house that it probably didn’t mean to hurt us or it would have
done so…but I didn’t feel any better about it.

Over the course of the next several months, I continued to see the shadow out of the corner of my eye. Most of the time it was in the bathroom doorway downstairs, but I did see it twice upstairs. The first time, I was laying in our bed…ready to go to sleep. I was facing our dresser, which has a big mirror attached to it. I opened my eyes and saw it at the top of our doorway to the bedroom…in the reflection of the mirror.

The second time, I woke up in the middle of the night and saw it over the bed. It was way up high on the ceiling…above the ceiling fan. That was the longest I’ve ever seen it. It hovered up there for about a minute and then it was gone.

The “sightings”…or whatever you want to call them…eventually slowed down. I got pretty good at staying busy from the time I came home to the time I went to bed. I never felt at home there. As soon as I walked in the door, I worked full time at keeping busy and keeping the mood in the house as happy and lighthearted as I could. It worked for me, at least well enough for me to deal with it.

The only time I had any difficulties was when HMH would go fishing…because I was alone and I was afraid to be alone in the house for any length of time since that first night. When he went on fishing trips, I had to take something to make myself fall asleep. At first it was Tylenol PM…and then my doctor prescribed Ambien (now you know where that started, folks). As soon as it got dark when HMH was gone fishing, I would log into an online game I played and I’d talk to my friends via headset until I was ready to go to bed. Then I would take Ambien and head off to sleep. I hated that I had to do that, but it was the only way I could be alone there overnight.

In the following months, Sarah AND Squeak, our black cat, would stare at “the spot” on occasion and without warning. I’m not sure when, but Squeak started doing the same thing upstairs in the office…staring up at the door frame of the closet that’s just over my right shoulder as I sit at my desk. The only explanation I have for that is that Squeak was always near me…and perhaps she noticed it upstairs more than downstairs…but I’ll never know. I will say this, though: the spot where Squeak would stare upstairs was EXACTLY above the spot downstairs. It was like there was a column of “weird space” going right thru the center of the condo.

Months went by without any significant sightings. One night HMH and I were watching tv together and, for some reason, he brought up “the thing”. Reassured by the fact that I hadn’t been scared in a while, I said “Actually, I don’t think there’s anything to it. I think there was a logical explanation for it…and it’s gone now.”

The next week, he and I were watching tv together. All the pets were sleeping…no one was moving around. The controller for our Playstation was resting on the coffee table. HMH didn’t move, I didn’t move…but the controller flew off the table and landed on the carpet between the table and the tv stand.

Kevin didn’t notice. I couldn’t believe he didn’t notice. But he was so wrapped up in what we were watching, he didn’t even see it until I pointed it out.

That night, the weirdest thing happened. To this day, we are still saying there has to be a logical explanation for it…but we have yet to find one. Let me preface this by saying that I am a VERY light sleeper. I wake up for any little thing. However, that night HMH and I both woke up at the same time…in the middle of the night…and realized we were on opposite sides of the bed. I was on his side, he was on mine. It was 3 am.

No, I hadn’t taken Tylenol PM or Ambien. No, he hadn’t come to bed on the wrong side of the bed that night. No, we hadn’t “made whoopee” and ended up on the wrong sides. We went to bed that night like we normally did. We have no explanation as to how it happened…but we both looked at each other in surprise…and we both immediately thought the same thing. He spent about an hour trying to calm me down and convince me that there had to be another explanation. We were both EXTREMELY unsettled, though – I knew he was freaked out by what happened. I remember the look on his face to this day.

Because we knew we were moving to Texas, we stayed in the condo…even though there was this “creepy factor” that I couldn’t shake. To be honest, we really couldn’t afford to move anywhere else.

Another night, while I was sleeping, HMH was up late on the computer and he went downstairs to get a drink. He started to walk to the kitchen when he noticed Sarah in the hallway…staring up at “the spot” again…not moving. He called her name a couple of times and she didn’t respond…and he was so creeped out he went back upstairs without getting his drink. Later that night, he went back downstairs and Sarah was gone. As he approached the spot by the bathroom door he felt something move through him. He said it was cold and creepy…and it felt something like a person. He’s not very good at describing things, but it was hard for me to talk about it anyway.

In August 2005, about a week after we returned from a trip to Texas, I was sitting at my computer catching up on emails before HMH got home. The tv was turned off. No music was playing. I was simply typing on my computer and thinking about what a wonderful time we had in Texas…and how we’d decided to move there. As I was sitting at my desk, I heard a whisper in my right ear…just behind me…that said “Just go.”

It scared the ever loving shit out of me, I swear. Every hair on my body stood straight up and for a minute I wanted to bolt out of my chair and run outside. However, this weird “self preservation” impulse came over me…and I opened my music folder on my pc and starting playing music…LOUD. I picked songs that would lighten my spirit and take my mind off what just happened.

It would come and go. Things would happen and then all was quiet. There wasn’t a pattern. However, June 3, 2005 something really weird happened. Everything was fine…HMH was playing on his computer, I was updating our family website and talking to my friend Brad via the computer, the pets were sleeping. Kokopelli had been sleeping downstairs and she suddenly went completely NUTS. She started barking like there was someone trying to get in the house or something. It definitely got our attention.

Kevin got up and went downstairs to see what was wrong. As he did that, I snapped his picture…intending to show it to my friend as a joke. Once I take a picture with my camera, it briefly shows the picture it took on the display window. And I looked down to see a white cloudy streak right in the doorway. Of course, I immediately thought of “the thing”…and then I immediately told myself it was a reflection off the white walls or something, so I took more pics at the same angle. I was certain I was going to see it again. No…I didn’t.I don’t know what it is…don’t ask me. But it didn’t show up in any other picture I took of the same area…at the same angle.

I do still have the picture, but I’m not going to share it here because HMH is partially dressed and it would be embarrassing to him. Even though it was a weird white blur, it was still the first time it had showed up in any kind of picture.

Yeah…I took an Ambien to go to sleep that night. I was glad we were moving. HMH just hugged me and did his best to remind me that we were leaving soon…it’s all he could do, really.

One last thing…while I was still at my job in California, I told one of my friends some of the things that had happened in the condo. She told me I should talk to one of the girls on her staff…because she was just sharing a similar experience that her son had and she thought it was close to where I live. Later that day, I went to talk to her.

She told me that she had a teenage son who went to a slumber party at a friend’s house that weekend…and that all the parents were called to pick up their kids in the middle of the night because the boys were all scared after seeing some kind of black smoky thing on the ceiling. When I asked her where the party was, I discovered that the party was in my condo complex…on the other side of the complex from us.

We had done tons of research trying to find anything we could on the development where we lived. There was nothing. I don’t know what I was expecting to find, but whatever it was…I didn’t find it.

So…that’s it. We left California with no other incidents, thank God. I’m not saying there’s something paranormal there…in fact, I tried like hell to explain it logically…and to ignore it as well. But the fact remains that I never felt at home there…that HMH and I continued to have very real, very frightening experiences there…and we are both glad to be away from it. And I did wonder after a while whether that pleading look on the last renter’s face was meant to warn me off. Maybe she was staring at me because she wanted to tell me what was going on there. We’ll never know.

And that’s our scary story. Hopefully, you don’t think I’m too crazy for sharing it. Happy Halloween!

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Clear and Loud

About a week ago, I put on a pair of shoes I haven’t worn in quite some time. They’ve been sitting in my closet forever, waiting for me to find courage. I gather my courage a little every day, not all at once like a badass heroine in an epic summer movie. Mine is more a quiet gathering. In so many other parts of my life I can be loud and proud, but this part of me is quiet as a mouse…and just as meek. The ghosts of much of the pain and anguish I’ve felt in years passed have come from this time in my life. The voices that tell me I’m not good enough…that I can’t do it…that I’m not deserving of it…all of those voices come from this. Yet still, for some reason, I walked into my closet last week and put these shoes on my feet.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know my story. If you haven’t, where the fuck have you been all my life? Let me try and bring you up to date quickly. I’ve known some major assholes in my life. When I was nine years old, I started dance lessons at a place run by the biggest asshole in the universe. On our first meeting, he stood me in front of a huge mirror and pointed out all the parts of my body that were “fat” as my mother watched. I still remember my nine year old heart feeling crushed when I was told that my legs and face were fat and my belly stuck out too much. Yeah, I know…it just got worse from there. This man was the significant male role model in my life from age nine to age nineteen-ish. I’m a little fuzzy on when I left exactly because, well, I had a shitload of negative crap going on in my life back then. But I did leave.

I got up one morning and realized that dancing brought me more pain than joy…and I just couldn’t take it anymore. So I walked into the studio and I quit. Then I walked out determined to find another life away from all of the negativity and hurt.

Quitting dance was what I needed at the time, although it didn’t come off as I’d imagined a million times in my head. When I finally had the courage to tell “The King” that I quit, he didn’t have the reaction I expected or wanted. I wanted freedom, but I ended up handing him one last opportunity to hurt me.

I went from dancing for hours a day to no activity at all. I retreated into food in order to self-medicate. I spent all my money at the book store, scouring the self help section for answers to all my problems in titles like “Adult Children of Alcoholics”, “Women Who Love Too Much” and “It’s Not What You’re Eating, It’s What’s Eating You”. I was obsessed with finding the solution to my problems, all the while firmly curled up on the couch with a box of snack cakes and a glass of milk by my side.

I read (and ate) my way toward answers for years. I never danced again. The pounds I was rapidly adding to my body made it difficult, but I also found that I couldn’t even pull my shoes out of my dance bag without a million flashbacks slapping me in the face. The smell of the shoe leather made fresh all the memories I was trying to eat away. What I didn’t realize back then is that there wasn’t enough pizza in the world to eat away the horrible things The King made me feel all those years ago.

Four therapists, countless bad relationships, a truckload of junk food and thirty some-odd years later I’ve finally mellowed. And I moved 1,300 miles away from my hometown. That definitely helped. A few weeks ago when I was cleaning the closet, my eyes fell on that pair of shoes. My tap shoes. And before I could go on auto-pilot, look away and force any other thought into my head, I felt myself say you have those shoes for a reason.

I don’t just have those shoes. I saved those shoes. In the thirty-ish years since I walked away from that part of my life, I’ve written half a dozen letters I never sent (telling The King what a fucktard he is). I’ve thrown away memorabilia. I even had a bonfire at the beach once when I burned a shitload of mementos that came from that time in my life. But in thirty years, I’ve never parted with those shoes. I can’t. And now I realize it’s okay that I don’t want to.

These shoes are mine. The knowledge I have of dance, from warm-up routines to ballet positions to tap steps…is mine. The joyful feeling I get when I bang a set of steps out on the floor is mine. The sound of the taps hitting their mark with precision is clear…and loud…and fabulously mine. And nothing The King has ever done or will ever do will ever…ever…EVER take that away from me.

I took a quick break at work today to make a list of things I needed to get done when I got home. This is what I ended up with:

  • Clean kitchen
  • Outline chapter two
  • Tap practice

Without even thinking, I’d written “tap practice”. It really made me smile. I don’t even know why I wrote it. I don’t remember even thinking about it. It just happened. It’s just another bit of joy returning to my life. Another grain of courage that I’ve gathered in the journey.

Speaking of the journey, I’ll leave you with this: over the years, I’ve walked my way through dozens of pairs of walking shoes. I’ve taken Jazzercise. I’ve joined gyms. I’ve done my time on treadmills and elliptical trainers. I’ve found a way to like most of it. There’s usually a silver lining I can find if I look at it from the right angle. But tonight, as I forced these too-tight shoes onto my still-chubby feet, I realized that when I dance I don’t have to try. I don’t have to sell it to myself as something that’s good for me. I don’t have to look at it from a certain angle or constantly reaffirm why I’m doing it. It is just who I am. And it has nothing to do with an asshole tyrant who terrorized me as a child.

It’s mine. It’s me. And it’s fabulous. ♥

Singin’ in the Rain

I Met Jenny Lawson and It Was The Best Day EVER

I finally met Jenny Lawson…and it was fucking awesome.

Jenny Lawson, aka The Bloggess, is a hysterically funny, amazingly real, incredibly gifted blogger/writer whom I happen to adore. Her first book, Let’s Pretend This Never Happened is amazing. I was pretty much peeing my pants and crying with laughter the whole damn time. You’ll wet yourself at both ends and you’ll be happy about it. So you can imagine my shut-my-mouth-piss-my-pants delight, then, when I learned her new book Furiously Happy: A Funny Book About Horrible Things was being released. Yay!!! I knew all I had to do was call my pal Andrea and tell her about Jenny’s book signing in Dallas and she’d be all “Fuck YEAH!” and she was…so we made plans.

First, we had to head to Dallas this morning to pick up numbered passes for the book signing. Jenny would be doing a reading and Q&A before the signing, but all that wasn’t scheduled until later in the afternoon. We got there just before they opened this morning and BOOM! Mission accomplished.

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Rory the raccoon graces the cover of Jenny’s latest book, so naturally we had to get a selfie, right? I tweeted it as well…and Jenny Lawson favorited it. And retweeted it. Holy SHIT biscuits, people! I mean, that’s basically like Jesus retweeting something. Such an honor! Andrea and I squealed all the way to Starbucks (which was exactly across the street). As we were excitedly high-fiving each other over our overpriced legally addictive stimulants, we declared this to be the Best Day Ever.

Next up? A lunchtime catch-up with our pal Lauren (you’ll remember her from the DFW Penis Expedition).  I can’t confirm or deny whether there was any talk about possibly having another DFW Penis Expedition again except yes, there was…and yes, we will. Andrea’s about to get married and Brenda’s engaged, so we need to squeeze in another expedition between weddings.

Then it was straight onto talk about whether the evil Lord Sauron from Lord of the Rings has spent his retirement as an interior decorator for The Cheesecake Factory. Thoughts?

The Tower of Sauron:

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Sauron’s Cheesecake Factory:

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One cheesecake to rule them all. I think I’ve made my point.

Back to the bookstore we went…and before we knew it, it was time for Jenny to take the stage! It’s amazing, by the way, how many people you meet at a book signing. They were all just as wonderfully weird and unique as Jenny herself. And me. And Andrea. It was like having a room full of siblings I’d never met before. Awesomeness.

By the way, I made Jenny a card with the DFW Penis on it. Surely someone as awesome as Jenny would want to know that they were balls deep in the DFW Penis, yes? Yes. So I made her a card to show her exactly where the bookstore is within the DFW Penis.

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Jenny entered the room to thunderous applause. I actually tried to start a standing ovation, but I was in the back so no one could see me except the people behind me who were already standing. Sometimes I don’t think when I’m over excited. I got about five people to stand, though, so let’s just call it a win.

She read two chapters: one somewhat serious and one funny. Both were funny, though. Jenny has a way of telling painful truths in a way that’s still funny and still real. She has a gift and I want to be her when I grow up. The Q&A was awesome as well and full of laughs. With all the shit this woman has to deal with, I expected her to be a bit awkward…but she really wasn’t. I’m sure she probably felt that way, but she was amazing. Sincere, funny, and very real. And quite brave for being out and about with a gazillion adoring fans.

We lined up for the signing, chatting with more of our fellow fans and just enjoying the day. The closer we got to Jenny, the more excited we were to share with her that she was smack-dab, balls deep in the DFW Penis. Shit was about to get real, yo.

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OMG…she’s right…THERE!!! (And yes…I did put a sparkly glitter daisy sticker in the middle of the balls on the map.)

Then the moment arrived. We met the incredibly awesome Jenny Lawson!!! In true hot mess fashion, we welcomed her to Dallas and then…well…I actually uttered this sentence:

We wanted to let you know that you’re balls deep in the DFW Penis, Jenny!

She’s all…what? LOL. I explained. It was a very surreal experience to explain to Jenny Lawson that we basically live in a dick. And she loved it.

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Best. Day. EVER. Truly.

Thank you, Jenny, for letting us be part of your tribe. ♥