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  • Puppy Problems

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    A few months ago we adopted a puppy. A really big, really goofy puppy. Brutus is just over 100 lbs. and a little more than a year and a half old. As far as we can tell he has never had any real training on how not to be an idiot. We are working on this.

    The first time I saw Brutus he was cowering in the corner of his kennel at the city shelter that I happened to be visiting for work. I specifically told my boss NOT to take me to the shelter because I prefer dogs to humans and I have self control issues. So a week later, while at a food truck festival I lured the Bear into a bacon induced coma and asked if we could visit the shelter. He grunted in a way that I chose to interpret as a consent. We were informed that the particular dog, who’s paperwork I just so happened to have taken a picture of last time, was across town at a pet store adoption center. It was ONLY 15 min away… and we REALLY didn’t have anything else to do that day, so if we wanted.. we could just stop over and meet him.

    They put us in a small back room where the Bear now is roused to full consciousness is grumbling about me, life, dogs, and the narcotic effects of bacon.  The volunteer strolls in with a very large, timid and skeletal puppy. She explained that he is part Great Dane and other stuff. At this point I have already melted to the floor and am trying to let him get use to me. The Bear has stopped grumbling but does seem to be repeating something about this being a huge freaking dog. He joins us on the floor. As if on cue Brutus puts his head in his lap and earned himself a family. It turns out, that it is incredibly difficult to say no to providing a home to a dog who has laid their giant head in your lap.

    Now, according to the volunteer, this dog doesn’t bark, doesn’t pull on his leash, is completely apathetic of other animals and just wants some humans to love. We came to find out that only one of these things were correct.

    When he arrived home he quickly learned some important lessons of our household.

    1. You are not the boss. Mommy is the boss.
    2. Leave the little fluffy one alone. He is old, senile and will cut you.(R.I.P. Mango we miss you)
    3. The fat short one thinks all the toys belong to her.
    4. The Vacuum is scary.
    5. There is a household budget line for dog toys.
    6. You are only allowed on the furniture if the humans aren’t home.

    We also learned a few things from Brutus

    1. The Vacuum can only be defeated by peeing on it first.
    2. The deliciousness level of a shoe is directly proportional to it’s value
    3. The best time to play “lets wrestle with my teeth” is between 1 and 3 am
    4. When mommy leaves for work, the world is fucking ending.
    5. Anything can be accomplished with the liberal application of hot dogs.
    6. Tall dogs can open doors when they want.
    7. Other dogs are the scariest thing on the planet and must be killed.

    It was that last one that resulted in us paying a professional to train us on how not to be idiot dog owners. Fortunately we have been successful in teaching him some better habits and in training ourselves that when he does something stupid is 100% our fault.

    He has been a fantastic addition to our little furry family. Coco seems to enjoy his boundless energy up until the point she no longer wants to deal with his shit. They with each other and have established some good boundaries without conflict. This is a real change from when Mango was still alive and we had to break up bloody dog fights almost weekly. Mango was a broken soul and we loved his angry little ass.

     

     


  • Day 5 and 6ish..

    Yesterday we drove out to Thor’s Well and Devils Churn just outside of Florence Oregon. It was really beautiful even with the wind blowing and rain. We hiked around for a couple miles on the nicely paved trails. The bear and I were laughing at our complementary differences. I force him out of his comfort zone by taking him on adventures and doing things he is reasonable certain are going to get us killed. He forces me out of my comfort zone by making me act responsibly and saying No to anything especially crazy or expensive. It works forsean us. This is well exemplified in these pictures. The picture on the left was taken by the bear from three levels up the hiking trail over view. This was a very safe location with limited to no chance of a sneaker wave blasting in and washing him away.

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    The picture to the right was taken near the mouth of Devils Churn on the rocks. This isn’t one of those things were you see tourists acting like idiots going into areas they shouldn’t. They have stairs and signs saying that it’s ok to go down there to fish and check out the tide pools. In my mind this means it’s a comfortable level of safe.

    The dogs were not interested in hanging out in the rain so they got to nap in the warmth of the RV.

    When we got back from the hike and started the RV some alarms went off for the CO and Propane monitor. We figured this was due to idling in one spot for a few min. We reset it, aired out the cabin and headed back to town for lunch.

    I’m a firm believer that being on the coast means you should stuff your face with as much local seafood as you can manage. That is exactly what I did at lunch. 6 raw Washington Oysters, 6 BBQ oysters to start, a very nice bottle of wine we didn’t finish and ended up taking the rest back with us, I had a really well done cioppino with all kinds of sea creatures in it, the Bear had some bread with garlic, pesto and garlic butter, fish and chips sampler basket he said was very good and we finished the meal with a Marion Berry cobbler that was very good but not actually a cobbler. By the time we finished gorging ourselves we could barely walk. This is why there wasn’t a post yesterday. I was too full to type.

    Hiking no longer sounded like an awesome plan and naps moved their way to the top of the list. It was pouring down rain which really made it an easy choice. By the time we got parked, plugged in, situated and in ready for a nap we were exhausted. It only took about an hour to realize that the sheets seemed a little more damp than was reasonable to expect in such a humid climate. About 20 min after that we realized they were totally soaked and the back wall of the camper was streaming down water. There wasn’t much we could do so we grabbed towels to help protect the sheets, (this was useless by the way). We did’t bring a tarp or anything to throw over the top and it doesn’t have a ladder. It was a moist evening in the least fun sense of the word. We skipped dinner. At 10pm I was still full but no longer wanted to die. The alarm went off a couple more times so we turned the propane off aired out and assumed that it was the result of fart build up in the cabin. obviously from the dogs…. yes.. clearly the dog farts. Some time around 4 a.m that propane CO alarm went off, causing the bear to jump about 2 feet off the bed from the prone position while screaming something in what had to be his mother tongue of a past life. My heart just stopped beating for a couple of seconds while I assumed we were all going to die of carbon monoxide poisoning in our sleep. We called the service people, turns out sensors will go off if you stand to close to them and were extremely laid back about the whole alarms that make sure you don’t die in your sleep acting up. They told us they would get us a appointment at a repair shop in Eugene in the morning. We did manage to fall back asleep after all of the alarms. It wasn’t the early start we had planned. And of course the black water tank was reading full even after getting flushed multiple times. So we busted out the renters manual for the 10000 time this trips and tried to trouble shoot that little conundrum. download

    So we headed over to Eugene this morning on some little two lane back country road you can barely see on google maps. We are actually at the RV repair place as I write this and the amazing repair guy, (no joke his name is Kevin Smith) just pulled the sensor out and replaced it with a new one. The old one was completely full of water. We have no idea how that is even possible. He also found the source of the leaks, some huge ass crack in the roof of the RV. He just hit the roof and yelled bad monkey. He’s kind of amazing. If we ever get out of here, we are going to check out the city and get some Voodoo Doughnuts.

     


  • Day 3. Enormous Flora and angry Fauna

    Today felt like vacation. We slept in, Coco only woke us up twice in the middle of the night to be let out. I moseyed on over to the fence line to check out the Elk that hang out in the back meadow. They were all kinds of elegant just sitting around chewing and head butting each other. 20160201_084631I’m pretty sure the two males were just play fighting. Or they really weren’t feeling the violence today because they were just going through the motions. Who knew Elk could get the Mondays?

    I managed my first RV shower. Fun fact, the water heater only holds 6 gallons of water and takes 30 min to heat up. I have learned the importance of turning the water off during any lathering process. My head actually hits the ceiling so it made hair washing a unique and bendy challenge. But I got clean and that was the only goal so therefore it was a success.

    At some point, I realized that we never really stopped to get groceries in the last two days and the food we did bring is running low. I consider this a badge of honor. Normally I would prepare more food than a football team could consume in a week. Bacon, Hawaiian rolls and some protein bars make for a very filling breakfast.

    We tried to find a grocery store in the Town of Orick (human population 650, Cow populations 1000) to stock up on some supplies. We ended up with Oreo’s, french toast sticks, cheese and firewood. It was more of a general store / cess pool of questionable breeding practices. I decided to forgo their offerings of ground meat products. You would need to prove to me it was cow and not ground tourist.

    We headed over to Stone Lagoon Beach and let the idiots frolic in the sand and surf. It was delightful and remarkable that we were alone on most of that beach.12670128_10103608828580485_6815378197488691941_n It is really lovely to travel on the off season. You get to see so many things and share that moment with your loved one without the 9 members of the Clampett family swilling beer and getting into domestic disputes while spoiling your view. It’s weird coming from such a tourist driven state that fills every beach and beach town to the brim with t-shirt shops and sketchy tattoo parlors, to see miles and miles of breath taking coast line that is populated by a herd of very smug milk cows.

    We cut the beach trip short after Mango got too excited and his hind legs kinda gave out a little. He’s pushing 13 and we think he has some nerve damage so this isn’t completely unexpected. I had to carry his fat ass all the way back to the RV. He seemed to enjoy that portion of the walk almost as much.

    We decided to take the Newton B. Drury Scenic Parkway through the Prairie Creek Redwoods State Park. We kept expecting Little Foot to step out from behind a tree and ask if we have seen the Star Leaf. The Redwoods could only be described as august. I was only slightly disappointed to not find any Ewok tree houses in the canopy. We did get to see the Big Tree and it was. It seems it isn’t actually the largest nor the oldest tree in the park. 20160201_151841It’s just the only one that they will tell you the location of. It makes me sad that my fellow humans are such shit balls that the parks have to keep these beautiful giants a secret to keep them safe. How can anyone look at one of these behemoths and do anything but stare in awe and silent wonder at their eminence? This tree is estimated to be over 1500 years old it has endured more than we can conceive and some asshat will probably try an kill it some day.

    On our drive back we stopped at a turn off that is a well know Elk hangout. When we stopped the first time, there were maybe 15 just hanging out at the far edge of the field eating grass and waiting to be photographed. This time there were probably 50 and they were almost standing in the parking lot. I guess when your smallest female is over 500 lbs you don’t have a lot to fear. They mostly looked annoyed that we were only using camera phones to document their splendor. I felt the need to apologize and explain that the RV was a rental and we are in fact poor. They weren’t impressed.

    20160201_161824We came back to the camp site early so we could relax before we spend much of tomorrow driving up to Oregon. In my infinite wisdom I decided to build a camp fire. I was convinced this was going to be some next level romantic shit. Turns out.. that even with a fire starter mini log and some firewood, you really only get a single smoldering flame and a lot of smoke. It was easily the saddest camp fire in the history of camp fires. The Bear was a good sport and lovingly froze his ass off to humor me while I made hot chocolate and then dinner. I took pity on him when his lips started to turn blue and brought him his winter coat to replace the insufficient hoodie he had on. We gave up once it got dark, so I dumped a gallon of water on the fire and retreated inside admitting defeat against the frosty air.

    I am considering a second attempt at sleeping in the bigger bed above the driver’s seat. Now that we have the heater fixed I’m not nearly as likely to freeze to death. The only reason for 20160201_152950the change is that any time the bear gets up to take out the dogs or do anything I have to pull myself into a tight fetal position to avoid having him drop kick my legs on his way out of bed. This is not an ideal way to wake up in the middle of the night. The only other drawback about this move, other than the loss of my in bed human powered heating system, is that in order for me to make one of my many midnight bathroom trips, I would need to climb down onto a bench and then to the floor and back to the bathroom. I am not well coordinated in the middle of the day fully awake, caffeinated and alert. I am down right bumbling when I am half asleep. I also get the added obstacle of sleeping dogs laying in the middle of the walk way. I will let you know how it goes tomorrow if my next post is written from the ER.


  • Day 2 and some pictures.

    We had a couple entertaining disasters last night after I finished my post. To start, we found out at a very inopportune time that one of the fuses was blown and of course that fuse was connected to the heater. The low temperature last night was 30 degrees.  It only took about 20 min for me to abandon my spacious bunk bed of solitude for the warmth of the bear den. I was smart enough to bring my down comforter with me. Ladies, have you ever tried to go pee in the middle of the night while wearing a onesie when the room is hovering dangerously close to freezing your tits off? Pro tip: wear a sweater UNDER the onesie, that way when you have to take off the top part to access your bottom parts you aren’t forced to expose your lovely lady lumps to frigid cold. Also… check your fuses before you leave the rental place. The dogs were convinced this whole experience was bullshit and way too damn cold but figured out very quickly how to get us to take them outside in the middle of the night. This seemed to make us all even.

    This morning was lovely. I woke up early and took the idiots out for a walk so they could sniff things and then pee on them. We saw some cows on the hill behind the camp ground. We also saw some suspiciously huge bunny rabbits. Well, I saw the bunny rabbits. The hunting dog saw nothing and tried to eat a rock…. she’s really pretty…

    After dragging them back to the RV I decided to start breakfast only to watch Mango slide on the laminate flooring, down the steps and fall out the door and onto the ground outside. It scared the hell out of all species involved. He was fine but I think his pride took a hit. He curled up in his bed and has been extra snappy at Coco all day.

    We eventually packed up and headed out to Fort Bragg to see the Glass Beaches. If you haven’t had the honor of driving on 20, I suggest you do so while driving something sporty that hugs the road. Not something hulking that looks like a shoebox. The whole route is curves and hairpin turns looking over hundred foot drop offs. It was awesome and more than a little terrifying. I have a  lot of love for the people who invented and built turn-outs on that road. If they weren’t so frequent we wScreenshot_2016-01-31-10-20-16ould have been murdered by a mod of angry drivers stuck behind our slow ass.

     

    We finally made it into Fort Bragg and over to the beach which happens to be very dog friendly. The views were spectacular.20160131_123103 If you  are unfamiliar with glass beach, it used to be a dump. They would shove trash over the cliffs and into the ocean. All of the old glass from apothecary bottles, old car windshields and tail lights was broken up and ground smooth by time, sand and water. They eventually started to show up on the beaches. Turns out people like to find interesting things on the beach. They have since stopped dumping old cars and trash into the ocean, so the glass isn’t as abundant as it once was. 20160131_121718People also tend to take it with them as a souvenir even though there are signs all over telling you to leave that shit on the beach so people will keep visiting them. You can’t tell from the pictures we took but the wind was insanely cold. Low tide is the best time to see the glass and tide pools. The dogs were stoked to smell new rocks and mango found out that running in sand is his new favorite hobby.

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    We opted to save money and just eat bologna sandwiches in the RV before heading out after a quick stop at the part store to buy a replacement fuse to avoid freezing to death tonight. We took Ca State route 1 up to Eureka, this was also full of bullshit twists and turns but it has to be one of the most beautiful drives in the US. You see everything from breathtaking views of waves crashing on cliffs, to enormous Redwood trees that are hundreds of years old, to beautiful mountains with sparkling rivers. And of course there are tacky road side attractions like Confusion Hill, which looks like something that will be featured in next season American Horror stories and the One Log Cabin home.

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    You are also very likely to witness the various local wildlife in their natural and undisturbed environment. We drove around one corner and noticed two huge Elk on a hill eating some grass minding their own business. It took me a minute to realize these were not Elk that some farmer is keeping at a pet, these were wild Elk and they wanted to know why we stopped in the middle of the road to stare at them and take pictures.

    20160131_143207(1)They were freaking majestic. Both had enormous antlers. It really only made us more excited to get to the RV resort place we are staying at tonight. It’s known for the huge Elk population that visits their meadows daily. They have signs all over the place telling you not to act like an idiot around the 700 pound animal with spears attached to its head. They have a tendency to charge. I’m pretty freaking excited about waking up tomorrow, I hope we don’t miss them.

     

    That’s about all I can say about day two of this awesome adventure trip. It was a lot of driving through some very scary beautiful areas. The heater is working, the dogs are asleep, there are about 100 noisy frogs outside trying to lull me asleep so it’s time for bed. Tomorrow we venture into some of the state and national parks for more 20160131_134928communing with nature. Fingers crossed Coco doesn’t try to make friends with a bear, and Mango doesn’t try to hump an Elk.


  • Day 1

    A few months ago the Bear and I decided to plan an elaborate RV trip up the coast of Northern California and into Oregon. We had visions of seeing Crater Lake and Thor’s Well with a stop over to Portland before heading home. Fortunately reality provided us with a healthy knock up the head. Crater Lake is wisely closed this time of year, with all the snow and what not. I’m 100% sure that I do not want to drive an RV through anything worse than a light drizzle. The other reality of life that came into play is that we have been insanely busy never got around to really making any plans beyond asking for the time off from work and renting the RV. This is probably a good thing; it means that we don’t actually have to be anywhere or do anything unless it sounds good at that moment. Most vacations that involve a lot of time frames and reservations can be stressful. There are all of these expectations to do things so you are constantly rushing to the next activity. We focus on trying to squeeze as much fun as possible from every excursion that we tend not to appreciate the experience and ambiance in the moment. (this is a really nice way of saying we are slackers and are ok with it). I started packing a few days in advance to make sure we had anything we might need (and to prevent me from stressing out, losing my mind and dissolving into tears the night before our trip).

    We were fortunate to have found a site (https://www.campanda.com/)  that rents out all the left over RV’s from Cruise America and other places for really cheap. I  think we are paying $30ish a night plus milage. The whole rental will end up costing us less than what it costs to board our two idiot dogs for 5 nights.

    We picked up our 25 ft RV this afternoon, she has been dubbed Eagle 5 in honor of the Spaceballs Winnebago. I’m pretty sure that makes me Lone Star and the S is now Barf. I’m ok with this. He is less enthused. My original plan was to drive all the way up to Redwood National Forrest in one day. Sooo that didn’t happen. We didn’t leave until 4pm. The Bear (Barf) made reservations last night for us to stay at a KOA an hour outside of Fort Bragg. This is why he is the copilot, he thinks ahead. We managed to get all of our crap put away into the various cubby holes and weirdly sized storage spaces. We made the beds (yes plural, there is no way in hell our two huge asses are going to fit into that bed comfortably) and finally we grabbed the dogs, threw them in the RV and hit the road. I have never been more grateful that my father taught me how to drive on an E class van. This thing is a beast to drive.

    I learned something interesting about humanity while driving this monstrosity. There are some people who see an RV that is covered in Cruise America stickers and think “fuck that slow person, I’m going to cut them off because I am an asshole.”

    The other type, the smarter breed.. see an RV covered in Cruise america sticker and think “Holy fucking shit, they gave some idiot the keys to that enormous vehicle…. and they have absolutely no fucking clue what they are doing..” These are wise people. They give you a wide berth, they don’t crowd you. They know that there isn’t a drivers test to rent this thing. They know the rental company only requires you to sign the insurance and then hands you the keys.

    The dogs are 100% convinced we are going to die in the magical moving box of death. If you don’t know this already, our dogs hate each other. We breakup fights at couple times a month. They aren’t affectionate with each other, they don’t really play together and they certainly do not snuggle. that is.. until today. We set up one of the dog beds in between the driver’s seat and the passenger’s seat. The bed was perfectly sized for mango to curl up on the floor. It turns out it was also perfectly sized for Coco to back her ass right into him forcing him to spoon her. Amazingly the evil little beast let her do it. That is how we knew they were a bit stressed by the experience. They have since calmed down and realized that everything is not horrible forever. They are extremely excited about all the new things to smell and pee on.

    We eventually made it to the KAO at about 8pm, we found our spot and parked. Fun fact if you ever decide to rent an RV, get a freaking pull thru stop if you can. Backing this bitch into a spot at night is not enjoyable. Fortunately the spots are REALLY wide and I’m kind of amazing at driving this thing (by amazing I mean we are still alive and nothing was hit). S got everything hooked up using lots of cords and stuff.  I made dinner in the smallest kitchen on the planet (Yay pesto tortellini in vodka sauce!). We also figured out how to block out all the widows with the nifty privacy blinds, this is a nice feature because no one needs to see what I look like when I wake up in the morning.

    Tomorrow we are thinking of heading over to the glass beaches near Fort Bragg and then up to Redwood National Forrest.


  • I’m done being an adult today.

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    Here is something funny I have learned about myself: I’m not great at processing fear or anxiety in a reasonable way. If something scares me or causes internal turmoil, I don’t cry, I don’t yell or get angry. I shut down, put on pajamas and read a book. If I’m in a REALLY bad way, my husband will find me in the fetal position laying in my closet staring at a wall or reading. This all waits until I get home. This doesn’t happen in public. In public the most you will notice is that I am not as focused and I’m quieter than usual. My husband doesn’t fear sobbing or a quivering lip. He fears the silence. Not the everyday quite of inactivity or sleepy puppy snuggles after work. Rather the silence that surrounds someone who has vacated reality for a time. I haven’t succumbed to the closet monster since we moved to California. I have read a about a hundred books though.

    Reading was an incredible struggle for me as a child (between having the attention span of a hummingbird with a cocaine addiction and enough dyslexia that I still misread things in very amusing ways). My mom spent countless hours reading to me or having me read to her before naps or bed. I honestly don’t know what I would do if I didn’t have this literary escape. If I wasn’t able to put reality on hold for enough time that my brain is able to sort through whatever feelings I don’t have the courage to face head on. This is how I cope.

    Lately I’ve read a lot. Specifically I have reread books that I love. I am doing this because they are a guaranteed escape that I will enjoy, in a world I already know, with characters I already love. When I get to part of the story that I know will pull at my heartstrings.. I skip it. because that’s what I am avoiding now. feeling.

    Several years ago a doctor stumbled upon an anomaly on my kidneys. After some extensive testing, I was told I have a some benign growths on my kidneys that would have gone unnoticed until someone performed an autopsy on my very dead, very old body. I was advised that I should consider getting them checked every couple of years just in case.

    This year I remembered that I am actually almost an adult and I should really get those looked at. My last ultrasound of the area was in 2006. So I went in, explained to my doctor that my kidneys have polka dots and that she should take a look at them. So she did. and she asked me to have my records sent over. So I did. and she said “hmmm….”

    I can say definitively that this is not a sound you want to hear from your doctor. It seems that my polka dots decided that color blocking was all the rage in Kidneys this season. The largest spots were much larger.

    She sent me to a Urologist. This was probably one of the more amusing doctors visits I’ve ever experienced. Mainly because I walked into the waiting room and a dude with a piss bag strapped to his leg was just chillin in the corner. Before you get all huffy that I am making fun of someone who is clearly sick and suffering, know that it was 55 degrees outside and  he was wearing shorts with his bag hanging out in all of its urinary glory.

    He owned that bag.

    He ROCKED that bag.

    He is my ZFG hero. Believe me when I tell you that trepidation about a doctors visit will be cured by the site of an old guy who doesn’t give a single fuck that his piss bag is showing.

    They promptly took me to an exam room to wait for the doctor. I guess it never occurred to me that men frequent Urologist more than women as this little gem was hanging on the door.

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    There is nothing more reassuring than the site of a flaccid penis on the door and flyers for Cialis on the counter. You could say it warmed my cockles.

    When the doctor came in, I assumed he had only recently earned the right to buy cigarettes and drive alone in a car. (I found out later that the adage about Asians not aging until the day they just deflate into something closely resembling a raisin is entirely accurate. It turns out the doctor was in his 40s.) I’m pretty sure he learned bedside manners from Dr. House. I found his straightforward lack of empathy strangely reassuring.

    These positive feelings were somewhat diminished when he actively googled my condition on his phone while we were talking about it.

    He explained that the growths were quite large, and let me know that there were options available to prevent further growth. He mentioned the results of one of these little bastards continuing to grow involved words like Hemorrhage and kidney failure. I asked he what he suggested I do given the size of the growths. He said that the choice was mine. This is not the answer I expected. I tried to explain to him that I am  not a doctor and I haven’t even taken a biology class since high school. I really didn’t feel qualified to make decisions about the future of an organ whose use I couldn’t define outside of it had something to do with pee.

    He mentioned a procedure that involves cutting a hole in your artery and shoving a tube inside to snake into your kidneys to blast a couple of mini silicon balls to block the blood flow to the growths. Apparently this is totally normal. My other option was to just wait around until they burst either from trauma or they grew so large then started to affect the function of other organs. But he stressed it was entirely up to me because clearly I know enough about this to make an educated choice. Obviously I would like to avoid the side effects mentioned.

    The urologist then told me to talk to a more special specialist at another facility to schedule the procedure. This guy was kinda cool even though he totally name dropped during our phone consult. He basically told me that if I’m not a pussy I should be up and moving fairly soon after the surgery and that I would only feel slightly shitty. He seemed pretty relaxed about the whole thing.

    In these last few months, I quickly learned that after each doctors visit I was basically rendered useless for about half a day. My brain would shut down because mortality isn’t something I like to address. It seems to take me about that long for my brain to freak out and recover. In that time I would bury myself in a book while to help distract from the reality of life. I let all of this information process. I would eventually fall asleep and be good to go by morning.

    At times I have trouble reminding myself that it’s not that big a deal and that I will be fine. But my greatest issue is talking about it. You see, I don’t like to telling people stuff like this. For some reason I am afraid my friends will think I am just looking for attention and sympathy. This is not the case, in fact I would rather not mention it at all to anyone. But if they found out later they would be pissed I didn’t say anything. I don’t like the look of sympathy, like I’m some sad Sarah Mclachlan commercial. I’m fine, I need you to think I’m fine, so I can actually convince myself that I am fine, and everything will be fine. There are people who are diagnosed with cancer and horrible disease and they battle on like the bad asses that they are. I don’t feel I have the right to be concerned about something so minor. I know it makes sense that I’m having a bit of a moment about it because this is happening to me and it sounds scary. It’s just easier to ignore it by running away in a story and going on adventures where kidneys don’t exist and I can still be an assassin mage princess ninja.

     


  • Who are you calling a princess?

    Lately it seems that if you want something to go viral make it a Disney princess mashup.

    Like most american girls, I was brought up watching Disney movies. I had every princess movie, I played dress up and make-believe.  I went to Disney World several times a year for most of my childhood. Sleeping Beauty is still my favorite Disney movie.

    I was fortunate to be taught to take care of myself. I can change the oil in my car, change a tire, replace the breaks, fix drywall holes, mend busted sprinkler pipes, and a whole slew of other life skills. I was never told I couldn’t do something because I was a girl.  My family supported me (and pushed me when I was ready to quit) to complete my bachelors degree. They have encouraged me to pursue a master’s degree or higher when I am ready to take on that challenge.  When I knew it was time to change jobs I knew I had a solid foundation to make that change.

    I was never told that I was a princess who deserves to have Prince Charming come take care of me.

    The video below explains it rather well but there are still things even I disagree with.

    My parents taught me to have the life skills necessary to support myself and my family.

    They explained that life can change quickly so you better be able to step up to the challenge.

    I was not raised to depend on another person for financial support.

    You want a nice pair of stupid expensive heels? Great! Get a job earn some money and buy those hot ass shoes.

    You want a big beautiful house with a white picket fence? Awesome! Get a job, manage your money, get a savings account, take out a mortgage and buy that big beautiful house.

    Too many girls seem to think that all they need in life is a rich man who will take care of them. Why? What makes you so special that you’re entitled to spend someone else’s money without contributing?

    To clarify, I am not referring to Stay at Home Mom’s and Dad’s. That is an unpaid full-time job;  you are taking care of the house, managing the budget and raising kids. I am also not referring to people are physically or mentally unable to work. That would be a ridiculous standard to hold someone to. We can only do what is within our abilities.

    What I am referring to are the girls who are waiting around for some guy to come rescue them from their mundane life. This is not a life goal sweetheart.

    If your life sucks, that’s your fault. Go make it interesting. If you want money and nice things, go get a job, learn some skills and earn that money. If you want to be more cultured, go travel or read something other than a magazine.

    Why are you waiting for someone else to handle it? If you aren’t happy with your life, that’s on you not on the person you will end up with.

    Put your big girl panties on and take charge of your own damn life.

    I don’t think its fair to the guys. Why should a man be expected to pay for your shit? We pressure men to make enough money to support a wife and kids. Ladies, we fought to vote, we are still fighting to stand on equal footing in the business world. why are we working this hard to turn around and expect or partners to pay for everything? You are not entitled to sit there and let some poor sap shower you with gifts and money. Reality TV shows are not something you should aspire to. Relationships are about working together as a team to meet your goals. If you and your partner decide that it is practical for you to stay home, that is great and you are very fortunate. I am sure you support them in a multitude of other ways. But to live with the expectation that you deserve and are owed the privilege to sit at home and do nothing but shop and drink while someone else takes care of you, that is complete bullshit. You are not a princess this is not a fairy tale. Grow. Up.

    We all wish we had enough money to live in a mansion and do whatever we wanted all day everyday. That’s a great dream, that no one will hand you. You need to bust your ass to get it.

    I read an awesome response to a girl who referred to herself as The Pretty Girl asking about finding a millionaire boyfriend. A response was given by someone claiming they are a millionaire. Basically they laid out why dating her is a poor business choice. Their money appreciates over time, her attractiveness will substantially depreciated as she gets older. She is not an asset. She has no skills to add to the bargain. Therefore it is a waste of time for them to do anything more than date attractive women. Millionaires are better off marrying women who are successful in their own right as they have something to offer to the partnership.

    The only person responsible for your happiness and success is you.

    If you want something, go get it.

    If you don’t know how, learn.

    If learning is hard, TOUGH! Life is hard. If need to ask for help it doesn’t mean you can’t do it. You might fall. Get up.

    You have to work. If it wasn’t challenging it would be called play.

    End motivational speech.

    Random Disney side comment:

    Ariel : No one told her she had to give up her fins for legs. She did that her damn self. She’s lucky he wasn’t a damn psycho.

    Jasmine: Your dad keeps you locked in a castle against your will, be pissed at him. You turned down everyone and had to be tricked into liking someone…

    Aurora: You were raised by three old ladies in the forest because your parents abandoned you, how the hell do you even know what a man looks like? Stockholm’s syndrome much??  Maybe don’t marry the guy who raped you in your sleep

    Bell: Beast is nuts and violent. understandable as he was turned into that thing and can’t function. He locked your dad and you in a freaking dungeon cell. You think the dishes can talk, you need therapy not a wedding dress.

    Cinderella: Move out, get a job as an animal trainer with Aurora. You can make clothes and shit.

    Pocahontas: should have let your dad kill him. It ended badly for your people.

    Snow White: Bitch all you have to do is cook and clean for a bunch of little guys who mine jewels and they feed you rent free?? what are you complaining about? And don’t take food from strangers because it leads to random dudes raping your in your glass coffin. #justsayin

    Rapunzel: Seriously? again with the kidnapping, stockholm syndrome and therapy. Get a group rate going.

    Mulan: Bitch gets shit done.

     


  • Roaming in Wyoming

    I was in Wyoming for work last week.

    Before I get started with my review of this experience, I feel that I need to air out my misconceptions concerning this state. This will give you a better understanding of my response to the experience.

    What I expected:

    Sheriff Longmire in a hat, on a horse, in about 10 feet of snow, or 100 degree desert weather.

    A waffle house, general store, and someplace famous for their chili that is run by a lady named Miss Patty.

    Native Americans EVERYWHERE.

    At least one buffalo.

    What welcomed me the first day:

    Not a single thing on the list above because Longmire lied to me.

    6 “Asian” restaurants and 1o Mexican places

    The Walmart where every single People Of Walmart photo was taken.

    While we were driving to Rock Springs, Wyoming from the Salt Lake city Utah airport (a.k.a The land of numerous wives), I observed that the landscape looked similar to West Texas. Dry, covered in dirt, with sad little scrubby plants, and a few out of place flowers. It looks like a desert. At any moment you expect a band of cowboys to come riding down the ridge to attack a wagon train or some crap.

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    On our first full day we started to notice some storms off in the distance. A phenomena I haven’t witnessed since I left the flat lands of Florida. And then it started raining and raining some more. In fact, it did not stop raining for two days. Yet for some unknown magical, mystical, middle of nowhere, bullshit reason my lips chapped and the inside of my nose crusted over with a blood infused cement booger hybrid. Every morning I woke up and praised Jesus that I didn’t asphyxiate in my sleep.

    We had asian food, steak, sushi (because it was different than the Asian food place) and the free dinner the hotel provides. Much to our surprise we didn’t actually die from eating sushi and it was the place everyone recommended when we asked where to eat. The steak house was a steak house, there was booze, meat, 70’s wood paneling and the necessary taxidermy that provides just the right amount of testosterone overload to season your steak. This was the nicest place around. Everyone that worked there wore bow ties and looked appropriately miserable.

    We stopped at Walmart for snacks and at some point we were transported to middle earth.  It was like a strange middle america petting zoo filled with normal creatures dressed exotically. It’s like the Fashion train stopped at the Little House on the Prairie and everyone got the hell off. I learned at lot about the possibilities of layering. For example, I was unaware that one could layer various pieces of leopard print lycra with intermittent layers of bright red lycra that had been sold by the acre. They didn’t really have a “No Shirt, No Shoes, no service” policy so much as a “Cover your naughty bits ’cause Jesus is watchin'” policy. It seemed to work for them. I’m pretty sure that everyone has a plaid couch and a deer painting somewhere in their house.

    What they lack in current fashion options that aren’t plaid or camo, they make up for by being just about the nicest people on the planet. I don’t think I’ve heard anyone one say anything stronger than “well they’re somethin’ else, I guess…” as a negative remark. Though that could be the midwestern version of “Bless their heart”. After three days I started to recognize people, by day four we all started to say “Hi” to each other. I think it’s the water. The urge to start teasing my hair grows with each passing moment and I considered buying aqua net on more than one occasion. If I pickup a three wolf moon picture I give you permission to cut my hand off and ship me back to California.

    Other than the Walmart, there was a strip club somewhere that I was never able to locate called the “The Bareback Saloon” and oddly enough, considering the name, was suppose to be mostly naked ladies not dudes. There wasn’t much in the way of entertainment other than a few bars and a  drive thru liquor store. I don’t drink anymore so bars turn into a weird exercise in freaking out social drinkers by ordering a coke and watching them try and figure out if I am a recovering alcoholic or pregnant. The answer is neither by the way. I just can’t drink alcohol in any amount without getting migraines.

    As if the rain wasn’t enough of a pain in the ass, at some point during the week the temperature decided to dip into the 20’s at night and maybe squeaked into the 50’s and 60’s during the day. I had exactly one jacket. Im pretty sure it saved my life. I didn’t realize until I walked to the car one morning that I had on brown steel toe boots, brown man-pants, and my brown jacket. I looked like a giant walking turd. My options were continue to look like a poop or freeze my tits off. I chose warmth. On the topic of freezing to death, we were informed that it can snow  12 months out of the year in Wyoming and the question still remains, why do people live there? We finally had to ask what all the weird fences were next to the road. It turns out they require fences to stop the snow drift from closing down roads. These are not temporary structure brought out in the winter. These are permeant fixtures because the frost giants like to visit year round.

    The day we drove to the airport to fly home, we stopped at Little America (combination truck stop, diner, motel and final resting place of your last scrap of dignity if you sleep there) for breakfast. It was the only place with trees for about 300 miles. They have road signs starting from 100 miles away and they are posted just about every 50 feet in case you missed the last one because you were distracted by the splendid vistas.

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    Road sign 600 of 900000. 

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    look at this picture, now imagine this but for hundreds of miles with the occasional Butte thrown in for variety. 

    Little America was built whenever classic diners were just diners. All the buildings are brick with colonial white columns. The whole place looks like a slasher movie set in the 1950’s. Except there is a dinosaur in front of the restaurant and the random nightmare penguins on all of the roofs.

    IMG_0671 IMG_0669

    We enjoyed a decent meal and completed out 3 hour drive to the nearest international airport that happens to be in another state.

    We arrived home safely and my body is happy to be at sea level. My skin is eternally grateful for the humidity. My brain trembles at the possibility I will be returning to Wyoming in the near future. Next time  I will know to bring a parka, a teasing comb, my hair spray and a bottle of angel tears to moisturize my skin.

     

     


  • Blue Skies

    We recently moved to a new apartment and it doesn’t Suck! So far, no one has been arrested or had their doors kicked in by armed federal agents! This is a 100% improvement from the first day at our last place. Based on that alone it’s a superior living situation. Our old neighbors were the standard apartment neighbors that greet you as you pass but other than that you try not to make eye contact or conversation. We had 2 bed 1 bath with a total of three windows and no air conditioning or air flow. (the bear throws off about a million jules of heat at night. Do you have any idea how hard it is to sleep with a snoring furnace next to you?) God, I hated that freaking apartment. All of it. From the beige carpet, to the windowless kitchen, to the soul sucking feeling that permeated every inch of the property. (these are first world problems).

    When they told us the rent was going to go up if we wanted to renew our lease, we decided that it was time to find someplace new. I had two requirements: air conditioning and a second bathroom.  If there is anything worse than trying to sleep when you are hot, it’s needing to pee REALLY BADLY when someone is taking a poop.

    The Bear found the new place and we were able to take a tour about 2 days before we were expected to sign the lease and move in. They have the complex set up so that the balconies face each other with a courtyard area in between. There are some big ass Red Wood trees hanging around that give the place an awesome FernGully feel. I love it.

    We eventually got most of our crap packed, and signed our lease, only to have U-Haul cancel our truck and not get us a replacement until almost 5 at night. Around 8pm, after a shitty day dealing with the trucks and getting it loaded, we roll up to the new place exhausted and irritable and still need to take all of the heavy furniture up the stairs to the new place. I was robustly questioning my strength and endurance. When out of the shadows rides a suburban knight in shining basketball shorts, a neighbor asks if we want some help. Being the cynics we are we say “yes” but expect him to not come back. Except he did come back. And he actually helped. He helped so much I barely had to carry any of the awkward furniture. Helped us for like two hours. So we gave him pizza and got to know our first neighbor.

    At this point we figured he was a One Off because we learned that at one point in his life he was studying to be an ordained Jesuit priest and he currently works at a non-profit that helps people with mental illnesses. Basically, he’s a Saint.

    This belief lasted until the first morning we woke up and took the two idiot dogs down to the fairy courtyard to pee. And we met our neighbor who walks her Cat. She happily introduced herself and her cat. She remembers our names and our dogs names. She says hi every time we see her. We also met the neighbor across from us, the neighbor below us, the neighbors next to us and the neighbors from the corner building. They talk to each other. Often. They know each others names. They have actual conversations. With. Each. Other. Doors are left open. Balconies are social areas of gathering, and IT’S THE WEIRDEST THING WE HAVE EVER EXPERIENCED. But, it’s a nice weird. I am slowly learning to tone down my bitch face. Strangers rarely flinch when I make eye contact these days.

    Yesterday we finally finished unpacking and decorating and I think it looks great. It’s a good balance of our personalities. I look forward to inviting people over for games and food. At our last place, the apartment never felt clean or finished. I never wanted to invite people over because I hated being there. I didn’t cook often and chores would sit for weeks undone.

    Its amazing how a few adjustments in your life can so drastically change your whole outlook. 6 months ago, I was in a miserable job that I hated, an apartment I couldn’t stand to be in, and I was feeling pretty shitty about my future.  So, I found a new job that I love. like, I really love it. As in, I look forward to going to work every single day. We got a new apartment, that I also love. I could happily see us staying in for more than a year.

    I’ve even started doing stuff I enjoy again. I started swimming and my awesome company is sponsoring me to swim a mile in a fundraiser for a local Women’s Cancer Resource center. If you would like to help, you can donate here: http://www.wcrc.org/swim/profiles/swimmer/id/2169

    The last month has been a world wind of change. and I couldn’t be happier with how things are going right now. I am glad that I was able to grit my teeth and get through the shitty time in order to fully enjoy and appreciate all that I have right now.

    “Preder et obdura, dolor hic tibi proderit olim.” Ovid

    Be patient and strong; someday this pain will be useful to you. 


  • ZFG

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    I remember getting embarrassed about EVERYTHING as an adolescent. I couldn’t even walk past the bra section in a store with out turning 10 kinds of red. (Fortunately I was flat as a sheet of paper until college.) I was obsessed with what people thought of me, how I looked and if people liked me. Typical teenage girl neurotic bullshit. Which was made worse by the fact that I was growing at all times and my arms and legs were unpredictable in their movements. This caused me to trip, fall, knock shit over and break things constantly.

    this

    I have noticed that as I grow older, I care considerably less or not at all in some cases. Most people assume that I am awash with self confidence. Which is not entirely true  (I do trust in my abilities and judgement when it comes to things I’m knowledgeable of). Most of the time what people see isn’t self confidence but a total lack of Fucks to Give in any situation I may be encountering.

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    I have spent much of my adult life standing in front of groups of people ranging from children to grown ass adults and instructing them on a wide variety of bullshit. This is not an example of my confidence, this is an example of how good I am at pretending I am super excited to be there. Whenever I start to get nervous and start to think “oh sweet fucking christ Im going to fuck this up and they are going to laugh at me and I am going to die.”

    images

    I stop myself and remember that I really don’t give a shit what these ass-hats think of me, I just need them to soak in the epic knowledge I am about to blast all over their faces brains. So far it’s the most effective teaching tool on my box. (yeah I just wrote that.)

    47s

    I have come a long way from the child who would rather die than talk about human body functions. I hope that this is just one of the graces of growing older and more experienced in life. There are many life examples that I have lead me to believe that the fucks given only go down from here.

    Think about the elderly people you see around you. They don’t give a shit about anything that doesn’t make them happy.

    You are driving down the road and they need to be in your lane, well you better hit the brakes motherfucka because Aunt Bea is commin over.

    You go to a restaurant and notice a group of elderly ladies sitting at a table, and they run out of butter or something, they don’t wait for the server to come back, hell no that hand is up in the air and they are waving the empty butter thing around.

    You are in the farthest stall in 4 stall restroom trying to covertly poop in a hellhole public restroom, Grandma is too old and too tired to worry about stall spacing etiquette, hell no, she’s taking the stall right the fuck next to you and she’s gonna blast ass like she’s at home. Why? because when a good bowel movement hits she’s gonna take advantage of whatever bathroom she can find. If she wants privacy, she can turn her hearing aid down. You get to sit there in abject horror debating if you should wait for her to leave for follow her example.

    Think about any public locker room ever. All the naked people who don’t even bother with a towel are older than dirt. You don’t see the young fit people rolling out in the buff, nope they change in the stalls or in the corner of the locker room at lightning speed. Old people Air Dry. Because. They. Don’t. Give. A. Single. Fuck.

    barren

     

    I say we get this party started early and stop giving a shit about what other people think. Boom instant happiness!