Forever a bookworm

Buckle up for some humblebragging.

I could read before kindergarten. In fact, when I went into kindergarten, I once got in trouble for reading the teacher’s lesson plans. THAT WERE IN CURSIVE.

In first grade, during reading time, the teacher sent me to the class with fourth- and fifth-graders to read with them.

All through elementary school we did the Book-It Program with Pizza Hut where you got a free pizza and stuff once you’d read a certain number of books each month. And guess who was at Pizza Hut quite a lot in those days? Yours truly. Because books. And also because pizza, of course.

So, I’m a bit of a reader, you’d say.

My reading got me in trouble when I was in middle school because I decided to try out some more Stephen King after I’d read his “Eyes of the Dragon” and enjoyed it. The book I chose next? “IT.” Weird, suddenly I’m fucking terrified of clowns forever.

Another time books betrayed me – and actually continue to – was when I went to a bookstore. For as long as I can remember, and before, according to Mom, one thing happens when I get to a bookstore. I always have to poop. (We were done with the humble bragging part, in case you were confused.)

For the longest time, I felt alone in my affliction. Was it the excitement of being in the bookstore that caused it? Was it the anxiety of having to pick just one book out of all of these on the shelves? Was it lactose intolerance? (Probably).

But apparently it’s a legit thing that happens to lots of people. And even has a name.

Anyway. All of this is to say I like books. I like reading. My ideal desert island scenario is an endless stack of books, a hammock and Chris Pratt.

It’s also why one of the things on my Life List is “Start a book club.”

Do you know how hard it is to start a book club? (First world problems, I know, shut up). There’s the finding others as interested as you are, coordinating schedules, deciding on books, deciding on food… it’s not as easy as it seems!

My friends and I have mentioned the idea of starting a book club a few times but it never went anywhere. We would be talking about a book one of us read and then say “Oh we should start a book club” and forget about that thought by the next day. We’ve had unofficial tiny book clubs in the past where a few of us will read a book recommended by another one of us and kind of sort of talk about it in passing.

And book clubs in movies and TV always look so exciting. Like all these friends get together and have wine and snacks and talk about a book – THAT’S THE DREAM.

Around sometime in September, with the threat of winter ahead where nobody feels like doing anything, the book club idea got brought up again. But this time, it became more serious. My friends and I decided to actually make it a thing. Mainly for the food.

We got real official with it, too. We figured out a date that would probably work for all of us, decided we’d all bring food and a drink of some sort, and created a poll filled with suggestions of books we all wanted to read and everyone voted on that month’s winner. LEGIT.

And of course there were rules. Basically we’re like a fight club but with reading.

1. You can’t talk about the book with any book club member until we all meet and discuss.

2. Our meetings have to have food.

3. No new members unless we all approve of them.

4. You have to have finished the book by the time we meet up (we’ve gotten slightly lax on this one a couple times since because life.)

The first book we chose was my suggestion – Samantha Irby’s “We Are Never Meeting in Real Life,” because I’d heard about it from several blogs I follow and on Twitter and it sounded right up my alley as far as humor and whatnot.

Reviews of all the books we’ve done so far are at the end of this post.

At that first meeting, a couple of the girls were sick, but the rest of us met and ate entirely too much food (I still dream about the salad bar that Kristen brought). And then settled in to talk about the book. We started with “Did you like the book?” but by the end of it were talking about much deeper stuff, brought there by some of the things the author had written and other things that we’d felt based on what she wrote and how she wrote it.

You guys, my little book nerd heart was so happy…

I don’t know what it was specifically, or if it was a combination of a lot of things. I loved having this time with my friends. I loved that we’d all read the same book. I loved that it sparked discussions of all sorts. I loved that some of us had different opinions and some of us felt strongly one way or another about things. It made me feel somehow more adult – I can’t explain it.

Since that first meeting, we’ve read four more books. We’ve all had all kinds of thoughts and feelings about all of them and the discussions we have had have been as light-hearted as “How were you picturing this character?” or “Were you pronouncing her name this way or that way when you read it?” to “If this was you though, and your child/mother/friend, how would you have reacted?”

It’s been so awesome. And it’s actually pushed all of us to read much more than we had been before we started the Book Club. It’s like suddenly there aren’t enough books and there are too many books all at once.

And I think doing something for five months straight makes it pretty official, so I’m going to go ahead and say we are official. I mean, we even have a Facebook group and a group text, so…

I highly recommend doing something like this with your friends. Maybe it’s not books you talk about. Maybe its a TV show? Maybe you knit or something? Or scrapbook? (I don’t have the patience for those last two but really appreciate those who do, just FYI).

Whatever it is, it’s essential. I consider this a form of self-care. It’s something I look forward to every month and something that makes me happy.

And I’m reading books I may never have picked for myself, so I’m finding new genres I may like which just gives me that many more books to choose from at the bookstore. Which means I have to poop again.

Book Reviews:

October – We Are Never Meeting in Real Life, Samantha Irby
She’s a good writer, don’t get me wrong, but I finished the book feeling bad for her. It wasn’t because of what had happened to her through her life, it was that she was really sad, or seemed to be. The whole book was so self-deprecating. I don’t mind that, in moderation, but when you seem to dislike yourself that much, how am I supposed to like you? I was disappointed because lots of bloggers and writers I follow on Twitter had raved about this book and I basically just tried to get through it.

November – The Girl Before, JP Delaney
This wasn’t a good book. It had an interesting premise, and yes I continued because Book Club but also kinda because I wanted to know what happened next, but at times it veered into Fifty Shades/Twilight territory and it wasn’t really written well so I don’t recommend. Also, thus far it’s the only book we’ve read written by a male author.

 

December – When We Were Worthy, Marybeth Mayhew Whalen ⭐⭐
This book was the first one we’d read I liked. It was a decent story, by a much better writer than the previous month. Small-town drama and a couple twisty things I liked, 8/10 would recommend for a beach read.

 

 

 

January – Little Fires Everywhere, Celeste Ng ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I really, really liked this book. I’d read some of Celeste Ng’s writing before, and saw this book on like, ALL the “Best of” lists from 2017 so had high hopes. She didn’t disappoint – it was good from start to finish, and though I had the flu the day the girls met, I was FaceTime-d in for some of the discussion, which was definitely the best one we’ve had since we started the club. There’s some serious, complicated stuff in that book and it was awesome to hear everyone’s views on it.

 

February – Rabbit: The Autobiography of Ms. Pat, Patricia Williams
I haven’t started it yet because it’s fairly short and I want it fresh on my mind when we meet for Book Club, which isn’t until the end of the month. Some of the girls have finished it already though and like it a lot, so I’m excited.

 

 

Happy reading, friends!

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New year, who dis

I’ve never been one to make a big deal out of New Year’s Eve. Sure, my friends and I have had some awesome parties for it and there was that one time on Bardstown Road, but really, it’s just another day/night for me.

I do try to think of a resolution of some sort – usually involving some sort of cleanse after the massive amounts of eating done during the holidays. And by resolution I mean like 25 things I’m going to start doing, stop doing, or do more of in the year ahead. Because #overachiever.

Then we get to like, day 4 of the new year and I haven’t done any of the things I said I would (or I have even though I swore I’d stop) and the anxiety kicks in. Welp, the year’s a waste. You fucked up. Set the bar too high, try again next year. Because I am nothing if not really easy on myself…

It is fun to go around the room before the countdown begins on Dec. 31 and hear what everyone’s best moment of the year was or what they want to do looking ahead. But for someone like me, who is a ball of anxiety at all times, it can also be a little bit stressful.

Now before you remind me that NOBODY is making it stressful for me but me let ME remind YOU that DUH. That’s what anxiety is. Hi. Welcome.

And it’s not like, the soul-crushing anxiety I get from other things like choosing a good Halloween costume or baking something (more on that here on the blog soon). But it’s me wanting myself to do better. To be better.

Don’t get me wrong, life is steadily improving for me year after year.

Aside: As more and more people I know are joining me in the over-30 club, I am telling them (and meaning it) that my 30s have been so much better and more fun and awesome than my 20s ever were. So, you’ve got that to look forward to, youngins.

But even though life is getting better – I’m getting better – there are still things that gnaw at me. Things I want to start doing: learning how to cook better, taking compliments without deflecting them somehow, giving money to the offering at church. And things I want to stop: being so hard on myself for basically everything, taking other peoples’ bullshit personally, wasting nice days indoors doing nothing.

And I don’t know if it’s the anxiety or the mild OCD or what, but for some reason I seem to get in my head that these things can ONLY be started/stopped at the beginning of a year or else they don’t matter as much. Because I AM THE WEIRDEST.

Here’s the thing though. Couldn’t tell you what my 2017 resolution was if I tried. Maybe I wrote it down somewhere? But I have no idea what my plan was for last year and if I accomplished it. Let’s say I did, just for fun.

I tweeted Dec. 31 that one of my goals for the year was to write every day. I wrote Jan. 1 and 2 but on the 3rd I didn’t make time for it. FAILURE. REDO. START THE YEAR OVER, RESOLUTION IS BROKEN. And that’s when I realized I was going about all of it the wrong way.

All kidding aside – my goal/resolution/what have you, for the past few years has been to take care of me. To get me better – mentally, physically, everything. And that’s been an uphill battle sometimes but I 100 percent believe that the person you see before you today is far and away more healthy than she was a few years ago. I’ll have a story for you soon re: dating that will show you just how much, actually.

I talked resolutions with my cousins and sisters at our family Christmas and everyone mentioned what they were going to try and do or not do this year. One of my cousins said her plan for the year was the same as it was every year – to kick ass.

That’s all. To KICK ASS. Not: “Make sure to eat vegetables with every meal.” or “Go to the gym 4 times a week.” or “Volunteer 40 hours a month.” It was simple. Kick. Ass.

That’s all any of us should strive for, right?

At church recently, the message was about purpose. And getting up every day and saying “Alright, what are we going to do today to live out our purpose?” And he wasn’t talking about your job, or your volunteering or anything like that. He was talking about “What are you going to do today to live out being YOU.” Because that’s our purpose.

And to do that, you have to first be OK with yourself. Be nice to yourself, accept that maybe you can’t do it all. But you can do some. And you can continuously try and get better every day. And that’s a resolution that doesn’t have to start or stop when the date changes.

So, I’m stealing my cousin’s resolution. And continuing down the path I started a couple years back. I’m going to kick ass this year. I can’t wait to see what that looks like.

49 thoughts I have had while at the gym

Can I just say, it’s amazing how much more motivation you have when you quit a job you hate and actually want to get out of bed in the morning again.

Two days after I left that job, I was a member at a gym up the road from my house: Planet Fitness, which I refer to as the gym for people who hate going to gyms. I say that, I think, because the only mirrors in that place are in the bathroom. That’s what it takes for me to like a gym. It’s bad enough I can see what I look like when I’m running and mouth-breathing in the reflection of the TV, I don’t need a mirror too.

Anyways. I go at least 3 times a week and I’ve made some observations during my time there, which I’ll share with you in list form below in a bit of stream-of-consciousness. Read at your own risk.

1. That man is riding the stationary bike in jeans. God bless him, that can’t be comfortable.
2. I should turn the TV on, even though I’m watching Netflix on my Kindle. No need to see what I look like whilst running.
3. This is the fourth time I’ve started Couch to 5K. Maybe fourth time’s the charm?
4. I cannot come in last at the 5K Sara is doing before her wedding and I’ve committed to because then I am the lazy bridesmaid.
5. Really? 40 other treadmills open and you choose the one beside me, lady having a loud cell phone conversation while she walks?
6. Thank God for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. It makes me pay absolutely no attention to how long I have been running.
7. Peeno Noir. Midsize Car. Caviar.
8. Did all the other people around me just hear me LOL at this show?
9. I want to start a fundraiser for getting these old men workout clothes. This guy’s wearing khakis!
10. Why does your stomach feel weird when you run?
11. My biggest fear is a fart while running. Also a fart during yoga, but good thing I don’t do yoga, except for that one time.
12. My workout pants are falling down while I run. New biggest fear: Showing ass at the gym.
13. Titus Andromedon is my spirit animal.
14. I need to double up on sports bras when I run.
15. I seriously fought with myself over coming today and why? I’m always glad to be working out when I’m actually here.
16. Could I fit a treadmill somewhere in my condo? Would it make the downstairs neighbors hate me?
17. I am sweating from every pore in my body right now.
18. Week 5 is not as scary as I remember it being last time.. #progress
19. *looks longingly at stair-stepper machine* One day, I will not be afraid to try you out.
20. I could do the star-stepper today.
21. Better not.
22. I’m coming for you, stair-stepper.
23. Arm machines. Let me just move the pin from where the previous user did 110 pounds….down to….30.
24. Ooh this machine makes you basically stare at someone’s stomach while they’re on the elliptical. That’s not awkward at all.
25. My boobs are smooshed by it too, cool.
26. Let’s try 40 pounds on this one.
27. This machine isn’t too bad.
28. Tomorrow my arms will be like jellyfish tentacles flailing about.
29. This leg machine looks easy enough. Let’s do like 60 pounds on this one.
30. Holy shit I broke my butt.
31. I can’t walk now.
32. Back machine – I can do 110 pounds on this one, so suck it heavy-lifters.
33. Ludacris Pandora is distracting me from counting my reps because it’s so damn good. Every. Single. Song!
34. I need to invest in workout attire with some sort of pockets.
35. Will boob sweat damage my iPhone?
36. Another arm machine that smooshes the boobs. Whyyyyyy?
37. Just realized I was singing Eminem out loud. Whoops.
38. I’ve been coming here for two months. Why are my arms still this weak?
39. I should do kickboxing.
40. I don’t have the money to do kickboxing.
41. I know nothing about kickboxing either. Do you kick and punch?
42. “I like to kick. And stretch. And kick.”
43. I have 8 SNL episodes on my DVR. Should get on that.
44. Oooh and like 4 episodes of Dateline.
45. I guess I’m done. I think? I feel good, but sweaty, but good.
46. When I have more money I’m upgrading so I can use the massage tables.
47. That’s a genius idea to have those here.
48. Sometimes I just want to sit in that chair at the entrance shaped like a hand and welcome people.
49. I need all the showers.

One Hundred and Eighty

A week from today marks three months since I quit my job and everything changed.

Before June 1, 2015..I couldn’t tell you the last time I was legitimately, not-faking-it, seriously happy. I mean, y’all know. You’ve read this blog. How many times have I talked about my depression and anxiety and the toll it was taking on me?

(Answer: Three or four, I think).

Friends, I write to you from the other side…. and it is amazing.

Disclaimer: I’m not “cured” of depression and anxiety. That doesn’t happen. Nor do I want it to. It’s part of who I am and I’ve learned how to live with it.

The thing is.. now? It’s the most under control I’ve ever had it.

It’s ridiculous almost, how much one bad thing in one part of your life can take hold of the rest of it and completely bring you down. And I fully believe that one thing was that job.

So much has happened since the day I walked out of that office and breathed a huge sigh of relief because I never had to return to it. And now, I’m going to catch you up on (almost all of) it.

First of all, I only really had a week in there where I wasn’t sure what I would do. It was that first week after I quit, and it ended up serving as a little vacation, as much as you can call it that. I slept in a few days, but mostly I spent it trying to figure out my next move. Plus I went to that interview within two hours of quitting (that didn’t end up panning out but softened the blow of freaking out about income until I heard back haha).

Luckily, within the second week, I had not one but two amazing friends who stepped up and offered me things to do part-time. I’ve thanked them both about 100 times but probably will continue to, because they saved me a ton of stress in this interim. One of those jobs potentially could end up becoming full-time and I would take it in a heartbeat, because I’ve loved what I’ve been doing for them.

Not long after that, I got a three-day-a-week baby-sitting job through a friend of a friend. And then recently, I got a couple more regular baby-sitting gigs.

I got a part-time job running social media for probably my favorite restaurant in the city.

And soon, I will start work with one of my athletes from Special Olympics as a CLS worker, helping get him out of the house and involved in the community, working with him on budgeting and getting to appointments, finding employment and going back to school and just spending time with him.

I have said at least five times that I am basically Kirk from Gilmore Girls – which if you don’t get, I’m sorry, but this video should help some.

There’s been a little stress about the job and about money off and on, but I’ve managed to get every bill paid, even if they were a little late once.

I’ve gotten by, cutting back on things I don’t need while not becoming a hermit. I have paid much more attention to any signs I see about earning money — during a particularly stressful week, I saw a couple lost dog signs in my neighborhood offering rewards and thought about dedicating a few days to nothing but finding those dogs because that made all the sense. And money.

Here’s the thing though. That stress? Nothing compared to the stress I felt when I was at a job that made more than enough to pay my bills. Weird how that works.

What else… I have gotten a ton of stuff done for youth group-related events because I finally have time to work ahead. I got to go on a week-long trip with them to Montreat, which I am so grateful for because of the impact it had on every single one of us who attended.

I have become about 5 times more involved in Special Olympics, which I’ll discuss in another post soon.

A friend from elementary/high school got in touch with me early on this summer to join a group that focuses on accountability with getting healthier. It’s proved an awesome motivation for me and I can’t thank her enough. I have regularly hit up the gym, so much so that I need new workout clothes because mine fall off me. I’m not really a fan of my current situation, holding up my workout pants while I run, but it’s a damn good problem to have.

Everyone notices a difference in me overall. I was miserable before and it wasn’t hidden. At least 3 friends have said how much better I am to be around these days and I agree. I am happier to be around myself too.

The other night someone asked “So how are you? Are you ok?” And I said, with no sarcasm or irony or anything – “I am the happiest I have been in a very long time.” And I meant it.

As of June 2, 2015, I was venturing into the unknown, more excited than scared. I had no clue where any of it would lead. But going into it with the attitude that I would be OK and I would get better has made all the difference, because that’s what has happened.

I can’t say it enough, or really even in the right way I don’t think, but the support and love I’ve gotten since I made that decision almost 3 months ago have helped me maintain this new (old) way of living and looking at things. I am very blessed to have the friends and family I do.

Besides those that love me helping me in basically every way they could, keeping busy has been most helpful in preventing me from sliding into the sadness that could have come out of that decision June 1. There’s not a day that goes by I don’t have something to do that is either helping pay my bills or making me happy or both. And it’s usually both. Crazy, right?

When I wrote about my decision on Facebook, it got almost 200 likes and a ridiculous amount of comments. ALL of them supportive. One that stuck out especially to me was from a good friend’s mother: “You will be surprised where you are lead. It will be awesome.”

I was and it is. And I can’t wait to see what’s next.

The Tinder Chronicles Pt. 2

You guys, it’s hard to date these days. Anyone who says otherwise, well, send them my way then, because I obviously need a coach. Where’s Hitch when you need him?

I don’t remember exactly when I got it but I have been on Tinder, I believe, for about 10 months now. And it’s been an adventure.

I’m definitely learning a lot about what I like and don’t like (even more so than I already knew). And it’s simultaneously done wonders for my self-esteem while confusing the ever-loving shit out of me.

A few trends I’ve noticed/questions I have:

– Why have a Tinder profile if it has 0 pictures on it? This app begins (and ends sometimes unfortunately) with looks.

– Why have all of your pictures be of groups of three or more guys? I cannot tell which one is you, nor do I want to try because you have no bio information either.

– Your dogs are cute, but that’s not what’s gonna get me to swipe right.

– Are you trying to get more followers or a hookup? Because really, your Snapchat, Kik and Instagram info in your bio? What’s your angle?

– At least 40 percent of you look like serial killers.

– There are SO MANY COUPLES looking for a third. No thanks.

– It says you have four pictures, yet they are ALL THE SAME PICTURE.

– If you have a newborn in your picture, I’m assuming your wife/gf doesn’t know about your Tinder account, or she does and you all want a third, or you JUST HAD A BABY AND YOU’RE LOOKING FOR A HOOKUP.

– There are definitely 15-year-olds who made a fake account saying they’re 30.

– Why are all your pics in bathroom mirrors?

– Why is your shirt off in every one? Save something for later – be a little mysterious.

– Stop using memes as your profile pic.

– That’s so not your real name.

Now. About the all the “fun” I’ve had. I’m still too poor for Match, because unemployed. And I’m not all that worried about meeting someone at the moment, because getting a job again is priority numero uno. The bills don’t stop comin’, y’all.

There was the guy I swiped right despite only having one pic of himself and it was from far away. I liked his bio – we had a lot of similar interests. He messages me, starting a regular conversation….for about 3 minutes. Then, wouldn’t ya know it? He’s just here from out of town for the week for work and he’s at his hotel and lonely. Oh, and he added another pic, closer up, and his teeth are jacked.

Pause. I am not shallow. Personality is most important for me, for real. Because there have been really attractive guys who I could be with who have the worst personality so it didn’t happen. And I don’t have a type. But I have one requirement: Have good teeth.

They don’t have to be perfect. But if it looks like you’ve done meth/are related to a horse/been in a lot of fights where you got punched in the mouth, then I’m sorry. I can’t.

Anyways. Back to hotel boy. He would NOT let up. “Wish you were here babe.” Dude – all you know about me is my name and the limited info in my bio. You have not earned calling me anything but my first name and really? For all you know I could be a serial killer…providing that you aren’t already (see list above).

UNMATCHED.

Then there was Snapchat Boy. He seemed normal enough long enough for me to be OK with exchanging Snapchat names but no phone number yet, which was so dumb on my part because despite me sending a couple pics of myself sitting on the couch (FULLY CLOTHED), it took 2.5 seconds for him to send me a naked pic.

BLOCKED AND UNMATCHED.

There was this dude from the Navy who I actually saw out in the world a few days after we’d talked but didn’t go up to him because that felt weird plus I was working at the Derby at the time. He lived a couple hours away and wanted Derby booty though.

UNMATCHED.

I went to get coffee with this guy named Charlie… and solidified that not only can I not date someone who has the same name as the dog I had, but that when your gut tells you they’re weird, a coffee date will not change that.

UNMATCHED.

While we’re naming names, there was Seth, who seemed really cool for like a week (a record in Tinder world – though there is one I have talked to still on occasion for a few months now but nothing more). Seth was complimentary, actually wanted to know more about me than wanted to see pictures (usually it’s the opposite). We talked about some serious stuff that had happened to both of us – he was a recovering addict, he said.

We got to the point of asking last names (SERIOUS) and did a bit of Facebook stalking of each other, admittedly. So far so good, still. Until two days later when I guess he forgot to hide the latest post he was tagged in WITH HIS GIRLFRIEND.

BLOCKED and UNMATCHED.

There was Channing (not Tatum) and a few others who started out well enough but wanted me to come over within 10 minutes of saying hi so they all got unmatched real quick.

One I mentioned above – we went on a couple lunch dates and kissed in his car but that was that really. And another turned into texting for a bit but just kinda fizzled out.

And then, there was this next guy. I wish so much that I was making this up, but unfortunately, I’m not.

I don’t even remember his name because I am still trying to block the experience from memory.

He was cute, and a musician, according to his bio. We had some similar interests and he had a friend in common with me allegedly, from Facebook.

Oh, he was a musician alright, I realized when we began talking. A CIRCUS musician. In fact, according to him, he was on the train right now, feeling lonely.

PAUSE. Do they really travel on trains like in Dumbo and children’s books? I am not a fan of the circus or anything about it so I may be dumb here. But in my mind I’m assuming this guy is going to murder me on a train.

I asked him if he was full of shit – was he really a traveling circus musician? Is that really a thing? And you live on a train? No way.

He says yep to all of the above and, oh, how’s this for proof, his “neighbor” on the train is an actual CLOWN.

Him: “How does that sound?”

Me: “FUCKING TERRIFYING.”

He unmatched me when I asked if this scenario has worked for him often.

I deleted the app from my phone for a bit because I was tired of weirdos. Then went back because it is true what they say, it can be good for your self-esteem, plus when I’m on there, these blogs write themselves.

I need to be taking screenshots of some of these for Tinder Nightmares, which you should be following on Instagram because it’s awesome.

I’m not holding my breath on meeting anyone from there but you never know. Maybe one day I’ll be telling my grandkids the story of how their grandpa and I both swiped right and he didn’t bring up dragons, clowns, or ask for a pic exchange.

One can dream, right?

31 thoughts one has whilst their AC is on the fritz

1. It’s kind of hot in here.

2. Yeah, I’m sweating.

3. It’s kind of like a sauna.

4. THE THERMOSTAT SAYS 84.

5. I did not set it on 84.

6. Lemme just turn it way, way down, that should work, right?

7. (Hour later) Nope. Not working.

8. The good thing about home ownership and living by yourself, you can walk around your place naked or close to it.

9. I really need to get curtains for my living room.

10. How many more nights can I go sleeping whilst sweating?

11. Like, I sweat in my sleep even when the AC isn’t messed up.

12. Sleeping naked isn’t bad though.

13. This condo is now a sweat lodge.

14. I think I just hallucinated.

15. One should not have to reapply deodorant in their house this much.

16. Oh, it went down to 83, that’s good.

17. Nope, back up to 84.

18. Maybe if I sit really still it won’t be so bad.

19. You can sweat even when you’re not moving.

20. I’ve drunk (drank?) all the water.

21. Why does drank sound like it’s not a word right now?

22. Maybe I’m still hallucinating.

23. Well there’s a big chunk of ice on the AC unit, so the air is going somewhere.

24. Let me just message my HVAC pro friends.

25. Yeah something’s officially wrong with the AC that no amount of turning up or down can fix.

26. Payday is Friday.

27. I might be delirious/a puddle on the floor by then.

28. I could just stand in front of the open freezer door a while.

29. Or go outside.

30. Nope, definitely the same temperature outside as in.

31. Time to text Chuck.

(Getting out of) my own way

There’s an underrated movie – the sequel to “Get Shorty.” It’s called “Be Cool” and if you haven’t watched it, you should. Even though he’s extra creepy now, John Travolta does alright in it – but the better parts in it are any featuring Vince Vaughn, The Rock or Andre 3000. Best parts (in my opinion) are in the video below (very best is right about the 6:15 mark).

Anyways. Be Cool. The phrase, not the movie, has been on my mind lately. Because, wouldn’t ya know it, one of the hardest things someone with anxiety can try to do or be told to do is “be cool.”

I wish I could tell you that after my last long post – you know, the one about Tinder and being single and finding love and all that – I’ve been MIA because that boy who asked me the trivia question and I fell in love and were living happily ever after.

Not quite.

We hung out, a couple of times. Until it became apparent (which it should have earlier) that he had different ideas about what we were than I did. Which is fine. If it weren’t for the games it took to get to that point. And some other things I won’t add here. And part of it, I will admit, was my own fault, because, silly me, I expected him to want to talk to me and get to know me more than he actually did.

So back to it, right?

Yes, but with stipulations. This next time, no games. And if they say some weird stuff up front, THAT IS A SIGN, LAURA. That meant weeding out guys like the dude who messaged me and asked me to do something I hope no one ever asks me to again because that’s the SECOND time in my life that’s happened and, REALLY?? No thank you.

There is this one though. We’ve texted for a while now. And have attempted to go out three times, two of which were on the days where we got the most snow we’ve gotten in years because OF COURSE WE DID. Thanks, Universe. First time I get a date in a while and you dump a foot of snow on us. Twice. Point taken.

Anyways. So far so good, which means that’s when it gets harder to be cool. And harder to stop worrying so damn much. And harder to stop getting in my own way – second guessing texts or words or as sometimes can happen, lack thereof. I have to remind myself, out loud sometimes, that I am good enough, that I am worth pursuing and being with and stuff like that because this thing that I have – my mind – is doubting me and second guessing me at every turn. By the way, if I don’t remind myself, I have others that are doing it for me, my unofficial life coaches, if you will.

I haven’t had the best luck in relationships. When I got to a point not too long ago where I thought I had, I was wrong, yet again. I guard myself quite fiercely anymore, so when someone gets in, they’re in. Which makes them deciding to leave that much harder.

I’m not punishing people going forward for what others did to me in the past. That’s a new rule. As is the one about being yourself and if they don’t like it they’re not gonna be worth your time anyway.

The fact that I’m writing an entire blog post about it may show I’m thinking about it too much which is breaking the cardinal rule of being cool. But it’s because I want to do things right. I’ve waited a long time for good things in the relationship department, and if I can stay out of my own way, maybe I’ll get them.

Can I blame the weather, partially, for this too? This winter has been miserable, and when you live with already heightened (or lowered, I guess) emotions, it can take even more of a toll. When you only want to stay in bed or on the couch (which is basically your default anyway) because it’s too cold or gross to go out, you have too much time to think. Thus the analyzing and “should I have said this and that” and “I wonder if that was stupid” or dumb things like that.

And then sometimes you drink a 45-ounce margarita and it gets worse.

Long story short – I am trying to be cool. Some days it works better than others. Some days the lies my subconscious tells me are quieter than others.

Dating is hard, kids. Dating in the social media age and when everyone communicates mainly by typed out words is harder. Dating when you have an anxiety issue is hardest.

I refuse to be a hot mess though. And I refuse to rush into anything or settle for the sake of being with someone/anyone.

So. Baby steps. And reminding myself to be cool.

Tinderella

Once upon a time, like in any fairy tale, your heroine had had just about enough of trying to date the regular way. Fresh off the latest situation that had started out great and ended horribly (as they all do in these stories), she decided to try something new, because what the hell.

And by new, I mean free.

I’ve tried online dating a time or two before. And got frustrated. Mainly because I was having to PAY to be frustrated. No thank you.

Then I heard about Tinder. Free, and you only got a message (or the ability to message), if you both clicked that you liked the other person. Perfect, especially since in a fit of loneliness and too much rum I signed up for Plenty of Fish and was immediately sent four messages by two guys in their mid-50s (I do have an age limit) as well as one former magistrate, of a city I used to cover who obviously didn’t remember me and hit on me and he looks like a fat Hitler and I’m pretty sure has a felony record/is on the run from the law.

I made a profile, picked my best pictures (because it’s all about looks here, folks, ultimately and unfortunately). I reminded myself to be open-minded and picky but not PICKY. I tried to come up with the best short description of myself as I could and off we went.

For all its craziness I’ve encountered thus far, I will say Tinder can be awfully good for the self-esteem. Within minutes, guys I’d swiped right (that’s 2014/15 speak for liked/approved of) had apparently done the same for me because I had about 5 matches.

“Oh this’ll be good,” I thought to myself, trying to figure out if I wanted to message any of them first or if I’d wait and for once, not be the one doing any chasing.

Lo and behold, I got one.

Here’s how romantic it was…

Him: “Do you like dragons?”
Me: “Sure, I suppose.”
Him: “Good, because I’ll be dragon these balls across your face later.”

And then we got married and lived happily ever after.

PSYCHE.

There were the two separate military guys that each wanted me to drive down to meet them at a hotel outside Ft. Knox. We talked some, but nothing ever came of either one.

(New rule after too many long-distance things… wait for the one that wants to come to YOU.)

There was one that was looking for a dominatrix, basically, that I had to pass on as well.

Oh, and the one that after being normal for an hour and a half got my number and asked if I wanted to hook up, THAT NIGHT no less, and unmatched me immediately after on the site when I said that I was fine with just talking for now.

There’ve been a few high points – I’ve texted with a few, some for several weeks. But nothing so far has become anything more than that. But the stories and potential blog material are enough to keep me going.

Like this exchange with one:

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Yeah, why is his name like that in my phone? Well, because those are the three words that described him. He shares a Tinder account with two of the other guys who (in their mid-30s) dress like Ghostbusters all the time and often just go out to bars like that.

I’m all for cosplay, first of all, but this was a bit much, when he LITERALLY could not talk about anything else. And if I saw GB (Ghostbusters, duh) one more time I was going to scream. So I tried to give him the benefit of the doubt. I gently (which is hard for me, Queen of Bluntness), asked him to tell me some NON-GB stuff about himself.

Outside of the dressing up regularly as a movie character and going to the bars in town I despise, he seemed like a pretty decent guy. I was reaching, I know, but I gave him a chance. EVEN when he said he didn’t wanna have kids, ever, as seen above, which is a huge thing for me (because I want them. Multiple ones).

Obviously, however, as all good love stories do, it ended (for him anyway, it had ended for me a while before) when he randomly texted me two weeks after we hadn’t talked. In the text he told me he was getting back with his ex, because “People keep telling me to.” Well, that’s as good a reason as any, buddy, have a good one. Also please lose my number. And now I can never watch Ghostbusters again.

As I said before, I’ve tried to be open-minded. And I still am..haven’t given up completely. But these guys aren’t making it easy.

I’ve seen FOUR (count ‘em) guys I graduated high school with and three more that I knew in high school but were in grades above or below mine. I’ve seen 2 ex-boyfriends/hookups and four people I am friends with and see regularly or semi-regularly. So there’s that.

And I’ve noticed some trends.

— There are some 13-year-olds posting their age as 27 but then posting their actual pictures and blowing their own cover.
— There are a lot of weird names out there. Or definitely made up. And I don’t think I’ll date a white redneck boy named Trae, sorry. There are names I can’t get past.
— If you have four pics but they’re all the same picture – swipe left (means no for the uninitiated/uninformed).
— If your pic is a close-up of your eye I will think you are a serial killer.
— There are a ridiculous amount of open relationships (alleged, anyway) and couples looking for threesomes. Swipe left.
— I like tattoos, a lot. But if the only one you have is one on your back saying “Powder” and you can’t explain it, that’s a turn off.

So. We’ll see how it goes and what happens next. Will I find love? Stay tuned. For now, I have to go respond to the message I just got saying “What’s the square footage of Amazon?” Because that’s what happens if your bio says you know a lot of mindless trivia.

Wish me luck.

Wild Man Charlie

So the last time I actually sat down and wrote something for this blog was in September. And it was about my family’s dog, Lucy.

The reason I haven’t really written since September also has to do with a dog. Only this time it’s my dog. That I am solely in charge of.

Yes you heard that right. Let me start at the beginning. But first, here he is, Charlie, the monster. Note the resemblance to the dog from “Up.”

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There hasn’t been a time in the past few years, that I haven’t been searching for a puppy. Especially before I moved back home with Mom and Dad, and again when I moved out. I can’t tell you how many times I visited the Kentucky Humane Society website and imaginary-adopted puppies/dogs.

I had to stop after a while because I was saving money and they were looking more and more affordable and I wasn’t ready for all that yet. Home first, then, once I figured out how to be a homeowner, I’d be a pet owner.

But life doesn’t work that way. And I’m so glad it doesn’t.

Late in the summer, I puppy-sat for my cousin, Blake, and his girlfriend, Amanda’s dog, Molly. She’s a black lab and she’s adorable and crazy and I had her for a week while they went to the beach.

Despite the two days she peed in the house and the night she tore her entire bed into tiny little pieces, I realized I really liked having some company in my house, especially the four-legged kind.

I told Amanda and Blake as much when they got back to pick Molly up, and mentioned if they knew anyone looking to give up a dog to a good home, to let me know, meanwhile, the trolling of the Humane Society site and the imaginary adoptions began again.

Fast-forward to mid-September. Amanda texted me, wanting to know if I’d be interested in a 9-month-old Golden Retriever puppy. Golden Retriever, as in the only kind of dog I’ve ever had, the kind I one day wanted, no matter how much I looked at other breeds of dogs and tried to convince myself otherwise.

The puppy was a boy, named Charlie. And he’d had a rough time. His owners, a young couple, had gotten him around the same time they had a baby. Now they’d broken up, and the girl couldn’t keep him. And she didn’t want to leave him with the guy, because he’d been beating up on Charlie with a belt.

I didn’t hear anything after that. I said I’d take him. I think she mentioned he was free, and house-trained, and they’d bring his food and a crate and his leash to me Sunday if that would work and he’d had his shots….

Gone was the idea of getting this tiny little baby puppy and naming him Hank, because I’d for some reason gotten stuck on that name, and no it’s not because of Breaking Bad.

Also these are the three pics she sent me to “try and convince me” and honestly after that one with the snow came through I may have passed out:

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So the day we met…

On our first walk, Charlie tried to choke himself. It was the scariest thing I’ve ever witnessed and I am really glad I wasn’t alone because I would have lost it.

You see, in prep for him to come live with me, I didn’t get him a new collar. I figured he had one, and he did, but it was a shitty one. It was one of those chains and since he’s a puppy and he was anxious and he didn’t know better yet, he pulled and pulled and it got too tight. He started walking like he was drunk and sat down hard on the ground and that’s when we realized it and loosened it up. That’s also when I felt like the shittiest dog owner ever. Great start, right?

We tried the crate for a while, and he hated it. It lasted approximately two weeks.

He only pooped in the house once that first week, and I blame Rachel. She got him too excited and he started going and then we yelled for him to stop and he ran, while still pooping, and like it often is with gross stuff that happens when Rach and I are together, I cleaned it up while she kept him occupied.

Those first few weeks months were more hard than not. I was dealing with a dog that had been through some bad stuff, and didn’t know how to handle it. He was taken to a new home, completely different environment. Was still a PUPPY. I think that was the hardest part. I was a kid when we’d first had both of our dogs at Mom and Dad’s. Mom handled the training and we just got to play with the puppy. I had no clue.

He chewed so much stuff. He jumped on the couch, which I first tried to stop but then gave up on. #chooseyourbattles

Like I said, he hated the crate, so when that was no longer an option, he stayed in the part of my house that has no carpet, because it was easier to clean. Then we dealt with his separation anxiety – I was in my bedroom where I wasn’t allowing him, and he was pissed and stressed. So for a while, I had to set up this elaborate thing that kept him out of the living room while I put the gate in front of my bedroom because he could PUSH IT OPEN.

Did I mention he’s just turning one this month and came to me the size of a bear? So, reallll easy to control…

Yeah.

So this all sounds like he was a pain, doesn’t it? Well, most — 98 percent — can be attributed to me, having not been a puppy owner. I had no idea how to train him. Add to that all his other anxieties and fears from his last home and, well, yeah, there were many frustrated texts to my mom.

And thennnnnn we got training. Once a week, we’d meet at the pet store with other dogs and learn manners and tricks and how to behave, kind of.

The first two nights at training I cried after. He was so scared, and I hated it for him. He doesn’t like other dogs and it took all my strength to keep him from running at them, even on his leash. He didn’t sit the entire first two classes either. He stood, and panted. I thought he’d never feel or do any better.

And then he did.

Every week at that training he got better and better, learning things so fast and one week, he was the only one who went through the tunnels on the first try. I was a proud momma. We got “Most Improved” at the end of our classes.

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And things got better and better at home, too. He got more used to me and his house and what he was and wasn’t allowed to do and we worked on things.

Some days are still hard, because he’s still a puppy and still had a hard time before me. And because I’m the only one who lives with him and have to be gone some weeks more than others.

But the good outweighs the bad now and I cannot remember life before him. And don’t want to. There was one night that was particularly hard. I ended up crying on the floor of the entryway after a call to my dad about how hard it had been that day with Charlie had resulted in him saying “If it’s too hard and you need to give up, people will understand.”

So I sat on the floor, crying and petting Charlie. And he licked the tears off my face and I kept saying “I’m NOT giving up on you.”

And I won’t.

Now, he sleeps at the end of my bed – sometimes on the floor, sometimes on my feet. He doesn’t pull on walks, he listens (most of the time). He cuddles in the morning. He watches shows with me. He’s a different dog than when I first got him. But so much is still the same. I don’t want to change him, I just want him to feel better and more comfortable and happy. And we’re getting there, every day.

I miss him when I’m not home, and I kind of want to get him a vest to take him everywhere like a service dog, but he behaves NOTHING like a service dog, so that would last about 3 seconds.

He came to live with me at a time when my depression was starting to get a little bit bad again and despite the stressful parts, he helped me, so much. Nothing gets you over and distracted from your own anxieties and bullshit like having to take care of another living thing.

If you want to see an obsessive amount of pics, follow me on Instagram. And look at the pictures in the slideshow at the bottom of this post.

But for now, some important lists, because, do you remember who’s writing this?

Things Charlie has chewed up and/or chewed a hole in:
– Two comforters
– Part of a mattress pad
– Carpet
– Pair of yoga pants
– Three shirts
– A pen
– The curtain that hangs on the window on my front door and all the pieces that hold it up
– A pillow
– Two towels
– $10 cash

Nicknames he has accrued:
– Wild Man Charlie (From his training class teacher)
– Charles
– Chahles (said w/British accent)
– Charlie (also said with British accent)
– Babe
– Baby
– Bubbie
– Bubba
– Bub
– Buddy
– Turd

In all seriousness though, he’s the best. And he’s my buddy, and I will forever be grateful that I was thought of when he needed a new, good home.

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Big life changes – its about time


Ohhhhhh 2014…

(Hey there, btw. I realize I have been slacking on this whole writing in this blog that I love and miss and think about all the time but have been a little busy for. Never fear. I’m back, bitchezzz..)

OK so in 2014, a few major things happened.

Numero uno: I turned 30

Dos: I bought a friggin’ condo.

Three: I got myself a puppy.

WHAT???!?!?!

Yeah it was a bit of a busy year. So busy, in fact, that I still haven’t gotten curtains for my living room. But, the blog’s higher on the priority list right now. I can live without curtains a little longer. I’m almost never naked in my living room.

ANYWAY. Focus.

Today we’re gonna talk about home ownership. Because I know about it now. (No worries, the next entry will have the puppy pics…I know my audience).

So about this time last year I started making serious efforts to get out of the parents’ basement. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to live with them or because they did anything to make me want to go. It wasn’t because I didn’t want roommates or free Showtime… 

A personal goal I set was to not be 30 and living in the basement of my parents’ house. If my birthday came and went and I was still there, it better only be because I was waiting on closing on my new place.

And wouldn’t ya know it, third time is the charm. The third time looking for a place to live, I mean.

A family friend from church was my realtor and had been looking off and on for places for me the year I lived with my parents. My ignorant-of-real-estate self only wanted a townhouse for a long time. And I came awfully close to getting one. But then the owner wouldn’t come down on the price and then wanted me to decide on it within like two days or else he’d rent it to someone and I can’t make decisions that fast that involve that much money.

The house-hunting process itself wasn’t too eventful, really, just nothing that I really liked for a while and one townhouse that had concrete floors on the main floor and I’m pretty sure there was a seance room upstairs.

A few years ago I looked at places and fell in love with one. And then I couldn’t afford it and figured I’d never find a place I liked that much again because I am a fatalist.

But then I saw the place I’m in now. Out the window went all my thoughts about only wanting a townhouse. My condo looks and feels like a house, and did from the first second I walked into it.

I was sold pretty close to immediately and made an offer, and wouldn’t ya know it, I could afford it. I could afford one I liked, a lot. Take that, pessimism.

I’ll not bore you with the rest of the process but I will say my hand felt broken from signing my name so many times and it’s really annoying to deal with mortgage companies because they want copies of every time you’ve ever used money, basically.

It’s still a work in progress to some extent to make it completely mine, but since I moved in May 10, it’s felt like home. We’ve already repainted two rooms and I’m planning on some flooring changes and more painting in the next couple of months. But for now, check out my crib (imagine the pictures with awesome zooming effects and maybe listen to your favorite rap song while you look at them so it’s just like MTV).