Monday, February 28, 2011

Photo of the Day: Snowy Bokeh

snowy bokeh

How about a little golden sunlit, snowy bokeh today? I took this last week when it snowed. The snow was coming down and the roomie and I grinned at eachother like 9 year old girls and decided to take a walk. I took my camera and my scarf to protect said camera from the snow, but that's it.

Sometimes, I think, a photograph doesn't need to be detailed and crisp to be beautiful. It can play with light and blur. It can have a narrow depth of field. It goes without saying that I love bokeh. Love it. I would nibble on it if I can, savor it, let it melt on my tongue.

I think I want to print this out and hang it on my wall.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Song Sunday: The Guy That Says Goodbye To You Is Out Of His Mind

I love Griffin House. His voice is dreamy. I want to get tangled up in his hair while he sings this song to me. It's utterly delicious and entirely too good to be true.

Enjoy!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Sexy Saturdays: I like to WIN


People? You don't know what lucky ducks you are. Today one of my fave people is here posting on mah leetle ol' blog! Miss KLZ of Taming Insanity is my blogging idol. I've decided I'm going to be her when I grow up, so I hope she's okay with that. She's a Don in the Nerd Mafia, for one, but she's also one of the nicest most down to earth people you'll ever meet on The Grand Internets. Her blog is a constant source of amusement, whether she's talking about her insanely adorable little boy or smacking down a funny subject with rapier wit. She calls herself a sarcastic pain in the ass. I call her a sarcasm goddess. Too much? Nope. AND? She rocks the reindeer antlers. For realsies.

I'm sure you're going to love her as much as I do. It's impossible not to. Check out her fabulous blog, and follow her on the Twitter and Facebook. Enjoy!

I was thrilled to find that Andy thought I was sexy enough to guest post on Sexy Saturday. But when I started to think about it, I was a bit overwhelmed.

You see, my husband would murder me dead if he found out I was talking about our sex life in detail on the big ol' internet.

So, instead, I decided to focus on college.

Which, uh, was tough. I've only been with four guys in my life.

Hey now, pick your jaws up off the floor and stop judging. It's not that I'm a prude. Not really. It's that I like to WIN.

Most guys? When you sleep with them? Seem to think they've tricked you into something you never wanted. They act like they won the Sex Olympics and you will now doggedly chase their asses after you've gotten a taste of what they have to offer.

I can't stand that shit.

So, I haven't been with a ton of guys. Because I didn't want to see the smug look on their faces when I ran into them later with their friends. I didn't want their friends nudging them or slapping them on the back.

And, most importantly, I didn't want any of them saying "she's into WHAT?" to each other.

So I slept with men I could trust. Which means, at least one wuss.

Or as David likes to say "You sure dated some losers before you met me." So clearly "winning" is a relative term.

The guy I finally gave it up to? Well, let's just say he had a hard time taking it. Or, maybe hard isn't the right word. It was a difficult task for him to accomplish.

He, uh, well, there's no delicate way to say it. He couldn't keep in the wind in his sails. Because his last girlfriend had traumatized him so much. By dumping him. Three years before.

I should have taken the hint and turned tail to run. But I didn't. I thought that would be insensitive of me. I was a total moron.

I'm not sure why my conviction to win at sex meant that somehow I had to give up everything else to men who didn't deserve me. Sure, they wouldn't bag to their friends about nailing me but...I wasn't bragging about nailing them either. Zero sum game.

Which makes me pretty fucking dumb.

Before I got married, I was lucky enough to realize I was acting like an idiot. I remedied that by taking a nice long break from sex.

Since getting married I've found that sex is a lot more fun when I'm not constantly suspicious that someone will be retelling this story later. But it's also a lot more fun when I can let go and be with someone who I actually respect.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Flashback: Animal Farm

I grew up surrounded by animals on an acre of land in the Southern California desert.

It was practically a farm.

We always had a number of dogs and both outside and inside cats. Kittens seemed to be a staple in our house and I can't remember what cats we had when or how many times my dad and I stood outside of the grocery store giving away the mewing furballs. And that's not to mention the many times my friend Rachel would find a cat or dog wandering stray and convince us to adopt it.

Two cockatiels called our house their home for a chunk of time. Zulu, an adult cockatiel showed up on our roof one evening when I was maybe 7 or 8 and started whistling. We put an ad in the paper for a found bird with his photo since someone clearly taught him to whistle, but no one ever claimed him. And now that I think about it, Zulu is kind of a racist name. My mom named him that because she thought he looked like a Zulu warrior.

But Zulu was a biter. He'd bit you whenever you wanted to take him in or out of his cage or feed him. So a bird trainer (or something like that) told my parents he needed a female to "tame" him. So they got a female named Sparkle. What a dumbass name right? Anyway, she was a royal bitch.  The meanest damn bird I'd ever met in my life and have yet to meet. Plus she was constantly laying infertile eggs that she'd abandon and we'd have to fish out of her cage with those gloves people who train police dogs wear.

But I guess it worked in a sense because Zulu became super sweet. When she died, he was like relieved! He's still alive and always whistles at me when I call my dad.

Then there were the chickens and ducks. We had a duck pond which we had to keep separate from the chickens because, you know, chickens can't swim. So there was a fence between them. The ducks would fly over to see the chickens but, clearly, the fat bitties couldn't fly over to the duck pond. Except for one stupid chicken who really, really wanted to be a duck. Loved the ducks. Kept climbing (seriously) over the fence to be with the ducks. Finally she climbed over and tried to swim with them and drowned. It was so sad, but really, she was so damned stupid it was bound to happen.

I also had a horse. Okay, scoff. Get it all out now. I know I know, every little girl wants a horse. But I wasn't a little rich girl or anything. I started riding when I was 18 months old at my cousin Annamaria's horse ranch and when I got old enough, my aunt and uncle helped my parents get me a horse.

Root Beer Float (I named him that) had been mistreated and malnourished and we "took him off the hands" of some people that couldn't afford him. Really it's better that they sold him and they should have done that long before. There was another horse there that was so starving, he'd chewed off Root Beer's tail. Don't worry, it grew back.

This isn't Root Beer. This is Star, my cousin's horse
Root Beer was a small Paint and I could ride him in both Pony and Horse categories. Plus he was super duper sweet. I could ride him bareback and lead him around with a string. He never bucked or bit. Well, he did buck my dad once but that's because my dad was too heavy for him. Root Beer was a good horse.

We also had an aviary, that my Uncle Steve built, of doves right outside my bedroom window. Some of my best memories are waking up to the cooing of doves. But of course the aviary wasn't exactly professionally built so doves were constantly escaping and random little birds were always coming in and eating the food. My dad hated that damn thing. It became the bane of his life. By the time I moved out at 18, I think there was only one dove left.

Then there were the rabbits and hamsters and guinea pigs. We didn't have the hamsters for long because I'm pretty sure one of our cats kept eating them. But my parents told me they just fell down and died. Right. How stupid did they think I was?

And coyotes kept coming up on our porch trying to eat our rabbits. But my dad moved one of our tougher dogs to the back porch and he'd protect them.

And the guinea pigs. Oh how I hate guinea pigs. They're all cute and all. But the squeal. The goddam squeal, the SQUEE SQUEE SQUEE that only guinea pigs make and do all day and night for absolutely no reason whatsoever.


I almost didn't share that video. The sound makes me so irritated. But I needed to share the horror with you. I can still imitate the sound too. If you get me drunk, I'll happily do it for you. I can also imitate Howler Monkeys, in case you're wondering.

What animals did you have? Or did you grow up animal-less? 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Celibacy Fail

I fail.

I mean, I'm not that bummed about failing.

Which is odd since I'm such a winner.

I am. I win at everything.

Don't you wish you could be me?

Ahem.

Anyway, for those of you who are new, I've been doing a celibacy thing. It began at the beginning of January. I don't have the energy to explain it to you, so you can read about it here and here.

I fail because I'm dating someone. I cheated. I cheated on my celibacy. I'm such a cheating cheater and I don't regret it at all. I feel like Richard Chamberlain in the Thorn Birds. Just kidding. I don't feel like that.
it doesn't feel like this either, but she sure looks like she's having a good time
Because this feels right.

So I'm going with it. Will see what happens. Go with the proverbial flow, as it were.

Incidentally, I kind of hate the word flow. Flow. Flooooooow.

Ahem.

I clearly wasn't looking for it. Not the flow, the guy or whatever.

Which I guess was the point of the celibacy thing, to stop looking and reset my radar. It just happened a hellofa lot sooner than I could have even anticipated.

It's so incredibly new that I hesitate to share any more details. All you need to know is he's cute and makes me laugh and seems to be really into me, which, you know, is a quality I highly encourage in those I date. He's been very kind and respectful, which, after the parade of douches in my life, is very nice.

Suffice to say, we're taking it slow and waiting on The Sex, which will also be a learning experience for me. If you've been reading for any time at all, you know the Crazy Lady likes The Sex. Trust. I does. Mama likes it.

But I'm still determined to learn what I set out to learn. I don't have a time frame in mind. Just that I want to wait and see and trust my gut.

So we'll see and I'll keep y'all in the loop.

Don't you hate it when I write short posts? Sorry. I need more angst to write long posts. For your sake, you should hope this doesn't work out for me. Then I'll have lots of angsty things to write about. Just kidding. Don't hope that. That would make me sad. And kind of hate you people. And you want me to love you, I know you do.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Just Say No

I have a confession to make.

I have a new addiction.

This addiction is inexplicable because logically I shouldn't even like it. Logically I hate it.

But addiction defies logic does it not?

The other day, Netflix decided to present to me 5 seasons of evil. 5 seasons of a show I'd never before encountered, all now on instant play.



What is this evil? It is twenty minute segments of not just reality TV (but I'll get to that train wreck in a second), but all that is diabolical and decadent in bridal gown shopping. And. I. Cannot. Stop. Watching.

So why would a woman such as myself be sucked into such a display of hideous ridiculousness? A woman who, by all accounts, despises most everything about "traditional" weddings because of what it all symbolizes. That being property exchange and the idea that a woman is a package to be wrapped up prettily and handed over, all in the guise of romance and fairy tales.

I am diametrically opposed to tulle and corsets and hoops and rhinestones. I think a train on anything other than a track is sorely mistaken.  I hate veils and tiaras, dresses named after mermaids and trumpets and sweethearts.
seriously? she looks like a scrunchy.
Don't get me wrong. I would like to get married at some point. I would. And I don't begrudge you your fairy tale wedding. Whatever makes you happy yo.

But it wouldn't be right for me. At all. It's just not how I'd do it. I'd rather pull out my own toenails and serve them in a stew.

Which is pretty awful, if you ask me.

I'm pretty attached to my toenails.

And then there's the reality TV component. As a rule, I despise reality TV. I briefly worked for a reality TV production company and for VH1 a teensy bit back in 2004. I feel like that qualifies me to preach that if you don't see through the ruse just by watching, once you see behind the scenes a bit, how can you buy that shit? It's utter and total crap.

But this show? Has sucked me in.
eighties music video?
You know why? It makes me feel better about myself.

No matter what I have going on, no matter what's happening on my skin or thighs, no matter what stupid things I say, at least I'm not a bridezilla or maidzilla or mother of the bride or even father of the bride terrorizing the world over thousands of dollars of fabric and beading.

pretty sure this dress was in Showgirls
It seems so ridiculous to me. Therefore I can't get enough.

It's utterly delicious. 

Next time? I'll tell you all about all the many times I've been a bridesmaid. Or how I feel about the diamond trade. Or gay marriage. Or why,  if that day comes, god won't have any place at my wedding.

AKA even more reasons why women everywhere want to burn me at the stake.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Photo of the Day: Papery

papery Ever since I took this, I've been falling in love with it more and more. Maybe that's slightly vain, but whatever. I love the metaphors it carries, the papery leaves left over from winter, the blue sky and new buds in bokeh in the background. It's muted tones and burst of color, old and new, detail and blur. So much in one tiny macro shot.

Monday, February 21, 2011

soaking her in

I wake up a little sick. Wake up feeling blach and blah and blurg and just slightly urf. My my Jeté, my Tator Tot loves it when I'm sick. That means I'm in bed. Not only in one place (because really, how frustrating is it that I just won't stay put?) but in a cozy bed where she can maximize prime cuddle time.

She hops on the bed with a small squeak. Oh yes. It's cuddle time, so I'd better prepare. I move my laptop to the side and wiggle my fingers, the universal sign for "don't you want a nice pet?" She walks around me, trying to find the optimal direction to approach. Once she decides on an approach, she walks gingerly up my body until she can determine the prime location to settle. Today it's apparently right on my stomach with her paws resting on my chest.

I put my hand up to pet her head and she pushes her head into my hand before I can even move. As I stroke her soft head, starting between the eyes and going backward, sometimes cupping my hand over her whole head and over her ears, she starts to get a good purr going.

She has one little white spot right between her eyes, like a third eye. I lightly press my finger there, pushing my love into her. I smooth her incredibly soft, grey fur that I've never, ever felt on another cat. People constantly remark about how soft she is. I can't explain it. She's just a rescue kitty, but she has the hair of a Rex Rabbit. It's long and shiny (because she obsessively cleans it) and downy soft.

I scratch under her chin and she lifts her head back to give me plenty of chin scratching space. I can feel her purring throat under my fingertips. She's beyond purring now. When she gets really happy, the purr turns into a coo. Really. She coos.

I run my hands from her head to her tail, cringing every time I touch the huge lump on her back where it used to be smooth and svelte. She has one square patch of fur that's course and shorter than the rest from her surgical biopsy. I wonder if it will grow out before she's gone.

Oh wait. She starts to get up. Cuddle time is clearly over. At this point she usually gets off me and finds a perfect spot to clean my dirty human germs off her fur. But not today. Instead she just maneuvers herself to a more comfy position on my lap and decides this is a good place for a nap.

I rest my hand on her body and measure the rise and fall of her lungs, silently making a note of the rate to record. Seems so far the numbers are pretty steady. I wonder for a second if I can check on computery things without angering her majesty and try to type one handed. She looks up at me with her big, green eyes, like, Really, woman? That can't wait? and pulls her paw over her face to block out the light. I love it when she does that. So freaking adorable.

I will myself to soak in every detail, to remember everything about this moment. About her.

Jeté has always been my sweet, cuddly girl.

Did I ever tell you that I didn't really want a cat when I got her? We always had cats in my house. Well, we always had animals. Lots of animals to fill an acre of desert land in California. But THAT is a post for another day. But the cats I grew up with were stereotypical cats. They were either outdoor cats, busy hunting and getting eaten by coyotes (sorry for that), or they were aloof or bitchy or snobby. I'd never had a cuddly cat.

So I wanted a dog. But I couldn't have a dog in my small, Hollywood apartment. Never mind why. Pretty sure my neighbor Gloria had a pet squirrel, but I guess squirrels don't bark so.

I wasn't completely sold on the whole cat thing but I went to the shelter just to look and came home with Jeté. You can read that story here. At 23, I'd begun my decent into cat lady status.

Right from the start, I knew she was special, attached to my hip, following me throughout the apartment, curling up next to me whenever I sat or slept. She'd watch for me in the window when I left and come running to me when I got home with her little bell collar jinglejinglejinglejinglejingling.

My sweet furbaby.

I know Jeté and I don't have that much time left. I don't know how much really. It's not like the vets even really know. So I just make sure she keeps her weight up and monitor her respiration and keep an eye on her massively growing tumor.

Most of all, I try to soak her in.

Her cuddly sweetness.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Song Sunday: If Only You

I  don't remember how I discovered Basia Bulat, but I loved her insanely. She takes part in a great tradition of folk music and still manages originality and songs that strike the heart.  And her sweet vibrato soothes my soul.

Enjoy!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Sexy Saturdays: A Scent for Sore Nostrils

 
Happy Sexy Saturday again, my kiddos! I'm pleased to bring you a second post from my friend Menzies. Hopefully you'll remember his post I Like Pie in which all of my female readers needed a backup set of panties. You can imagine why. If you can't, well, go read

I'm so happy he's back to bring you another delicious post. This smartypants kid had become a good friend and I love nothing more than to give him a hard time and challenge his extra large brain. I won't say much more because I think my first intro of him was pretty on the money. Plus? Don't you just want to read already? Enjoy!

Hello again! Can't tell you how flattered I was that Andy saw fit to have me write again, so I'll try not to disappoint.

Like the last time, I have to start with an admission: I have a bad nose. A horrifyingly bad nose. Like, “categorically opposed to working properly” bad. It spends eleven months out of the year clogged, unless I take medication. More maddeningly, it makes me deathly afraid of over-spicing my food whenever I cook for anyone else.

So when I say that my sense of smell is nonetheless extremely important to me when it comes to sex . . . well, you can rest assured I'm not kidding. It's a subtle beastie, to be sure, but it's always there.

Nor am I talking purely out of my ass here, because there is some science underlying what I just said. By this point it's well attested that smell is a much more important sense than we'd been giving it credit for, intricately tied to the way we form memories. Furthermore, it turns out that unless you are wearing zee out-RAGEOUS perfume, or lotion, or some other pleasantly odorous accoutrements, you get used to your own scent pretty quickly. Both of these make sense from an evolutionary perspective: being able to smell everything would render you pretty useless as a hunter.

So it's not surprising that smell is such an important part of sex, and I've definitely gotten lucky there when it comes to my partners. Though I assure you I care very, very deeply about my personal hygiene, I have kind of simple tastes when it comes to soap, shampoo, deodorant and similar products and I tend to reserve perfume for important occasions like dates or interviews. I've apparently also gotten lucky in terms of myself – I can't vouch for this, but apparently I actually smell fairly good most of the time.

As a result, I'm far more acutely aware of the scents on my partners before, during, and after any sexy-time activities. Don't get me wrong, the natural smell of another human body is great on its own – I maintain that a couple hours after showering is optimal for restoration of natural odor – but sometimes, if you're just sleeping beside your girlfriend, the fact that that natural scent is accentuated with hints of pomegranate, or sweet pea, or some fruit I've never heard of and is only found in the most remote parts of the Amazon rainforest, and knowing that that smell is probably sticking to you until you next shower, somehow enhances the experience.

Then there's what happens when you do things other than sleeping with your girlfriend, and amidst all that sound and fury you suddenly realize that smell has changed. A lot. It's no longer woman-plus-pomegranate, or woman-plus-sweet-pea, or what have you – it's suddenly very much woman. Everything that makes that natural smell great is now exponentially more intense, full of pheromones, and if you've been doing it right, at least partly infused with sweat and other bodily fluids. It's the kind of smell that, were you to perceive it without knowing it was related to sex, you'd probably consider horrifying, but in this situation, you can't help but love it. It's hot, it's raunchy, and by God, it is quite the aphrodisiac.

I know I should have a name for it, being a linguist – but I can't even begin to think of a way to put it in English. I resort to euphemisms: “essence,” “perfume,” “scent.” None of them, though, properly signify what it is – that lusty fragrance, that heady balm so unique from person to person, that chaotic, seemingly imperfect, ultimately ambrosial mixture of secretion and production.

Whatever you call it – and I'd love to hear your suggestions – it's certainly a scent for sore nostrils.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Unavailable

This post isn't exactly timely, but it's something I meant to talk about for some time. And well, no time like the present right?

Anywayyyyyyy,

I've always had a knack of attracting unavailable men. I don't like it this way. Don't scoff. I don't. I prefer to date men who are very much available, but these are not the men who find me. Something about my pheromones must call to men who are absolutely and completely unavailable.

But don't worry, ladies, I wouldn't lock up your men just yet. I don't go there. Celibacy stint aside, this is an ongoing problem for me. I'd like it to go away. Maybe I need antibiotics or something.

I don't know what it is, but I must emit something that makes taken men think that I'd be okay with a little side action. That I'd be okay with being "that girl." Well I'm not. I don't mean guys who are dating other women casually. I mean men who are clearly tied down. They find me. I don't know how they do it, but they do.

And it's not like they give me a chance to be disgusted. It's not like these guys are ever about full disclosure. They don't mention their girlfriends or fiancées or wives. No they do not. They flirt. They get cozy. They act like it's perfectly okay for them to behave as if they're completely unattached single gents. So what's a girl to think?

It never comes out until later (But don't worry. I've never actually kissed or slept with these roving men. I wouldn't do that.) that they're in committed relationships. And it ALWAYS takes me by surprise. It shouldn't. It really shouldn't. With my track record, I should just ask every penis I meet if he's single at the outset, though I really don't want to do that because I don't know that I even like a guy at the outset and I wouldn't want them to think I'm interested if I'm not. Does that make sense? 

But I ask you: what would you think? I think these guys have no business flirting. I think I wish I had all their gals' phone numbers so I could make courtesy calls letting them know how flirty their men are.

I don't think it's right. I don't. And I'm not naive or dense. I do know the difference between flirting and being friendly. I do. I have plenty of great guy friends who don't flirt with me. I know it's possible for these guys to dial it back.

Maybe these dudes think it's harmless. Maybe they know the flirting will never go anywhere (I hope) so it's a free pass to have a little fun.

But what about me? My feelings? Do they think I like feeling a little led on? That I like meeting a nice, interesting guy who acts really into me only to find out they're taken and have been behaving like a douchecanoe? That's not fun. It's exhausting. And I'm never, ever interested in being "that girl." Nope. Not ever gonna happen. Noppetty nope.

Or what about their ladies? Do they even think about how it will make them feel to know their partners are flirting it up?

What about me makes these guys think I think that's okay? That I'm game for that?

*shudder*

Dial it back, guys. Dial it back. 

And don't even get me started on the emotionally unavailable men. The commitmentphobes. THAT'S a blog post for another day.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Real Hoarders

Please go take a moment and read this post I wrote over at Band Back Together.

It's all dark and feely and stuff.
 

Flashback: Montessori School

My memory is funky. So many childhood memories I've buried or are fuzzy. But others? Clear as if they were yesterday.

I went to a Montessori school from preschool through 1st grade (you're understanding why I'm so brilliant now aren't you?). And we had this huge play area/ farm area with animals at the back of the school, which was really an old house.

So I remember it was snowing (a once or twice a winter occurrence in the desert) and our teacher let us go outside to play in the snow. I headed for the swings with my friends Tawnya and Heidi. For some reason, Heidi fell out of the swing, or maybe she jumped, and got a bloody nose.

I can still remember the blood on the snow, how I felt terrified and disgusted and fascinated by it. How stark it was against the new, white powder.

I also had a torrid affair at Montessori School. Raul was in first grade and I was in kindergarten. And we were very much in love. He'd save a space for me at combined classes or lunch. We'd meet on the playground. There was this wooden tree-house type thing. You could climb the many steps and go up high to this veranda-type area. We'd go up there and lean on the railing and hold hands, overlooking the beautiful view of the playground and planning our future.

But our school only went to first grade and when Raul graduated, we broke up. Long distance relationships just never work.

Years later, in high school, I ran into Raul again. Needless to say my taste in men had changed quite a bit since kindergarten. I also went back to the school and that tree house was actually pretty low to the ground, not actually the high veranda I'd remembered.
 
Funny how that happens.

Actually, I was quite the slut at Montessori School. The first time I learned not to choose boys over friends was in first grade. This new boy, Neil, came to school and I just thought he was the cutest. He was the son of one of our teachers and he was just visiting for a week. He was in second grade too! I loved the older men back then. Plus he liked me!

I always ate lunch with my best friend Tawnya, but Neil asked me to eat lunch with him. So I ditched Tawnya for Neil.

So wrong.

Well of course I hurt Tawnya's feelings and that made me feel badly. I didn't want to hurt my friend or make her cry. So I said I was sorry and vowed never to ditch a friend for a boy again. And I haven't. Things didn't last long with Neil anyway, because he inevitably had to go back to his own school. See, ladies? Boys come and go but friendships are forever.

That is until KC came to our school. KC was also a first grader and every girl liked him. Every. One. Of. Us. We all fought over the poor guy. My mom loves to tell the story of when she came to pick me up from school one day and found three of us literally tearing the boy apart, each of us pulling on one of his limbs.

What can I say? We were a little boy crazy at the Montessori School.

We also got into a little trouble.

There was this spot behind the school that always, inexplicably, always had a puddle. Well this spot would ice over in winter and we'd all try to "ice skate" on it with our tennis shoes. Of course we always got in trouble for it, but we always kept trying. The lure was always too tempting.

Without getting into how awesome the school was (I would so put my future kids in Montessori school), we did some pretty cool things. Such as pet day. Every kid brought their own pets for the day (parents supervised) and I was so stoked to bring my dog Sammy.

My firefighter dad brought the fire engine once and the kids climbed all over it (I was very popular that week).

The school had farm animals too. Goats and chickens are what I remember most.

I got to school one day and the goat wasn't there. So I asked the teacher's aid what happened. She solemnly replied, "He passed." I was like, huh? So I asked my teacher. She told me he died. I was like oooooooooh, well I know what THAT means. Yeash.

Then there was this rooster. This mean ass rooster. So someone (I don't know who) gets the idea that if they can get this rooster out of its cage and play with it, it'll get nicer. Clearly this person knew shit about roosters.

Because everyone was scared of this mean ass rooster, my dad volunteers to tame the rooster (meaning my mom probably volunteered him). He keeps trying to get the rooster out and hold him but he keeps attacking my dad. I have a clear memory of my dad chasing this damn rooster around trying to catch him. I guess it was best when the rooster attacked, because then my dad would just grab its feet and shove him back in his cage.

I also had to call my dad to confirm this story and he remembers it the same. Neither of us remembers what happened to the rooster. We assume they just sold him. But I think one of the teachers took him home for dinner.

Funny the things you remember.

I think this was a Valentine's Day picnic. I'm the one with the turquoise, red, and white sweater with white skirt.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Photo of the Day: Glint

glint

My Jeté spends most of her time on the back of the couch, gazing out of the window. Especially on sunny days, when I pull up the blinds so she can see and let the sun warm her.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

not the same?

How do I even start this post? How?

I realize I'm the queen of touchy subjects lately. 

Sometimes I get the idea to broach a topic so sensitive and fraught with land mines of emotion that I don't even know how to discuss it honestly without killing someone.

The thing is, I honestly don't want to offend someone. And that's not out of fear or something. I truly respect others and their rights to believe what they believe. So I guess why I want to address today's topic is to urge others to practice a little sensitivity. Well, sensitivity is not quite what I mean. I'd like others to realize there are a million different perspectives and while mine may clash with yours, I'm still attached to it and feel strongly and sensitive about it.

I honestly kept scheduling the post to publish and the pushing it off. Like 5 times. Because I really didn't want to offend. But? It's important to me, so onward.

I'm adopted. I've mentioned that before. I've talked about my adoption in many different capacities. I'm not here today to advocate adoption; instead, I'd like to think about the insanity that surrounds fertility and reproduction and adoption.

I really want to make clear that I believe in reproductive rights. In that way, I think a woman's choices are sacrosanct. I am not here to question whether you don't want kids, you've had an abortion, you've had a surrogate, have injected yourself with whatever hormones increase fertility, have spent countless dollars for in vitro, have popped out 12 babies all naturally, have adopted 12 babies, or whatever possible scenario I can't even imagine that is unique to you. However you've lived your life and whatever is going on in your uterus is your business.

I will not question that.

I only want to shed some light on another perspective.

Being an adoptee, I've always assumed I would adopt one day. I haven't yet because, well, adoption can be even more expensive than giving birth and while I wouldn't get pregnant with a turkey baster now because I couldn't afford to have a child alone, there's no way an adoption agency would give me baby anyway. Short of stealing a baby from a fire station, I'm kind of stuck with the cats.

I shouldn't say that. I love my cats. 

I do want to adopt. I believe it's important. There are countless children in the US alone without parents, and those are the kids eligible for adoption.

On the other hand, I've also always wanted to give birth. Maybe because I have little knowledge of my own conception and incubation and maybe because my adopted mother couldn't have kids (she had multiple miscarriages and one premie son who died), I greatly want to get knocked up and push out a tiny human.

But I don't necessarily hold on over the other. For me, it's all the same. It truly is.

It's likely I can't get pregnant anyway. I've got ovarian cysts, endomitriosis, and a tipped uterus. I haven't tried, but it's highly likely that conceiving is going to be a dramatic ordeal. Drama that I'm just not interested in.

And I once again point out I don't judge others who pour their money into conceiving, but I don't see myself doing that. I don't see myself poking myself with needless daily and spending my life savings in order to have a child which shares my DNA. Not when I could put that money toward a child who already exists and needs someone to love it.

A family member unwittingly hurt my feelings the other day. We were discussing just this as she's getting older and worrying about her ability to get preggers and I expressed my perspective in a way, I might add, that no way implied she should feel the same way. But she replied back with, "But I want to have my own child. It wouldn't be the same."

Let's forget for a minute that she forgot that her relative she told this to is adopted and her comment might sting. She clearly was just thinking of herself.

But a hint to anyone who feels this way: please don't ever say that. Just don't. Even if you feel like that, it's okay, feel that way. But it's hurtful so try to keep it to yourself.

But why isn't it the same? Why? And why would someone like me be hurt by that?

I've spent my entire life feeling less-than. My mother didn't bond with me when she heard my heartbeat. I don't know my crazy birth story. I don't know if she had drugs or a natural birth or a C-section. wasn't held by my mother just after birth as she met me for the first time and looked into my eyes. I wasn't breast fed.

Instead I was adopted. I was told I was "so special" for it. That I was chosen. Well, I'm here to tell you right now that that may be the case, but I didn't want to be special. I wanted to be the same. Not better or worse. The same.

I'm okay with that. I've learned how to be me.

So why can't we adoptees be the same? Why not? Is DNA really that important that a child born of someone else's gene pool can't be loved equally? Are we really that much slaves to evolutionary imperative that babies whose mothers give them away do not somehow have the same place in the tribe?

"It wouldn't be the same." Why not?

Don't get me started on how society discriminates without even knowing it. On medical history forms, there's never a column for "I don't know" or a line to explain why you don't know. I've had to explain that countless times. And had to fight for a mammogram when I had huge cysts in my breasts because my family "has no history of breast cancer." Um, I just don't know if it does.

Think about the last time you had to get a copy of your birth certificate. You probably went down to the county office and filled out some forms and they gave you a copy. Not so for me. I have two birth certificates, see, one with my birth name (Baby and my birth dad's last name) and one with my adoptive family. It's housed in Sacramento, California. So I either have to drive to Sacramento or order a copy, which could take up to 6 months. Or, I could pay $100 for a service to go get it for me.

I hate to stoop to terms to make anyone feel truly badly about this, but society does expect a certain order to things and adoption is still somewhat on the fringes. Still bears a stigma. Racial and religious and gender minorities have fought for their rights for forever, but adoption is still somewhat secretive.

It wasn't but 50 years ago when we still lied to children because being adopted seemed so horrific. Then they'd discover their birth certificates at 19 and be traumatized.

Or there's the jokes:


Why is that funny? Why is it be so horrifying to be adopted?

Or, like I said, we compensate and call it special.

I know we like to think we don't care. We don't think like that. Of course we would love an adopted child the same. Of course. If we had to adopt.

Adoption is still a back-up plan. Still something couples have to turn to after they cannot conceive. After they've lost children. A last resort.

You know how in Steel Magnolias, Shelby's doctor told her she shouldn't get pregnant because it could kill her? Well she wanted a child of her own and got pregnant anyway and it stressed her body out and she died. Fictional character aside, this still perpetuates the idea that having a child naturally is worth dying for. And her own? As if an adopted child wouldn't belong to a mother in the same way?

Not that I think our children really belong to us. I don't think they're possessions. Belong isn't the right word. But do you get what I mean?

I do recognize the many people who truly don't feel this way, who choose to adopt out of their own will to do so. I've met them and they are my people.

Example: I know a family who adopted all three of their children. And I'm here to tell you those kids are the smartest, cutest kids in the world. And they freaking look like alike too. And they're a close family, closer than many families I know. These are my people.

But for every person I've met who understands this, I've met ten who think that having their own children is of the utmost importance. And if you do, okay, whatever, but every time I hear that it's just not the same, it hurts me personally. So just keep those thoughts under wraps. For the sake of being a nice person.

I feel like you're telling me I'm not good enough. I'm less-than. I'm not a real child, just a stand-in.

I'm here to tell you that's why so many adopted kids are overachievers, constantly trying to live up to the kids their parents couldn't have. I've met so many like me in support groups, all struggling, no matter how supportive and open their parents were, to just be normal.

I really don't understand it. In some cultures, the nuclear family doesn't even exist. Children are absorbed into the community and birth parents are inconsequential. That seems a far-off dream to me. Our society places entirely too much importance on genetic heritage. Tell me you haven't seen a dozen dramas on the news where someone famous (or even non-famous) discovers he's the biological father to some child. Well, who the fuck cares? I say. He's not the father. All he did was donate some sperm. He didn't raise that child. Why all the drama?

On the other hand, most of my family was really awesome. My cousin would forget I was adopted. We'd be joking about some similarity and say it must run in the family. Wait. Pause. Oh yeah! Adopted. I look like my father (my adopted father, for clarity), which he's so proud of, and which I didn't understand as a child because I thought that meant I looked like a boy.

I was also absorbed into bigger, friendship families. My parents' theater friends or swim friends and all their children. There, I could just be one child running around, having fun. It didn't matter how I came into the family because we were all one big family together.

On the other, other hand, my mother (my adopted mother, for clarity) used to leverage my adoption in her abuse of me. Whenever I displeased her, which was often, she'd threaten to send me back. So I took pains not to anger her, because no matter how hard things were, being abandoned a second time was my worst nightmare.

Or there was the time my grandmother, my dad's mom, was dying. I was 19 and my grandma was the only grandparent I'd ever known. She wasn't a warm woman, but I knew she loved me. My Aunt Sandy, the cow, my dad's sister in law (meaning she wasn't related by blood either) took it upon her magnanimous self to pull me aside and tell me that the family never thought of me as adopted, that they always thought of me as one of the family. 19 year old me didn't think to retort: well you clearly didn't because you're doing it right now. Plus? I'm more related than you are.

I didn't like her much anyway, so it didn't hurt too much. I knew she was crazypants.

The point being, the stigma is reinforced whenever people point it out.

Or every time someone I know complains about their own fertility, complains how she really just wants a child of her own, then suddenly remembers I'm adopted. She quickly covers with, "Oh but you're okay!"

That's like the white guy who has one black friend. "He's the nicest black man you'll ever meet." Mmhmm. Do you know what you're saying?

It feels the same way. I wouldn't want to adopt, but we're so glad you were. Right. Do you think about your words before they leave your mouth?

I truly do not get the importance here. Please, make me understand. I want to be sensitive. I get the desire to be pregnant and give birth. I do. I want that too. It's amazing to me. But why turn your life upside down, put yourself through trauma and pain, spend all your money, just to get pregnant? Is it so your child will look like you? Is it because you think you wouldn't love a child otherwise? Is it because you have such awesome genetics you just have to pass them on? What? What is it?

I was discussing this with my lovely friend Sonja the other day. She said, wisely, "A child is a child." Yes! That's it!

So what's the problem? Why am I constantly hearing that it's not the same?

I'm sorry if I've offended. But why are adoptees always carrying around a little bit of difference?

me at 8 days old, taken by my foster mom

Monday, February 14, 2011

vanity and thick skin

So I've often mentioned how much I love you, kiddos, my readers. I'm constantly reassuring guest posters who are nervous about what people will think about what they write. "My readers are lovely," I say. And I mean it. For most of the year and a half that I've been blogging, I've received nothing but sweetness and butterfly kisses and rainbow unicorn butts. It's lovely.

So imagine my surprise when in the last month or so I've begun to get some critical comments. At first? My feelings were a little sore. But you know what? People are allowed to be critical of me. I put my words and my beliefs and my art up to be filleted by you and if you want to burn them a little, you have that right.

So no biggie. Criticize me. I do have feelings, but, you know, do your worst if you must. I'll work on growing a thicker skin.

la la la la la la la
You may have noticed that below every post, I have check boxes. It's an easy way for people to give feedback with you actually having to leave a comment. I figure that's why they're there anyway. The otehr day, one of you took the time to mark the "meh" box on almost every single one of my posts from the last month or so. (You're looking for that box now, I know. But don't. I'll explain why in a bit.)

That seriously happened.

And I'm vain enough to be perturbed by it. Vain enough to really question that. 

My first thought is: why? Why would you do that? You do not have to like what I write or like my photos, etc. You don't. I'm okay with that. I live in a subjective field and I am well aware that I will not please everyone.

In fact, I like that. I know I say controversial things. I like that I stir the pot a bit. And if I were getting comments that did the same, that would be something to be proud of. If you took a stance other than mine and engaged me and my readers in a debate, well done you! I'd love it if you did that.


Yet that's not what this is.

I'm also not so vain as to stomp my feet (though I wanted to) and pout and shout to the universe, "WELL IT'S MY BLOG AND IF YOU DON'T LIKE IT, YOU CAN JUST LEAVE!" I won't say that. That's something political radicals say. Right.


I should mention that I put the "meh" box there for several reasons. One, it gives a balance. When I started blogging, I couldn't bring myself to just assume the whole world would love it. Plus there's the Taoist in me that declares balance in all things. If you can check "love it," you should be able to check "meh."

Also, while I really hope not every single one of my posts suck (and I'm vain enough to think they don't), I though that it would help me as a writer to know if a post here and there doesn't go over well. Feedback is good. But if all that feedback is bad, I have to wonder what I'm even doing? Not that I would quit over one person hating my blog. I just anticipated a few bad reviews here and there, not an onslaught of detestation.

Plus? The word "meh" kind of makes me laugh.

Still, I have to wonder why, if you really didn't like the first 6 or 7 posts, why'd you keep going? Did you think it would grow on you? That it would change the further back you'd read? It's all me. Always has been. And you clearly don't like it, so just give up already.

And if that's not what happened, then you were just being a dickwad. I don't like dickwads. They're not welcome here.
I googled "thick skin" and found this. um, hold me?
Anyway, I thought about all that. I tweeted about it. I pouted.

Then I decided to grow a pair. It is my damn blog after all and I don't have to provide a "meh" box. If you really hate each post, you can grow a pair and leave a trolly comment. Instead, I have replaced the "meh" box to say "marry me." A much better alternative AND it makes me laugh.

After all, I'm adorable. You people love me. Why wouldn't you read a post and immediately want to marry me? I predict a deluge of marriage proposals any day now.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Song Sunday: Rolling in the Deep

I  know I've shared an Adele song before, but this song just demanded to be played. It rocks my socks and it rocks them hard. It's powerful and poignant and exquistitely sung. It's reminiscent of classic blues songs out of New Orleans set against a modern melody only Adele could belt out.

And the video? Oh it's fantastic.

Enjoy!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sexy Saturdays: If Those Walls Could Shut Up

  

So I kind of suck. And not in a good way. Out of the many, many Sexy Saturday posts I have brought you, I haven't been so great at getting the mens to post here. Which sucks because I am all about getting all sorts of perspectives, you know? But in my defense (or not), it's not because the guys are too embarrassed to post (because they are way more game than most girlies I ask). It's because I don't know very many male bloggers. SO....I suck. 

When I thought of getting another guy over here, Jerrod of The Yellow Factor immediately jumped into my head. Not literally. I haven't actually met him and that would be weird, not to mention impressive. But I thought he'd be perfect. He's a great writer, for onesies, and he's got this intriguing combination of sweet boy next door meets irreverant humor. And I dig it. I couldn't wait to see what he'd do with the subject. Plus? He's a freaking rock star. Not only is Jerrod blogtastic, he is the co-creator of that blogger mecca Studio30 Plus. I don't know how he does it all.

Before you love his post (which you will), go find him on Twitter, Facebook, and subscribe to his blog.

Enjoy!

The wonderful, crazy, amazing Andy asked if I would do a post for her.  Of course I would never say no to Miss Awesome Sauce. 

Here’s how finding out the topic went down:

Me:  So, the 12th. And it has to be sexy.  Wow.  I'm on it.

Andy:  It doesn't have to be "sexy", just about sex.

(Train crashing into...something...halt.  A train is halting.)

When I tried to think of a post-worthy story on the subject, that I’d be okay with sharing, only one came to mind. The catch is...I’m not the one having sex.

You’re probably thinking, “That’s bad. He’s asked to do a post about sex and he’s going to write about others having it?” But I have good reasons:

1. I'm a nice guy that doesn't really kiss and tell. See, I just won a Studio30 Plus Boomerang Award for Blog You Want to Take Home to Mom. And just like Johnny Nogerelli, I have a rep to protect.
2. I learned things that night that everyone should know. Consider it your friendly, sexual Public Service Announcement.

I went to a New Years Eve party a few years ago at a friend’s house. There were 10 people - 4 couples, 2 singles – and I was one single. The other single... no. One of the couples, let's name them Joe and Ashley, were on their first date.  First date. At a New Years Eve party.

And Ashley...well, Ashley liked the sexy time. No judgment here, you do what you gotta do right? (She actually wanted to take me home to mom a few times, but I knew that was never going to happen. I had my reasons.)

People were drinking so of course some would have to stay the night, and I was one of them.  I was supposed to get one of the spare rooms, while Joe and Ashley were meant to go home. Until they got trashed. That put this single on the couch. Fantastic.

When the party started coming to a close, I was sitting alone in the living room. Everyone else was on the back porch. I don’t know why I was sitting alone in the living room, but I remember feeling very smart and very pleased with myself. But then Ashley came in from the back porch. She walked right up to me, sat down on my lap and kissed me directly on the mouth.  Then, just as abruptly, she got up and walked back outside. I didn’t know what to think. 

About 15 minutes later, everyone that could leave went home.  Joe and Ashley took the room promised to me, and I got the couch with the dog hair.

At first I heard giggling. Apparently Ashley liked to giggle...a lot. I also discovered that she liked to talk a lot. Very demanding that Ashley.  I think the word “mount” was used.
Then I had to go to the bathroom which was, wouldn’t you know it, right next to the champagne room. Blast.

Though the acoustics were even better in there, it was hard to tell whether they were having sex or participating in the Kentucky Derby. I didn't know whether to leave or place a bet. I thought maybe if they heard a toilet flush, they would realize that they weren't in his F150 or the nearest La Quinta.  But no such luck. In fact, the flush had a reverse affect. They assumed that it was the loudest flush known to man and, unfortunately, used it as an excuse to get even louder. 

Back in the living room, I turned on the TV to help drown out the funk. The movie Step Up was on and I thought, “Great. I’m a single guy at a New Years Eve party that got kissed by a girl who is now begging to be choked in the next room. And now I’m watching Step Up because I don’t know how to change the channel on this ancient receiver. All I need now is for the wall to start banging.”

Bang.  Bang.  Bang.   Bangbangbangbang. Bang.  Bang.

Perfect.


So, let’s recap what we’ve learned: 

1. If you’re going to have sex at a friend’s house with 6 other people staying under one roof, try having secret sex.  Playing the “quiet game” isn’t just for children, you know?

2. No one but the people inside of the room need to know how big it is. He knows you can see the size. I don't need to know the size too.  And unless there is a saddle in there, (and there's not because I was in that room earlier putting my bag next to the bed because I WAS SUPPOSE TO SLEEP  THERE... and I didn't see a saddle), there should be no mention of mounting anything.

3. Don't use decorative hand towels to clean up with.  Also, don't offer to take said towels home to wash and return.  Keep them.  That stuff never comes out.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Photo of the Day: Popping Up Green

popping up green
Because it's been oddly warm lately, Portland is beginning to bloom like crazy. Trees are sprouting little buds. Grass is coming up. Flowers are beginning to bloom. It's madness. I'm worried it'll get cold again and everything will die. I realize everyone under 50 feet of snow hates me right now. What can I say? Come to the NorthWest!

When I first took this shot, I kind of hated it. It's dark. I had the aperture a bit high for the light. But it's grown on me. I like the ethereal quality of the greens. It almost glows.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

oh? is it a holiday named after a saint?

I've talked about this before.

If you've been reading for any amount of time, you also know that I pretty much hate most holidays.

Hate is a strong word.

And it applies.

Amongst those I detest with the fire of my soul is Valentine's Day. *shudder* I hate this holiday.

But perhaps not for exactly the reasons you think.

Sure, the V day sucks for the singletons. It reminds people everywhere that they're alone and thus not worthy of celebrating. Though why anyone would WANT to celebrate this gag-inducing day is beyond me.

Besides, aren't we celebrating a massacre?

But perhaps that's more accurate anyway. It's a massacre of love.

Let me set the scene:

The evening begins with carefully chosen lingerie (in red or pink) under a skimpy dress, though it IS February, and too much perfume and cologne from both parties. Someone gives a cheap bear. The other gives a box of candy. Perhaps overpriced roses as well. Maybe even a necklace in the shape of a heart.

But maybe she doesn't like that kind of candy or the chocolate is stale. Maybe his dream gift is not a drug store bear that says "Stud Muffin."



There is a veritable cattle call of couples, filing into cheesily decorated restaurants with set, overpriced menus and cheap champagne, shoved in so tightly so everyone can hear each other's conversations over the sounds of Wham and Olivia Newton John. Romantic, no?


But he didn't make reservations 5 years in advance so they're stuck at the only place he could get in. It's seafood and she's a vegetarian, which wouldn't normally be a problem. She could just get a salad. Except it's Valentine's day and they have a set 3-course menu. He feels like an ass, but wants her to see she tried. She wonders if he even knows her at all. But it's the most romantic night of the year! The power through.

Then back to the bedroom where  she'll expect to be swept off her feet. Maybe she's lit candles and Sade is playing in the background. But he won't even notice the expensive lingerie and maybe she's eaten too much. He's had too much champagne and can't get it up anyway. But it's Valentine's day, so gotta perform.

The night ends in exhaustion and frustration and too much money spent and no one is really happy.

Yuck.

Doesn't that sound awful? I know I exaggerate usually, but come on, that's how Valentine's day is yo.

The best Valentine's days I ever had when I wasn't single (because I'd rather be single on this horrid day than sacrifice my relationship to this bizarre custom) was with my ex D. We both agreed that if we weren't working that we'd order pizza and watch Futurama. Best. Date. Ever.

Other years were spent at the Vagina Monologues. Also super fun.

What will I be doing this year? Nada. And that's fiiiiiiiiiine by me.

Maybe watching Big Love. Wouldn't that be appropriate?

Or maybe a local U is doing a production of the V Mons.
that's really a dialog

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Random Thoughts of a Crazy Lady

 People I hate at Superbowl parties:
  • Chick who doesn't know anything about football but pretends she does, just yells when everyone else does, and shouts random things that don't necessarily make sense. "They just jumped on the ball!" Um, yeah.
  • Creepy dude who stands in the kitchen the whole time. Why are you even here? Plus, I'm a little scared of the kitchen now.
  • Chick who wore her team gear but is more preoccupied with showing it off than watching the actual game, also stands in front of TV to show off outfit thus blocking the action. 
  • Dude with a huge head who turns around to talk, blocking the large screen TV with his massive cranium. Dude. Shut up. Take a hint that I just leaned to the far left so as to see what happens in that last 7 minutes of a game with a 3 point difference. 
~~~~~~~~~~

So either Portland is having the weirdest winter ever or everyone I talked to before I moved here was a lying liar who lies. Everyone told me it would be like 8 months of cloudy days. Um, we've had plenty of sunny days here and there.

Also, it's been oddly warm, which I wasn't expecting and don't even really need necessarily. I like the cold. But some of the more annoying types acted like the spoiled girl from California wouldn't be able to handle an Oregon winter. Yeah. Jackasses.

Firstly of the mostly, I lived in Paris. It gets buttfuck cold there. Yes it does. Second of the all, it's not Alaska, you jackasses.

Oh and I grew up in California, but I grew up in the desert, where we have very extreme weather. Super hot summers, yes, but also frigid winters. And wind. Always wind. And wind makes it SO much colder. I have yet to feel as col here in the port land as I felt many a winter in my hometown. So there.

But I still reserve some resentment for those who told me it doesn't get hot here in the summer. It does. And there are many summer-time fun water and outdoorsy things to do. So shut it. 

~~~~~~~~~~

I'm pretty sure I abuse the exclamation mark.

~~~~~~~~~~

I'm sure you're all wondering about Jeté's health and she's doing okay. Her tumor is getting huge, but she's not in much pain yet. She still eats well and has energy and her breathing is still normal.

What isn't normal is her mood. She's had these weird mood swings where she's super sleepy and then she's super playful. I haven't seen her this playful and hyper in years. I already told you about the new favorite cat toy. Well, she now brings it to me and meows at me mournfully, as if she will die if we don't play right then.

The other day, one of the cats had dismantled it. So Jeté brought me the string to play with which was just fine for her. She had a blast. But then the next day, she brought me the mouse. I told her jokingly, "Well go get the string and I'll fix it," and then went back to whatever I was doing. Imagine my surprise when I heard a meow and looked down to find she's gotten the string. Smart, fucking cat.

~~~~~~~~~~

I haven't talked about my grandma much. My dad's mom. She died when I was 19 and she was the only grandparent I ever knew, discounting my dad's dad who died when I was two and who I only remember as terrifying.

My grandma, on the other hand, while not a cuddly or outwardly warm woman, was certainly loving in her way and was always around. Looking back, she was an inadvertently comical woman. She was sweet yet tough. She could sew and crochet and knit and cross stitch. A horrible driver. A great gardener.  And a horrible baker, though everyone raved about her cookies and cakes.

I remember she would make these cookies that were hard as rocks. They were awful. And she kept them in a drawer in her kitchen. Think about this. Not a cookie jar, a drawer. And not in a baggie or container in the drawer, just loose cookies in a drawer. Every time we went over to her house (a tiny one-room built by my great-grandpa after the turn of the century), she'd offer me some cookies and my parents were like, "Yes, have a cookie!" I'd just shake my head no, my eyes pleading to not make me eat the cookie.

~~~~~~~~~~

I stumbled upon these funniest signs from the Rally to Restore Fear and/or Sanity the other day and these were my faves:





Waffles ARE delicious.

~~~~~~~~~~

So every month since I started this blog, I've created a new masthead. It's kind of my thing, changing it up. And I've had fun doing it.

But it seems like everyone really loves this masthead. And I really love this masthead. And I've built my new branding around it. My new button and business cards have this image.


So you tell me...





Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Photo of the Day: St John's Bridge

St John's Bridge A mutual friend of mine and Lynnette's lives in Colorado and her son Lance did a Flat Stanley-type project and chose us to send his flat self to take on adventures. We took Flat Lance to all sorts of waterfalls and bridges and landmarks in Portland, including this spot, the St John's Bridge.

This is one of my fave spots in Portland. Such a gorgeous bridge. And we got there at the perfect time of day for utterly delicious light. I just want to lick the sky, it's so yummy.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Angry Angry Hippo

I have something to tell you.

I've been holding something back.

Out of discretion.

Out of a desire to not hurt any feelings.

Well that desire is gone.

Because I'm here to say that was a mistake.

Holding back only hurt me.

And now something is bubbling up, taking over, ruling my emotions.

I'm angry.

The thing is, anger is not necessarily a bad emotion. If I learned anything in therapy, it was to allow myself anger. Anger dissolves guilt. Anger can be healthy. When I finally let myself get angry at my mom for all of the endless horrible things she did to me, I finally let go of my guilt for never being good enough and I was able to let go. Then the most amazing thing happened: the anger dissipated. And I was happy.

Anger is a gateway drug to happiness.

As I gave a friend this very advice the other day, I thought, You dumbass! You're not taking your own advice!

Well that time is through. I'm ready to let the anger flow. Ready to swim in it until my fingers get all pruney.

Oh and for the record, this isn't me being passive aggressive. This is me being aggressive, nothing passive about it.

I'm angry at those who judge. Not just those who judge strangers, though I'll get to that. I'm angry at those who judge those they love.

I'm angry at anyone who looked at someone he or she cared for and thought, that person isn't good enough.

I'm angry at parents who hold back their pride. I'm angry at parents who never let their kids be enough, who are never pleased no matter how hard their kids try.

I'm angry at boyfriends, girlfriends, wives, husbands, lovers, friends who choose to "love" someone but deny the one thing that matters: esteem.

I put love in quotation marks, because I believe that it's not love if you don't approve of someone as they are. If your love is contingent upon them conforming to some belief of how that person should be, should behave.

Love is not about provisos or stipulations. Friendship is not about expectations. Parenthood is not about molding a little person into who and what you want.

Love is about letting the little things go. Friendship is about forgiving the small things. Parenthood is about loving your children even though they inevitably turn out vastly different than you expected.

I may not be a mother, but I know about being a child.

Unless your child kills someone or starts a life of crime, unless your best friend does something shitty like sleep with your husband, unless your lover a total douchecanoe and treats you like shit, I wouldn't really worry about the little annoying things.

Advice: Stop trying to change people!

I'm not saying settle for a lover who isn't good for you. I'm not saying choose friends who bring you down. I'm not saying permit your child to run amok (isn't that a great word?). I'm saying be kind. Be forgiving. Offer your esteem sans caveats.

I'm angry at every selfish jackass who thinks the world revolves around them, that others should always orbit them, that their friends and lovers and children should simply just conform to who they expect them to be.

Hint: Life is not all about you!

I'm angry at you who squashes the value and individuality and beauty of those around you under your heel. 

Your selfishness gets under my skin and makes me completely insane! Your complete disregard for the beauty that is individuality and lack of respect for others as human beings who exist outside of your little world makes me utterly and totally angry.

And you wouldn't like me when I'm angry.

Now to the judgmental, bigoted assholes. I don't believe in hell, but if I did, there would be a special place just for you filled with all the hate in your hearts.

Stop thinking that you're the best or the most privileged or the only one who is right simply because you have a certain skin tone or practice a certain religion or were born with a trust fund or were born in a certain country or it's legal for you to marry or vote or you wear certain clothes or you have access to certain luxuries or you speak a certain language or or or or or....

Stop it!

The world does not revolve around you. No one knows what they're doing, not even you. We're all bumbling around this planet trying to make the best of things. You're not the best, the most right, the most privileged.

Think about this: someone in a completely opposite situation from you (different skin, different country, different religion, different values, different gender and/or sexuality, different economic circumstances, different language, different system of government) might be happier than you. Might love their lives and their families and be content with what they have and who they are and don't give a flying fuck that you're different than them.

So stop it. Your selfishness is no longer acceptable.
So says the angry hippo!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Song Sunday: You'll Be Mine

The Pierces is another Pandora discovery and I lurve them hard.

They've got an eighties-esque throwback style with an indie twist. It's happy pants making.

Think you'll love this song too. It's haunting yet peppy. A combo you'd think would be hard to pull off, but they do it with flair.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Sexy Saturdays: Fourteen Long Dry Months


I feel triumphant today, kiddos, because one of my fave people on the planet and blog heroes is posting. Here! On my little blog!

Pretty sure I met Alex from Late Enough over at Studio 30+ and I was instantly hooked on her blog. I had only read maybe 3 or 4 posts of hers before I nabbed her to interview for Questions for a Blogger. She writes about parenting and politics and religion and her life in a very relaxed, candid way with a rapier wit with a side of goofball. In other words? She rocks lobster.

She's also one of the warmest, most supportive women you'll meet. She's supported my Etsy site with a giveaway on her new baby This Blogger Makes Fun of Stuff (which you should totes check out) and I've truly, truly enjoyed becoming her friend. Plus? You guys, she's like super freaking smart. And her kids are entirely too cute, like it shouldn't be legal how cute. For serious. Oh and? She's like a total cat lady too. Even though she has a husband and kiddos. Because she had cats first. And cats are forever. Or something.

Anyway, before you fall in love with Alex like I did, go find her on the Twitter, Facebook, and, bien sur, subscribe to her blog. Enjoy!

My husband and I didn’t have sex until we were married. 

Holy crap was I ready.

Because it wasn’t that we were both virgins.  We just wanted to do something different for our relationship.  And, um, that was DIFFERENT.

We didn’t even kiss in our first two weeks of dating.  Scott said to me: My friend told me that sometimes girls can feel weird about not kissing so I wanted you to know that I’m doing it so we can get to know each other and talk instead of just making out.

To which I responded: It’s okay. I had a dream about where we would first kiss and it’s not here.

However, I did NOT have a dream that we wouldn’t have sex for fourteen months.

At my bachelorette party, we played a game where my friends sent Scott questions and I had to guess his answers.

Question 5: What’s position does Alex prefer when you sleep together?
Scott: Um, her stomach?
Me: Oh, we haven’t had sex.

I’m pretty sure three people fell out of their chairs.

It’s not that we are hyper-religious.  I don’t really think God cares about premarital sex. 

I just had always slept with the people I dated.  Usually sooner rather than later.  I think it was a combination of every other movie where the couple sleeps together immediately because they are THAT MUCH IN LOVE and the idea that if a guy wanted to date me to get in my pants, I’d rather find out now than in three months.

I was so tired of relationships where we were MADLY IN LOVE then FOUGHT then MADLY IN LOVE then FOUGHT then FOUGHT then BROKE UP then GOT BACK TOGETHER then BROKE UP then I found a new guy to fall MADLY IN LOVE.

I wanted a normal LIKE to LOVE to REALLY IN LOVE with minimal fighting.  And being the least normal person I know, I had to do things very different to get there.

Scott and I took “breaking up” off the table.  It just wasn’t a fair fighting tactic.  Did it mean we could never break up? No.  It meant we couldn’t use it to up the drama.

Scott and I took sex off the table.  It just made things more complicated.  And we were already complicated people trying to be in a relationship TOGETHER.  We didn’t need help.

We took spending every second together off the the table.  It just made us boring.  And I liked having friends.  So did Scott.

Seven months later we got engaged and seven months after that we got married. 

And that was over seven years ago.

Of course, the pressure on our wedding night was extraordinary.  We even discussed NOT having sex so we didn’t set up a failure.

But COME ON.  Fourteen months was long enough.  And now, when we pass the hotel, we point and giggle like teenagers.

Hands down, I have never had better sex than I do right now with my husband.

Do I think that our sex life is awesome because we waited until marriage?  No. 

But maybe because we took the time to explore our bodies, minds and hearts without sex, we were able to use sex to make our relationship better instead of more complicated?

Or I’m still making up for those fourteen long dry months.

Friday, February 4, 2011

keeping up with The Blogs

Did you hear? Did you hear? Didja? Didja? Didja?

Didja?

I won!

Remember those blogging awards I begged you to nominate me for? And then cajoled you to vote for me? And cajoled? And cajoled?

The Studio 30 + Boomerang Awards?

I won! ME! I WON!

Best Photo Blog, to be specific.

Which, I have to tell you, makes me grin from my lips to my panties. I don't know why I needed an award to validate me, but I did. I know you understand. It doesn't just mean I have readers who care enough to vote for me or that I have enough people who think enough of this crazy space of mine to actually beat out the competition (SUCK IT! YEAH! I'm so gracious.), but that I'm finally proving myself as a real photographer too.

Because here's the thing about being an artist of some kind: it's often hard to remember you're part of that world when you don't get paid for it. If you're a writer, photographer, whatever, and you don't get paid to do it? You forget that you're still an artist with or without a monetary validation.

Which is such an American perspective. But I'm working on losing that.

Anyway, thank you so much for voting for me! You guys are truly the bestest of the bestest. And my most sincereliest congratulations to the other winners and finalists! Some of my good friends and fave blogs were recognized and they truly deserved it.

It kinda works out that I has this post scheduled for today too. Just when I am honored for my blog, I whine about blogging. Can't please me, eh?

Here's the thing about blogging: it's hard work.

I never intended to be "A Blogger." I don't say that with any derision, but when I started blogging, I had a more-than-full-time job and I really just wanted to write. I didn't keep it private, but I didn't anticipate the bloggy world I'm in today. I just didn't.

There was no way to foresee it. I worked in social media prior to blogging, sure. And I read a handful of blogs. When I set up my blog, I did it as I would for any company I would promote. I set up search functions and designed my first masthead. But I had no clue how I would generate any significant traffic or that I even wanted to generate much traffic.

I knew my friends were reading, but being butts about commenting. My first smart move was my Facebook fan page which I forced my friends to use if they wanted to keep reading and which told me which of my pals had been lurking. I'm evil like that.

Plus I'd been on twitter for some time. I'd forced myself on to keep in the social media loop, but sans anything of value to promote, hadn't gotten much out of it other than gossiping with work friends without our coworkers on FB finding out. See: evil.

Then I discovered the other bloggers. Yes, there were others. Many others, I found out. And they were kind and welcoming and shared their advice and their readership. They weren't competitive; in fact, they were eager to share and help. They commented on my blog. They promoted me on the Twitter. They liked my FB page. And they asked me to guest post.

And I did the same in return.

I found that bloggers are really gangbusters at networking. Really and truly. Bloggers should be teaching college students how to network, because they really do it best.

It all seemed so idyllic in the beginning.

I should really rephrase that, because it makes it sound like things have gone up in smoke and that's not the case. But I have suffered a serious case of blogging burn out.

What I didn't anticipate is that the blogging itself is not the hardest part. Creating content? Not the hardest part. Though it is consuming. Balancing irl work, looking for more work, generating content, managing my Etsy shop, etc, all while trying to have a life and relax is time consuming!

But not the hardest part. The hardest part is keeping up with The Blogs.

The more you network, the more blogs there are to read. And comment on. You want to read each one too and leave a comment. And you want that comment to have substance because you read that one BlogHer article about how bloggers hate the comments which just compliment them. It wouldn't be a chore if there weren't so many, except there's no way to cut. Because you genuinely enjoy and appreciate and want to support each and every one.

But there are just not enough minutes in the day! It's literally (not figuratively) impossible to do it all.

And that doesn't even count time on twitter, trying to be witty, keeping your followers laughing, and networking with bloggers. You don't remember the last #wineparty you had time or energy to visit even though it's a great joy when you do.

So where's the balance?

First thing: I disconnected from Twitter a bit. I still use it to promote my blog and Etsy, etc, and I still wander on in the morning and before I go to bed. And I'll still text funny tweets I think of in the moment, but I don't log onto The Twitters as much. Because while I do not think there's anything wrong with staying on all day if you can, it was eating up my energy.

As a result, many of the Favstar whores have stopped following me because I'm not validating their neediness all the time, but truthfully? I don't miss them much and I lost most of them when my Twitter went private anyway. And I doubt these people read my blog anyway. They just want to star fuck. If you don't know what any of the last paragraph meant, just skip it. I don't have the energy to explain. You're not missing much anyway.

After that, I cleaned out my twitter. I've found that keeping my following list under 400 is manageable. Keep in mind, not all 400 are on at the same time. Between time zones and busy schedules, that's a number I can work around and not lose the content from my good friends whom I enjoy. I'm getting close to 400 again, so Mama may need to make another cut. WATCH OUT!

Next? I gave myself a break from commenting. I don't comment on every post I read and I'M SO SORRY! Really though, I doubt every one of my blogging friends comment on every one of my posts. In fact, I know they don't. So I need to give my perfectionist ass a break.

I also don't worry about my comment being witty or substantive every single time. If I have to think too hard, I'm doing it wrong. It's just a comment and if you don't appreciate my comment, you're a goddamn snob anyways. If I feel moved to comment and that comment is just a "Great Post!" That's what you're getting. Hope that's okay. And don't be jealous of the comments I leave that are witty. My wit has a mind of its own and isn't always reliable, but sometimes it surprises even me.

Then? I cleaned out my reader. If I hardly find myself wandering over to a certain blog or reading any posts, time to stop sparing feelings. Snip snip it's gone. That cluttered reader was too overwhelming.

But then, I stopped reading each post of every blog I have in my reader. This one was the hardest. It truly was. Not only do I want to support each blog that I choose to put in my reader, but I do it because I actually like the blog! I want to read it. But I just don't have the time. So if I miss a few, I don't beat myself up and just read the newer posts. Or if a post seems like it wasn't directed at my type, etc, I'll just skip it. No one wants to be read out of obligation anyway right? Right.

Lastly, I'm not really taking on any new blogs. I know that sounds incredibly snobby. And the occasional new blog which wows me does slip through. But just like a company that is saturated with employees, I'm saturated with blogs to read. Any more and I just won't be able to spend any QT with the blogs I'm already loyal to.

However, I can still support your blog in other ways! Ask me to guest post for you or ask to post on Sexy Saturdays. Or I'm sure we can come up with other ways to pimp you out, like on my FB page or Twitter. I just love pimping.

What do you do to keep your blogging sanity? Do you always comment? How many blogs do you read?
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