Eyes on the Mountains (Part 1)

Musings

I used to fancy myself a city girl. I sat in my humble house in the country, located in a small farm town in Lower Michigan and dreamed of getting out. I envisioned bigger and better. To me bigger and better was New York City. I watched When Harry Met Sally as a teen, and seeing Sally aimlessly walk through Central Park with Harry, or drag her Christmas tree down twinkly streets was so picturesque and vastly different from Fowlerville, Michigan that I latched onto that place and vowed to get there.

All my thoughts orbited around New York City. How to get there, how to make it there, how to have what Sally had. So easy and simple. She moved there as a hopeful writer and voila, she was a writer. She had this friend that kept coming back to her and he fell in love with her. She watched Casablanca and had lunches at the Boathouse with her girlfriends, while bemoaning men.

I moved to New York City, fresh with my newly minted writing degree, down ninety-two pounds from working my arse off on The Biggest Loser and ready to take on the city streets, writing and love with all my know-how from When Harry Met Sally. Imagine my surprise and dismay when the only jobs I could find were waitressing and Starbucks. The only men looking my way were gay (fabulous, but not interested in any sort of lip-locks) and the city streets, while magical in their own right, were also fraught with a lot of trash and noise, making me realize that maybe making it there wasn’t like the movies at all.

I am sure a lot of people could’ve told me that. And there’s a reason Frank Sinatra croons, “if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere!” This is true. NYC is not for the faint of heart. I don’t believe myself to be faint of heart, but I think I gave a lot of credence to my city love (based on a movie and a couple class trips to Chicago as a youngster) and zero credence to my country love.

I was having the worst anxiety of my life while living in New York City. While she was a dreamy place full of fantastic culture, art, cupcakes, architecture and wonder, I felt closed in and manic. I never slept while I lived there. This isn’t one of my dramatic exaggerations. I really didn’t sleep; at least not at night. I had insomnia that wouldn’t go away and I utilized this the best I could by training for my first marathon in the middle of the night, instead of tossing and turning in bed, fitful with worry and damp with sweat.

I lived in Brooklyn Heights and I would leave my apartment in the middle of the night and start running: across the Brooklyn Bridge, weaving through Manhattan’s skyscrapers, past policemen milling about, fishermen fishing off the pier, kids skateboarding, and the homeless sleeping against fence-enclosed graveyards. And then I would run back and sit on a bench looking at the sun coming up across the Manhattan skyline while rats scurried beneath my feet. I would amble home, shower and lay in bed in utter exhaustion until eventually I dozed somewhere around five, or sometimes as late as seven.

I remember talking to my friend once as I walked to work in the Village, telling her that maybe I overestimated how much of a city girl I was and underestimated how much of a country girl I was. This troubled me, because I wondered how I could be so wrong about a place I had planned on loving for over a decade.

A need for nature kept hounding me, a need to escape to somewhere quiet where I could gather my thoughts, which were as rampant and erratic as the New York City rats. I would look at the skyline and wish it were mountains. I wanted all the hustle and bustle to be forest-still silence. I wanted the murky concrete puddles to be cloud reflected lakes.

My mom blamed all of this on a love who had recently broken my heart and then up and moved to Alaska while I headed for the big city. She thought the reason I saw mountains instead of skyscrapers was because of him. And that the whole heartbreak thing was ill-timing, ruining my NYC experience. And maybe to a certain extent it was. But I think it was more than that.

I think the mountains were in me long before that love came along and broke my heart, long before I saw When Harry Met Sally, and perhaps long before I even knew which way to go.

When things began to promptly fall apart in NYC, around the time I was due to fly back to the Midwest for my marathon, I didn’t much feel like going back. I was in between apartments and without a place to live. I was sleeping in a hostel in the fetal position and sniveling, wondering how in God’s name Madonna had done it, and starting to unravel in a most disheartening way. I would wander into churches and cry alone in a back pew. Or find parks to sit and do yoga-style breathing techniques and then get mad when I heard an ambulance blare on by.

When I told my mom after my marathon that I couldn’t go back, I just couldn’t, she seemed distressed, thinking I was giving up on my dream and that I had to just stick it out—the anxiety and insomnia and noise. My mom wasn’t being pushy, she was being supportive of how bad I had wanted this one dream.

I couldn’t do it though. I loved New York City and truly always will, but I knew what I needed and it wasn’t skyscrapers and bustling streets. In fact a guy I had started dating around this time took me out one day when I was visiting a friend in Maryland. I was still living in New York and was wildly shaken up. He asked if I wanted to go see Washington D.C. and I all but screamed, no! I didn’t want to be in the city. I didn’t want to hear traffic or see people. I wanted him to take me into the country. “Where?” he asked. I told him where the pumpkins and apples grow.

It may have come as a shock to everyone who knew me and knew how badly I wanted the city-girl life when I abandoned ship and ended up moving to Virginia. Granted I was living outside of Washington D.C. in an urban metropolis about as busy as NYC, but I told my boyfriend at the time that I didn’t care where we lived as long as I had a view of the mountains and easy access to them. Suddenly the mountains became my new focal point.

They were my obsession and I wanted my eyes on them at all times. On my way to work they were on my left; on my way home, on my right. I wanted to talk about them constantly and found myself in a continuing state of awe over their grandeur. I must admit not many people in Virginia seemed to share my amazement. I got a lot of people giving the Blue Ridge Mountains the ol’ brush off and saying, well have you seen the ones out West? I had not, but I thought it was a little disrespectful to discount mountains right in front of us, for even bigger ones far, far away. Clearly these people weren’t mountain lovers.

And with my eyes on the mountains I started rerouting my belief system. About what I really wanted and questioning where I really belonged. I considered that maybe I belonged in Virginia because I had fallen in love with her and the man that lived there. And yet… there was still a displaced restlessness deep down that haunted me. It didn’t keep me up quite as badly as it had in New York, but it was there lurking in the shadows all the time.

To be continued…

Bold Instead of Blue

Musings

You let time pass. That’s the cure. You survive the days. You float like a rabid ghost through the weeks. You cry and wallow and lament and scratch your way back up through the months. And then one day you find yourself alone on a bench in the sun and you close your eyes and lean your head back and realize you’re okay.
-Cheryl Strayed

I am feeling full of despair today. I am not sure why. Maybe it was simply time for a swell to pull me under again because I have been feeling above the waves—almost powerful and light-footed. Or maybe it’s because I dreamt about the cowboy. And not even in a good way, mind you, like where I actually saw his face or touched him. No my fanciful brain that can allow me dreams in which I am flying or am a Japanese Samurai apparently didn’t have the capacity for that—or maybe it did and it spared me. But no, all I dreamt was that he texted me, how are you doing, lover? It was summetime in Wyoming and I was driving through the mountains.

He had never called me lover in real life, for starters. And second of all, I was then mulling over his text in a playground with Bob Harper and Jillian Michaels. None of us were working out, but we were watching people workout and Bob was lazily smoking a cigarette while swinging back and forth on a swing. Also, preposterous, but that’s dreams for ya.

Anyway, maybe it’s that or maybe it’s not that. As the day drug on, and I say drug because sometime after lunch I wanted the day to be over and it simply didn’t listen—it is still today, unfortunately—I got progressively more fretful and blue.

And not just about the cowboy and his jarring absence in my life, but the whole of it and what to do with myself and my wild ways. I know, I know, there is no sense in worry. There really isn’t, but sometimes it attacks me from all sides and my shackles are down and I simply succumb to the onslaught.

I did for awhile. Succumb, you see. I laid there and felt bleak and panicky, bleak and panicky. And then I told myself to at least move. To do something in the arena of being bold instead of blue, and I liked that. I liked that very much. Bold instead of blue, I repeated to myself as I put socks on and then my boots, in which one of my boot zippers got stuck and split open halfway down my calf. I started cursing under my breath, saying to the boot, not now! Please not now! You are my only pair of cowboy-ish-boots and I can’t afford new ones! I felt manic and like the broken zipper might be the end of my day because it signaled everything in my life was truly broken shit.

Then rational me chimed in with firm motherly tones, suggesting I take off the boot, get the zipper unstuck and go from there.

I unstuck the zipper.

Oh okay, so alright then. No need to be psychotic, clearly. I put the boot back on, re-zippered it and all was well. I walked out the door into the crisp 14 degree day and meandered down the street to the library.

And here I sit. Still sort of craving a cry and a coffee. Though I’ve had plenty of coffee today and crying seems like a lot of work. Plus I am in public. And ya know, it’s a whole thing, with mascara and looking like swamp-thing and having people legitimately think I’m a crazy person.

Although, there has been this weird rattling above one of the light fixtures across from my table the entire time I have been here and it’s been irking me to no end. Instead of just moving to a new table, I chose to sit here and have fantasies about knocking down the terrorizing light, perhaps with a sword—I have been reading too much Highland lore—and then running up and down the aisles freely having just destroyed something. Maybe I am a crazy person.

Anyway. Attempting bold things like emailing people I know in Wyoming and asking them if they know cattle ranchers who want a handy gal to mend fences—I don’t know how to mend fences but they don’t know that—admittedly is improving my mood. As is the idea of breaking the light—of course I will not break the light; I am a civilized lady—and writing about my blues.

So maybe I will now go get that coffee and skip the cry. Yeah, that sounds like a plan.

All the Kinds of Love

Musings

I recently went to visit my boyfriend—hmm. It’s real fun saying that. I think that may be the first time I have said that about him. At least in writing. Anyhow, digressions are my favorite—in Pennsylvania. Where he lives. And yes I live in Wyoming. Let the record state that long distance relationships are real challenging. But if it is with someone truly exceptional, as fits the bill with my boyfriend, then they are also truly worth it. Again I digress. None of this is the point.

Visiting him was… I don’t even want to insert a word there, like incredible or wonderful, because those are just words that are vast and don’t really hold the meaning of what I felt being in his home. His home where he puts his feet down on the hardwood floor in the morning and walks to the shower. Or eats cookies standing up and drinking his milk slowly. Way more slowly than I drink milk, especially with cookies. Where he brushes his teeth and dances with his dogs: Moses and Chubs, totally differing in personality, Moses being sort of subdued and sweet and Chubs being overeager, because she’s still young and fiercely excited for attention. Moses has the same personality as my brother Nick. And I don’t mean this as an insult to Nick. It’s a compliment. I think Nick is darn near perfect in his sweetness. His temperament of not wanting to upset any balances or ruffle feathers and doing exactly as he is told. That’s how Moses was and I loved it.

Being there and walking around his yard, checking out the chickens and goat, who also seemed as curious about me as I was about them. Or writing in his kitchen while he made me lunch and would continually come over to kiss my cheek and smile at me. Then when I got up to refill my coffee, which was really just a ruse to be near him, he pulled me to him and sort of swayed with me right there in the kitchen as he always has music on. And I thought, well… isn’t this lovely… being held in his light blue kitchen with exposed barn wood, lounging dogs and rustic cowboy décor. And with a man who always smells fresh and has this really Colgate-y delicious breath that made me constantly fret over my own breath.

In fact, after lunch one day—which was pulled pork, except I had mine on a salad with raspberry vinaigrette dressing—I went to brush my teeth, because well, yikes. But also I was about to meet his family for the first time and I wanted to make an impression that didn’t include raspberry beef breath which is exactly what I said to him when he asked if I was ready to go. He was rinsing his plate as I made my way to the bathroom.

“Wait a minute!” he yelled, “you better not brush your teeth yet! Raspberry beef breath?! Get over here,” he said with a seductive little smile like he was very enticed by my lunch breath. I began to laugh and came back to the kitchen. He grabbed me and began to kiss me, pulling me into the living room and then tipping me over the back of the couch so we both toppled and I landed on top of him.

“Beef breath huh?” he said, while continuing to kiss me. I giggled and squirmed to get off of him so I could go brush my teeth.

“Okay, get off of me and go brush your teeth,” he said while clutching me tighter to him. I tried to pull away and he pulled tighter. “Well are you going to go?”

“I can’t!” I laughed.

“Oh my gosh, get off of me,” he said, while still holding me tight.

I finally weaseled my way off of him and went to brush my teeth, chuckling the whole way to the bathroom and thinking if a man still wants to smooch me with raspberry beef breath, he’s probably a keeper.

Then there was flying in his plane. I wish I had words for this as well. But I don’t because certain things in life leave me utterly speechless in the most profound way and I know it’s God letting me know that not every thing or every experience can be assigned a word—when some things simply illicit overwhelming feelings of awe, wonder and intense gratitude for the moments that belong to you. And being in a plane, that my boyfriend flew, while staring out at patches of land, clouds, lakes, rivers, sunshine, birds and barns, was an extended moment in time that I wanted to frame and put on my memory’s mantelpiece. If truth be told I would probably frame the beef breath thing too.

And so when it came time to leave, naturally I took it like a total toddler. I sat in the airport listening to a song that reminded me of him, and a bluesy one at that—in true masochistic fashion—wanting to weep. But didn’t because while my eyes lighten to a stark shade of turquoise when I cry, that is the only part of me that’s remotely fetching. And I wanted to spare my fellow Delta passengers awkward discomfort while I sniveled as if my boyfriend had just left for war, when really we were A-okay, we just couldn’t make out and eat cookies together in his kitchen anymore. As I have a job and he has a job. It’s a whole messy debacle this adulthood nonsense, but alas.

Now here I am, back in the West and it has been a few days for me to come to grips with being minus one cowboy, while I admittedly have continued to be a bit of a baby brat about the whole thing. So when I trudged home through the snow last night, to my quaint and cozy house, I had to pull myself out of the doldrums, where I had been comfortably sitting for some number of hours. It was necessary and it was time.

I walked inside determined to see the loveliness around me and not just fixate on my bluesiness over finally meeting a real solid man only have to him live oh so far from me and my mountains. He was nice, see? He stocked his house full of dark roast coffee and chocolatey snacks because he knew I liked them. And he kissed me even when I had coffee breath… or worse. And well if we’re throwing out stats, he’s also super easy on the eyes, which isn’t hurting anyone.

But my heart isn’t so small that it cannot recognize all the kinds of love. The part of me that craves love—especially of the coffee and chocolate/dog and chicken loving/good kisser/silly and wonderful/delicious cowboy variety—isn’t the only kind of love that means something to me.

So I started doing the dishes. Which, though a chore, always soothes me and I found the task of cleaning plates and organizing a messy kitchen helped un-rattle nerves that were wound tight. Then I scurried about the house tidying coats and papers and adjusting candles and making the house look generally pleasing.

And as I did this I noticed something else. The way the house smelled like pine trees and pecans. How Kia high-fived me as I walked past and smiled at me just because she’s my sister and she’s fond of me. How the Christmas tree lights reflected in the kitchen window and sparkled in the dark. How nice it was to have a home with my sisters, where we shared things and talked over one another when we were excited to make a point and cuddled and cried and did each others laundry.

And all these things are a very specific kind of love too. Suddenly enveloping me I thought, all these seemingly mundane details of life: like how my back room that I share with Kirst is too cold and even though there are at least 5 mismatched comforters on the bed including one with Mickey mouse and one with goldfish, sometimes I am still too cold and so Kia will give up her room, which is the laundry room and is always hot from the dryer, so that I can be warm and cozy. That is love. And Kirstie will pack granola bars for hikes and purposefully give me the one that is not s’mores flavored because she knows I hate s’mores flavored anything unless it is a real s’more. That too is love.

These things add up to love whichever way you do the addition, whether it is a sister or a cowboy, the love is there.

And while being held tight by a cowboy kind of love is sincerely wonderful, I don’t know how many more years I will be able to have Kirst and Kia (though both much littler than me) be the big spoon in a bed full of Disney blankets. So maybe I shouldn’t bemoan so much now. Love is love after all. And there is no absence of that in my life.

Waitressing Guts and Glory

Musings

I have held my fair share of waitressing jobs. Some more frightful than others. My current one has its fair share of pros and cons, though mostly this isn’t a bad gig. However, I have been bowled over as of late by some of the things that have happened to me as a waitress. Or more recently as a promoted waitress. Oh yeah, did I mention? I am now the dining room manager at the resort I work at. So ya know: Pretty important. Pretty posh. Pretty big deal.

Nah, I kid. I mean, it’s a pay raise and all, but really the only difference from the me who waitressed before and the me who waitresses now is that I get badgered a great deal more and get a little more ticked off when people show up late for their shifts.

I have decided, however, to do a small-ish round-up of my most interesting/ridiculous/downright jaw-dropping happenings whilst waitressing.

Let’s start with my personal favorite which was a good indicator of how unrelenting motherhood will be.

As the new dining room manager I find that people like to update me, ask me questions and generally hound the hell out of me, from the moment I walk in the door until the moment I beeline for the door again at the end of my shift. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the responsibility and ability to put my neuroticism and obsessive compulsive tendencies to good use, but days like today for instance when all I want to do is shove a morsel of marinated chicken breast into my mouth—while in between getting refills for my tables—I want to do it in peace and quiet. No such luck. While attempting to take frenzied bites of chicken, I had at least four interruptions within three bites. I tried to strictly look involved with my chicken, so they would get the message and yet the onslaught ensued, until I gave up my mini break, hunched over the back waitress station, while people scraped plates and hurried past, and instead went back to waiting tables, giving up hope that I could eat while on my shift. Trying to eat while waitressing is the equivalent of trying to sneak a twinkie in prison while other prisoners furiously eyeball you while you choke down the sugar worrying all the while about being shanked. At least that’s how it is in my mind. I’m sorry if I have insulted prisoners with this analogy, but again, that’s just my mind.

Oh anyway, I derailed there. I was going to give you the happenings. So I am mostly so busy at work that I don’t even allot proper timing for bathroom breaks. I just wear my body out running around, that I dehydrate myself to the point where I may have had to go to the bathroom once, but all my moving—which for me inevitably means sweating—causes my urine to just reabsorb, or whatever the hell it does when you are so dehydrated you no longer pee in a ten hour waitressing shift. Also note this level of dehydration is actually something to be avoided as I nearly passed out at work the other day due to this practice, so uhh… don’t follow my lead here on that one guys. Anyway.

Instance Number 1: I actually decide to go to the bathroom for once. I tell one of my coworkers where I will be for the upcoming three minutes and head out of the dining area to have what I presume are mere moments of rest and relaxation while I take a much-needed pee break. Just as I sit down and haven’t even begun to contemplate toilet paper, I hear the door open and a hesitant tap on my stall. I freeze midstream, while wondering why on God’s green earth I am being summoned in here of all places. So help me God, this better be an emergency, I think.

“Yes?” I say with controlled patience. It is the co-worker I had just told I would be in the bathroom.

“I am so sorry to follow you in here, but the cooks have a question about your ticket.”

Now I am seething. I cannot imagine this was an emergency worth trailing me into the bathroom over, but ask her instead what it is. She explains. I clarify and she then thanks me profusely and leaves the bathroom. That’s what motherhood is like right? No longer getting to piss in peace? Well, I gotta say moms, I am not a fan.

Instance Number 2: While in the middle of a weekend breakfast rush, the equivalent of an IHOP stampede, one of our breakfast cooks goes missing. I note this amongst my frantic running around, seating tables, refilling coffees and trying to load people up on Belgian waffles and hash browns. I run to the back to communicate with the prep cooks and head chef that we need backup. Backup, people, we need backup! 

The head chef proceeds to tell me that the other cook left.

“Where? J is floundering up there. he has like 13 tickets.”

“He has one table,” the head chef tries to correct me.

“Wrong. He was like 13 tables. We have been sat repeatedly for the last half hour. So, could someone help him?”

“I don’t know where the other cook is,” HC insists, making no move to go and help J himself.

“Could you find him?” I practically bellow.

“Why don’t you?” He counters.

I fear at this point he may be able to read the homicide that is clearly visible in my eyes.

“I don’t have time! I don’t even have time to be back here having this conversation with you!”

“Well I don’t have time either,” he sniffs with his haughty air and turns away from me to continue chopping vegetables.

“Oh that’s cool. That’s great,” I mutter under my breath loudly as I walk away thoroughly ticked off, “all my tables can just wait an hour for a bloody pancake…”

After the rush peters into a lull, I have time to search for the missing cook. I go to find him in his quarters located beneath the restaurant, where some of the staff reside. He opens the door casually no longer in his chef coat and work pants, but in a ripped tee and jogging shorts.

“Yeah, hi,” I start. “I know the head chef probably royally pissed you off and you think you’re sticking it to him by walking out, but really you’re sticking it to us waitresses because we are slammed and the other cook is drowning and HC won’t help. And so I would really love, if at least for me, you would suit back up, come upstairs and help.”

He nods his head like there will be no argument and in minutes is upstairs helping cook. Oy. Fuckin. Vey.

Instance Number 3: Waiting on Viggo Mortensen this morning. Yeah, who would’ve thought Hidalgo would meander on into my place of employ in the Big Horns? He apparently came in last night and my sister waited on him first, while he was hounded by customers vying for his attention. When he came in this morn, I had naturally already prepped myself on how to handle celebrity sightings and ya know be super cool, collected and couth. Which is exactly what I did. Bringing his wife tea, his son a hot chocolate loaded with whip. And generally just letting him enjoy his meal without me gawking and asking him about being Hidalgo. Oh but I wanted to. Of course I can pretend to have couth, but lord knows that is entirely not so. Anyhow, when Viggo pointed to the hash browns and asked if we had potatoes, I nodded profusely and said, “Yes, we have hash browns!”

And he shook his head and said, “No, do you have some sort of potato…”

“Like home fries…?” I ventured. “We have those on the buffet…” but even as I said the word buffet I was embarrassed. I didn’t want Viggo Mortenson to have crap buffet home fries. Or even have our frozen hash browns. If I couldn’t pose with him for pictures or pepper him with questions of glitz and glamour in Hollywood, then I damn well wanted him to have a proper potato for breakfast. And yet I feared we didn’t serve anything that he might prefer.

I nodded however, and assured him he would have potatoes. I ran back to the breakfast cook and asked if he could do a breakfast potato. “Yeah, hash browns,” he answered with a slight smile, like I was dense.

“Yeah, but more like a home fry,” I clarified.

“We have those on the buffet,” he said.

“No, but not those either…”

Another waitress intervened on my behalf at this point, and said, “We have those one potatoes J, you could cut those up and fry them and do something with those?”
This was the same waitress who had followed me into the bathroom. She had just redeemed herself in my attempts to win over Viggo Mortensen’s approval as a competent and classy waitress.

J looked slightly perturbed at this insistence for breakfast potatoes we don’t have and don’t serve. But like the solid and reliable fellow that he is, he didn’t say another word and instead simply complied. When I saw the potatoes in the window, looking fancy and sorta French like with a little flower shape cut through the middle—well maybe the Americanized version of French because what do I know—I beamed my satisfaction and thanks feeling much more proud to walk back to Viggo’s table with proper potatoes.

The rest of the interchange was mostly my silently refilling their coffees and teas and when he and his wife went to peruse the gift shop, I asked their son about the animals he’d seen on his vacation.

He politely entertained my eagerness, expressing his delight at seeing bison and moose. His accent intrigued me and I asked where he was from.

“Spain,” he answered.

“Wow! I have always wanted to visit Spain!” I started to gush, but when I saw that he was only politely indulging me to get rid of me, much like J with the potatoes, I relented and nodded, instead clearing the rest of their breakfast plates. “Enjoy the rest of your stay in the Big Horns,” I said as I walked away while stealing more glances at his famous father.

Since I am terribly verbose I wanted to share more instances of waitressing guts and glory—like the time I was working at a bar in New York City and I walked into the bathroom to find a man doing a line of coke off the counter—but alas I have thoroughly overshared here. So I shall leave it at a mere three. Also, how can I top waiting on Viggo Mortensen? I fear I can’t, so I ought to leave it at that.

You Know It’s Love When…

Musings

I haven’t been writing here for many reasons. Mostly because I’ve been happily in love and I was content to just exist in that love and not write about it. And then for a time I was sad but I didn’t want to confess my sadness, so I buried it, until it could find me again, which it did. It always does as you can’t bury things like that.

The last time I really wanted to write (other than every second of my life) but write for proclamations sake, to share with the world, was a few weeks back—or was it months—in regards to my love. I write about him a lot I know, but not nearly as much as I could, because I’ve never wanted to be a smug bastard. You know the kind.

At any rate, we were lying in bed cuddling and watching The Office, our nightly ritual, my boyfriend snug against my back as the big spoon, when he casually said,

“You farted on me in your sleep last night.”

“What?” I said in disbelief, instantly berating my sleeping self for letting one go like that. I then apologized profusely feeling mortified.

He laughed and snuggled me tighter, saying, “don’t be sorry, it was adorable.”

I farted on my boyfriends leg while sleeping and he thought it was adorable. Adorable. This is love I thought. I have finally reached the warmest and most secure part of love: When you finally fart on your boyfriends leg unknowingly and he doesn’t screech in horror and you don’t turn fifty shades of red when you find out and want to leave him because he now knows you’re human. And when you instead cuddle a little closer admitting to yourself that you already knew it was love because you shaved your legs 2 days ago, okay 5, fine 7 and still he wants to touch you. And then weeks later when you leave Nair on your upper lip for too long and scorch your skin off and there is no way to hide the hideous burn which is growing somehow into what looks like a degenerating brown mole and getting worse by the day seemingly like it could only be seen as a Herpes outbreak and your boyfriend very concerned asks you what on earth happened to your upper lip and there’s no reasoning, you have to confess and he just laughs and doesn’t judge while the rest of the world most certainly does, yes, that is when love is comfortable and good and right.

And I wanted to share. I wanted to share with the world that I farted on my boyfriends leg, because it meant something! It was the place I always wanted to be in a relationship and I had gotten there. Well not the farting part, but despite the fart, the staying part, the commitment part. The you can show your most unattractive, unappealing self to another person and they stay part!

Isn’t that love? It is. It truly is, though there is more to it than that and that’s a story for another day, but today, today I just wanted to say, by golly it’s been good. It’s been real good with you kid.

Ugliness Attack

Musings

I have a real problemo with ugly. Ugly shoes make me scrunch up my mouth and nose in distaste. Ugly cars? I ask myself why? Why would you ride around in that, it’s clearly modeled after a hearse. Ugly dogs, no, I don’t want to pet you (but I will out of politeness), now go on, shoo shoo, you’re no husky and you and I are both sorry for that. Amendment—some dogs are so ugly they’e cute. That works for me. Ugly home decor. Oh my. Don’t even joke about that. In fact watch this commercial that perfectly sums up my thoughts on my low tolerance for ugly.

And this one for good measure because, it too, is hilarious and so true.

Before you go thinking I am vain and wretched, it is not so. Reference one of my earlier posts where I dressed like a long dead male poet, complete with moustache. I clearly am not Kate Winslet, nor do I pretend to be. I just have a real issue with aesthetics. I blame my mother.

She has really good taste and growing up had a way of taking anything—tree branches, a dresser she found on the side of the road, window panes— and turning them into pieces of beautiful art. Though our home was modest and our family size was abundant (12 of us in all) I have always felt Martha Stewart would tip her hat, or maybe her fashionable garden shears to our home— when it’s clean and ready for Thanksgiving or a graduation party that is.

Not only that, but I recently found out on a trip back home to Michigan to visit my family that I was having ugliness attacks even as a toddler. My boyfriend, mom, sister and I were driving home from Ann Arbor, after some thrifting and Zingermans sandwiches, yes and yes. My mom and I were regaling DC (my boyfriend) with car horror stories of yore while my sister laughed in the backseat.

The car horror stories came about because I casually mentioned to my family that DC didn’t know you could buy used tires. As in he literally hadn’t ever run into the problem of not being able to afford brand spanking new tires, should he need some. Ah, how the other half lives.

This is why I must tease him about being a Richie Rich. If you know anything about the movie Richie Rich, you will know that Macaulay Culkin had a lot of moola, enough to buy his own mountain if he wanted to. My boyfriend does not have that kind money. But he has always had enough where he did not know you could buy tires that have been pre-owned.

My family on the other hand grew up knowing how to stretch a dollar—because we had to—and the worth of a worn-out tire. Sure I have been warned on more than one occasion that my tires may blow out at any given moment, have no tread left and that I am actually a danger to myself and the road if I continue to drive with such shoddy tires. It’s quite shocking that all those years of crappy tires held out as long as they did, but I credit good mechanics with solid patching skills combined with reasonable used tire prices and the fine grace of God for why my car tires have never blown out to date.

So there we were, driving in DC’s posh car with Sirius radio, brakes that don’t grind, a steering wheel that doesn’t screech and a transmission smoothly doing whatever it is that transmissions do, while showing DC that our family is no stranger to used tires, in fact used tires were the least of our concerns when it came to cars.

My mom told a story of one car that was missing the ignition, or the ability to start the car normally with a key. You had to start the car with a screwdriver. I was very young and do not remember this car. My mom said one day we were getting ready to leave and she tried putting me in the car. I saw the interior, the faulty ignition and began to cry and refuse to get in.
I was having my first ugliness attack.

So see, it’s been ingrained in me even as a wee lass. It’s not my fault. I knew even at a very young age that I wanted to surround myself with pretty and I have strived for that ever since.

In all seriousness though, my version of pretty is probably very different from yours. Sure I cried over the car that had to be started with a screwdriver, but does that mean I covet Range Rovers? No. I want a 1986 Jeep Wagoneer. Are my flannels from Urban Outfitters? No, they’re my grandpa’s or they were purchased at Goodwill. And um, they’re flannels. Do I decorate with tree-branches and old books? Sure do. But these are all things that are beautiful to me. Old flannels, old cars, old soul. It’s just a matter of taste. To quote my favorite movie, When Harry Met Sally:

“Everybody thinks they have good taste and a sense of humor but they couldn’t possibly all have good taste.”

Lucky for me, I not only have great taste but I am a hoot. I am just talking about the other people. The people who buy ugly dogs, shoes and cars. But alas, I suppose they too think they have good taste and a sense of humor. Alas, what can you do? Just know that if I walk into your doctor’s office and the paint is muted green, the chairs are a plastic magenta and I am suddenly shuddering, well I am having an ugliness attack and will question your credentials.

The Man: Why He’s Not For Me

Musings

I am 27 years old and I have held nearly 27 jobs in my lifetime. I started working around 14, so you do the math. I have done in home care-giving for the elderly and cleaned poopy sheets. I have scrubbed floors and I have scrubbed urinals. I have waitressed and I have bartended. I have been a receptionist, and a bank teller, a barista, and a cashier. I have answered phones for an insurance company, and poured wine at a vineyard. I have been a babysitter and I have been a teacher. I have rolled out dough for breadsticks, made sub sandwiches at a breakneck pace and scooped out pasta salads. I have sold liquor and cigarettes at a party store. I have wiped bums, given baths to the old and to the young, shaved beards, clipped toenails, made breakfasts, lunches, and dinners, done laundry and given the heimlich. I have walked in on a guy in a bathroom just finishing up a line of cocaine. I have done it all. And yet I haven’t done enough.

I haven’t worked on a dude ranch or for the National Park Service. I haven’t been employed by National Geographic or Martha Stewart Living. I haven’t been an on-going extra on the set of Girls or been an assistant to a well-to-do executive who likes it when I accompany him to France. I haven’t been a railroad conductor or a farmer. I haven’t opened a bakery or a bookstore. I haven’t been a white-water rafting instructor or a circus performer. I haven’t worked on a lobster boat or saved the whales, though I did briefly try out to be in the Navy—I got cold feet over the lengthy commitment. Also why I bailed on the Peace Corps.

Of all the jobs I’ve held, I have fantasized about walking out of every single one of them. Jobs I’ve quit after 1-6 months—many. Jobs I’ve made it past a year anniversary—few. Am I lazy? Nope. Does every single boss I’ve ever had adore me? Yep. (Except this crazy Romanian at one, but honestly, it was her, not me. I’m a delight).

I wish I could say the problem was all the jobs, but no of course the problem is me. I know it’s me. I get so excited in the beginning. I think I have found the job that will finally bring me not only joy and contentment but a paycheck. I even pray and ask God if he’s not too busy to give me just this one job, this job that will beat all others, that will change the way I view work, please, pretty please God, let me have this job.

He gives it to me.

I jump for joy. I call everyone I know. Can you believe what luck? I wanted this job for so long! I always wanted to be a receptionist/waitress/barista! Think of the fun I will have when I am making coffee drinks! Think of the excitement I will have when I am answering and directing calls like those Mad Men secretaries. Think of the tips I will make when I show the world my friendly smile.

Fast forward. I hate it. It is loathsome. I am trapped and I need to find an exit strategy.

It’s not that I am simply too much of a gypsy, too much of an artsy soul, too much of a tree-hugger to be cooped indoors doing menial labor; it’s not that it’s beneath me and I can’t wash a dish or serve a beverage or make polite small talk; it’s not even that I can’t embrace the new change and try and excel at my new job; it’s that I truly despise working for The Man.

There have been a few times in life when I have not worked for The Man and I will tell you those have been my favorite jobs and my most beloved bosses (thanks for letting me blog at work, sleep in your coffee shop when my family got on my nerves, and take whole pots of flavored coffee to that guy I liked. And paying me to take your children to Henry Ford Museum, jump on the trampoline and dress like a Russian Fur Trapper all in the name of education. And wear my tall leather boots, tights and ratty cross t-shirt to work, not make me roll silverware at the end of the night and let me drink on the job. To those bosses, I salute you! Thank you for letting me be me).

It’s not even that I am ungrateful. I am very grateful for all the experiences and people I have met along the way, even the wretches because later when I am sharing horror stories with my friends, I win. The problem is that I am just not cut out to work for The Man. Truly I am not. It’s why I would probably do really well at one of those internet start-ups where they ride scooters, shoot nerf guns and have ice-cream machines in their employee lounge. They get it. They’re anti-the-man too. Except I probably wouldn’t be super good with all the techy stuff and I would eventually just want to be outside taking pictures of horses and bodies of water, so I’d end up quitting there too. It’s just who I am!

There’s a reason I’ve almost had more jobs than I have had years being alive. It’s because jobs are the pits and art in all its magnificent forms, including horses and God, is why I breathe. The reason why one of my favorite jobs included my getting to dress up like a Russian Fur Trapper was because I got to dress up like a Russian Fur Trapper! I mean honestly like I need to explain any more than that.

Tomorrow is Halloween and I am not allowed to dress up at my current job. This is bad. This is very bad. And does not bode well for said current job. I don’t know if you get it, but I really suspect Lena Dunham gets it.

I wonder if I can pretend cat ears are a headband? Also it should be noted that I did actually spend time today looking up train conductor jobs. Why? Because why fucking not?