Sunday, March 6, 2016

Big Spoon Cocoon

I've been a lone wolf for a long time. A few friends across the country, not close to family, kids are grown. I'm used to it. Settled. But there are still those random moments at 4:30am, the heart of the witching hour, when I wake from a really bad dream and stare at the ceiling, trying to find my bearings while convincing myself it was, in fact, only a dream.

The feeling of being completely alone in this world can be overwhelming, and the lone wolf life isn't so comfortable and appealing. The desire to reach over and touch someone who cares for me, who will pull me into him, wrapping me in a cocoon of warmth and safety, becomes an insatiable craving that cannot be matched by a badge of strength and a "warrior" title. I'm a survivor, praised for my strength in choosing to face the world alone for the sake of sanity and a hope for happiness, for refusing to settle. But in that very moment of unrest, however fleeting it may be, laying in the middle of a king-sized bed, I don't care about strength and successful independence. I want the big spoon cocoon.

Friday, January 2, 2015

D@$% Fine Swimmer

An old friend told me once that sometimes we stop rocking the boat because we realize we have to sit in it too. It was wisdom, understanding, and accuracy all rolled into one and an assessment I could not argue with.

I let those words marinate for a bit, and then I reminded myself that I'm a damn fine swimmer. So I capsized the boat and swam to shore. Granted, it took some time, and halfway through I was exhausted and contemplating why I had never learned the Navy SEAL side stroke. Covered in sand, clothes tattered and suctioned to my body, seaweed in my hair, I gazed at the overturned vessel being tossed by the wind and waves, as I stood in peace. I turned my back on the chaos, walked away, and smiled. That was no longer my home.

You have one life.
Live it.
Don't ever settle for less than you deserve.
And at the end, cherish the memories you made because you weren't afraid of experiences that took you to the edge. Treasure the private half-smile shared between a co-conspirator as you both remember the exhilaration of standing at a boundary, that line drawn in the sand at your comfort zone, the deep breath ... and the jump. There's always the chance of disappointment, sadness, heartbreak; but if that keeps you from leaping, you're denying yourself all the joy, laughter, happiness, and freedom that goes with it.

Friday, November 28, 2014

3 Things That Will Get You Kicked in the Balls ...

I have a great group of friends, and while the males of the group love me, they're not fond of my jovial, go-to response, "You should be kicked in the balls." I keep a mental note of infractions, and while the list is long, I was able to narrow it down to the Top 3.

NUMBER THREE ... my friend's EX-husband, before they were married, took home a blow-up doll one evening instead of the engagement ring she was expecting. He called and said he had something special for her when he got home. That evening she emerged from the bathroom after a long shower and meticulous primping -- because, after all, she had been waiting quite a while for that special moment when he took a knee and pledged his undying love, imploring her to be his bride. Nope! Instead, she entered the bedroom only to see him standing in the doorway with his arm around a blow-up doll, doing his best to control his own hysterical laughter. He blamed it on his fellow firefighters and the station dare, but Blow-up Susie met her fate that night; and from what I hear, it wasn't pretty.

NUMBER TWO ... the absolute worst thing to say to someone who's trying desperately to hold her heart together as the crack in it splinters in every direction:  "You deserve someone who will love you as much as you love them, someone who can give all of themselves to you, who will give you everything you need." Yeah, dumbass, she knows that. That bullshit you just spouted out of your ignorant pie hole was the finger flick that shattered her cracked heart. She knows what she deserves, and she most certainly deserves better than you, but at that very moment, she can't see past the chaos of memories mixed with visions of what she hoped for and the realization that a relationship she cared about deeply is over ... just like that.

And the NUMBER ONE thing that will get you kicked in the balls, the guy who pranked his wife by rigging the "Ring" girl to appear as if she were coming out of the television. He then proceeded to wake her from a REM sleep. Dude, seriously??? You obviously have a death wish.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Martinis & Minivans '80s Style...and The Rock

If you've ever had to spend an afternoon driving a taxi -- I mean minivan -- full of screaming offspring while debating your 8-year-old on the issue of G.I. Joe being a better match for Barbie than Ken and you haven't found yourself standing in the dry-food darkness of your kitchen pantry with a flashlight tucked tightly under one arm, fumbling with a bottle of Grey Goose in one hand and a shot glass in the other ... well, your name must be June Cleaver, and we have absolutely nothing in common.

This CAN fit into a banana clip. I did it in 1986.
Now, for all of you who have mastered balancing your laptop on canned goods and boxes of pasta so you can read blogs and enjoy a martini in the privacy of your pantry, please like the Martinis & Minivans Facebook page. I really want to see this brave woman sport a banana clip, hopefully with her hair crimped. I don't mean that triple-barrel fun the kids are wearing these days. That style is waaaay too calm for the full crimping of the '80s. If suggestions are being taken, I'm hoping to see some blue eyeshadow too ... pretty, please.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Townhouses & Liars

"Move to those nice, new townhouses," they said.
"It'll be so much easier," they said.
"It's a super quiet neighborhood," they said.

Liars ... ALL.LIARS. It's only been two months, and so far it's a vicious cycle of sleep deprivation that never ends.

One neighbor is a single mother of a college kid who thinks he has legit street cred, but he really isn't fooling anyone, living in a nice suburban area and driving around in his mom's Mercedes, reclined back so he can barely see over the steering wheel. At the first sign of confrontation, he starts nervously pacing and looking for someone to handle the situation for him. I know this because I've witnessed it at 2 a.m. from my upstairs window after being awakened by him and five other college guys fighting on the sidewalk to the accompaniment of one very loud girl screaming as if Leatherface was chasing her with a chainsaw.

I let that event slide, thinking it was a fluke. Sadly, several nights ago, at 2:30 a.m., my faithful guard dog, who can hear a UPS truck five blocks away, started going ballistic. A slight tap, tap, tap ... tap, tap, tap, the twist of a door knob, and then suddenly a profound and incessant banging. The couple was so intoxicated they had no idea that the makeshift frat house they were looking for was three townhouses down the walkway.Two hours later it sounded like a pep rally as the party-goers take 15 minutes to pile into their respective vehicles and leave.

The icing on the cake? Two and a half hours after the pep rally, I'm awakened again by the melody of home construction just 20 yards from the bedroom window on one of the few mornings I get to sleep late. There's no need for a rooster's crow when you can wake up to the musical stylings of a construction crew: the grinding of a Bobcat, screeching of table saws, pounding of hammers, and thumps of nail guns. The next time someone gives you a "deal on rent" due to the new construction across the street ... PASS. Just.simply.pass. I can assure you that the sanity-budget tradeoff is not worth it.

So as I lay there with a pillow over my head, I focused on suppressing the desire to bicycle-kick my bedding, roll out of bed, pull on my rainboots, and march across the street in my GAP jersey cotton lounge dress. I envisioned all noise would cease as I approached. Without hesitation, I would grab the edge of the table and flip it over, sending tools flying in all directions. With a quick burst of air, I would blow my bangs off my face and slowly make eye contact with each worker, challenging them to make even the slightest sound. An indignant flip of my hair, a graceful about-face, and a stomping retreat would signify the end of our silent discussion. I would return to my cocoon of blankets and settle in for my REM sleep quest.

Of course, in reality, if I were to be so bold and attempt such a dramatic standoff, I'm pretty certain that my graceful stomping scene would not involve a nimble navigation through construction debris while the wind romantically whipped my long, dark locks across my back. Instead, I would stumble over a hammer, fall off a two-by-four into a pool of mud, and my hair would look like birds were nesting in it.

Unfortunately not like this

... but more along the lines of this
... or like this

Nonetheless, with each passing day, my frustration continues to fuel my courage to destroy their worksite in my PJs, and I fear that my next blog post could likely be written on toilet tissue from the confines of my jail cell. My first task, however, is to make a batch of Ex-Lax brownies for the college kid and deliver them during normal waking hours. I sincerely hope it's his bedtime so I can wake him up by relentlessly pounding on his door. I mean, I work out. I've done a triathlon. I've got stamina and a heart for retribution. He has no idea who he's messing with.

Too dramatic? As I mentioned, I need sleep. So before you judge me for slowly backing toward the cliff, turning on my heel and bolting to the edge, leaping off in a perfectly outstretched swan dive, please keep in mind that my normal waking hours are way before what could be considered the ass crack of dawn; and while I may work from home, that doesn't make a 3:30 to 5:30 a.m. alarm any easier to tolerate. Trust me, on the rare occasion I get to sleep in, those are hours I cherish like Carrie loves Manolos.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Escape From Alcatraz ... In Reverse

There are many unfair things regarding the government shutdown, and I don't want to downplay the seriousness of the matter. I believe everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion, and I'm not interested in a debate on the issue. Instead, I choose to make light of my own inconvenience.

The selfish point of this post ranks low on the importance scale regarding the shutdown, but I would like to go on record stating another very valid reason this circus needs to come to an end. We need air traffic controllers to stay on the job so a group of us can travel to San Francisco for my best friend's 40th birthday celebration. It's been planned for quite some time, and it's frustrating to know that we will not get to tour Alcatraz due to the recent closure. Hawk Hill, with its famous view of the Golden Gate Bridge ... closed. Muir Woods with its breathtaking redwoods ... closed. WHY DON'T THEY JUST SHUT DOWN SAN FRANCISCO and ignore all of my carefully planned photo ops and Nicolas Cage/Sean Connery reenactments?!?!

It's difficult to see any kind of maturity or etiquette displayed in the playground sandbox we call Washington. So the big picture? Senators standing around on the Senate floor for 21 hours just to prove a point, even taking time to read Green Eggs and Ham to a child watching from home. It's a house divided, people standing on one side or the other with their arms crossed. "We're not budging." "Well, we're not budging either." <tongues stuck out at each other in true Miley Cyrus fashion>

Come on, people. This is ridiculous. The rest of us need to earn a living, we need civil services to continue, and quality health care needs to be affordable. Grow the hell up and put your heads together to arrive at some fair compromises, and stop acting like five-year-old children screaming about a stolen shovel.

My suggestion? Lock up all the rock-kicking sandbox crybabies in Alcatraz until they come to an agreement. That's a tour I'd pay for. I'm all about principle, after all, and I would gladly sacrifice a little bit of dignity by taunting the animals behind the bars just to prove that acting like an adolescent when you're supposed to be an adult is annoying as hell.

In closing, I have the simple goal of celebrating a birthday while refraining from getting us all arrested or lost somewhere in Nova Scotia on the opposite side of the continent searching for Mike "Gandolf" Ganderson, 

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Battle of the Sexes, Overtraining, and One Direction Debates

I will preface this opinion, based on years of observation, by saying to the men who work hard to stay healthy that I am not dismissing your efforts. I get it. You spend the time in the gym working hard, you eat healthy, et cetera. But let's face it. Men in this category are so calm, cool, and collected about aging, taking it in stride year by year. They are afforded this perk because society allows them to age so exquisitely. The glimpse of gray interspersed in their five o'clock shadow really just accentuates their strong jawlines. The gathering of gray at their temples gives an appearance of maturity and experience.

And then you have my kind. Women who battle like MMA fighters raging against their opponents: time, gravity, and free radicals, just to name a few. Even though sweating our faces off at the gym for an hour and a half five days a week makes us feel healthy, strong, and youthful, all it takes is a flash of gray hair that poses a threat to our sanity scale. Those sprigs of gray have the ability to send us running through the house like mad women, finding a comfy place on the bathroom counter for a closeup in the mirror to further investigate. The following day we will promptly make an appointment at the hair salon. Facials, cleansers, moisturizers, eye creams, anti-aging creams, it all becomes a regimen. It's really a lot of work.

It's always this state of mind that tricks me into overtraining. I recently had an extra hour to burn and thought it was a great idea to add a short 700-meter swim to my regular cardio routine. Brilliant, right? It might have been if I was 25 and in prime triathlete shape, which is certainly not the case. The next day the strain in my rhomboid drastically reduced the range of motion in my neck, and that's how I ended up on the floor, flat on my back, alternating ice and heat while debating with my 14-year-old-One-Direction-loving daughter about the pros and cons of sitting through a showing of "This is Us." She immediately seized the opportunity at the first sign of my weakness and a free afternoon where my mobility was restricted. Being a successful negotiator at heart, she actually scares me with her swift-acting strategies. The kid will probably grow up to be a tenacious, badass dealmaker in the business world. Watch for her on the cover of Forbes.

The point of my story? Age really is just a number, but it never hurts to find a good hair stylist and start a savings account for your skin care regime. Laugh lines are a sign of happiness. They're incredibly beautiful. Embrace them. Avoid overtraining at all costs. The result is pain and exhaustion, and you risk the chance of your stellar parental negotiating skills temporarily becoming inferior to that of your apprentice, and you will find yourself sitting through two hours of One Direction telling you what makes you beautiful ... in 3D.

<sigh> Okay. So I have to be honest here. The truth is this:  hanging out with my awesome teenager is always quite fun, the One Direction guys are adorable, I got a couple days off from working out, ate chocolate, hung out, laughed hard ...