Swim or Drown.

Spring cleaning is in full gear at my house. Garage tidied? Check. Closets organized? Check. New bathing suit purchased? Oye.

Living in paradise can feel like being stuck in a black hole with no other movie playing except Groundhog day. I know, I can die now for saying that. But, the weather is essentially the same every day. Being that I live by the beach and it’s almost summer, naturally, beachwear is on my brain. This weekend I felt compelled to clean out my junk drawer to see if I had monsters living in there. I was scared.

The good news is, I found about 13 lonely socks that lost their mate sometime in the early 90s’. (You’re welcome, Salvation Army. I feel bad about that donation). The bad news is, my current suit situation is PATHETIC. I mistakenly discovered stretched bottoms and faded tops that have seen more sun than well, most eighty-year-olds here. Then, I realized… <huff> I had to go bathing suit shopping. Something a woman can only do alone. Why would I volunteer opinions from an honest friend?

When I got to my favorite discount boutique, I found my way through the maze of aisles and arrived at suits. I took a quick gander at the wide variety of women shopping for them and wondered if they were as uncomfortable as me. I thought that I believed in the revolution: If you got it, flaunt it. Not saying I think that highly of myself. I’m not a Victoria Secrets model, but I’m comfortable with who I am.

UNTIL…a close friend of mine told me last year that, wearing two-pieces at our age is “inappropriate.” Thus, perplexion. There are rules to being comfortable in one’s skin? Flaunt it if you got it – unless, you’re old enough to drink, American and not a celebrity.

I spoke to my mother about this notion in order to get an older and wiser woman’s viewpoint.  She assured me my friend was clearly intoxicated or had lost her mind. I was perfect. Leave it to your mother to lie when it’s perfectly appreciated and encouraged.

There I am, swallowed in the tangle of string bikinis, sarongs and the smell of spandex. I grabbed about 24 suits  and tossed them in my cart. The scowl on the dressing room attendant’s face told me that perhaps, I did go a bit overboard and she was going to have fun putting those away later. She must realize not all bathing suits fit the same, I thought.

Standing in that line, I felt like a sheep being herded back into the farm’s gates. Then I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was the familiar face of an old co-worker. After a few moments of uncomfortable small talk about what we’re both doing now, the conversation changed. Her eyes started shifting to the large spew of neon orange and floral nylon shouting in my shopping cart.

“Looking for a bathing suit?” she said. I nodded quickly. I saw a slight rise in one of her eyebrows as she told me, “I looked for one too, but just didn’t see anything that would work.”

And I felt myself get a bit defensive. Oh. It was too late to kick away my cart and pretend like it belonged to the woman standing next to me (who I later caught picking things out of my cart! Who does that?) So I said something dumb like, “Yep! It’s that time again!” – like I am some crazy bathing suit, bag lady.

But – why should I feel ashamed? It’s my money, my purchase. I understand that as you get older, your body changes and no one’s particularly excited to see Grandma in a string bikini. That means, I’ve got like what…another 50 years before condemned to tankinis and ruffle skirts?

I have to say this. Isn’t it a bit hypocritical to be told that forty is the new twenty, but we need to dress forty if we’re forty? Maybe that’s just me, but I think it’s very confusing. Frankly, I find other matters in my life confusing enough – like reading maps (I learn best by landmarks). Why make other aspects of our lives more confusing than they need to be? I’d rather be comfortable being me than drowning doing what I’m told. Swim or drown, beach-goers. Try to swim.


Flipped That Bird.

So, I’m driving home today after work. Ahh. The work day is over and my real life can begin. I can let my eyes come back into focus after staring at a screen all day. I can listen to this song and pass this old guy and be home in 20.

Why isn’t he getting over? What the – ! Did he just do what he think he did?!!

Oh yes, my friend. He did. The middle finger. Do people really do that anymore? Come on! And not a quick: “I’m just going to give you a taste of the aggravation I’m carrying inside my body for you right now,” and then exit finger…but rather: “I blank-ing LOATHE you!!!”

That finger stood proudly – directly in front of his rear view mirror – as if making its debut.  I could feel my eyes widen with such surprise and (to be honest) anger.

Issue #1 – He had an ARMY bumper sticker slapped across the back of his car. He is making a disgrace of that wonderful word. Perhaps it’s the fact my father is serving over in Afghanistan that made me feel so enraged at this. If he only knew – how this old fart of a veteran was “serving” his country now…

Issue #2 – He’s old and definitely retired. What the heck do old, retired people have to worry about here? It’s hot. You can’t be cold. No, 50 degrees in the winter isn’t COLD. I grew up in Ohio where an ice scraper was more than a 711 accessory. We actually used them. A LOT. And you’re retired. Must be nice. Seriously. Not to say you haven’t earned it…but, maybe enjoy it?

Issue # 3 – YOU’RE driving in the passing lane, you crab! That’s for passing…NOT taking a joy ride around town. The only thing I’m at fault for here, is not beeping my horn to counteract your incompetence.

Yeah, I was frustrated. I harbor a little bit of road rage. I know this. I was so perturbed with this guy and yet, I found his deliberately bad attitude – endearing. He’s old and maybe he’s alone. Forget it, that’s not an excuse. I don’t take my bad days out on my mail lady (just as much of a stranger to me as I am to this guy) and throw all my mail in her face. So, what did I do?

I crept up a little closer to his bumper. I wanted to get just close enough so that he could see my pearly whites clearly on that stage, that just moments earlier, his little finger was boldly standing on. HELLLOOOOO Vietnam! (too far?)

I saw a few murmurs escape from his lips, which I can only hope were verbal prayers. He started tapping violently on his brakes. I backed off. I didn’t want this crazy to follow me. He seemed miserable enough to not care whether or not he drove me off the road. But does he move into the right lane? Of course not. All right. I’m going to gain my composure and not let this loon ruin the rest of my night. No, I’m going to start enjoying it right now…

I move over into the right lane. I am now parallel with Grandpa. My windows are tinted so I get really close to them in the hopes that he can at least see my outline. I didn’t throw back a finger or a scream.  I decided to be kind and end this war. So, I waved.

I could tell from the look on his face that he was going to probably have a heart attack. He was annoyed at the fact that I wasn’t going to let him just pee all over my day and then onto his next victim. We stayed parallel for what seemed liked years, eyeing each other. I could tell he was too afraid to go faster than 60 and he was annoyed that he couldn’t get over into another lane.

I felt myself saying aloud, “Now you know how I feel!”

Still Got It.

Me: “Can you give me a locker for my key?” (Meanwhile.. I’m holding onto my keys by my pinkie, dropping my gym bag and digging for my campus I.D.)

The blonde, blank-faced sorority girl: “What?”

Me: <Sigh with a weak smile…> “Can you just give me a key? It’s been a long day…”

Immediately, I’m annoyed.

No, not particularly at her inept handling of my stuttering. Actually, not at her all. Annoyed that here I am, at the gym again after a 15 hour work day. I work at a university and use their gym. It’s close, it’s convenient, but mostly because I could probably qualify for food stamps and I can afford their free facilities.

‘This girl has no idea what a long day is,’ I thought.

I was in college not that long ago. Taking naps between introductory health classes, skipping them to go to lunch and worrying about whether or not she’ll have time to pre-game before the party tonight is this girl’s only worry.

As I walk away and head to the locker room, I look at the lineup and scope out my machine. I will not be stuck next to the girl who does this weird fist pumping gesture while she uses the elliptical again. *Side note: It’s a cross between a drunk Snooki and an animal trying to dig its way out of a sand pit. The first time I saw her, I thought hard about what she was doing. Is this a new trend? Perhaps this is a hidden-bicep-toning-trick that only she’s discovered. Maybe it’s her way of motivating herself through the next five minutes. Maybe she has a nervous arm tick that only occurs when she moves her legs in a marching motion?

I digress. But it’s very distracting.

Anyhow, I swear that every time I walk through the doors to this gym, I have a reverse reaction than what I normally have when going to other gyms. Some places put more emphasis on keeping lipstick and hot-shorts on than keeping muffin tops and kankles off, you know?

This gym is different. There are no working moms. There are no men or women trying hard to work off a few pounds. No. There are NO normal, hardworking, fellow staff here to be on my team. There are 22 year olds, in tight shorts, with “Jerseylicious” slapped across their behinds.

Funny. There is not a trace of envy, jealousy or insecurity that I feel. In fact, it’s the complete opposite. Competitiveness and the ability to show down every single UGG boot, Northface-jacket-wearing kid in the place is what I feel.

*Disclaimer: I was in a sorority and have nothing against UGG boots, Northface jackets or Greek Life.*

Call it what you will, but when you tell yourself that you “still got it” and make yourself prove that while you’re running next to the next Nike model – you feel a total sense of accomplishment.

After I changed, I hopped onto the elliptical and started my normal routine. Throughout the duration, people next to me came and went – including one of our department’s interns. I now know he talks a much bigger talk about his regimen than it actually is. I saw it with my own eyes. He couldn’t have been on any resistance level on that stationary bike. Pretty sure he was going for an imaginary joy ride around campus.

Then, in the middle of John Mayer, this guy jumped up onto the machine next to me. Big guy. He was in it to win it. I took one look at him and flew into high gear. The faster he pedaled, the faster I pedaled. I’m pretty sure he tried to see what level my machine was at so, naturally, I kept interchanging the levels to throw his game off. I heard myself saying, “I’m beating you, I’m beating you, I’m beating you” with every full rotation of my legs.

Maybe that’s immature. BUT – there’s something about being in a roomful of good-looking, motivated, young-adults. It makes me remember who I am and laugh at who I was. I’m healthier now at nearly twenty-eight than I was at eighteen. I feel proud of that accomplishment. I feel proud that I do still “got it.”

At the end of my delicious work out, feeling confident, vibrant, alive and energized, I go to the locker room to change. I laugh at my new-found motivator game and think to myself,

‘If people only knew – they’d think you were a loony, crazy, adolescent.’

But then you struck again, Kappa Gamma Jerseylicious. I heard you do something in that bathroom and the smile on your face said you were very proud of it.

Ewww. Who’s immature now?

Inspiration for the Week!

I went for a walk today and found the coolest neighbor who doesn’t take life too seriously. Love it!

Life’s Short. Eat a Cookie.

I never indulge in sweets. Wine? Sure. Beer? Yep. Cookies? No!

Sound familiar? Please say yes! It’s funny. We’ll drink a few bottles of wine with some  friends on a weekend, munch down on a gallon of butter-soaked popcorn, in a crowded theatre in the dark, and go to dinner parties and put all those insecurities aside.  We act like it’s the last supper and we’ve never seen a piece of food in our lives, grabbing handfuls of popcorn so large the pieces spill out both sides of our month. A few fell on the ground. Screw it. Stay focused. Someone will clean it up.

Are you serious? We have to be either in the dark, with people we don’t know and/or care about in order to let ourselves overindulge from time to time?

I’m curious. Why are we ashamed to let ourselves enjoy a cookie without having to split it with someone? Or just take a nibble because “we really shouldn’t.” That’s such a girl move. My husband can eat an entire package of cookies, smack his lips, sit back and stare proudly at his accomplishment. Is there a crumb of guilt? The only crumb I’ve seen is what’s left along his lap and the floor for our dog to pick up.

Why can’t I be like that? Sure, he has the metabolism of gymnast, but guys don’t think about that kind of stuff. In a way, I admire it. There are bigger things to worry about in life.

Frankly, I’m trying to be over that. Not to say that I am going to start buying stock in Nabisco, but it kinda erks me to know that I bust my butt a few days a week in the gym (after work) even when I don’t feel like so that I can stay healthy. I don’t have children – but dear God, how you women work, raise kiddies and still manage to hit the gym…I commend you. You’re amazing.

I’m healthy, active and very conscious of what I put into my body. I don’t smoke, I don’t do drugs. I DO drink. But that doesn’t count. That is medicinal mental liquor. It keeps me balanced.

Guilt. Anger. A vicious cycle. Why? This is exactly what I felt as I happened to stop by a bakery today with a friend for lunch. The place is known for its desserts. You don’t come here for their gourmet salads. When I was checking out, I noticed a large sign, strapped across the smudged window that read: Life’s Short. Eat a Cookie.

And I could feel a smile cover my face, followed by a little hesitation. Then I thought, are you kidding me? This is ridiculous.  Who am I really answering to other than myself? And I happily ordered a gourmet peanut butter buckeye bar. It was heaven in a doily.

So, let’s eat the cookie.  Life’s short, freakin’ eat the cookie.

No Babies Here, Sorry.

Me: “I have something to tell you.”
Friend: “You’re pregnant.”
Me: “No, I was going to tell you I’m finally starting a blog.”

Apparently, my ticking timebomb, aka baby maker hasn’t only been on my newlywed mind.

I want to preface this post with the fact that I LOVE kids. In fact, I was a nannie for a family of 3 children for nearly 6 years. I loved them and played with them like my own. My friends, the loves of my life, nearly all have kids. I love being an Auntie to them all and couldn’t be happier for them.

But, am I ready? Will I ever be ready? I take an hour to order a burrito, reinforcing all the things I really don’t want. Then again, I’ve been told you’re never ready. Never stable enough financially or 100% emotionally ready.

As enticing as voluntarily accepting more insecurities into my life seems, should I feel somewhere deep down I will want, at some point, children? Or will my 30th come and I’ll feel the same way I do now — impartial.

I recently read an article that talked about a woman’s biological clock. It said, “Until the age of 25 lifestyle factors such as smoking or alcohol have little effect on a woman’s fertility.”

Great, Mother Nature. So what you’re saying is that while I was young, stupid and completely immature that would have been the “safest” time to bring a life into this world? Sorry, but I was acting like an idiot until about three years ago. A kid, pushing a stroller, brushing off last night’s hangover isn’t the perfect mother I imagine now. But, if I wait until I’m eating meals from a stove and not a drive-thru, my fertility rate drops immensely and I will have to give up wine? Being a woman really blows sometimes. We literally carry all of the responsibility.

Right now, my husband and I love being selfish. Love being able to be adventurous. Love being free and alone. I am not closing the possibility of a child, but I am not ready now. So, sorry. You can quit giving me those disappointed looks when I tell you now. And asking “Ever? Never?” isn’t helping.

When it happens, if it happens, it will be right.


This Place is not Real Life.

Bike Week. A biker’s dream. A transplant’s worse nightmare. *Sigh *

You’re right, John. It’s not “fun and glamorous.”

John says no!

Serious question, John, have you seen these people? I took 12 pictures of all the half-naked ladies standing next to “hot leather” signs, while shooting whiskey just to be able to deal with the smell of falafel and gasoline.

Now, I am not judging, but if you don’t live here, you can’t comment. I’m not saying they all have mother or father issues. Some will throw their cans of Budlight as close to a trashcan as their lack of soberness permits. Some will even offer you one. Or, dance to ACDC with you while you swear, for a second, you kind of fit in with your clean, untapered jeans and midriff entirely covered. Maybe, in another life, we could have joined forces.

I’m grateful that while I continue to pass actual street signs like “Be safe, ride quietly” and have them be completely ignored, have my windows shake uncontrollably and avoid every corner of town that has a Hooters, I can continue to collect snapshots of this chapter of my life. I swear to everything holy, in a few years, without documentation, I won’t believe the stuff I encounter.

Hello World!

I know I’m not the only twenty-something who likes to talk and write – especially about the randomness of life. It’s fun to make light of situations and share them so, here I am — taking a hobby and hopefully turning it into much more!

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