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Sometimes I Have Fun.

Sometimes, I like to have fun.

I don’t know if you know this about me.

But it’s true.

Sometimes I like to jump out of airplanes and sometimes I like to build closet organizers and sometimes I like to cook fancy chicken but sometimes, my friends, I just like to have fun.

The kind of fun where you don’t even think about it.  You just do it.

Well.  After my whirlwind tour of San Diego and before the piercing situation in Austin, there was a concert.

There was a concert in New Braunfels, Texas.



I don’t know much about New Braunfels.

But I DO know they have excellent ice cream cones.

And I DO know they have plenty of Ooohs and Ahhhs.

And I DO know that their Whitewater Ampitheater is where the Avett Brothers decided to have a concert.

Which makes New Braunfels a-ok in my book.

My friend Stacy (remember her?) first introduced me to the Avetts a couple of years ago, and I’ll admit it.  I’m hooked.  It could’ve been the timing in my life, it could’ve been the sexy banjos, it could’ve been the fact that their lyrics abound with gems like:

The wind that blows from here to California
Never stops to turn and wonder why it goes.


A jet plane and a big idea
I jump over the sea
What-ifs hot on my trail
But they can’t catch me, oh no


Now I’ve grown too aware of my mortality
To let go and forget about dying
Long enough to drop the hammer down
And let the indolence go wild and flying through


Decide what to be and go be it.

So when Stacy called and said she bought me a ticket, I knew I had to go to Texas.

(Note: If you want me to visit you, I can be bought.)

Even though Texas in July is hot.

And the concert was outside.

But it mattered not that Stacy, her sister Andrea and I found ourselves drenched and tipsy in a crowd full of sweat-slick people, because they were our people.

Even (sigh.) the super tall ones.  (This is me, by the way.  Incredulous and sweaty.  I mean glowing.  Glowing like a pig.)

Despite the tall folk, we me managed to have some fun.

(Stacy and me. Rawr.)

Crazy sisters.

I’m not big on crowds.  I’ll be the first to admit it.

But there’s something — something — about experiencing your favorite music live.

Exhilaration, defined.

For all of the sweat, for all of the people, for all of the porta potties and drunk guys and yes, even for Texas, I would do it again.

Thank you, Stacy!  It was everything I dreamed it would be.

(Minus the part about the Avetts inviting me back to their bus to serenade me with a private show, but hey.  We can’t have everything.)

13 Reasons Why I’m A Crappy Military Spouse.

When I was working my well-paying cubicle gig for the Environmental Management Branch on Fort Bragg, I sometimes had to drive to other areas of the installation to meet with various mapping, forestry, endangered species, cultural resources, and compliance subject matter experts.

SMEs, for short.

Because everything in the military is an acronym.

BEMA, for short.

I strongly dislike acronyms. (REASON #1)

ISDA, for short.

FS, for short.

You dig?


Since the installation is only like the biggest in the country, I’d get to take a government vehicle whenever I was driving for work-related reasons.  I’d sign out a nondescript white or silver sedan, bring the seat forward about 20 inches, reset all of the preset radio stations to something other than godawful, and be on my merry way.

For a year and a half, this was routine.  Like hopping a morning commuter train from a local Park-‘n-ride, I’d put ‘er on autopilot, crank some tunes, and somehow magically arrive at my destination.

Then, one day, on some rudimentary stretch of curvy road where soldiers deemed it necessary to cross as pedestrians because they thought they owned the place or something (wait, what? REASON #2), they reduced the speed limit by 10 miles per hour.




And I, being the super observant, astute, law-abiding citizen that I apparently am — not — saw the flashing lights in the ill-adjusted rearview mirror before it even registered in my cubicle-muddled brain that I was driving not 5, not 10, not 15, but twenty-two miles over the newly posted speed limit.

It was a trap, I tell you.

Before I could even think to adjust my cleavage or touch up my lip gloss, the uniformed military police officer was at my window with the ticket.

“We’re giving tickets to everyone,” he said, before I could open my mouth.

“Ok.”  Hell.  I deserved one.

“No exceptions.”  The guy was ready for an argument.

“Ok.”  I gave him a sheepish smile.

“Really — the guy in front of you is getting one, too.”

“Ok.”  Is “ok” code for I-think-you’re-full-of-crap-and-I’ll-see-you-in-court?

“Fine.  I’ll write it up for 19 over the limit.  That should save you some hassle.”

“Wow, thanks!  Um… what kind of hassle will I have to deal with?” I handed him my contractor I.D.

“You’re not a spouse?  You work here?” He asked, surprise registering on his face.  “If you were a spouse, then I’d write you the ticket, you’d pay it, and your husband’s commander would hear about it.  But since you’re a contractor, you’ll have to pay the fine and attend a driver safety course.  At 8:00 a.m.  On Saturday.”

I thought about snatching back my contractor I.D. and handing him my dependent I.D.  (REASON #3)

“Well… this is a government vehicle I’m driving… so yes.”  I sighed.  “I’m a contractor.”

He ripped the ticket from the stack, a bemused grin curling the corners of his mouth, and handed it to me.  “The class is 8 a.m.  Saturday.”

So here’s the thing:  I wouldn’t have had to take the class if I’d simply shown him my dependent I.D. as opposed to my contractor I.D.?*  Being a “dependent” — and we all know how I feel about that — would’ve exempted me from paying my dues?  From learning how to be a safer driver?  From watching videos of high school prom dates impaled on fences and toddlers struck by drunk drivers and other nightmarish vehicular accidents?

(*I honestly don’t know, legally speaking, what difference which I.D. I showed would’ve made.  But the officer implied that the repercussions would have been less — for me — had I claimed dependency with a blush and a smile.)

The tradeoff, it seems, is that Justin would have gotten the lecture.  Justin would have paid the price for my recklessness.  And it’s that antiquated way of operating — the very idea that my actions could affect his career — makes me far too nervous to be an effectively “good” spouse.  In fact, it sometimes makes me want to test the limits.  (REASON #4)

Also, I’m not a mom. (REASON #5)

And sometimes I forget my husband’s rank. (REASON #6)

And I hate being called “ma’am.” (REASON #7)

And I sometimes get jealous of Justin’s travel.  (REASON #8)

And I think sometimes that it’s harder to be married to military than it is to be military.  (REASON #9)

And I disagree with the concept of respecting someone solely for his or her rank.  Especially if he or she is an asshole. (REASON #10)

And I can’t keep my delinquent thoughts to myself. (REASON #11)

And sometimes — sometimes — I actually revel in my alone time.  In watching whatever movie I want on the big television.  In eating cheese, crackers, and olives for dinner.  In putting a container of leftover pasta carbonara in the fridge and never having to suffer that suffocating disappointment when I decide to have some for lunch and discover that only 2 teasing bites remain — not enough to sate me, but just enough to justify not having to wash the container.  That really bugs me.  (REASON #12)

But then… I still miss him.  And his uniform.  And honestly, in the end, I wouldn’t want to do anything that would hurt his career.

I mean, who wants that on her conscience?

So I took the stupid driving course.  And Justin didn’t get a lecture from his commander about reigning in his spouse’s reckless driving habits.  And actually, the class may have been somewhat beneficial in teaching me ways to deal with my road rage.  In fact, I should probably look into taking a refresher.  And, at the end of class when I stood in the required line to show the instructor my passing exam score and the written offense for which I’d been committed, he gasped and said, “That was you?”

I nodded.

He looked at me, incredulous.

“Why don’t you slow it down, Katie.”  He smiled.

Slow it down?  Me?  Not likely, my friend.

Inside, I smiled too.

So.  Maybe I can do this.  Maybe I can play the military’s game.  And maybe — just maybe — I can still work my own little acts of rebellion into the mix, because hey.

I can be supportive.  I can smile and schmooze.  I can even learn the damn acronyms.

But in the end, I can’t lose sight of me.

You know?

P.S. Poll results are still coming in. If you haven’t voted, please do. And the thoughtful comments some of you have added are just… awesome.  If you’re in the U.S., you know your vote might not count in November’s election (REASON #13), but here, it most certainly does.

Decisions Make Me Sweaty & Uncomfortable, So Here. You Decide.


After my lovely little woe-is-me rant last week, I came to a couple of conclusions:

1) I have some re-vamping to do on this site; and

2) I may not have many readers, but I have the best readers.  And since I’ve always been a quality over quantity kind of gal anyway, this suits me well.

While #2 can’t stand on its own, #1 may need some further explanation.

I’ve been struggling for a long time to define what I want to do with this site — which “direction” it should go, what topics I should write about, and why I should even call it “Domestiphobia” (aside from the fact that I like the word).  And since any type of planning or goal setting tends to make me want to crawl into the smallest, safest closet of my house with a bottle of tequila, a pair of sunglasses, and N-Sync’s debut album circa 1997 and pretend that I’m 15 again (with an apparent alcohol abuse problem), I’ve so far managed to successfully treat it as no more than an online journal to archive the often insane and aimless way I’ve thus far stumbled through adulthood.

Retirement plan?  Real job?  Sense of achievement and self-satisfaction?  That stuff’s for the Type As, I say, and let ’em keep it.

Except… it’s not.

I may be Domestiphobic, but I want these things:  Love.  Security.  A safe place to lay my head.

I want them.

I do.

I just don’t want to achieve them in the conventional sense.

In fact.

Every node on every nerve ending of every sensory receptacle of my body is repulsed by the idea of a “normal” life.


I said it.

The very idea of working a regular 9-5 to support someone else’s dream seems ludicrous.  The thought that my basic needs can be met with a cable box and the latest Pottery Barn it’s-new-but-made-to-look-old overpriced dust collector is depressing.  The notion that life, as I know it, can be washed down in a blink with a single dose of monotonous routine just so I can earn enough money to wake up at 60 (should I be so lucky) with the means and motivation to actually start enjoying it seems like a waste.

I want to enjoy it now.

And I think each of us has this dream, maybe deep down, that life can somehow be more.

And for me, it’s going to start with this blog.

It will take some time to reorganize, especially knowing me, but that’s okay.

In the meantime, I need to know about you.  I tend to write a little about everything here — from travel experiences to home projects to dinner recipes and the deluded workings of my inner mind.  I’m all over the place.  And let’s be honest — that’s not likely to change.  But I would like to get an idea of what you, my regular readers, enjoy the most.  And maybe that will give me a sense of focus.

A bit of direction.

A safe place to lay my head.

Take the poll — it’s free and anonymous and will count for your good deed for the day.  Also, it could make you intelligent and rich and sexy beyond your wildest dreams.

Probably not, but I’m sayin’ there’s a chance.

(You can choose more than one answer.  Please be honest.  This is only my life we’re talking about.)

Really. What’s So Wrong With Eating Your Feelings? Because Mine Taste AWESOME.

What is happening with the world right now?

There are political figures trying to tell me what I can and can’t do with my body, there are people trying to sell me my own intellectual property, and there are princes getting naked all over Vegas but really, no one’s blaming Harry on that last one because who doesn’t want to get naked all over Vegas?


I think there’s just such an overload of fodder out there right now — and such a lack of focus on my part — that I tend to get overwhelmed and rather than talk to anyone ever, I instead opt to curl up on my sofa with a couple of mangy mutts, a glass of Zinfandel, and a streamed movie on Netflix that I didn’t realize was subtitled until 10 minutes in.

In other words, I have a lot of time to think.

There comes a time in most unpaid, extreme ADD blog writers’ “careers,” when the writer must evaluate the situation and make a choice.  MY situation is that I’ve been doing this for almost 2 1/2 years, and barely anyone reads Domestiphobia.

Like at all.

And I love those of you who do — you’re like the validation I never got in high school.  The prom date, the braces removal, and the boob development all in one, confidence-boosting package.  (I actually did end up getting those last two — just not until it was too late to be enjoyed in high school.)  It makes me feel like maybe I do have a niche.  Like maybe there are some people in this world who get me, and even if you don’t, you still like watching me through that thick zoo glass from the relative safety and comfort of your swivel office chair.

And that’s okay, too.

So that’s my situation.

Therefore my choices, as I see them, are to:

a) Keep doing what I’m doing

b) Stop

c) Pick a focus and work to improve


d) Eat a sandwich.

I’m pretty sure, if you know me at all, (and if you’ve been reading for any length of time, rest assured that you DO know me), then you know which one I choose.

Grilled Cheese with Guacamole and Bacon


Where The Highway Ends – Chillin’ in the OBX.


So I know that I just took a trip, and I haven’t even finished telling you about that.  Or, for that matter, the one before that.  Or the one before that.

But that’s okay, I figure, because things don’t need to happen chronologically in blog time.  In blog time, time does not exist as we know it in life.

It’s not even a line.

It’s a viscous fluid, like tanniny wine.


I just took a trip, but if this post of yore was any indication, I was still in need of a getaway.

And while planes are awesome and can transport me from coast to coast in a matter of hours, sometimes I just need to get in my car and drive.  If you don’t know that feeling — if you’ve never had it before — I think you’re probably lucky.  And I think your car, unlike my tracker, probably doesn’t have over 160,000 miles on it.

Go, Tracker – Go!

Jack Kerouac probably said it best in On the Road — a book I didn’t at first fully appreciate (and probably still don’t), but inside of which find snippets of virtue here and there whenever I happen to need it — he said, “Nothing behind me, everything ahead of me, as is ever so on the road.”

And that’s how it feels — meditation on wheels.

So when Justin’s aunt and uncle (the same ones we visited in Philly earlier this year) invited me to stay the weekend at the beach house they’d rented with their two kids and Justin’s grandparents, I could hardly say no.  Especially after I realized it was only 4 hours away.  And especially when I realized it was in North Carolina’s Outer Banks (also known to the trendy peeps as OBX) — somewhere I still hadn’t been.

(Okay.  So my dark brown hair and green eyes don’t exactly make me visually fit in amongst these toe-heads and gingers, but with them, you don’t need to look like them to be treated like family.  Which we are anyway, through marriage, but you know what I mean.)

After work on Friday, I came home, fed the dogs, left my neighbor some feeding instructions, threw some stuff in a duffel bag, and just started driving.  Of course, as with any road trip, I made sure I had my mix CDs from the late ’90s and cranked up the tunes.

Why does driving away always feel so good?

I had to stop and pick up some boiled peanuts to bring to my hosts.

Welcome to The South.

Eventually, after about 4 hours, I reached the end of Highway 64 and consequently entered a whole other universe.

We’re not in Fayettenam anymore.

A universe with stilted, shaker-sided beach homes and salty air and nary a uniformed soldier in sight.

The Outer Banks are a series of barrier islands just off the northeast coast of North Carolina.  During hurricane season they have a tendency to get battered and beaten as they protect the mainland from the onslaught of the ocean’s fury, but now, during summer, they’re a laid-back refuge with dotted chains of trinket shops and surf towns with thought-provoking names like Nags Head and Kill Devil Hills  and Duck.

Duck?  Like the animal that quacks, or that thing you do when hurricane winds hurl a tree branch your way?

As I started heading North from Nags Head towards Duck, I caught an incredible view.

And then another.

Nags Head, OBX, NC

And then — WHAT IS THAT?!

Really, what IS that?


Nags Head Dunes

Sand mountains.

People frolicking and dancing, drawn to the sunset and the soft, soft sand.

I’ve never seen anything like it.  I had to pull off to the side, kick of my sandals, and climb.

When I got to the top, I expected to see water, but no.

Just more dunes.

It was incredible.

Outer Banks Sand Dunes

Word on the street is you can hang glide off of these.  If this is true, I will be back.

But my shadow was long, and true to my M.O., I was already late for dinner.

So I headed back down.

The rest of the time, I spent doing what you do when you go to the OBX:  Eating, Drinking, Beaching, and keeping tabs on the sun.

Not my sand castle. Unfortunately.

Automobiles aren’t allowed on the beaches, and they’re lined with gorgeous beach houses — not hotels — so they feel more pristine and less crowded than my coastal areas in the U.S.

I really enjoyed the town of Duck.  It sits on one of the narrowest sections of the OBX, and our short walk to the beach included a simultaneous view of the ocean and the sound.  The town was quaint, with a great selection of restaurants, shops, and a fantastic boardwalk.  The walking/bike paths are fantastic, and our 7 mile bike ride made me feel less guilty about our late night dinner at Blue Point.

Outer Banks North Carolina Blue Point Restaurant

Punny.  And delicious.

Blue Point Restaurant Duck, NC

Crab saute with salmon and spoon bread.

OBX Blue Point Restaurant

Pork chop with Parmesan grits, pineapple, and radish.

Blue Point Restaurant Seafood

Pickled shrimp.

The food was pricey but tasty, although I wish I could have tried it 6 years ago, before the restaurant expanded.  The she-crab soup was decidedly the best item ordered.  I didn’t get a chance to take a photo before it was demolished.

I suspect you’re mainly paying for the service (which was impeccable) and the view (which we didn’t get to see at 10:00 p.m.).  If you’d like to try it, make reservations early so you can watch the sunset over the sound.

In my 36 hours at the OBX, I’m obviously no expert, but I shall impart my wisdom anyway.

What to Bring:

  • A car (mainly so you can bring everything else)
  • Recreational ocean stuff (to include bathing suits, towels, toys, kayaks, surf boards, paddle boards, paddle ball, boogie boards, jet skis, yachts, etc. If you have it, bring it.) Really, you can probably rent or buy pretty much anything you forget.
  • Sunscreen/Sunglasses/Sunbrellas
  • Bikes
  • Patience (traffic can be annoying)
  • Surfer ‘tude.

What to Buy:

  • Groceries (if you’re staying in a beach house, which likely you are, it gets expensive eating out for every meal. Buy groceries.)
  • Duck Donuts.  Just trust me on this.
  • Hammocks.  Apparently OBX is the place to buy hammocks.
  • Seafood.  Eat lots — and lots — of seafood.
  • Hang gliding lessons.

Next time, my friends.  Next time.

What? Like Parenting Is Hard?

Sometimes I cook dinner for my neighbor and her kid.

They come over because I crave the company and she doesn’t like to cook.

Whenever someone brings a child to my house, I realize just how not kid friendly it is.  I mean, it’s not like I have sharp metal furniture and crystal vases and nude portraits of Ron Jeremy hanging around, but I don’t have any designated “kid” stuff, either.  The closest I come is maybe a Pixar DVD or two, a copy of The Goonies (which really isn’t all that kid friendly at all when you think about it — but then, nothing involving Corey Feldman ever is), and… um… that’s about it.  Even my dogs aren’t really kid-friendly, since every time they see one they feel the need to knock it to the ground, immobilize it, then sterilize it via intense licking before letting it roam freely around their abode.

This usually doesn’t go over well.

When it comes to snacks, unless kids like goat cheese or prosciutto or Castelvetrano olives or a dry cabernet, they’re pretty much SOL.

Most of my friends are already aware of the situation at my house, so they come well prepared with toys and snacks and binkies and bibs.  But even the most prepared parents usually don’t think of the things most of us take for granted, like glasses.  All of my glasses are — you guessed it — glass.  So the last time I watched my neighbor’s daughter, I gave her milk shooters from a plastic JELL-O shot cup.

Hey.  Aside from those and the oversized red and blue party flip cups, I got nothin’.

I’m pretty sure that at 2 years of age, they’re not dexterous enough to handle my stemware.  And even I have a hard time lifting my chunky “Wal-Mart special” juice glasses.

This doesn’t happen at MY house. (source)

And I think, as I watch the little girl shoot her 4th milk, straight up, like a champ, that part of the reason I don’t really want one is because they need so much stuff.

As a self-professed minimalist with neurotic hoarding urges to constantly overcome, the very idea that I would need to purchase special glassless glasses and sippy cup lids and find somewhere to keep them and that’s just the tip of the iceberg, my friends, because did you know that kids need clothing and diapers and cribs and car seats and even special little spoons and plastic plates and omg you can’t put that tupperware in the microwave because the toxins will KILL your baby and I realize that in the end, I know I would require a JELL-O shot glass of my very own just to deal with it all.

I would be that parent who barely buys anything.  Who says, You know what?  Junior only really needs 3 toys at this age because he has the attention span of a gnat, and if I only give him one at a time and rotate them every half hour or so, it will be like he’s getting a brand new toy every time.  And that’s when the other parents would look at me with judgement and my child with pity and I’d go to jail for boob-punching the first woman who tells me I’m cheap.

Because I am cheap, but that’s not the point.

The point is that I just don’t want all that crap.

It stresses me out.

And if crap stresses me out, then that’s just one more check in the ever-growing column of reasons I shouldn’t be a parent.

Because, from what I hear, parents deal with a lot of crap — both figuratively, and literally.

And to be honest, I’d rather just have fun with their kids while they’re here, and simply throw the JELL-O shot cups away when they leave.

Vicarious parenting is so easy.

And That’s Why You Should Invest in a Fuzzy Bath Mat.

Last night I had a mini breakdown.

All of the big things and all of the little things culminated in my mind at approximately 7:36 p.m. and I was, to put it mildly, inconsolable for the next 7 minutes.  I cried.  I wrote an angry email to my boss.  I cried some more.  I panicked and tried to see if I could “un-send” the email to my boss.  I was relieved when I saw that I couldn’t.  I curled up on my super plush and comforting bathroom rug in a face-down fetal position and watched, fascinated, as black spots of watery mascara marred its fuzzy white fibers.  I stayed there until I couldn’t breathe, as my sinuses filled with all of the stuff that comes to the surface when we cry hard.

Then I cried some more, because I couldn’t even cry right without having to stop for lack of proper breathing technique.  I mean, everyone can breathe.  But me?  No.  Ask me to do one thing, and I’m pretty sure I’ll find a way to screw it up.

And so it goes.

The thought process of the minorly depressed.

Then I vented on Facebook, for crying out loud:

Drained. Physically, emotionally. Tired of feeling worthless at work. Angry at myself for not — STILL — being gainfully self-employed. Exhausted from loneliness. Pissed that I’m pissed about turning 30. I thought I’d be above that. But when you realize you’ve not only NOT reached your goals by a certain age but have managed to take a healthy flying leap backwards, it’s like… indescribably demoralizing. And now I’m complaining about it on Facebook, which we all know is like tapping the keg at my own effin’ pity party.

Then again, maybe it’s just my period.

And that made me laugh, a little, and so did some of the responses.

I feel better today.

Sometimes, I think, we just need to vent.

All over email, Facebook, and a soft, soft rug.

P.S. Check back later if you’re interested in learning how to build a closet organizer out of plumbing pipes.  Because… you know… isn’t everyone?


And There Was No Alcohol Involved. I Swear.

There inevitably comes a time during every trip when I get… antsy.

know — it’s not enough that I get antsy when I’m not traveling.  No.  I also get antsy when I am traveling.  And while I don’t always act on it, I often feel that I need some kind of change.  Some kind of drastic purchase or body modification in order to commemorate the trip.

After leaving San Diego, I had an itch.  And since I wasn’t having any promiscuous sex, I knew exactly what it was.

“Let’s get tattoos!” I suggested to 2 of my long-lost loves, Stacy and Becs, over coffee in Austin one morning.

Stacy and I used to work together on Fort Bragg, and Becs was one of my hot-sauce makin’ employers in Costa Rica.  Somehow, via the twisting roads we like to call Fate and my own sheer good fortune, they both ended up living in Texas — San Antonio and Austin respectively, and only a couple of hours apart.

I was feeling extra comatose, which was horrific because I only had one day to spend with Bec.

So they took me to Austin Java in order to drug me back into consciousness.

Austin Java

“Hellooo… are you listening?  I said tattoos.”

Once they realized I was actually awake, the caffeine having worked its way through my capillaries and into my alertness and pleasure sensor receptacles (it’s all very sciency), the momentum snowballed.

“No tattoos,” Bec said.  “But there’s a piercing I’ve been wanting to get for a while.”

What?  Awesome.  Let’s go.

A quick check with the barista, who was overloaded with ink and holes and obviously an expert on the subject, and we were on our way.

Diablo Rojo

Welcome to Diablo Rojo.  We totally belong here.

Okay, Bec — Time to pick your poison.

So many choices…

Dainty and demure?

Statement tribal?

Large and in charge?

I’ll admit — I have no clue where most of these are supposed to go.

Fortunately, the expert piercer from New Zealand knew exactly what she was doing.

“This isn’t going to hurt… any more than sticking a metal needle through nerves and cartilage.”

These boots mean business.

Whenever you get a piercing, you have to get “the talk” on how the place sterilizes its needles and how to properly care for your new punctured body part.  If they don’t give you that talk, you should probably sober up immediately and get the f*ck outta there.

She’s still IN!

Wanna guess what she got?


Sterilizing the surface…

Just relax…

It’s no worse than a pap smear… it’s no worse than a pap smear…

Ta da!

“Hey, Devil — my eyes are up HERE.”

Anyway, she’s pulling. It. Off.

I, however, as the queen of now-cliché piercings and tattoos (yes, I have a navel piercing circa 1998 and a “tramp stamp” circa 2000), decided to hold off until I know what I really want.

I did make an impulse purchase at the coffee shop, though — and it was slightly more expensive than a couple of grande, non-fat chai lattes (though not by much):

Mike Johnston Painting "Beach Houses"

“Beach Houses,” painted on a piece of scrap wood, by local artist and elementary school art teacher, Mike Johnston.

I think I love it — nails and all.



But Isn’t That Always The Question?

Earlier this week a friend of my friend’s husband died.  (Not the husband.  His friend.)

It’s so physically disconnected from my own bubble of existence that I never would have known — never would have cared — if it weren’t for the voyeuristic world of Facebook.  This slight tremor of the earth would have remained undetected by the radars whose boundaries define my reality, but instead, I could feel it.

And I think it might have tipped my axis.

Just a little.

See, my friend’s husband and his buddies are what you would call “adrenaline junkies” — men and women whose very core of emotional sustenance relies heavily — almost solely — on experiencing the rush that comes with dangerous physical activities.  Defying death, it seems, is the best way they know how to sustain life.

His drug of choice is BASE jumping, the acronym standing for the various fixed objects from which one could… well… jump:  Buildings, Antennas, Spans (bridges), and Earth (cliffs).  Sometimes they sneak off to places in the middle of the night when the wind is right — places most “normal” people drive past or over without a second thought.  Sometimes they travel to exotic locales where the scenery alone with its wild canyons and verdant jungles and sapphire waters and dissipating clouds and the climb itself would be enough.

Enough for most people.

But they’re not most people.  For them, it’s only about the fall.

I’ve always known my friend’s husband was like this, and of course I’ve always been worried for her.  What if something happened to him?  What if he was seriously injured?  What if… what if… what if… well.  We won’t go there.

And every time I express this to her — every time I ask if it drives her mad — she just looks at me.  Cooly, calmly, and smiles.  Because it’s him.  She could no more change this about him than the way he laughs when she says something funny or the number of girlfriends he’s had in the past.

And really, honestly, she wouldn’t want to.

So his friend just died.  His BASE jumping buddy.  He was found, it would seem, at the bottom of a mountain in some foreign range of which I’ve never heard.  From what I understand, he was experienced.  Knowledgeable.  Loved what he did.  Lived for it — and yes, died for it.  On his Facebook page, while the messages to him — messages I can only hope he already felt while he was alive — have the undertone of confusion and grief, there’s something more.  Obviously more.

They resonate joy.

Joy to have known him.  Joy to have learned from him.  Joy from those who knew that he loved what he did and he did it selfishly — without apology or regret.  Something that, when it all comes down to it, garners nothing but respect.

I didn’t know him.

And yet, I feel like I missed out.

That’s the thing about that kind of person.  About that kind of death.

It causes a confusing juxtaposition of emotion.  He was lucky enough to know and live his passion, but his passion is what ended his life.  Happy, sad.  It makes us wonder.  It makes me ask:  Is it worth it?  Would it be worth it?

Most of us will never know.

He died too soon, only 30.

Only 30.

But I’m willing to bet, based solely on the sentiments from those who knew him, that he lived more fully in those 30 years than most of us experience in a lifetime.

And probably yes, I think.

For that, it would be worth it.