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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.



Why So Serious?

I am bored.  I am so bored right now, that I’m thinking about climbing over the railing of the loft area here in the coffee shop and balancing on one of the beams that crosses the loungy room below, just to see what happens.

I felt the need to leave the house because Justin is working nights this week, which means I’m supposed to somehow find it within myself to remain eerily quiet while he sleeps throughout the day, which – let’s face it – doesn’t come naturally to someone like me.

Yep, I’m one of those people.

I’m one of those people who doesn’t generally get invited to formal events or fancy work dinner parties because I believe using things like “inside voices” and “refinement” and “muted chuckles” as opposed to boisterous enthusiasm and inappropriate comments and uncontrollable laughter is for pussies fictional characters.

It’s fake.

Unless you’re at a funeral, or something.

But if it were my funeral, I hope you’d laugh.  Most likely because I would’ve died trying to walk the second-story balance beam at my local coffee shop.

Now wouldn’t that be embarrassing?

But you know, the older I get, I’m realizing that the idea of “embarrassment” is really only a state of mind.  And I can say that because I’ve done plenty of embarrassing things.  Like this.  And this.  Oh yeah, and this.

And I’m really not afraid to share those stories, because, you know, they happened. And I can choose to curl myself up into a little ball or worry and regret and wait for people to stop looking at me, or I can just say, So?  What are you gonna do about it? And I hope the answer is laugh, or at least learn, because otherwise I just completely wasted a really good embarrassing story on you and your dry sense of humor.

I will admit that I’m not completely immune, however.  There are some events that have been so ridiculously mortifying that my mind has done everything in its power to repress memories that would serve no purpose but to form an imprengable mental wall of blushing shame.  Events that, when someone unexpectedly brings them up, I can actually feel my throat dry out and heart stop beating – but it only stops for a second, because the relief of dying in the moment of reliving that embarrassment would be only too kind.

My friend and former college roommate Marissa was nice enough to remind me of one of those moments the other day when, as an introduction to her response to this game of internet tag, decided to say this in reference to me:

This is the woman who borrowed my metal pot to make popcorn in and put in the microwave thereby setting the alarm off and directing the wrath of our dormmates and fire brigade at me.

Okay.  Whoah.  First of all, Marissa – low blow.

Second, I was making Ramen noodles – not popcorn.

Third, I’m pretty sure the wrath (which wasn’t really wrath, but mild irritation, disbelief, and intense laughter) was most definitely directed at me, not you.

But no, I’m not really mad.  Everything else Marisa said was completely complimentary.  And you know, sometimes it’s good to be reminded of these things.  Humbling, even.

In my defense, I have been nothing but honest in saying that I didn’t start learning to cook until around 2006 – well after the metal-in-the-microwave incident.  The incident that, much to my horror, forced all of our dorm mates (thank god there were only like 23 rooms in our dorm) to pile out onto the grassy lawn in their pajamas because I had a hankering for some thirty-nine cent beef-flavored goodness.

What can I say?  I thought that the pot (the cooking pot, not the other kind – though wouldn’t it be nice if I could blame that?) was a shortcut.  A means to and end of my hunger.

Turns out it was a means to meeting one of the hotest guys on the campus fire department.

I only wish the circumstances had been a little better.  Like… you know… I hadn’t just almost burned down the dorm.

But, like any other embarrassing moment, there’s a lesson to be learned:

Kids, don’t put metal in the microwave.  And, if you do, make sure you at least look cute when the firemen show up.

Thank you.

So raise your glass if you are wrong
In all the right ways
All my underdogs
We will never be never be
Anything but loud, and nitty gritty
Dirty little freaks!

Do you have an embarrassing story to share?  Let it out!  It can be therapeutic.

Productivity is a State of Mind

Okay, so this is what’s happening:

First, I just did something almost unheard of in the universe that is my bodily system.  I didn’t let any caffeine enter into it until noon.  The delay wasn’t a result of some inspired attempt to better myself by cutting back on my caffeine intake.  Oh, no.  I did not intend to deprive myself the entire morning.

Photo source

But after I wrote my notice of fame and let Jillian torture my aching (but growing) muscles, I still had to shower and make myself presentable (one of the negative, time-sucking ramifications of deciding to venture out into the world instead of staying at home with a couple of cuddly mutts – mutts who, after their mischievous and completely accidental consumption of chicken grease from the trap in the grill last night, decided to vomit all over the floor before I left), so I didn’t actually leave my dwelling until half past eleven.

Second, I finally made my way to the trendy coffee place (no Starbucks or chain bookstore for me today, thankyouverymuch – I like to support the local businesses) and my hands are shaking, either because I waited so long to have coffee or the shock of the super syrupy sweet stuff – as opposed to the plain ol’ black stuff I brew at home – was just too much for my unstable system and now I’m having difficulty just writing this post.

I know that can’t be good, but let’s just worry about one thing at a time.

Photo source

The difficulty I’m having might also be due to the fact that I’m not used to writing with all this… stimulation around.  There are colors and lights and music and other people I keep finding that my fingers have stopped typing in order for my ears to better pick up on their conversations or for my mind to wonder what other people are writing.

I’ve never been good at multi-tasking.

Like, is the girl next to me writing a future best-selling novel?  An obscure but insightful blog post?  An article for a fashion magazine about the merits of owning a pair of red pumps?  A thought-provoking Facebook status?

Whatever it is, I’m sure it’s good.

So maybe this isn’t the best environment for me to work.  It’s the music that makes it the most difficult.  I don’t listen to music while I write at home, because, well… all I end up doing is listening to the music.

Speaking of music, you’ll never guess who just walked in.  (Seriously, you’ll never guess because I’ve never told you about him.)  His name is Miraj, and I met him at the wine bar, where he brilliantly performs various acoustics for one of the regular singers.  He looked shocked to see me outside of the wine bar (picture your reaction the first time you saw a teacher at the grocery store or anywhere outside the classroom – it’s freaky), and apparently this coffee bar is his second home.  He hosts various open mic nights here on a regular basis, and after we spent the last half hour chatting, I’m excited because I’ve officially found my in for half-price fancy coffee in Fayetteville.

And It only took me 4 years.

So.  Even though I have now been here for over an hour and what you see in this post is all I have managed to write in said hour, I consider this time well spent.

I actually intended to post a recipe this afternoon – a recipe I’m really excited to share – but I’m afraid it will now have to wait until tomorrow because I’ve rambled for 615 words about coffee and why are you still even reading this?

Decide What to Be and Go Be It

Oh, my.  I don’t know what to say.  It looks as though the world is weary of romance – or at least in need of romantic pressure relief – because a tiny, unromantic piece of my little world is being shared today, on Valentine’s Day, on one of my favorite blogs:

Musings on Life and Love

It’s a fine-tuned version of my Valentine’s Strip Tease post from last Friday.  So, if you want to see what my writing looks like when it’s all professional and polished and edited multiple times and not just pieced together over a bowl of Frosted Mini Wheats and coffee-induced caffeine buzz, head on over to Musings on Life and Love and check it out!

Speaking of coffee, I think I’m going to attempt writing this afternoon’s post at a coffee bar after my workout this morning.  I had a very good night at the wine bar on Saturday, and that, combined with my newfound fame over on Musings and the $7.88 my writing earned last year, I think I deserve to sit in a trendy coffee bar typing away on my HP Mini while a goth barista brings me steaming venti mugs of non-fat, caramel-choco-mocha lattes because if I’m going to be a writer, I at least have to try to look the part.


Oh, and as a side-note, THE AVETT BROTHERS performed at the Grammys last night!

I love them so much that I died.

Then I came back to life so I wouldn’t miss the song.

And then I died again.

P.S.  This post is for Stacy, because she brought the Avetts and good coffee into my life.  She’s not goth, but she’s weird in the most perfect way and sometimes, when I start to confuse myself in line at a coffee place, I just take a deep breath, think WWSD, and sing.

P.P.S. If you haven’t read Stacy’s guest post on this blog, you probably should.




Instant Mood Rectifiers: 001

Well, the good news is that I woke up this morning to a second day of sunshine in a row.

The bad news is that I still woke up feeling like my body had been run through a meat grinder overnight and then pieced back together by little elves who must have misplaced the blueprints and forgot to oil the joints because I know my knee wasn’t quite this rickety yesterday and it can’t be from Jillian’s lunges and all those muscles she’s making me grow or the fact that I type while sitting with one or both legs tucked up under my butt, so it must be the elves.

Old, very UN-flattering (to both me and my then-unfinished living room) picture stolen from this post of yore.

Fortunately, it’s nothing a little ethereal coffee can’t fix (or at least temporarily make me forget about).

A cup of coffee like this is just one of many IMRs – Instant Mood Rectifiers – I have tucked away in my little metaphorical box of things that make me feel good.

(Hey!  I said metaphorical – get your minds out of the gutter.)

Those of you who’ve been reading this for any amount of time probably know another one of my major IMRs is music – especially music that’s being performed live – right in front of my face with each strum of the guitar strings entering a direct line to my veins.  But since I can’t keep Jack Johnson or the Avett Brothers tied up in my hand bag (but wouldn’t that be interesting?), pre-recorded music works too.

There’s a wide range of music that can improve my mood at any given time, but there really are two songs that come to the forefront of my mind when I feel like I need a pick-me-up.

*I’m sorry the playback is restricted on my web page – but just click the link inside the video and it will take you straight to YouTube where you can listen to your heart’s content.

Melody, by Kate Earl:


Build Me Up Buttercup, by the Foundations:

I realize this second one makes no sense – especially since it’s basically about a girl who continuously dicks a guy over (or a guy who continuously lets a girl dick him over, depending on how you look at it), but there is just something about that song – and I’m almost positive that it has nothing to do with the cruel lyrics – that makes me have to smile.

This is but a small sampling of things in my bucket o’ feel-goodery, but feel free to bookmark this page if you have a moment when you’re feeling especially crappy and you need a quick – and perfectly legal – mood-enhancing fix.

IMRs, baby.  They’re a very good thing.

A Coffee Story (or, How I Spent My Morning)

It’s one of those mornings.

The kind of morning where you awake, bleary-eyed and bewildered as to how you arrived in this bedroom, this body.

The kind where you open your eyes to find your shirt has twisted completely around you, your pajama pantlegs are hitched up past your knees, and your hair has fashioned itself into an intricate network of Sailor’s knots.  Your mouth gives off the distinct impression that it spent all night gumming a gym sock like a Werthers Original.

And now you are jonesing for a caffeine fix.

So you sit up, spend a moment orienting yourself to your new vertical-ness, kick off the sheets, swing your knees to the edge and let your feet, Lewis and Clark, scout the way to the kitchen.

But upon arriving at your destination, something’s amiss.  You go to scoop some coffee and…


You stand there for a moment, unconvinced.  Let out a little cough.

Perhaps you’d be more apt to appreciate the dramatic irony of the situation if you were able to fully open your eyes.

Another minute of silent reflection.  Then, you start grasping at straws:

You check the coffee machine just to be sure you didn’t already scoop coffee, then suffer a mild stroke that damaged the coffee-scooping short-term memory region of your brain.

Coffee?  Are you in there already?  Do I need to go to the hospital?

No such luck.

You stand there stupidly in the center of the kitchen, scratching yourself.  Giving this information a minute to sink in.

“Well that sucks,” you say out loud, to no one in particular.

Then you get serious.  You consider your options.  You do a quick equation in your head, calculating the time it would take to get dressed and brushed and scrubbed into a version of you passable enough to venture into the outside world and adding that to the distance to the nearest coffee shop, then subtracting by how much you despise Starbucks’ burnt-tasting coffee and insane price tag and, finally, dividing by how weak your resolve is to go entirely stone-cold caffeine-sober today.

You’re not exactly sure what the final answer is since you’ve always sucked at math, but you know you don’t want to go.

But, then again, you know you have to.

Because it is, after all, one of those mornings.

The End.