Thursday, December 23, 2010

Emo post. Fair warning.

I always thought I would be married in my early twenties, perhaps mid-twenties at the latest. I didn't come to that conclusion after lots of pondering and soul searching, it was just something I knew. As far back as I can remember, I always just assumed that would be how my life went-- I would be married and starting a family in my twenties. Married. Kids. House. Garden. Happily ever after. That's what my parents did. That's what my sisters did.

And here I am. Twenty-eight and living with my cat.

I suspect that this is the point at which some of you are rolling your eyes at me. If you've changed your mind about reading this post, no hard feelings. You're excused.

I don't want to sound bitter or whiny or some combination of both. I don't want to sound like I'm complaining. I'm not looking for sympathy or cheering up. Honestly, I just want to be able to feel how I feel and have that be okay.

I thought I would be married by now, living with a man I love, starting a family. But I'm not. And that makes me sad. The life I was so sure I would have is not going to happen the way I thought it was.

It makes me feel sad that I probably won't have a child before I am 30. And I know all the reasons why it perhaps should NOT make me sad-- lots of people don't even start to think about having kids until they are in their thirties, I still have plenty of time to have children in my thirties, I'm still in school, etc. I know that many people don't think about having kids until their thirties but you know what? That isn't me. I HAVE started thinking about having kids. I DO want them. And sure, maybe I still have plenty of time but I don't have UNLIMITED time. My fertile years are slipping by and I don't care if that sounds ridiculous coming from a 28 year old. I have been told that my "timeline approach" to dating and starting a family is nonsensical and sure, maybe that is true in a way. I do tend to hang onto dead-end relationships because I feel like I have invested so much time into them and I just don't want to start over again and ugh, yes, I do see the flaws in that. However. It doesn't make sense to me to just not think about it. Because there IS a timeline-- a physical, biological timeline. THAT IS SCIENCE.

Just because other people want to wait to have kids or they want to put their careers first or they don't worry because they still have plenty of time does not mean that is true for me. I don't want to put my career first. I don't want to wait.

But here I am. Waiting.

And this makes me sad. Not unbearably sad, not cry-myself-to-sleep sad. Just... meh... sad. Feeling this way does not mean that I'm unhappy with my life. It does not mean that I don't appreciate all the wonderful, truly amazing things that I have. It does not mean that I don't love my family or my life just exactly the way it is. And I'm also not disregarding the things I've learned or the relationships I've had. I know that I will definitely make a better wife/mother/partner because of my past than if I had started earlier.

I know that so many people have so much heartache. So many people can't have children or they have children and lose them or their spouses die or they are living with debilitating illnesses or a million other sad, terrible tragedies. I'm not saying that my sadness holds a candle to theirs, or that the loss of something intangible is comparable to the loss of something whole and real.

But my feelings are real. My grief is real. The loss is real, even if what I've lost was only a dream.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 22: Something you wish you hadn't done

Hey! Look at me! I'm breaking the rules! I lost momentum and ran out of steam and other expressions of that nature on the 30 Days of Truth thang and so I'm going to skippity skip ahead severalmany days to Day 22: Something I wish I hadn't done in my life (and then possibly go back and make up the other ones, but maybe not). Also! I'm backdating this so it won't appear at the top of my blog. YOU CAN'T PEN ME IN WITH YOUR RULES, INTERWEB!

Okay. Let me tell you about the worst weekend of my life. Well, one of the worst weekends of my life. This was last September, 2009, and I was still with the Crazy Ex. He had moved back down to LA (without telling me he was going) and was allegedly looking for a job. I had planned to go down there for the weekend to visit and to go to a USC football game. We talked on that Thursday night and got into an argument, the same argument we had been having for weeks. His point: He was mad and frustrated and couldn't find a job and he hated living at his dad's house because his dad was an asshole and his mom was a pushover but wouldn't let him live at her house and even though he was clean and sober for a full year nobody wanted to help him out or give him a break and all his friends were jerks who wouldn't help him find a job and nothing ever works out for him. My point: You made your bed. LIE IN IT.
And this made him mad. So he hung up on me. I tearfully called him back but he wouldn't pick up. I decided to give him some time to cool off-- I was sure we'd both feel better when we saw each other. So I packed up my stuff and drove down to LA on Friday afternoon. The weather was sunny and I drove with the windows down, warm wind blowing through the car.

I hit the Grapevine around 9 pm and pulled into a parking lot. It was dark out but there were lots of people around-- people on road trips making pit stops, little kids running around excitedly.
I turned off the car, picked up my cell phone, and called him. "Hey," I said. "I'm here...." He didn't understand, what did I mean? "I'm in LA," I said. "I can be at your dad's place in about an hour."
His rage shocked me "What the fuck, Julia? You can't just COME DOWN HERE when we haven't talked all fucking day. My dad won't let you come over, he's already in a bad mood. Why the fuck do you have to ADD stress to my life?"
I started to cry. I told him I didn't mean to add stress to his life. I told him I loved him. I told him I just wanted to see him and didn't he want to see me? After we hadn't seen each other in weeks? After I came all this way?
"You just can't come here!" he shouted. "You don't understand! I can't believe you did this without even fucking telling me. You can't come over here."
"But I...." I trailed off, wiped my tears on the back of my sleeve. "I have nowhere else to go...."
He was unmoved, "You can't do that to me! You can't just fucking say that. God, I can't believe you did this."
"Okay." I choked out between sobs. "OKAY." I told him I'd try to find somewhere else to go.
I was too embarrassed and sad to call anyone so I ended up texting everyone I knew who lived in the area. As luck would have it, my friend Nicole came through and offered me her couch, even though I wouldn't get there until about 11 and she had to work at 7 the next morning. I didn't tell her the whole story, but she could tell I was upset. She promised to have a vanilla vodka drink ready for me when I got there. I got back on the highway, feeling numb.
He called me to apologize and to say that he was just stressed out, that he would see me the next day. I said I would pick him up at noon. "Okay," he said. "I love you."

I spent the night cocooned on Nicole's couch, surrounded by fluffy pillows and a stuffed unicorn. I felt numb and confused and sad, but relieved. This would all be okay, I told myself. When I saw him the next day, it would all be okay.

The next day I drove out to his dad's house. I felt groggy and tired and my eyes hurt from crying the night before. It was another hot LA day so I wore my favorite orange skirt and an orangey yellow glass necklace he had given me.

I rang the doorbell, heart pounding. The door opened and his dad stood there, brow furrowed in confusion. "Hey Julia," he said. "He's not here, sorry."
I didn't understand him. "He's not here?"
"Nope. I don't know where he is." And then his dad stepped back and shut the door. I stood there for a moment, blinking in confusion. I tried calling his phone, his friend's phone. Nothing. Finally, I rang the doorbell again. When his dad answered I said "Hi, I'm sorry. I know you said he's not here, but would you mind if I took a look in his room?" His dad shrugged, opened the door wider and let me in.

I thanked him and raced up the stairs. I opened the bedroom door and found... nothing.
Well, not nothing.
I found empty beer cans and liquor bottles.
I found a cell phone. I found tangled bedsheets with clothes strewn around them. I found a bra and a makeup bag and a pair of pink sunglasses. I found a duffel bag full of women's clothes. A woman's clothes.

So. You wanted to know something I wish I hadn't done?

I wish I hadn't climbed that staircase. I wish I hadn't stayed and searched for him for the rest of the day. I wish I hadn't believed that once I found him it would be resolved, that he would have some explanation and that we could still be okay. I wish I hadn't, after 6 hours, found him. I wish I hadn't let him get into my car, higher than a kite, paranoid, and angry with me. I wish I hadn't driven him back to his dad's house and painstakingly wrenched an explanation out of him, one that didn't even make sense, and accepted it. I wish I hadn't let him yell at me again, let him blame me for everything again. I wish I hadn't ignored the knot in my stomach or the prickly, anxious feeling in my chest for so, so long.

I wish I hadn't STAYED. Because after this, I STAYED. Sure, I broke up with him about two weeks later but looking back on this experience still gives me chills. Because I was so lost and confused and hollow and afraid that I was ready to accept anything he would give me. I was the dog he could kick and expect to come running back to him, begging for a treat or a kind word.

People sometimes ask me how I could have POSSIBLY dated this guy. How could I be with someone who treated me like that? And I tell them that he didn't start out like that. Of course he didn't. Girls don't START dating guys who beat them, do they? And girls don't START dating guys who emotionally abuse them, either.

He started out charismatic and fun and hilarious and thoughtful and charming and everyone who met him liked him and he was the life of the party. But after awhile that dwindled away but by then it was too late. I was trapped. I hate using the phrase "my therapist says" but MY THERAPIST SAYS that it starts small. And it did, it started small. For awhile it seemed like he thought everything about me was amazing and incredible and beautiful. And then one day it was "I don't like your music. Let's listen to my music." And that was fine. I didn't really care about my music that much. And then it was "Don't wear that shirt, wear this shirt." And that was fine, too. One shirt or the other didn't really matter. And then eventually it became "You shouldn't be friends with so and so, I don't like her and she's a bad influence," and "One day we'll get married and we won't talk to your family anymore." Little by little he wore me down, took me apart, made himself my window to the world.

People have told me that I "don't seem the type" to let a guy push me around like he did. I guess because I grew up with parents who love each other and a family and friends who have supported me throughout my whole life and because I have a strong personality and am able to achieve my goals that I'm not supposed to be the type of person who gets into this situation. I'm here to tell you THERE IS NO TYPE. There is no type.

That's part of what sickens and disturbs me about remembering that weekend. There I was, standing by my car outside his dad's house, dazed, wondering what had happened and how on earth I had gotten to where I was.
I wasn't strong enough yet to leave, to cut my losses, to get the hell out of there and hightail it back to San Francisco. At that point I couldn't even begin to think about what life might be like without him.
I didn't know it then but I actually was gaining the strength to get out. Eventually he was going to push me so hard that he wouldn't be able to get me back, no matter what tricks he tried. And believe me, he tried everything.
I got out.
But I still wish I hadn't let myself get cut down and kicked around and hurt and controlled by him all those times, and especially that one last time. Because if it happened to me, it really can happen to anyone.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Day 15: Something you couldn't live without, because you've tried


Back in February I stopped buying it and decided to try going without it. Then in May I realized that was CRAZY. In September I tasted butter from the Farmer's Market, which is apparently made out of rainbows and orgasms. Butter. How did I ever think I could live without its delicious butteryness?

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Sarcastic Jazz Hands

I need there to exist an emoticon that expresses Sarcastic Jazz Hands.
Because it is something I do OFTEN.
You'll have to imagine that my hands are waving.

Examples of usage:
"You know you want to shop at Diesel and American Apparel [Sarcastic Jazz Hands]."
"Have you seen the new Twilight [Sarcastic Jazz Hands] movie?"
"We stayed at Rumor, this super trendy [Sarcastic Jazz Hands] hotel in Vegas."
"I could smell Axe Body Spray [Sarcastic Jazz Hands] on the guy sitting next to me."

Sarcastic Jazz Hands roughly translates to 'I recognize that this person/place/thing of which I speak takes him/her/itself too seriously.'

I am officially the COOLEST GIRL YOU KNOW [Sarcastic Jazz Hands].

Friday, December 17, 2010

Day 14: A hero that has let you down

Oh, Sarah.
All images from here.
 She's beautiful, courageous, driven, and feisty. She sets off on a seemingly impossible journey to find and take back her baby brother from the Goblin King. Oh, and she's also REALISTIC-- she's emotional and whiny and can be a total brat. She has some really great ideas and some really crappy ones. She gets frustrated during her quest, because the Labyrinth is really FRUSTRATING. But she doesn't give up.

And then there's Jareth, the Goblin King, who throws obstacles in Sarah's path and drugs her and manipulates her friends and speeds up time to try and discourage her.

In a shocking twist of events it turns out that Jareth is actually IN LOVE WITH Sarah. YOU GUYS! He LOVES her!
If Dance Magic David Bowie loved ME? I'd be writing a letter home to my stepmother saying "Dude, sorry about your kid but me'n the king of the goblins'll take really good care of him." Actually I'd probably dictate the letter since I'm THE FUCKING QUEEN OF THE GOBLINS NOW.

Sarah, Sarah, Sarah. Why didn't you stay?
At the very least you should have made out with him before you went back home so you could tell me what it was like.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

For the Tots!

I've always told myself that when I had kids I would take them to the toy store every year and they would pick out things to donate to Christmas drives. I haven't done it yet because, well, no kids yet. But then yesterday I read this post by the Bloggess which made me want to get up off my arse and DO SOMETHING. So I went to the Toys for Tots web site and found out that San Francisco county isn't covered for some reason....? But then I looked at Santa Cruz County and saw THIS:

A huge shortfall? Not enough toys? For the tots? Break my heart whydontcha.

So today I went to Walgreens. They were having this buy-one-get-one toy sale. So I bought... many:
I'll drop them off this weekend. For now, they'll hang out under my tree, making the House of Jules much more festive. I've been DYING to put things under the tree but I don't have wrapping paper and for some reason unwrapped TOYS-under-the-tree feels different and more acceptable than unwrapped phonytails-under-the-tree. This exercise also satisfied the GNAWING URGE I had to buy! toys! I wanted to get my nieces and nephews gifties that weren't toys since they already have so very many toys, so I ended up getting them all art supplies so we can do projects together. The real gift = time spent with their coolest auntie. Obvs. But the tots? They need toys.

I've also decided to get my dad a donated hive of bees for Christmas. Or however you're supposed to write that. To clarify, my dad will get a card that says the money for the bees was donated in his name; the people in Uganda or El Salvador will get the actual BEES. He'll love it.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Day 12: Something no one compliments

I started this post by trying to explain that I give good relationship advice; would you care to join in a collective laugh at that idea? Me, the relationship guru. Pah!
But I actually think I DO give pretty good advice. Not as good as some people, mind you. But pretty good. I can understand why people wouldn't think this is the case, though, since I don't exactly have a SHINY GOLD dating track record. But! The upswing to this is the fact that my friends don't have anything to worry about when they talk to me-- they know they're entering the Safe Circle when they tell me about their cheating boyfriend or the fact that they hacked into his email account. They know that I have no room to judge them. Plus, I can give them firsthand knowledge of Bad Situations in relationships. I can tell them all the mistakes I made in hopes that they don't make them too. And I can give them hope-- you can get out, I say. I did.

Okay so maybe the actual point here is that I give good relationship advice TO PEOPLE WHO ARE IN CRAPPY RELATIONSHIPS.

Sigh. That doesn't sound very good, does it? No wonder nobody tries to tell me that as a compliment.

Monday, December 6, 2010

20. have and decorate my first Christmas tree

On Saturday morning I woke up and decided that YES. I needed a Christmas tree for my apartment, despite the fact that I'm planning to spend the actual holiday at my parents' house where there will no doubt be a much bigger and better dressed tree.

So we headed over to the Delancey Street Christmas tree lot in the hopes of finding a potted, live tree. The web site had said they would have those but it turned out they did not. I very much like the Delancey Street Foundation and I would prefer my money go to them than, say, Home Depot, so I decided to see if there was anything at their lot that caught my fancy.
I was almost set on getting one of the little wee ones but they were $30ish (with the stand) but then I realized that for about 15 bucks more I could have a bigger one so....
My tree!
I only bought one strand of lights because I was planning to buy a SMALL tree.
I know what you're thinking-- where the hell are all the ornaments? Well I only had, like, five. If it is surprising to you that I was able to lay my hands on those five THEN YOU HAVE NOT MET MY FRIEND REGINA LEEDS. Because of her magic book (<-- affiliate link) all of my stuff is now appropriately binned and labeled. Including my five ornaments. You'll also notice that I veered away from tradition and topped the tree with a bracelet. But I think of ornaments as items that people just sort of accumulate naturally. You get some as gifties, the little ones make them, etc. So I was perfectly happy with leaving the tree as-is (as-was?). And then I went to the Alameda Point Antiques Faire (don't forget the pretentious e at the end) on Sunday and ended up buying a pretty glass canister full of ornaments.
I forgot to photograph the tree once the blue ornaments were on it and now the lighting is weird so you'll just have to use your imagination. Hint: the tree looks great.
Somehow I also ended up with a tiny sprig of Misteltoe hanging in my kitchen. Merry Christmas, indeed.

Day 11: Something people compliment the most

Some people say that I'm nice. Some people say that I'm sarcastic and funny. That I'm a good gift giver. That I have nice hair and an awesome tattoo. That I'm smart. That I get things done. That I'm creative.

But what gets the most compliments?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

50. read all the Chronicles of Narnia books

So. My commute to clinical is about an hour each way and it turns out there in fact IS a limit to just how much Cher a person can listen to. I have therefore turned to audiobooks to keep myself from going slowly insane during my drive (aren't we glad I don't live in LA anymore? Yes, we are). I decided that this would be a good way to work on number 50 on my life list. I had already read Prince Caspian, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, The Magician's Nephew, and The Last Battle and I read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe back in July.
Anyhow, these books are actually great to listen to on audiobook. There is a different reader for each book and they all do a great job-- they even do different voices for all the characters. And C. S. Lewis spends a fair amount of time describing food and I very much enjoy listening to descriptions of food.

The Silver Chair
This was actually the second book I listened to and, wow. It was good. Eustace (cousin of Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy) is back in Narnia and has brought a classmate named Jill. They must follow the signs Aslan gives them to find King Caspian's son Rilian who has been missing for years. I found it to be an interesting and entertaining story despite the fact that it was basically a collection of my own worst fears rolled into one neat package: heights, cliffs and falling from them, being trapped, being chased, being buried alive, giants, cannibalism, being tied up, being hypnotized and unable to move, snakes, and DID I MENTION GIANTS?

The Horse and His Boy
This was the first book I listened to. A very fun adventure story of the runaway orphan boy Shasta and the horse Bree-- short for Breehy-hinny-brinny-hoohy-hah (Yeah. And we thought Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii was a crap name)-- that took place during the reign of Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy. The pair meet up with another child running away and her talking horse as they all try to escape Calormen and get to Narnia. I did get fairly eye-rolly during the descriptions of them dark-skinned barbarian Calormenes with their beards and turbans and pointy shoes and their false god, Tash. C. S. Lewis, I'm not sure I'm following your metaphor, could you be a little more clear?

The Magician's Nephew
I had already read this book but I listened to the audiobook just for fun. Here we see the creation of Narnia and meet Jadis in her own 'hood and see what kinds of misadventures ensue. This was actually my favorite book to listen to. It is read by Kenneth Branagh who is definitely the best reader (though, like I said, they are all quite good). I actually found myself laughing out loud during some of the parts-- there are a couple sequences wherein many different animals are having a discussion and Branagh manages to give each one his or her own voice AND keep them straight so that the same voice is consistently used for that particular animal. Well done, sir.

I actually also listened to Prince Caspian and The Voyage of the Dawn Treader because I was enjoying listening to the books so much. I did get a tad bit tired of Aslan and his infinite wisdom making people feel bad for their choices and implying that they should have done something else but refusing to discuss what might have happened if they had. Also, I kind of wanted to kick Reepicheep over the side of the boat about  halfway through Dawn Treader. I'm not sure if I'll round it out and listen to The Last Battle as well. I seem to recall that book stressing me out a bit when I read it, possibly because it's a giant metaphor for y'know, the end of the world and all.

Friday, December 3, 2010

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

So! After that last grouchy post I figured this one should start out with some cheerfulness. Y'know, for balance and all?

I have a few tidbitty Christmas-related things to share with you.

1. I've started listening to Christmas music which always makes me very happy. What's your favorite Christmas song? Shockingly, I particularly enjoy It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year. Also, Sleigh Ride. Also, Do You Hear What I Hear? And, uh, also Mariah Carey's All I Want for Christmas is You. Oh don't make me choose just one!

2. I'm thinking of getting a little wee Christmas tree for my apartment. I'll be spending the actual holiday and the surrounding days at my parents' house and there will certainly be a lovely tree there but I'll be spending most of December here in my apartment and it sure would be fun to deck these halls. Maybe I could get one of those small ones that are alive and in a pot? And then take it to my parents' 'hood and plant it while I'm there?

3. I'm almost done with my shopping. I never imagined I'd be buying so many phonytails.

4. I bought a red shirt. For donning of gay apparel purposes.

5. I'm running out of Christmas-related things to say.

6. Oh! I am looking forward to watching the Muppet Christmas Carol, which is my favorite Christmas movie.

7. We of Jules vs. Nuts are accepting and celebratory of all faiths, creeds, convictions, persuasions, and festivisms. So Happy Hanukkah, by the by.

Day 10: Someone you wish you didn't know

I know what you did.

I can't be your friend. I can't be your casual acquaintance. I think you are a liar and a bad person and I can't pretend to be nice to you. I'm not going to tell on you. It's not my place and I wouldn't even really know how to. And that would hurt innocent people. I hope for their sake that you have changed.

Stay away from me and mine.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

This woman I know.

This woman I know, she is dying.

While I worry about my homework and procrastinate on the computer and vacuum the rug and do the dishes and put gas in my car and brush my teeth and gossip and play and sleep and run and cry and live this woman I know, she is dying.

This woman I know, I've known her for several months. She has been my patient. I have tried, we have tried to find a medication or treatment to make her feel better but she has been steadily declining and feeling worse and worse. There was nothing we could do to cure her-- her body was just beginning to shut down. Nature, as they say.

Last time I saw her in her home she was pale, gaunt, tearful. I just feel so terrible. My whole body aches. Am I dying?
Vomiting, moaning, crying, suffering.
Am I dying? Is my daughter coming? Does she know? I just don't want to be alone.

We referred her to Hospice. Now when I see her she is lying in bed, breathing slowly, actually able to rest. She looks different, thinner perhaps.
I can see my husband. He's wearing a green shirt and smiling at me.

I'm sad. I know I shouldn't be, really. This woman I know, she is 101 years old. She has lived a long, full life. She isn't suffering like she was before. It's just her time. And we helped her. We found her the best place to be as she nears the end of her life.

Every day I wonder if I'll get the call letting me know that she is gone. Every day I wonder if I'll see her alive for one more day. I hope I did everything I could have for her. I hope she is resting. I hope she is not alone. I hope I am strong enough to keep doing this.

This woman I know, she is dying.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Day 09: Someone you didn't want to let go

My old roommate, M. We lived together for a bit in college and then for four solid years afterward. That is the longest amount of time I have lived with anyone who wasn't related to me.

We had our own separate lives (and separate rooms and bathrooms) and our own sets of friends and I think that actually made it easier for us to live together-- there wasn't always the expectation that we were going to hang out together. When we did hang out, which was often, we had a lot of fun. We used to have Cocktail Hour at our apartment after rough days. We used to go on "roommate dates." We hosted a fancy-dress tea party for our friends. We bought matching sweatshirts at Ross. We killed roaches in the dark when the power was out and the LA summer heat wave was in full force. She let me have the big bedroom and the parking space. She used to be the only person Bowie would ever cuddle with. I accidentally gave her microwave away (thinking it was mine) and she told me to pay her back with a margarita.

Then I started dating a new guy and he and M didn't get along. She didn't like having him in our house. He felt like she was unreasonably rude to her. They eventually stopped speaking to each other altogether and I avoided having them both in the same room. I realized, much later, that he was purposely creating a rift between her and me but at the time I was just upset and worried. There was tension now when there hadn't been any before. And since M and I had never had any issues before I don't think we knew how to confront them and deal with them properly. So they just festered.

We never had a big falling out or a raging fight, I just moved to away to start school and we were both busy and didn't talk a whole lot. And then I broke up with the guy and I realized all the ways he had isolated me from the people I loved and I reached back out to them.

M and I now talk more and see each other when we are both in the same city. Our friendship isn't quite the same as it used to be, but maybe that's to be expected of any former roommate situation-- we don't see each other on a daily basis so things are just different. There isn't any tension when we hang out and we laugh together like old times. But I can't help but feeling a little regretful.

I wish the last few months we lived together hadn't been tinged with awkwardness and distance.

I wish I didn't have to wonder if it is all my fault that we aren't as close as we used to be.

I wish I had been a better friend.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

This post contains naught but videos of my cat.

Bowie has picked up the quirky new habit of bolting out the door when I get home.

And then he does this:

I don't know what is so exciting about the hallway but he has also started asking to go out.

When I lived in LA Bowie would sometimes run out the door of my apartment. It was a much bigger deal then since outside and down the stairs was the STREET with cars and strangers and dogs and the big, wide world. I now live in an apartment with indoor hallways so it isn't such a problem for him to run out. Plus I think the rolling is cute. So I've been letting him do it. I figure that it will be a long time before he learns how to run to the elevator and press the button to make his grand escape.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Day 08: Someone who made your life hell

Goodness me, where to begin?

I guess I could start here.

Or here.

Or here.

Or I could tell you about the name calling, the belittling, the threats, the violent tendencies, the lies, the lies, the lies.

But I think the restraining order speaks for itself.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Day 07: Someone who has made your life worth living

Huh. This question expects me to pinpoint a specific person who has made my life worth living? Uh. Well. I don't think my life has ever been NOT worth living so I'm not sure how to answer that.

But I am certainly overwhelmingly grateful to have so many wonderful people in my life. Group hug!

P. S. I mistyped pinpoint twice: pinpont and then pinpoing. Don't you wish both of those were real words? I do.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Gifties for Kids that aren't Toys

I've been thinking about Christmas for WEEKS, thanks to Macy's and Safeway already having decorations up. My mom started making the dough for her awesome gingerbread cookies this past weekend and my sister sent out an email request for Christmas lists just this morning. So. Christmas is officially on my mind.

I enjoy shopping in general and Christmas shopping specifically. I love giving gifties. My biggest trouble seems to be the fact that I often think "it's too early to really shop for presents" until about Thanksgiving and then the day after Thanksgiving I get an overwhelming sense that it is now TOO LATE and why oh why didn't I start sooner? My second biggest trouble is that I think sometimes I don't recognize that most stores are of the Hit & Miss variety. Like, over the summer (when I was zenning my photos) I went to this big T.J.Maxx/Home Goods combo store and it was awesome. They had the photo albums I was looking for, but they also had all kinds of cute giftie type things: cloth jewelry boxes, pretty magnetic note pads, yummy smelling candles, etc. I bought a few things then but I decided to come back when I was really ready to deck the halls and don my gay apparel-- I made the mistake of thinking the store ITSELF was good for Christmas shopping, not that they just happened to have some good Christmas gifty-type STUFF in the middle of summer. When I went back last week I was totally disappointed. The pretty trinkets and stationary boxes had been replaced with rows and rows of the various incarnations of Holiday Cheer.

Reading Swistle's Milk and Cookies post got me thinking about buying gifties for my nieces and nephews. The thing is, they have a lot of toys already so I'd like to have some ideas on hand for gifties that aren't toys. That said, whenever a kid asks for toys and not whatever gadgetty thing is currently the fad like an ipod or a Nintendo DS or a cell phone, I totally want to give him or her TOYS. I have to hold myself back from grabbing their shoulders and shaking them, "Don't grow up yet! I'LL BUY YOU TOYS, JUST STAY A KID AS LONG AS YOU CAN!"

So I do often end up buying toys but I am trying to ease away from this a little while still maintaining my title of Fun Aunt. So what do you GET for a kid when you don't want to get him or her toys? The kids I am shopping for fall into a 4-11.5 year age range.
PaintWorks - Horses by a Stream Paint-by-Number Kit
(affiliate link, photo from Amazon)
I got this for a little girl who likes art and LOVES horses. Her mom didn't seem to think it was funny when I said I was getting her a pony.

Art supply stuff in general seems to be a good direction to go.
Schylling Sea Monkeys Magicquarium
(affiliate link, photo from Amazon)
Sea Monkeys! They provide hours of entertainment (My sister: "The neighbor kids keep coming over to watch them and eating all our snacks and clogging up our downstairs toilet.") but don't need as much attention as, y'know, a real pet.

Accessories. I got my niece a cute girlie hat for her birthday. Another niece got a sweet little cupcake necklace from someone else this year.

Clothes are another fine choice but I just can't keep track of all their sizes and preferences and whatnot so I don't usually bother with clothes.

I once gave my nephew one of those fake fossil rocks that you smash with a hammer and there's a plastic dinosaur inside. I was looking for a link for one of those but I found these instead, which look way more fun.

Break Your Own Geodes - Set of 12
(affiliate link, photo from Amazon)

Maybe some sort of "You and Me Spending Time Together" coupon type thing? I dunno. I kind of like the instant gratification of actual presents.

Okay, I'm out. Other ideas?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Day 06: Something you hope you never have to do

I hope I never have a colostomy bag. No, that's not the WORST thing I can imagine. This topic is a slippery slope of awfulness. Of course I don't want my family or anyone I love to be hurt or sick or broken or abused or frightened or lost or or or or or or. Of course I'm a nurse/in NP school so I can list very specifically a litany of conditions I hope never to have. Or course I can think of a million little or big things I hope and wish and pray that I never have to do.

But colostomy bags have been on my mind recently what with all my special Tummy Issues that have been going on AND the fact that coincidentally this week in one of my classes we are talking about IBS, IBD, and gah, colon cancer and the like.

I understand the reasoning behind colostomy bags: in certain situations part of the intestine is so infected or inflamed or traumatized or blocked that it can't do its thang. So the patient has surgery and the intestine is resected and a stoma is created on the abdomen with a little bag attached to it. Now, instead of using the toilet, the person's poop just goes into the bag. It makes sense. I get it. But I remember the first lecture wherein I heard that these are sometimes permanent. That thanks to cancer or a horrible fistula or whatever, the patient's colon is so wrecked that he or she must now wear that bag for good.

I was surprised during that lecture because the professor seemed to act like a permanent colostomy bag was no big deal-- the intestine is such a complicated organ that we sometimes aren't able to fix the problem and that's just how it is. And I feel like I've run into that attitude since then-- "What's the big deal? It's a handy solution that patients prefer." Well, of course the patients prefer to have a colostomy bag WHEN THE OTHER OPTION IS DYING. I'm not saying everyone has that attitude, but I worked on an abdominal surgery floor for my med-surge rotation during nursing school and some of the patients were just so sad and disheartened. Of course they were happy to be alive and of course they were making the best of their situations, but those bags aren't perfect-- they can leak or smell or make noises or irritate the surrounding skin. They take some getting used to and people do get used to them. Because they have to.

I'm sorry, but I've tried to understand the reasoning, and I just can help thinking that this is baloney. Because, seriously? That's the best we can do? Maybe I need to do more research about the digestive tract so I can really truly understand how wondrously complicated it is but I also just think about all the amazing technology we have in the medical community and the rest of the world. We can give people new heart valves. We can perform complicated surgeries by just making a couple tiny incisions. We put a man on the moon. We created a machine for playing music that fits in the palm of your hand. We made ATMs, the internet, birth control pills, hybrid cars, and velcro. I REFUSE TO BELIEVE THAT WE LIVE IN A WORLD WHEREIN A PERSON MUST CARRY AROUND A BAG OF THEIR OWN SHIT.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

meditaion, moderation, caffeination

My friend Kelly once tricked me into going to a meditation class with her. I say tricked because she told me about the stretching, the tea time, the soothing guided meditation, and the fact that it was free. She neglected to mention that the class was TWO AND A HALF HOURS LONG. After the stretching, the tea, and the soothing guided meditation (which was really not as soothing for me as I think it was for other people because I kept peeking one eye open and wondering if it was okay to change positions since my legs were going numb) I remember the man in charge (maybe he has some kind of title) telling us a story about how meditation is a Daily Activity and if you don't do it every day then you might as well not do it at all because you clearly won't be getting as much out of it. Which pretty much means that that was my last meditation class.

I have a point that I'm getting to, I promise. Just go with me on this.

A couple times in the last month or so I went to the student health center to see about my recent Tummy Issues and the doctor(s) told me that, among other things, I should try to cut out caffeine. To someone who was formerly a daily Pepsi drinker, this was not good news. I was willing to try it though, since my tummy has been all hurty and upset lately. I stopped drinking caffeinated soda and drank Sprite when the occasion presented itself. But then I started reading up on IBS and found that some of the research has pointed to fructose as one of the triggers for, uh, symptoms. So on a recent trip to Costco I bought a package of Mexican Cokes-- you know, the kind that come in glass bottles and are made with cane sugar? And I'm not sure if it is all in my head but I think I'm noticing a difference. For one thing I have been drinking a lot less soda than I used to. Maybe 2-4 times a week which I guess still sounds like a lot but not when you compare it to the 7-14 times a week that it used to be, amiright? Anyhow it seems like when I drink Sprite or regular cola that I get a tummy ache, whereas when I drink Pepsi Throwbacks or Coke from a glass bottle I do not.

Maybe I should stop drinking soda all together but if there's a sure-fire way to make me throw in the metaphorical towel or break into the bottling company late at night to drown myself in one of their mixing tanks it is telling me that I AM NEVER ALLOWED TO DRINK SODA AGAIN.

So. Moderation.

I have been doing pretty well with this plan. I haven't recently had any SEVERE tummy aches like I used to and I've been drinking more water and eating smaller frequent meals and so on.

This past Sunday night, however, I could. not. sleep. I remember lying in bed around 11. Waking up to pee around midnight. Being awake at 2ish. Being awake at 3ish. Being awake at 4ish. Being awake at 5ish. Being awake at 6ish. And having to get up at 7ish. And I got up and went to clinical since I had actually called in sick the previous week for that exact reason-- I couldn't sleep last Sunday night either!

I wondered what the hell was wrong with me. Was I just so keyed up about clinical that I couldn't relax? Was something else stressing me out?

But I didn't feel stressed out or worried. Just NOT ABLE TO SLEEP. Then, as I was brushing my teeth and fantasizing about my snuggly bed, I thought: CAFFEINE! I drank a Coke last night at about 8 pm. Could that possibly be it? It has been years and years since caffeine from soda has affected me in a noticeable way but it has also been years and years since I haven't had it regularly. So. Huh. Maybe.

And then I did a little research. I discovered that at 8:14 on Sunday Oct 24 I had posted this on Twitter.
Ah HA!

Last Sunday night I drank a Coke at about 8 pm and I couldn't sleep that night either. Mystery solved!

So apparently I'm now one of those people who has to watch out and not drink soda too late in the day. Not even two months of this and I've already become my grandmother. Not that that's a bad thing; she was pretty awesome.

Now that I'm reading back over this post I'm realizing that some people might be reaching into their mental file cabinets and relabeling my file as "Soda Drinker, Excessive" but what if I told you my favorite beverage is actually milk? And that my doctor told me to cut back on that, too? Any sympathy now? What if I tilt my head and bat my eyelashes at you?

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

If I could turn back tiiiiiiime.....

My inspiration:

The hair took the most effort.

But I think it came out pretty awesome.

At the party, with a cutie patootie little Can-can dancer.

The boys.
N's head looks too small because it is. But his mask made the costume decidedly creepier.

See? GAH.

He was designated driver. That's a sober face.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Happy Things

Oof. Okay. Enough moping and whining. I think it is time for a list of things that are currently making me happy. In no particular order:


Halloween candy.

I washed my sheets and blankies the other day. They feel lovely.

I sent my sister a flat iron because she tried using mine and loved it.

I've been buying 'business casual' shirts from thrift stores for clinical (and, eventually, work). They are cheapitty cheap and also very cute. It is a highly satisfying exercise.

Pumpkin pie. I haven't actually had any yet but I'm ready for it.


The day after Thanksgiving my radio station starts playing Christmas music round the clock. I love Christmas music.

Bowie has been consistently sleeping on my bed with me. It is really cute how exhausted he seems- one paw draped over his little face, snoring- but he sleeps quite a lot during the day so I'm not sure why he's so tuckered out.

I've been listening to audiobooks on my way to and from clinical. It is surprisingly soothing.

I am graduating in June.

I went to a different provider at the health center today. I like her better than the last doc I saw.

Everyone in this town seems to be in the World Series spirit. I've had meetings get out a little early "so we can all get out of here and watch the game" and several of the buildings downtown have changed their lights to orange. I've never been a huge baseball fan but it is definitely fun to see everybody so excited. It's contagious.

My plants look happy.

I ordered a box of my favorite pens from Amazon. They were cheaper than any store and I got a whole bunch of them. Score!


The little kids' Christmas pageant in church.

Christmas maple sugar candy.

Christmas presents.

Bagel Day.

I like my classes.

I stopped carrying a backpack and have been carrying a shoulder bag instead. Now my back doesn't hurt when I get home from school.

I got a pedicure a couple weeks ago and it still looks good.

I ordered new rain boots.

I washed my hair today and it smells nice-- like pomegranate.

I just learned how to spell 'pomegranate.'

Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Oh hai.



I kind of hate reading those posts that are all "Sorry I've been away! Here's why I haven't had time to blog!" It always makes me feel kind of irritated like, 'oh what? You think I missed you? Like I read your blog or something? I mean, I DO read it and everything, but that's not the POINT.' I'm not sure what my imaginary point is in these hypothetical confrontations but I do seem to get awfully huffy about it.

So. If you're like me and you don't like posts like that, go ahead and skip on down to the bottom. Go on. I'll meet you there.

Because I'm doing precisely that. Sorry I've been away. Really I'm more "sorry" for me than for you. I don't want to presume that you were in some way missing me. But I CERTAINLY missed you.

Really all I've been doing is school and clinicals and group projects and putting papers in my new binders and banging my shins on the coffee table.
Also of note: I've been diagnosed with one of those infuriating chronic disorders with an umbrella label that they use to describe a collection of symptoms. Also? It's an EMBARRASSING one. Also? I feel like people think it is fake. No no, my friends, this pain I have is sadly very real.
With this diagnosis of exclusion type thang, there isn't a clear cause or cure. I just have to figure out how to handle it. And that's FINE but it still kinda sucks. Enough to make me want to lay around and feel sorry for myself for about a week. Dramatic? Me? NEVER.

I sort of got to the point here where I felt like if I didn't have anything amazing and glittery to say, why write anything at all? I don't know why, though. Because that has definitely never been a criterion before.

Yesterday I snapped out of it. I decided it didn't have to be amazing, it just had to be SOMETHING, DAMMIT.

So here it is: Something!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


I've started my last year in my nursing program. My last year in school, period, and I mean it this time. This year seems to be a bit calmer than last. I'm sure it has to do with me liking my clinical sites and feeling good about my classes and having friends in my program, but let's not forget that last October was so full of drama and chaos and INSANITY that by comparison this one seems to be smooooooth sailing.

Last year I was so preoccupied and meh over the whole prospect of school that I didn't bother to really prepare. I just threw a couple half-used notebooks into my backpack and kept all my papers in one folder, all disorganized and falling out. This year I treated myself to some new supplies.
Binder, pencil sharpener, planner, and lunchbox.
I went a little crazy over the matchy-matchy and cutesy stuff that was on sale. Too adorable, right?
Owl pencil case
I also stocked up on new binders and went through all my old papers and categorized and labeled them all.
I bring the pink one to school with me. I put just what I need for school that day in it and switch it out when I get home. I've started getting a lot of enjoyment out of hole punching and putting my papers in their different binders under the proper tabs.
Yes, carrying my little pink binder and using my little heart printed pencil sharpener and writing in my little heart printed planner is all very pleasing. I'm saving my heart printed binder to use for my research project and I'm pretty excited about that, too.

Basically, what I'm saying is that I'm a huge nerdypants. And I like it.

Day 05: Something you hope to do in your life

Have a baby.

Or two. Or several.
Maybe an even half-dozen.

But I'll start with one.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

At the Little Shamrock Pub

"I'm going to the bathroom."

"Ok. I would recommend that you go to the one on the left. It's more, um, entertaining."


"You'll see."


Day 04: Something you have to forgive someone for

There is someone who deserves to be forgiven for the things she said to me.
She was right, in some ways. But she was mean.
The words she said cut me down when I was already a fragile shell of myself, full of heartache and fear.
I don't think she will ever understand. But I know she loves me and wants only the best for me.
So I need to forgive.

Our drive back up on Sunday.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Day 03: Something you have to forgive yourself for

I'm an obsessive conversation/interaction re-hasher. I go over the things I said and the things I did and berate myself for the little mistakes I made.

The fact that I told my preceptor who loves golf how much I HATE golf. The fact that I bumped heads with an acquaintance when I tried to give her a hug. The fact that I forgot who I was waving to and accidentally blew kisses to a stranger. The fact that I compared my friend's baby's habit of wandering in circles to that of an Alzheimer's patient.

I go over and over little things like this and mutter conversations to myself in the car or the shower, reframing what I said and did and putting the RIGHT things in their place. I should have said this, I should have done that.

I chastise myself for being the way I am-- for saying what I say, for doing what I do. I scold myself for little mistakes or quirks that no one really cares about, that no one is paying attention to.

I need to cut it out and just accept that I'm never going to be PERFECT at interacting with others and that, really, nobody cares if I am or not.

I need to forgive myself for being me.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Crepe Paper, Balloons, Glowsticks, and a Keg.

I went to a wedding on Saturday. It was a little bit stressful considering last week was my first week back in school, my first week back in clinicals-- basically my first week of using my brain after severalmany weeks of doing nothing but sitting around and eating girl scout cookies. So driving down to LA and back in the course of a weekend was not the nicest thing to do for my sanity but the wedding ended up being quite a lot of fun.

The most noteworthy thing, in my mind, is how incredibly easygoing the bride was. I've never actually been to a wedding wherein the bride was a total Bridezilla Crazyface but I think there is a reasonable level of feakout that can happen when there is an huge event you've been planning for MONTHS with lots of different elements and people and you want to look good and you want everything to go smoothly. I guess what I'm saying here is that MOST ladies I know have been relaxed and happy at their weddings, despite minor mishaps, even though it would be totally understanable to have a mini meltdown if there was, say, a 13 state power outage on your wedding day, like there was on my sister's.

But I still think this bride was, like, EXTRA cool-as-a-cucumber based on the following list:

- She wears glasses all the time but had wanted to wear her contacts on her wedding day. When she went to put them in she realized that one of them was the wrong prescription and it was far too late to order more. So she just wore her glasses.

- The wedding coordinator didn't cue the priest and groomsmen and the groom to enter the church at the beginning of the ceremony. So the bridesmaids walked down the aisle, the music changed, everyone stood up, and the bride and her father entered the church. The bride SAW THAT THE GROOM WAS MISSING and started to LAUGH.

- Photobombers.

- MOONING Photobombers.

- Kegstands.

- At the end of the night, the guests left and the family and close friends started to clean up because the rental company would come pick up the tables and chairs early in the morning. The bride and groom stuck around and helped fold and stack up chairs.

Congrats Amy & Michael! You guys know how to throw a party!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Day 02: Something you love about yourself

I went to college to study English. English got me to USC. USC made me want to go into the movie business. My cinema classes made my schedule so wonky that I needed an extra class for 3 hours on Wednesday afternoons. I found a 3 hour Wednesday afternoon class in the Gerontology department. The Gerontology department made me want to go into research. Research made me get a Master's degree. My Master's degree helped me get my job at the senior center. The senior center gave me the experience and daily interactions with elderly people that made me want to work in healthcare. And so I applied to nursing school, with the eventual goal of becoming a Gerontological Nurse Practitioner.

So now here I am, a nurse 10 years after my sister told me I should be one and I brushed her off with an "Oh, what do you know? Pshh."

I love nursing. I love that I want to help people-- that I feel like I'm learning HOW to help people. I love that I chose this over the movie business. I love that I overcame my queasiness of blood and guts and squeezed in my prerequisite classes while working and decided to go to school in San Francisco and became friends with all the fantastic people in my program. I love what I'm doing. I love what I'm learning. I love what being here has done for me.

I love that I'm a nurse.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 01: Something you hate about yourself

I've seen this 30 days of truth thang pop up on a few people's blogs and while I'm don't know if I'm actually going to commit to doing ALL 30 assignments, I think I'll jump in here with the first one. Something I hate about myself. I've been wanting to write about this for awhile and this is a good way to bring it up, I think.

I am jealous.

In relationships, I mean. I am jealous and insecure in relationships. For some reason I have a hard time with the concept that someone I'm dating had a girlfriend before me. And I get jealous feelings when I think about it.

I recognize the insanity of this, really I do. I honestly don't want to date someone who has never been in a serious relationship. Because, GAH, who the hell has never been in a serious relationship?
Douchebags and creepy weirdos, that's who. And I do not want to date douchebags or creepy weirdos.
Uh. Anymore, I mean.

Really, I want to be with someone who has had previous relationships. I want the guy I'm with to have had all the experiences of learning and growing and compromising and sharing and arguing and loving and having his heart broken. I know those experiences (usually) make people stronger and better and more capable of being in a relationship.

And yet, at the same time I hate the idea of him doing all those things with someone else. I hate the idea of someone else having been in my place. Of him taking some other girl to dinner on her birthday. Of him celebrating an anniversary or going on vacation with some other girl. Of him introducing her to his friends and family. What was that like? Is it different with me? Aren't I somehow better or more special than she was? Don't you wish you had gone on that vacation with me? Or taken me to visit your grandparents at Christmas? I hate the idea of them still being friends. Because I don't understand how to be friends with your ex. What do people talk about? Do they reminisce about their life together? Talk about the times they shared and the memories they made? Aren't I somehow better or more special than she was?

Most of all, I hate that this bothers me so much. I hate that it makes me feel somehow less important, less special. And I hate that I feel so alone in this-- that the other, normal people don't get hung up on this stuff. I hate to admit that the past bothers me because I want to be strong and confident and mature and present-focused.

But I'm not. And I hate it.

Monday, September 20, 2010


There must be something in this butter besides just butter. I got the butter from the Farmers' Market. Actually, is it Farmers' Market or Farmer's Market? Because I would imagine that there is more than just the one Farmer but I feel like I've seen it spelled Farmer's. Or is it just Farmers with no apostrophe? And as a sidenote, it tends to very much bother me when abbreviations have extraneous apostrophes. Like CD's. Because you wouldn't say Compact Disc's. Well, unless you were talking about something belonging to the Compact Discs. Like: the Compact Disc's feelings were hurt when you stepped on it.

But please to be ignoring all the spelling quirkisms and grammatical fabulosity you find amongst my words.

Anyhow, this butter, you see. It must be made of something besides just butter. I put some on my late night mashed potatoes and it was creamy and salty and delicious now it seems like everything around me is sort of glowy and silllllky smooth. I feel like I want a big hug or a nice firm handshake or for somebody to hold my leg for me while I sleep or put their finger in my ear for just a second.

Goodnight, strange swirly world. I'm getting up at 4:45 for work. Why am I not asleep yet? PUT YOUR FINGER IN MY EAR.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sharing the Zen

A couple weeks ago, I visited my sister and her family. I had a lot of fun going out to eat and staying in to eat and playing with my nieces and wearing silly bandz and snacking on girl scout cookies.

And I was telling my sis about my organizing project and the magic book I'm reading and how the chapter I'm on now has me working on going through my collections of stuff and my photos and memorabilia. And she started asking me questions about THE ZENNING and before I knew it we were going through her kids' school stuff and artwork. We categorized it all and created seasonal decoration piles and then put those decorations into plastic storage bins and then we organized two closets and the toy loft.
I know it is going to sound like I'm a huge Nerdy McNerdpants but I had a REALLY FUN TIME helping my sister get organized. Also, I'm jealous of her vacuum.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

39. fire a gun

A few months ago I had the following conversation:
"Why do you have a can of Natty Ice in your fridge?"
"[Insert here a long and complicated story about the most irritating crazy alcoholic stoner leech whack-job meth-addict lowlife ignorant asshole lazy goodfornothing friend of my sociopath ex person I have ever had the displeasure to spend time with for two weeks]. And THAT is why I have a can of Natty Ice in my fridge. And nobody else will drink it."
"Huh. Maybe you should bring it when we go out to the desert and you can shoot it."


So on Thursday I wrapped it in several freezerbags and a tupperware container and nestled it in amongst my clothes. I checked the bag for the flight and hoped for the best.
It arrived in SoCal with nary a dent or leak. Sweet.

On Sunday we drove out to the desert, stopping first at Bass Pro Shops (which is full of disturbing things like taxidermied lions and antler-mounting equipment and dove hunting supplies (seriously?? Doves!?)) to pick up some ammo.

We drove out past.... uh, anywhere, really. The directions included "and when you get to the dirt road just stay on it. You can veer off the main road because it will usually connect back up again but don't make any turns. Also you don't want to drive into the soft sand."

We stopped the car and hiked the last bit in the 100 degree heat. On the way from the car I was handed a gun in a holster, "here I don't have enough hands to carry this. Put it on." And so I did.
It made quite the fashion statement.
(I only wore it when it was empty. It was too scary when it was loaded.)
I got a lesson and a demonstration. The boys showed me how to hold the gun and how to aim and how to fire. They told me never to point a gun at anyone, even if it wasn't loaded. And then they just HANDED ME A LOADED GUN. Like I'm some kind of responsible, level-headed person who doesn't panic easily. Or a thug. Whichever.

I gave it a shot.
HAHA! Get it? A SHOT!

They all told me I did a good job. I laughed nervously, handed back the gun with shaking hands, sat down, and tried not to burst into tears. There was just something totally nervewracking and stressful about handling a gun for the very first time in my life. I had never even been around guns at all. Ever. (Unless you count living in Southcentral LA, which I don't (anymore)).

I drank some water and soda and watched the boys do their thing.

Don't worry-- they don't shoot animals, just clay pigeons and beer bottles and stuff.

It was hot as a motha.

After I had sufficiently rested and calmed down, I tried the rifle.
My weenie spaghetti-arms couldn't hold up that big thing for very long and I got all lightheaded from cocking my head to the side and holding my breath. And lightheaded is not a good way to feel when you are HOLDING A LOADED GUN. It was fun and made for a good photo-op, but I decided I like the little one better.

And so it was time for the Natty Ice to meet its destiny.
"Are you sure you don't want to use the shotgun and shoot your beer can with a slug?"
"Nah. You can do that afterward. I want it to suffer."

Any last requests, Natty Ice?
No? Okay, then. Say goodbye.

That was really fun and quite satisfying.