(That title could take us in oh so many directions)

I recently went to the wedding of an old family friend (Congrats Kim and Frankie). After some mental calculations, our families came to the conclusion that I had not seen anyone from the Deshano family in about 18 years. Our families vacationed together for the first half of my life, and unfortunately I missed them at various weddings and other significant events since then. While talking to Jill, my childhood vacation partner in crime, she asked me why I had stopped writing blog posts, saying that she loved following my curious adventures. I gave the usual “life got busy” response, but began to realize that I actually missed sharing my misadventures. Surely I could find a way to squeeze a post in here and there between marathons of Dexter episodes.

So what better time to start blogging again than as I begin training for my 2nd half marathon. What? 2nd, you say? Yep, I ran a half marathon on my 36th birthday, April 13, 2013. And we can probably all agree it is one of the most idiotic things I have ever done.

In August of last year I broke my foot in a scooter accident (another item on the idiotic list). At the time, I was already 20lbs heavier than the previous year, due to an undesirable side effect from medication and my affinity for craft beer and cheese products. Wearing a big black boot for 2 months did not help matters. As the holidays approached, my bright idea was to give my sister the gift of a fun travel weekend and a half marathon for Christmas. I thought if I entered us both into a race that required a significant amount of training, it would force me to get off my ass and return to being a reasonably fit individual.

I was wrong. Days and weeks came and went while I mentally prepared for this physical challenge. On the first day of the 12 week training program, I ran the requisite mile. For the next 11 weeks and 6 days, I ran 13 more miles… total. My birthday week snuck up on me as if I’d been in a coma since Christmas day. And my birthday week has never been “lucky.” I remember as far back as my 7th birthday when I spilled my milk on my next door neighbor’s brand new parachute pants. That’s bad ju ju, man.

5 days before the race, I was rear-ended on the highway, totaling my Escape. I had a mad seat belt bruise and a case of whip lash to take along with me to Wine Country (If we were going to run 13.1 miles, there better be a boat load of wine at the finish line). Upon arrival at our resort, we decided relaxing by the pool for a bit would be a nice activity, until I was bit by a “Mexican Jumping Spider” which caused me to have a fat itchy welt swell up on the outside of my thigh. Great for under running tights.

All this time, in the back of my head, there was a voice saying “Jen, what the fuck do you think you are doing?” but I never considered foregoing the race. My sister had trained very hard. I couldn’t let her down. We put on our race clothes and headed to the park. I hadn’t really bothered to look at the course or terrain during my intense preparation for the race, so it was exciting to learn that it was on a beautiful scenic mountain trail (great for my recently healed broken foot) and it climbed uphill for just the first NINE MILES. There were only about 400 runners… and ALL of them were advanced athletes who had run this race before, or at least another half. Shit.

The gun went off and Michelle and I ran together for about 29 seconds. 29 seconds later and I could no longer see her ahead in the crowd. I turned on my phone’s MP3 player, which I had only remembered to put music on 5 minutes before leaving, so it only had 20 songs, all by artists that begin with A. I had to carry the phone in my cleavage because I didn’t have the forethought to buy an arm band, all the while being reminded of its location because of the vibration of happy birthday text messages I was getting throughout the morning.

At the first water station one mile in, we hadn’t even started the rough terrain or the uphill battle and I was already questioning whether I would be coming back down this mountain strapped to the back of an ATV. But I just kept going. It hurt. It sucked. An old man who was injured was kind enough to run with me for miles 7 & 8 before bounding on ahead.

And then, finally, there was a finish line in sight. My rubber legs could barely carry me across, but my sister was waiting with the biggest look of pride I had ever seen. She crossed a good hour before I did and had sent me a few text messages saying it was ok to drop out. I’m thinking a few more minutes and she would have come looking for me. I came in at 3:10; a great time for a full marathon, and about 20 minutes before the cut off time for this half. I think there were about 7 people that finished behind me, all twice my age.

But none of that mattered. All that mattered was that I freaking finished. I was out of shape, but I wasn’t dead, I wasn’t injured… hell, I didn’t even puke. The only bad thing that happened was that I broke out in a nasty case of face herpes two days later because of the stress I put my body through. I was thoroughly amazed and motivated by my body and what it could do.

Image

So here we are in November. And Michelle and I have decided we will do a sister half marathon every year in a different fun location. This time? Disney World Princess Half Marathon. This time? I am going to train a bit before I arrive there in February.

So, back to the title of this post…running with giant boobs sucks. Whenever I am out there “training” and I see someone that is obviously an avid runner, they are almost without fail flat chested.  I dream of what it would be like to run chest high without the burden of 15 extra pounds hanging off my front side.

My marathon training goals for the Princess Half Marathon:

  • Run with Michelle for the first 58 seconds
  • Shrink a full cup size
  • Avoid face herpes

My friend and fellow member of the Double D gang (yes, it is exactly what you think. A group of girls that have big boobs and occasionally meet up to drink whiskey), Courtney, today introduced me to my new favorite writer, Laurie Notaro.

Courtney and I were on our way to the big bicycle sale in Aurora because we thought if we bought bikes that we would ride them to bars and restaurants, thus getting in our workouts as we head to our favorite activities. The problem is that we are so lazy that once we got 1/5 of the way to the bike sale (in the car) we bagged the idea and went to the mall instead. At the book store is where Courtney suggested I read some of Notaro’s books, suggesting that this stupid blog reminds her of these extremely witty and addictive pieces of literature.

I got home and immediately crawled into bed (at 2pm) to begin my assigned reading and avoid the massive pile of work looming over my head like a persistent stalker that can’t take no for an answer. Holy shit, Notaro is hilarious. And I think she might be the married version of me. She even writes open letters to the cable company and has unwanted rodents in her house. You all should check her out instead of reading my mindless drivel.

I’m trying to find a hobby and creative outlet. I’ve been feeling really creative lately but I have this nasty habit of not finishing anything. I have three scarves half-finished in my “knitting basket”, I stopped each one when I had an imperfect stitch. One is for my lovely niece who excitedly picked out her pink yarn during Thanksgiving so Crazy Aunt Jen could knit her a scarf for Christmas. I’ll shoot for Easter but it’s a stretch. I went through my art box the other day and found 7 sketch pads full of unfinished drawings that I quit as soon as one scratch had the incorrect perspective. During that moment of discovery I also found a sketch I did of my ex-boyfriend, Freddy. Wonder if I ever showed it to him. It’s pretty good. Maybe I’ll just hang it on my wall for the next time he comes over to fix something in my house. See if he notices. I recently bought a sewing machine but just don’t have the patience and I don’t know how to temper my foot on the pedal.  As Brie put it, I’m either going mock ten or crawling, which means my stitches are all over the place and the bag I made last night looks like old man’s pajamas. I even have four unfinished novels. I think next I am going to try photography. You snap the button and then you are done. You can’t not finish photography right?

Meanwhile, my friends are helping me plan out my man tour. You see, when I broke up with Freddy back in 2004, I went on a mission to visit exes and boys that got away in various cities across the US. Not sure how it materialized. I guess it was some version of sewing wild oats after being tied down for several years. We called it the 2004 tour de whore. Because I’m feeling nostalgic, we are working on something similar for 2011. So far California, Kansas, Nebraska and New York have made the list. I’m bringing a wing man on all of my trips. I wonder if I could get someone to sponsor me…

I’m open to suggestions on what to name this year’s tour. It’s tough to rhyme with eleven.

Last week the Wall Street Journal published an article by Kay Hymowitz titled “Where Have All the Good Men Gone?” I tried, but I just cannot let this one go. After watching the reactions, from both genders, that this particular piece stirred, I feel the need to offer my opinion… and I suspect it will not be what you suspect.

Hymowitz uses her article/book to argue that men in their 20s have stopped growing up, frustrating women everywhere who are looking for a good man with whom to start happily ever after.

This article elicited many a cheer of “right on sister” from single women across the nation and defensively charged comebacks from men claiming “nice guys never get the girl” and that “its the crazy women that drive men to behave like adolescents.”

COME ON people.

Let me start with the very first sentence in the article, which immediately got my blood boiling. Hymowitz  points out the “milestones of adulthood”  to include a high-school diploma (check), financial independence (check), marriage and children…wait, what?

I agree that getting married and having children are most definitely milestones in the lives of those that choose to do so, but are these honestly how we are going to define adulthood? Am I still in pre-adulthood because I haven’t yet chosen the path of marriage and children?

The rest of the article provides interesting theories into why more men now choose to prolong their bachelor days, pointing to economic and cultural influences, which are likely true, but my biggest beef is “who the hell cares?”

Yes, way less people between 25-29 are married than back in 1970. Um, thank God.

It’s about standards people. Some women whine about all the good men being gone as we get older. I get asked all the time why I don’t have a boyfriend or why I am not dating anyone. Let me tell you why, and its not because men are now less mature and there are fewer options out there. Its because I have standards and those standards have become more and more refined the longer I go through life and realize what it is that I do not want. In my twenties I went on dates all the time. I didn’t know what was important to me yet. I didn’t know what I wanted. That was the time to explore the possibilities and learn what it is that makes me tick. At the very least I got a free meal and a buzz out of the deal.

Today? I don’t need a free meal.  Today I choose not to waste my time going out with someone that I just know doesn’t suit my needs. I’d rather spend my precious time with friends than being polite to someone that I know will ultimately end up in my wake. The problem is not that there are less men out there, the problem is that I know what I want. And I don’t see that as a problem at all.

(Side note: to those of you who are going to write me about how I am too picky and am going to end up weeding out someone that could have ended up being the love of my life, buzz off. My gut has always proven pretty accurate and I’ve wasted a lot of time trying to fit square pegs into round holes.)

And as far as the “immature boys” that are causing so much irritation amongst the females that are rearing to do some rearing themselves? Ladies, look elsewhere. Date up a few years. Do your presenting at a coffee shop instead of the sports bar. If you don’t want to date a frat boy or someone with commitment issues then stop chasing them around. Believe me, your mature, loving, ready to raise a Jolie-Pitt style brood is out there…

and it has nothing to do with age.

I briefly dated someone 7 years my younger. He behaved like he was 55 and was a total bore. I did not go out with someone in his mid-twenties to hear about mortgage payments and fiber supplements. I went there to have a good time. Maturity is not about age. Its also not about “milestones.” Its about… well, maturity.

If a guy wants to spend his days talking star wars and playing Sega, and you aren’t down with it, then let him be. He is not the one for you, so walk away so you can be free to find someone else and let him keep doing what makes him happy.

I’m going to go ahead and keep doing what makes me happy too… and one day hopefully I’ll find someone that is also happy doing the same things. That will be a milestone in my adult life.

For the record…here is what I want. In case you know someone.

  • slightly self absorbed (ie. confident) on the surface but secretly thoughtful and generous
  • cute but not hot
  • healthy but big on indulgence
  • passionate
  • prone to geekery when it comes to those passions
  • appreciates music
  • savors learning
  • tallish (sorry, I always feel bad for short boys but a preference is a preference. Funniness can, however, negate shortness.)
  • I don’t care about width. Seriously. Unless you are gross, but that goes back to the healthy comment.
  • Loves to debate and isn’t a whiny bitch about it.
  • Wit (full stop)
  • And finally, and most importantly I am seriously turned on/off by the pants someone is wearing. Men can go oh so very wrong with bad pants.

That’s it. Is that so much to ask for? I think not.

Or if someone could just deliver me the nerdy guy on criminal minds, I have a feeling he’d work out perfect.

I leave you with a quote that I just stole from my new facebook friend. This speaks to all the guys whining about females that are crazy. Yes, we are. Deal with it.

“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” – Marilyn Monroe

Surely you did not think I would let Valentine’s Day come and go without some sort of bitter commentary? Truth is, whether I was single or in the shackles of coupledom, this post would be bitter. Why? Because, like Shark Week, Valentine’s day is just dumb.

Things that were delivered to me on February 14th:

  • An invitation to someone’s wedding
  • A box of kitchen utensils
  • A pack of pre-printed return address labels (THANK YOU Children’s hospital!!)
  • A notice that my cable was being shut off (I am not struggling, it was a Comcast error. I swear.)

I think my parents sent me the kitchen utensils because they realized I would not likely be getting any gifts from admirers on this loveliest of days. They are good people. This day started pissing me off when I was 7 years old and my boy crush only wrote “from Rob” on his mandatory Disney valentine.

But, I will comply and, in keeping with the love theme, I will list here 10 things that I love:

  1. I love that every morning my little coffee grinder blows the circuit in my outlet and instead of getting pissed off I just smile because that is a damn powerful mini-coffee-grinder.
  2. I love that my mom is the only person put on this earth that actually believes in my ability to cook. Hence the utensils.
  3. I love that my dad gave me all his vinyl and has not once called me out on not keeping up my end of the bargain.
  4. I love that my sister offers for me to live with her beautiful family at least once a week. Hooray for safety nets!
  5. I love that my friends put me up when I was homeless and they continuously put up with my complaints about humans and aliens of the opposite gender.
  6. I love beer. and food.
  7. I love my house now that the walls aren’t falling down and I am no longer cohabitating with rodents of the bushy tail variety.
  8. I love that I often get to wake up in Colorado and go to sleep in Austin.
  9. I love Jersey Shore marathons because I can get it all over with in one day.
  10. I love it when people casually walk on people movers at the airport. No wait, I hate those people. Stand (to the right), move your ass or stroll along on the non-moving flooring so you can continue to keep your head up your rear-end.

A few more things.

To Google: stop telling me that people “did not receive my chat” when in fact they read it loud and clear. Do you know how disturbing it is to think that someone did not receive my witty banter? Only to realize later, after I resend it 5 times, that they absolutely did read it (5 times) and were just trying to formalize an equally witty response?

To St. Mark’s Coffee Shop: Please do not put a shaker of unmarked pepper and spices next to the cinnamon and other coffee additives. I understand that this particular concoction was meant for sandwiches and the like, but I ruined a perfectly fantastic cappuccino thinking it was cocoa.

Oh, and one more thing, I saw someone write LMBO on Facebook today. Seriously? You really need to change it so the letter stands for a less offensive word than ass? I do not know you Stephanie Wilson, but I think you might annoy me.

(Mom, that rubber double ended spatula kicks ass. Just used it to stir my oats. So much better than anything a silly boy would give me for Valentine’s day.)

Seriously, what is the deal? I thought we started a new year. Doesn’t that mean everything resets and we slowly begin weaving our lives back into the messed up ball of complication we all found ourselves entwined in at the close of 2010? Well, my hairball is still here. And so is that of all my friends. I freaking love my hairball.

Is it an age thing? Is mid-thirties just a big truckload of freaky occurrences, unexpected let downs, and sharp turns in a deceivingly straight road along side a big bucket of manic episodes? And why oh why does the person five feet away from me in this coffee shop smell so bad?

I guess what I am saying is that life is still ludicrous. For you Spaceball fans, I’ve gone plaid. And I don’t seem to be the only one. Maybe its because our astrological signs changed… or maybe it’s because we welcome the chaos.

Sure I stress. I’m having a war of intelligence with squirrels. I’m running a business, seeking love, looking for a get skinny quick fix and kicking myself for constantly forgetting people’s birthdays and children’s names. But if I didn’t have all these things going on, where would I be? Constant change and uncertainty seems to be what I thrive on. It motivates me. It challenges me. It pushes me to tackle it like a New York Jets linebacker. We all freak out and say “Look at the clusterfuck that is my life!” But, didn’t we make all of the decisions that put us on that island? You are in control of your own clusterfuck.

I chose to live a dual life in Austin and Denver. Why? Because after four years of constant travel and movement, I settled down and spent six months straight at home in Austin. I had to stir the pot. Keep things in a constant state of motion.

Will I ever get the urge to truly settle in? Don’t get me wrong, the calming image of coming home each night to share stories of my day with the love of my life over a homemade pot roast and a glass of wine while watching the evening’s prime time sitcoms or a movie that was delivered to our mailbox by Netflix that morning does pop up in my head and strike an envious cord once in a while… Then two days later when I paint my wall purple on a whim, hop a plane to NYC or change out of my PJs at midnight to run down the street and catch a great band that is playing, I realize that my version isn’t so bad either.

I guess ultimately, whether we care to admit it, we all find ourselves in the environment we designed. Sure, we can accidentally take on too much, or chemicals in our brains may shift or an entirely unexpected event can make an unexpected impact on our lives, but day in and day out, we have control over the larger portion of our decisions and averages say we end up right where we should have predicted.

Take for instance these crazy people, also sitting by me at the coffee shop. They brought with them a phone. Not a cell phone or even a satellite phone. This is the same phone I had in my bedroom in 7th grade. It has a curly cord attaching plastic handset to plastic cradle and copper wire waiting to be connected to a landline somewhere. They keep talking on it, but I cannot determine if it is plugged into a jack or anything. It’s just on the table. Is this some sort of theater production? They may have been dealt an unfortunate hand that resulted in this interesting set up in the corner of the Hideout where they talk with imaginary business partners. Or hell, maybe they are in the CIA and someone is really on the other end of that line. What I am willing to bet is that they likely made several life decisions that brought them to this point. And all I know is that I chatted with them for a bit, and they are downright happy. They are happy with their hairball and so am I.

And also notice the big boots… that are not on the big feet they belong to. Stench revealed.

I may go off the deep end here and there, but a bit of the crazies usually comes along with people who are creative and brilliant. I’m going to embrace my crazy as an indicator of something fantastic. Welcome to clusterfuck island. If you don’t like my hairball then I guess we just weren’t meant to be. Sad Land next door is accepting new residents.

(Wow, Doc, these little white pills really do the trick.)

Oh, and I have a confession to make… I had no freaking clue where the Poconos were until I Googled it 10 minutes ago. I knew they were a “vacation destination” but I didn’t even know if they were mountains or islands, skiing or surfing. I wasn’t even totally sure if they were in the US. Hey, you can’t be super smart about everything. I reserve my brain for things that are much more valuable to me. (They are mountains in Pennsylvania).

Well, I think I won the competition for top partier on New Year’s Eve, because I was rewarded with an ulcer… that may or may not be bleeding. Actually, I’ve known something was there for several weeks now but was attempting to be in denial until someone flipped that last number card on the year board and then it would magically disappear. New Year, New You. No?

How I felt on New Year's Day

I won’t go into detail about the evening I spent five hours staring at the blood I had just spit up in my toilet, because that,  does not a good story make. Instead I am going to accentuate the positive and explain how I have chosen to embrace this unfortunate turn of events as a forcing function to finally come through on all my resolutions from the past decade. I have no choice really…

  • Goodbye caffeine
  • Goodbye booze (just for a month)
  • Goodbye soda pop
  • Goodbye occasional partaking in a social smoke
  • Goodbye crappy food
  • Hello exercise
  • Hello vegetables
  • Hello six small meals a day

The hardest part? Caffeine, hands down. The thing is, I haven’t backed off of caffeine since my first cup of Pepsi when I was five years old. We used to drink it out of these plastic Michigan Wolverine cups that were shaped like beer mugs. Oh how Michelle and I loved our Pepsi mugs. Anywho, cut to 29 years later and I am still guzzling a gallon of coffee and a 2 liter of diet coke a day. Needless to say, since the withdrawal, I have had a bit of a headache… and I pull out my carpet square for nap time around three each day.

I even ordered P90X EXTREME HOME FITNESS because I figured, what the hell? If I am not doing any of those other fun things, surely I can stick to an EXTREME home fitness program for 90 days. I like to do things that are EXTREME. The package arrived. I popped in the introductory “Bring it” video and pressed play, then promptly put everything back in the box and slapped on the”return in 30 days and get a full refund” sticker. This wasn’t even a workout video. It was the video to tell you how to use the workout videos. I just sat on my couch and watched it while hoovering a chicken salad. Those people are CRAZY… and ripped. Neither of which I really want to be. Now that, my friends, is self-awareness. I have grown since my infomercial addiction days. I will stick to slugging myself around city park on the occasional warm day and if I want home fitness I’ll turn to my giant pill that has been used two times since it’s purchase in 09.

Your Squirrel update:

Randy set the traps. We caught two squirrels. He took them to the country. We sealed the hole in my roof. All was quiet…

Until this morning. When squirrel #3 (Steve) must have woken up from his 2 day New Year hang over nap only to find that he had been sealed into his house. This little guy went berserk! He was tearing around the entire layout of my house, in the ceiling, squealing and scratching and bouncing around. It was quite sad actually. I hit Randy’s number on speed dial (when your home is on the verge of being a certified wildlife refuge, the exterminator is on speed dial) and asked him to return and grant Steve his freedom. Yes, we have named the squirrel.

You must never name the squirrel.

Unfortunately, my friend Ashley did not know this attachment phenomenon and suggested on facebook that I name him Steve… Now I can’t think of him as anything but Squirrelly Steve with a little squirrelly mustache. I keep going outside to check the trap, but Steve seems to be much sharper than his brothers who were caught within an hour. Eager to hear what I am in for this evening.

One thing I know… I won’t be drowning out the sound with bourbon this time. Everyone suggests earplugs, but then I will lie awake worrying that I can’t hear my fire alarm or someone breaking into my house to abduct me. It happens you know.

Yes, I disappeared again. It was a heck of a few months sorting out what turned out to be a nightmarish move from Austin back to Denver. While I miss my Austin life and friends dearly, it’s great to be back in the “Sunshine State.” I’ll bring you up to speed on a few things, good and bad, and then we’ll just move forward like nothing ever happened.

Bad: Goodbye lakes

Great: Hello Mountains

Bad: Stepping into my future home to realize it was unlivable and my management company hadn’t taken care of it the last four years. (Real Property Management of Colorado)

Great: Waging a negative PR campaign against the bastards and realizing there is a market out there for “Revenge PR.”

Bad: Not having a home to move into when I arrived in Denver.

Great: Having the greatest friends in the world who gave me their basement and their brewery (ah, to wake up to the smell of hops each morning) to stay in while I repaired my home.

Bad: Leaving behind my chauffeur ants in Austin.

Great/ bad: Moving into my Denver home to realize I have squirrels and flies I can train to take their place. (For the flies, I have learned that spraying them with professional strength Mr. Clean bathroom cleaner, then grabbing them with a napkin is way better than smooshing their guts on your window. Plus, it cleans the window. Bonus.)

My new trainees

Bad: Leaving behind my Austin porch family.

Great: Gaining the horseshoe hoodlums (a group of daily drunks that put in a horseshoe pit between the sidewalk and the street. Each day they open the side door of their mini-van to provide music for the game of skill.) in my front yard and the homeless people who sleep in my backyard. At least they take my garbage out for me and dispose of their malt liquor bottles in the appropriate containers.

Bad: Leaving behind my Titos adoring friends in Austin.

The Tito's Sunday Funday Crew

Good: Rejoining my beer loving friends in Denver.

Bad: Leaving behind the live music capital of the world.

Great: Coming to find Denver now has a happening music scene.

Bad: Sabotaged yet another relationship.

Great: Got stellar advice from the greatest sister in the world: “You deserve someone that says ‘I cannot believe this amazing woman is available to me. I’m going to do whatever I can to make her mine before someone else does!’” Word, Michelle. Word.

Bad: Worst. Movers. In. The. World. I’ll spare the extended details for now, but the first thing they said when arriving at my place is, “Where do the homeless people hang out looking for work in Austin? We need a few more guys to move your stuff.” (Jet Van Lines)

Great: Another use case for “Revenge PR.”

Bad: Dad getting kicked out of the Brown’s game because a flask fell out of his sleeve during security check.

Great: Dad getting back into the game using another gate…flask and liquid inside intact! Brownies Win!

Cheering on the Browns!

Bad: My furnace blows a ¼ inch layer of dirt throughout my house daily.

Great: Perfect timing for my Dyson Christmas gift from my parents.

Bad: Gaining 10 lbs during the chaos of the last few months.

Great: Winter Clothes.

I’m sure there are many more I will recall over time, but for now I’d like to see if I can top the great year that 2010 turned out to be by focusing on crushing it in 2011! Happy New Year everyone!

Oh, and one more thing… I found a bird in my house. How ironic, given my lifetime love/hate relationship with the creatures. I was dozing off on my couch when something flew into the room. It was a red breasted robin, standing in the middle of my floor and staring at me with its beady eye. I opened my front door and pleaded with it to leave, but it just kept walking around. It sat on my couch for a bit, then headed over to my desk and checked on my work. I’m of course FREAKING out but he is just looking at me as if to say, “Do I really have to go?” Eventually he just sighed and gave in, slowly swaggering out my front door to the porch (Yes, I do believe birds can swagger). For a short second, I almost felt like asking him to come back in and hang out, then I wigged myself out about how the hell it got there and what other animals I was co-habitating with and headed over to sleep on Brie’s couch.

I’m still living in fear of waking up in the apartment of Ace Ventura, but alas, what would my life (and this blog) be if it weren’t for the drama!

I’m just sitting here at home, enjoying a lamb and goat burger from the East Side Show Room, with a glass of champagne and my new records playing on the turntable. I texted practically everyone I know in Austin and no one was available to go out for a celebratory drink and pizza. It’s ok though, I’m actually enjoying this moment of peaceful solitude. What am I celebrating? Ah, who needs a reason to pop a cork?

No actually, I’m just celebrating joy. I’ve found my happy place. I’m in balance and I didn’t even have to travel for a year in Italy, India and Bali to find it. I’ve been here before and I know it never lasts forever, so I am going to make sure to relish every second of it. Things are just going my way right now. Stuff is aligning. When I cook I don’t burn things. My DVR worked appropriately while I was out of town. I went to the dentist today and I had no cavities. My plants are alive. Business is good (i.e. I paid myself this month). Family and friends are good.

I’m finding myself remembering to smile at little things. I really enjoyed the dentist today. I know, who in their right mind honestly enjoys going to the dentist? Well… I do. It goes like this… My mother was a dental hygienist and she cleaned my teeth until I was 18 years old. She was very thorough because she didn’t really care if I cried bloody murder (Michelle and I were her worst patients). She didn’t allow us to eat sugar cereal or candy and helped my sister with a science experiment where she rotted real teeth in cups of Pepsi. She spoke to my first grade class about how to brush your teeth and demonstrated Dr. Oz clown prop style with a pair of giant teeth and a big red toothbrush. Then she passed around those chewable pink tablets that show where you missed plaque when you brushed. That’s how Todd got the nickname poopy mouth (it stuck with him through highschool). Therefore, I am obsessed with teeth and the health of said teeth.

For 12 years after my mom retired I went to other dentists. I never found a single one to my liking. The hygienists were never thorough enough and the dentists tried to make me undergo unnecessary procedures. Until now. I have found the greatest hygienist ever (besides my mom of course). She is the exact replication of my Mom the Hygienist. She is super thorough. And so friendly. And I tell her everything.

Plus, and here’s the kicker, I told her I went to see “Eat. Pray. Love.” last night. She asked how it was. I hesitated in fear of being ostracised by all the “Eat. Pray. Love.” lovers, then gave her my honest opinion… It was meh. Her response? “Yeah. Those people need to get over themselves. I think it’s ridiculous these people who think they need to go travel the world for a year to ‘find themselves’. It’s not all about you. Get over it.” I love her. Take that Oprah.

She also told me she had a hot dream about the young Brad Pitt last night and another one where Mel Gibson was cutting her hair while sitting behind her in a roller coaster. How could you not love going to this dentist?

So that started off my day on the right foot. I stepped out with shiny teeth and things continued to progress without a hitch. Don’t worry. Cranky, venting, bitchy Jen will be back in no time. For now, I’m just going to flip some vinyl and enjoy this “episode.” 😉

I am not sure if it is just that I have more clarity and awareness of things happening around me because I have been off the sauce for almost two weeks, but I tell you what, things have been happening to me in that eerie “how is that a coincidence?” sort of way lately. You know, like those days where for some reason you reminisce about a song you haven’t thought of or heard in years, then it comes on the radio an hour later? Or you come across a picture of an old friend and they call you out of the blue? I am going to go ahead and chalk it up to some sort of planetary alignment or that I have somehow achieved some state of elemental balance in my life… why? Because I’d like to believe in that shit.

It started over the weekend when I was chatting with a friend of mine. He’s one of those people who asks innocent questions that tend to hurl me into intense bouts of self-analysis. We were talking about his recent birthday and I was asking about the possibility of an impending mid-life crisis, when he asked me what my favorite year was. Simple question. Surprisingly difficult to answer. I thought about it and rattled off a few good years as I tried to dig deep and recall my most favoritest time in my life.  An then it hit me! This is it! This is my favorite year in my life. And wow, how lucky am I to be able to say that? Don’t we all strive to be able to say that every year? Isn’t that what living in the moment is all about?  It’s not that my other years sucked. I have lived a phenomenal life. There are many things I would love to experience again, others I wish I could do over a little differently, and some I’d like to completely forget about… but ultimately I do not spend my days saying “I wish I could go back to XYZ.”  Thank God for that, because I think that would be a sad state.

I spent the day deliriously happy because I realized that my 30s rule, regardless of whether I will ever accomplish the task of getting back my high school body (I’m not gonna stop trying). Then, as if by some unknown force, I bought a Self Magazine for the first time in years. What do you know? It included an article called “Formerly Hot, Finally Content,” which was an excerpt from a book called My Formerly Hot Life by Stephanie Dolgoff… and she nailed it. Granted, her book is about coping with being in your 40s and I like to think I still got a little hotness left in me, but she so eloquently described the mental and physical changes we find ourselves going through as we approach “middle-age.” I’m definitely picking up the book, because I was hooked by page three, but my favorite quote so far is, “I’m young enough to have fun and old enough to know what fun really is, as opposed to tossing my head back in faux frivolity, as I sometimes did when I was actually hot and supposed to be having the time of my life.” That’s where I am now. No longer doing what the world deems as fun, and just going out and doing what I enjoy.

On that same trip to the grocery store I bought a plant. I dabble in plants here and there (who am I kidding? If this were a video I would not have a straight face). With the exception of these two indestructible terminator plants that have followed me loyally for years, they all commit suicide when I leave town. I bought this plant because it had a stem that was more like a trunk of a tree. Sturdy looking fella. I brought it home, put it in a pretty pot (left over from one of the deceased), placed it in the corner where I had envisioned it living, and then noticed a sticker on it that said “Money Tree.” Hot damn! Now, I know that money doesn’t grow on trees, so I consulted the interwebs to find out what the meaning of these money trees are. Apparently I brought home a version of the Chinese bonsai tree that is supposed to bring you wealth. And you are supposed to put it in the Northwest corner of your house which is the prosperity area of the bagua map. Um hello? Unintentionally, it was already in the most Northwesternest corner you can go in my home. Now that’s good ju ju.

When does the money start growing? Springtime?

THEN, I went running. It was 8:30pm at night, but it did not matter, it was still ridiculously, unbearably, insanely hot and I was dragging ass on my way home from the lake trail. I told myself to keep going. I had good tunes on so I thought to myself, “If you were at a show watching this music live, you would just keep on dancin, so just keep on runnin.” Then I continued thinking, “Wow, I wish that song by Ghostland Observatory was on… the one that says ‘Keep on Dancin’ over and over.” Then… BAM! Literally two seconds later that exact song, Dancin on my Grave came on. Big deal, right? I have over 800 songs on my iPod, people. This shit does not just happen. Someone wanted me to keep on running. So keep on keepin on I did.

Because some planet or other is in my house, or something went into retrograde, or someone forwarded a chain email wishing good vibes upon their 100 closest friends….whatever it is that put me in this state, I am going to go ahead and roll with it and keep following the signs/intuitions. I have always been a gut follower. Sometimes it takes awhile for my stubborn ass to finally listen to it, but I’ve come to have a pretty darn great and trusting relationship with my gut. So I am going to go ahead and forgive it for having a little extra padding on it. Nobody and no gut is perfect.

Insomnia strikes again.

For the past three nights I have been having a horrendous time falling asleep. And when I do, I can’t remain asleep for more than 30 minutes at a time. I’ve also had really creepy nightmares. Not the kind where a monster is chasing you through a home depot and every aisle is filled ceiling to floor with rolls of pink insulation (I really had that dream once), but the really creepy ones where you dream you are in your bed, in your house, and someone is in there  to murder you. Then, right before waking up, you try to scream and you try to get out of bed but everything is paralyzed. Then you lay there in a panic for a good hour before you realize none of it actually happened. Those are the kind of nightmares I get when I fall asleep on my back. My mom and my sister get them too. Only when sleeping in the supine position (I learned that term on google last night). Which sucks, because that is the most comfortable way for me to sleep.

Anywho. We’ve commiserated with each other on this unfortunate condition for many years. Yesterday, I was telling my friend Pam how I wanted to check the three of us into a sleep lab to investigate the phenomenon. She suggested maybe I check if there was anything on the interwebs about it first. Brilliant. Why didn’t I think of that the multiple times I have found myself frozen in front of the computer thinking I had searched everything there was to know??

Alas. This is not a condition isolated to the Cadmus women. Apparently “Sleep Paralysis” happens to a lot of people and seems to be more common when the individual is sleeping supine, has consumed alcohol recently, is stressed out and is lacking in sleep. Check. Check. Check. Check.

I just think that is cool. I think if I went back to school and did everything over again, I would be a sleep scientist. What happens when we sleep fascinates me.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_paralysis

So today, I was determined to battle my restlessness. I did everything right. No drinking. No caffeine after 4. Turned my phone off at 9. Rested on the couch then hit my bed with a book at 10pm. It was working! I was drowsy.

Then, I heard and peripherally saw something, something big, fall out of the light in my ceiling and land on the floor at the foot of my bed. I let out a yelp that set off dogs in my building and my heart rate shot up to 190. So much for sleep. I carefully crawled to the end of my bed, in fear, to see what was there waiting for me and, before I got there… it jumped. High. And landed back down on a T-shirt I had on the floor.

Now, I am standing at on the end of my bed (watching out for the ceiling fan this time) and thinking “holy shit, if I had a man here I would be standing on my dresser shrieking and forcing him to get rid of this visitor.” But, I was by myself. I said, “You can do this. You have to do this. Because that thing is not staying where it is,” (no, seriously, I said it out loud) and I looked around for something to throw over what I can only guess was a cricket two inches in diameter. The light in my ceiling must be powered by uranium, because this fucking cricket was mutant. I grabbed some shorts off my dresser, threw them over the big guy, picked up the shorts, then wandered around in a state of insanity trying to decide where to throw him before he crawled out and jumped at my face.

I thought, I’ll just throw him outside… he can go back to his home. Then I remembered that requires running down two flights of stairs and I saw a mini orange lizard on the wall down there earlier (I know, right? It sounds like I live in Costa Rica). Option two? Flush the sucker. I wasn’t even sure this guy was small enough to get down the hole, but I watched him circle the bowl then eventually take the tube to his new aquaworld.

I was kind of pumped afterward. It was an adrenalin rush. I didn’t need a man! I can get rid of intruders all by myself. Then I got sad… because I realized, just because I don’t need a man, it would still be nice to have someone there to take care of me once in a while. Or… if he was a big pussy, it still would have been nice to have someone there to laugh or videotape my ridiculous behavior during this episode. Simply writing about it does not do the hilarity justice.

Now? I am still waiting for my heart rate to slow. At that point, I will probably still lie awake staring at the light wondering how many other mutant bugs are up there waiting for their turn to land in the drop zone and make their way to my bed. Hey, maybe there is a man in there waiting to drop in… A girl can dream right?

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