Monday, February 14, 2011

The Love Follies

     It all started with Michael Jackson. You know, the king of pop? He was my first imaginary boyfriend. He saved me from a gigantic spider in a dream once. I don't remember the details aside from the size of the pincers on that spider and the red leather jacket MJ was wearing. I image he and his posse probably "dance fought" the spider out of town. If you go to my parents' house you can still see, written in crayon, "I *heart* MJ" inside the closets of my old room.
    My first sort of real boyfriend asked me to "go with" him at Sunday School. In an epic move that would foretell of my forever deficit in mack'n skills, I replied, "Go where?" I mean, really?! Aside from being oblivious to preschool dating terminology, I had a crush on him, and we were at church, so why didn't I just say yes, no matter where he wanted to go? Typical Mandy; neurotic control freak from day one.
     In kindergarten, I was involved in my first love triangle when two cousins scuffled on the playground for my affection. Keep in mind that I was raised on soap operas. After eating my alphabet soup with one ice cube in it, my Mommy and I snuggled and watched Sesame Street followed by the last half hour of "The Young and the Restless" and "Days of Our Lives". And she wonders why I'm so theatrical and "feelings" oriented. Please, woman! 
     Preceding the big playground fight, those cousins found a plastic heart shaped ring on the playground and gave it to me. See, even in the days before Beyonce, they liked it so they put a ring on it; a cheap ass ring they found in the gravel at recess, and I was over the moon.
      In addition to D.O.O.L., I blame both Disney and John Hughes for any poorly executed love overtures and the disenchantment that followed. After weeks of pining over a boy in my art class who looked like Alladin, my girlfriends and I carefully scripted and rehearsed an ice breaker. For the first time ever, I was going to make the first move. We were using watercolors that day, and the plan was to fill my water cup at the sink in the front of the classroom when he did. I was so nervous, I almost bailed, but as Alladin's doppleganger went to get more water, my friends stuffed the paper cup in my hand and pushed me forward. "Uhm..h-h-hey...uhm..h-h-e-y, did you know that our brothers played in a band together once?" He smiled and replied just as I'd hoped, beginning an all too brief conversation about rock music, our common denominator. I'm not sure how long the conversation carried on, or how long it took me to discover that as I was talking, I was slowing pouring water out of my cup and onto to my favorite navy flats in a steady trickling stream. I'd actually worn my favorite flower print dress that day, for no apparent reason, except that my waist looked so tiny in it, and my sleeves were extra poofy. Thankfully, my B.F.F. in the back of the room called the folly to my attention as well as the rest of the class' as she yelled, "Oh my God, Mandy! You're spilling water all over yourself!" And so the ice was broken... and melted, and when he asked me to "go with" him, this time I knew what it meant. I don't suppose he thought I was peeing myself, although that's certainly what it sounded like and looked like from the knees down. It was a brief romance consisting solely of phone calls, but we reunited, "for realsies" in the ninth grade UNTIL I discovered that the necklace he gave me for my 14th birthday was actually one he had given to (and retrieved from) his ex-girlfriend! What's worse, it was made up of my two least favorite qualities in jewelry: yellow gold and hearts. Gag. I took him back a few months later, only to be dumped for a girl who, well, you know.
     My junior year, a very sweet boy and I met while taking a nature walk for an extra curricular biology project. We talked a little on the walk, and by the time I got home that day, he had left two messages on the answering machine to call him! Unfortunately, this was B.C.I.D.; before caller ID, and he had failed to leave his phone number. He was a cutie, so I was super bummed that I couldn't find his number in the phone book. That's when my mother, the one who was all the while watching those soap operas alongside me, concocted a highly romantic notion to place a note on his car at the fast food joint where he worked. I could hear Peter Gabriel singing as I wrote my note. Then I raced to the restaurant and placed it swiftly and securely behind the car's windshield wipers so as not to be seen. Wow! That was exhilarating, and it worked! He called me the next day, and he didn't seem to mind that I had accidentally put the note on his manager's car instead of his. Look people, I don't know cars beyond size and color. Her car was white and long. His car was white and long. Cut me some slack.
     Oh, there are plenty of follies and heartbreaks in between, but I'll save that for the book and leave you with my most recent incident in closing. We were probably on our forth or fifth date, and this guy was moving slooooooooow. I was 29, divorced, and had gone through quite a selection of duds with no manners, so this sweet "country" guy really had me puzzled. Why hadn't he made a move? We'd gone out to dinner several times, and even a movie, but only a few goodnight pecks here and there. Well, something had to give because we were about to drift into the friend zone of no return. And so, I poured the wine. We were sitting on the back porch late one night. On glass three, with candles lit, after several rounds of Gin Rummy, I put on my best Kathleen Turner voice. Now, here's a word of advice: Like hair color, your sexy girl voice should never go beyond two levels of what is natural to you. If, for example, you were born with a Minnie Mouse- first grade teacher- voice like me, you should go for, say, a Marilyn Monroe voice instead of a Kat Turner, so as not to frighten your date, or inspire him to go fetch antibiotics out of his medicine cabinet for the bronchitis that you most obviously have contracted. So I said to him, in my bronchitis voice, "I have an idea. Let's play a game. You can ask me five questions- ANY five questions, and I HAVE to answer them. Go ahead." I was expecting something at least a little randy when he hits me instead with a job interview question: "Where do you see yourself in ten years?" Can't you hear the record screeching? WHAT?! Well, that shocked the saucy voice right out of me, and I answered truthfully, for reasons still unknown to me. I guess I figured it was time to know or go, so I told him I hoped I was married with children in ten years. I figured it would scare him off, so I specified that since I was in grad school and working, it certainly wasn't anything I wanted right now, but to be honest, that's where I saw myself in ten years. Here's the worst, most uncomfortable part. He replied with, "I know. You'll find someone." So, for me, that was the end of that brief affair as I explained to my friend Heather the next day. Heather wasn't so sure, though, and encouraged me to go out with him again. "Maybe he just didn't want to sound presumptuous, Mandy!" she said, always a cockeyed optimist in love. I took her advice, and now, when I remind him; Dan, that it is, my husband of almost three years, of this disastrous love folly on both our parts, he proves that Heather was right saying, "Well, I didn't think you wanted that with ME, but I was hoping!" So even true love can evolve beautifully, follies and all, if you keep an open mind and an open heart. Here's to you, Dan. Happy Valentine's Day! Thank you for everything that you are, and especially for allowing me to air our 'funny' laundry so that friends who need it can have a good laugh. And here's to you, my friends, on Valentine's Day. May your follies be fruitful!


Sunday, January 2, 2011

This Just In: I'm Still 32

Happy 2011, from the Attic! My apologies for the delay, but holidays are a very busy time outside of the attic, and try though I did, I couldn't escape to my zen hideaway, where I'm no one and nothing but a writer here for your amusement and my own. In other news, I'm still 32, and I've found even more supporting evidence to share. Why stop at five, when, say, eight is such a fun number? Without further ado, here are three additions to my previously posted list.

6. Karma, the spiritual principle learned about in high school world history, has proven itself to be a very real law of the universe. Why else, for example, after spending teenage years writing songs (and sometimes choreography) that poked fun of grown women with facial hair, would I now own three pair of tweezers, two bottles of Nair for the face, and various other "As Seen on TV" products advertised to remove peach fuzz from your face without allowing it to grow back as a goatee? P.S. They don't work. Just ask my barber.
     Karma example number two: Ask me how many times I said to my friends as a teenager, "Look how weird my stomach looks when I sit down! It's like...concave! It totally disappears. Isn't that weird?" knowing damn well it wasn't weird, and was a quality most girls coveted. This would karmically explain why I now have zero number of pants that fit me properly. Thanks to a combination of my girth and the shortness of my legs (Picture Tweedle Dee or Dum from Disney's "Alice in Wonderland", minus the propeller hat.) it is impossible to find a pair of pants I don't a) step on until  the hem rips or frays, b.) have to pull up every five seconds, or c.) look like I've switched genders in. It's a pain, but how could I think I don't deserve it, after flaunting that formerly bejeweled and concave breadbasket of mine? That's right. I once thought so much of my taught tummy, I actually pierced my naval. By the way, just so you know, those holes don't grow back like the earlobes do. They simply remain, de-dazzled, and yearning for the time when they saw the light of day.

7. I hate loud noises, most all arcade style video games, and anything that moves faster than my eyes can focus on it. Nearly every time my husband and I go out to eat I want to ask them to turn the music down so I can hear myself think, but I know I'll sound like an old fogy, so I just gripe to him and them unsuccessfully try to read his lips when he responds from across the table. Putting my reading glasses on helps.

8. Friends say, "I love you," when parting on the phone or in person. Why? Well, for one thing, we are becoming more confident in who we are, and we aren't embarrassed to admit our feelings. More fitting than that: at this point, we've all experienced loss. Fifteen years ago, most of us never considered what life could be like without each person in our immediate circle. Now, chances are, that circle is much smaller. Loss does not discriminate, and we've all been touched by it one way or the other. The upside is, we cherish what we have, and especially who we have, while we still can. 

Stay tuned, and tell a friend to subscribe to "Stories.." if you think it will make them smile, or laugh, or both! By the way, guess what I got for Christmas? Another spa gift certificate! Having learned from my past mistakes, I will be using this one ASAP, and I'm skipping the sumo scrub this time around. See, "Leapin' Leasure" if you don't know what I'm talking about. TTFN!


Monday, September 27, 2010

32 and Then Some (In Human Years)

 Top Five Ways I Have Been So Rudely Reminded that I'm 32

5.)   I really need to get my Braille tattoo touched up, but now I'm hesitant due to concerns about cleanliness and blood born pathogens. I've had it since I was 19 years old, and only touched it up once around the age of 22. When I was 19, a long slow painful death due to Hepatitis was the last thing I was worried about. Besides, stuff like that could never happen to me! I call it a Braille tattoo because it scarred quite a bit, and the only bright side of the situation that I could come up with was that if I ever married a blind man, he would know I had a little butterfly tramp stamp just as well as any seeing individual would. It's sort of an equal opportunity tattoo in that way. I should clarify that the term "tramp stamp", to my knowledge, was not yet created when I got this tattoo, and Brittney Spears did not then have one. If you are assuming I blame the creation of the term "tramp stamp" and the explosion of the trend on Brittney Spears, give yourself a pat on the back. You are correct. Thanks a lot, Brittney. Try to come up with your own tattoo trend next time. Anyway, I have a butterfly with only one antenna now, and I really want to get it touched up, but I don't know if any places around here are clean and reputable enough! I guess the older we get, the more familiar we become with mortality and illness, and the more we want to avoid it if possible!

4.)    Clothes that were in style when I was a kid are in style again.....and I think a lot of them look really unflattering and, well, stupid. The best example of this is the text my stepdaughter sent me with a picture of her new "fake" glasses. You guessed it, they are the huge, dark rimmed, "nerd" glasses minus the white tape. I have a hideous picture of myself at her age in a pair of burgandy ones, and I cannot believe they are back in style. I did my best to hold my tongue, and of course, she looks cute in everything, but good gravy! Those glasses are hideous. At least big bangs don't go along with them this time around. Oh, you know who else has a pair? Brittney Spears. 

3.)  Everything hurts, and I'm pretty sure I've got early onset Alzheimer's disease, but I can't remember why just this second. P.S. TICKTOCK! TICKTOCK! FERTILITY CLOCK! Enough said.

2.)   I have no idea how to dress myself anymore. I feel like women in their thirties are completely ignored. We have no clubs, no magazines, and certainly no guidebooks. It's sort of a lost period between the crazy fun twenties and the liberating and empowering "who gives a crap what anyone thinks of me" forties. Listen forty somethings, if that's not what it feels like, I don't want to know! Just let me have something to look forward to, okay?
     I suspect this hidden decade exists because most women in their thirties are too busy climbing ladders and raising children, but neither of those things apply to me yet, so I'm basically just frumpy and invisible. I mean, I can't dress like a twenty something hoochie mamma, and I don't want to look like an old maid, so how do I dress? What is appropriate for a thirty two year old? You tell me, and then tell me where to get it cheap.

    1.)    I've lost my "edge". A few weeks ago, I went to get my friend a cool "True Blood" T-shirt at a store called Hot Topic in the Huntington Mall. At the check out, this little punk wannabe (he probably doesn't even know who the Sex Pistols are) with a fur hat on (in 90 degree weather, mind you- don't even get me started about the hormone issues again) says to me, unable to keep a straight face, "Do y-you, huh, heh huh, have an HT1 card, heh huh?" I was like, "What am I, a schoolmarm?! How do you know I don't have an HT1 card? Maybe I shop in here all the time, you little s**t! I am punk on the inside, okay? More punk than you'll even be!" Of course what I actually said was, "No. No, I don't have an HT1 card as this is only the second time I've been in this store. No thank you. I don't need one because I so rarely come in here, unless I'm buying a gift for my young stepdaughters." Yep. The coolness has left the building.

****Thanks for visiting "Stories From My Attic". Come back and bring some friends! By the way, I am a Vemma brand partner, and highly recommend you check out this website to learn about what you're missing out on!  C'mon! I don't ask for much, and I try to entertain you, don't I?! I said try! Peace, love, light, and may God bless you all.   -MJ

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mr. T vs. Pollyanna & Why it's Alan Thicke's Fault

      I think it's safe to say I'm going through some type of midlife crisis at 32. I was a late bloomer with everything else, so I guess it's kinda nice that I'm finally getting a head start at something. Maybe it's just that right now, for reasons STILL unknown after a full year of doctor visits, scans, and blood work, I've got more testosterone pumping through my body than Mark McGwire when he broke the home run record. If you don't know this already, abnormally high testosterone levels in women can cause weight gain, acne, unwanted hair growth, intolerance to heat, and RAGE, AKA, negative mood swings among other symptoms. Any woman who has encountered hormonal imbalance in her lifetime will likely agree that it feels like the battle of good and evil is taking place within your skull.
     If you can imagine this for a moment; I was once a sweet, compassionate, and selfless individual. I was just born that way. When I was six, I decided on my own to save up all my pennies in a grocery bag to give to "the homeless". I'll never forget the look on my Sunday school teacher's face when I handed her this droopy bag of pennies, asking her to give it to "the homeless". She may have been a Sunday school teacher, and she may have said something to the effect of, "That's very nice, Mandy," but her expression very clearly spoke, "What the hell am I supposed to do with this plastic bag of pennies?!"
     When I was in the second or third grade, our art teacher was showing us the contrast in drawing things close up and far away. The assignment she gave was to draw a large group of people. All the kids drew ballgames and concerts...well, all the kids except little Mandy. I drew the Berlin Wall as it was being erected, with separated family members crying for each other on each side. I'd just watched a short documentary about it during the half time of a Harlem Globetrotters game on TV, and it was all I could think about. See, I worried about people. I wanted to help everybody!
     Around the fourth or fifth grade, I became very impressed with Alan Thicke's character, Dr. Jason Seaver, psychologist, on the sitcom, "Growing Pains". I remember watching an episode wide eyed as Dr. Seaver tried to assist a client in redirecting their thoughts by using visual immagry. I couldn't wait to try it. The opportunity came almost immediately as my friend Cassie and I were roller skating the next day. Cassie took a pretty bad spill and bloodied up her knees. Tears welled up a little as she sat on the sidewalk, stunned. "Cassie!" I said, "Okay..okay. Cassie, think of the moon."
       "No. Just try it. Think of the moon. Think of the stars and how beautiful they are at night!"
        "WHAT... *sniff sniff*... ARE...*sniff* ...YOU ...*sniff sniff*.....TALKING ABOUT?!" she asked, quickly becoming agitated.
       "Just don't think about your knees. Think about a rainbow. Yeah! Picture a rainbow."
       "OH MY GAWWWE! Just go get your MOM!!!!" 
        "Oh! Ok!" and with that, I did as my friend asked, deciding I'd have to watch a few more episodes of "Growing Pains" before I could start practicing unsolicited counseling techniques on my peers. So on the days that I ask myself why I became a counselor, I blame Alan Thicke. Clearly, it's all his fault.
     I'm trying to paint the picture of who I used to be; this formerly sweet little girl with the most tender heart, now infused with Mark McGwire-like quantities of testosterone. It's a daily struggle, fighting this Incredible Hulk-like plague. It's like half of me is Pollyanna, and the other half is Mr. T. I "pity the fool" that has to live with me in this state, 'cause you just never know what you're gonna get. I need a sign around my neck: "Next mood swing. Five minutes....or less if you talk." It often makes me think of that beautiful Native American proverb about the two wolves struggling within, and the one you feed is the one that wins, etc. etc. I'm trying to feed the Polly in me, but my messed up hormones are like Red Bull and crack for the Mr. T. Humm. Mr. T for testosterone. How appropriate.
     So keep rooting for Pollyanna to win out. A few prayers would be nice. I hope to get some answers and effective options for treatment at my next big endocrinologist appointment on Monday. You know, it ain't easy being a woman. That's for sure. But I still prefer it to being a man, I'd like to have a baby or two sooner than later, and I have no interest in breaking any home run records now or ever! I guess it's a blessing that I've gotten thicker skin through this situation (both figuratively and literally, actually). That will be what I remember as the blessing in this yearlong struggle (Ooh! Pollyanna is in the lead today!). I've experimented a little in not taking crap from people, and that's pretty enjoyable. I've stopped being overly nice to people who don't deserve that from me. Don't get me wrong, I'm still nice, just not overly so. I've also finally arrived at a place where I don't care what someone thinks of me if I don't have any respect for them, and that's huge! Who knows, maybe I'll be able to retain those qualities as my testosterone reaches a more *ahem* feminine level. I'll be sure to let y'all know one way or the other! *Wink, wink* BEWARE! *Wink, wink.* I wonder what TV's Dr. Jason Seaver would have to say about this? "Think of a sandy beach somewhere......"

Thanks for reading! Please subscribe; that's "follow" in blog lingo, and be sure to refer Stories From My Attic to your friends if you get a giggle or smile reading these random snippets of pondering and story telling. -MJ

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Excuse me, Ma'am, Do You Have a Permit for That Whisk?

    Shew! I had a setback last week. In the midst of celebrating the independence of our great nation, I almost relinquished my independence from arachnophobia when I noticed a huge red bump on my right index finger. It was hard and painful, and it popped up out of nowhere! I was positive it was a brown recluse bite, and all of my old obsessive fears returned! My brain was immediately flashing images of my future... in a hospital...having my finger removed...maybe my entire hand. I was up googling symptoms for hours when it occurred to me just how long it had been since I'd gotten so paranoid.
      Seriously, this was an almost disabling fear a few years back. At least twice a day, I thought about how I could avoid the bite of the brown recluse and black widow spiders. I don't know if it was because my apartment was in a wooded area at the time (and heavily populated with spiders), or I'd simply spent too much time watching Animal Planet, but I was majorly obsessed with those damn spiders. When the time came to leave my little woodland cottage apartment and move back to my hometown, I dreaded the packing because all the empty boxes I needed were in this unlit storage space above my kitchen (the kind where you have to pull a chain to open up the ceiling and then reach for the ladder to unfold, yada yada). I knew good and well, thanks again to Animal Planet, that recluses and widows often resided in such a place. Naturally, I took the necessary precautions.
     It was July mind you, as I dressed in a turtleneck pulled up to my chin, tied an old flowered scarf of my grandma's over my face cowboy style, added my reading glasses to protect the eyeballs, a ball cap, and most important, my Dad's old tube socks as protective gloves pulled up to my elbows. I climbed up the ladder, all the while thinking of a black widow I found near my front door a few days prior. It occurred to me that its pincers could possibly penetrate through the tube sock gloves, so I hastily climbed back down the ladder and put on oven mitts as well. One by one, I took great pains to shake out the boxes and launch them down to the floor in one smooth motion. Surely if there were any hidden spiders, the shaking and barraging would send out the message that I wasn't messing around. I was prepared for battle, and I would come out unscathed.
     Of course, when you move, you'll find plenty of stuff not worth packing, so I had to make the journey to the apartment dumpster several my protective gear. Thank God it was dark out because my neighbors could have derived any number of conclusions from my bizarre behavior and "uniform". I was so focused on spiders, I almost forgot about the raccoons that dined there every evening. Don't get me wrong, I loved watching them from my window every evening, but I never tried to make friends. Rabies isn't any more appealing than flesh killing spider venom, ya know. So, I was sure to clear my throat several times, hum some random "please don't eat me" songs,  and stomp my feet a little as I walked to let them know I was coming. Trust me, you don't want a startled raccoon flying out of the garbage bin at you at midnight.
     On my last trip to the dumpster, probably around 3am, once every spider free box had been packed and sealed, I felt like I had cheated a certain death...Well, at least I'd avoided a painful trip to the ER and days to weeks of sickness with possible loss of limbs or large chunks of flesh.  I was so tired I had to adjust my eyes to the darkness a few times on my way back toward the steps leading to my apartment door. Just then, on the edge of the middle step, I saw a wolf spider the size of my hand! I couldn't get to my door without stepping over it! I was jolted alert, a little panicked, and completely unsure as to how I was going to get back into my apartment. True, a wolf spider wouldn't do as much harm as my evil nemeses the widow and recluse, but, whoa! This thing was huge! Finally, in perhaps my greatest act of bravery to this date, I backed up, took a breath, and began a momentum building run which enabled me to leap over most of the steps and onto the landing. I busted through the door, but my relief only lasted a moment, because I knew....I knew he was still out there. I imagined myself drifting off to sleep as the wolf spider found a way into the house. I wondered about the urban myth that you swallow so many spiders in your life time, and knew it would be super painful if a furry, hand sized spider tried to crawl into my gaping mouth as I snored away. No! I couldn't let that happen.
     I tried to think fast. There was no way in hell I was going to attempt stepping on this spider. No. He was too big and too quick. I pictured him crawling up my leg in attack mode. I was going to have to kill it ninja style...with the heaviest and most deadly kitchen utensils I could find in my already sealed boxes. I tip toed out my door with a wire whisk and two mixing beaters, took another run, and leaped from the top step to the bottom landing, super hero style, pivoting quickly to face the enemy. I hurled a beater and then the whisk, and the thing barely even moved! "Oh crap," I said to myself, "I've just pissed him off!" I decided I needed to get a tiny bit closer, although, I have to say, my beater hurling skills were pretty impressive. I surprised even myself at that. From only a foot away, I hurled my last beater as hard as I could, and he scurried into a hole just beside my steps. I couldn't let it end there. I knew where he lived, he knew where I lived, and he had my right mixing beater. Okay, he wasn't actually holding my mixing beater ('Cause that would just be crazy!), but it was way way way too close to his house for me to get it now. At this point, and I'm not proud of this, I took a can of insect spray and emptied it into the hole. 
     The next afternoon, with the sun shining bright, I saw a few legs sticking out from the hole. I was brave enough to poke them with a very long stick. There was no movement. I fashioned some tong action by adding another stick and pulled him out of the hole. He was D-E-A-D dead, and I felt immediately terrible. I mean, he was frozen stiff. I didn't think spiders experienced rigor mortise. Maybe they don't, and the 3/4th can of insect killer just literally petrified him. Either way, I had the taste of bug spray in my mouth for at least two days after. I'm sure that ingested poison will manifest into some sort of karmic justice for the innocent wolf spider someday. It was totally unnecessary to go to the lengths I did, but I was frightened and horribly arachnophobic. Oh the awful things we do in fear and haste! This has been my true confession. May the spiders of the world forgive me...especially the poisonous ones. Oh, by the way, that red bump on my hand went away. I guess it was just a mosquito bite. Whew! What a waste of psychotic energy. Thank goodness I have so much on reserve!

Friday, June 25, 2010

Don't Be Alarmed, and Don't Splash Me!
       My apologies for the brief absence, dear five faithful readers (bless you)! This attic of mine has been vacant for a few weeks thanks to some summer sickness. Alanis Morissette would call it ironic that the week my dream of a pool in the backyard came to fruition, I developed bronchitis and an inner ear infection. "No pool for you!" said my doctor. Actually, what he said was, "Wow! I wish I could take a picture of that ear! That's a doozy. Now, don't be alarmed if you hear a loud popping sound and blood or other gunk starts to ooze out." Yeah, I found that tidbit of information to be pretty alarming!
      When I got home, I swallowed my first antibiotic and took a shot of cough medicine as I looked longingly into my turquoise 12x3 oasis in the backyard.  It felt like the sixth grade patrol trip to Washington, DC all over again. Well... minus the HBO. They didn't have parental controls back in the 80's, you know. Can you imagine the wide eyes of four 6th grade girls catching a glimse of "9 and 1/2 Weeks"? It was horrifying! But I digress. All the kids were looking forward to swimming in the hotel pool at The Best Western, but when the time came, I had to stay on the shallow end, all by my lonesome, waving to friends on the other side of the pool as I reminded them not to splash me. I had the first of now two ear infections in my whole entire life, and my doctor strictly forbid it. At the time, it felt like the end of the world. You'll be glad to know I coped much better this time around! I only cried about it twice.
          I'm mostly better now with the exception of the lingering sniffles and mild hearing impairment. So back to the attic I return and just in time for my 32nd birthday next Tuesday. This time in my life seems like a bit of a struggling transition period, but, wow! If little girl me could see "grown up" me, and I use that term loosely, she would be blown away! -Not because of any educational or professional accomplishments. Heck, I still can't cut a straight line to save my life, and I use the cheating method to tie my shoelaces (make two rabbit ears and tie them in a knot). No, and not because I have a super cute husband who is hopelessly devoted to me for reasons still unknown, although, he is definitely both. No, I think little girl me would be most impressed that I have not one but three fat cats, a step doggy, two fish tanks, and, you guessed it, the creme de la creme: a swimming pool! Lord knows there's nothing more humbling to a 31 year old chubby girl than trying to gracefully hoist yourself onto a float in a 12x3 pop up pool, but five year old me would think that was AWESOME. So, happy birthday, little girl me. Your dreams came true! Now it seems it's time for big girl me to blow out the candles and dream even bigger.

***This week's book recommendation: "The Friday Night Knitting Club" and sequel, "Knit Two" by Kate Jacobs. These are the kind of books you don't want to end! I hope someday I can write books that make readers feel that way!***

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Leaping Leisure!

     The year 2009 will never be listed as a favorite of mine. It may be my least favorite. The hippie dippie optimist in me says, "Hey, one day you'll understand why you had to struggle, and you'll be grateful for the experiences that led you to this place." The pessimist in me suggests many worse things could happen and probably will, so I should hold off on the ranking. While those two duke it out, I'll spare all the details of the step mom challenges, newlywed feuds, home buyer's remorse, ex from hell stories, new company growing pains, job burnout, and worst of all, the miscarriage. I know, right? Who wants to ride that tide? So, it's no surprise that on Christmas Eve when my husband surprised me with a $100 gift card to a local spa, I pulled a Tom Cruise couch stunt and shed tears of joy.
      Fast forward to May 2010. I had been saving that card for months, waiting for things to calm down in each department of my life. I was determined to make this day at the spa least an entire day! There was no way I wanted to walk out the doors of the spa and jump back into a frying pan of gut wrenching, hair expelling, skull in a vice feelin', jaw dislocatin' STRESS, so I waited. Then I waited some more. At last, when it seemed like all was calm and there was very little chance of crisis in the workplace or at home, I scheduled my appointment.
     I've only been to a spa three times now, and when I go, I like to imagine I can really afford it, and not just once a year, but once a week. I like to imagine I'm a very important person with an unlimited amount of funding to be pampered like the queen I surely must have been in some other life. It's funny, because I consider myself very spiritual and not at all materialistic. Possessions mean very little to me, but the pampering. Oh the pampering! God forgive me, but how I desire that pampering!
     So, with my mindset in 'queen for a day' mode, I arrived at the spa for my first treatment. I'd always wanted to try the citrus salt glow scrub. It sounded so rich and luxurious in the spa pamphlet! I'd never imagined I'd feel like a sumo wrestler, with a towel wrapped around me like a diaper, being scrubbed by some strange woman in the dark. Still, it made my skin feel baby soft, and the special vichy shower they used to rinse off the scrub was very therapeutic. It felt just like rain. What I was really looking forward to, though, was the La'Stone Therapy Massage, and that was next up on the docket. A girlfriend of mine said she had melted like butter when Steve, the massage therapist, placed the hot stones on her back. I was so ready to melt like butter. So, said strange woman who scrubbed me down, wrapped me in the spa's signature robe, handed me a bag with all my clothes (Yes, ALL my clothes), and helped me slip into some flip flops. "Are you ready for your hot stone massage?"
     "Yes! I am so ready!" It was time for the journey to tranquility town.  
     "Ok, hon, we just need to walk back down these steps and into the lobby to meet Steve who will be doing your massage." I felt a mix of joy that I was getting this reportedly awesome Steve, and concern that I had to walk through the lobby in nothing but a robe, without makeup, and with a very unattractive white girl fro from the vichy shower. Oh well, not to worry. I was traveling to tranquility town. I was a decedent of queens today, albeit only in my mind, so what did anyone's opinion matter to a queen? So down the steps I went, except, toward the bottom of the steps, this queen's right foot decided to stop while her majesty's left foot decided to speed up without warning. I hadn't dried my feet and they were sliding in the flip flops.
     "Whoops!" Thud, thud, thud, thud. I believe the cheerleading term for the position my body contorted to is a "herky", with one leg curled behind you and the other straight in front. Aside from the thuds and my little whoops sounds, I don't really think anyone would have noticed except that the strange diaper wrapping scrubber lady screamed,
      "Noooooooooooooo! NO! NO! NO! Oh noooooooooooooooooooooooo!" as she tried to hold me up and hold my robe together simultaniously. "OH MY GOD! ARE YOU OK? ARE YOU SURE? YOU'RE SURE?" I was whispering replies with false hope that she would lower her voice. "YOU'RE SURE YOU'RE OKAY?"
       "I'm fine. Really. Just slippery flip flops. No biggie. Calm down. Really. Calm down. Please. Seriously." I looked up to find that somehow we'd arrived at the bottom of the steps and into the lobby. I noticed lots of people with faces, I'd imagine, as red as mine, trying to avoid looking at me. Two teenage girls giggled in the corner. "I guess that's what I get," I thought to myself. Too much anticipation and too much build up; that almost always leads to disappointment. I'd like to hope that no one saw my personal downstairs region as I fell down the stairs on my day at the spa, but I'll never know, and I'll never ask weird diaper wrapping scrubber lady. No need to feel sad for me though, because I too melted like butter during my stone therapy massage. Steve truly was a magic man, and all was forgotten by the end of my day at the spa. Well...almost. I suppose the moral of the story is, when you get a spa gift card, there is no need to hold it for fours months in hopes of an uneventful stretch of life. Just go, already. Oh, and dry your feet before you put on the flip flops.

***UPDATE 1/15/2011- Steven, aka, Magic Man, has his own place, and I highly reccommend his hot stone therapeutic massage!!! Check him out here: