What Do I Want?…or, Weddings & Facebook Posts Make Me Think

I have a friend from college that I keep up with on Facebook who recently made a post that has made me pause and think.  She’s a well-educated, well traveled, attractive woman who comes from a good family, owns her own home and has two fur babies that she thinks the world of. But this lovely woman, who I’ll refer to in this post simply as C made a Facebook post recently about how she would like children, despite being childless and still single at 32 years of age. In typical fashion, I had to respond to her post with an uplifting message about how being childless isn’t necessarily a bad thing; being child-free, she has the opportunity to do what she wants, when she wants to do it and doesn’t have to worry about lugging her child/children with her along with bags filled with all of their accoutrements. She never has to worry about making arrangements for anyone to watch kids in order for her to be able to do anything, and best of all, she is free to travel unhindered whenever she likes.

But, I’ll admit, her post got me to thinking. Well, if I’m honest, it was her post and the fact that the weekend prior to reading it, I’d attended the wedding of a long time friend.  I’m 31. I’m single, and seem to always fall into the pattern of single, not single, single, continue on ad nauseum. The truth of the matter is that at 31 years old, I’m not entirely certain what it is that I want. Of course, I’d like to meet someone who meshes well with me and who would be a good partner, but do I ever really want to get married again? And kids? Do I want kids?

In theory, I think marriage is a good idea. The main idea is that you meet someone who is your equal, your partner and your friend and you marry them to pair up and forever be linked. But I’ve done the marriage thing once, and it didn’t work out so good for me. Granted, I think when I got married, I had a skewed view of what marriage was going to be like. Which was weird because I’d been living with the guy that I married and I come from a family with two parents who are still married and, I believe, have set a good example of what marriage is. Also, I married a lying bastard and so maybe I should open my mind to the possibility of pairing up with someone who doesn’t possess that character flaw.  The other aspect of marriage that makes me iffy is something that I’ve actually discussed with my dad. We as humans are still animals, and I think the concept of “forever” is tough for us to grasp. So, when we promise another person that we’ll be together forever, I think a lot of people don’t think about how hard being with someone until you die is actually going to be. Think about it: you go to bed with the same person every night and you wake up next to the same person every morning. That’s tough. That takes serious commitment.

When I allow myself to think about it, I struggle with the concept of having kids. I recently went away for a few days with one of my oldest friends and her little girl and it became evident that I simply don’t have the patience that having a child/children entails. Other reasons that parenthood might not be in the cards for me:

1)      I  value my sleep. And, if I don’t get enough of said sleep, I’m a real force to be reckoned with.

2)      I have a rather short fuse when it comes to smart mouthed kids. I’m afraid I’d beat a kid mercilessly if I was put in the position.

3)      I like to do what I want, when I want to do it. And I like being able to go where I want when the urge strikes. I like to do this unencumbered.

4)      The idea of being responsible for anyone other than my self and my dog scares the hell out of me.

5)      Kids are pretty gross. They pick their noses, spit out chewed food if they decided they don’t like it and are incapable of wiping their own bums for a good period of time.

6)      I’m afraid my child would be either over fed or under fed. How does one know exactly how much to feed one’s child? There are no directions on the side of the food bag for this.

7)      How does anyone ever know what size clothes their kid wears? My kid would perpetually wear ill-fitting clothes. Or trash bags.

8)      Kids are expensive. They always need something.

9)      I like peace and quiet and kids talk a lot. Like all the time. Kids are noisy, tiny little people who always can think of something to say.

10)   I like to use colorful language. I like to say the words fuck, shit and goddamnit a lot. Some people believe that you can’t say any of my favorite words around kids because they’ll instantly repeat them in the most unfortunate circumstances.

11)   Having a child requires having sex with someone who likes you. Or at least can tolerate you long enough to have sex with you. Or, if neither of those are an option, it requires having an expensive procedure. At this time, I don’t like anyone enough to have sex with them or have the money for said expensive procedure. This alone rules out having children.

 

Sure, sure, I know people say that when they have kids, things just come naturally. You’re able to magically know how much to feed them, what size clothes they wear and you develop this weird ability to totally tune out your noisy little gremlin while they mercilessly chatter away in the back seat on a long car drive. I’m told that somehow, some way, you’re able to afford said child once it arrives. I’m not really sure I actually believe any of this.

 

Now, with all of that said, I do actually turn into a pile of unrecognizable mush when I see a baby. I do love babies. I think I love them for a very few, select reasons:

1)      They’re usually cute/pretty tiny little people who wear clothes that make them cuter/prettier.

2)      They can’t talk back.

3)      As long as they don’t have a load in their pants or have recently vomited all over themselves, I usually like the way babies smell.

4)      When you hold someone else’s baby, you get to give it back.

Something in me says that if I ever meet “the right” guy, I’ll know whether or not I ever want to entertain the idea of marriage again, or the possibility of having children. But, the logical half of me says that I should have all of this figured out on my own before I meet anyone. Does everyone have this internal struggle on these issues, or is it just me? When someone asks me “Do you ever want to have kids?” or “Do you want to get married again?” should my response come from my gut; should it be an immediate, never hesitant, definitive yes or no? I’m not quite there yet, but I think with time and more thought, I’ll have a better idea of what exactly it is that I want when it comes to two of the biggest decisions of adulthood.

Completely Oblivious in Culpeper…or, Did That Really Just Happen?

Something happened to me yesterday that never happens to me. I mean never. I’ve heard of this happening, you know, to other people…but not to me. Ok, I take that back, it happened to me once in a grocery store when I was about twenty-one. I was hit on while running an errand.

Maybe I’m just oblivious. Maybe it happens and I just don’t recognize it happening. That’s exactly that happened yesterday.  I walked into the bank, which I never ever do. I always go through the drive-through or run to the ATM, but I’d gotten off work early and decided to run in really quickly and do what I needed to do, despite being dressed in workout clothes and coming straight from the gym. I stepped out of line to grab a deposit ticket and filled out the pertinent information and quickly stepped back in line. Who knew the bank would be hoppin’ at 3:30 on a Friday afternoon? I jumped back into line as I saw someone walk in and get ahead of me out the corner of my eye while I was filling in the deposit ticket.  So, there I am, standing there in tight workout clothes, and the guy in front of me turns around and asks me if our old ATM cards would work since the bank was recently bought out by a new company. So I’m standing there talking to him, as the line slowly moves forward and the guy starts telling me he’s divorced. Which at the time, I thought was odd, I thought Why is this stranger telling me he’s divorced? So, we’re standing there and he’s making small talk and we get up to the front of the line and he turns and looks at me and says, “So, do you have any plans for the weekend?” So I smile and say I’m not really sure what I’m doing, but that it’s supposed to be beautiful. And then, it’s his turn and he goes up to the front of the bank. So there I am, standing in line with a puzzled look on my face putting together the pieces of the puzzle: he told me he’s divorced and that he lives in town, he just asked me about my weekend…was I just hit on?

captainoblivious2

 

I finished my business at the bank, hopped in the car and immediately called one of my best friends at work. As soon as I told her that he told me he was divorced, Christina responds with, “You realize that was your opening, right?” It was? When it comes to men, am I completely retarded: I literally have no know-how.  Maybe, this doesn’t happen enough for me to realize when an opportunity presents itself? Or, do opportunities present themselves more often than I realize and I’m just too oblivious to realize it? I talked with my mom about it and, God love her, she looked at me and said, “Well, maybe he does that to everyone? Did he look simple?” Thanks, Ma. Am I alone in this? Or, is anyone else out there as oblivious as me? If this happens again, how can I know it’s happening so that I can respond appropriately?  Evidently I need a 101 course in human interaction.

Dieting at a Beer Festival…or, I Can’t Eat BBQ and I Want It

On Saturday, I picked up my honorary aunt, MaryMary and we went “over the mountain” (as folks ‘round here say) and headed to the 4th annual Rocktown Beer & Music Festival in Harrisonburg, VA. This year, they had 31 breweries/cideries and three bands, four local restaurants set up in tents, and, thank God, enough portapotties for everyone in attendance.

MaryMary and I left Culpeper around 1 o’clock on Saturday while threatening looking rain clouds (or as my Grandma “Bill” would call them, “weather clouds”) started to roll in. As we climbed the mountain, the sky got clearer and it looked as though we would escape the threat of rain. I was excited just to spend time with my kindred spirit and to be out in the sun. I was not, however, looking forward to the temptations that I knew awaited me when we arrived: bbq, burgers, and lots and lots of beer and cider. I was prepared though: that morning, I drank my powered chicken, er…protein smoothie, and had my lunch of stuffed pepper and noshed on almonds on my way over the mountain. I also prepped a protein shake and threw that in my purse along with carrots and hummus.

By the time we found parking and arrived at the end of a very long line of waiting ticket holders, I thought it best to try to choke down the protein shake. Much to my chagrin, the damned thing had leaked in my purse and was warm. Nothing better in life that a warm protein shake. I guzzled as much as I could stomach as MaryMary and I waited in line behind a ridiculously annoying group of early to mid twenty-somethings. I wouldn’t go back to that stage in life if you paid me. Aah, to be older…and kinda, somewhat, maybe a little wiser?

First TasteThe first vendor we hit was Bold Rock, out of Nelson County, Virginia; not my favorite cidery, but a decent replacement as I couldn’t find one of my most favorite brands, Crispin. If you’ve never had Crispin, you simply must. They make a delightfully refreshing, light and flavorful product in two varieties: apple & pear.

After MaryMary enjoyed a ridiculously good looking bbq sandwich from Clementine’s, we hit Devils Backbone (Roseland, Virginia); they offered a tasting of pear lager which was interesting and very dry and had light elements of pair in the finish. We were fortunate enough to meet up with MaryMary’s son, Jamie and his beautiful girlfriend Kate at the festival and they were able to lead us to the Crispin tasting spot and because he was part of organizing the event, got us samples without having to stand in line! Crispin2

Jamie has been a part of the beer world for years and before moving back to Harrisonburg, announced that he will be opening his own brewery with partners, Pale Fire Brewing Company . We were able to tour his new brewery space while at the festival, and though right now the space is lookin’ a little rough, Jamie has a vision and I’m sure that his hard work and perseverance will pay off and Pale Fire Brewing Company will be a big success.

While at the festival, I was able to catch a great band out of Connecticut, Bronze Radio Return. They’re touted as an American roots music band, but they sounded to me more like a crossover band with American roots music influences. Their band included a banjo, a harmonica, both sounds that I love.

Rocktown Beer & Music Festival

Beer festivals are an interesting thing: they bring out all walks of life. Hippies and CEOs; young & old; stupid and not so stupid; drunkards and connoisseurs. They merge drink and food and music, three of my favorite things. Perhaps at the next beer festival, I’ll be in a position where I can splurge and enjoy the drink and food a little more than I did this time around. But this time around, I went home knowing that I was sacrificing for a better body the next day. And that isn’t a small feat.

The Do It Or Die Plan…or I Really Miss Salt

Monday morning I awoke with the realization that I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough of making excuses, of continuing to watch the scale move upward, to continue doing things the way that I have been. I’ve had enough of settling for the me that I have been.  I’m lucky enough to have a fitness extraordinaire sister to whom I could reach out for help, and reach I did. What any trainer or fitness mogul worth their salt will tell is this: The gym is only a small percentage of weight loss. What happens in the kitchen is key. So, knowing my sister (she who shall go by the moniker FES for Fitness Extraordinaire Sister), I got in touch with her Monday morning as I was spooning yogurt and strawberries into my face and asked her for a meal plan. I knew I wasn’t going to like it. I knew it was probably going to make me hangry and yearn for taste: for salt, for chocolate, for alcohol, for sandwiches, for chips, for everything that I routinely put into my body. But, I reminded myself yet again: ENOUGH. Enough of doing things your way, Lex.

My sister put me on a meal plan for the week. It’s Wednesday and I can tell you that I miss salt with everything in my soul. Salt and coffee. As an avid coffee drinker, I generally start my day with a big ol’ mug o’ mud, with lots of milk or creamer and a tablespoon or two of sugar. No longer. Nope. These days, I begin my day with a protein smoothie. In my most recent trip to Houston, my sister lovingly prepared me a protein shake to gulp down one morning. My response to the taste of this was, simply put, “Feh!” I actually don’t mind the smoothies though. I use chocolate protein powder (or as I like to think of it, powdered chicken), a banana, a very scant amount of non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt and ice. Tuesday morning was the first morning I made this concoction and I must admit, it took me a while to choke it down. I’m not used to drinking my breakfast, so I think the combination of that and the flavor took some time to adapt to. But this morning? That smoothie was the best tasting damn thing I put in my body since yesterday morning!

Snacks and the other two meals of the day aren’t my favorites, but they’ll suffice for this week. My mantra is ‘I can do anything for a week’. There is one recipe my FES gave me that is absolutely aaahmazing, though. Quinoa & turkey stuffed peppers: simple, good for you, and since I made them over the weekend, super easy to heat for a good, filling lunch. Now, dinner is another story. I love vegetables. Or rather, I love vegetables with salt. Dinner consists of veggies sautéed in coconut oil – no salt, damnit – and 4 ounces of a protein. Also, no salt. As anyone who has ever used Mrs. Dash will tell you, this is no substituted for salt. But, it’ll do. For now.

My FES also told me that running in my current state is not a good idea. Short bursts of jogging are alright, but no running for any kind of distance. This advice kind of made me laugh, because I can’t run for any kind of distance. But, I digress. I’ve been instructed to do some kind of cardio for 30 minutes a day. If it’s walking outside with short little bursts of jogging interspersed or walking on the treadmill with intervals on an incline, or using the elliptical at the gym – do it: 30 minutes and leave. Even I can follow those instructions; I mean, 30 minutes? I can make room for 30 minutes of moving five days a week.

I’m midway through the week and so far I’m down almost three pounds from Monday! I’ll take weight loss over salt any day. Doing things another person’s way is always a challenge. It makes you change your way of thinking and reassess the current situation and biggest of all, it means admitting to yourself that your way isn’t necessarily the best way. That one is tough for me, and always has been. But, seeing results this quickly has motivated me to continue on with a positive outlook and hopes for change and results a lot faster than I could garner if I were still doing things my way. I think I’ll stick with my FES’s plan, or what I call it: the Do It or Die Plan. My sister is one tough cookie and I know if I slack off on this plan, I’ll have to answer to her, and to myself. So, I’ll continue on doing what I’m supposed to do and see what the end of the week brings. Here is to new beginnings, change, and the Do It or Die Plan.

Going Blonde and Hating It …or When You Look Good, You Feel Good

After years of thinking about making the huge leap from my natural very dark brown hair to blonde, finally did it last weekend. I made the leap across the chasm and ended up none too thrilled. I did it on a whim. I made an appointment to get a haircut and walked out of the salon four hours later… Yes. Four hours. Three bleachings and four hours later, I left with a buttery yellow shade of hair. I remember looking in the mirror after it was done and thought, “huh. So this is it?” And then I started talking myself into liking the hair experiment.

This wasn’t exactly my first foray into jumping the chasm of scary shades between super dark brown and blonde. I tried going blonde during my early twenties, but it wasn’t a completely successful attempt. I ended up walking around with strawberry blonde hair that I walked around with for ages. No one in my family liked the color and looking back, I can attest that that shade did not look spectacular on my olive toned complexion. But, at the time I liked it. I think I was in such a haze of pot smoke at the time that I was so relaxed all the time I simply didn’t care.

This time around though? I cared. As I said, I upon first glance into the mirror when it was finally finished looked in the mirror and felt like I was obligated to like it. After all, I was spending over one hundred dollars on this and I’d just invested four hours. So, I decided that I liked it. And, I think I kind of did. Maybe. Until I got home and happened to be in the room when two of my sisters were face timing. Is that how you make Face Time a verb? My sister flashed the phone at me and my third sister says to me, “At first glance, you look like Slim Shady.” And then? She laughed. After that, all I could see was Eminem when I looked into the mirror. That’s how yellow my hair was. Butter yellow.

And then Monday rolled around and I had to go to work. My drastic change drew several gasps from my coworkers. And the second Eminem reference from my boss. That’s when I decided. It was official. I hated this yellow mop on top of my head. After several phone calls, I finally had an appointment with a hair dresser who I was confident could rectify this hair disaster. Two hours after I walked into the salon, I walked out with hair that is my natural color. I was elated. I felt like me again.

mid-fix

mid-fix

It amazes me how good I feel about myself now that I’m back to my brunette self. My eyes look brighter, my skin looks better and my hair most definitely looks better. I don’t think men really get how our silly beautification practices make us feel better about ourselves. When you look good, you feel good. Am I right ladies?

Journey to Texas…or Ponderings of Moving

It’s been a few days since I returned from Spring, Texas where I visited with my sister, and I miss both my sister and the place already (though it is wonderful being back in my own bed).  There’s something about traveling to different places that makes me wonder why I’m still in the small town in which I grew up. It makes me wonder where I “should” be…or rather where I belong, where I fit.

Spring is a fairly large suburb of Houston with countless nail salons, tanning salons and fast food restaurants; it also has the novelty of summer-like weather for extended months in comparison with Virginia.  It also has the novelty of housing my sister, the one with whom I am closest in age and heart.  Maybe that’s why I have a soft spot for that bustling outlying area of East Texas.  Indeed, in 2011 (when last I visited my sister, or as I refer to her “thithta”…just say the word sister with a minor speech impediment) I was gung-ho to move there; and my sister being my sister said she’d support it if I did, but that starting a new life in a place where you don’t know anyone is hard. Very hard. She uttered the same sentiments during my visit this time around.  The difference is, I would know her and a couple of her friends who she has had the pleasure of knowing for the past three years.

I think the time has come in life to figure out what I want to do.  And, evidently, so do a few of my co-workers who honestly love me dearly; just yesterday, I was invited to lunch but politely declined as I’ve decided to start my Weight Watchers venture again (God, help me)  and upon their return, one of them mentioned that she believes it is time for me to do what I want to do and be where I want to be, because as she put it to me, “you have the whole world in front of you and no strings holding you here.” That lady has a point.

But, therein lies the question: Where do I want to be? Truth be told, I have no idea. I know that I’d like to be somewhere out west. I don’t know why that is other than for years, I’ve had an affinity with the west. Maybe it has something to do with a past-life reading I once had (evidently, I used to live out west).  But see, there is a problem: I know that the prospect of being far away from my family scares the living shit out of me. I’m a worrier; it’s what I do.  I’m afraid that the second I move, something will happen: one of my parents will get sick or hurt. I don’t know why I think that, but I do.  Who then will be there to help when help is needed? Maybe that’s a strange worry to have…maybe I should just realize that wherever I may go, I’m only a drive or a flight away. Maybe the problem is that I am so reliant upon my folks because they’ve been there for me when things got really, really shitty that the thought of not being able to be right there for them if they need me is truly the basis of the problem.

Here is a list of places I’ve thought of moving to throughout the past couple of years:

  • Spring, Texas
  • Colorado Springs
  • Denver
  • Charlottesville, VA
  • Austin, Texas (just because “Keep Austin Weird” is their motto)
  • Arizona (nowhere specifically, I just think the dry climate would be good for me)
  • Spring, Texas

I think my other problem is my fear of leaping, of making a big change, because in the event that I do make a big change, I have the very real probability of failing. So many things dictate the thing that we do in everyday life and I’ll admit that fear has been a big dictator throughout my existence.

What am I fearful of failing at, specifically? Well, I shall make you another handy list:

  • Not being able to get work
  • Hating said new job
  • Being lonely
  • Deciding that I actually hate the place where I choose to move
  • Something major happening with one or both of my parents

Obviously, the above fears will need to be a hurdle that I jump in order to move forward with my life.  Who knows, maybe admitting to my hang-ups and writing all of this out has been therapeutic and will actually aid in my quest to move forward.  With that said, anyone have ideas for the place I should move?

these are my options

these are my options

Ode to The 24 Most Underrated Parts of Being Single…or I’m Awesome, Who Cares?

Every once in a while, there comes along an article that makes you realize just how good you’ve got it. I stumbled upon this gem The 24 Most Underrated Parts of Being Single a few days ago and it got me to thinking how good singledom really is.
Sure, sure, we all want companionship: someone to love and be loved by us and to share life with. But I have friends who I love and who I share my life with. And really, I’ve been in the dating pool recently and it’s pretty damn shallow; most men I meet are either married liars or can’t meet the basic requirements of holding a valid driver’s license or keeping a job long term. So, rather than mope and cry into my libation, I’m choosing to reread this article numerous times and to rejoice in my freedom.  The article hits some fantastic high points. Some of them were simply so good that they were inspiration for this post and I had to point out my favorites to those lonely nay sayers to prove just how good we’ve got it:
1) You can eat whatever the fuck you want.
How true is this!? If I want to sit down on a Friday night with a bottle of wine or champagne and gorge myself by eating an entire pizza, I can do that and hate myself in the morning. I don’t have to share and I don’t have to be judged. This is called freedom. It’s also called the beginnings of obesity.

6) You can wear embarrassing pajamas all day like a boss.
I’m a huge fan of this one. If I want to walk around the house in my torn-to-hell Rolling Stones t-shirt from 1998 and plaid pajama pants that are ripped at the inseam (to allow maximum ventilation), I can do it. Sure, I look like a total hobo, but that’s the point…I don’t need to look cute for anyone, so looking like a hobo is ok. As long as I don’t leave the house looking like that.

8) No one will judge you for dancing like a moron.
We all do it. We all shake what our mommas gave us and look like mentally challenged patients with absolutely no skills. But here’s the thing: there is no pretense when you’re single. You don’t have to worry about doing this and being labeled the aforementioned mentally challenged patient with zero skills. You can shake it, shake it, just don’t break it…alone or with friends who have the same skill level you do for dancing.

dance

 

 

 

 

 

9) You don’t have to share a bed with some jerk to who hogs the sheets.
I love sleeping alone. I get to take up the entire bed and wrap the blankets entirely around myself. Sleeping alone is the tops: you don’t have to be kept awake by someone else’s weird sleeping habits or snoring.

 

10) You can move at a moment’s notice without fear of any consequences.
I really like the fact that if I choose to move, whether it’s to a town an hour from where I currently am or to another state, it affects no one but me. Throw another person into the mix and things get messy.

 

11) You never have to worry about getting into fights about stupid shit that doesn’t mean anything.
I think we’ve all had those fights. Enough said.

No. Stupid. Fights.

 

14) You don’t have to worry about normal grooming. At.All.
I think one of the biggest pains in the ass about being female is shaving one’s legs. Some people get really obsessive over it and can’t go a day without doing it. Me? I could go all winter and be totally ok with my legs resembling what I imagine Grizzly Adams’ looked like.

15) You can watch whatever the hell you want.
That’s right: no one is there to insult me for watching shows like Ghost Adventures and being all googly-eyed over the muscled and dumb Zac Bagans. I can also watch my favorite movie, Bridget Jones’s Diary without criticism or anything on Lifetime, for that matter.
18) Hideous underpants can be worn freely, because you don’t care who sees your junk.
Yep. If I so choose to wear the huge underpants that are actually marketed to the women significantly older than me, I can without (much) shame because no one is seeing those suckers but me.

hideous underpants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

20) You can fart and burp without shame because there is no one to judge you.
I think this one is pretty self explanatory. You wouldn’t believe the sounds that come out of women when they’re hanging out with other women that they’ve known for well over a decade. We’d never do that stuff in front of anyone else.

These were my favorites that made me smile a few days ago when I most needed it. They reminded me that while I may not have exactly the kind of relationship that I want, for right now, these little freedoms make this time enjoyable. If you’re single, think about the things that bring you the most joy, and those things that you probably couldn’t do if you were otherwise engaged. I promise that it’ll help you turn that frown upside down when you’re feeling like you’ll never meet someone that not only has a pulse but is well-groomed, has similar interests and that you can actually hold a conversation with.

who cares I'm awesome