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Vegan for a weekend, it feels good to laugh & the stupid things that used to matter.

23 Aug

The weekend brought two of my favorite friends from high school to Richmond.

One of my most favorite parts of getting together with old friends, especially old high school friends who knew me at my most ridiculous, is the part where we sit down, drink too much wine, and laugh at ourselves. Everything in high school felt like a matter of life and death. Relationships, strange breezes, grades, car rides. Every little thing was a GREAT BIG THING back then. I was latched on tight to a silly, immature boy, spent a lot of time writing really awful poetry and cried more than I smiled. It was ridiculous.

I realize now, with some distance between then-me and now-me that it was all true. Everything any one said about being a teenager was true. It does get better. It’s not the end of the world. You really don’t know anything. You really do have a lot to learn. He’s a douche. You can do better. Fact. All of it.

I still sweat more of the small stuff than I should. I think it’s just how I’m wired. I worry. It’s my thing. But I realize now that the world is much, much bigger than I ever could have imagined. There are more important things than elected positions in Drama Club and boys with bad hair who smell like feet.

Saturday we broke out the yearbooks. It hasn’t even been a decade yet, but already our yearbook pictures look like silly versions of ourselves. There were so many things, so many moments worth laughing about now. I laughed so hard my abs hurt, my throat closed up, and tears sprang from my eyes.

Before my friends arrived, back when I made my to-do list of the month, I made the decision to go vegan for the weekend they were here. I’ve talked about contemplating vegetarianism about 1,000 times already and while going vegan isn’t really an option for me, I figured going vegan for the weekend my two vegan friends are in town wouldn’t be too much of stretch.

It was…different. We had vegetable kebabs, garlic fries and a grain salad Friday night for dinner that was right in line with food we normally eat. Saturday morning my friend cooked vegan “sausage and eggs” that tasted surprising good even if the texture was a bit off. Dinner Saturday we had tofu-dogs on the grill, corn on the cob and salad.  I was unimpressed with the tofu-dogs. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what I didn’t like about them though. Sunday morning we brunch at Strange Matter where I ate some absolutely delicious vegan french toast. My friend had vegan biscuits and gravy that was killer delicious. I was impressed.

You know it was good night when you wake up to a dining room table that looks like this:

Yes, that’s a board game, a bottle of vodka, a few empty beer bottles, 4 empty bottles of wine and a vegan chocolate cake.


Things I’m missing that start with “f”: part of my foot & a good chunk of my feminity

28 Jul

Most days, I’m in my uniform, rocking out Army style with combat boots and that fucking wool hat that makes walking around in downtown Richmond in the 104 degree heat just a little bit better than climbing into an oven and taking a nap. Yesterday though, I got to play dress up. Instead of the boots and the long-sleeved uniform, that asshole of a hat and my hair twisted up in a bun, I donned a skirt, curled my hair and put on my highest pair of black heels.

It was a nice change. I hated having to dress up and wear heels every day at my last job, but now, getting to play dress up every now and then is kind of fun. I figured I’d rock the heels for an hour and two, finish up some other work tasks and get on with my bad self. And that would have been fine, except that instead of having to stand on heels for an hour or two, I ended up wasting my day away standing on gravel doing absolutely nothing for about 2 and half hours. And then, a part of my foot fell off.

See, I really want to be the kind of girl who can wear heels. There’s this tiny part of me, in between the bat-whispering, combat boot-wearing, medicine cabinet-installing me, that wants to be a girly girl. Maybe it’s Barbie’s fault. Maybe it’s society telling me I need to be more feminine and stop doing so much man shit, or maybe that’s all bullshit. Either way, there’s this little part of me, this tiny little smidge, that wants to wear heels and get manicures and pedicures and regular haircuts and accessorize better and have unchipped toenail polish and who knows how to put on eyeliner and blush. But dude – I’m not that girl. I’m really, really not.

I clomped around in heels for five hours yesterday. Two hours in, my feet were bruised because it was hot and they were swelling and there was fucking gravel everywhere and I kept falling all over the place because me and balance don’t get along very well and gravity is one swift bitch who takes me down at any chance she gets. And then, the blisters came and by the time I got in the car, I was ready to swear off all girly shit ever.

Gender roles are tricky little bitches, I guess.

As I walked barefoot into my house, heels in hand, I realized this is yet another lesson in balance. Everything always seems to come back to balance and I’m constantly trying to learn how to balance who I am with who I want to be and figuring out who I can’t be. I’m not a girly girl. I might want to be, but it just doesn’t work.

The moment we got home, I changed into my favorite pair of tattered jeans and a t-shirt. That’s just who I am. I’m a flip-flop kind of girl. I like my feet intact and I’m totally unwilling to trade parts of my foot for anything. Sure, I won’t leave the house without a hefty coating of mascara, and I love wearing my pearls with crap jeans and a simple t-shirt, and the occasional dress-up session is fine, so long as it doesn’t involve standing on gravel and has a cap of about two hours, but that’s about were it ends. I’m kind of a dude, minus the penis, and that’s okay.

The ex-best friend dilemma resolved, a pirate & that time we chased a bat around the house.

26 Jul

First, thank you to all of you who shared your thoughts on my ex-best friend facebook dilemma. I thought about it for a few days and came to the conclusion that stressing out over it really isn’t worth my time. Obviously the friendship we had when we 16 or 21 or 23 isn’t going to suddenly reemerge. Things aren’t going to go back to the way they were. Sending her a friend request or a message isn’t going to make things all better and ultimately, I’d hate to set myself up for more heartache. What’s done is done and maybe some things are better left in the past.

So – I’m doing nothing. For now. Having the ability to stalk, knowing her life seems to be going just fine, is perfectly priceless. Maybe something will change, maybe curiosity will get the best of me, but for now I’m taking the “if she were meant to be in my life she would be” stance.

Sunday was a weird day. Andrew spotted and pointed out a pirate at a random Exxon station on Broad Street. I kept telling Andrew it was a statue, but no, it was real, moving, living pirate. He was rocking a pirate beard, a blue and white stripped pirate shirt and a big ‘ole red bandanna.

Then, last night, as we’re watching Big Brother 12 in the living room, a fucking bat flies in from the chimney and starts flying around in circles.  We corralled the dogs in the basement, determined that the bat would just fly out if we opened the front door. Except for then the bat flew up the stairs and started circling in my office.

Andrew put on his bat hunter outfit, complete with leather jacket, scarf, goggles and mismatched gloves pulled hastily from the coat closet. He swatted at the bat with the broom a few times and we opened the upstairs balcony door but the bat refused to go anywhere near an escape route. All the bat wanted to do was roost.

Somewhere in the middle of all this I yelled out, “STOP! I’ve got to get my camera!!” because clearly, when there’s a fucking bat flying around my upstairs terrorizing my husband, the best thing to do is pause everything and run to get my camera. Clearly.

So there we all were, Andrew and I covered in random articles of clothing, yelling at the bat to go outside and the bat totally ignoring us and roosting on our air vent (yes, it is very dirty – I swear to heaven and hell we clean – things have just gotten much furrier since we got our second dog, so STFU) . I’d managed to sneak into my office while the bat was flying around in our upstairs hallway and open both the windows in there but the bat was still refusing to go anywhere that was not directly over our heads.

At this point, I started to feel sad for the bat. I was trying to Cesar Milan it into submission before it hurt it’s little bat self. I was so afraid it was going to have a heart attack and die in mid air and land on one of us and then we’d die from some horrible, probably made-up disease you get from dead bats. And really, if we’d killed it, I never would have forgiven myself because I’m just sort of crazy like that. Andrew says the bat was trespassing, but really, it was probably just trying to get cozy in the chimney when it ended up in our living room chased by two dogs.

Finally, the bat flew back into my office. I shut the door. And then, because bravery and terror make you do stupid things sometimes, I went into the room with the freaked out, slightly spastic, flying around in circles bat. I swatted at it but nothing was happening. I snuck back out, yelled for Andrew, who was on the phone with the police asking for guidance or help or something and told him I was going to do something very brave. He was on the phone though, so he totally ignored me as I yelled and bellowed and giggled.

When Andrew came upstairs I told him, again, that I was going to do a very brave thing. I was going to pick up the bat, and throw it out the damn window. Because I’d had enough of this shit and the bat was sitting, all polite like, on my bookcase, in a perfect position for capture.

I grabbed a hoodie from the closet, threw a jacket over my head to protect my ears and facial features from bat attack, snuck up on a chair, grabbed the bat with the hoodie, and threw the bat and my hoodie out the window.

Meanwhile, Andrew was on the floor, holding the broom up in the air yelling at me to “SHUT THE FUCKING WINDOW! SHUT THE FUCKING WINDOW!!! IT’S GONNA GET BACK IN!! LEAVE THE SWEATER – DROP THE DAMN SWEATER – WE CAN GET THE SWEATER TOMORROW!!”

Andrew would like everyone to know that it was very scary and that he almost got murdered because the bat almost flew and hit him in the head five times. And that he’s now Team Jacob, for sure.

Getting it back

19 Jul

Two things happened recently:

1. The weight of everything got to me and I locked myself in the bathroom and cried for an hour.

2. Andrew and I had a serious talk (through the locked bathroom door) about the lacking romantical-ness in our relationship and what I realize is the completely and entirely nonsensical argument of mine that he never plans anything and then, when I yell him to plan something and he does, it’s still not enough because it’s like I planned it anyway because I am, clearly, a crazy person.

So last weekend, after I stopped crying about EVERYTHING IN THE WORLD THAT SUCKS (boo-fucking-hoo), which, admittedly it not something I do, except for maybe once or twice a year when the floodgates burst and I cry until I can’t anymore, Andrew and I went to dinner. A nice dinner. With delicious stuffed mushrooms and a fabulous bottle of wine and a sinfully delightful dessert. And we talked about all sorts of things and I think we came to a few realizations.

1. Being around each other all day is not the same as spending quality time together.

2. Crashing onto the couch and zoning out does not count as quality time together.

3. We need to start keeping more lists of all the things we want to do together.

Richmond’s a neat city, with lots of very Richmond things to experience. We talk about going and doing things in and around our city all the damn time, but we never make any plans. Ideas get filed away in the back of our minds and we end up wasting another weekend on the couch or on the internet or just trying to catch our breath from a busy work week.

This past weekend though, things were different. Instead of saying we should do something someday in the eventual future, we made plans. What a novel fucking concept, right?

We’d talked forever about having some friends over, and finally, we did. I made dinner. Caprese salad on a stick, beer can chicken, grilled (back-yard garden-grown) vegetables, garlic fries, and strawberry shortcake for dessert. Simple. Perfect.

Saturday we lounged. We took glorious naps, caught up on our Netflix movies and I finally took Andrew to see a movie at the Byrd Theater.  It’s this amazing old movie theater in one of the cutest parts of my city. Andrew had never been and we’d talked about going since we first moved back to Richmond two and half years ago.

The movie, Date Night with Tina Fey and Steve Carell, was absolutely hilarious and the ambiance was pretty nice too.

Sunday, we brunched. Somehow, after everyone moved out of the old apartment, we got out of the habit of brunching. Thing is, I love brunch and declared, on Friday, that we needed to bring brunching back into our lives.

After stuffing our faces with eggs and sausage and french toast and mimosas, we hit the recently reopened Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, another place we’d been meaning to visit.

Sunday afternoon, we napped, again. Because we could.

Monday still feels like a bitch, but I’m happier knowing we didn’t waste the weekend. We’ve lulled ourselves into a bit of a lazy habit of not doing anything special to celebrate this thing we’ve got going on and that shit needs to change. Sure, we go on great vacations every once in a while and celebrate birthdays, but we need to work on making every day special and perfect and better.

Seattle: Possibly inhabited by zombies, fabulously photogenic & some quirk for good measure

12 Jul

After our Alaskan cruise, we hung around Seattle for a few days. We’d both wanted to visit for as long as we could remember.

Seattle wasn’t what I expected, really. It’s only the 2nd West Coast city I’ve visited and I was hoping it would feel similar to San Francisco, but it didn’t. It was a decidedly neat place, but the energy of Seattle felt strange to me. I went expecting to love it, and while I really liked a lot of Seattle, I didn’t love it. People seemed a bit zombie-esque to me, and I felt unsafe there, which is weird since I’m from one of the most dangerous cities in America. That said, I love how Earth-conscious the entire West Coast seems to be. It’s a nice change to see recycling bins and bike paths and healthy food options all over the place.

After a slightly delayed disembarkation from our cruise ship, we hailed a cab (with the best cab driver ever who seemed dedicated and in love with his city) and headed to our hotel, Hotel Max. It was early yet and our room wasn’t ready (and we didn’t expect it to be) so we checked our bags, grabbed a map and headed out.

When we explore cities, we like to explore on foot. It gives us a chance to feel more and see more of the city and allows me endless opportunities to stop and take a thousand or so photographs.

On our 1st day we…

. Visited the Seattle Aquarium where we saw seals and sea otters and river otters and a crazy big octopus and touched all sorts of neat critters in the massive touch pool and yelled at the river otters for sleeping through my visit.

. Hit Pike Place Market, where we marveled at the massive crowds, piles of fresh seafood and beautiful flowers. It was a lot for two slightly crowd-phobic crazies to take in, but it was amazing. All the hustle and bustle and rushed feeling of the place was exactly as I had imagined it would be.

. Ate dinner at Serious Pie. The food was neat and the atmosphere was cozy. It felt like a popular place to be and was close enough to our hotel that we didn’t get soaked by the evening rainfall that hit just before we set out.

. Felt like the Earth was moving. After 7 days on and off a cruise ship it took us entirely too much time to get used to being on land again.

Day 2 felt very Seattle-y. Most of things we saw fit nicely with all the iconic images of Seattle I’ve seen over the years.

On our 2nd Day we…

. Walked down to Pike Place Market for breakfast. We got bagel sandwiches (from Market Bagel) and coffee & hot cocoa from Seattle’s Best.

. Walked to the Seattle Center, home to the Space Needle and all sorts of neat and fascinating things. The Space Needle was very, very cool to see and gave me all sorts of thrills. We’d caught little glimpses of it walking around the city but seeing it up close and personal was 10 times better.

. Visited the  Experience Music Project|Science Fiction Museum which I HIGHLY recommend for anyone planning a trip to Seattle. It was full of amazing tidbits about Seattle’s music history and you can go in a sound booth and play music and sing songs and there’s this GIANT guitar sculpture thing in the lobby and really it’s probably just the most amazing museum I’ve ever visited.

. Saw Shrek Forever After at the IMAX at Seattle Center in 3-D. We saw one of the Shrek movies in Kosovo way back in the beginning of our romantical phase and sitting in the theater next to Andrew laughing at Shrek’s antics again brought back all sorts of warm and fuzzy memories.

. Became a little more convinced that Seattle in full of zombies.

. Checked out some massive and very cool sculptures in Olympic Park, walked along the water and then back to our hotel by way of the waterfront.

. Had dinner at the Pink Door. It was Italian-American and totally delicious and beautiful and dark and cozy and full of beautiful chandeliers. I highly recommend it.

The last day might have been our best day. We spent it in the Pioneer Square section of the city. It’s the oldest bit and felt different from the other parts we’d visited. Oddly, it seemed more young, and much less zombie-fied.

On our 3rd Day we…

. Went on Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour. If you like history and bad jokes, and don’t mind the smell of musty basement, this is absolutely one of the most fascinating things to do in Seattle.

. Lunched at Salumi, a cured meat place owned by Iron Chef Mario Batali’s father. We had the meat and cheese plate and gorged ourselves on delicious salami and olives and bread and assorted cheeses. It was heavenly.

. Took a very old, and original, Otis elevator up to the 35th floor of Smith Tower. There’s a 365 degree observation deck up there and we could see damn near everything. While I’m sure riding to the top of Space Needle is neat, the great thing about Smith Tower is that we could see the Space Needle from up there and it cost just $5 per person instead of the $15+ the Space Needle charges.

. Spent the afternoon wandering around, drinking espresso, and enjoying our very last day of vacation.

. Saw the Detroit Tigers play the Seattle Mariners at Safeco Field. While we were waiting for the game to start my eyes started burning. I was freaking out thinking I was allergic to something in the air. Then, we went to get beer and I realized that garlic fries are the thing to get at Safeco. And all the garlic in the air? It was making me cry. After eating some of the fries though, I seemed to develop a tolerance to the garlic-filled air and stopped my crying.

All in all? It was amazing. Even if I didn’t immediately decide I wanted to move there like I did upon first setting foot in San Francisco, it was still a very cool, very different sort of city.