On Boston and not losing faith.

There were horrible, horrible things that happened in Boston this week. You knew that already. You saw the reports and the photos so awful that they are burned into your brain. You know.

Also this week was the anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, 18 years ago.  I bet if you are old enough to remember, you do remember.

I dont want to talk about those things. We know what, we know who, and we know how at this point. We dont know why, but as far as I am concerned, there is no explanation possible that will make us collectively sit back, breathe a sigh of relief, and say, “wellllllll, okay then, BomberGuy or other BomberGuy, I was concerned that you didn’t have a good enough reason, but now that you’ve explained, it’s all good.”

In the face of that kind of wrong, its easy to look at the actions of these men and figure the world is going to hell in a shrapnel filled handbasket.

I dont beg for anything, but I beg of you now: don’t think that. Not ever.

Don’t resign yourself to seeing only the bad. Don’t feel that humanity as a whole is terrible.  It’s just not true.

In the wake of the events in Boston, and OKC, and every other horrible situation, the actions and kindnesses of millions say far more about us as people than the violence of a few. We, as people, are riddled with empathy. We commit senseless acts of compassion all the time. We help, because that’s just who we are and that’s just what we do.

Believe it.

Now, darlings, get out there and act. The world needs your kindness, just as it always has.

I like jigglypuff, I just dont want to BE jigglypuff.

You know how, in Game of Thrones, everyone’s all “brace yourselves, winter is coming”, and then they gaze with steely eyes off screen, probably looking at a direwolf or a beheading or something? If you watch GoT, you know. If you don’t,  please just smile and nod politely because thats exactly what happens.

For a chunkybutt, “winter is coming” is nothing to be steely eyed about. Its full of cozy nights, and oversized sweaters, covered in a crocheted blanket and a yawning cat, reading some classic tome of forbidden love and the tragedy that invariably follows. “Winter is coming” is the most looked-forward-to phrase of the year.

And it is coming. But you know whats coming first? Summer. Stupid dingus summer, filled with form fitting clothes and bathing suits and outdoor activities that are performed while wearing the aforementioned clothing. Meh.

Ive really needed to stop being such a jigglypuff for awhile, but so much of the exercising realm seems plain unfun and chore-y, and I always seem to find something better to do, like drinking beer on my patio…for example.

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Running makes me sad. See?

Its not that my body isn’t able. I absolutely have no physical reason to get myself out the door. Its all a product of my scumbag brain being scumbaggy, so ive attempted to change it into a nice, helpful brain.

One of my goals is to be able to run a few miles, or more than a few miles, so I looked online to find ways to squash the mental mutiny. The couch to five k program seemed to be successful for a lot of people, so I gave it a go.

I hated it like Sir MixALot hates flat butts.

It was all so tedious and the timing thing didnt work for me at all. I understand the idea behind it, but by the time I figured out how to actually move in rhythm and not just flail horizontally down the street, it was time to stop running and start walking. Gah. Frustration.

In a last ditch effort to not hate running, I decided to talk to my friend La Nuge about it. Shes an experienced runner and a hell of a nice lady. For the record, she is not The Nuge. You can tell them apart by her lack of hit songs from the 70s, and the fact that she doesnt view loincloths as appropriate goin-out clothes.

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This is totally not La Nuge.

She was as awesome as I have come to expect from her, and she basically told me to scrap that whole running for time and distance thing. After the necessary advice to get good shoes and make sure I listened to my body she dropped this knowledge bomb on me:

Run for experience. Run and watch the sun rise. Run in the rain. Run on trails. Run and spy on get to know your neighbors. Run and check out whats going on in everyone’s garden. Run for the sake of running, not for the sake of some numbers that I couldn’t care less about.

Maybe this was incredibly obvious to everyone but me, and that’s why I had never heard it before. Maybe this is like finding advice on how to breathe. But honestly, I had never, ever thought about running as something that could be enjoyed and not simply endured.

Guess what? This applies to literally every other exercise-y thing too. I can do it, and I can actually like it. It can *gasp* be fun.

Thanks, La Nuge. This jigglypuff could have done it without you, but she wouldn’t have.

Summer is coming, and I am ready.

And thats when my dogs learned a valuable life lesson

Johnny Rotten made me a snack today, because I was working really hard in the yard, and he was taking more naps than hobbits have breakfasts. It was actually more of a peace offering than anything, I guess, but stil, snacks are snacks.

It had a bunch of deliciousness on it. Crackers, a few kinds of sausage, a few kinds of cheese, and pickles. It was really good, and it squashed any dissent I had over his version of nap-elevenses.

The ladymutts were begging so hard while I was eating. There was straight eyeballing, which didnt work for them, because hey, I dont care, they napped as hard as Johnny Rotten did.

Then there was the moving closer. Had there been a fire, perhaps even a disco inferno which can totally break out any time, because burn baby burn, I would have been trapped by the dogs and their starey eyes. Still I didnt give in.

Then. Then! Then there was soft whining in addition to the physical crushing and puppy eyes, just in case I didnt notice that hey, maybe they wanted to share my snacks.

Im not a complete hard ass, y’all. I finally gave in. I reached onto my snack plate. My hand hovered over the delicious cheese and the tantalizing sausage. Which should I give these poor dogs? They are so good and so nice.

Only, they arent. They snored and farted while I worked hard.

So, I gave them a pickle each. And, while they glared at me, I chortled and yelled, “Beggars cant be choosers!”

So now, my dogs hate me  even though they learned a valuable lesson. And now, my neighbors hate me too, because I do weird crap like yelling idioms and cliches even though they are true at my dogs at the top of my lungs.

So ungrateful. All of them. Pickles for everyone next time.

One more time.

I’ve had the worst luck over the past several years with my garden. In 2005, we were living in military housing in New Orleans. I put a ton of work into my little garden. It wasn’t huge, and I was very inexperienced, but dudes? I loved that little patch of flowers and herbs, and even won an award for it in July of that year.

Then, Hurricane Katrina hit, and ripped all my carefully tended plants to shreds. We moved to Oklahoma, which has a completely different climate. I tried to throw a few things in, but everything croaked. Who knew that plants that thrived in the humidity of New Orleans would find the hot, dry winds of Oklahoma inhospitable? Me. I didn’t know. It was a semi-tropical plant genocide.

Then, I hurt my shoulder quite badly and required surgery. The healing process was long and painful. I could barely get my arm up to brush my own hair, so digging was completely out of the question. I spent that time researching though, so I wouldnt murder any more innocent bedding plants. Yep, for months, I stared out the window, sighing like a 14 year old reading Sylvia Plath, wishing I could actually go out and get dirty. It was not to be, and there went plans for that year’s garden.

I finally figured out what would be good here. I finally had the use of both arms. All systems were go. I ripped up a ton of sod crabgrass, and poured my heart and a good deal of cow manure into the garden. It was good the first year, but I had planted a bunch of perennials that would really only come into their own with time.

Then, we got evicted. For the record, it was nothing we did. As MadameX, star of the fried bull ball story, partner in patio beer drinking and former neighbor can tell you, we were quiet and mostly cool to live near. Anyways, we had been paying our landlord rent, but he hadn’t been paying his mortgage, and long story short, the house was repossessed by the bank.

We moved to a new house a few blocks down, and once again, it was too late to start anything. I decided to wait, again. It was only 8 or so months until I could start digging again, so I figured I could put up with it.

Then, I was running around with the dog in the backyard, about a month before the ground started to warm up enough to be worked. Shes a herding breed, and apparently she decided I was being a rowdy cow who needed correction. She did her herd-y correcting thing, clipped me and blew out my knee. No joke or exaggeration, she caused the unhappy triad (seriously, thats a real thing. Look it up and wince) of knee problems. Surgery was required. My career in the NFL was not going to be, and sadly, neither was my garden that year.

So. This year. I am not hurt, I am not going to be evicted, and I am pretty sure that hurricanes are rare in landlocked states. I started a flat of seeds, which sprouted beautifully, then ended up pushed onto the floor by a jerkface cat. I might have cried, but its only one flat. I could redo it.

I started more seeds–six flats of them. They also sprouted beautifully. Johnny Rotten bought me a cold frame greenhouse thingie, and I put all the little green babies in there to protect them from the stupid a-hole cat. Wouldn’t you know, a freak windstorm happened a week later, which ripped the cold frame to pieces, and blew all of my sprouts over my yard and the yards of everyone a mile downwind. I definitely cried. For real, y’all. Johnny Rotten checked on how bad it was, cameback in, and his face said it all. He didn’t even have to say anything, and I started sobbing. I know, I know. They’re just garden variety tomatoes, pardon the pun. But I was so excited about them, and I was heartbroken when it looked like all of my hard work was for nothing again.

He asked if I wanted to try to replace them. I said no, and my bottom lip quivered. He urged me to try one more time. I pouted and sighed like the drama llama I am. He told me how happy he is when he sees how happy I am when I’m outside, hauling bags of mulch, pulling weeds or breaking hard ground with a mattock. Fine, if it made him so happy, Id try one more time.

I only agreed to get him off my back. He’s tenacious, and I knew he wouldnt let it go. I harrumped, sighed and grumped my way to the local diy store to pick out more plants and seeds, like a gardening Eeyore with a massive chip on his shoulder. But, you guys? Look!

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Confederate jasmine, tiger lily, dianthus, viola

It’s working! This is part of the front bed that I put in. The back is still very much in progress, but Im so happy, and I cant wait to get out there again to work more. Its raining today which is why I am writing instead of digging, but the first break in the clouds? Im grabbing my shovel.

I’m so glad I listened to Johnny Rotten and his optimistic harassment. I do love this. It does make me so happy. This is going to be my year, I can just feel it.

I was aiming for ‘bronze goddess’. I failed.

Spring is here, and with it comes the feeling that I am supposed to be a bronzed goddess. All the women’s magazines tell me so, and who can argue with Cosmo? I mean, they have sex tips about how your boyfriend or husband will totally like it if you touch his penis, and since word on the street is that this info is accurate, I feel that theyre probably right about most things. It stands to reason, y’all.

Anyways, where was I before I started talking about penises? Ah yes, summer beauty. Being a bronzed goddess. Right. I need to point out right now that Im really pale. Im not white as in, thats-the-box-I-check-off-on-the-ethnicity-part-of-a-census-form, but im white as in, my-sister-who-is-both-bronzed-and-a-jerkface-has-gleefully-called-me-Powder-for-years-and-now-I-actually-answer-to-it kind of white.

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This is a portrait of me, if I was a bald guy with psychic powers. Its good to know these things.

This year, things were going to be different. I exfoliated the hell out my poor hide, and slathered myself with some self tanner that promised a “dark and luxurious natural looking tan, without the damaging effects of the sun”. How good does that sound?! That is exactly what I want!

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Did you know that with a $5 bottle of goop and 2-4 hours, you can look like this bathing suit lady's twin?

So, I was all slathered, and I sat down to wait for the dark, natural looking, luxurious magic to happen. Apparently, youre not supposed to move around too much, lest the tanning alchemy grease rubs off and you’re left with very ungoddesslike streaks.

Self tanner smells pretty strange. Its not bad exactly, but oddly strong–like flowers, coconut, and perm solution. The dogs got curious, and started snuffling at my ankles. Just sniffing at it would have been fine, but they decided that it must be tasted too. I bent down to shoo them away from my ankles, and got my arms stealth-licked. This shouldnt have surprised me. As I have pointed out on this blog before, they are sneaky jerks.

I follow the philosophy that all sentient life ought to be sentient enough to know to keep their tongues to themselves, so it would gross me out anyway, but now I was definitely at risk of a streaky tan too. I took evasive maneuvers (ie, running around until i could lock myself in a room away from the hellhounds) and tried to even out the luxurious goop, which wasnt feeling luxurious at all after being mixed with dog spit.

And then, I took a nap.

When I woke up 2 hours later, I expected to see a sexy, summery glow. What I actually saw was something that had me questioning if I had somehow been sleepwalking and ended up in an industrial accident at the Tang factory.

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I think I can see a nose print in there...

I am orange.

I am patchy.

I am an oompa loompa with gigantism and vitiligo.

For the next week, im going to have to celebrate the fact that warm weather is here by wearing clothes more suited for a beekeeper who is terrified to have a bee actually touch her skin.

You know what the worst part is? This has happened exactly this way every spring for as long as I can remember. I think I need to put self tanner in the ‘Not for you, EVER’ category with wax, and embrace my pale, hairy self regardless of what women’s mags say. Its simply too dangerous any other way.