Return of the Bath

Somewhere, out there, the blog gods are looking down at me with scornful eyes…

You’re writing about bathtime now, really? yeah…

Why don’t you just stick to your theme, D?? FREEDOM! remember? I know, but…

BATHING????? REALLY? maybe…

Don’t you know anything about blogging? You’re supposed to post consistently and give your readers expectations! Eeep!

What kind of dog and pony show are you running here, anyway??? A fun one?

Yeah. So about this blog. I feel like it would be a good idea to have more focus and structure but I just can’t. I have started several blogs in the past including:

  • A food/recipe blog
  • A dating coaching blog
  • A “Life’s Little Moments” blog
  • A household projects blog
  • more I’m forgetting?

I probably own more domain names than I can remember and they’re probably auto-renewing on my credit card which I probably should be checking into…hmmm. Anyway the story always holds. I start with chest-bursting enthusiasm, post for a few weeks, realize what a pain in the butt it is and slowly stop posting. Or I get overly critical and try to achieve perfection at every post, which completely takes away the fun and creative process. SO. This is the first blog where I keep having random things pop up in my head that I actually WANT to write about. And the second that I tell myself, ‘no, I shouldn’t write about that…it has nothing to do with being free at heart’ then my brain thinks of 10 MORE random things. My little rebel mind takes over.

This blog is 100% serving as my personal release right now, and I’m not ready to put any sort of cap on it and filter what goes in and what goes out. I just can’t yet. I feel like I have a backlog of posts that have been pent up for years and are finally coming to surface.

So why don’t you like, just write in a journal or something? We don’t really care that you’re taking a bath. I don’t know. It’s different when it’s out for the world to see. Plus, if I wrote here like I wrote in my journal, you’d definitely lock me up in an insane asylum. truth.

Fine, we get it, you’re using us to experiment and get comfortable posting your crap out into the world. Anything else, missy? Ummm, expect some really random posts coming up, including a v-log soon.

Why didn’t you go through this self-indulgent, all-about-you thing in your teen years? Cause I was trying to grow up too fast and never really stopped to listen to what I wanted/needed…so I’m hitting it a little late.

And we’re just supposed to sit back and keep reading while you clear out your skeletons and start making some sense? Yes, please. In a way I’ve never quite experienced before, sitting down to write these posts and making my comics has been the best form of therapy. I’m gettin’ healed, doc!!!

Fine, tell us about your stinkin’ bath. K!!!! I will!!!! 🙂

SOOOOOOO I took this awesome bath tonight. It was awesome and extra special because my old place in Palo only had a stand-up shower, and my place before that only had a really old tub that was not the soaking kind, and the bottom line is that it’s been years since I’ve had a good soak. Over the past few years I’ve been trying to develop healthier ways to manage stress…like walking, yoga, writing, etc. But one thing that used to be my go-to, that I was really missing, was…….bathtime! When I moved into my current place, I was ALL ABOUT the tub. But when I got here, you know what those heartless bastards didn’t tell me??? There is no drain stopper. Meaning, there is no way to actually fill up the tub!? WTF? Believe me, I was pissed. I tried every trick from every hotel I’d ever stayed at. There was no hidden plug. There was no looks-like-a-faucet but is really a plug for aesthetic reasons just beyond my view. Nada. Nothing. SOOOOOO. I went to Target. Nothing. I went to CVS. Nothing. Every day my bath seemed more and more like a distant dream. Finally, the only tub stopper in all the land showed up on Amazon:

(source)

So I waited and waited and waited. And finally, she came in the mail. What did I do? I had a bleach party and gave the tub a good scrubbin’. Who knows what the last tenant might have done in there. Sure, my feet go in there every day, but this is like, different. I poured myself a glass of red and waited…waited…and waited. It was finally so. Bathtime reunion.

Was that a letdown story? Hope not. I’m off to bed now. Night!

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handi stall

(click to enlarge – you have to click upper and bottom portions separately. *sigh*. the tools.)

PS ♥ ♥ ♥ HAPPY VALENTINE’S DAY!!! ♥ ♥ ♥

We Feel Free…

Heard this on an episode of White Collar. Loved it, obvs.

missing Palo

It never fails. I complain and complain and complain, and whenever an opportunity for change comes along, I get squeamish. I can talk myself into anything. I can convince myself that I’m stuck in a bad situation and would do ANYTHING for a reprieve. But when it comes time to move on, I get anxious and suddenly cling to that thing I’ve been hating. Stockholm Syndrome?

This happened to me a little over a month ago when I moved from Palo Alto to San Diego. Whenever I have anxiety about change, I cry and watch Teen Mom power through and put one foot in front of the other. The anxiety is never enough to prevent me from taking action, but there is almost always an emotional rebound that comes with it. Today, my friends, I’m finally feeling it.

When I lived in Palo I was in a really crappy studio, like 400 sq. ft. I could constantly hear my neighbors upstairs (several kids…stomping). There was no dishwasher and no washer/dryer in unit. The only bonus was that it was in a beautiful neighborhood and I loved going on walks. I chose that apartment so I could save up and eventually have enough of a financial cushion to leave my current job.

At the time I couldn’t wait to get out. I couldn’t wait for the next big thing. I’m 100% glad I moved and I LOVE San Diego. But I haven’t been able to fall into my routine here yet. It’s easy to look back and think about how organized I used to be, with my daily walks and clean living space. I just have to remember that it wasn’t all sunshine and roses, and it took me time and effort to create that little lifestyle, and I can rebuild it here.

Sidenote – I’m terrified that when it comes time to leave my day job, I will be inundated with that same fear of leaving. I guess I’ll have to cross that bridge when I get there. Anyway, here’s a little photo tribute to Palo, taken last December on a walk through the ‘hood (we had a very late turning of the leaves in Cali). There was constant beauty. Palo, I miss you but I’m moving on!

music, lately

I have about 10 playlists started to share with you guys. All with different themes. I would like to start a “mixed tape” series, but I’m getting antsy and don’t want to release said playlists until I can find just the perfect songs to round them out. So until then, here’s a playlist of what I’ve been listening to lately/what’s been on the radio/what I can’t get out of head. Completely random. Some old, some new. Just to kick off the series.

Sweet Sour – Band of Skulls (from new album coming out soon! beyond excited!)

Sink to the Bottom with You – Fountains of Wayne

Struggle – Ringside (not a fan of the music vid, just close your eyes)

Monarchy of Roses – Red Hot Chili Peppers

Actor Out of Work – St. Vincent

Help I’m Alive – Metric

Electric Feel – MGMT

Love You Like a Love Song – Selena Gomez (I know, I know *hangs head*)

Small Town Fever

Whew. It’s been a surprisingly eventful week. What I thought would be a boring, sucky work trip has turned out to be something of a little treasure. I’ve been out working on the Wisconsin/Michigan border in a really small town. I was bracing myself and expecting the worst…praying for free wifi at the hotel. Instead, I was hit with an overpowering sense of small-town kindness, an appreciation of the little things, and a little personal family history.

On Traveling and Being Alone

I had the wonderful opportunity to get a whole day to myself on this trip. Between flying and driving, I had a ton of thinking time and I really enjoyed it. During my drive up to Michigan, I started wondering how bad this trip was going to be. All trees and signs of life were dead from winter’s wrath. It was cold. There was no AVIS preferred. My rental car had the same air freshener my uncle used to use when I was growing up, so there was a constant pull of memories. There were about 5 music stations, and 10 talk-radio stations, most of them preaching about god. I thought…Oh lord, this is going to be a long trip.

Then something strange happened. My mind started to clear. I started laughing at the country music and turning it up. And I started to enjoy myself.

no officer, I was not taking pictures while driving

Cheese and Wine. Moccasins. How could I stay grumpy with signs like that?

I read a book a long time ago that said everyone should go out and eat at a restaurant alone, at least once in their lives. It’s hard, no? To feel completely comfortable eating alone in the presence of others, without a bar to pull up to, and without a book or phone in your hand. But this was my time. I pulled up to a local deli and tried to enjoy the experience. It was a little scary. But it was also worth it. As I was eating my sandwich (sans avocado – something I’ve been taking for granted in Cali), there was a barrage of moms coming in after their weekly Weight Watchers meeting. They all had the same spiky, highlighted hair. On the TV the local news was on. “Breaking news…horrible accident…”. Everything is a horrible accident in a small town. I spied a date with two teenagers and smiled to myself at the cuteness/awkwardness. I walked away feeling good and looking forward to more driving time.

I wanted to make a point that being alone and getting all introspective is not a negative thing, as some people may think. For an introvert like myself, down time is 100% necessary and even therapeutic. I was excited and happy.

Getting Back to my Roots

I am originally from the Midwest and spent some time as a kid traveling through Wisconsin and Michigan to visit family. But what I didn’t realize until I was at my destination was that I was about a mile away from where my dad grew up. We talked on the phone. “Dad! Google maps says I’m only a mile away from your old house!” “Daughter, it’s a small town, everything is only a mile away.” razz So inbetween work days, I set out on a mini tour to visit my dad’s old stomping grounds. Below is a pic of the house he grew up in:

time keeps marching

Very strange, but cool, to drive around and think about my dad hanging out here. He said for entertainment they used to go to the local garbage dump and watch the bears come out and scavenge for food. Wow, what a good time. rolleyes

One tradition that has remained throughout the years are pasties. If you’ve never heard, a pasty is basically a bunch of meat and potatoes…sometimes onions and other spices, all combined in a thick crust. It looks sort of like a half-shell turnover on the outside, and tucked inside are the goods. Back in the days of coal mining, miner’s wives used to make these for them in the morning, wrap them in newspaper, and the guys would stick them under their shirts right next to their belly. It would keep them warm until lunch and in turn they would also have a hot meal. Pretty neat, eh? I ate them with my dad every trip we used to take back to visit the fam, and we still eat them to this day.

A huge tradition in this town appears to be Wing Night. Oooooh yah you better believe it. Wings and beer, beer and wings. I went out with a bunch of coworkers to one of the local bars for wings here a few nights ago. On the wall they had a bunch of the old high school football teams. I went in search of my dad, who played in the mid 1960s (holla!). For some reason the bar only had pics through the 1950s…but I am including his pic anyway for good measure:

what a stud!

I really did enjoy myself, walking down the same streets he did and going to the same restaurants. His advice to me: “Don’t get lost in all the culture there.” K, Dad.

Working on a Ship

Although I couldn’t take pictures of the ship itself, here was my view from the deck:

don't think we'll be getting underway anytime soon, eh?

The shipyard environment was a very rough-and-tumble experience. It was mostly guys, wearing Carhartts (which I may or may not have a soft spot for…eep! Be still my beating heart!). It was a hardhat environment. Mama got her own:

And a lot of flapper hats:

(source)

Mostly in plaid.

Quotables

Finally, I leave you with some of my favorite one-liners from the trip so you can get a flavor of the environment. Overheard by the locals and/or my coworkers (sometimes multiple times):

“Yah, there’s quite a wind out there”

“Let’s go tie one on”

“Well, we made it back to the hotel. That’s a good sign.” (<– my favorite)

“We’ll have to take you to Wing Night at the Best Western, so you can meet the whole town!”

“…Wing Night at the Firehouse…”

“…Wing Night at Dexter’s…”

“CASH ONLY”

“Oh, it’s about a mile away”

I think that’s enough small-town talk for one post. The love will continue as I will be taking several more trips in the coming months.

Living the Dream (or the businesswoman that never was)

When I was in college and deciding to become a computer engineer, I had big dreams. Like, corner office dreams.

I pictured working in a high-rise office building in New York or Chicago. I imagined waking up early, stopping off for a latte at the corner Starbucks and finally making a grand entrance into work as my heels clicked on the marble floor past the security guard and up to my office. In the fantasy I was always wearing something polished and feminine, like a tailored BCBG dress.

To be her, that power woman… I vowed to sit up tall and make quick decisions and jetset around the world. Shaking hands, making deals. Give me the miles, the perks, and the whole lifestyle. Schmoozing and boozing. Think Jenna Elfman’s character in Keeping the Faith.

all brains and class

(source)

So I sit here today,  writing you from a cheap hotel room in middle-of-nowhere Wisconsin, and wonder what the heck happened?!?!?!

Instead of the strong, put-together chicness of Jenna I am instead channeling Ed Helms from Cedar Rapids.

If you think I’m kidding…check out my digs:

who needs a closet when you can just hang your clothes straight on the wall???

with these kind of amenities, you may never want to leave.

here's my corner office. eh? eh?

brown was sort of in...during the 70s

yours truly. happy as a clam about being on business travel.

Instead of dressing sexy-chic, I’m in a puffy ski jacket, with mom jeans and steel-toed shoes. Who am I??

WHAT WENT WRONG?!?!

Were there warning signs my life was headed in a different direction than my original goals? yes. Did I choose to ignore them? yes. If I eventually worked my little tail off, could I realize the corporate power woman dream? yes…but not at this job. I need to make my own rules and create my own life.

By the way, my goals of who I want to be have changed drastically since college. I will have to expand on this in a future post. But for now, I need to get some sleep. Duty calls tomorrow!

PS Even though I’m complaining, I’m secretly enjoying myself on this trip. Tell you more later. Will try and update throughout the week.

Vin de Syrah: Down the Rabbit Hole

Yesterday I was feeling social and ventured out to an amazing little wine bar downtown. I am over-the-moon giddy with this place and felt immediately compelled to write a review.

To sum up the experience in three words: Alice in Wonderland.

::spoiler alert:: this place definitely has a few surprises, and if you’d rather experience them for yourselves the first time, discontinue reading review!

When you walk up to the place there is a modest sign that says VIN DE SYRAH with an arrow pointing downward.

(via Yelp)

This is when you literally walk down the rabbit hole. As you descend you are submerged in grafitti (like a cleaner version of the NY subway), and then there is an abrupt stop at the bottom of the stairs. You see a collage of posters, a door, and a grassy wall.

Most people immediately try that door. Only to find that it is locked. Ooooh this is where the fun begins! People get confused, frustrated, and in general are thinking what the…?

What is not immediately clear is that there is a SECRET door behind the grassy wall. All that shows is a little gold handle (which is mimicked by their entry page on their website):

See here?? Sneaky, sneaky!

Now here’s where the fun starts. When you walk through the secret door, you learn that you’ve been on a hidden camera the WHOLE TIME you were struggling to find the entrance, and it’s being played on a big screen for the entire bar to watch and laugh at! Embarassing! And highly entertaining!

(via Yelp)

What a fricken riot!

When you walk in the vibe is set. Heads Will Roll by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs was playing. I look straight ahead and there are wine glasses, with candles in them, floating in the air. All around are green, grassy walls. The chairs and decor are outlandish – extremely high back booths, tables that are too small and make you feel large like Alice. There are mini umbrellas floating from the ceiling. There is no way my iphone could capture this, so I’m stealing a few images from their website to give you an idea:

In their own words:

inspired by the eclectic lounges of New York’s “meatpacking district” and the warm brasseries of turn of the century Paris, Vin De Syrah is complemented by amazing cheeses, desserts, and a friendly wine list. this subterranean yet organic space pays respect to the old but embraces the new world with a contemporary style all its own.

a much needed “breath of fresh air” for the Gaslamp Quarter, Vin De Syrah offers spirits, unique beer and of course, an array of beautiful wines by the glass. if it’s a dirty martini, a frosty Chimay, or a smooth glass of Bordeaux, this is the chill out parlor for you.

celebrated local designer Michael Soriano completely reinvents the downtown urban lounge with his botanical chandeliers, thick 50 year old wine vines, 12 foot natural wood candle lit tasting table, and semiprivate plush sitting rooms.

so whether you like the unique beats of san diego’s most eclectic djs or the soothing rhythms of live jazz, you’ll find yourself lost in the moment, enjoying the ambiance, music, food and drink that is simply, Vin De Syrah

I couldn’t agree more. My jaw was on the floor the whole night and I just wanted to soak it all in and really cherish the moment.

My friend and I ordered the Blend Board, which had a good sampling of meats and cheeses, marinated veggies, and a sweet honey jam. For wine, I ordered (appropriately) the petite syrah and my friend the cabernet. Both were good, but the cab had a little too much dark cherry sweetness for me.

One of the salamis had been soaked in wine. I made a salami + cheese + honey spread bite that was divine!

Here are the umbrellas:

Bjork was playing overhead. I was feeling my wine buzz. Enjoying some conversation. When all the sudden…we were hit with another surprise: BURLESQUE.

Below photo probably NSFW, fyi…

The lovely girls from Rouge decided to come perform. It was the icing on the cake and I couldn’t help but enjoy myself. The vintagey feel of old 50s songs and (fairly) innocent dancing was a great time.

Cheers, baby!

So, quick recap. Here’s my restaurant rating meter, completely just made up on the fly:

Drink Selection: (5/5) – Plenty of specialty cocktails, wines, and beer. No shortage of new things to try.

Food: (3/5) – Not because it wasn’t delicious, but there were only ‘small bites’ available. Do not come starving.

Date Night Approp?: (4/5) – Yes, especially if your date is cool. It may be a little on the funky side for a first date, but this is a great place to chill and have intimate conversation. There is much to talk about given the decor, music, and overall ambiance.

Would I go here again?: (5/5) Abso-fricken-lutely. What are you doing tonight?

Ambiance: (5/5) Take a hit of acid at the door. (I kid, it’s not that bad). Very well designed.

Inner Strength

Got some? I need some.

Lately I’ve been going through some mega life changes and I’ve been searching within to find my core strength. Strength, I know you’re in there, get your lazy ass out and come help me. One of my biggest fears about leaving my current job and starting my own business is that I won’t be strong enough to have what it takes. I’m afraid I won’t be able to take care of myself (financially and emotionally) when times get tough.

I’d like to think of myself as a confident, independent woman. But every 28 days once in a while I get hit with this sadness/fear. I’ve been known to emotionally eat a pint of Ben and Jerry’s, drown in my blanket, and watch Stepmom with the specific intent of crying. Yeah, I’m not a mess.

During these times I picture the worst-of-the-worst possible outcomes when I finally leave my job. Like that scene in Look Who’s Talking when Kirstie Alley has like 10 kids hanging off of her, with a jobless hubby, smoking and feeding them beans. (btw, I tried to find a picture of this as I was unsure of my memory, but only got distracted by several John Travolta videos on youtube. red flag?). Ok, seriously now…

My worst fears about making the jump:

  • Not being able to make enough money $$$$$
  • Having no one around to help me up if I fall
  • Getting stuck and not knowing how to motivate myself/defunkify those moods
  • Having scary people pound down my door demanding rent checks
  • Failing. Period.
  • Having to get another corporate job…please god no
  • Deciding the thing I thought I wanted to do was not in fact as satisfying as it was in my head
  • …or being completely successful in my dream job and then, still feeling unsatisfied (I am guilty of fantasizing for the escape, when this becomes a reality, what will I really have to face?)
  • Living in a van down by the river
  • Becoming a fat hermit who eventually has an apartment fit for Hoarders
  • Becoming a hard, aggressive business woman who can never turn business ‘off’ and eventually loses her feminine energy
  • Some emergency will happen, and I will all the sudden need, like $40k, and panic will ensue
  • I haven’t the slightest idea how to get my own healthcare (and other scary logistics that overwhelm me)

There are more but that’s enough for now.

While finding strength is an ongoing process for me, I do have a little checklist of things that tend to help. Here is my current “grow some balls” list:

1)   Fake it till you make it

Even when you aren’t truly feeling it, when you pretend to be strong and confident in front of others, it can reinforce your own internal confidence and push you over your hesitations. This is also a time when I tend to make myself over on the outside (fresh hair cuts, mani/pedis, waxing, a new sweater, etc.). Any little thing that you can grab onto that will serve as a pick-me-up will help.

2)   See you on the other side

Think about something difficult you’ve overcome in the past and remind yourself that you made it to the other side. This will happen again and again for you, because when faced with real challenges, you break them down and solve them.

3)   This too shall pass

My good friend and mentor always reminds me that “this too shall pass”. It helps to take a deep breath and sigh when I feel like my gusto has been deflated.

4)   Tap into the universe

As a child from hippie roots, and now a wannabe Californian, I am starting to really believe in the power of this universe. If you throw something out there, and you work hard enough for it, things will align for you. This isn’t always the most settling of answers, but it does provide me with a sense of relief when I feel alone. (sidebar – this notion was totally reinforced through the Artist’s Way for me, which I highly recommend).

5)  Could be worse?

Uhhh, I couldn’t think of a real #5. I wanted to write “go on facebook and see how much better you’re doing than some of your washed up friends from high school” but then I didn’t, because that would be mean. And I would never do such a thing to feel better about myself! 😯 And karma would make me one of those people someday. And this is why I have problems. redface

Sometimes the list helps, but it never provides me with a 100% success rate. Any suggestions?

He’s Still a Potential: the gmail last name test

As you can probably tell this blog is a little all over the map. I promise there is a bigger plan in play. I have a lot of competing interests and right now this is a fun place for me to explore and find my blog style/voice. It will all come together soon.

One thing I really want to learn is how to draw comics. I have a big box full of post-its and scraps of paper with comic ideas just waiting to be born. I struggle with the tools. I would love to take a class in photoshop/illustrator/fireworks/whatever it takes. Until then, I’m a bit limited but I still have fun.

So, *disclaimer disclaimer* my blog isn’t quite set up for comics yet, and I did not have much control over the size of this one, so please bear with me while I learn the tools and just blow it up to read for the time being. K thx bye. 😉