It took every muscle in my body not to run out of the doggy adoption event I attended last Saturday with a Pug named Licky. Everyday, I faithfully check Petfinder.com and other Rescue websites to see what new dogs have become available. Some may call it obsessed. I call it doing my research.
I have always been a dog lover, although maybe not as crazed as I am currently. My family had a Cocker Spaniel named Amber when I was growing up. She was very mean and barked at anyone who wasn’t a member of the immediate family. She even bit the daughter of a family friend when she came to visit.
While Amber was mean to everyone else, she loved me – or so I liked to believe. I would follow her around the house with my Playskool Tea Set and force her to play Church Ladies with me. This would require me to get into my Sunday best: a large floral print dress, a big floppy white hat, gloves and velvet purse, equipped with my horrible British accent. “We ah chuch ladies!” I would exclaim, forcing Amber at my side. If she could roll her eyes, I’m sure they’d be stuck in the back of her head. About 10 minutes into my make-believe shtick, she’d trot away, deciding she needed a break from my horrible accent.
But for the most part, we had an alliance. When it was steak night, I used to chew up the food in my mouth and say, "Look! I made dog food!" and proceed to give it to Amber who was ready and willing to eat mamma-bird style. I can't say my parents were too impressed with my talent.
Since she just couldn’t handle being nice to anyone else, it was very common to put her in the garage while guests were over. She stayed in the garage so much, that it became her territory in our house. Unfortunately, there came a day when her health began to deteriorate.
The day my mom told me they were going to put her down, I shrieked and cried and yelled, “YOU DOG KILLER! YOU’RE GOING TO KILL MY DOG!” I didn’t understand what was going on really, and I gave my mom a huge guilt trip that she still has to this day. Looking back, I feel bad for being so harsh. But how else would an 8 year-old react?
My parents refused to get another dog. In order to satiate our need to have pets, a slew of gerbils, hamsters, and fish would occupy our home for years to come. We even had a pair of gerbils reproduce and had 12 gerbils in our house at one point. We named each and every one of those gerbils prior to giving them to the pet store; including a runt we named “Little Foot” because it had a deformed foot. My family made fun of the gerbil saying it was meant to be mine since I also have a messed up big toe (please see entry “Allow me to introduce you to my big toe”) but even a million gerbils would never fill the void of having a dog in my life.
It wasn’t much help for our case when our neighbor’s dog would come do its business in our yard. My dad would get angry as he cleaned up after the dog’s mess. To get revenge on the dog ruining our dream, I took the shovel from the garage and attempted flinging the crap back in their yard as a cover up. Unfortunately, it ended up hitting the white fence separating our properties, sliding down, leaving a brown streak in its wake. My sisters and I laughed hysterically. Needless to say, my parents weren’t too amused and I ended up taking the hose to it moments later.
So I vicariously lived through friends and boyfriends that had dogs. One dog in particular, I’ll name him Buster to mask his identity, had a bad habit of getting into the garbage. He humiliated me by getting into the bathroom wastebasket and retrieving a used feminine product I had just discarded and presented it to a former boyfriend’s father. Worst dog in the history of the world.
But a second runner-up is my grandma’s dog Joey the Puggle. While I love my grandma, this dog is the devil. It is very disobedient and jumps up on you incessantly. It barks non-stop, it freaks out, and gets into EVERYTHING. It even took hold of my favorite winter coat with the fur hood. It was clenched between its jaws and Joey almost ripped it to smithereens. I wanted to severely hurt this dog. Lucky for Joey, I held my cool, gently removed the coat, which was now dripping with his stink-breath saliva, and my grandma locked him in the back bedroom.
However, during another visit, I once again took revenge, unbeknownst to this unintelligent canine. My little sister, Grandma and I played a game of cards and I had an upset stomach. I was trying to keep it down, but one toot snuck out just audible enough for my sister to hear, but not for my hearing-impaired grandmother whose hearing aids had been emitting a high pitched tone all day. My little sister looked at me in disgust and I just started cracking up. My grandma looked at me and said, “What is so funny?”
“I think Joey just farted,” I said laughing.
My little sister started laughing so hard, she was nearly in tears. We both kept bursting out in laughing fits every five minutes, confusing my grandma who did not know what was going on. Joey looked up at me in confusion from underneath the table, and I just smiled in content.
Even though all of my dog stories are negative, I still vie for a canine pup so I can play Church Ladies again. They are so cute and cuddly (except for when they crap, get into the garbage and rip up your coats), and I probably will end up with a Pug or French Bulldog.
I have plans to move in with my boyfriend when my current lease ends, and I’m waiting to see what kind of place we end up with before I pick a dog. We even have names picked out already. Most people pick kid names before they have them, but my boyfriend and I pick dog names before we have them- Hambone and Bowser. Awwwwww.
Stay tuned for my continuing dog adventures over the next year. Mark my words: I will have a dog!
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but dog crap is not aerodynamic.
Age. (Shudder). We spend our entire lives wanting be a number other than what we are. When we're young, we strive to be older, when we're older we strive to be younger (or we at least try to appear younger. This often yields disastrous results - a la Desperate Housewives of Orange County. What a train wreck).
It's not our fault really. Society and culture tell us to value our early twenties, and any other age group that falls outside of that is not considered to be as hip, beautiful, desirable or fun. Well, I am here to counteract this stereotype. I'm in my mid-twenties, and I am declaring that I'm officially not fun. I'm not afraid to embrace aging and all of the peculiarities that come with it.
What could I possibly know about aging, you say? Allow me to take you on a journey through my daily life. I am often accused of being an old soul by those older than me, or a party-pooper by my peers. The staff members at DList must think I'm an old maid since I'm the only one on the staff that doesn't enjoy night clubs and feels compelled to say, "Put some clothes on, young lady!" to every girl on the dance floor.
In all of my 25 years, I have developed quirks that have culminated to the elderly lifestyle I now lead. From this point on, we will now refer to them as Old Lady Habits.
- Going to bed early, waking up early: I have been conditioned to this schedule against my will (working a full time job will do that). But I have now found it to be quite a convenient lifestyle. I get up at 5:30am Monday thru Friday, and no later than 8am on the weekend. I have time to workout, make a nice breakfast, and all of the stores are just opening so I can often beat crowds. I wake up in time to see the sunrise, which I had only seen in a drunken haze if I had stayed out that late in college. I feel more energetic when I'm on schedule, but if you keep me up until midnight during the week, I'll be worthless the next day.
- No more clubs: I just don't go out much anymore. This is mostly due to the fact that I need to be fully alert at work. But I also feel that if I spend an entire day hungover during the weekend, I wasted a full day. I don't mind being sober, really. But if I do drink, it's usually at home, or done at happy hour. Why? Because...
- I'm cheap: I live right above Quizno's and across the street from Papa John's, but I refuse to go to either unless I have coupons that I've clipped from the junk mail. You fools are missing out on some great deals! Buy one, get one free subs, and $7 pizzas. Also, you better believe I don't pay full price for my clothes. Thankfully Express is one of my favorite stores because they give you so many coupons. I hate to pass up a good deal, but even I have to admit, they are getting out of hand. I have to throw most of their coupons away because I just can't shop as much as they encourage me to. I once argued with the clerk at the counter so I could use five coupons together even though on the back it says "not be used in conjuction with other coupons." I won. The customer is always right! (Okay, maybe not all customers. Only me).
- Checkbook/Day Planner: My boyfriend constantly makes fun of the fact that I still balance my checkbook. I do utilize online banking, but I like to know exactly how much money I have right after I spend it, and purchases don't always clear right away. Plus, I'm not always near a computer. No, I don't have a data plan on my cellphone. You call it mistrust of technology, I call it being in control. Rather than a swanky iPhone or Blackberry, I still carry around a huge Day Planner with tabs for each month and day, that weighs down my purse. Which brings me to my next habit...
- The Big Yellow "Old Lady" Purse (I think it's cute. Shut up.):
- Talk Radio: I enjoy my morning commute by listening to Kiro 97.3. I like to catch up on the news that happened between the time I went to bed the night before and the time I woke up for work. Yes, I am a news junkie. But I always have been. When your dream is to be a writer for your entire life, it's helpful to know what's going on in the world. I also like to listen to the Ron and Don show on my way home. Their banter just makes me giggle.
- Game Shows: No matter what I'm doing, if Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy is on, everything stops and I give it my full attention. Shouting at the TV and cursing the idiots who think barracudas are fish have been a favorite pastime of mine since watching them with my grandma as a child.
- Old Christmas Caroles: I used to think it was an old person thing to listen to Frank Sinatra, or Nat King Cole, because my grandma listened to it sometimes. But I've grown out of N'Sync's "Home for Christmas" and Hanson's "Snowed In." I love Old Blue Eyes along with the rest of the 65+ population. I start listening to Christmas music 24/7, beginning Black Friday until New Year's Eve. This year, my new favorite rendition of Jingle Bells is by Bing Crosby. It's a ragtime ditty that sparks an innate reaction to do the jitter bug and mimic his ragtime crooning. If I wasn't a minority, I would love to go back in time to this era.
- Vertigo: I get pretty dizzy every so often. The kind of vertigo I have is caused by rocks in my ear canals floating around and getting stuck in places they shouldn't. Before you call me a freak, everyone has little rocks in their ears. Google ear rocks if you don't believe me. Anyway, my Physical Therapist (yes I go to physical therapy to treat it) said I am the youngest patient he's ever treated for this. "Usually my patients receiving this treatment are 70+. No one knows why, but this just usually occurs more when you get older..." well here I am - your overachiever.
- I always see the Old Lady first :)
Warning: Do not read this if you get sick easily.
Christmas time always makes me nostalgic - setting up mandarin oranges for Santa (yes our family put Santa on a diet), swearing you heard reindeer hooves on the roof and waking your parents up at 2:30am to open presents, the joke gift tags claiming that Taylor Hanson put a CD Stamper under the tree for me, and the precious tantrums my sister threw when she got something she didn't ask for from Santa "What the hell is this? I didn't ask for this!" (all caught on video camera, of course). The memories are so near and dear to my heart.
But there is one Christmas I'll never forget. Three years ago, I chose to forego the tree, the lights, the wrapping paper, and family and friends for that matter. I got off a plane and stepped foot on the red soil of Ghana, with 15 classmates that I had only met a couple months prior. It was the best decision I had ever made (despite what I'm about to tell you), and it was decided in the manner in which I make all huge decisions in life- on a whim.
After seeing a flier in the bathroom about a class being offered that included studying abroad in West Africa at the end of Fall Quarter, I knew I had to do it. Even though my mom firmly told me no, American Express firmly told me yes. So I bought my plane ticket and told my mom what was happening, and that was that. Okay, so maybe it wasn't THAT rigid, but long story short, my stubbornness beat my mom's stubbornness for the first time in history, and that is a victory to be celebrated and exaggerated!
"You're going to get sicker than all your classmates," my mom jinxed me. Being that I am the most accident-prone member of my family, it was really expected of me to come back with some rare, never-before-discovered disease, despite the six shots I had received beforehand and the malaria meds I took everyday while there.
Side story: the day I got all of my vaccinations, I went to work afterward where I was cashiering. A lady came through my line, eyeing the six bandaids up my arms, turned to the gal that was bagging groceries for me, and says, "Is she dying?!" as though my shots were an indication of a deadly, contagious disease, contracted by directly speaking with me.
"Ma'am, if I was dying right now, do you really think I'd be standing here cashiering?" I said. Because that's what I'd be spending the last moments of my life doing: serving the thankless, godforsaken public, while working for The Man. A public servant's dying wish!
How dare she assume my co-worker had the 4-1-1 on my medical file. The nerve! If I had it my way, that woman would have been dead that day.
Okay back to the point. Ghana. I went there for three weeks, and there was definitely an adjustment period before I got used to the following: limited electricity, cold showers, drinking bags (not bottles) of water, accepting that I was second class because I am a woman, that it is normal and appropriate to wear long-sleeved shirts and long skirts in the equatorial heat, in addition to eating chicken, rice and plantains for every meal. Being the feminazi that I am, it wasn't the machismo culture that was the hardest to adjust to, but the way food was valued differently (at that time, I was the Fatties Fo Life President, remember?)!
Food was probably the one of the biggest things I realized we take for granted as Americans: we have the luxury to eat what we want, when we want it. It really is an amazing and unnecessary indulgence. Tonight for instance, my boyfriend and I were deciding on what to eat for dinner. He wanted Mexican food, and I really didn't want Mexican food, so we settled on Mongolian Grill. That would never happen in Ghana. Eating has only one purpose, and that is to survive. While there are restaurants in Ghana, it is not nearly the booming, money-making industry it is here, but rather a clandestine extravagance for the few who can afford it.
While we were indulging in restaurants as tourists, I somehow contracted a bug that made me sicker than I've ever been. When did it hit? Christmas Eve.
I was on a Butterfly Sanctuary tour (which is hilarious because I absolutely hate butterflies. They scare the crap out of me.) when I started feeling...off. I started feeling weaker and weaker, and all of the sudden I collapsed in the middle of the rain forest. Our small bus driver Kujo, who was about 5'1" and 110 lbs, attempted to carry my overweight, sickly ass back through the jungle and to the hotel. I was beastly in comparison. I kept trying to tell him to put me down, that I could walk, but he insisted that he was going to suffer while hauling this heifer a quarter mile out of the forest.
Once back at the hotel, I was down for the count. I spent the next three days, including Christmas, projectile vomiting, trying to control my uncontrollable bowels and essentially, trying not to die. I had horrible food poisoning. But then it got worse. I couldn't keep anything down, including liquids, so I became severely dehydrated. It took energy just to wake up, nevermind get out of bed.
I attempted eating Cliff bars, only to see them moments later. To this day, I refuse to eat a Cliff bar.
I was like this over a 12-hour bus ride back to the coast, and when we finally landed at our destination, my professor said, "You are going to the hospital. Right now."
We took a cab and went through military checkpoints on the dirt, pothole-ridden freeway towards the hospital. Once there, I was rushed into a room, even though there were many other patients who appeared to need immediate medical attention over me. I was given preference as an American tourist, which even in my fragile state, I did not like. It was not right for me to be seen while a man crawled into the hospital vomiting thick, brown goo and blood.
I was placed in a large room with four other patients: a sleeping old woman, a pregnant woman that screamed out and cried every five min., and a crying baby. I was there until 4 in the morning, where they administered a drip IV of saline to rehydrate my body. The hospital bill was $27 U.S. (see, even Ghana has found a way to make health care affordable!).
Before I was home free, we were met with one more obstacle- someone had closed the gates to our hotel. The cab dropped us off, and all I wanted to do was go to bed. Might I add, this hotel had crocodiles living in the pond surrounding it. We called and we yelled, but no one was up to let us in. So we had to jump the fence and pray that after all of that, we wouldn't be eaten by crocodiles.
Luckily, we survived, and the next day at 7am, I was 100 feet above the rain forest floor on a rickety rope bridge course, and later carrying buckets of rocks on my head to help build a foundation for a school in a village. I never felt so alive! I was so glad I got to get better for that.
This past weekend, I had a chance to reunite with my fellow classmates who traveled to Ghana with me. We share a bond that can only be formed when you know way too much about each other's bowel movements, or share a bag of water with someone.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but I will bring some Imodium when I go back to Africa!
Biceps are bulging, abs are glistening, weights are hitting the floor, and the stench of sweat is imminent. Welcome to the gym. While most people are there to lose weight, destress, or get ripped, others are there to people watch (which I can't stand). I go to a gym in the gay part of town, because I know I won't be bothered or eye-molested by douchy men that look like the Cake Boss. When I go to the gym, I like to be left alone. Don't talk to me. No I don't care how much you press. No I don't want a workout buddy. I am coming here to listen to my ipod and run, and maybe lift a little bit of weights. Notice my noise cancelling headphones? I don't want to hear you.
When I first moved to Seattle, I was elated to find an apartment that had its own gym. Finally, an end to all of the Cake Boss madness. But I quickly became disappointed once I began using it. Someone is always on the one treadmill, and when I finally do get on it, there is always someone glaring at you from the elliptical because you got on the treadmill before they did. It's a vicious cycle.
However, the absolute worst part of the gym at my apartment are the people that use it. The people who use this gym are there because they are bored and need a victim to annoy.
There's a guy named Equation that lives here. His real name is just as quirky as the mathematical term I gave him, but I'll be nice and protect his identity. He has a huge, green tattoo on his face (okay blew it) and always tries to strike up a conversation. The first time I met him, I was on mile 5 on the treadmill, out of breath, and dripping with sweat. And when I say dripping, I mean my ears and elbows were sweating. He thinks it's an opportune time to ask me if I liked Rachel Maddow and tried striking up a political conversation. Does it look like I want to discuss politics right now? Then he proceeded to ask if I would like to go out and watch a movie with him, after we went home and showered of course. "I don't think my boyfriend would appreciate that," I responded. Time to go. He just made working out super awkward.
But the worst person that uses the gym is The Singer. I have no idea what his real name is, but he is the most irritating man I've ever encountered in my life. I love music with all my heart and soul, but he makes me want to gouge my eyes out, light myself on fire, and jump off the top of a sky scraper when he starts humming. Don't even get me started on what I want to do when he starts singing.
I was in the gym, running to my tunes, and this guy is on the bike, humming really loudly. Even his humming is tone deaf. I clear my throat and obviously turn up the volume on my ipod, hoping he'd get the hint. He doesn't. He closes his eyes and starts humming louder. I have noise cancellation headphones on, but I could still hear the notes he was inventing. Then he unleashes the beast: he starts belting his heart out, eyes closed, hand motions accentuating the words he was inventing (he didn't know the words to his song), and I thought I saw tears too but it could have been sweat. And he doesn't stop! It's only him and I in this tiny gym and I really wanted to say, "Hey! Do you mind?" But I didn't want to be rude. I wish I would have said something much worse. But instead, I ran one mile, then jumped in my car and went to my other gym in Capitol Hill. He was still screeching when the door closed behind me.
And I thought the guy that smelled like poop at my old gym in Gig Harbor was bad. I guess it was equally irritating, just making my nose bleed instead of my ears.
Thank goodness I didn't cancel that Capitol Hill gym membership.
At my gym in Capitol Hill, men are busy looking at each other, instead of me, while I happily do my workout like a fly on the wall (remember, gay part of town). It's nice, really. However, now the tables have turned. Where I was busy trying not to make eye contact with anyone at other gyms (for fear they would mistake it as a conversation starter (e.g. "Oh where in Hawaii are you from?" "Tacoma")), I actually want to watch people at this gym.
Just yesterday, I saw the most bronze gay man I have ever seen in my life. Men go tanning, I get that. But this man was Lady Gaga-Bronze (see above)- an inhuman pigment that even the orangest high school cheerleader will never achieve, even after a stage four melanoma diagnosis. Not only was he bronze, but he was ripped to perfection, had emo bangs, and was watching himself in the mirror very intensely as he did his bicep curls and chest flies. I thought I was watching an SNL skit unfolding.
He had on boyshort spandex and his butt actually looked like it had implants. I've never seen such thing as a perky butt, but it indeed exists. It was actually pointing at me! In my head, I awarded him the True Gym Rat award, which would be a gold trophy of his lifted butt. His wife beater looked like the upper half of a banana hammock, all string, criss-crossing his bronze chest. He pouted his lips out as he switched from curls to chest flies and back. I could just hear, "I'm too sexy for my shirt, too sexy for my shirt, so sexy it hurts!" Congrats, Right Said Fred. You actually made a song that applied to someone in real life. I wish I had a video camera. He was hilarious. I was almost tempted to ask if he wanted to borrow my lip plumping gloss too, but then I remembered I didn't want to talk to anybody.
Who would have thought so much entertainment could come from such a simple activity as running on a treadmill? I have a knack for finding myself in strange situations, but I can't complain - I'd have nothing to write about if I didn't.
Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but running outside beats being in the gym with the rats.