Monday, March 30, 2015

Thirty-One Feet

My family can't get along in 4,000 sq ft, so why would be want to condense down into living in merely 31 condensed ft of roaming mandatory family fun?  Who's plan was this anyhow?  To drive our family of 6 through New Mexico for 8 days.  Sincerely, what were we thinking?

We packed it with games and Costco sized boxes of food.  I thought I was being ridiculous and over packing.  I thought about stopping at the library with the kids to get books for the trip and then I thought better of it.  They'd only use the books as weapons, like paddles to whack each other with.  I thought this might be the worst trip ever.  I was wrong.

Not that it was the best trip ever.
Because it wasn't.

It was actually the best and the worst trip rolled into one.  Because living on top of one another brought out the worst and the best in each one of us.  And eating the best Mexican food of your life and then going to sleep with 5 other people with a confined, contaminated air supply produces some of the worst smells of your life.  You can either take my word for it or you can road test it for yourself.  Disgusting.  
 And so, we laughed.

Not that we didn't fight and yell.  And feel like we had children who hate each other and that we were to blame because of our poor parenting.  Because we did.  Or stay illegally on someone's beautiful private property in a cow pasture (see above photo).  Again, morally corrupting our kids with our poor parenting skills.  Playing head games with each other during the day and playing board, dice and card games at night.

And laughing.
At each other.
Because that's what family is all about.

(p.s. The 1972 Indian Winnebago we purchased on-line and is in Montana sucking the kids college funds to get it drivable is 24 feet worth of head games.  What were we thinking?)

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Indian Style

Photo credit: Gallivanting Girls Etsy shop
I know the term "Indian Style"  is politically incorrect.  It was coined in a different era when this 1972 Indian model Winnebago toy was popular.  But I couldn't call this post criss-cross applesauce style could I?  No, that wouldn't make sense at all.  Just like our newest misadventure.

Are we the new owners of a pricey antique toy boutique?  No, that wouldn't make sense at all.  We're the new owners of the real (and really big) 1972 Indian model Winnebago.  That's currently in Montana.  In the shop.  Because the brakes don't work.  And it's filthy and inundated with the stench of cigarette smoke from the previous owners.  Complete with missing mattresses.  Which under the circumstances is probably a good thing.  But not for our spring break plans.

Which aren't going at all to plan!

We were supposed to drive the winnie to New Mexico sans electronics so we could pretend it was still 1972.  Our four kids could even sit Indian Style on the floor quietly playing a game of Monopoly during the drive.  Ok, I admit, I'm prone to fantasy.  OBVIOUSLY.  I mean we just bought a fossil of a vehicle on faith.  So....duh.  

That's not the worst part.

The worst part is that in order to salvage spring break we're renting a brand new RV for the trip.  Yes, new.  With working breaks and other such luxuries.  Which is going to excite the kids initially.  And then subsequently disappoint them when we downgrade from the rental to the one we actually own.  If we can ever get it drivable enough to get it home that is. On the brand new tires we just bought for it.  Cause that's how we roll...

Indian style.  


Monday, March 16, 2015


The older I get, the more I retrospectively get the significance of the TV show Friends.  Sure, I watched it off and on, but not with the dedication and fervor that some of my friends did.  Because I didn't realize that the show was actually about family.  The handpicked kind.  And not about the Rachel haircut.  It was the 90's in America, so it was easy to be confused between the hype and the actual facts.  Remember O.J. Simpson and Bill Clinton?  Not to mention the Los Angeles police department.

Having traveled and moved around a lot, I have friends who are really more like family scattered all over.  Even if I'm not great at staying in touch.  (Which really means I'm actually treating you exactly like I do my family.  Be flattered... I guess.)  So when and old friend, Michael, was coming out to visit and I started to replay memories, I realized I'd known him for 29 years.  Which doesn't even add up because I met him when I was 16 and now I'm 25 in my head.  How can this be?  HOW CAN WE BE OLD?

But, we are.

And we're starting to forget things.  Apparently.  Because I swore I told Michael and my husband, Craig, that they met once back in 1986 at this thing this one time.  How can they not remember that?  Wait.  Maybe I forgot to tell them.  Ok, I'm really not even sure.  But, I AM positive, that Michael is where I got my love of Karmann Ghias. Because his was the first one I ever rode in.  We were driving down the coast in California taking pictures of us while driving.  Yes, were the founders of selfies.  

If only we trademarked it & got a penny every time someone selfied.

It's just amazing how nearly 30 years can go by, our lives are completely different and yet our relationship isn't.  How can this be?  Because as much people change, they also stay the same.

 I'm totally positive we look exactly the same as we did 30 years ago.
(Especially because is zoomed out and we don't have our required reading glasses on in this photo.)

Thursday, March 12, 2015


I didn't understand the importance of rituals for a long time.  I thought their rote, ceremonial nature took the thought and meaning out of things. After all, growing up I'd spend an hour each week faithfully doing Catholic calisthenics.  You know, sit...kneel....stand.   I didn't know what the significance of doing it was.  But, I knew for damn sure precisely where in the mass to do what.    Even though I had no idea why.

It's only in mid-life that I get the importance of routine.   

When I'm in a healthy routine, I'm efficient, energized and focused.  And I don't have to consider other options, because good choices are built into the regimen.  The regime I created of exercise, eating right,  working and playing.  Which is backed up by a lot of thoughtful intent to keep myself grounded. It keeps me from being bogged down by the minuscule details that threaten to derail me.  With the detail work on autopilot,  It frees me up to focus on the bigger picture and more creative pursuits. 

But, it's only in mid-life that I also see the value of breaking routine.
Because you can't get perspective on anything by constantly doing the same thing.

The challenge is keeping a balance of ritual and risk.  Putting yourself out there and reeling yourself back in.  And the biggest is forgiving yourself when you falter.  Which I do with some frequency.  (Especially with Catholic guilt roots.)

It's ritualistic even.   

Monday, March 9, 2015

Book Ends

I am many things, but indecisive is not one of them.  I know what I like and I know what I don't.  And I don't apologize for either one.  But right now, I don't know quite what to think.

A couple of months ago, I was with girlfriends and we were discussing a book.  And everyone but me disliked the book.  Not because it was poorly written, but because they didn't like the main character and her questionable choices. Which is something I'd never considered before.  Until that very moment.  Which is when I knew I didn't have to like the main character of a book to love a book.

What I do like to have in a book is a writing style that is easy to read with a voice that gives me insight into the character.  I prefer short chapters and a story that moves along without getting lost in extraneous unnecessary details.  Basically, get to the point already.  Cause I've got other things to do and a queue of other books to read.  Oh, and make me think about things from a different perspective.

So after reading some heavy apocalyptic books (The End of Oil & The End of Food), I was looking for something light and funny for a palate cleanser.  That's how I came across One More Thing:  Stories and Other Stories by B.J. Novak.  Touted as a book of humorous essays from the writer of The Office.  Perfect!

Except when I started to read it, I didn't find it to be very humorous.  It was unexpectedly deep, dark and very twisted.  And I couldn't stop reading it.  Because I had no idea what the next essay would be about.  And I needed to know.  But, what I didn't know was whether I loved it or hated it.  Even after I finished the book.

I went on Goodreads to mark it as read, which prompts you to rate it from 1 to 5 stars.  Which I rarely have difficulty doing.  Sometimes I'll want to give something 3.5 stars, which of course isn't an option, in which case, I'll round up.  I still had nothing though.  So I didn't rate it.  But, I did read the reviews others gave it, which were all over the map.  And I agreed with almost all of them both good and bad.

Ultimately, I think the best gauge of a truly good book (or movie) is that it stays with you long after you reach the end of the book.  That being said, I guess that means I loved the book.  I guess.

ADDENDUM:  A train of thought after reading this book led me to thinking about the old Twilight Zone TV series and how good it was.  You can find them on Netflix.  And they are every bit as good as you remember them to be.  My kids were hooked.  Even in black and white.  With slow moving stories building twisted suspense.  Kinda like that book. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

My Addiction

I'm not an addict. But, I was in denial.  Then I said it over and over, as if saying it out loud would make it true. I AM NOT AN ADDICT!  Words can lie, but actions don't.  Especially when you repeat them over and over.  The way an addict does.

My name is Marie and I am an addict.  

I'm not addicted to:

My phone
Video games
Junk food
Or proper grammar & spelling (obviously)

I'm addicted to my pole.

The thing about pole is, there are so many things you can do on it that you can never know or be able to do it all.  Which means you always have something to aspire to.  Which is both really good and really bad.  Especially for someone with a hyperactive perfectionistic, competitive side.  So even though I have some cool pole moves in my repertoire, I'm never satisfied.  It's never good enough for me.  I want better.  I want more.  Like any other addict.

I spend my days trying not to look at other pole dancers' videos and photos, but then the thoughts fester until I give in to them.  Then I head to my bedroom, strip down to my underwear in the middle of whatever I'm doing in the middle of the day to give it a whirl.  Feeding my insatiable need to feel defeated.  (I just did this very thing 2 minutes ago while writing this post when I went to link my video and caught a glimpse of someone else's pole video.)

I'm always seeking the next hit.
And it's never enough. 
I'm never enough.  

Me in flag.
It doesn't matter that I can do this.  Because I've been able to do this for a month.  Maybe even close to a year now.  So while it may look impressive to you, what I see is that I'm not perfectly straight and my feet aren't together.  (And WHAT exactly was I thinking with that wall color?)

Yesterday morning, even though my arms were still burning from my last pole workout, I decided to attempt an aerial flag. Meaning, you start on the pole, not from the ground. Which greatly increases the difficulty.  But, I'm strong, so I can do this.  I can so do this.

AND.....I SUCK ^20!

And then somehow none of the things I can do matter.  All that matters is I can't do that.  Whatever 'that' is at any given time.  I know it's not really pole that I'm addicted to.  It's self defeatism.  But, it's the one thing I'm truly awesome at.  So why would I want to quit that?  Because it hurts so good.

Monday, March 2, 2015


Your heart pounds.  Feasting your eyes on the object of your lust.  If only.  Imagination running wild with possibilities.  A visual daydream of what could be, if only for a moment.  Before it ends.  Because primal passion always ends tragically.  Sometimes our appetites aren't meant to be fed.   Sometimes starving our desires is the only sane thing to do.  

I've learned this lesson over and over.
I try to contain my lust.  
I really do.
But it's just so tempting...

It was a Sunday morning and I couldn't stop my eyes from wandering.  Lust does not take a day of rest apparently.  Especially at Target.  Especially in the shoe aisle.  That's where I saw them, the sexiest and tallest stilettos I'd ever seen.  Ones that would surely lead to my untimely death if I wore them.  I fantasized about having the balance and commitment to discomfort to justify buying them.  But I knew it was a delusion.  Somehow, I had the strength to walk away and leave them there on the shelf.  For now anyway.

Until the next time I was at Target.  When I visited them again.  My lust compounding.
There had to be a way to justify buying them.  
And I would find it.

So I did.  It wasn't so I could dance on a pole in them.  It wasn't for a fancy dinner.  It wasn't to put them on display on the shelf in my closet for ogling purposes.  Which would only lead to my youngest daughter sneaking them off the shelf to wear while she brushes her teeth.  Which accounts for most of the wear and tear (and toothpaste drippings) on my heels.  

No, my plan was even more creative than that.

So I texted friends.  Tried them on.  Put them in my cart.  And bought them.  Finally. 

So I couldn't find the scotch tape and all I had was Christmas robot paper from 8 years ago.
It's the thought that counts.  Right?

And wrapped them up and gave them to my friend who is a complete heel whore for her birthday. 
She could even dance in them.  And she did. 


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