DARING to eat new food!

Here we are again! This is week three for my Daring Adventure. Last week, life got in the way (and maybe a little laziness too) and I decided to lay low. The week before that, even thought I didn’t post it, I was DARING to look up. I have a bad habit of stooping a little when I walk with people (I’m 6’3″, everyone else is shorter) and I tend to stare at the ground. So, a couple of Fridays ago, two of my best friends and I went downtown for a drink or two and some eye candy shopping. I wore bright red lipstick, a good boob shirt, and didn’t stare at the ground once. I held the gaze of strangers, not in a creepy way … well, okay, maybe I looked at SOME of them in a creepy way.

So the next daring activity we picked from the list was to try new foods! This one, even though it sounds really simple, was ridiculously hard for me. I am picky. SO FREAKING PICKY. For example: I went through a phase that every time the family went out to dinner, it was chicken strips or nothing. I was in high school. Another example, you ask? Prime Rib might be one of the most delicious cuts of meat on the planet—I prefer Sirloin. I don’t like the way Prime rib is marbled with fat. Still not satisfied? Here’s another: I enjoy mushroom flavoring, but I don’t want to eat mushrooms. I’m a texture eater; if the texture of a food grosses me out, I won’t eat it. I don’t particularly care for pudding, yogurt or jello because of the texture. Same goes for pork chops, cooked carrots, onions(I’m getting better with this one), and meatloaf, among other things.

Tonight, Tara and I went to a Vietnamese place called Ocean Phở. We perused the menu, looking not for something familiar and known-to-be-delicious, but for something we’ve never eaten before. She ordered the “cơm chiên đờ biền” which was fried rice with shrimp, shrimp paste, squid, fish balls, and imitation crab. I had the “phở đuôi bó”, oxtail soup. After we placed our orders, we anxiously awaited for the dishes to arrive, we sipped on Cam Vat which is apparently just fresh squeezed orange juice. The menu didn’t give an explanation as to what it was, so a few keystrokes and Google results later this evening, I discovered the simplicity of the beverage. Its probably the best OJ I’ve ever had!

Cam vat

 

 

Then came the OXTAIL SOUP. It looked delicious enough and smelled wonderful!

 

phở đuôi bó

 

 

 

The first bite? AMAZE-BALLS. Some of it was chewy, most of it was fall of the vertebrae tender. Oh, did I mention that there where VERTEBRAE in my soup?? It was a little hard to swallow (HAHAHA) at first, but I got used to it fairly quickly. I couldn’t help but play with my food after I had eaten all the meat off the bone. Turning it over and over in my hand.

 

Vertebrae

 

 

 

Of course, Tara and I shared our dishes with each other, so I got to have some squid, fish balls (don’t ask, because I don’t know how they’re made), and shrimp paste for the first time. All in all, it was a great experience and I definitely want to go back to try some of the other dishes they have to offer. It was a culture shock being the only two Caucasians in the restaurant; something every one should experience at least once in their lifetime. On to the next adventure!!

 

Mmm, mmmm!

Today, I do something DARING

The other night at work, I was sitting in the dining area for the evening and they had Pandora tuned to a Country channel. Normally, I wouldn’t mind, but all the songs there were playing were songs that my ex-boyfriend loved and/or sent to me as little love notes every so often. I wanted to cry for my entire shift. As previously mentioned in this blog, we didn’t end on good terms. Hell, we didn’t even end on okay-ish terms. Whenever someone asks me how my last relationship ended, I reply with “it exploded”. That doesn’t mean I don’t wish him well, or that I hate him. I was texting a few good friends of mine that night, trying to cheer up and the following exchange occurred:

Me:”I’m going to get all emo for a hot minute. Work is playing country music tonight, the kind that Nick loved. It’s been 9 months and it still hurts my heart to think of him. That goes away eventually, right?”

She:”Missing someone will always be there, but the pain will dull and the frequency will lessen over time. It’s much more cathartic to acknowledge the broken heartedness than it is to pretend it’s not there. Have your moment of memory and hurt, give your heart a little hug, gently remind yourself why you are where you are right now, then hike up your britches and march on with your life.”

What amazing advice! I could not have asked God to surround me with better friends. Is there a man in Montana who still holds my heart? Yes. Does he deserve to still hold it? No, but that’s where it is right now and all I can do is reclaim a little bit of it every day.

I thought long and hard about what the best way to move on; how to live my life to the fullest without being hung up on the past. So I attempted to make a list of all the things Nick didn’t like about me or behaviors he didn’t enjoy. It was a short list, comprised of “hanging out with guy friends while he was at work in North Dakota”, “nagging him about his alcoholism” and “cutting my hair any shorter than my shoulders”. I picked the only one on the list I had any control over anymore and started looking at short hair cuts. I’ve been wanting a pixie cut for almost 2 years now and it’s about time I went for it. I didn’t dare do it for the entirety I was dating Nick because he flat out told me “if you cut your hair short, I’ll by you a wig on the way home”. I’ve avoided cutting off my luscious locks since then because I’m a big fat chicken. I’ve made excuses, like “my face is too fat for that kind of cut” or “what if I look like a lesbian??”. In the past week, I’ve decided something really important: WHO THE HELL CARES! I can always lose weight. I know I’m not a lesbian. And who gives a shit if other people think I am? A few women have given me their numbers/hit on me while I’ve had long hair (which I find super flattering, by the way), so it’s not like my hair has anything to do with being thought of as an attractive woman. I will admit, part of not wanting to cut it all off was founded in the fear that men will think I’m gay and therefore won’t be interested in flirting/dating/making out like teenagers/etc. It’s not like they’re knocking down my door as is, so I went for it!

 

NEW ME

 

Out of this physical transformation sprang an emotional and psychological one that I am naming: “Today, I do something DARING”. My best friend and I are traveling this path together, doing at least one daring thing a week for the next year. We are pushing ourselves, and each other, out of our comfort zones and encouraging each other to live life to the fullest.

Summer Vacation Sucks

Sorry for the delay in writing, someone texted me “K” and I was busy plotting their demise.

For being unemployed and receiving (what feels like) continuous “thanks, but no thanks” emails from NUMEROUS companies — seriously, I couldn’t even get a job at Target for Christ’s sake; they told me I’m over-qualified, the bastards — I have been leading a pretty busy life. Granted, most of my time is spent doing family activities, running any sort of errands I can think of and spending a bunch of time with my best friend as well as reconnecting with old friends, meeting their significant others and, in some cases, their children.

It’s odd, this not making money and living with your parents thing. I’m 26 and feel like I just graduated high school. I feel like I’m on summer vacation and just waiting for my real life to begin. Except for that sense of responsibility gnawing at me from the time I wake up to the time I go to bed; the nausea that settles in the bottom of my stomach as I watch my savings dwindle each month as I pay my bills; the lump in my throat that swells up every time I get a rejection email from a possible employer; the extra weight I feel on my body as I am forced to walk around with pants on because I no longer live by myself.

 

I have a little something something in the works for another in-depth Disney blog, check back soon!

Snapped

I went to Chipotle for dinner tonight because I deserve it … and it’s a day that ends in “y”. The line isn’t too long, my stomach isn’t so empty that it’s eating itself and the place isn’t stuffy. All in all, these are ideal burrito-anticipating conditions. In front of me is a hipster/grunge couple(?). The girl has a few dreads that look like they haven’t seen a wash in years and the guy … THIS GUY. Ugh. White undershirt, tight jeans, sidewise hat, shitty attitude about life in general (every sentence he completed was filled with an air of “uhh, my life has no meeeeeaning, wah wah, doom and gloom”) and fake taper plugs in his ears. For those of who you don’t know me: I have REAL plugs in my ears; I’ve gauged them to a size 2. It’s not huge, but when I wear my hollow ones, you can see through my ear. Fake plugs bother me. Not in a you’re-such-a-pussy-I’m-so-awesome kind of way, just in a it’s-not-that-hard-to-gauge-them-take-it-out-if-you-don’t-like-it-they’ll-go-back-to-normal-I-promise kind of way. Either way, I wasn’t judging (too hard, anyway), just minding my own business, waiting for a burrito and watching Sushi stare me down from the jeep when I FELT HER DREAD LOCKS TOUCH MY ARM!! I freaked out. Hardcore. Dreads gross me out and the fact that her human pathogen-growing hairdo touched me made my skin crawl. I recovered and took a slight step backward so it wouldn’t happen again.

 

We went through the ordering process and while the cashier was ringing them up, the girl at the end of the line was finishing up my burrito.

“Anything else?”

“Yeah, toss some lettuce on there. Try to make it look healthy.”

“Haha, sure thing, let’s give it some green illusion.”

 

THEN the hipster guy leans over, while looking at my burrito and says, “Lettuce isn’t healthy, it retains water in your body so you should always replace it with spinach or not get it at all,” he FINALLY looks at me, “just so you know.”

 

I snapped and my brain-to-mouth filter, that’s been on vacation or the last 26 years, wasn’t there to keep the tongue lashing at bay. I replied with “I’ll start following your unsolicited dieting advice when you can commit to something as simple as gauging your ears and wearing jeans that fit, but thanks for your opinion.”

They paid and left without another word, the cashier had the biggest grin on his face when he asked “anything else?” and proceeded to give me a fountain drink on the house. BOOYAH.

Dating Disasters

I attract everything I am not attracted to. I had a date tonight, the first one since the great relationship explosion of 2014. He seemed like a nice guy, smart, conversationally capable, handsome, employed, blah blah blah. The coffee was nice, the conversation was sparkling, the walk was calming, the kiss … left me wanting. And not in the good way. It was sloppy, it was desperate, it just wasn’t what I wanted. Then mofo got handsy. And wouldn’t let me get in my car to leave. Boy almost got a knee full of Six Shooter in his crotch. Making me raise my voice to tell you to STOP IT does not bode well for a second date.

 

I got home and relayed the conversation to my parents, who were on my side of the issue. Later, I was talking with Dad about men are stupid (he apologized on behalf of all men), then told me that I was being too general. “BOYS are stupid, MEN are okay … but just to be safe, don’t trust them. Don’t date them or kiss them or even look at them.” Oh, daddy-o, how I love you.

 

While I try to be patient, I am getting a little miffed that my partner in crime has not presented himself. I’ve dated plenty of duds, where is my stud?? Why can’t I find a tall, decent looking, smart, kind, educated, outdoorsy alpha male with good credit and nice teeth? WHERE ARE THEY HIDING??

 

Oh well, back to swimming in the dating pool and trying not to be grossed out by all the old guys in speedos.

 

 

Fairly Awkward

 

 

 

 

 

Adventure is out there!

A rare photo from my childhood

 

Well, this is it! The goodbyes have been said, the Jeep’s tank is full, the bags are packed and I am ready to head out. I am going to miss you, Missoulians. It has been a wild ride these past six years full of trespassing, new friends, heartache, triumph, milestones, degrees, surgeries, rafting trips and bonfires. I have met some really amazing people … and some really not-so-awesome folk. Since moving to Montana, I’ve been fired for the first time, learned how to ride a motorcycle, earned a BA, adopted a dog, had my first concussion, made three documentaries, earned three Emmy awards and really discovered who I am and who I want to be. There is no way to know what my future holds, but I am excited to see what comes next!

Egg On Your Face

I have been wanting to write this particular post for two weeks now, but I kept making excuses for not doing it. I didn’t have time, I couldn’t find the right words, I wasn’t in the right mood, blah blah blah. Truth is, I was terrified. I am scared to be this real with people, to let it all out, my life flayed open for all to judge. But hey, that’s the purpose of this blog … *deep breath* so here goes:

I was raised in a Christian household. For as long as I can remember, we attended a Southern Baptist church in Southern California. It was a good place to raise a kid, there were good families with similar aged kids that I grew up alongside. I learned bible verses, went to church camps, participated in biblical trivia battles and the AWANA Olympics and through it all I never really believed. I was baptized at the age of 6 and went through all the motions; I knew what I supposed to do on Sundays, what I was supposed to say, but I never put my heart into it.

Recently, I have had a change of heart, I started listening to a little voice in the back of my mind. It started as a whisper and has escalated into a roar. I’m not sure when I started listening, but I am certain that it has been calling me for quite sometime. Things in my life started to change, subtly at first, then I started to feel ways about stuff, like an adult. The night I told my boyfriend, whom I had been building a life with for a year, that I couldn’t marry him someday if he wasn’t a  Christian was  a huge turning point in my life. He reacted in the most volatile manner imaginable. He disappeared for a night (we’re neighbors) and when he returned, he wouldn’t look at me, barely acknowledged my presence and then said some of the most hurtful things that have ever been directed at me. He fucked with my head and broke my heart (and our relationship) into a million pieces. Granted, there were a myriad of red flags that I willfully ignored (anger issues, a drinking problem, lying), but my returning to faith and requiring that belief in a partner was the straw to break the camel’s back. I am in no way suggesting that all the fault lies on him, I have my faults as well. Just as it takes two people to make a relationship, it takes two people to break it.

The bible tells us not to be unequally yoked. I like the New Living Translation best: “Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness?” (2 Corinthians 6:14)

What the bible doesn’t tell you about is the gut-wrenching pain that comes with finding the truth of this verse the hard way. It doesn’t prepare you for the sleepless nights, the loss of appetite, the stomach aches, the exhaustion brought on by hours of crying, the dreams where everything is okay and you wake up to find your world in pieces around you leaving you to experience the heartbreak anew. It’s been two weeks since that night and while I am stronger now, while I know I made the right decision, I need to remind myself daily that I am on the right track.

In the days following the break up, I was on a roller coaster of emotions that drained me, scared me, almost broke me. I clung to Sushi to keep me sane, keep me focused, keep me putting one foot in front of the other and rebuild our routine. Sunday night, four days into the aftermath, my heart broke. I had been crying and trying to find my way out of the depression when something inside me clicked. I sat on my couch, placed my hand on the living room wall (the wall that he and I share in the apartment complex) and prayed. I prayed for God to harden my heart against this man, not to make me hate him, but to make me remember why it is that God felt the need to distance my heart in the first place. I prayed for my ex, that he be granted peace and that he find it in him to be a better man, the man I know he is capable of being. Then, I slid to the floor and silently cried out to God, asking him to use me as the vessel he intends, asking him what I am to learn from this heartache, what am I supposed to gain from this suffering. I needed answers and those first few nights all I wanted was for the man next door to hold me and tell me everything was going to be okay. Seeing as how he’s the reason everything was broken, that was never going to happen.

Something clicked with me that night. I didn’t need the man next door, I need the Man Upstairs. I have always needed Him. For the first time in my life, I have decided to take my faith seriously. It’s something that is completely new to me, it’s scary, frustrating and, at times, feels really cheesy. I’ve been reading a book called “The Single Woman” by Mandy Hale and it has helped smooth out the rocky ride. It talks about finding your worth inside of yourself, with your Creator and not in the eyes of any man.

What I am about to share with you, I have only shared with one other person: the reason why I stayed with him for so long …

I stayed with Nick for so long because I wanted to be wanted, for once. I haven’t had much luck in the dating world and here was this handsome, tall, funny guy who was into me, REALLY into me. Then he started talking marriage and my heart leaped at the chance to be so loved by one man for the rest of my life. I let my crushing desire to not spend my life alone cloud my judgement and blind me from what I needed to see. I am TERRIFIED that I won’t find love, because I am not the girl that guys go after. I’m not the prom queen, the size 3, the hot one, etc. I am taller than most people I know, I am outspoken, I am quirky and I can be pretty loud.

I stayed with him when I should have left because I don’t think that I can be worthy of anyone’s real love. And what he told me the night that it all came crashing down(that he had slept with someone else the night before)  just solidified that in my mind. I am not the girl that men seek out and I am not enough for them to stay. I did EVERYTHING for him, I gave him EVERYTHING and ALL of me and it just. wasn’t. enough.

I can’t keep pouring my heart and soul into every person I date or I want have anything left, but I don’t want to become cold and bitter and my greatest fear is still ending up alone, one way or another: whether I have been destroyed and I am a husk of the person I once was or I become callus to feeling anything but fear and mistrust.

And it was through this conversation that I hit upon an idea. An amazing, wonderful, uplifting idea. I am starting a second blog (I will still keep this one going) to foster a 365 photography project. No matter what, each day I am going to take a “selfie”, most likely with Sushi involved, even if I feel fat or ugly or just not photogenic. Then I’ll post it on the blog with a little blurb. I want girls, and grown women, to know that you have to love yourself first. I don’t want anyone I know, and even those I don’t, to feel like I do now. Finding your way in this world is a tough experience, so no one should have to go it alone. Find my daily photo project HERE.

For those of with a significant other, make sure you’re not taking them for granted and for those of you who are fellow soldiers in the dating war, know that you are not alone, that we’re all in this together and it sucks. You’re not going to meet the perfect person, they just don’t exist. However, you ARE going to find someone who compliments you, not completes you. If someone tells you that you’re “too picky” tell them thank you. The standards you set determine the life you get; don’t EVER settle for something that you don’t feel is right, listen to your intuition and trust your gut. You deserve the best.

balls

In Progress

Well, some unfortunate things have happened since I last updated this.

My first Christmas without both grandmothers (and I spent it away from family). The one year anniversary of my beloved Grandmother Rose’s passing. My best friend and her fella parted ways (on good terms, but it still hurts).

Most heartbreaking: a break up with the fella I have been seeing for a year. It was abrupt, it was hurtful and it was scarring. I thought he was the one and I was blinded by my love for him; I fell hard and fast when I met him and I allowed my desire to not be alone for the rest of my life to lie to me that everything was okay. I have a post coming, but there are still some things I need to work out within my head before I can get it all down on paper (or whatever the internet equivalent of paper is … screen?). So for now, I shall leave you with this little ditty that I dance to as often as possible.

 

 

There ARE blue skies ahead.

 

I’ve been cooking up a little photography project to not necessarily hone my skills, but to celebrate my life, and the lives of all of us who live with imperfections. We’ll see where it takes me!

So help me, I will turn this apartment around!

Sushi’s a pretty kick ass dog. She likes to sleep in, she likes to cuddle, she likes to hike and ride the motorcycle and be a goofball. She gets along well with just about everyone she meets (if Sushi doesn’t like you, I don’t like you, simple as that. She’s an extremely good judge of character), plays nice with babies and other animals. The only thing she takes issue with other dogs that have to get all up in her grill. She doesn’t like that at all and she isn’t afraid to make it known.

Enter Mr. Winston Mallory, our furry house guest for the weekend.

Chill, Winston.

Winston is a pure breed Blue Heeler, a cattle dog, who likes to herd just about anyone and anything. He also has an OBSESSION with the extra folds of skin on Sushi’s neck. He is constantly trying to sniff them and/or lick her teeth. And she loves it! … Just kidding. She freaking hates it. And he tries to do it ALL. THE. TIME. So much so that “stop touching her”, “just leave each other alone” and “you asked for that one” became the soundtrack to my life Friday night. After awhile, they both calmed down and Princess Sushi tolerated the presence of the “intruder”.

Grrrr Bah Humbug

Then came the cuddle puddles! Winston isn’t allowed on the bed at his house, but when he visits Auntie Six Shooter, he’s allowed to get up there with Sushi and I. Sushi was being her usual bitchy, territorial self for awhile, but then seemed to resign to the fact that Winston wasn’t going anywhere soon and gave in. I think the belly rubs helped sway her.

Puddle o' Cuddles

I love being able to help out friends like this, seeing as how they watch my dog from time to time. It also makes me appreciate Sushi all the more. And I know that after all is said and done, she REALLY REALLY likes being an only dog.

Snuggles!

I seeee you

Catch Up!

Apologies for the delay in posting a post, but things have been a bit hectic in my life and quite frankly, I haven’t been in too good of a mood to write anything.

Towards the beginning of October, I finally gave in to the warning signs of extreme pain my left knee and made an appointment with my orthopedic surgeon. Three days later, I had an MRI and three days after that I had a date for surgery #6. WELL, CRAP. That put a wrench in my plans, for sure. It wasn’t so much the surgery that had me bummed out, I mean, I wasn’t excited at the prospect of yet another surgery on my knee, but the consultation with the doctor is what really had, fuck, it still HAS me down in the dumps.

A little back story: In 2004, my sophomore year of high school, after an amazing season on the HS basketball team and about halfway through track season, I was playing basketball in P.E. I had the ball and was about to throw it all the way down court, I looked down to see if I had stopped walking before I chucked the ball and I watched my left knee bend, then straighten AND KEEP BENDING BACKWARDS. Then it snapped back forward and I fell to the ground, unable to put weight on it. I had torn my ACL in a really bad way. When they opened me up for surgery, they found that it was disintegrated and I had to have my leg locked straight for 3 months. When it was time for physical therapy, I literally had to relearn how to walk — scariest thing I have ever done. That was the beginning of the end for my left knee.

In 2005, I tore the cadaver ACL they had placed in my leg because I literally tried to run before I had finished learning how to walk. I ripped up some cartilage in there too.

In 2009, I slipped in the dish pit in the kitchen that I worked in at the time and tore my lateral (inside of the knee) meniscus (the spongy cushion the keeps your leg bones from grinding against each other). The doctor sewed it back together for me.

In 2011, I was on a first date with a fella (who I never saw again) walking to get some coffee and I kicked at a piece of trash on the sidewalk and tore my meniscus again, this time severely enough to have it partially removed.

In 2012, my body decided it was done having a dead person’s tendon inside of it and rejected the cadaver ACL. So the doctor replaced it with some of my own tendons because apparently your body makes spare parts(?). I still don’t understand that one, but hey, I can walk so I’ll run with it. (Ha! See what I did there? So clever.)

When I went in to talk to the doctor, he told me that my knee is degenerating. It’s rotting from the inside. Not because of a virus or a single injury, but just … because. Which is terrifying. And extremely depressing. I played basketball for 8 years and now, I haven’t played for 9. I can’t hike for more than 10 miles without limping the next day and my leg gets stiff when cold weather strikes. I have had six knee surgeries in nine years as of December 5th, I am 26 years old. TWENTY. FREAKING. SIX. And there are more surgeries in my future. Maybe not next year, maybe not the year after that, but the possibility is always there, always looming. Eventually, I will have to have a total knee replacement, hopefully after I turn 35 or so, that’d be nice.

At my post op appointment, the doc and I were going over the pictures he took while inside my knee and he showed me all the bone spurs he shaved down and all the scar tissue they scraped off of my ligaments, tendons and bone. He also showed me that my ACL is fraying. He’s hoping that the aggressive physical therapy I am currently undergoing will help me out enough that I won’t need another surgery “for 2-3 years”, but he has told me to prepare myself for that to not happen.

That’s why I haven’t felt like writing. Well, that and all the drugs I’ve been on since they opened me up. Such wonderful drugs.

On the plus side, my mother had just officially retired and came up to live with me for 3 weeks to help me out. It was the first time in 6 years that I got to spend Thanksgiving and my birthday with family (surgery was the day before Thanksgiving and my birthday was a week later). And there were really good drugs, did  I mention that?

 

 

Post Surgery Snuggles Sweet Iodine Tan