Category Archives: Story of My Life

On Love and Cancer and the Universe

It’s amazing how quickly a day can change.

This morning I woke up thinking about how great it felt to decide to make time for the things I want to do (build this space, gain experience, make a transition) and how quickly the internet can make things happen (Doni really is a Fairy Blogmother). I was looking forward to that plus my trip with AOhDub back to Tennessee for football and friends and food and fun this weekend. Things were honestly looking up (in spite of some eye-rolling revelations I had today about a boy thing that now seem beyond stupid).

Then, during a meeting my phone went off. It vibrated, then again, and again, signaling not the usual text from AOhDub but an actual call. A quick check told me it was J, one of my favorite people and my best friend in Tennessee. I didn’t think much of it– we’re staying at her and T’s place this weekend – until I listened to the message to find that they won’t be in town. Instead I found out that they’ll be down in Atlanta because T’s mom is being put on hospice care.

The news was a surprise but not a complete shock. She has been battling cancer for over three years. 15 months ago she was doing pretty well at J & T’s wedding but I know how quickly things can change with cancer. And part of the problem with living far away and not doing a good job of staying in touch is not knowing these things before they sneak up and cut you to your core.

Regardless, this is an amazing woman who laughs a lot and loves so hard it’s not even funny. I moved to TN and became T’s roommate sight unseen and before I knew it I had another mom there to keep an eye out for me while I was below the Mason-Dixon Line. While I lived in Knoxville she doted on me and J like her own daughters and when J and T got engaged and then married, she was over the moon to finally have a kid who would call her back and listen to her stories every time. This is a woman who scolded T for exclaiming “Dude!” to me on the phone because “she’s not a boy” (even better is the fact that he didn’t ever say dude before the Californian moved in). You won’t meet a sweeter lady and although she might gasp at my language the only thing I want to say is fuck cancer.

Life gets turned upside down sometimes. But those moments are often the only times we allow the universe to remind us of our own mortality. Of our own complete inability to make plans. Of the need to tell people how we feel and to get rid of toxic people and things from our lives.

So, I guess all I can say is, thanks universe, I hear you loud and clear. And everyone else, think of J, T and his parents this week (I know I will be, even while I’m willing the Vols to crush the Gators) and give everyone you love lots of hugs.

Back in Action

I haven’t been around lately. Brew Review got off to an awesome start and then fizzled as a result of complete slacking (both in drinking new beers and writing). I have about 12 half-finished posts but can’t seem to find the words to conclude them.

My life is weird lately. Or it always is, but the weirdness and complexities and lack of direction have been much easier for me to see lately. Either way, it seems like just when I think things are going the way I’d like or I’m getting into a routine things immediately change or I unconsciously self-sabotage whatever thing I’ve been building. Like my latest foray into running, I’ve run more (and longer) races this year than I ever have before but I haven’t run in almost 3 weeks at this point and can’t convince myself that I should. And then there’s this space, which I felt like I was getting a real handle on and ready to take it to the next level with weekly features and more posts and possibly self-hosting and cool designs and whatnot, and then didn’t write for more than two months.

A lot of times I feel like writing but more times than not I convince myself that I don’t have time right now or I should be going to bed or working or doing dishes or that if I stare at a computer screen for another 20 minutes today, I might lose my vision or my mind.

But here I am deciding to be back. Deciding that it’s the right thing to do for my sanity and my career and myself. Deciding to make this space better and to create time for it. Doni’s latest newsletter has inspired me to make writing and posting and sharing things that I have to say a priority. And to make it easier for myself to write whenever I can.

And that’s where you come in, not only do I want to write more here, but anywhere. Not only do I want to do social media and web content for fun and as a part of my job, I want to do it as my whole job or my side gig or my volunteer position because this is where I think I’m headed, although I know the universe finds plans (especially mine) utterly hilarious.

Regardless, this is me putting it out there on the internet (like my favorite wizard-panda Amber recommends) that anyone who wants this kind of help or needs an unpaid intern or a volunteer or a guest post or just someone to send crazy emails to or knows anyone that does, then let me know.

What have I been doing since July, you ask? Let’s see, infused some bourbon, went to San Diego, drank a habanero IPA, ate a lot of Pizza Port, found out how many craft breweries exist in San Diego and decided I never wanted to leave, came home anyway, pined for living near the ocean and riding a beach cruiser again, got a promotion-ish, hired an employee, ate all the wrong things, continued to wish I lived somewhere else, drank a lot of whiskey, ran a couple 10k races and kicked off our nine-month busy season at work.

So basically, nothing of note unless you count the part where my new favorite beers are any beers made with hot peppers. Or maybe the part where I might have a drinking problem.

BiSC 2012: The One with ALL THE DANCING

As you probably know, I spent the weekend before last in Las Vegas with 59 other bloggers at Bloggers in Sin City (BiSC). When I first sat down to recap what was an amazing weekend, I didn’t know where to start, which is why it’s been over a week and I’m just now posting this. Also, apologies for the novel but it was just SO MUCH EVERYTHING.

The People
From the moment I walked up to Dominique and KlutzyBallerina outside McCarran the awesome, hilarious and high quality conversations never stopped. You know what else never stopped? The dancing. I’ve never seen a group of people dance as much as we did over a four-day period. Dancing in clubs, dancing in bars, dancing in buffets, dancing while eating, chair dancing, dancing on the backs of booths in the VIP section, dancing while waiting in line for roller coasters, dancing on the street and it was the best (and this is coming from an only semi-enthusiastic dancer). You name a place, we probably danced in it and we definitely won at dancing. Especially Mikael, who actually has the most booty-shakin’ booty in all of Vegas. The Flamingo Pool crowd says so and that’s basically like a Supreme Court ruling, right?

And as we were dancing and discussing horse porn and spending too much money to see the inside of a Vegas strip club (honestly, if I were there for the boobs, I would have demanded my money back because they were lacking), it became clear that these bloggers are just as funny, smart, caring, kind, quirky, energetic, interesting, geeky and talented as they are on the internet. I know it sounds surreal and it was, but I’m pretty sure that I could have a great conversation with every single one of the BiSC-uits (and I tried to do that too). I also loved that, despite the fact that some people knew each other already or were having their own mini-reunions, no one was surprised or offended when I elbowed my way into a circle or yelled my way into a conversation.

Oh and did I mention how fucking gorgeous everyone was? I mean, go out right now and gather 60 people off the street. You’re bound to get a few odd-looking ones, right? What about the first 60 people you can find who spend a lot of time on the internet? Yeah. Yet, somehow this group was so ridiculously good-looking. And not only that, they were also generous about complimenting everyone else. Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t really need anyone to boost my confidence any further, but yet, there I was on both the giving and receiving* end of some genuine compliments (it’s really amazing that I was able to fit my big head through the front door when I got home). And did I tell you how we fucking killed it at Mad Men? You know that you’re doing it right when people yell your party theme at you as you walk down the street. The dresses, the suits, the pearls, the heels, we BiSC-uits clean up reeeeeeeal nice y’all.

The Places

View of Eiffel Tower from the VIP area

VIP…NBD

Vegas is the place to do all the things you’ve never done before or don’t usually do back home and I can’t think of a better place to let loose 60 bloggers for a weekend. Whether it was eating a dinner of mainly AMAHZING homemade meatballs at Spice Market buffet at Planet Hollywood** or guiding Katherine down the sidewalk while she closed her eyes to avoid the people dressed as creepy characters (like Hello Kitty, whose hands belonged to a man and seemed to constantly be texting) or running down the strip at 8 a.m. past still-drunk revelers, Vegas is the only backdrop you want for one of the best weekends of your life.

Not only were there TVs in the bathroom mirror, pink lighting and striped wallpaper in the Flamingo Go Room the delightful Laura and I shared, but we could also see the Bellagio fountains from our window, and, most importantly, the drapes were controlled by a wall switch which we took great pleasure in utilizing every time we were in the room.

I also can’t forget the 24 hours of buffet that we were provided, all of which included cotton candy at all meals (sorry Jenn for forcing myself onto your cotton candy because I was too stupid to get my own). And of course, the sundae bar and booze at Serendipity3 which gave us the energy and loose muscles to tear up the dance floor at Margaritaville. We also owned the dance floor at Diablo’s (where I noticed they have an all-you-can-drink daytime rooftop deck bar beer special that I’ll need to check out next time) for about four hours after an INCREDIBLE Zumanity show that was funny enough that people in the audience weren’t uncomfortable with the fact that people were rubbing their genitals together and wearing glitter g-strings on stage.

And the last place I’ll mention is the spectacular rooftop VIP section at Chateau in Paris. Nothing beats the view of the Eiffel Tower, the roped off dancing area, space for dancers atop the booths or people dressed as odd creatures and characters (see also: real life horse porn?).

The Things

Stunner of the Month koozie

Shades + koozies = love at first sight

If you want the greatest gift bag of your life, go to BiSC. I can’t name ALL of the sponsors who donated ALL of the awesome things, but I’ll give you an idea. The first thing I did when I took my gift bag back to my room was try to take a photo of my Bitter Baking Co. cookie but once I got it out of the wrapping, it was in my mouth (TWSS), which tells you how amazing it was. My pre-Mad Men drink combined my Vita Coco with my Skyy Coconut Vodka and I look forward to spending the summer rocking my Livefyre shades while keeping my beverages cold in my Stunner of the Month koozie. The Z Confections Salted Caramel Sauce is nearly gone (and tastes awesome with apples, because that makes it healthy right?) and it took less than 24 hours in Vegas for me to finish of all of my Le Bon Garcon caramels. And lastly, if anyone can either tell me where I can get more Relax & Refresh Balance Water (checked three local Whole Foods & Amazon with no luck) or just ship me some, my body would greatly appreciate it.

The People (Again)

Lauren in the Flamingo fountain

Just hanging out with some flamingos at 4 a.m. Classic BiSC

I can’t name everyone who I loved meeting because that would pretty much just be a list of all the attendees (who you can find here) but I can say that I was glad to let Caryn sleep on me in a strip club, thoroughly enjoyed being able to finally meet Amber, Drea, Sara, Rachael, Doni and Nicole in real life, loved talking whales and pups and life with Nic and am grateful that Laura was such a good sport and good sleeper when I wandered into our room every night at 4 a.m. I also probably owe Brad money, enjoyed watching Adam pick up all the small people, regret not spending enough time playing in the flamingo fountain with Lauren and Bob and can’t believe that I’m going to have to wait a year for Mikael and Berto to sing “Belle” to me at the Paris buffet again. And if I ever need someone to find me seats at a crowded In-N-Out or recommend the best legit Spirithood for my needs, Tiff and Nick are my first call.

I am grateful to the BiSC Run Clubbers (Nicole, Jayme, Terra & Swapp) for coming back to make sure I hadn’t died and for making me feel welcome despite my lack of speed and endurance and especially to Jayme for telling those guys that we were from the U.S. Women’s National Team. Oh and I can’t forget to thank Tara for also getting lost in Planet Hollywood and for introducing me to the Cat Paint app and Katherine for being the only BiSC-uit I met before the event and to both of those two for rooming with me on Wednesday night. And my trip wouldn’t have been the same without discussing the meaning of #bearclawvagina with Amanda, seeing shirtless photos of Brandy‘s dad at the Calgary Stampede and talking Georgia (the country) and sharing a love of all things T.J. Maxx & Ross with Jen. Also to everyone else who was awesome and I didn’t mention, I love you.

Very, very lastly, I have to say that without Nicole, Doni and Rachael, this event would be nothing (and also wouldn’t exist). Thanks for being fucking rockstars, I want to dance all up on your sponsor-grabbing, event-planning, energizing, inclusive, loving, hilarious souls.

BiSC-uits, let’s do it all again next year (or sooner). I can’t wait to touch you all in real life again. Not in a creepy way. Unless that’s how you want it.

Everyone else, if this wasn’t enough for you, check out the #BiSC hashtag (especially on instagram) or any of the BiSC-uits’ favorited tweets to view a blogger unconference in all its glory.

* You guys, I honestly had to play it cool when my hero Nicole told me that she reads my blog comments out loud to her boyfriend. I mean, I hope I played it cool because I was having a total internet geek girl moment inside while sitting in a room of like 20 other genius bloggers. Nicole is my spirit animal and if she didn’t know it before, it’s now out there for the world to see.

** If someone can hook me up with the recipe for those meatballs, I could die a happy woman. The breadcrumbs on the outside weren’t mushy, the meat inside may have been ground turkey. I don’t know, I just dream about them every night.

Kicking Ass and Taking Names

So, yesterday I bought a pair of pink pants. And cut 6 inches off my hair. And got hit on by a guy who worked at an AT&T store for the second time in about a month. Things are getting weird around here.

I would like to blame it on the weather and the season changing. Summer is right in my wheelhouse. But this time I don’t think it’s just that. Things are changing and I’m forcing them to change. I’m making a concerted effort to make my life better and happier. More yelling excitedly and less ragey ranting. Or at least that’s what I’m hoping for.

I’ve been restless for months, a year even. Everyone around me knows it. The more restless I get, the more I start talking about doing over-the-top things like shaving my head or flipping my desk, quitting my job and moving to an island. This time instead of just talking about change, though, I’m doing it. If there’s one thing (there are WAY more) I learned from Molly at Stratejoy during our six weeks in the Find Your Passion Work group, it’s that you can’t let fear stand in your way.

All of this has been building. In January, I told myself to ignore the anxiety that goes along with registering to spend a weekend in another city with people you don’t know. And now, in less than 48 hours, I’ll be a rookie at Bloggers in Sin City finally meeting the people I’ve been talking to on the internet, some of whom I’ve “known” for years. The people who made me want to blog in the first place and the people who keep me from having to find all funny animal things on the internet myself. Basically ALL THE EXCITEMENT AND YELLING!

In March, I emailed Molly hoping that I could snag the last spot in the FYPW group and I’m so glad that I did. About three weeks ago, I decided to make a big change in my work life and on Tuesday, I’m making my intentions clear about that to my boss. I’m basically a walking ball of panic now, but I know that this change will be good for my sanity, health, attitude and writing. Relatedly, if anyone wants to hire me, I’m good at writing, editing, content management systems, InDesign, social media and dog walking.

Lastly, starting tomorrow and every Wednesday after that, you’ll see a new series I’m starting called “The Brew Review” in which I give myself a productive excuse for drinking more beer. A new brew every week with some info and review from yours truly. Gladly accepting suggestions for microbrews and foreign beers to try!

So here I am. I feel like I’m on the precipice. As Steve Zissou put it, “I’m right on the edge. I don’t know what comes next.” It’s exciting. And terrifying. And the only good way to start the summer.

What are you on the verge of? What comes next for you? Are you as excited about summer as I am?

Checking In

So, I have about 10 partially completed drafts on here but I have just not had the time or interest to write after doing it all day at work lately. This is not a good sign and it kind of makes me irritated with myself. Regardless, I just want to check in because the weather is getting warmer, we’re only 29 (TWENTY-NINE!) days until Bloggers in Sin City (can you tell I’m starting to get excited?) and tonight my weird life continued and I’m feeling inspired.

Lately I’ve been trying to work on me. Mainly, working with Molly at Stratejoy and the rest of the AWESOME Tuesday Find Your Passion Work group to figure out what my next step might be. I’m finding out so much about myself and can’t wait to figure out what it means about my passion work. Things have also gotten complicated at work and pretty soon I’m going to be forced to figure out if I’m going to stay there with some changes happening or just take the leap and try to change careers. So basically I’m excited and anxious and restless all at the same time.

In other news, the weather is starting to warm up and you can smell summer in the air. My friend Jamie once said to me, “Summer is your season. I can tell, you’re just so happy.” For me summer is the time for adventures, barbecues, sunshine, slow season at work, the beach, day drinking, bare feet, music, free time and roadtrips. It truly is my season and as I continue this work I’ve been doing with my Stratejoy group, I’m starting to realize it might be hard for me to tell the difference between work being better and the season making me happy.

For some reason (likely The Nicole Effect), I realized about a month ago that I’m signed up to RUN two races next week. On Sunday, Anna and I are taking on our first 10k and then Thursday I FINALLY get to meet my first fellow BiSC-uit when Katherine, Anna and I run (walk?) a 5k at Sac State. I’m pretty sure I’ve lost it. Relatedly, Anna and I have gotten so busy at work over the last two weeks we’ve run a combined three(?) times, so basically, we’re ready. In the end, we figure we’re always lapping the people on the couch and also we’re all for setting the bar reeeeeeeeeal low for the future.

Speaking of being fit, tonight Anna and I took my roommate out to dinner for her birthday. Since the soul food (read: fried) place was closed, we opted for the only other option: the mac & cheese restaurant (seriously, everyone please come to Oakland and eat mac & cheese with us at Homeroom). While there, we managed to get the most attractive server in the place (who was also wearing a Sons of Anarchy t-shirt) and basically drooled all over him the entire time. Then, when we got the check, I realized we had been wrong and the server WAS, in fact, the same server who we gave my number to about a year ago. He also WAS the same guy who actually did text me and later call me to hang out. And he WAS the guy who invited me to a Punks vs. Hipsters Fight Night (read: BEST) at a local motorcycle club, but, not wanting to go meet a stranger alone, I declined. Despite all of these realizations, Anna decided he probably didn’t remember me either and left a note and my number for him AGAIN. Basically, my friends really are the best, so I’ll keep everyone posted on that one.

Last thing I’ll report is that we’re going to see Childish Gambino for the second time in a year tomorrow night. Among the many reasons that I’m excited about this: Childish Gambino is fucking clever, I’d like to have his babies, the Fox Theater is awesome and I have plans after work two nights in a row. Clearly summer is in the air y’all.

So, what have you been up to? What are you excited about? Do you LOVE summer as much as I do?

The One with the (Almost) Empty Inbox

photo of inbox with five emails

GAH this is the best feeling!

So today was the day I was going to make time to write something meaningful here. I left work before 8 p.m. (this is becoming an issue for me) and I had a plan for myself. And then I let other things get in the way and suddenly it was 10:45 p.m. and I found myself staring at my gmail inbox.

Staring. Cringing. Looking at the giant number of emails I had let accumulate and stagnate without ever sorting them or getting rid of them. So instead of sending myself into my room to read or sitting down to work on a post that I’ve been meaning to write for days, I got to work on my three hundred-something email inbox.

A half our later, I breathed a deep sigh of relief. Five emails in my inbox. All either important or things I want to do in the coming weeks. You know how I feel right now? Euphoric. Utterly relieved. Like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I can’t remember the last time I felt this good and mentally calm before going to bed.

Which got me thinking, maybe the only thing I’ve needed to do lately is just make a plan of attack, organize and follow through. Maybe my outrageously cluttered inbox was clogging up my brain and leaving me feeling like I wasn’t finished every day and that’s why I wake up every hour, or find myself thinking about too many things just to focus on one.

Or maybe I’m just a charter member of the Lazy Girls Club and doing something productive fills me with a false sense of accomplishment and overwhelming pride. I’ll keep you posted.

I’m Probably Losing My Mind

Originally this post took a serious “woe is me” tone about how shitty 2012 has been so far and how I’m on the verge of a nervous breakdown. But then something changed and I’m ready to kick 2012 in the ass and possibly also pay attention to my desktop background that stares me in the face every day on BOTH my computers: “Happiness is a choice. Be happy or be miserable. The distance is the same.” (thanks Shatterboxx!)

I’m not saying I’m all happy sunshine and puppies and meadows and rainbows and unicorns yet. So far 2012 has been kind of a bitch to me. I know this is all very “first world problems” of me but, so far the new year has been: getting yelled at like a child in the workplace, being pulled back into the cruel grips of insomnia, laying in a ball on my bed due to some serious stomach distress, dragging myself to work and a lingering cough rearing its ugly head every time I laugh.

Oh yeah, and then there’s the mouse. If you’ve been following along on twitter, there’s a mouse in our apartment. I’ve set out traps now after meeting the mouse twice yesterday. It’s been over 24 hours and we have no dead rodents. Now I’m starting to think that the mouse might be a figment of my imagination. My roommate hasn’t been here when I’ve seen it, it seemed to vanish into thin air in my kitchen yesterday and also, did you hear, it’s NOT. DEAD. YET. So in addition to my other problems, I may be going all John Nash on y’all. And unfortunately the state’s budget shortfall has been closing down all the best mental wards.

UPDATE: I am not crazy. Or at least, there was a mouse. In the trap this morning. Unfortunately, I didn’t really think about how the implications of me not being crazy would be that I would have to deal with a dead mouse instead of hallucinations. But, after a slightly traumatizing removal experience, I have conquered the mouse and solidified my future as a building super.

I swear I had a point. Oh yeah, even though the first three two weeks of this year (only two weeks? WHAT?) have been basically one shitstorm after another, I’ve decided to move on. Even though the last few weeks have seemed like a dark tunnel with no end and a weird smell, I’ve now got a plan. Or part of a plan.

Anna and I are ready to make some moves and get off the fatass train (the one where you start to look like your couch) and actually signed up for some races today. We’ve got a training plan, an investment in a race and we’re ready to Kick Ass and Take Names. It’s a proper noun because that’s the name of our shared training calendar (not crazy).

So yeah, I’ve started to get one part of my life back under control and I’m ready to get all the other things back together. It’s easy for just a couple people to remind you that things aren’t so bad and that they will get better (another reason why the internet is so, so amazing). On a related note, seriously consider becoming an organ donor, it’s one of the greatest gifts you can give.

So, here I am, ready to climb out of the shithole and into the light of the kickass year that 2012 is going to be. Progress, that’s my word. So it’s about time to get started, don’t you think?