Sunday, March 18, 2012

Goodbye, for now.

Okay, so I haven't posted in over two months... I know. I fail. Except really? Not so much. I'm kind of kicking ass in my work/personal life, these days. I haven't written about my life lately, because I've been out there living it.

All sorts of awesome things have been happening:
I ranked in the top 10% of my call center again, my roomie got out of debt and into her own vehicle, my Seester and The Squeedles came out to visit, we went to an Ani concert, Liam is learning baby signs, the anti-depressants have lifted the haze, I got a new tattoo, and *THIS VERY WEEKEND* I will be flying to Iowa to see my lover for the first time in 4 months.

So, yeah. LIFE.

Who knew?

Given all of this living I've been doing, the posts will definitely be less frequent.

Of course, I'm still posting on The Twitter (as I have for the past 5 years) with obnoxious frequency. My handle has changed, however. I can now be found as @MusingManna.

I'm trying to make my online presence slightly more anonymous.

It has come to my attention that I will soon be Twenty-Six years old, which is closer to Thirty than it is to Twenty. So, I've decided to start growing up a bit. I've deleted my Facebook, taken out my nose ring, and started planning towards moving into *a house*.

So, there will be fewer whiny melodramatic rants in the public forum. They'll still exist... But in 140 character format, disguised as one-liners on the Twitter timeline.

I'm hanging up my keyboard, folks. Maybe not forever.
I'm sure I'll find some things to say in the future, but this part of my life isn't as high of a priority as it once was.

It's been a great eight years, kids.

Stay in touch, yeah?

Love and Kisses,
Manna

Friday, January 13, 2012

Trying.

Life's been pretty fucking stressful, lately. I crashed my car and had to figure out how I was going to pay for repairs and a rental for the interim. I've been sharing a one-bedroom apartment with an infant, which has been... interesting. Every day I'm overwhelmed, trying to mentally budget sleep, transport, and finances.

But, I have an AMAZING boyfriend who actually finds JOY in making my life easier. He spoils me rotten in ways both tangible and intangible. He calls me every day, usually twice. He tells me jokes to distract me from my shitty circumstances, but has no problem holding my hand if I go to "the dark side". His affections are unsolicited and constant. He never misses an opportunity to tell me not just that he loves me, but why he loves me.
And he's constantly finding ways to give me reasons to think of him throughout the day. He sent me a sealed bag of his used t-shirts to sleep in, he gifted me 6 electronic volumes of Neil Gaiman's "Sandman" series, and bought me the lamest Valentine's Day Card ever - because he knew it would make me laugh. (Well, at least he THINKS it was the lamest Valentine's Day Card ever. I took his declaration as a challenge, and sent my rebuttal.)
I've gotta say, a shitty day can turn around pretty quickly when you come home to find a case of fancy root beer that he shipped, just because he thought you'd like it.
The fucker even sent me money, because he knew I was freaking out about paying for car repairs. That one was hard to swallow. I'm not going to lie, I kind of had a tear-filled panic attack when I found out. I never thought I'd be the type who needed rescue. My pride was bruised. But at the same time, I felt kind of confused and disoriented, because I never thought I'd find the type of Man who was motivated enough to want to try.
Direct Quote:

"Taking care of you is a delight. Everyone should be so blessed as to have someone like you to need them."

That's hard for me to respond to. I'm working on accepting that I deserve this. I'm doing quite well, by my own standards. He inspires me to want to try to be the person he sees me as. She sounds lovely.

So, I'm trying to take care of myself. (My roommate has helped, a lot.)
I now have a regular doctor, and I've been taking a pain management regime for two weeks. Funny enough, the prescribed (non-narcotic) painkillers end up costing me less than the OTC crap I've been eating like candy for the past year.
Today he started me on antidepressants. The one he prescribed is apparently supposed to help with my funks, social anxiety, and even binge-eating.

We'll see how this goes.

This should help me through the winter. Which is good. Because I KNOW that good things are coming for me in the spring. That lover of mine is flying down for an entire week toward the end of April. Suffice it to say, I'm pretty excited. We're going to a big Sci-Fi Con in Denver, and booking a room.

Every day he provides me with another piece of evidence as to just why he is the man for me.

He's 850 miles away, but I feel closer to him than... anyone... I've told him things I've never even admitted out loud.

We're fucked.

(It's totally worth it.)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Another Year

Nobody really ever explained to me that the older you get, the faster time moves.

I remember what I was doing exactly one year ago, and the memory doesn't seem all that distant. The lease renewal showed up on my apartment door the other day, and I realized that another year of my life is behind me.

I can't really say that I'm where I expected to be, because somewhere along the lines, I stopped guessing what the future held.

In the coming year I will enter the second half of my Twenties. I imagine this means that I am fast-approaching the point in my life at which I will be expected to act like an adult.

I'll figure it out when I get there.

I've never been a big fan of New Year's resolutions, but I can tell you that there are a few things I'm looking forward to in 2012...
I'll have more chances to be near the man I love. Perhaps I'll be moving out of the ghetto, and into a HOUSE. I might get a new schedule at work. I'll probably get a few more raises.

This was a year of emotional growth for me. I feel worthy when things go right. I feel proud when people compliment me. I learned that there are still Men who behave as Men, and that I have every right to demand to be treated like a Lady.

And the biggest epiphany...

I've come to peace with my broken-babymaker.

Circumstances being as they are, I've had the opportunity to reevaluate my urgency towards motherhood. In sharing a one-bedroom apartment with an infant, I've realized:
1) This is as close as I'll likely get to being a mother.
2) I'm okay with that.

And I promise that I'm not just saying this because I'm dating a man who doesn't want kids. NONE of the guys I dated wanted kids. (At first.)

My aspirations for motherhood were formed at a time when I had a different view of how my life would play out. I didn't think that the economy would tank. I didn't think I, among many others of my generation, would be circumstantially forced into "Plan B" scenarios for survival. My Disney Childhood conditioning paired with my golden-child small-town upbringing wired me to believe that I'd have a white-picket fence, an career-employed husband, and a stay-at-home writing career all by the time that my biological clock started ticking.

Instead I work in a call center for a major corporation, making lower-middle-class wages, with five credit cards, living in a dodgy neighborhood. I get by better than most, but it's not the lifestyle I envisioned bringing a kid into. I could manage if I had to, but my passion for child development would be dimmed by my circumstances.

I really love working with kids, and I get a lot of gratification out of helping them learn and discover things in the world. But mostly I love it because I'm so damned GOOD at it.

And I've realized... Just because I'm good at something, doesn't mean that I have to build a life around it. I'm really good at kegel massages; this doesn't mean I should become a call-girl.

This is my life. It's not the one I expected, but it could be a whole fuck of a lot worse.

I'll take it.


And now, I'll play you out with my year-end gift to the interwebs...
A cover of MyHope, originally by Molly Lewis.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Perfect Fit

Life is pretty wonderful.
I mean... I'm in pain all the time from the weather, I spend all day getting verbally abused by assholes, and I never seem to accomplish productive things anymore... But I'm HAPPY.

I'm kicking ass at work. My stats are skyrocketing, and I'm slated to hit max commission this cycle for the first time... ever.

My love life is fucking BRILLIANT. I know I said I wouldn't blog about his visit... So, suffice it to say that things went about a gazillion times better than I could have imagined. I've never felt so... female before. I don't have to wear the pants in this dynamic. It's INCREDIBLE. He embodies the things I've been WANTING (as opposed to settling for). It's new territory. To be honest, it's fucking terrifying at times... But when he was here? It didn't fucking matter. It was powerfully peaceful, after the initial panic-attack-giggle-fits subsided.

Yeah, I think I'm keeping this one. And the amazing part is? He is a firm supporter of this plan. Mind=BLOWN.

My home life is pretty bitchin, too. I have a roommate now. Two, actually. It's surprising as fuck that this is something I'm excited about, because I generally prefer living alone.

My friend and half-kidding Lesbian Lover, Bambi, moved in with her 3 month old son, Liam. I'm gonna be honest. It's cramped quarters 'round here. But it's actually worth it.

I have a HOUSEWIFE!

SERIOUSLY.

I didn't want rent from her, because I can easily afford this place on my own - and I don't like relying on other people if I don't have to. Besides. She's working on getting her finances together.
In exchange for housing and transportation, she has become my housewife.
Like... Handing me a thermos of coffee on my way out the door, having lunch ready for me when I come home on break, dinners planned, white-board heart messages, dishes washed daily... WIFE.

As an added bonus, there's a baby. And it's not mine, so I can give it back. But I also get to take part in the super-gratifying joy of watching and contributing to his development. Win Fucking Win.

I feel as though (almost) all of my physical and emotional needs are being met right now, and it's pretty fucking awesome.

In a perfect world, I wouldn't hate the company I work for in the job I'm kicking ass at. In a perfect world, the man I love would be within booty-call distance. In a perfect world, Bambi, Liam and I would be sharing a charming Victorian on the West Side instead of a one-bedroom apartment. In a perfect world, I would be able to conceive/carry/raise my own child.

The thing is... the world isn't perfect. But that's okay, because things remain interesting. I'll never get bored. Circumstances might not be the perfect fit... But they sure as fuck are comfortable enough for me.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Play Your Ukulele Badly, Play Your Ukulele Loudly

As previously mentioned, in an attempt to help pass the time before the visit of my long distance boyfriend, I've taken up the Ukulele.

At first, I bought a tiny little cheap-o number off of Amazon for $20. Within 24 hours, I had recorded my first cover song to the you-tubes, and fallen COMPLETELY in love with the instrument.


I decided to upgrade. A few days later, I went down to my local Guitar Center, and picked up this gorgeous little piece.

I love the little fucker. Blisters be damned, I've found myself rushing home to practice on my lunch breaks.

Last night I went to a local dive on karaoke night, and convinced the KJ to allow me to perform a song.

A random drunk dude kissed me on the cheek afterward, and told me I was a true artist.
It was sweet... In a creepy sort of way.

So I decided to record another cover... With video this time. I uploaded myself playing and singing Amanda Palmer's "Ukulele Anthem" to youtube, and tweeted the link.


But see... Here's the cool part.

Amanda Palmer saw the tweet.

Not only did she see the tweet, but she watched the video.
Not only did she watch the video, but she retweeted it to her 529,000 followers.
Not only did she retweet it to her 529,000 followers, but she then tweeted me directly... TWICE... To provide commentary.

your cover is wonderful!!! your voice is beautiful!!!!
i especially loved your cheerful delivery of the "holy fuck!" lyric. well done!!! *clapclapclapclapclapclapclap*

Mind. Fucking. Blown.

If there's anything more awesome than having one of your musical heroes compliment you on your art... It sure as fuck hasn't happened to me.

I woke up to countless emails, tweets, and facebook notifications - from friends and strangers alike - showering me in compliments and love.

At the time I'm writing this blog, the video has 140 hits. Not exactly viral... But it's not fucking bad for being up less than 24 hours.

So... Suffice it to say, I'm in a pretty damned good mood.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Quit the bitching on your blog, and stop pretending art is hard.


I've spent the past few weeks trying new and interesting ways to pass the time. My long-distance-boyfriend fellow is coming to town soon. The revolution will not be televised. Rather, the reunion will not be blogged about. At least, not publicly.

I'm stupid-excited about this, but I've also been freaking out a lot lately. Last time I invested this much hope and emotion in a man, I ended up in the loony bin. Granted, I was also a teenager at the time... And it was my first relationship... And I'd never lived a self-sufficient, independent adult reality...

I've got experience on my side, this go-round.

I've been trying to keep busy, so I that I won't dwell on every possible horrific outcome.

Which is why I've taken up the Ukulele!

Also, because Amanda Palmer inspired me with her "Ukulele Anthem":

So play your favorite cover songs
Especially if the words are wrong
'cuz even if your grades are bad
it doesn't mean you're failing
Do your homework with a fork
and eat your fruit loops in the dark
and bring your flask of Jack to work
and play your ukulele
Ukulele small and fierceful
Ukulele brave and peaceful
You can play the ukulele too
it is painfully simple
Play your Ukulele badly
Play your Ukulele loudly
Tell the children
Crush the Hatred
Play your Ukulele naked

I purchased a cheap purple uke off the internet, and it arrived a whole week earlier than expected. I've only had it a few hours, and I've already learned two songs. It is, in fact, painfully simple. I just need to get my rhythm down. Once I get a little better, I'll probably be posting some recordings.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

This is the room one afternoon I knew I could love you

I haven't posted in a while. Or, more accurately, I haven't posted here in a while. The private blog, on the other hand, has been pretty damned up to date.

Things have changed. Trouble is, present circumstances hinder my ability to discuss these circumstances in the public forum.

So I have to be vague about the details...

But suffice it to say... Things are going pretty fucking well right now.

I'm in love with a man. Not a boy. A MAN.

And... Strangely enough... He's in love with me.

Sure, I'll admit that circumstance is a bitch. We're doing this thing long distance, which is never ideal... But it's worth it.

He has MASTERED the ever-shifting but oh-so-delicate balance between the personas of a White Knight, Sexual Deviant, Intellectually Evolved Male, and Surly Bastard.

He's good for me, and I like to think that I'm good for him. We have this "accept compliments" rule that challenges my self esteem issues in ways that no therapist ever could. I've got all sorts of self confidence these days. It's the weirdest thing.

I'm pretty fucking happy. Did I mention I'm happy? I'm pretty fucking happy.

Friday, September 23, 2011

She doesn't really mind being held... When it's her own idea

I'm a regular goddamned social butterfly these days.

Me.

Things have been going well.

I've started hanging out more with my ex, Frank. If you've been reading this nonsense long enough to keep up, you'll understand how weird this is. As it turns out, however, apparently people really can change.

Who knew?

We've been running a weekly game night with Bambi and the occasional stray. It's been a blast. I don't spend much time in the apartment alone anymore. Not nearly as much by comparison to a couple months ago.

Work has been pretty tolerable too, all things considered. Sure, we're busy as fuck and understaffed... But I've been doing alright. So much so, that I ranked in the top 10% of employees in the call center. And that's out of the highest performing call center in the company. (And for the record, this is a pretty big company. So big, that I won't post its name here. Cuz, well... You've heard of it.)

Although, it's funny... The company rewards its top-performing sales-people with trips to beach resorts. It rewards its top performing quality/customer-satisfaction/productivity employees with beach towels.

You can see where the corporation's priorities lie.

But to be honest with you, most of the things that bother me don't seem so bad anymore.

I work for a large heartless corporation...
BUT, I managed to trade UP from my previous job without any period of unemployment - IN THE MIDDLE OF A GODDAMNED RECESSION. That's a pretty fucking impressive feat. SO many people right now are unemployed, or forced to settle for lesser work that they are clearly overqualified for. This isn't what I want to do with my life... But this ain't too shabby, considering how things look out there.

I've been unable to conceive, despite the fact that I am a freakin' baby whisperer...
BUT, I have ready access to many friends with infants who I can help out with. I can get my baby fix anytime I want, and also get to share my insight and advice. (Seriously, I'm amazing with kids. All ages. The year working in a 0-11 daycare during high school, plus the time spent as nanny to multiple infants and toddlers helped me learn my shit. I can get a baby to stop crying, a toddler in diapers to use the toilet, a 6 year old to give a heartfelt apology to his sister, a 9 year old to have fun with their english homework... I am the rock star of the child-raising world. I was WIRED to do this shit.)

It's been a little easier to see the silver lining, lately.

Life is good.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The circle of life


Last Friday, Gurt finally kicked the bucket. I knew it was going to happen. Hell, I even moved closer to work simply because I KNEW this day was coming.

Of course, it happened at an incredibly inopportune time... I was on my way back to the hospital, because Bambi had just given birth to her son.

Something dies so that something can live. Alright. I can dig it.

And for the record, he's a super awesome baby.

I spent that first night with them in the hospital, while she recovered from the c-section. It was all tar diapers and spitup and sleeplessness... And it was awesome. Totally worth the dead car.

Of course, being carless SUCKED. I mean, my mobility had already been severely limited over the course of the past year and a half - because the car barely had enough get-up-and-go to even get on the freeway. In the past 6 months, it got even worse... To the extent which I couldn't even drive more than two miles at a time without repercussions.
It got me to and from work... But that was about it.

I spent 4 days as a pedestrian. Which, in theory, shouldn't have been so bad. I mean, in college I walked or biked EVERYWHERE. But... I'm not in college anymore.
The first day I walked to work, I forgot to pack a lunch - because I was so used to being able to drive home on my lunch break. The second day, I got caught in a rainstorm on the way home.

My stepmom took pity on me, and offered to loan me one of their cars... A 2000 VW Bug. Now, I'm a big fan of that car. I borrowed it once before to make a road trip to Denver for Sandi's birthday, and fell madly in love with it.
It has keyless entry, and an alarm. The alarm is a big bonus in my neighborhood, because I've been super paranoid ever since Gurt was broken into and ransacked.
It also has an automatic sunroof, weather trim, a 6CD changer, A/C, AND it gets killer gas mileage.

A few days after she loaned me the car, she told me that she had talked it over with Dad - and they decided to give me the bug. As in, it is now mine.

In exchange, I basically just have to pay for the tags on the replacement vehicle they purchased - as well as my own tags and insurance.

So, I have a new car.

And it's sexy.


I'm pretty excited about this. I no longer feel confined to my neighborhood. I can visit friends, go for drives, GET OUT OF THE HOUSE...
The world is my burrito.

Friday, August 26, 2011

'Tachi: A Tribute

In the spring of 2007, I was going through a divorce.

The man I had fallen in love with three years prior was leaving, and with good reason. I could go through the list of reasons that it didn't work, but I've wasted enough space beating that dead horse in this forum.

The fact of the matter was, it was over. We tried to part on civil terms, making a list of who should take what. We had furnished our entire townhouse very nearly from scratch, and decided to divvy up the belongings in a manner that made sense - based on our individual needs.

Then, fueled by spite and insistence from his family members, he decided to scrap the list and just clean out the place when I was at work.

Assessing my losses as I walked in, I was a little dumbstruck that he had abandoned our agreement.

I could manage it, though. It turned out for the best anyway. Sure, I loved those couches - but with all the midnight moves I executed over the course of the next year, I had come to value my portability.

Y'know... I was OKAY with it when he took the deep purple velvet couches that I had fallen in love with.
I could COPE with it when he decided to take the washer and dryer that MY PARENTS had given me.
Hell, I was even okay with the fact that he took every last floor lamp from the room that didn't have its own lighting fixtures.

BUT THAT BASTARD TOOK 'TACHI!

'Tachi, of course, was the nickname for my Hitachi Magic Wand... The most wonderful and amazing hand-held vibrator known to man.

Given that the first two years of my relationship to my (now ex) husband were executed long-distance, I had been through my fair share of vibrators. Given a libido that (if properly harnessed) could power a third world country - I became well acquainted with the disappointment associated with weak motors that die after a couple weeks of use.

'Tachi was different, though. I had already owned that device for a full year, and it still delivered immeasurable satisfaction.

Of course, my ex had no use for a "back massager". He was just trying to kick me when I was down... Not that I particularly blame him...

One of the readers of this blog heard of my plight, and had a brand new model gift-wrapped and shipped to me. Attached was a card that read "A new love for a new life..."

For the past four and a half years, this incarnation of 'Tachi has served me well. Through countless moves, bad relationships, and long dry stretches of loneliness - 'Tachi has been there for me.

Over the years, 'Tachi has earned a special place in my heart... As well as my bed.
So much so, that most of my lovers had learned better than to question or complain when they rolled over and felt a prod in their backs. So much so, that I've come into the habit of arranging my bedroom furniture around the accessibility to outlets.

I always knew this day would come. Sometimes, however, no measure of preparation can assuage the pain associated with the loss of a loved one.

Yesterday evening, I found him. Dead.


Dearest 'Tachi... What we had constituted my longest running and most successful relationship. It was real. It was special. You can never be replaced...

Okay, that's a lie. You can be replaced. Hell, for $50 + shipping, your replacements even come with attachments now.

Now if you excuse me, I need to ease my pain with a little shopping...


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Still Here.

I know I've been seriously slacking with the blogging nonsense as of late. In truth, my laptop has been on its last legs for a while now. The sucker got dropped over a year ago, and it was never quite the same since.

But... I bought a new one! HOORAY! It's not particularly fancy. I'm really good at spending money, but I'm REALLY BAD at spending money on myself. So, naturally, I bought the cheapest one they had that came with a webcam. Webcammery is important, you see. Mostly for #TeaTimeOnTheInterwebs. But also, so I can chat with my Seester and see the squeedles grow up.

As for everything else? Nothing particularly new. I still hate my job. I'm still caught halfway between loneliness and misanthropy.

I was losing weight for a while, but I've plateaued. I have, however, modified my eating habits. I actually eat breakfast now. There's a little less delivery and fast food. A few more salads and steamed veggies. Plus, I force myself to do AT MINIMUM 15 minutes of deliberate not-sitting-on-my-ass every day. It's usually around 30 minutes, split between the elliptical and treadmill.

Basically, I went to a couple ultrasounds with my friend Bambi. When we were waiting for the doctor, I got bored and weighed myself. I was pretty shocked to realize that between appointments, I had managed to put on ten pounds. Especially considering that she, being pregnant, only put on two. There was a whole lot of self-loathing going on, so I decided to do something about it.

I'm not exactly losing weight anymore... But I'm no longer gaining. Plus, I have more energy. So that's something, yeah?

In a week or so, I switch shifts at work. It's kind of hard to believe that it's already been that long... I wanted to go to a nice 7:30am-4:30pm, so that I could get off before the night-time rush - but not have to get up at 4:30 in the fucking morning (as I do now). Of course, fate was not so kind. I ended up getting 9:30am-6:30pm. Which is not so bad. There's a little more overlap with the evening rush than I'm comfortable with... But it could be a lot worse. I get a little more time to sleep in, which means I get a little more time to stay up. Which is nice. I haven't exactly gotten out much lately, on account of the fact that I go to bed around the time that most people start thinking about going out.

I feel pretty isolated lately... Which brings me back to the loneliness vs. misanthropy thing. It's a pain in the ass, really. Sometimes I go days at a time without actually speaking to a human face-to-face. But when I am around people, I just feel awkward and out of place. Or, worse, annoyed.

Bambi comes around once or twice a week to escape her family and keep me company. Aaaand that's the extent of my social life.

It's not all bad. I like my privacy. I like my hermit time. I like being able to do dishes in my underpants while dancing to bad nineties pop music. It's better than having to deal with roommates, that's for sure.

The new schedule also switches my days off to ones that are more conducive to socializing. Currently, they're Tuesday/Wednesday. I'm moving to Thursday/Friday. Maybe I can start going out to the bar across the street from my work with my coworkers for $2 rum and cokes again. I don't even know if they're still doing that; it's been so long since I went out.

In any case, I'm still here.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Wedding in Wonderland



This is a little late, but I thought I'd finally do the post about my Seester's wedding in Crescent City.

The trip was fun. I didn't get to see as many people as I had hoped, but I got to spend a lot of time with my Mary... Plus, the wedding was epic and ridiculous.

The theme was "Alice in Wonderland". Initially, I thought that themed weddings were pretty lame. But this was great. Because we were in "Wonderland", everything was silly... And laid back.

My Seester was Alice.
Her Husband was the Mad Hatter.


The officiant was the Queen of Hearts.


My little brother Jakie was the White Rabbit.



My little sister Autumn and Sarah's new Stepdaughter Tiger Lily were the Tweedles.

The Bridesmaids were Playing Cards, my Niece Squee was The Doormouse, and her sort-of-sister-through-divorce was the Cheshire Cat.


We all walked down the aisle to Blue Man Group's cover of "White Rabbit".
An audience member objected, and the Queen ordered his beheading.
Afterwards, while giving our toasts, we played the "Clean Cup" drinking game.

My mom made a video:


I also rickrolled the wedding party... But noone there (except for my seester) "got it".


The whole thing was epic fun. I hate weddings, but this was incredibly tolerable.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Right Back Where I Started From

Today I'm hopping on a plane. And then I'm going to be sitting in an airport for 4 hours. And then I'm getting on another plane. And then I'll be in Oregon.

Then, TOMORROW, I'll be in Crescent City.

It's crazy to realize that I haven't been in Crescent City for the Fourth of July in 5 years.

I miss it.

The town sucks, but they know how to throw an Independence Day festival.

It seems that every decent person that escaped returns for this one day of mingling, candy-catching, drinking, live music, and fireworks.

Share photos on twitter with Twitpic

Colorado Springs throws festivals, too... But they aren't the same.

The Fourth of July used to be my favorite holiday. So much so, that Kris and I claimed it as our anniversary. In truth, we got together on July 2nd... (Seven years ago today, I just realized...) But the Fourth was more fun.

I don't know how many of the festivities I will be able to partake in this year, as they will coincide with my sister's wedding... Which is the real reason for my trip.

She's throwing an Alice in Wonderland themed shindig, complete with "eat me" cakes, and mad tea party. There will be pictures.
I will be her maid of honor, dressed (vaguely) as a playing card.

Work has been pretty overwhelming lately, so I'm very much ready for a vacation.
Unfortunately, this uses up the rest of my vacation time for the year... And a trip back to the town I fought so hard to escape hardly counts as a "vacation"...

But it's something.

Follow the twitterfeed (@avandamanders) for travel musings and pictures.

I'm not bringing my laptop this time, but I'll have my smartphone.

Wish me safe travels, and such.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Tasmanian Cartography and Personal Freedom

Be warned: I'm talking about below-the-belt grooming. If you're reading this from the Facebook feed, proceed at your own risk.




(Image "borrowed" from here.)

It's a tough time for women. As I'm sure you know, we live in a society chock full of idealistic imagery. As photo-shopping technology has progressed, we have come to a point at which no woman is safe from the expectations handed down to us from our glossy magazine cover overlords. Even supermodels are airbrushed beyond recognition, anymore.

As a "fat chick", I can honestly say that the climate does feel a little more welcoming towards plus-size gals than it did when I was pre-pubescent. That is... If you consider a size "14" to be "plus size".

...but we are still expected to live up to certain constraints within the proverbial "beauty standard".
Breast/hip proportion, face shape, eyebrow neatness, cellulite visibility, stretchmark visibility, nose size, ass curvature... The list goes on.

It's easy enough to say "fuck it" to most of those things. We've got creams, fancy shoes, and fitted clothing to help us smooth over those "rough edges" - while still being able to proudly maintain a sense of individuality and body-image pride.

Still, there's one expectation that women in my age box are subject to that seems almost entirely unavoidable...

We are expected to have very little (if any) pubic hair.

It isn't even regarded as a choice anymore. Women are actually criticized for having any sort of "bush". Teenage girls have even taken to ritualistic and compulsive vag de-hairing, out of fear of ridicule from their peers in the locker room.

I'm a generally lazy lady. I'm honestly annoyed with the expectations to shave even my legs and armpits. And, to be honest with you, in the winter months - I refuse to fucking bother. It's funny, in a way... Once upon a time, shaving your body hair used to be a sign that you were plagued with body lice. Now, if you don't shave - people consider you to be dirty. Funny how societal standards can change with a little commercial propaganda.

I'm not saying every woman should grow a monster bush. We groom and maintain the hair on our heads; it only makes sense that we would groom our other bits.

But... Bare? Really?

I mean, sure - it's convenient for certain sexy time activities.
Don't get me wrong, I understand the logistical merits of a manicured lawn. I also understand that some women personally prefer to keep things bare down there. Good for y'all. If it's what you dig, go for it... But how the hell did this become the accepted norm? How in the FUCK did we reach the point at which women are considered UNattractive if they DON'T spend time and money painfully fighting nature?

Should we blame the porn industry? Pedophiles? The folks who make the pube wax?

Fuck them. Fuck the beauty standard.

I call for pubic hair freedom.

Do what you WANT with your nether-regions.
Grow it. Trim it. Dye it. Shape it. Wax it.
WHATEVER.
As long as it is YOUR choice.
Don't let someone else dictate to you what is sexy.
You will never BE sexy until you FEEL sexy, and you can't POSSIBLY feel sexy until you find your own style.

I, for one, will continue to rock the trimmed triangle.
I refuse to apologize for reaching puberty... And you shouldn't have to either.

soft and sweet and shape like a triangle
some girls want no shape and they shave it alli think sad it hurts with the stubblewalk in named look like an eight year old
~Amanda Palmer, "Map of Tasmania"

Monday, June 13, 2011

The end of an era, the death of the coffee raid.

Yesterday "my" diner, the Perkins on Platte, closed its doors forever.

This seems like a silly thing to mourn... But that restaurant was the setting for many of my happiest Colorado memories.

Through flashmobs referred to as "coffee raids", I met some amazing people who have become my closest friends.

Sandi, Emily, Sheila, Panza, Mondo, Cleo...

I met them all there.

These raids used to take place on a regular basis. Sometimes it was just two or three of us. Sometimes, we took up the entire back room.

These flashmobs inspired the premise for our webcomic project "Coffee Raiders".
(Which, for the record, is scheduled to return from hiatus/maintenance 6/14.)

The group has schism'd multiple times since the glory days of coffee raiding. Between breakups, moves, pregnancies, and personal issues... Many of us have drifted apart.
The last major raid was my birthday, and it was... Uncomfortable.

Perkins' closure certainly served as the final nail in the coffin.

In tribute to the great times we shared, I submit these photos... All taken during raids.