Thirty Seven

Wednesday I turned 37. Which is frankly, unbelievable.

It’s not that I don’t feel like I’ve done much, I actually feel like I’ve done a lot in my 37 years. But, I still feel like there is so much to do.

So, in an effort to stay accountable, here are a few things that I want to do in my 37th year:

Get Fit. Not get skinny. Not get fast. Not lose weight. But get fit and healthy and feel good about my body and my health. I don’t want to focus on a magical number that I want to see on the scale or a unicorn race time that I want. I just want to be fit again. I want to feel good running and working out. I want to feel like I’m putting healthy food into my body (and not necessarily the lowest calorie food).

Get Writing. I’ve always wanted to be a writer. For a long time, I thought that meant short stories. But, I think, I’ve finally got the story of a novel in me. It’s time to actually put the effort into it and get it rolling.

Get Uncomfortable. This means a lot of different things to me. At it’s core, it means, not saying no to doing something on a weeknight because I know I’ll get to bed late and be tired the next morning. Life happens in those “out of your routine” moments. And on a deeper level, it means trying something challenging again. Not being scared of new adventures or of failing a new adventure.

Get Involved. Politically, charitably, humanly. I’ve had a lot of good things and opportunities in my life and it’s time to really spend some time helping those who haven’t had that.

So there you have it. The things that I think are important for this next year of my life. We will see what happens…

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Mending Wall – Robert Frost

Mending Wall

Robert Frost, 18741963

Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun;
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs.  The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
‘Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of outdoor game,
One on a side.  It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.'
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors?  Isn’t it
Where there are cows?  But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I’d ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offense.
Something there is that doesn’t love a wall,
That wants it down.'  I could say ‘Elves’ to him,
But it’s not elves exactly, and I’d rather
He said it for himself.  I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me,
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father’s saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, ‘Good fences make good neighbors.'

Hard not for me to think of Robert Frost on an inauguration day. But somehow, I felt this one more fitting for today than “The Gift Outright.”

 

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My Life

Yesterday, as I slowly pulled myself out of a sick coma, I was excited to try a new hair product. It’s supposed to be a wave maker type of product and so I scrunched in it and fluffed it up around my crown and felt like I was looking pretty damn good. In my head it looked like this.

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So, I’m strutting around the office thinking I look like Alexa Chung (above) and I walked into our Office Manager’s office and he said… “is your hair supposed to be wild and crazy or…?”

Uhhh. No.

So, then, I ran into another co-workers office and said… hey, does my hair look “wild and crazy?” Her eyes got wide and she pursed her lips and she said. “Yeah… I didn’t know how to tell you, but it doesn’t look good. Your face looks better with less volume.”

So, I scurried off into the bathroom and pulled my hair back like I ALWAYS wear it. When I got home, I took pics for evidence.

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Yes, I whitebarred my eyes, because it was dumb face AND the bags under my eyes were atrocious. BUT, even in the pic, I still think it’s VERY Alexa Chung. Ugh. I think it looks cute. Maybe by the end of the day with it being pulled back, it had lost some of it’s volume.

img_3294The after.What it looks like virtually everyday. Le Sigh.

So much for trying something new.

Best and Worst of 2016: Books Read

So, I keep a google spreadsheet of all the books I read each year, which, I highly recommend, because I love going back and seeing what books I read in 2011 (when I started keeping track). Anyway, the last couple of years, I started incorporating a rating system so that I could look back and remember if I liked a book or not. Here are some of the best and worst that I read last year.

Favorite Fiction Book of the year:

You: A Novel by Caroline Kepnes

I should say first off, that I listened to the Audiobook version of this book, which I HIGHLY recommend.

tumblr_n04wg8ascc1smqghdo1_r1_500 Santino Fontana aka Joe Goldberg

Santino Fontana narrates the book and OHMYGOD he is fantastic. I still hear his voice in my head when I think about the book. His voice IS Joe Goldberg.

ANYWAY, this was a book recommended to me by my friend Melissa, and I read the back of the book a few times and was always like.. Meh. The words and phrases “stalker” and “digital age” scared me off. But then I read Stephen King’s blurb on the book: “hypnotic and scary” and I thought, STEPHEN KING has a blurb. It’s a worth a shot.

IT WAS SO FREAKING GOOD. And Santino’s narration, made me actually LIKE the despicable and crazy Joe Goldberg. It’s terrifyingly erotic. I mean, I kept asking myself… uhhh… should this being having this effect on me? Shouldn’t I be utterly disgusted with Joe? But, I think that’s the beauty of the book and the genius of the writing (and the narration). You can’t help but strangely root for this scumbag and yes… be weirdly turned on by him.

It’s the story of a man who essentially becomes obsessed with a woman and does everything in his power to get her into his life. But, it’s raw and the writing isn’t fluffy and it’s obvious that the writer isn’t trying to write a Dickens novel, but she’s writing a REAL novel about a could be REAL guy and life. I don’t want to spoil anything, but please read this book and do yourself a favor and listen to the audiobook. You will thank me. (and your significant other will probably thank me, too).

Favorite Non-Fiction Book of the Year:

The Indifferent Stars Above: The Harrowing Saga of The Donner Party by Daniel James Brown.

I LOVE non-fiction, and particularly historical non-fiction, but, I am picky as hell about it. I don’t like sweeping tomes of history or even really biographies. I like books about a single event or thing. So, this book was right up my alley. I don’t remember really learning or hearing about Donner Party, so, I was pretty shocked by it.

The book tells the stories of the families that made up the Donner Party who traveled from Missouri to California in 1846. Which… in and of itself would be an interesting read, but throw in all the tragedy, bad luck, and ill-advisement that this group experienced and DAMN, you start thinking about what a soft life we lead.

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Totes easy to navigate through with wagons and 12 bazillion feet of snow.

If you are one of the few people in the world (like I was) that don’t know the outcome of this story, I don’t want to say too much to spoil it. But, if you like reading about this time period and you like reading about people struggling and taking risks and about the human spirit, this is a great book for you. I was finishing this book on the way to the Des Moines Marathon and during the race (the worst race of my life), I kept trying to think of the families from the book. And, it was hella inspiring. And of course, now, going to the Sierra Nevadas and hiking part of their trek is on my bucket list.

Anyway, I highly recommend the book. It has a journalistic feel to it, like you’re ready a really long magazine piece (which, is, again my favorite type of non-fiction). (And there are so many cartoons and gifs I could have included, but they give away too much about the story, and if you’re like me, and didn’t know about it, I think the book is better that way. You’re Welcome

Least Favorite Book:

Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter

Sometimes I love this genre, but this book just fell flat for me. I couldn’t wait to finish it. I honestly don’t remember much about it, it was one of the first books I read last year. Apparently I’m in the minority, because it has really good reviews on Amazon, though. So… who knows.

What was your fave and least fave of the year?

Bitch Lessons

On November 29th, I was in a fender bender. A woman ran through a blinking stop sign and hit the front bumper of my car. No one was hurt, she had insurance and she was basically the best person I could have asked for in the situation.

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The bulk of the damage.

The actual accident and the immediate aftermath were fine. It has been the coordination of the repairs that has been so annoying. First of all, I had the accident on November 29. The body shop couldn’t even look at my car to give me and the insurance an estimate until December 7th. Once I finally got that done, the earliest they could schedule the repairs was January 3. I jumped at the appointment, even though it was almost a month away, BUT, my friends… don’t always take the first appointment offered.

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See the problem is, that the day before (January 2) was a holiday. So, not only was the body shop closed, but so was the rental car location that was handling my insurance claim (HERTZ).

I called Hertz 3 hours before they were supposed to pick me up and I should have been tipped off by the conversation:

Me: So, my name is bitchSTATE and you guys are handling the rental car portion of an insurance claim with State Farm for me. I need to be picked up from the body shop at 10am.

Hertz: Okay, just call us when you get there.

Me: You can’t just meet me at the body shop at 10am? I have an appointment there and everything, so, you’re not going to have to wait or anything.

Hertz: It’s fine, Ma’am. Just call us when you get there and we will send someone over there.

Me: Er. Okay. See you at 10am.

Not a good start, but nothing TOO alarming. When I got to the body shop the gentleman helping me immediately said, have you called Hertz? I replied that I had spoken with them earlier in the morning and that they told me to call when I got finished at the body shop. He immediately picked up the phone and called them for me. “They can take a little while, sometimes. Best to get ahead of them, if you can.” he said when he got off the phone.

45 minutes later, they picked me up. I kept my cool. The guy driving the car (that smelled like he’d been smoking in it for the last 45 minutes) explained that they were busy and short staffed. I was fine with that and we chit-chatted as he took me to the rental car location.

I get to Hertz and think, okay, no big deal… I’ll get my car and be on my way. I walked inside and was greeted with a line 4 people deep. The good news? They had 3 stations, this will go quick, I thought. Until I saw three or four people lined up along the walls, sitting in chairs waiting. Hmmm.. maybe those are all the people waiting on luxury cars or something, right?

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All those people were waiting on cars. The details of the clusterfuck that ensued aren’t really the point of this post. The point I want to make is this… An older lady came in behind me. The type of older lady, who was carrying a Michael Kors purse, gets her hair done once a week, and certainly never misses a church service. This older lady waltzed inside the joint and walked up straight to the counter, bypassing the rest of us plebians who were low class enough to stand in line and be civilized. She was told to sit down and that her car needed to have an oil change before she could rent it. I smugly smiled to myself. Heh. “That’s what you get,” I thought.

About 10 minutes later it was my turn to talk to a customer service agent and to my dismay, I was told… “your car needs an oil change before we can rent it.”

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I sat down disgruntled, but quiet, next to fancypants Michael Kors lady. I pulled my phone out and did what any other self-respecting career woman would do on a Tuesday at 11:15am. I played Pokemon Go.

And for the next hour and fifteen minutes I sat there, while the friendly people at Hertz ran around like chickens with their heads cut off trying to help everyone that came in the day after a holiday that they were closed on. They were clearly backed up and honestly, they kept us updated and were sympathetic, and while YES I was annoyed to be wasting so much time, when I had already tried to call and arrange everything in the morning, they were at least doing their best given the situation. It had to be a shitty ass morning for them, too.

Unfortunately, for me, my fancypants Michael Kors neighbor was super frustrated and apparently didn’t have Pokemon Go to distract her while she waited, because she decided to vent all her frustration to me. Hmphing and scowling, and talking loudly about the bad service. Which, LADY, TRUST ME, if they had a car for you, they would have given it to you, I don’t doubt that they would have taken you off in a sedan chariot that had to be carried by 4 men, if they could have, just to get you to go away.

tumblr_mzvzhfvmsr1r7yxrco2_250OR ya know, ride a sheep outta that place or something.

At first, I tried to chat with her a bit and calm her down. “They seem really busy… they are keeping us updated… it is the day after a holiday…” But she was having NONE of it.

All this to say, it was a big lesson for me. I generally try not to get frustrated when things out of my control piss me off and waste my time. But, of course, sometimes that happens. And I am actually the least patient person I know, so that doesn’t help. But, being a total BITCH  doesn’t help. It didn’t make her feel better (in fact, I’m sure it just made her more riled up), it made me feel terrible and embarrassed for her, and I’m sure it was hurtful to the people who were trying their damnedest to get us into our Hyundai Sonatas as quickly as possible.

It reminded me of a Plato quotation I read somewhere on the internet once (and have now looked up again, so that I get it right. Although, it’s the internet, so, who knows who really fucking wrote it)…

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.

Sure, I didn’t leave in my Hyundai Sonata until 12:30pm. But, I kept my cool and was gracious when I was helped.

The funniest thing… the lady got into the passenger seat when she was given her car and asked if someone could drive her down the block and show her how to use the car.

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I hope her day got better. And I hope that you take my advice and never schedule an insurance car repair where you need a rental car the day after a holiday. And if you do… well, bring a book.

Running Playlist

It’s that time of year again. Time when it’s dark outside when you get home from work. It’s cold (and if you are lucky… it’s snowy!). So, you are probably running more on the treadmill, than you’d like.

giphySadly, none of us look as fly as this guy on the treadmill.

#goals

Here are my current faves:

  • TUSK- Fleetwood Mac
  • SEND MY LOVE (TO YOUR NEW LOVER)- Adele
  • COPPERHEAD ROAD – Steve Earle
  • IMMIGRANTS (WE GET THE JOB DONE) – K’naan, Show tha Product, Riz MC & Residente
  • COCONUT TELEGRAPH- Jimmy Buffett
  • TRUTH #2 – Dixie Chicks
  • ONE SHOT – Struggle Jennings
  • AMERICAN YOU- Yelawolf
  • BURN- Andra Day
  • DANCING IN THE DARK – Bruce Springsteen

Bonus: they are just all-around good songs to listen to, as well.

What’s  on your favorite running playlist these days?

 

 

Welcome

Greetings from bitchSTATE. In the coming weeks, months, maybe years, I hope to post about random things like running, traveling, cooking, occasional politics, books, television shows, and just lots of bullshit.

Oh and dogs. There will be lots of posts just about dogs. So, be ready for that.

Happy 2017 and Happy reading here at bitchSTATE. Hope to see you here again, soon.