Tag Archives: ninja skillz

If you could change one thing about your body…

Hold up.

This is not an attack on body image, it’s an answer to a question that comes up too often, even now when we should know better.

If you could change ONE thing about your body, what would it be?

I would have my nose hairs altered.

Why nose hairs?

On a biological level, I understand them. They filter things out so we don’t inhale rocks into our lungs. They are like little fur coats, helping to keep our mucous linings warm so we don’t freeze our brains while sucking in cold air (that is not a scientific explanation, by the way; don’t quote that on a test) Yet, I wonder why we have not evolved beyond such rudimentary protection methods. I know my life would be a lot better without the need for these dark strands of evil.

I loathe my nose hairs to such a degree that they represent the ultimate agitation in life, they are the the symbol of all things miserable. I can tell how stressed I am based on my dreams; when I begin to dream of nose hair, I know it is time to go to the hospital.

Here’s what I mean:

Mild Stress Indicator Dream: The standard going to class naked, forgetting the locker combo, getting lost in school and being late fare. This dream shows me I am under some stress but it’s generally superfluous and my brain will work it out on its own.

Medium Stress Indicator Dream: The ex-boyfriend who should have cancer based solely on the amount of ill-will I bear him starts showing up and trying to get my attention or assumes nothing has changed between us an can’t figure out why I won’t talk to him. This dream lets me know that my stress level is now noticeable and is something I should keep an eye on.

Strong Stress Indicator Dream: I find myself needing to poop but there’s some reason I can’t use the toilet or I’ll find a toilet in the middle of a giant, empty room and just as I start stinkin’ up the joint, all these people come in and want to talk to me and I’m pretending nothing is happening but I’m desperate to finish my business and I really want them to leave but they mill around and ask me to do stuff and I need to discreetly wipe before I stand up and there is panic. You can imagine my horror at the Poo-pourri commercial. Sometimes the toilet isn’t even a working toilet; it is there as a piece of art or because it needs to be installed in another room and then I have to figure out how to get rid of my horribly smelly evidence once I sneakily clean myself, pull up trow, and make it look like I was never evacuating wastes there in the first place. Now we are in serious dream territory. My stress levels are high and I need to manage them or else there will be problems. At the very least, I will get sick. At the worst, I will turn into Godzilla and kill the entire city of Tokyo.

Maximum Stress Indicator Dream: I feel a tickle on my upper lip. I am usually talking to someone important like my boss or the president of a country who could make war on us or sometimes even to Jenny Lawson. The tickle worsens and I stealthily brush it away with the back of my hand. The tickle continues and as it grows stronger, I begin to sweat, to worry, to freak out. There’s something on or hanging out of my nose and I need to rectify this immediately but can’t think of a graceful way to break from the person to whom I am speaking. Also, I can no longer let that terribly important person see my face so I am trying to have a conversation while averting everything under my eyes from their gaze. Things get awkward as I surreptitiously attempt to assess the damage. As I lightly, quickly brush the nostril area with curious fingers, I feel fur. Like a mouse. I think there is a mouse hanging out of my nose. On the next swipe, I search for a tail. I find none. As my stress levels rise and I continue to find a way to disengage from the conversation in the hopes of finding a private bathroom with good lighting and a clean mirror, I become more neurotic in my ninja-like fumblings around my nose holes and finally, horrifically, it becomes clear: I have an entire handlebar mustachio emerging from both nostrils made entirely of tickling nose hairs. I cover my nose and mouth and run away crying in shame. My life is terrible, bad things are happening, and I’m probably five seconds away from a heart attack. This is the end. It’s time to take down Tokyo.

This is what I think my nose hair looks like.

How my nose hair feels – and probably looks – in my dream.

Yes. Nose hairs are the pinnacle of awful personal worries, worse than showing up to class sans vestments, worse than being hounded by a hated ex, worse than pooping smellily in front of a crowd. No worry tops the  worry of nose hair.

The most terrible part is that my Maximum Stress dream all too often borders on reality. I’ll be driving to work, breathing, like people do, and I’ll feel a tickle just on the inside of my nostril. I always have reason to believe that I’ve inhaled a cat hair since I tend to smoosh my face into my cats’ bellies or backs, breathing deeply, on a regular basis. I often find cat hair on my person, in my billfold, in my underwear…it’s everywhere, including up my nose. So I’ll lightly pinch my nostrils together and gently pull downward, hoping to catch the tip of a feline fur and guide it to freedom. I would guess that 1 time out of 10, there really is a cat hair and it’s usually one that has wormed so far up that the other end is wrapped around my eyeball and pulling it free is a terrible and strange sensation, resulting in watering eyes and squeaky shrieks of something like pain that’s not actually pain.

Those other 9 times? It’s a nose hair. It’s an errant nose hair that has grown its way to sunlight and is blowing in the breeze of my breath, softly bouncing against the skin around my nostril. Why is this allowed to happen? Why don’t they just stop growing at .1 cm? WHY?

I try to ignore it. I try so hard. But I can feel it, wafting in and out on the tide of breath. Before long, it’s all I feel. There is no autumn sunset on my face, there are no fingertips thawing from scraping winter ice from the windshield, there is no wind in my hair on a beautiful summer morning. There is only the exquisite torture of a nose hair licking my tender skin with every intake and exhalation of oxygen through my nasal passages. Even breathing through my mouth sets the follicle a-quiver.

I lose all sense of sanity and decorum; I attack my face…in the car where other motorists can see me. Making tweezers of my thumbnail and the pad of my forefinger, I attempt to locate and dislodge the offending piece of hair. Often, I find it but lose it after my swift tug yields no result. I drive down the road, pecking at face with my own fingers, shrieking like a banshee as I fly at 75 MPH. There is nothing in the world but this battle.

Inevitably, I win, but success comes with a price. My fingerpad is sore and throbbing from having my pointy little thumbnail jammed into it for minutes on end. And when the root of the hair finally pulls free, it hurts. It’s always a deep root, one that goes straight to the bone of my nose, a bone most people don’t have but I know I do because I can feel the hair coming from there. It is such a sharp, swift pain, worse than a needle, worse than a burn. The pain brings tears. And yet, these minor miseries are nothing in comparison to the hair, itself. I roll it between my swollen fingerpad and thumb, relishing my victory. Then I look upon it with triumph and see that the little bastard is half an inch long.

HOW THE HELL WAS THAT IN MY NOSE?

If you are not alarmed, go get a ruler and look at the length of half an inch. Nothing that long should be up inside anyone’s nose.

Ever.

I scream. I scream for minutes, in pain, in terror, in horrified fascination, and in complete disappointment that my body would let this happen. Again.

My fellow road-passengers hurry to pass me, wondering if I am an escapee from some asylum who will undoubtedly be on the news tonight, in the center of a multi-vehicle pile-up.

It doesn’t end there.

When I get home that night, I wage war. Me, the tweezers, and the bathroom mirror, we are the Allies. I pull out every damned hair in my nostrils, every single one I can see, feel, or whose presence I merely suspect. They all come out. I do not care that it hurts, I do not care if I make my nose bleed. I do not care that this results in minutes-long sneezing fits. Furthermore, I do not care if I start inhaling boulders into my lungs or if the air I breathe turns to ice when it passes my brain resulting in permanent neurological damage.

I. Do. Not. CARE.

The nose hairs have to go.

Do you know what my brother told me recently? He told me that he had this blemish on his nose that hurt like nothing he’d ever felt before. It lasted for weeks and would never come to a head. It was just a big, red, sore spot that persisted despite all his attempts to rid himself of said blight. The pain became unbearable and he was left with only one option: dig at the spot until something happened.

It runs in the family, ok? We’re all still alive, so just shut up.

Anyway, do you know what he found?

An ingrown nose hair. A nostril hair that he’d pulled months before had grown back on the inside of his nose, all curled up and evil. He said it was a good half inch long when he straightened it but that it would’t stay straight and kept springing back to its mutant form.

When he told me this, I passed out.

The only thing worse than a half-inch nose hair is the half inch nose hair you pulled out but that returned INGROWN.

Now that I know this, I suspect my Maximum Stress dreams are about to become that much more horrifying.

I hate nose hairs. 

And that is the one thing I would change about my body if I could.

**This post is lovingly dedicated to Sam from Normal For Norfolk as she is my sister in nose-hair hatred.

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Filed under My Opinions on STUFF

I have a little onion, it grows within its bed

Guess what?

After a season of psychotic weather, there is hope.
And by “hope,” I mean “plants are coming forth despite the craziness going on around them” and not “the weather might get better soon.”
I’m not stupid.

Egyptian walking onion

Behold! The harbinger of spring: my Egyptian Walking Onion, aka topsetting onion – read more about them here: http://www.egyptianwalkingonion.com/ – is pushing up through the snow, uncaring that it keeps dipping down into the subzeroes, scoffing at the 20 pounds of precip piling up on it every week. It is ready to be green and nothing will stop it!

And look! Down amongst the deadness, sprigs of Greek Oregano burst forth. Even if summer never comes, I will have oregano to season my meals.

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Filed under Adventures, In my backyard

I was an angelic child – or – Grudge Number One

I attended a Behavioral EQ workshop yesterday where I was once more reminded that I have the emotional intelligence of a hermit crab. At least I’m consistent, I suppose, as these test scores never waver, not in ten years.

You know how workshops go. You build up through the information and then put it all together to get to the pivotal learning moment, which I did. Yay. However, the thing that has stuck with me was one of the beginning questions: “Can you think of an instance in which you became upset and reacted violently?” (not necessarily physical violence, just more along the lines of the Fight part of “Fight or Flight” response). Here’s something neat about me: I tend to get overwrought, upset, hateful, retributional…retributioney? Retributive!…and then I get over it, move on, and typically forget it ever happened. I have three grudges and maybe five regrets for my entire life, thus far. Most everything else that has upset me greatly is now forgotten, though probably never forgiven, knowing me.

Because of this ability to let go of all the things that piss me off, I wasn’t able to think of any recent instances in which I had been so upset that I reacted horribly, fighting instead being receptive to the elements of my situation and reacting accordingly. I thought back, thought back further, continued to think back until I finally settled on probably one of the two most crucial stress situations in my life. The topic? My First Grudge.

Dial back to 1979. It’s January. I’m probably in third grade. Chris is not in school yet; he gets to stay home with our mom all day, doing the things that non-school-attending children do. The holidays are over but I am still basking in the glow of my amazing loot haul. It had been a Christmas like I had never experienced. I got all the things I’d asked for from Santa plus a whole truckload of other great gifts. However, there were two presents that stood miles above the rest in my love and esteem: My beautiful, new, 13-inch Wonder Woman doll and my incredible Barbie Perfume Maker. I adored these toys more than I had ever adored anything else in all my life. They turned me into Gollum.

Are you with me, so far? Good, because here is what happened next:

You know, in my memory, she is much more beautiful. I’d kept the leotard for a long time but it didn’t fit any other doll so I don’t think it survived to my adulthood. However, the pink halter dress is still somewhere in my family. Perhaps Not-Little B has it?
Image swiped from My Toy Collection blog

Look at it! Just LOOK at it! Doesn’t it make you want to grab a powder stick, fill the little reservoir with water, and create heavenly scents? Oh, the longing I feel when I gaze upon this picture.
Image swiped from Sprinkles and Puffballs: Girl’s Toys Of the 80’s

During the holiday break, I had spent hours and hours creating beautiful perfumes, unique scents you would find nowhere else in the world except for maybe the bedroom of another child who also owned this magical maker of aromatic elixirs. I was ever so precise in my eau de toilette masterpieces, bottling them lovingly, arranging everything so that the glory of my art could be understood no matter who viewed it. In retrospect, maybe I made the wondrous little manufacturing station too alluring.

So there I was, freshly home from my first day back to school. I’d brought Wonder Woman with me, of course, and was taking her to my room so I could help her change into after-school play clothes, as we did back then. I walked with my doll in hand, probably talking to her, down the short hallway and could smell the Barbie perfumes I had made rushing to me, greeting me, beckoning me to come mix a new scent, to rearrange the bottles, to sniff the pastel-colored powder sticks. Filled with joy and anticipation, I flung open my bedroom door and found a  nightmare before me. His name: Chris.

My little brother was in my room, a place he was neither allowed nor welcome. I don’t know if he had been drawn to the perfection that was the Barbie Perfume Maker or if he hated me so much, he wanted to crush my dreams while I watched, but he was on my bed, frolicking like an imp, a small, plastic bottle in each hand with several more dancing at his feet. He was sprinkling the last of my hard-won, carefully-planned, beloved perfumes on my bed. He’d already relieved the rest of the bottles of their magic, dousing my throw rug, my stuffed animals, anything he had been able to find.

Rage.

So much pure red rage.

He was laughing. He was jumping up and down, from bed to dresser to desk, knocking things over and destroying my entire life. I screamed. No animal on the planet has ever before bellowed such a yawp, no amount of pain, suffering, or agony in any other being alive could have produced a cacophony as feral as mine was in that moment. I had Wonder Woman by the legs. I charged Chris. In my need to stop his carnage, I brought the doll up, up, up and then DOWN right on top of his hideous little head. My screams of outrage were immediately matched by his of pain and shock and probably fear. Blood geysered from his skull as if he were a whale just up for air. I looked at the red lifeforce gushing forth like my own anger and felt justified in my action until I realized his knobby little noggin had split my beautiful, my treasured, my precious Wonder Woman doll in twain. The upper half of her body dangled lifelessly and would have fallen to the floor had it not been held by her patriotic leotard while her legs remained firmly gripped in my angry fist. My shrieks, monstrous before, ratcheted up another several octaves, gaining volume and momentum as each second passed.

I probably could have forgiven the destruction of my life’s work, especially since the perfumes could have been recreated. Maybe I could have also come to terms with the demise of Wonder Woman; already the back of my mind was tracking down the nearest duct tape. It was not to be, however, because my horrible, terrible, cruel parents made two disastrous decisions that night and my first-ever grudge blossomed. When it comes time for those “people,” and I use the term loosely because it will soon become obvious there is no humanity in the souls of either my mother or father,  to move into nursing homes, they will wish I was beating them with a 13-inch piece of hard plastic.

My parents ran into the room to find the source of the commotion. I know they could smell the mixing aromas of strawberries, lilacs, little boy’s blood, tears, plastic, and hate and do you know what they did? DO YOU KNOW? They took Wonder Woman from my trembling hand but not with the intention of fixing her sad, broken body. They took her and they threw her away followed closely by the entire Barbie Perfume Maker and all its apparatus (except, as I found much later, for one empty bottle, sans lid, and the white trellis that had fallen behind my desk during Chris’ scamperings) My dad took Chris to the kitchen to apply pressure to his goddamned stupid, hard, toy-breaking head and then to feed him ice cream and I…I! The victim of this heinous double crime! I was lectured, probably spanked (who remembers by that point. What could they have done to me to punish me further?) and told to stay in my room for the rest of the night while the two things I loved most in the world were taken from me, put out in the garbage can, and placed on the curb for morning pickup. I had no dinner. No family TV time. No bath. I couldn’t even brush my teeth. I am surprised, in retrospect, that I did not die of dehydration in the night, since I had nothing to drink and I am fairly certain I cried every ounce of moisture from my body. And it’s not like I could subsist on perfume water as it had all been tossed away.

I will never, ever forgive my parents for coddling my evil little brother and punishing me for his misdeeds and while I appreciate the strides his wife has made in recent years to correct his long-ago dastardly acts, Chris is on my shit-list for all of time, as well.

And that is the story of My First Grudge, the first time my amygdala urged me to fight with fury instead of flee with fear.

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Filed under Adventures, In my backyard, My Dearly Beloveds, White trash childhood

My big, bloggy excuse

There’s supposed to be a blog post here about shaving cream and toilet paper complemented with more of my homemade pictures. You’ll note that this is not that post.

There’s a reason: We don’t have internet in our house.

Not even joking.

No, no, we’re not part of a cult and we’re not being all wholesome and this isn’t a sociology experiment, though you’d suspect otherwise if you also knew we don’t have cell phones (well, ok, we have pre-paid phones but we only put deposits in them when one of us will be away from home for an extended period of time). We don’t have television programming, either. We have a TV, never fear, but we only use it to watch DVDs. It’s like we’re Amish. Or stuck in 1986. Scratch that, the Amish have smart phones so they’re way ahead of us.

Not having the internet in the house is mostly fine by me because I’m on it all day at work and I don’t really miss it at home except when the world is burning down around me and I want to follow its progress on Twitter. Anyhow, I have a fine work around for my blog-making: I’ve got a tablet and it has the WordPress app so I can build an entire post, edit it throughout the week, then go to work and it will upload itself via the magic of wifi. Seriously, people, that’s how I’ve been doing it this whole time. Because I’m quite clever and resourceful (and internetless)

Only now there’s a glitch. As I whined in my last post, I’m working out of a warehouse for the summer during spatial renovations. Those left behind call our place Camp Perry. Those of us in the trenches call it The Gulag. It’s not ideal, as far as working conditions for 40-some people go, but it’s not as bad as it could be, either. Except you know what? The magic of wifi does not exist out here in the little Warehouse On the Prairie.

Last week, I left work and went to sit in the patron part of the library in order to get my post to upload. I tweaked it from there and all was well. This week, however, I can’t go to the library after work because I have plans each night. I will not have a chance to beam my brilliance from the tablet to the interworlds and so, instead, I’m using my break to write this quick, off-the-cuff post explaining why there’s nothing awesome to look at today.

Now you know. And knowledge is power and it is also the winning of half the battle (the other half, as we all know, is not getting killed)

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Filed under Adventures

An unexpected guest

I haven’t been getting much sleep lately for a variety of reasons, some of them unknown even to me. I had a plan, though: Gabe was away, I was going to go home, do my chores, then relax and get to sleep early. That’s how I came to be sitting in bed at 9:30 on a Tuesday night, reading a book and winding down for the day when something flew up the stairs, into my room, past my head, followed closely by two speeding cats. I looked over to see Toki and Evie attentively staring at the window next to me. I followed their Serious gazes to a wild bird that was perched on the sill, watching me, looking worried.

It was like this. I'm reading, thing whizzes by, cats follow.

It was like this. I’m reading, thing whizzes by, cats follow.

WTH?

Sighing, I crept out of bed, told the cats their game was over, then calmly walked to the laundry basket, dumped out the dirty clothes and tried to trap the bird. It sort of worked but I couldn’t get a seal around both the window frame and the blinds so the bird squirmed out and flew to the shelves.

This is not as easy as I'd hoped.

This is not as easy as I’d hoped.

The cats, their eyes still large and psychotic, leapt to the bed and watched our feathered new friend with malice-aforethought. I quickly got the basket around the bird again and slid it from the shelf to the wall but didn’t have anything big enough to create a sixth side for this make-do cage. I could, however, get the bird to the bathroom door, which I did via more soft sliding.

Scooooootching the bird to the bathroom door.

Scooooootching the bird to the bathroom door.

I opened the door, kicked at the cats to keep them out, then did this amazing magic trick that resulted with me-n-the-bird in the bathroom (it’s like “Clue” only I’m no General Mustard) and the cats stuck in the bedroom.
T&E were yowling and reaching under the door, begging for their toy back, the one they’d undoubtedly brought in sometime during the afternoon and left for dead which actually means it was Evie because Toki would have eaten its brains. I planned to use Door #2 to make our escape but, first, I had to catch the bird.

Now...to just catch the bird again. *sigh*

Now…to just catch the bird again. *sigh*

Situation: I’ve got a outdoor bird flying around the bathroom at 9:45 pm. 

It fluttered around for awhile then landed on top of the linen closet. Of course. Because that’s what birds do. That meant I needed to fetch the stepstool and even that didn’t help because I couldn’t really see up there, but I could point my camera, which I’d also retrieved.

Meet Towhee. Towhee likes to hang out with the birds which are sometimes rubber duckies. Also, Towhee likes to pose for the camera because he’s kind of a ham.

The camera is shiny and the bird was intrigued so started hamming it up. Seriously, bird? You’re beat-up and tail-busted and you’re posing for pictures? This is how you’re going to spend your evening in captivity?

Towhee on rubber duck

Wow. Towhee’s got a good sense of humor. This is actually pretty funny.
And, yes, I know it’s dusty up there. That’s 6+ feet off the ground. I can’t reach up there and I don’t care if it’s clean or not. Don’t judge me or, if you do, come over and clean it for me and then shut up about it.

I shooed it off the linen closet and it fluttered to the ground then ran to the corner between the door and the tub and BAM! There’s Toki’s little paw, groping and hoping. I smacked his hand, put the laundry basket gently over the fugitive and urged it onto the rug, then slowly turned the basket right side up so that the bird had to walk from the rug to the basket side to the basket bottom and the rug became a lid.

Problem solved. Except for Toki who is trying to grab the rug and pull Towhee back out under the door to play with. And eat.

Towhee is not worried…much.

Once the bird was secure, I opened Door #2, ran downstairs to open the back door then ran back upstairs and grabbed the basket and we all – the bird in the basket,  Daisy, and I – walked out into the night. I uncovered the basket and the bird…it did nothing. It wasn’t stunned any more but it also wasn’t leaving. It just sat in my laundry basket, staring at me. I said kind things to it, told it I hope it had learned a valuable lesson, gently encouraged it to try its wings and then finally gave the basket a small shake and yelled, “GO, ALREADY!” The bird hopped, skipped, and flew away from me and out into the night air where it promptly smacked into the side of the shed then slid down into the raspberry canes. I rolled my eyes, hoped the skunk wasn’t around, and watched it hop around the side of the shed, climb a tree and sit there. I bid it farewell, wished it luck, and went back inside.
Poor bird.
Poor me.
Poor cats.
Daisy thought it was all good fun, though.

All's well that ends well. Or so says that dead English dude.

All’s well that ends well. Or so says that dead English dude.

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Filed under Adventures, In my backyard, My Dearly Beloveds