Friday, January 16, 2015

Jane's Dating Life: Nowadays.

At the request of MAH BOYFRIEND (cue all of the groans, lulz), here's a post dedicated to the ever lovely, ever anonymous, Mr. Ed.

Anonymous enough for you, honey? 

So I took recently took yet another stab at the online dating world, and let me tell you: my level of motivation to put myself out there on the Interwebz, talking about how much I love to be "fun" and "easy going" has hit a staggeringly low point.  Case in point: I had signed up for Plenty of Fish MONTHS ago. Perhaps YEARS ago, but just never got around to completing the profile portion of it.  I'd get emails on a weekly basis from my friends at the site, urging me to "cast a line and see what you catch!"  Oh, yes, I get it with the whole fishing motif.  Yeah, yeah, you're real funny.  So I finally finished my profile (or barely wrestled through it, between my thoughts of "Oh hell, who cares if I'm a spinster, I make cat fur on all my clothes look good!") and set back out.  

Good lawd.  Who sent all these men the memo that it's okay to just post pictures of your midsection?  Congratulations, I can use your abs to wash my clothes, but chances are that's all you're good for.  Move it along...

I was supremely lazy and didn't even upload a picture, but there was actually a less-lazy reason behind all the lazy.  I wanted to see what kind of response I got with no picture, or maybe just with one selfie.  I immediately had a few suitors ask for my pictures.  

"Pics?" 

Ah, filters...

Le Sigh.  

But this one dude messaged me "Hey Jane! How's it going?" or something to that effect.  How low are my standards for online dating?  This low:  he managed to find out my first name and use it in a sentence.  It's really not all that hard to impress me.  So I messaged him back and we started talking.  He seemed like a smart guy, had minimal spelling mistakes and no grammatical errors, which you all know are my top three qualities on my "Is This Guy Marriage Material" checklist.  

The other thing I don't really like about online dating is that the apps are all kinds of obnoxious to manage.  This could be because I'm still rocking the Nokia brick phone from the days of Yore, but regardless, to me it's always easier to text message whilst pretending to work than having to dink around with going through an app and having it load and then have other dudes send all sorts of "dtf" and "hey cutie you've got some purdy lips" messages. 

Get this thing set up with a data plan and the world can be back on track. 

Mr. Ed and I texted pretty consistently for the first few days, and talked about the normal small talk topics about which you converse with strangers: spirituality, our dating pasts, interracial dating (and the complexity of such a dynamic), and goals we want to accomplish in life. 

No big deal.

It was pretty obvious that I wanted to meet up with Mr. Ed and he wanted to meet with me, if the stable would let him stay out of his stall after bedtime, and was trying to find a good place that would allow talking equines into the venue.  I had told my mom I was going on a date with a stranger from the Internet, and that he probably had a plan not unlike the kind Dr. Reed from Criminal Minds has to uncover with the help of his (pretty hot) science team.  She didn't seem too thrilled.  Finally, we met up and besides the whole "needing to bring his own bale of hay to nosh on" issue, things went fine.  There was more discussion about life, goals, and pretty much everything we could think of. 

This is Mr. Ed's "Come Hither" face... 

And that's about it, really.  We've been dating for a few weeks, and the other day I got a text from him asking if I was going to write about him on the blog.  I asked him if he had indeed read anything from my blog and if he had been drinking heavily before sending that text.  Seemingly, my worldly charms, my amazing cooking abilities (and possibly the rohypnol...) have rendered him so senseless that he has agreed to be featured occasionally on this here writin' blog.  Maybe I can even manage to wrangle an "interview" out of him.  Bwahaha...

EDIT:  After The Horse Of Course read this post, he said, "I figure it'd be more juicy!!"  So, to appease him (and to appease myself, juuuuust a little bit) ...here you go.  A little bit of Juice. 

Lord have mercy...


[Add to To-Do List: Figure out a good way to explain to Google that I wasn't looking "roofies" up for any other reason but to spell the drug's actual name.]

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Goodbye Kisses

**My thoughts and opinions expressed in this blog entry are my own and do not reflect those of Stepping Stone Farms or its staff**

In a bout of heartbreaking news, we had to put down one of our horses last night.  Kisses, one of our beautiful Arabian horses, colicked Sunday and continued through Monday, and took a turn for the worse last night.  With the vet's expertise, my trainer made a heart wrenching decision.  


Saying I'm heartbroken is just a flat out understatement.  Kisses was one of the spunkiest, sassiest little horses we've ever had at the farm, and she will be greatly missed.  She was a beautiful horse that moved wonderfully and gracefully, and no matter how many times she got feisty with me (it was only a few times, really), it was always a treasure to be in the saddle with her.

To lose a horse is a great tragedy.  I was talking with someone on the phone this morning about it and was asked, "Why would you want to stay and watch them while they're in so much pain?" The answer is simple:

Because they shouldn't be alone.

They need us - the two-legged folks who feed them, take care of them, watch over them every day - to stay with them, helping them not be scared.  It's awful to think of an animal going through pain or sickness, but thinking about them alone, without their favorite human nearby?  That's unbearable.

This is the first time I've ever been present for a euthanasia, as the horses I've called my own have crossed the rainbow bridge while I was out of town, or unable to get there soon enough.  I'll never forget my bright eyed Arabian, Thief, leaving early, early one New Year's morning - thinking about that call from my trainer at 3 AM telling me the vet was on his way out to the farm still gives me goosebumps.  Bandit, my mutt, left when I was away at college - try finding people that will console you after only knowing you a few weeks as you sob incoherently at them blubbering about your horse and how you weren't there for him.  Star, my first equine lovebug, left quietly and peacefully at her "retirement home", after a good life with us.  Each of them left deep, lasting hoof prints on my (and many others') heart, and each of them are remembered fondly whenever us horse folks gather together and talk about our favorite horses.

Not now, Neil...not now.

When you're in the horse world or dog world or ferret world, you accept certain things as truth.  Horses will almost always foal during a thunderstorm, a dog will drag their ass on the ground and eat weird things, and that ferrets are just tiny little weasels.  But one unavoidable truth you will sooner or later need to accept is that one day you will be in a position to literally play God.  You will get to decide whether an animal of yours lives or dies.  It's a tremendous amount of pressure, and it's nearly impossible to separate emotion from the facts.  In the farm's case, it is the Executive Director, my riding instructor/trainer, one of my mentors, my confidant, my "fake mom" Lia Sader who makes these impossible decisions.  At 30+ years of horse experience (which is interesting, because she must have started when she was 2...), she is the resident expert with everything equine.  I do not envy her position in these types of situations, but this time I wanted - nay, needed - to be there for her. When you're looking at these kinds of situations, certain things cross your mind:

- "Is the horse a surgical candidate?" (Colic surgeries can run into the $10,000 range and with a pretty low recovery/success rate, it's hard to justify the decision unless you sleep on a mattress stuffed with stacks of Benjamins, and while making it into a "money" issue may sound cold, it is unfortunately something to keep in mind).
- "Do we wait it out?  Will they rally and get better?  WHAT IF?"
- "What is the horse telling us?" (Horses cannot talk, I understand this. But they can tell us through body language how they're feeling.  Thrashing, rolling, looking at their side - all of these are horse for "I don't feel well.")
"What is best for the horse?" 

This last question is really and truly when the tears flow for me.  To remove yourself and your emotions from the situation and look at the animal -- a tremendously strong, graceful, elegant animal  -- and think: "Is this fair to her? What should I do that is in her best interest?" is beyond difficult.  Of course people will want to be selfish and hold on to their pets...but at what cost?  At the cost of them being in pain?  At the cost of them suffering?  It's not fair for us to be selfish. It's fair for us to do what's best for them, even if it means saying goodbye.

[Now, before you send any negative mail please read: these decisions are not made with any sort of lightness. Examining the pros and cons of euthanizing an animal is a hefty task and weighs not only on the mind but on the soul.  Frankly, this is most definitely a "those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones" situations.  Unless you've walked in those boots and made those decisions, keep your opinions, "shoulda/coulda/woulda's" and judgy judgements to yourself.  Okay, I'm off my soap box now.]

As the vet administered the tranquilizer, Lia and I said our "I love you"s, our "I'm so sorry"s, our "It'll stop hurting soon"s and our "You little shit, you are so loved"s and the tears and snot flowed openly. All we ever wanted for her was everything - a happy home, happy pasture mates - a good, happy, healthy life.  We gave her all of that, and now we owed her a comfortable ending.  It wasn't easy to be there, to see it happen or to feel her leave, but we knew it was the right thing to do.  There was an eerie comfort that settled upon me long after the vet left, while we fed the other horses their nightly hay.  Kisses wasn't in any pain anymore.  She was at peace, no doubt gearing up to play with and chase the other horses of ours that had made the journey before her.

We love you Kisses.  Thank you for everything.

You'll be missed, little girl. 



If you'd like to help contribute to our cause of rescuing horses and helping fulfill our mission statement of  fostering resilience, responsibility and self esteem in at-risk youth and others by allowing participants to experience the healing power of horses, please click on the links below and donate, half-sponsor or full sponsor a horse. Anyone who's been impacted by the awesome power of horses can vouch for me - it's a wise investment (plus, it's tax deductible).

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Friday, January 9, 2015

Kick Off 2015, Frank Underwood Style

Good morning babies.

So I meant to post this on January the 5th, but clearly I'm behind the ball, as per usual.  Basically, last week: I got to have a looooooong weekend, complete with being annoyed at my hair stylist (again...), I actually went to a New Year's Eve party (GASP, right?!?), got to ring in the new year with a certain special someone, and destroyed my kitchen with several rounds of meal prep to get ready for my Ironman training week.

And then of course I slept through my alarm(s) and missed my first workout today every day.  Bollucks.

Anyways, while I was meal prepping I usually turn something on from Netflix for background noise and last night's  this whole week's selection was House Of Cards. I realized that Frank Underwood is my spirit animal, and I need to be more like him...you know, except for the manipulation, alienation, and murder.

He takes a great sense of...what's the word...privilege (?), pride in being the best at what he does, which is let's face it - being badass.  But we can learn a lot from him.  Namely, if shit isn't the way you like it, then change your scenery.  That, or fuck up The White House and make it your own personal Monopoly board game.

This is actually how I look at a LOT in life right now.  Break things down in manageable pieces and get the eff to work.  It'll get done, you just need to endure the monotony of it. 

Also known as the "How I Met Your Mother"'s "Nothing Good Happens After 2 AM" Rule. 
Sometimes, it's best to just go home, turn your phone off and go to sleep.  Shit always seems upsetting and screwy in the shadows at night - just see what they look like in the bright morning light and see how you feel.  Also known as: GUT CHECK.  Guts know everything. 

THIS. OH LAWD. THIS ALL THE TIME.  I've decided to start working with the saying "You can't help someone who won't help you"...seems a bit selfish, no?  But let's face it.  In today's world of backstabbing, technological warfare and sexting, you need a little bit of collateral before putting any part of you anywhere it shouldn't be.  My loyalty is fierce (Sasha Fierce...), but it comes at a price - your loyalty. 

See also, even though I hate Zoe with every fiber of my being...

Ugh. Whatever.  No one lives on carrot sticks and wine and has a body like that.  Quit with the lies.


This is just good advice all around.  


So, friends and neighbors, listen up.  Take a lesson from good ol' Frank Underwood and get to work.

SURE DOES. 

Happy Friday kids.  Stay warm out there, it's colder than a witch's bosom out there. 

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Bah Humbug, 2014 / Lessons Learned

A shorty on this past year as I start to look towards the new year....or just rather, tomorrow.

I've never been a huge fan of the whole New Year's Eve party scene.  You get all dressed up, you drink and eat a lot, scream at midnight and grab your soon to be restraining order-holder for a sloppy kiss, and then stumble home and fall asleep in your bed-slash-sofa in your bedroom-slash-living room, filled with champagne-soaked dreams of "making this year count/different/better/awesome/badass/any other adjective you can think of."

Umm...o....kay....? Sure, that sounds swell.

The past few years, no matter whether I've been coupled with someone or not, NYE always seems to run the same course: staying somewhere warm, watching something on TV and going to bed early.  "Early" being relative for NYE, as it's usually 10:30pm or 11pm.  I'd much rather spend the evening surrounded by friends (read: my cats), a marathon of Breaking Bad or Weeds (or if I wanted to get into the spirit of the season, Die Hard), and delicious food.   After all, I can't disturb Grandpa Jo and Grandma Josephine.

Grandpa George kicks in his sleep, too...

Either way, I've just never gotten behind it.  After the ball drops, everyone just stands around as if to say, "Well good, I'm glad I was around to see the day change.  Now what?"

And man, do I say this every year or what, but this year kinda blew.  In total retrospect, it really didn't, but parts of it truly sucked.  I did learn a few things, and I suppose focusing on those is the better thing to do than crack open my bottle box of red wine and cry all sorts of feelings into my wine glass tumbler.

I finally stood up for myself in relationships.  It's been a long, long, looooong time coming, but I finally decided "Fuck this noise, I deserve better than this crap."  And the funny thing is?  I did.  I do.  I always will.  It feels good to grab that notion by the horns and wrassle it into submission.

I finally have given up the unending fight with unending to-do lists.  You know what? I don't always have to list out "laundry" or "dishes" on my to-do lists, because they will never cease to needing to be done.  I'm much more of a "look around; what needs attention RIGHTNOW?" person now, which will no doubt last approximately two weeks before I crumple and go back to my to-do lists, complete with "Lose 75 lbs" and "Get J.Lo facial structure" on it.  But hey, progress right?

I finally am able to forgive myself for not being amazing at everything.  I didn't write about it because I was sipping on drowning in self-pity (read: gin), but I DNF-ed (Did Not Finish) Ironman 70.3 in July.  I pulled out during the swim portion and have kicked myself ever since.  I looked up this year's race and am making a real life, honest to goodness plan.  A training plan even.  All I need to do is get my eating in control and I could just possibly not suck this year.  Also other things have gotten my forgiveness - not being able to have superhuman powers of non-emotions, having actual feelings for people (and being able to let those feelings go), not being able to do EVERYTHING and ANYTHING my crazy brain puts together.  It's a real sense of freedom, this self-forgiveness thing. I hope to work more on it next year, and then maybe I'll forgive myself for dressing the way I did back in the 90's.  Woof.

I finally mastered the idea of "I don't want to invite this kind of crazy back into my life." 
This one is pretty self explanatory.

Looking forward to next year - I'm in a good place, I've got really good people in my life, and I'm ready to just be better.

The suit certainly doesn't hurt the quote...

See you on the flip side, Interwebz.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Mother Of God: Going Off The Facebook Grid

So during my social media celibacy, I've learned a few things:

-People will get upset with you for missing their birthdays if it's listed on Facebook.
-People will get annoyed with you because you're not on Facebook to invite you to things
-People will get angry with you for not being on Facebook just because they can.

Yikes, y'all. I didn't go to the moon, just off social media.

I've also learned a few things about myself during my time of Facebook blackout:

-I flat out just don't care.

Tell 'em, Spongebob.


When I tell people I don't have Facebook anymore, often times people just stare at me, slack jawed, as if I just told them that my favorite pastime was kicking puppies who could speak.  Their eyes glaze over, they stammer and utter questions like, "But, but...how?" and "Oh man, I couldn't ever do that!" and I try and explain to them that you don't actually need to be connected to a million people at any given second of the day, and that once that connection is gone, it's actually kinda nice.

Now, I haven't lost all my love for social media.  I'm back on the bloggersphere.  I do Instagram, even though I'm fairly certain I'm not doing it right.  I tweet something every month or so.  Basically, I get by.  But by removing myself from the constant news feed of everyone in Facebook-land, I've really learned who I want to remain connected with.  When you're not able to just pop onto someones profile and write them a quick post, things change (namely speaking, you realize just how few people you have phone numbers or email addresses for), and not always for the worst.

At first, yes, I will admit to having some withdrawal moments - shaking, breaking out in cold sweats, dry mouth, etc. I kept checking my phone as if something was going to magically happen, like the app was miraculously download itself back onto my POS phone and be ready and waiting for me to abuse the ever-loving heck out of it.  I checked my phone roughly the number of times you check your phone after sending a text message to your crush that's just cryptic enough that it would possibly give you a hint on whether your feelings are requited in any way, shape or form.  Scientifically, that's approximately once every 17.23 seconds.  It was rough for a few days.  I was thinking of witty, charming, funny as all get out statuses that -GASP!- weren't making it into the bowels of the Interwebz;  how on Earth will anyone know how witty I am without constantly reminding them on Facebook!?!?

Yeah.

After I got through my Zuckerberg-Detox, things settled down and life got back to normal. Somehow I managed to earn the gift of time.  No longer was I waking up in the middle of the night to check statuses, or whether people "liked" my pictures or "got" my jokes.  I magically had extra time in the morning before work to do all the things I always say I'll do like laundry, dishes, or shower.  I started actually paying attention to people around me, actually hearing what they were saying instead of "uh huh....yeah....oh shit no!" My mother stopped uttering phrases like, "There Jane goes, twerking around on the Flickernet" (that actually happened).

Shut up, you know you've done it. 

It's been pretty much smooth sailing from then on out.  I'm coming up on two months and feeling good.  I'm more and more convinced that being too connected to social media just ends up ruining all the good things in your life.  It ruins relationships ("But WHYYYYY won't you just SAY you're in a relationship?!? WHO IS THAT WOMAN LIKING YOUR STATUSES!?!?!"), friendships ("Y'all didn't tag me in your picture...you think you're better than me?!?"), employment ("Ma'am, is this a picture of you wearing a cow costume dancing with a man dressed as Hitler?"), and the list goes on.  Simple life means just that - simple.  Complicating it with being forever involved/twisted in other people's lives and passive aggressive vague status updates and random SUPER filtered (Valencia? Or Mayfair? Maybe Lo-Fi??) pictures with song lyric captions just makes life muddied up and takes you away from what's really important...

If I ever get back on Facebook, this might be me. 


Which is clearly reading my blog.

YES NEW GIRL.

Ladies and gents, I'm back.  You may freak out now.

Dear Brain, STFU.

Overthinking. I do it, I hate it, and I can't seem to figure out how to put the brakes on the internal brain engine.

For years I've plastered quotes about patience and overthinking and worrying over my walls (literal and social media) - in hopes that one day my brain will wake up and say "OH! That makes sense" and *click* the off button.

As a kid I'd make myself sick over the stupidest things, and what was hilarious is the fact that I'd make grave errors in what I was worried about. I remember one year I sat and cried that I had forgotten my Girl Scout Cookie order sheet and so everyone that ordered cookies from me wouldn't get to enjoy them. I also forgot that my mom was Cookie Mom that year so I didn't actually have to do anything with my order sheet - it was already taken care of.


In high school, I'd worry about my body. Cry over it, curse it, try to manipulate it so it would look like everyone else's. I worried that I wasn't "normal" or one of the "cool kids". I worried about what people said about me, worried about how I looked, how I talked, the things I was interested in.  Oh, no one in school likes country music? Better not have country music in my Discman, ever. (Yeah...Discman.)


College introduced a new form of worrying for me. Again, it was the acceptance worrying, but it also uncovered my need for defense mechanisms.  I settled in with humor pretty easily. But my brain was always, always running full steam ahead about all the stupid nuances of the world. 



You'd think one day I'd get it. Nosireebob.  My brain is a stubborn sumbitch. 

Just recently I've really embraced the idea of riding out the chaos of life without worrying where my feet will end up.  It's not easy by ANY stretch of the imagination, but sometimes it's just easier to throw your hands in the air (and obviously, wave them around like you just don't care) and let life happen. 

Will I ever stop worrying?  Probably not.  But can I manage those stupid thoughts in my head in order to stay pretty sane?  Absolutely. 

Adios, mi amigos. 

"That Girl"

True to my word, I broke up with social media for a while.  It was brewing for a while, as I mentioned before, but there were about a bazillion other factors to the conscious uncoupling.  I'll try and be honest, yet respectful based on the folks involved.

This guy I had been dating....things were odd. Everything always seemed a bit off.  There were things that didn't not add up, and it was unfortunate. People put me in really awkward positions, and that's also unfortunate.  Will our paths cross again? Who knows.

Square peg; round hole.  Simple as that, I think.

I've always hated the term "that girl".  To me it always implies that there is some invisible list of characteristics that a woman may or may not fit at any given point in time that some imaginary judge would categorize as "that girl".  The imaginary list is endless and ever changing and somehow we, as women, never get the memos on the updates.  I really, really love that men are starting to come around to the idea of how ridiculous it is to put expectations on women. I can't remember who was interviewing Amy Poehler (I'll give anyone 500 bonus points if they tell me) about how hard it is to figure out how to be cool and calm and basically perfect and she comes back and says, "I'm really glad that you're finally getting a chance to see how life is for women all the time".  Or something to that effect. Affect.

Whatever.

Regardless, it is great to see that there is some sort of spotlight being cast on the antiquated idea that women need to be anything and everything all rolled up into one body - and don't forget modest! - and anyone who doesn't check off every single one of those boxes clearly "doesn't have it together".

I love being "that girl".  I love being loud, and opinionated, and shy around new folks, and passionate.  I love that I can sign up for a dodgeball league knowing not one single person, knowing that I'm terrified, but excited to know that I'll still go come Wednesday nights.  I am empowered by other women who go after what they want and what they're passionate about. I find myself being able to step back and listen between the lines of people's words - really hear what they're saying besides the words coming out of their mouths.  Unfortunately, I hear a lot of insecurity and a lot of hurt.

This past weekend was my company's Christmas party.  Last year I felt a bit saucy so I laid the sauce on THICK and ended up making a fool of myself, so this year I decided to dial it back a bit on the cocktails and focus instead on the party aspect - mingling, dancing, enjoying myself.

I had written a few months back about my trip to Indiana where I forgot for a few days that I was fat.  It was wonderful, and it was even more wonderful that I was reminded of that powerful freedom again.  I ate, drank, and danced the night away.  I salsa danced with one of the shipping and receiving workers, I taught everyone's date how to do the Wobble dance, I flirted it up with the bartender and boldly offered my number to him so I could take him out for a drink.  It was magnificent.

However... on the other side of the coin, my new found freedom from self-deprecation lends me this almost new sight into how insecure other people can be.  I'm not saying I'm totally secure - I'm about as insecure as Olivia Munn around Aaron Rodgers' parents after she admitted on TV to having sex with their son "as much as she possibly can"

....that'll make for an awkward Christmas dinner....

One coworker of mine had told me she was bringing a date because he made her look good, and pretended to be her boyfriend, and my brain kind of stopped: the hamster fell off the little spinning wheel.  I had thoughts like, "Why do you need someone to make you look good?"  "What good does it do to have someone pretend to be your boyfriend around a bunch of people you see everyday anyways?" But I relegated to the idea that different folks have different ways of dealing with things and handling things and that's just the way it is.  Different strokes.

My point in my rambling?  Do you. Make decisions that make you happy, keep you healthy, and that allow you to be completely comfortable being yourself and allow yourself to have a ton of fun.

And what anyone else thinks?  Not your problem.