The Love-Hate Challenge

Hello, world!

Once again, life has been busy and I’m checking in to say hello and tackle the Love/Hate Challenge handed down to me by one of my favorite bloggers, Kimboxin.  In this challenge, I have to list ten things I love and ten things I hate, then nominate other bloggers for the challenge.

Initially, it doesn’t seem too complicated.  How hard is it to list things you love and hate?  So, I spent a few minutes pondering the many nuances of what it means to love or hate something.  If you really think about it, love is not the opposite of hate.  Indifference is the opposite of love, but I have not been asked to write about things to which I feel indifferent.  So, for me, this is not an exercise of opposites, but rather a list of items that either make me feel extremely happy or extremely unhappy.  Oh, and I’m leaving out the obvious stuff, like loving my family or hating anchovies.  Seriously, who likes anchovies?

Hate, hate, hate….

These are instruments of torture.

These are instruments of torture.

1.  I hate high-heels.  Why, as women, do we choose to wear shoes that after about twenty minutes of wear feel like razor blades are imbedded on the inside?  I admit, high-heels make legs and ankles look more attractive.  They add that special something to a dress or an outfit that flats just can’t imitate.  They are incredibly feminine and just make you feel fancy.  I occasionally attempt to wear them.  But high-heels make me feel insecure.  Insecure in that I know the pain is inevitable, and I know that with one small misstep or slip,  I will fall ass over tea kettle in front of anyone watching.   Friday night Dan and I celebrated our anniversary.  We got dressed up and went to dinner at Beso, in Hollywood.  Then we walked to the theatre and saw Phantom of the Opera.  The theatre was less than two blocks from the restaurant, and in the seven minutes it took to walk there, I honestly felt as though my toes were being severed from my feet.  I then made the classic mistake of taking the shoes off while I was at my seat enjoying the performance, because my toes began to swell, which then made trying to put the shoes back on feel like a fresh new hell.  After the show, I put on a brave face, and hobbled out of the theatre, hanging on to Dan’s arm for dear life.  It was all I could do to maintain my dignity and not look like a drunk hooker falling down on the street.  About half way up the first block, I said fuck it.  I took off the shoes and walked down Hollywood Boulevard in my bar feet.  I figured, what the hell?  It’s the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and it’s probably one of the nicest sidewalks in the country.  I did enjoy a laughable moment though when we walked passed a strip club whose marquee read, “1000’s of Beautiful Girls and 3 Ugly Ones!”

2.  I hate being the center of attention, or having too many people looking at me at once.  It makes me feel very insecure and nervous.  Even at my own wedding, knowing that everyone was looking at me filled me with anxiety.  I prefer to blend in with the natives.  This anxiety does not exist for me in this medium, thankfully.  I want people to read my blog.  And it doesn’t feel like the same level of scrutiny for some reason.

3.  I also hate crowds.  Too many people.  Too much noise.  No parking.  And people tend to behave poorly in large crowds.  I prefer smaller, more low key environments.  Causal, laid back places.  Pubs, not clubs.

cockroach4.  I hate allergies.  I am allergic to everything.  If I was stranded on a desert island, I’d probably be dead within hours from touching a leaf or a plant, or being stung by an insect.   A handful of years ago I saw an allergist and she did that skin test on my back where they scratch your skin with a hundred different allergens and then see what you react too.  Within seconds of the nurse applying the allergens, it felt like fire ants were biting me everywhere.  The allergist sort of freaked out when she entered the room and it took several doses of antihistamine to calm the reaction and welts on my back.  When I looked at the chart she gave me, it said one of the items  I was allergic to was cockroaches.  WTF?  I want to know what part of a fucking cockroach they rubbed on my back to find out if I was allergic to it.  Gross.

5.  I hate most reality TV.  Mostly because it’s not reality and there is very little substance to these shows.  I don’t give a fuck about the Kardashians, the Desperate Housewives of any city, or who the Bachelor or Bachelorette is making out with this week.  And don’t even get me started on the Duggars.  There are a few reality shows my family enjoys, but we’re pretty selective.  My family loves MasterChef, American Ninja Warrior, the Amazing Race, and more recently, BattleBots.

6.  I hate hypocrisy.  If you talk the talk, you better be able to walk the walk.

7.  I hate it when people don’t take responsibility for their choices, or try to negate the choices of others.  In life, your choices, for good or bad, is truly what defines you.  Own them, and use your powers for good, not evil.

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8.  I hate Jalapenos.  Does this need further clarification?  I think not.

9.  I hate technology when it doesn’t work.  My last cell phone sucked.  It was an older model Samsung that had the drop down keypad for typing.  I preferred that to the touch screen because my fingers always hit the wrong key and it took me forever to do anything on the phone.  So, one evening my friend was over for our regular Friday night wine o’clock, and I was bitching about my phone and how long it took to connect a call.  And she said, “Can you just give it a second to let the signal come back from space?”  LOL!

10.  I hate skinny jeans on men.  I can’t think of many things more emasculating than seeing men wear skinny jeans.  Biggest fashion mistake, ever.

For the love of….

1.   I love fresh, clean paper.  There’s something about a new notebook or journal that fills me with excitement.  It’s a clean slate.  You can write or create anything.  I would hoard them if I was crazy.  But I’m not crazy.  As far as you know.

2.  I love office supplies.  I have no idea why.  I have always loved stores like Staples and Office Max.  I love buying stuff that makes me feel organized.  Shopping for school supplies as a kid felt like Christmas to me.

3.  On this same note, I love making lists.  I write lists for everything.  Again, it helps me feel organized, and my brain needs this in order to feel peace.

4.  I love getting flowers, for no special reason.  Or for a special reason.  That’s fine too.

5.  I love giving and receiving compliments, especially when they are unexpected.  Admit it.  Getting a compliment at an unexpected moment can make you feel on top of the world.  Especially because we rarely see ourselves the way others see us.  And when you give a compliment, even casually, and you see that person’s face light up, it’s an amazing feeling.

6.  I love it when I’m on the treadmill at the gym and one of my favorite Kid Rock songs hits the playlist.  When Bawitdaba starts playing, it takes all I have to not start singing out load and head banging in front of everyone.  That song, among others, just pumps me up and makes me feel like I could run a hundred miles.  I can’t, of course, and about a minute into the song I have to slow down and remind myself that I’m forty and my knees can’t take that shit.

7.  I love my husband’s photography.  He enjoys photography as a hobby, and I love his pictures.

My kids, walking down the street, holding hands.

My kids, walking down the street, holding hands.

8.  I love candles that make my house smell good.  I specifically love Gold Canyon Candles.  They are the best.

9.  I love reading.  I love being absorbed and transported by a story, and the devastation you feel when the book ends.

10.  I love my husband.  I know I said I would leave out the obvious stuff, but we just celebrated our anniversary, so it feels important to include him in this list.  I love the life we have together, and the balance we share in our relationship.  I’m proud of the man he is and I’m proud to be his wife.

Happy Anniversary, Dan!

Happy Anniversary, Dan!

I nominate the following blogs to participate in this challenge, if they so choose.

1.  https://myspokenheart.wordpress.com/

2.  https://nosajnawk.wordpress.com/

3.  https://lindsaysmiles.wordpress.com/

4.  https://brandedexplorer.wordpress.com/

5.  https://sweetykannoth.wordpress.com/

6.  https://hysterectomy4dysmenorrhea.wordpress.com/

7.   http://catsatthebar.org/   (I would love to see the cat’s perspective on this!)

Wanda Says…Great Laughs, Great Friends and Good Times in Charleston.

spring break pink car

Every year I take a girls only trip with three of my great friends from high school.  This tradition actually began when we were seniors in high school and we drove from Michigan to Florida for the week of Spring Break.

It was a big deal.

Everyone at our small school had their knickers in a twist over four seventeen/eighteen year old girls daring to drive fifteen hours to the heathen state of Florida for some fun in the sun.  We survived, had an amazing time, and made it home without one traffic ticket or incident of indecent exposure.

And we did it all without the aid of cell phones, GPS, or online internet maps.  We used real maps.  You know, the ones kids today don’t know how to read.  We called our parents to check in from pay phones.  And no one died because they weren’t able to reach us every second of the day.

We were totally independent, smart, capable, badass teenagers.

Fast forward twelve years of being sidetracked with college, jobs, boyfriends who became husbands, raising children, and some husbands becoming ex-husbands, we resumed our tradition of the annual girls trip.  Except now we fly instead of drive because we have more money and we’re scattered across the country.  We’ve been doing it now for about ten years, give or take a year off for unexpected complications.

Pineapple Fountain at Waterfront Park

Pineapple Fountain at Waterfront Park

This year we congregated in Charleston, South Carolina.

My travel itinerary wasn’t fun since I was basically traversing the country as far as possible from the west coast to the east coast, but once I got there I was completely charmed.  This was my very first trip to Charleston and I have to tell you, I was not disappointed.  It’s a fabulous city!

We stayed in the historic district and walked everywhere.  We took a carriage Red Brick and Stuccoride through the city and our guide detailed everything from minute details of residential architecture to churches and buildings of historic significance.  We shopped in the open market on Market St. and I bought Sweet Grass Baskets for my children as souvenirs.  We walked the waterfront to Battery Park, which has some of the most beautiful trees I have ever seen.  We toured Rainbow Row and marveled over the charm of flowered window baskets, burning gas lamps, and real wooden shutters that add an undeniable ambiance to the already weighty, historic feel of the city.

And the restaurants in Charleston are amazing!

I fell in love with the houses of Charleston!

I fell in love with the houses of Charleston!

One of my favorite restaurants was called Poogan’s Porch and they serve gourmet southern cuisine.  The food was fantastic and the service was incredible.  If you go to Charleston, plan to eat there, but make a reservation in advance or you won’t get a table.  I had the beef fillet with blue cheese dumplings, and it was to die for!

The other place I would highly recommend is called Kaminsky’s, and it’s a dessert bar.  It’s a bar that only serves alcohol and dessert.

Genius!

The line to get into this place was staggering.  Thankfully, we had stopped in there for hot drinks one afternoon when they weren’t busy and got to know one of the bartenders.  It was raining outside and we wanted to warm up with some spiked coffee.  The next evening we decided to go back to try their dessert menu as well, but there was a mob of people waiting outside to get in.   It would have been over an hour wait, but our dear new friend, the bartender, was able to snag us some seats at the bar and took excellent care of our dessert and cocktail needs for the rest of the evening.  The place is fun, charming and has some of the best dessert Martini’s, ever.  And I don’t like Martini’s, so that should tell you something.

Oak Trees in Battery Park

Oak Trees in Battery Park

Now, two of us, myself included, already had established alter egos.  I am, of course, Wanda.  One of the other girls is known as Belinda, but only when she drinks.  Not wanting to leave the other two girls without a fun, alter ego to enjoy the weekend, Jasmine and Piper were born out of much alcohol consumption and consideration of naming preferences.  I shall refer to my friends by their alternative names out of consideration of their privacy, and well, just because it’s more fun.

Jasmine received a chiropractic adjustment to her back, shoulders and neck by a local homeless man named Byron.  I’m not kidding.  We were walking down the street and observed this man cracking another man’s back while standing on the sidewalk.  Jasmine yells out, “I need some of that!”  Byron then crossed the street and began to work his magic.  I was shocked.  I was waiting for him to feel her up.  He was standing behind her with his arms across her chest, working her arms, back and neck.  At one point he said to her, “Lean back and put your head on my shoulder.  Trust me.”  And Jasmine said, “But I just met you.”  It took every ounce of self-control I had not to piss my pants right there because I was laughing so hard.  Jasmine decided to trust Byron, and he proceeded to give her, as she claims, one of the best back adjustments she’s ever received.  The look on her face was orgasmic.  She tipped him ten dollars.  He rode past us on his bike a few minutes later and shouted out, “You’ve been Byronized!”  Yes.  Yes she had.  (We found out later from our friendly bartender friend that Byron is a bit of a local celebrity, and every one knows him, loves him and he provides back cracking and adjustments free to anyone who needs them).

I love this house!

I love this house!

Belinda was good this year.  She managed her alcohol intake well and there were no incidents of ‘Girls Gone Wild’ this year.  We were really proud of her.

Piper just had a baby last year and is still breastfeeding.  It became fun for all of us to mimic the sound of the breast pump which occasionally made her boobs tingle trying to release the milk.  And we were treated to a special visit by her eight month old baby girl.  Piper’s husband drove down with the baby so she could meet her Auntie’s and enjoy an afternoon with us.  They live a couple of hours north of Charleston.  I’m not kidding when I say she is one of the most beautiful babies I have ever seen.  I gave her a pink bear, which we named Flo, and she loved her, which means, by extension, she loves me.  So that means I’m the favorite Aunt.  Just sayin’.

Waterfront Mansion

Waterfront Mansion

As for myself, well, I had a Ross Geller moment while at dinner on Saturday night.  I wore skinny jeans that night.  I never wear skinny jeans because I find them to be tight and uncomfortable.  But, to shake things up a bit, I wore skinny jeans to dinner.  We walked to the restaurant which was about a mile away from our hotel.  It was warm outside and I was sweating slightly by the time we got there.  Do you remember that episode from Friends where Ross wears leather pants on his date?  And he goes into the bathroom of his date’s house to air out his pants because his thighs are so sweaty?  And then he can’t get his leather pants back up and uses baby powder to absorb the moisture on his legs, but the powder mixes with his sweat to form a paste?  Yeah, well, my incident was sort of like that but without the baby powder.  Skinny jeans don’t like to be pulled up or down sweaty legs.  I went to use the restroom when we got to the restaurant and got stuck in the bathroom for a while trying to get my stupid ass skinny jeans back up my sweaty legs.  Never again.

In short, we had a great weekend.  Great laughs, great friends and good times!

PS–We are considering options for next year’s girls trip, so if any of you have a suggestion for a destination in the US, I would love to hear it.  🙂