Furry Cuteness Friday! (+1)

And now for the weekly round up of all things cute and fluffy!


“Mom! Mom! Mom!”

1 wolf

“I don’t wanna get up yet…”

1 lemur

Behold the default setting for a lemur.


“Why am I sticky?” (Bonus points for pulling out a Cards Against Humanity card to answer that question).

Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend. The summer storms have started here, so it will probably start pouring in the middle of the cookout this afternoon.



Of guns and God(zilla)

For those of us in the US, today is Memorial Day (I believe the equivalent is ANZAC day for my friends on the other side of the world). It’s a day to reflect and remember the military who gave their lives to protect freedom and country. Like any other national day off, there are always “blowout” sales.  Boy & I partook of a different kind of sale.

We went shooting yesterday to shake some of the dust off our marksmanship. The shooting range offers automatic weapons for rent. Between the rental fee and the ammo cost, it was a bit out of our price range. However, in honor of Memorial Day and celebrating our Second Amendment rights, they weren’t charging  a rental fee, just the fee for the ammo. We looked at each other and said “hell yes”. I’m mostly a pistol shooter, but I’ve fired a shotgun a handful of times attempting clay pigeons. While the Tommy gun was tempting, we opted for an MP5 which shoots pistol rounds. This particular gun required some experience with rifle shooting. I have zero experience with rifles. Boy & the range master had to show me how to hold it, then keep their hands to my back to make sure I kept my stance. Then we went through 40 rounds each in about 10 seconds. My arms feel like Jell-o today, but the badassery evens that out. It’s also good prep for the summer Trapeze series I’ll be starting next week. Ouch.

Like all good Southern families, we’re fans of our guns. I first learned to shoot when I was 15 or 16. Without getting too political, I do believe everyone should understand basic gun safety. I believe approaching something with fear makes you more likely to panic and do something stupid. If you approach something with understanding and respect, even if you’re a little shaky on it, you’re less likely to hurt yourself or someone else.

  1. Treat every gun as if it’s loaded.
  2. When someone hands you a gun, verify for yourself it’s unloaded.
  3. Never point it at anything you aren’t ready to destroy.
  4. Keep your finger off the trigger until you’re ready to shoot.
  5. When handing someone a gun or being handed a gun, point it either toward the floor or away from anything (read-other people or pets) that you could possibly injure.
  6. Say “thank you” when you have a firm hold on the gun to signal to the other person they can safely let go.

We also saw Godzilla yesterday. I agree with most of the reviews. We didn’t see nearly enough of the titular character. He was on screen in all his glory for maybe 15 minutes of a 2 hour movie. Give me destruction! We saw it in 3D which gave a nice concept of scale. He took out a good portion of San Francisco before peaceing out. The giant, icky moth things got way more screen time. If you haven’t seen it and you’re looking for a classic Godzilla taking down Tokyo movie, give it a pass.

All in all, a full and sufficient day. Even if my delts and rhomboids are calling me nasty names. I’ll need today just to lie around the house, watch mindless TV, and recover.


Of healing and the best way to do it

Once again, time to head back to the reason I created this blog in the first place.

I spent a very long time trying to heal from my sexual assault. I went to therapy. I spoke with other survivors. I read every blog post and inspirational quote book that I could get my hands on. It all helped, but none of it really hit me on that deep, emotional level. It was an inch here, a step there. Then, one day, the right words popped into my brain. I posted them here first. The last line of the second paragraph “I forgive myself for hanging on to something so horribly broken, I cut myself in the process” encapsulates my watershed moment. All those advice blogs and posts had pointed me in a direction that allowed me to come to that conclusion. Ultimately, I put it into a form that truly resonated with me. A part of me always knew that I had a hand in what happened. He actually ended up dumping me when all was said and done. He chose to end it and like the classic abuse victim I was, I tried to hang on anyway. I hated him by the end, but I was more afraid of being alone. Better the devil I knew than the devil I didn’t. Again, I was young. He was young. Neither of us knew what the hell we were doing.

It’s incredibly freeing to write that down. It sounds totally counter-intuitive, but it’s my truth. I accept the role I played in an incredibly toxic relationship. It wasn’t 100% his fault. These situations rarely are. When I look at the woman in the mirror, she looks back at me with the benefit of that behind her. Those experiences allowed me to enter into the best and most amazing relationship of my life. It shaped the self confidence and awareness to be the partner I want to be. It also allows me to say no or stop or walk away from a situation. I know when to let go before I hurt myself again. That’s the best part of it all.

Whatever you’re recovering from, whatever you want to heal, whatever pain you’re fighting with, trust the words in your own head. It’s not the words that perpetuate negative self image or self harm. It’s the quiet voice hiding in the back whispering your truth. I do my best to offer my experiences to help guide others. What worked for me may or may not work for you. If nothing else, perhaps I can point you in the right direction to find your own watershed moment. May you find your peace, whatever form that may come.


Of silence and hamsters

An odd phenomenon has been happening in my head recently. Silence. Normally my brain runs a million miles an hour propelled by hamsters on steroids banging on pots and pans. Lately, especially when I’m trying to think about something work related, my brain goes quiet. I’m not necessarily complaining. It’s nice to have a little peace and quiet in there. It’s just jarring. I downloaded a meditation app over the weekend. I think it might actually be working. I’m on Day 3 out of 10. My brain has been more quiet in the past 5 days than probably the past 5 years. I’m not feeling the compulsive need to constantly be doing something. Yes, I have plenty to do, but I’m not in full on panic mode. There isn’t a damn thing I can do about the situation I’ve been presented with. I’ve done what I can. Now it’s up to someone else to do their part. Once they’ve done their part, it’s back to me. I know I’m 100% capable of mastering what’s been laid before me. I know my employee is 100% capable of mastering her part of the process once we have the proper programs and training. I trust my other 2 to keep their systems running without me babysitting them. There have been a few hiccups, as happens, but nothing that has sent me into one of my epic tail spins. I’ll take this as long as I can. There’s much to be said for staying steady with your boss’ boss’ boss asking about the progress of something “urgent”. All that said…

I made the decision recently to scale back my membership at the dance studio. I’ve been kicking myself for “wasting” classes since I renewed the membership in January. I currently have the 30 class / month membership. I called the studio and asked for my activity over the past 3 months. The most I’ve ever used is 14. There’s a lower level membership of 10 classes / month. That seems much more reasonable given my situation. Since I’ve been promoted, things have been far less predictable. Some days I can walk out at 430 on the nose, other days I’m pushing 6. I’ve also discovered the gym in my apartment complex. It doesn’t make much sense to beat myself up over something I love. Earlier today, I was close to texting a (dance teacher) friend of mine and saying “Tell me to grab the ladyballs & try out this technique class”. That doesn’t do anyone any good. My current studio is very squarely in the “recreation” category. The focus is on dance based fitness classes with minimal technique. While the other studio has fitness classes, their focus is more on technique, training, and aspiring professional dancers. As it stands right now, my life doesn’t allow me to consistently go to a class such that I could progress at the rate I want (read – impossibly high standards).

I’ve always been very sensitive to the fact I’m in dance limbo. I started when I was 13, much later than most dancers. I had to take an adult class for several years because I wasn’t at the same level as other dancers my age. I stayed hardcore into dance, progressed quickly, and then stagnated when I was 19. I didn’t take classes regularly again until I was 23. By that point, the technique I’d learned before was all but gone. I haven’t really improved since then. On the flip side, if someone began as an adult, they can devote more time and pick things up more quickly. I was insanely intimidated when I first walked into the training studio. Not only did I walk in late, I walked into a class of people who, as it were, outclassed me. It’s not much fun if I’m thinking “Holy crap, everyone is looking at me! I can’t do this! They’re all laughing! That 10 year old has better technique!”. In the end, it’s fairly simple. If it looks like fun, go for it. If I hate it, no one is going to make me go back. That’s not love, that’s self harm. I’ve had quite enough of that in my life thankyouverymuch.

Maybe that’s where all the hamsters went.


Of unpopular opinions and cancer

Warning – thar be a venty post ahead.

Last Saturday, there was a “run” for the Susan G. Komen Foundation. You would think as the child of a cancer survivor, I would be all over anything that supports cancer research. Wrong. All this “run” constituted was a bunch of overweight women and their kids clogging up traffic for 3 miles.  Actual runners would be ashamed to see this event called a run at all. Breast cancer events always get under my skin. It seems like that’s the only type of cancer everyone is all “Yes! Let’s wear pink & talk about boobs!”. Statistically, surviving breast cancer is fairly likely. Colon cancer? Ew, that involves poop. No thanks. Lung cancer? You gave that to yourself. No need to raise money for you. Melanoma? What’s that? All of those are much more likely to kill you than breast cancer. I know it’s an unpopular opinion to have the seething anger I do toward a foundation that ultimately is out for good. It gets all the good press while other types of cancer are much less understood because there’s less money going into research for it.

Incidentally, my employer is one of the major corporate sponsors for Relay for Life in our area. I can get on board with that. It supports the American Cancer Society for general research, not just all boobs all the time. I’m perfectly happy to support that event. Plus, I get cupcakes out of the deal. I’m not okay with a foundation that has a lot of good marketing so much so that it pushes other research out of the way. It’s the high school prom queen cliche of the cancer research world.

Of course, I’m not saying don’t support the cause at all. I know that many people have lost loved ones to breast cancer. Cancer runs rampant in my family, especially on my dad’s side. When it’s my time to go, it will probably be cancer related. All I’m saying is consider why you’re supporting a cause in the first place. If it’s pink balloons and boobs that are drawing you in, then you’re probably on the wrong track. If you honestly want to support the cause because it’s trying to better the lives of those who suffer from it, more power to you. It all comes down to the “why”.


Of (not) guilty and dancing with yourself

Anyone who went to Catholic school, or was raised in any kind of Western religious tradition, can attest to the fact that guilt is a big part of those institutions.  I hate the term “guilty pleasure”. I had enough guilt after 13 years of Catholic school, thankyouverymuch. If it’s fun, you damn well better feel guilty about it! What would Jesus think? Considering he turned water into wine, I figure he’d be really handy at a frat party. That aside…

I know it stems from enjoying something that’s not cool or now or en vogue. So I will share, sans guilt, that which I enjoy even though someone else may disagree.

  • *Backstreet Boys. I was their target market the first time they were popular. I was really sad when they came through town with Avril Lavigne and The Goo Goo Dolls back in December and I missed it. My 7th grade musical heart was made sad. I have their greatest hits on my tablet and frequently have it playing when I’m completing a repetitive task at work. And if you like N*Sync, sorry. We can’t be friends any more.
  • *Eating sweets without the vessels meant to carry them. Read frosting right out of the can and chocolate syrup poured onto a spoon and done like a shot. Yes please.
  • *Having glittery stickers all over my laptop. There is no such thing as too much sparkle.
  • *Nickelback. I really, genuinely don’t understand why people hate them so much. Yeah, a lot of their songs sound the same, but isn’t that true of most bands? Just sayin’.
  • *Cheerleader Nation / Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders: Making the Team. Neither has been on the air in the better part of a decade, but as reality TV goes, these were my favorites. I’m sure I can find them somewhere in the recesses of the Internet.
  • *Men’s running shorts. They have pockets! And they breathe! This is worth its weight in gold during the crazy intense hip hop class I love to take.
  • *80’s hair bands. I have a whole Pandora station dedicated to them.
  • *The Gossip Girl series of books. Then being a total literary purist regarding the TV show. Because it’s high art and must be preserved.
  • *Sleeping with stuffed animals. It’s just a pillow with a face, after all.

What are your “guilty” pleasures, readers? I know you have them. Now time to put on some Billy Idol.


Of misfits and on the job training

When I was first switched over to my current boss a little over 2 years ago, he got a motley crew of employees. I jokingly referred to us as the “land of misfit toys” because there was (largely) no relation among our duties. After the royal cock up that was my former co-worker and my promotion, things were quickly refined. I told you that story to tell you this story.

Since my promotion in December, I’ve slowly been given more and more responsibilities. As of two weeks ago, one of my indirect reports put in her notice. Given the scope of her job and how my boss and his boss wanted to see it evolve, it was decided the position would report directly to me. That’s now 4 direct reports and 2 indirect reports. The most recent departure left behind a pile of crap and very, very poor instructions on how to deal with it. When people ask what she did, I usually stare at them blankly. At least in the case of the twins (my nickname for my 2 direct reports who currently do my old job), I can say definitively what they do. Funnily enough, the position they ostensibly promoted me to, is the side I know the least about. It doesn’t seem like anyone has a good idea what’s going on. At least I’m not alone. Now it’s more a pair of misfit toys than an entire land. I’m getting some serious on the job training trying to figure out how I’m going to train her replacement. I spent a good 2 hours on Friday trying to figure out how to do one task. Much like when the idea for a good retort comes after the argument ends, I figured out what I was doing wrong as I walked out of the building. *facepalm*

I don’t know about you, faithful readers, but I’ve always been a misfit in the best sense of the term. I was never part of the popular crowd. Even before I had all the tattoos and distinctive style (hard to do when one wears a uniform), I was memorable. When I was working DragonCon, the only “sell out” crowd in our ballroom was for Natalia Tena (Tonks from Harry Potter and Osha from Game of Thrones). When it came time for the Q & A, a girl who looked to be about 13 asked Natalia how to deal with being “weird” or “an outsider”. After a moment, she told the girl not to care what anyone else thinks. If people think you’re weird, different, or flat out crazy, that’s not your problem. Remembering very clearly what it was like to be an outsider when I was 13, it may have been tough advice for this girl to digest.  I first moved to Atlanta when I was 12. I started at a school where most of the kids had been going to school together since kindergarten or first grade. There were 2 other girls who were also new that year & we bonded simply because no one else really wanted to be friends with us. I’m still friends with one of those girls 17 years later. That’s not to say the other kids were flat out mean, just that they had little interest in expanding their social circles. Once we got into high school, the playing field evened out a bit. The three of us expanded into a group of 10 or 12 equally off beat personalities. Again, I’m still friends with most of them to this day. J & I mused recently that we’re about to hit our equilibrium. We’ve known each other half our lives this year. I hope that girl from DragonCon takes Natalia’s advice to heart. There’s nothing wrong with letting your freak flag fly. Nobody’s perfect no matter how hard they try to believe they are. I would much rather be memorable than fade into the sea of cookie cutter popular kids no one can remember clearly.

Here’s to all the misfits, the people who fly by the seat of their pants, the weird kids, the memorable personalities, and anyone else who thinks they might be crazy. Don’t worry. You aren’t.


Of going home and trying to get comfortable

I do apologize for my hiatus, lovely readers. It’s for a very good reason.

My dad is home from the hospital. 😀 They let him loose last Saturday. Six surgeries, a raging antibiotic allergy, and over 30 days in the hospital later, he’s finally home. He’s certainly the happiest of all of us. It’s times like these I’m glad I live close enough to my parents to help out. I took my dad to one of his (many) doctors’ appointments yesterday. They weighed him for the first time in several weeks. He weighed in 8 pounds (3.6 kg for my metric system readers) more than I do. He’s 6’3″ (191 cm). I’m 5’9″ (179 cm) Which brings me to the topic of today’s post.

Here’ what’s gotten lost in the shuffle since my last super positive body image post. Now that winter has skipped straight to summer here (spring?! what’s that?), it’s time to pull out the summer clothes. I was super excited to be able to wear a pair of pants I bought from Anthro last spring. I lost a little over 20 pounds this time last year and had to buy a whole new wardrobe of bottoms because the old ones were literally falling off. I tried to put on the pants & they wouldn’t even go past the bottom of my thighs. Out of curiosity, I weighed myself. I weighed in 6 pounds heavier than I was the last time I weighed myself. That number is 15 pounds higher than my “goal” weight. Mind you, my “goal” weight is virtually impossible for me to maintain without almost starving myself and working out obsessively. A lot things have changed since this time last year. I’m not going out and walking during my lunch break, which I did in the past. Now that I’ve been promoted to management and get more and more responsibilities, it’s hit or miss when I can go to dance classes. Some days it’s totally fine to walk out at 430p. Other days, I won’t be leaving until almost 6. I’ve never been very good at vigilantly watching what I eat. I try to stick to moderation, but rarely succeed. Not being able to fit into a pair of pants did a lot of damage on my psyche than I expected.

I do my best to remind myself that health is much more important than a number on a piece of fabric. I tell myself that weight is how much the world loves me and wants me to pull me to its center. I start to feel uncomfortable in my own skin. I stare a my lower stomach and wish it less squishy. This is ignoring the fact I’ve seen women half my size with the same roll of fat. Biologically, it’s necessary. Gotta pad the babies somehow. There was a picture posted on Facebook by a woman I know is in ridiculously good shape. She posted a picture of her butt and she has cellulite. To beat the already dead horse, bodies are different. I overheard someone talking in the changing room at the dance studio a few weeks ago. She was talking about how the teacher had them go in groups so he could see how they were learning the choreography. She said she was nervous until she realized she would never move the same way he did. It’s just not possible. We can mimic all we want, but ultimately, our bodies move the way they were built to move. She said it made her feel better when she put it in that perspective. I think those were very sage words. No matter how hard I try, I can’t change the way I’m built. Poorly aligned knees and all.

Time to hit the “off” button on my brain, do the best I can on any given day, and take it, quite literally, one step at a time.