This is not a "My Dog Died" post, don't worry.

Roughly eight years ago I was living in CollegeTown, Missouri and decided it was Time to Get a Dog. I drove a handful of hours down to Missouri'sMiniVegas and helped Biff’s parents out with their canine overpopulation problem. That is to say, I spent some time in a dark, hay-strewn basement and fell in love with the tiny black puppy (stamped with a white upside-down heart on her chest) calmly hanging back from the bunch and waiting for me to take her home. So I did. I scooped her up, buckled on a little green collar, and popped her into the crate in the back seat of my Chevy Nova. Whatever you do, do not take her out of the crate, even if she cries, Biff’s mom warned me.

Well. One hour into the return trip and there was much crying and wailing and throwing up from the crate in the back. I stopped at a gas station, squatted down beside the car, opened the crate door and looked this little black monster in the eye. This does not mean anything, little one, and we are never going to tell anyone I broke the Rule. And then I drove the next three hours with a snoozing little black ball of fur on my lap.

Boomba and I had some good times in CollegeTown, MO. She originally slept in a beanbag chair next to my bed (until the night of Puppy's First Thunderstorm), and used to enjoy laying sprawled out in my arms while I watched tv. I’d get home from bartending at 4 in the morning and we’d go racing through town, down the sidewalk of the main street, and around and around the roof of the parking garage near my apartment. Some days we would hike (and get lost) in the woods (no leash necessary), stroll through town, or hang out at the bar while I prepared to open it for the evening. Despite long work hours, a neglectful (but thankfully very temporary) roommate, and all the housetraining issues, Boomba and I were a team- she was my heart and soul, and the Best Dog in the World.

There was a move, and a depression cloud, a relationship that turned into a marriage, a Bad Experience with a bulldog, another move, a second dog added to the mix, fewer walks, less time, dog fights, food issues, another move, another dog came to live with us (R.I.P. little buddy), more work, more long hours, more hectic schedules, less attention, ANOTHER dog added to the family… Now the Best Dog in the World is older, crankier, and tends to get into things she shouldn’t, more often than she should.

But. This past weekend Monk took a break from reality and went out of town to visit a friend. Blockhead and BabyGirl went to the kennel. And Boomba and I rattled around the house together in quiet, blissful companionship. The difference in attitude, temperament and atmosphere in the house all weekend was just unbelievable. We cuddled, we walked, we threw the ball, had a few long talks, shared some laughs… and even though she didn’t help me clean the house yesterday, I almost couldn’t breathe at how amazing it was to just be a girl and her dog again. Time rewound and simplified itself for a couple of (too-short) days. No one to explain myself to, no pack to mediate and stress over, no food/aggression issues, not being woken up at an ungodly hour because someone else is getting up or Blockhead’s complaining that it’s time for breakfast… I’d keep going, but I think I might start to cry, y’all.

I opened my eyes yesterday morning and as my gaze landed on 75 pounds of black lab on her back next to me, paws folded in the air, dozing with a crooked little smile on her (now grayer and filled-out) face I thought this is perfection. This little bit of peace in a quiet space, the sunlight slipping through the blinds, the Decent Hour on the clock, me and the Best Dog in the World.

Now if we could only do something about the dog breath (gag) and the Guinness Book amounts of shedding (hello, Dyson).


What does TGIF mean anymore, anyway?

Spoke too soon, folks, as it turns out I do have a massage appointment tonight. Vent and you shall receive, apparently.

(Okay, if that is actually true to my reality right now: BOY DOES IT PISS ME OFF THAT I DO NOT HAVE A MILLION DOLLARS IN MY BANK ACCOUNT RIGHT NOW.)

Managed to talk this client out of a hot stone session and into a heat pack session (and then promptly hung up the phone and yelled "Shit! Better go buy some heat packs!"), and while this will be slightly less money it will also be less effort on my part (and on my back) (I think I'm quickly getting over this whole “Traveling Massage Therapist” thing), which appeals to the ever-growing lazy side of my personality. Unfortunately, I now get to stress over a) getting home from the office in time to heat up the packs, b) bagging up said packs well enough to retain the heat between my town and the client’s and c) hoping I time the drive correctly so that I don’t end up at her house insanely early, or 10 minutes late.

It may be time to start looking into my very own massage office. Not that I do enough business to justify that right now. Not that I have enough time to be drumming up new business right now. Not that I have the availability, what with the full-time office job and the class and the other job (is anyone else getting tired of hearing about how gawd-ridiculously-busy I am, by the way?) (on second thought, how about you don’t answer that), for all the hypothetical new business right now.





Things I have NOT done in the last 5 days:
*Edited video or practiced technique for class
*Revised business plan for the office-to-massage-therapy transition
*Purchased Reflexology book for next week’s class
*Maintained semi-healthy eating routine
*Scheduled any outcall appointment (not one! Wooo!)
*Celebrated Monk’s good news (work related, yay for him!)
*Called my brother
*Come up with a decent blawg post

Things I HAVE done in the last 5 days:
*Stayed out wayyy too late drinking and bullshitting
*Caught up (somewhat) with our (fake)TIVO recordings (plus drinking!)
*Told my mother what I think of how she is handling my brother’s breakdown
*Consumed enough caffeine to give an elephant a heart attack
*Vowed to wean myself off the Ambien (eventually) (and no, I wouldn’t say it's totally helping)
*Freaked out because oh-shit-I'm-giving-my-notice-in-6-weeks-and-oh-my-god-we-are-going-to-be-so-poor
*Got tattooed with Monk on Saturday (had the existing one redone- is absolutely punch-you-in-the-sternum, knock-over-your-granny awesome now) (and wow, I forgot how getting tattooed over/near the vertebrae causes pain to radiate up and down your spine…)
*Come up with an it’ll-do-for-now blawg post


And it tasted good

Well folks, I didn't so much make that wall from last week my bitch as I... avoided it completely. However, I did beat up its older, more difficult brother (huh?). But before you all start calling me a badass again, I should own up to the fact that, at the end of the climbing session, well, I was humbled once more.

[SIDENOTE: On one of the climbs I accused Climbsalot of "helping" me- basically pulling me up the route with his big, strong arm muscles instead of letting me reach each hold on my own merit/strength- he denied it vehemently, then declared that on the next route he'd show me "helping," dammit. Well. Turns out I really have been doing it all on my own, as being PULLED STRAIGHT UP A WALL feels very different from actually climbing it. Also? Swoon.]

So Climbsalot and I were playing a bouldering (climbing without ropes, along a wall, instead of up it) game which is similar to playing H-O-R-S-E on the basketball court (except, not really like that at all, but I see your eyes glazing over already so I will not even begin to explain it, and you're welcome). My turn: I was supposed to be getting to the next handhold by crossing a rather wide archway. Climbsalot made it look easy, but I suspect he spends his nights web-slinging and leaping between buildings, so whatever. Long story short: My toe, which had been precariously supporting my body via a tiny bastard knob, decided it had had enough and let go. I imagine what happened as my body slammed into the wall and down towards the floor closely resembled the antics of a beyond-wasted sorority chick attempting to kick a building in the nuts.

Oh my god, are you okay? asked Climbsalot. Sure, that felt really good, let's move on, I muttered. Alright, where were we? he smirked. You mean, before or after I tried to eat the wall, I grimaced.

So I think I actually bruised the bone, if the goose egg rising off my kneecap is any indication. And I'm pretty sure my title was immediately changed from "badass" back to "just plain clumsy." Fantastic.



Everybody and their mother is posting about this (or about that other thing) but, seeing as how I seem to be incapable of formulating an original thought today...

Maybe you live under a rock and somehow missed the Will Ferrell NSFW (consider that a warning, all you worker bees) action:

Watch this.

"I'm not doing so good Pearl."



Sore forearms, wounded pride

Last night’s climbing session didn’t go as well as I would have liked. On the first route I attempted, I came to a bit that was missing a handhold and despite using all my grit and determination (which was, admittedly, a bit lacking from being out late the night before and then suffering through another long day at the office), couldn’t quite make the tips of my fingers (all ten) hold my weight on the two-inch square blob anchored above my head. Not enough to be able to leap up to the next handle and get myself to the overhang, at least. And also? The sweat did not help. After an eternity of grappling with the wall, the rope, and a deflating ego I had had enough. Take me down, this isn’t going to happen, I called to Climbsalot. Are you sure? He replied. Yeah, it’s getting ridiculous up here.

So he lowered me down, we switched places and, like the strong, agile monkey that he is, Climbsalot scaled the wall, conquered the faulty part of the route, and slithered up the overhang and out of sight. Um, you’re supposed to be saying things like “oh my, this is really difficult” so I don’t get too depressed I yelled. WOW THIS IS REALLY HARD he shouted down from the clouds. For some reason, I doubted his sincerity.

When he was finished making it all look so. damn. easy, I lowered him down quickly (and have the rope burn to prove it, rowr!) as he tried to raise my (weak, puny, no good) spirits. We moved on to another climb which went considerably better than the first one (it was also a lower rating, so go figure) and I wish I could say I left feeling every inch the “badass” he deemed me last week, but, not so much.

Last night I dreamed about the incomplete climb. I woke up thinking about it. I wanted to call Climbsalot this morning and analyze it, plan the next attempt, and make him promise to give me the chalk bag before I start climbing next time to combat all the Clammy (because yes, that is exactly what the problem was- not my wimpiness, but a devastating chalk shortage). It is threatening to haunt me all weekend. In fact, if my parents weren’t in town this week (see how I slipped that in but am not talking about it? Especially not the family drama that is going on concerning my brother and his breakdown? And how hard it is not to just come out and tell my parents how badly they’ve fucked up their children? But that it’s okay, because that is what parents do? And that is a big reason why Monk and I are not going to become parents? Because if I’m going to fuck anyone up -and that’s pretty much guaranteed- I’d rather it be a consenting adult? But all this is another post for another day and isn’t it good that I’m not talking about it?) I’d be at the climbing gym this week, trying to master that damned (faulty!) route.

Unfortunately for my now-consumed-by-the-climb state of being, I have family dinners, children’s theater, a birthday party, several uncomfortable conversations, work (office), work (massage) and two nights of class to get through before I can try again. Meanwhile, I will be plotting and obsessing (and possibly cackling maniacally) and next Wednesday evening I will make that wall my bitch.

(Although “my bitch” might possibly also mean “strip away my last remaining shreds of dignity and self-esteem and leave me crying in the corner.”)


Clean slate

Confidential to the ladies: I've just discovered the most effective way to wake yourself up on a Monday morning. Better than green tea, coffee, or a big breakfast. Even better than sitting in traffic for an hour with ABBA blasting over the speakers and then you take a second to look in your rearview mirror and holy shit someone's about to hit you and your NEW CAR! OH MY GOD NOT THE NEW CAR! But they don't, and your racing heart will figure out that everyone's safe in just a second. Phew, that was close.

Yes, more effective than that. I'm sorry the men won't be able to employ this wake-up call to start their work week off with a bang, but that's life. So ladies, one word for you:


Another word: Yowza. And also, hey there! And, top o' the mornin' to ya.

(Well, I guess the menfolk could look into this -or some version of it, at least- for themselves, but I'm thinking they wouldn't be able to take it.)

Nothing like pushing the boundaries of your own comfort level to start the week off right.


Stays crunchy in milk

Next week in class we begin another Deep Tissue section, this time for the hip and pelvis. This should be interesting, as there is nothing I wish for more after a long day at the office than for someone to jam their elbow into my uterus. But first! We have to get through another four-hour Pathology class. It will be the third out of… a million of these advanced Pathology lectures that make up part of the never-ending curriculum for national certification. I don’t have much good to say about the Pathology class except that we finally were given permission to swap out the metal folding chairs with cushioned, lumbar-support-blessed seats from heaven and I’m really not sure when my spine and ass have been more grateful.

Pathology lectures consist of the teacher picking one of the body systems and then listing all the ways in which it can become disease-ridden, damaged or otherwise busted up. We get the problem, the demographics, the symptoms, the treatment, prognosis and then, of course, whether we as massage therapists should work on the poor lesion-sporting leper in the first place. There is so much excruciating detail that we find ourselves looking around at our classmates, then down at our skin, sometimes scratching a phantom itch or frowning the frown of the condemned, each of us convinced we are suffering from The Herpes/IBS/Ringworm/Scabies/Hepatitis C.

Power of Suggestion, meet the class of 2007.

Always there is some horrible disease that, once it’s found, has an even worse prognosis. The teacher, a delightfully deadpan woman with a thick southern accent, describes the disease in detail, then mirthlessly states that once it’s finally been diagnosed it’s usually too late, that “at thaaat point, yer… gunn dah.” And every time she makes this morbid declaration, I swallow a giggle. And then immediately feel guilty for laughing at death, and then am convinced that I probably have whatever life-threatening condition has just been described because that would just serve me right, and that therefore I, too, am… gunn dah.

Pathology- now with more paranoia! But less ass numbing!


Because he likes it when I post

In an attempt to combat the “I hate Wednesdays” negative attitude around here, I 've decided to make the most out of these fatigue-filled days by going directly from the office to certain humiliation at the climbing gym. (Hey, a girl's gotta have her flawed logic, let's move on.) Last week I had my first private lesson which went pretty well, all things considered (“all things” being the fact that I haven’t rock climbed in years, I’m about as coordinated as a 3-legged water buffalo and that for me, “upper body strength” = “are those your arms or two pieces of spaghetti flailing around”).

My instructor, Sir Climbsalot, had me demonstrate my (non)existent skills before we started. This was great, since it let me get started right away on all the humiliation. Humiliation? Cannot get to it fast enough. Let's roll up our sleeves and dig right in to all the humiliation. Mmm, humiliation, it's what's for dinner. (Okay, stopping now.) He showed me how to make like Spiderman and cling to an overhang, twist my hips around and leap up to another handhold. I showed him how I could spin away from the wall and land on his chalk bag with my right ass cheek, puffing a cloud of white dust up in the air like the grand finale of a magic show. Abracadabra, there’s a Quinn-shaped dent in your floor mat now.

Towards the end of the lesson, Climbsalot and I were competing in the local Sweat and Body Odor Competition, I had successfully completed three (beginner) climbs up the sides of their silo walls (only fell once), and he had been treated to a hundred grunts (I’m such a lady), a handful of sighs, three f-bombs (lady!) and quite a few blank looks (Climbsalot: “Now just bring your leg back, like when you’re doing a leg curl.” Me: *blink blink*).

Last week I went directly from the lesson to a massage appointment and was patting myself on the back for not having too many sore muscles or tired hands. Until, that is, Thursday morning when I was forced to contemplate just how many muscles are actually used when you shampoo your hair. And whether or not I could get away with just leaving the half-lather on my head and calling it a Look for the day.

The soreness has almost completely gone away, just in time to do it all over again Wednesday evening. Muscle abuse and mortification! Now that’s what I call living! I can’t wait for Wednesday.